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Fandom Castlevania: Blood Moon [Closed]

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure

Lucyfer

I'mma Die On Top
It had been an interesting couple of days for Keres Anthos, a triumvir of a group of Mediterranean vampires. It had begun when she went to meet Carmilla, a Styrian vampire she had been gradually befriending over the years as another powerful woman in a world still dominated by men. After all, when people had to show up and do things in the human world, it was still men they preferred to talk with – not centuries old vampire women.

It was a frustration they could commiserate on, and had, for a while.

Unfortunately, that seemed about as far as their friendship was going to go, as it was now at an end after Carmilla used the excuse of a meeting to capture her and bring her before Dracula for her opposition. She avoided immediately execution by giving enough hints of things she knew about the opposing vampires to be dubbed ‘useful’ – and so tossed in a cell, full of light.

Dracula wasn’t stupid, at any rate. The less shadows, the more difficult it was for her to do anything. Being bound and drained didn’t help matters, either. Nor did being left to starve as a form of torture, since Dracula apparently had no generals nor night creatures to spare right then. He was still in Romania, after all.

It would be a while before he needed to think of her.

And Keres would thirst – not that she wasn’t always thirsty.

The bane of her curse.

At least there was nothing nearby she wanted to drink. At least…there hadn’t been, until a woman who clearly was no vampire came into sight. Keres fixed her attention on the stranger, the scent of her blood enticing, despite some oddity to it. Human? Something other?

Keres wasn’t allowed to focus on that. She still had all her facilities, and when a key was waved, and freedom promised, she forced her hunger back and put her attention to just that – escape. She didn’t so much as ask the other woman’s name.

It should have been worth more investigation than that, but Keres didn’t have any other options, and she’d rather die than talk about what she knew.

Next thing she knew, she was out of the cell, and running. Through luck, through a fluke – Keres didn’t know, and Keres didn’t much care – they crashed their way through Dracula’s mirror, uncertain of where it would take them, only certain it would get them out of his castle.

Thankfully, it was night on the other side.

Keres wouldn’t waste time with relief, “We need to—”

Even as she was saying it, she was interrupted by those terrible creatures the forgemasters crafted, not true demons, but night creatures. Keres bared her fangs at them, before she’d grab the arm of the strange woman and step into the shadows, cloaking both of them in an instant, and seemingly vanishing from the spot, only to appear several meters away, under new shadows, before vanishing again, and again.

Shadow-stepping was infinitely useful for making swift get aways, and they needed to be out of sight of the mirror.

That did not, unfortunately, put them out of range of the creatures which spilled out, and could smell the both of them. Those with wings were quick to take to the sky and track them down. Keres had no plans of stopping where she was, when the creature fell from the sky and pinned her to the spot by impaling a corkscrew spear through her shoulder. Other creatures were quick to drop out of the sky as well to engage them when Keres let out a piercing scream at the sudden pain, the whites of her eyes bleeding red.

She was too hungry.

She was too angry.

And now, she was in far too much pain to deal with this shit any longer.

The demon that was nearest was the first to fall, head severed by five long fingernails, before the vampiress ripped the spear out of her arm and chucked it into the next one, impaling them on a tree, and rounding on a third. Demon blood was useless to her as a nutritive substance, but that didn’t stop her fangs from tearing right into their throat to rip it out and put a quick end to them, as well.

~***~

The journey from Gresit had been tedious.

Perhaps Alucard might have considered it exhausting, if he had any capacity to feel tired any longer. The exhaustion he now felt was more of a numbness as they continued onwards, their journey to the Belmont Estate not a short one, and each day made it feel longer as they encountered night creatures, or the remains of night creature attacks. Finding anywhere that was safe, or had much in the way of food or shelter, was next to impossible.

That night, they had set up camp once again just off a main road. Despite the dangers, a fire was still necessary against the chill of the night, as well as to cook any food they would be lucky enough to catch.

Alucard intended to go about hunting something up; his senses for animals were a bit better than Trevor’s.

Alucard was convinced the only thing Trevor could find was alcohol.

“I’ll—”

The wind carried a scream.

Blood. ‘Wait—’ Alucard recognized first vampire blood, then demon. Was another hunter out there fighting? Had vampires found them so soon? He couldn’t imagine vampires in this area, just night creatures. Certainly, Dracula was keeping the vampires close.

Sypha was already climbing to her feet, ever the one to want to go help, “Someone’s in trouble,” not that it wasn’t obvious, but Alucard nodded, agreeing more with the sentiment of her words. Someone needed help, and they were there to provide it.

“This way,” he could scent it out easily enough, and he dashed ahead, knowing Sypha and Trevor would not be long behind him, even if Trevor might be grudgingly following. He wouldn’t leave the pair of them to face down night creatures alone, and which were only likely to come after their little camp next.

When Alucard broke out into the area of the skirmish ahead of the others, he was surprised to see it was a vampire against a night creature. More, that he recognized the vampiress, although he did not know her well. He had seen her about Dracula’s castle a couple of times, and recalled a few tips she’d given Lisa about plants in her keeping – the Greek, “Kore,” the title escaped him in surprise, before he drew his sword, and struck down one of the creatures.

There was another there, he realized, not truly understanding who or what she was in the haze of all the violence, but understanding she was also a target of the nightcreatures, and so he would make sure that the brunette woman was unharmed as well, moving swiftly to shield her from a strike.

Answers could come later – hopefully.

There was the chance of Trevor going right for the vampire, but Alucard imagined he could stop that before one or the other actually got into it.

Ideally, Trevor would recognize that a vampire fighting against night creatures was no friend of Dracula and he’d hold off long enough to find out more – but Alucard didn’t hold his intelligence in high regard.

Sypha was wise enough that, once she made it through – despite the gasp – she launched fire at the night creature’s and avoided hitting the vampire, and the woman.

She’d have plenty of questions soon.

Asteria Asteria
 
Dracula’s guards were an insignificant obstacle in her path towards the cell that Keres Anthos had unceremoniously been thrown into. They weren’t even guarding the cell itself, but the dungeons, which were mostly inhabited, save for the treacherous vampiress; her execution had been put off in favour of a long series of interrogations that were yet to take place.

They never would. The guards recognized the Mistress and she made use of that small moment of hesitance that followed, reaching out for one of them – he was young, with a weak spirit, and, consequently, far easier to bend to her will. After a series of quick slashes, two iron armours were already lying at her feet, and the third guard – now unarmed – was held against the stone wall by the sharp end of the fourth’s spear.

He was impaled as she bent down, picking up the set of the keys to the cells and one of the two fallen swords. It was slightly heavier than the ones she was used to, but still far lighter than the ones Sviatopolk had brought along with him – it would have to do for now and she strapped it to her belt. She eyed the fallen spear as well, but it would be of little use to her, despite its effectiveness. She had no experience with spears of any kind.

Her gaze returned, then, to the last standing guard. He was waiting patiently for her next command.

‘I’m sorry.’

“Kill yourself.”

Once the words had filled the silence between the two of them, the Mistress, Nyavka Avvaeva, stepped over the remains of the three guards and she did not look back as she heard the fourth drop to the floor.

And Keres Anthos was found. Nyavka had no time to spare for second thoughts and there were no real motives to feed them as it was. She didn’t fear any sort of consequences, but she was wary of Anthos’ possible reaction. Her state could prove to be troubling, not to herself, but to them and their escape.

Her worry didn’t come to fruition, though. Anthos didn’t lash out at her and, once she was freed, they ran with the same goal in mind, one they didn’t need to express out loud. Nyavka had gone over the routes out of the castle in her mind many times in the past few days, but only one seemed truly viable if they wanted to survive and not just merely escape.

Dracula’s mirror. With the council being preoccupied, they might have a chance.

And, for better or for worse, they had made it through. They didn’t even get to share a moment’s respite or even a few words as Anthos was interrupted by the approaching shrieks. Nyavka recognized where they came from even before she caught sight of the night creatures – she had already witnessed their destructive acts through her little sparrows. She felt Anthos grab her arm, though, and with a hiss from the vampiress, they started… moving.

This seemed different from what she had seen and experienced before. There wasn’t time for curiosity and, when they came to an unexpected halt, there wasn’t time even to think.

Anthos’ scream pierced the night. The distinct smell of her blood flooded Nyavka’s nostrils. The night creatures had managed to stop them and separate them; Nyavka pulled back and away as she reached for her sword.

A flash of red was all she saw as her head snapped to the left, attention drawn by a growl. She barely shifted her body and straightened the sword, both hands gripping the hilt, as the night creature lunged for her.

Her aim wasn’t perfect. The blade struck the creature’s right eye, but all she did was anger it and, with all its thrashing and throwing, Nyavka hit the ground. A claw sunk into her cheek, while the other dug into her coat’s fur collar in its attempt to strike her neck.

She added more pressure, blade digging deeper into the wound, feet pushing at the night creature’s chest. It did pull back, but just for a moment.

She needed to think. Think. Think. She needed to envision them, feel them, reach out to them—

She opened one of her palms around the hilt… and then she closed it, tight. Roots sprung from the ground, and they encircled the dark form. Nyavka let go of the sword after a failed pull and she scrambled from underneath the creature.

Her freedom didn’t go unnoticed. One of the creature’s winged companions saw her and she saw it, too. She stood still, waited, her other palm open… and when it got too close, her fingers curled into a tight fist. The creature writhed, trying to flee from its newfound cage, its wings flapping, and Nyavka applied more pressure, nails digging into her palm until they drew blood.

And then her fists hit the ground. More roots broke through, impaling the two creatures in her grasp.

~~~~~~~~~~~​

Alucard’s numbness was preferable to what Trevor Belmont was feeling. Numbness had been an all too familiar territory to him but now, with each passing day that brought them closer to the Belmont Estate, he felt a painful awakening of sorts rummaging in the marrow of his bones, his muscles, and whatever was left of his heart that he hadn’t already drunk off; he was certain that there was nothing left of his mind to be affected, considering that he had made camp with a big-mouthed know-it-all and the devil’s version of Jesus.

He had stayed, despite his better judgement. It was for his proposition that they had a clear destination in mind, a starting point for their long and weary journey that would end once Dracula fell. He was taking the big-mouthed know-it-all and the devil’s version of Jesus back to his childhood home of his own accord.

Trevor Belmont was going back… home. He hadn’t even noticed that he had called the remnants of the Belmont Estate as such in the first place – the word had come easy to him, its use all too natural.

And what it had woken in him seemed all too natural, as well. It was known. The nightmares had returned and the memory of them stood in the fire before him; he’d relieve that night again, the only difference being that he'd be as old as he was now, yet carry the fear and desperation of a helpless twelve-year-old. It had always lingered, that memory, gnawing at him in the worst of moments, but he had still been able to escape it. It wasn’t as if those dark and silent moments of unconsciousness had been any more restful, but they had, at least, belonged to him.

But he couldn’t afford them anymore. He had to put up with the tossing and turning, the cold sweats, the clammy hands, the hitched breath, the rapid beating of his heart, the paranoia – which had proved to be quite useful in sharpening his senses. Fighting was a break from the misery of it all, though, and even the soreness was welcomed more than it was not.

God, he was brooding, wasn’t he? He was deep in thought and sentimental. He hadn’t been aware of how miserable one could look in such a state until everyone had started to brood around him. Even Alucard, for all his expressionless features, appeared to be too… far away, at times.

When Trevor heard him begin to speak, he frowned at the flames.

But, then, he heard the scream. His gaze shot up to the forest around them and he got up as well in time with Sypha, hand instinctively reaching out to the handle of his whip. They were still at a reasonable distance from any known village or town – had some refugees fallen into a trap?

They were soon to find out, apparently. Trevor recognized Sypha’s tone and how easily it could turn a simple observation into a call of action, which Alucard easily complied to. He did so as well, following on after the pair, but not without mumbling a comment under his breath, “Yes, follow the ominous scream in the forest at midnight, that could only end well.”

For someone that had tried to avoid conflict for a great part of his life, he had always ended up right in the midst of it. This felt a little bit more right, though. All of this had a purpose, at least.

What they stumbled upon also seemed to take place for a reason. This was the attack of the night creatures, as expected, but the targets were the ones that made it interesting.

Two women. Trevor recognized what one was immediately, but he had doubts when it came to the other. Even with Alucard there, and then Sypha, it was still them that the dark beasts hunted ferociously.

With these observations in mind, he pulled a step back and ran for the nearest tree. It was too crowded down there for his whip to be as effective as it could be.

Alucard might not hold his intelligence in high regard, but Trevor was all too aware of the consequences an attack on the vampiress and her friend might entail, no matter how infuriating they were. Alucard and Sypha were protecting the two, gullible fools, and they would go against him, too. Fighting amongst each other would only make them vulnerable to the attacks of the night creatures.

He cracked his whip. One fell, another shrieked.

Trevor Belmont had priorities in a fight.

His gaze shot up to another tree on the opposite end – it was a little far, but, then again, what had ever been within his reach in this life? He jumped, thong extended, its end curling around one of the tree’s branches. If he could draw some of the creatures out, he could make more space for them, ease the fear they would harm each other when they struck.

Letting the two women in harm’s way meant letting Alucard and Sypha, too.

He dropped to the ground.

‘Reflexes like a cat.’

And there was another crack as he turned around.


Trevor held on to the spear he had picked up along the way for a moment longer. The fight had gone faster and easier than usual; there was power in numbers. It smelled of burnt flesh, hair, and blood around them and the ground was covered with the remains of the night creatures.

Trevor moved to approach the rest and tried to not quicken his pace.

His eyes fixed the vampiress first.

Priorities.

You,” he shouted out. It was then that he took in the other woman as well, the tip of his spear pointing to the both of them – not yet threateningly. “What is it with you two? Quite an important pair you are.” He had noticed all too well the behaviour of the night creatures. They had focused on them, treating the rest of them as a mere nuisance.

And a vampiress? Even if she had fought the night creatures alongside them, all Trevor could think of was how she had ended up in Romania and because of whom.

He stopped in his tracks, though, frowned. He noticed the small gesture the brunette made with her hand; the open palm. Sypha’s hand movements had led to him noticing such subtleties far easier.

“You want to impale me?”

He had noticed that, too.

“I’m not the one holding a spear,” she observed, reminded. Trevor picked up on the accent. “Easy.”

She didn’t think that she could do him much harm, anyway. If she hadn’t reached her limit already, she was close to it, her hand slightly shaking – the most she could do was trap him if he was bold. He remained still, though.

And then she turned her head slightly towards the vampiress, gazing only for a few spare moments on the other two, Alucard and Sypha, before focusing her attention on her completely. “How are you, my lady?”

 
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Lucyfer

I'mma Die On Top
It was a whirlwind of a fight when the others seemed to show up out of nowhere to join. Keres heard Adrian, but didn’t round on him to strike him. She’d learned enough in Dracula’s castle to know that Adrian had turned on his father, and Dracula was looking for him. No doubt, the mirror had been trying to find him.

Although she recognized him, the other two were foreign to her – and terribly human.

The pungent scent of the demons overrode the scent of human, but it was still there. When the fighting ended, she could still hear their pitiful hearts, as she cast her eyes around to make sure it truly was over, for the moment. The whites of her eyes were still that terrible red, mixing with that burgundy to make it seem as if there was just a pupil – no colored iris at all.

And they fell upon the man with the spear who called out to her, lips curling back to show fangs, a warning more than a threat. He’d helped – and he was talking, though she recognized a hunter when she saw one.

Only fools used whips in combat if they weren’t trained, and only the very best of vampire hunters used whips. It kept them a good distance from the vampire.

Few were skilled enough, but she had noticed, even in her haze of bloodlust.

It was difficult to focus, and as he stopped, apparently threatened by her strange guardian, she looked to the woman, who held her hands in a strange way, as well, staying back. Adrian was the one to draw closer, his blade sheathed. Before he could interject, the attention of the strange woman turned from the hunter, to her.

Keres wasn’t sure if she’d had a stupider question directed at her in a while, but it did something positive. It broke her haze, and Keres laughed, though without any mirth. “I’m fantastic,” the sarcasm was sharp as she made a gesture down, encapsulating what wounds she’d taken in the fight, before her words shifted to Greek, a natural happening when she was angry.

“It isn’t as though I traveled hundreds of miles across backwater towns that used pigshit for building material to meet that flagitious, fissilingual waste of blood Carmilla and end up tossed in a thrice-damned holding cell for days! No, it isn’t as though I’ve been preparing for a literal war because that fucking pillock never realized humans are fucking mortal even if you love them – and is hypocritical enough to declare a war on humanity and then uses two foetid human forgemasters on his war council. But no, I’m fine – with a fucking tampon, Dracula’s spawn, some flaxen magician, and you with your formality while I'm bleeding out….”

Enough Greek that Sypha knew, and caused a brilliant blush to tint her face as she listened to the litany of curses, every single one of them directed at Dracula, or someone named ‘Carmilla’, as the red began to drip down Keres’s cheeks, leaving the white to return to her eyes. It answered the questions posed to her by both Trevor and the other woman, quite colorfully – though Sypha didn’t know if Trevor understood.

Alucard didn’t know enough of it – he was more versed in Latin – but he heard ‘Dracula’ and ‘Carmilla’, neither of them in a happy tone, so he was fairly certain he wasn’t wrong in assuming that Keres had made a foe of his father.

Keres seemed to realize what she’d done after addressing the stranger who saved her more directly, and seeing the blank look. She put a hand to her forehead, and took in a deep breath through her mouth, which she let out the same in a deep sigh.

“Well. She doesn’t seem to be a friend of Dracula.” Sypha cleared up, just in case, face still a bit red as she stepped forward, lowering her guard a bit. “I also think Trevor’s met his match for profanity.” It was a poor attempt to lighten the mood, although she was still amused with what had to be the vampire’s reference to Trevor. Tampon?!

“I’m going to assume Trevor’s the hunter,” Keres drew her hand down, and looked towards the trio, before back to the woman, “I have several thousand questions,” okay, not that many, but she was certain it got the point across, “For you, and for you, Adrian.” She turned her gaze to the dhampir.

This still was not a good environment. She was still bleeding. She was still starving. ‘How much do you care about the hunter and the magician?’ Those weren’t questions she could ask, even if it was tempting.

Especially as Adrian nodded, “And we have many for you.”

“I’m sure the answer to every single one of them is I’m very sorry for you, and fuck Dracula,” there was enough derision in it to make Alucard frown and wrinkle his nose a bit; Sypha bit down on suggesting that was probably the truth based on the Greek ranting. “You,” that was to the woman, “Adrian’s good. And I have questions for you both. Stay with him for a minute and we’ll address this ‘my lady’ thing,” before her tone turned terribly derisive, as she glanced back to the odd trio, “unless someone is opposed to me finding several animals to kill, before I rip out all of your throats?”

Alucard heaved a sigh. No, this was not going well, was it? “I’m sure we can wait a bit, we’ve set up camp not far,” he hoped his words would be enough to steer Trevor from demanding she stay a little longer. “I think Sypha…understood enough to answer some questions.” Probably. And they could get the rest from this…well, not quite human, woman.

Asteria Asteria
 
Nyavka knew that her question was stupid, but she had learned that stupid questions were sometimes necessary – her own proved to not be pointless in this case, but the good and the bad of it were fairly muddled in the beginning. Anthos’ laugh was humourless, her gestures and words pointed as to show how clear the answer had already been. There was a shift between languages as her anger peaked and that was when she lost Nyavka. She didn’t even try feigning that she understood what was being said and, although she stood her ground, sparing the hunter a few cautious glances, she blushed faintly, burying her chin in her fur collar.

All that Nyavka could read into was her tone and the two names she had brought up: Carmilla, the one because of whom she had ended up in a cell in the first place, and Dracula.

Anthos seemed to realize what had taken place, for she paused, sighed, her cheeks stained red as the colour drew from her eyes. That got Nyavka to relax a little. It was a beginning of sorts, she supposed, though she wasn’t quite certain of what. The Speaker’s – Nyavka recognized the attire – intervention was somewhat telling by her mention of Dracula. Anthos’ adversity towards him made her more ally than foe.

So she had understood what had been said. That shouldn't come as a surprise when it came to a Speaker, though.

What should come as a surprise was that Trevor understood the vampiress’ outburst as well. Well, most of it, anyway. He had been overwhelmed at first, not having heard Greek being spoken in such an accented way and at such speed before, but he had caught on to the main ideas: her imprisonment at the hands of Carmilla – Austria, was it? –, her resentment towards Dracula’s actions, a sentiment that he could share in as she went on about the stupidity of it all. It was her tone, though, and the last bit that was intended for all of them that didn’t allow him to lower his guard as Sypha had done.

He wanted to scoff at her comment about how he had met his match for profanity; the meaning of some words had been lost on him, most of the profanity as well. He was more than certain, though, that she had mentioned him in there, somewhere, but he let the conversation move forward.

“I will try my best to answer them, my lady,” Nyavka said in response to Anthos’ inquiry. Perhaps the same could be said in regards to the questions the other three might have.

A hunter.

A Speaker.

And Adrian. Adrian Tepes. So the rumours were true; the Son had turned against the Father. She had managed to end up in the presence of the golden traitor almost too easily. Veles might’ve spared her from one of his tricks this time.

Or this was meant to be the worst tricks of them all. Nyavka flexed her fingers and pulled her hand back slightly as Anthos addressed her again, telling her that Adrian was good and entrusting her to him for the time that she would be gone. “Very well,” she accepted, refraining from appealing to formality once more.

The questioning had to be put off. Nyavka understood all too easily, but Trevor didn’t, his apprehensiveness now fueled by the vampiress’ derisive threat and hardly calmed by Alucard’s conciliatory comment. It was for that reason that Nyavka didn’t pull back completely.

“It’s Trevor Belmont,” he completed his name. “House of Belmont – vampire hunters. So, I’d love to see you try to rip out all of our throats, my lady.” His formality was mocking, each word accentuated, the tip of the spear cutting the air as if it was an accusatory finger.

Sypha was the one to intervene. She placed her finger on the length of the spear as she came closer and in between him and the vampiress and slightly pushed, a silent gesture meant to tell Trevor to lower it. Her smile was, once again, motherly, at that dangerous point between patience and exasperation. “That won’t be necessary,” she brushed off the exchange. “We can wait. I understood more than enough and I am certain that…” Her gaze wandered to the other woman as she trailed off.

“Nyavka. Nyavka Avvaeva.”

Sypha nodded in acknowledgement before continuing, “Nyavka can fill in the gaps.”

Not to mention that vampiress and Alucard seemed to know each other.

Trevor questioned how well did Alucard know her or how close the two women actually were. He lowered the spear, though. “If she takes too long, we’re going after her,” he told Sypha, before addressing the vampiress, “Is that clear?”

 
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Lucyfer

I'mma Die On Top
The stranger made promises to answer, but Keres knew that was soon to be tested. She had been in a state of desperation, but that would clear up soon. She already felt it clearing up under the moonlight, though she knew there was more than food she needed. She needed shelter. Daylight would destroy her as surely as starvation.

One thing at a time. ‘Nyavka.’ The origins of the name were not immediately known to Keres, but she committed it to memory after she had introduced herself to the woman who came between Keres and the Hunter.

A hunter who thought quite a lot of himself. ‘Belmont. Belmont.’ The name rang a bell, and she recalled Carmilla brought up the scion of House Belmont in her false-frustrations at Dracula, and it had meant something then. Keres canted her head, trying to recall while looking dubiously at the hunter. When it hit her, a smile did twist her lips, just a little.

“Jean-Baptiste’s scion?” She wondered aloud, “I had thought he…well, too young, and too clean, to have heirs,” what cleanliness had to do with it, she would leave to some obvious stereotypes. He’d at least been tasty. “But I suppose I was wrong. Do not worry, little moonopano,” she couldn’t help but continue to call him that, even after switching over to the tongue they all seemed to have in common.

Romanian.

'Ugh.'

“I will not be long, but even if I was, you would never catch me.”

She gave him no time to respond; she was gone in an instant, through the shadows, and far out of human sight through that sudden movement.

It didn’t so much as raise Alucard’s hackles, though Sypha froze a moment. He just sighed, “Keres Anthos has control over shadows,” he wasn’t sure why he was saying it. Perhaps for Sypha’s comfort. Not for Trevor’s, “And she’s very, very old. Even by vampire terms.” A good ally.

“How do you know her?” Sypha mused, turning her attention to him.

Alucard let a smile touch his lips, “The way I know any vampire,” his father, “she was a reluctant member of Dracula’s court from the outset, and even then…not really. She, Amon, and Lucius consider themselves the Triumvirates of the Mediterranean and Dracula a…foreign king.” Yet, they worked with him, all the same.

“So…not well enough to actually vouch for her.”

“I am afraid not,” he confessed, before looking to the woman who could vouch, perhaps, although she was a stranger among them, “I would have you call me Alucard, miss Nyavka,” he said. He would clear it up with Keres when she returned. She knew and understood changing names, he did not imagine it would be an issue, but he had not had time to clear it with her while she was there with them. “We can escort you back to our camp. As it is, we may need to consider constructing something on our cart….”

Daylight was still some hours away, but if Keres was with them, she would need shelter.

Sypha nodded, “How are you involved in all of this, Nyavka? Can you explain what was going on – I mean, obviously there was a fight going on, but….” And she had understood what Keres was saying, but the others needed to hear it all in plainer language…and Keres hadn’t seemed sure about what Nyavka was doing there.

Sure, Keres needed her answers – but so did the group.

Nyavka could explain twice, certainly.

Asteria Asteria
 
After a moment’s thought, Trevor could distinguish a look of recognition flash across the vampiress’ face at his family name. It wasn’t the sort of recognition he’d like, he was certain of it as he caught sight of the faint curl of her lips, and the joke of it all became more apparent with her talk surrounding one of his ancestors.

Jean-Baptiste. There wasn’t only one Jean-Baptiste in his family – repetitive names had made his family’s recorded history in part dreadful to learn, but also fairly amusing if one kept in mind all the creative nicknames he and his siblings had needed to come up with in order to differentiate one from the other –, but her comment about heirs narrowed down the list of possible individuals tremendously. This Jean-Baptiste had met his end at her hands.

And then there were the reasons why she had thought him heirless: his age and his cleanliness. Trevor easily understood what she was hinting at and the implication did rub him the wrong way. The House of Belmont was a noble family from the Kingdom of France; they were French! It was only natural that they would take a great interest in their appearance. Centuries of living in Wallachia and, most recently, a strong Ottoman influence, hadn’t been able to strip them of the vanity of the Frenchman.

He could only imagine what his parents’ reaction would be, were they to see him now, all stubbly cheek and tousled hair, their family’s crest dusty, sweat through, and crumpled.

Perhaps it was for the better that they had died thinking that he had died as well.

Trevor’s indignation in the name of his ancestor moved to his own persona as the vampiress continued to tease, questioning his capabilities. Before he could make a retort, though, she was gone, a deformed shadow among the night’s shadows. He pulled slightly back at the sight – or the lack thereof –, planting his feet as if he expected an upcoming attack.

Two words rang in his mind then: “moonopano”, for that seemed to be the term she had referred him to even during her outburst, and another, which was too simple for what he felt for her.

‘Bitch.’

The attack didn’t come. Alucard was right to think that his insight into Keres Anthos’ powers would be of no comfort to Trevor, for it wasn’t; it only meant that Keres Anthos wasn’t the usual sort of vampire. Not that she was trying to blend in, as it was – she was part of the Triumvirate of the Mediterranean, for whom Dracula was reduced to a simple foreign-king.

He was acknowledged by them, but not quite accepted.

This was not enough to assure either of them of Keres Anthos’ trustability. The attention shifted to the other woman then, Nyavka; once Anthos had been gone, she had picked up and strapped her sword to her belt, dusted off her long, silvery coat, and patted the bag underneath it to assure herself that it was still there. Trevor wondered if she worried about Anthos’ absence, but if she did, she didn’t let it show in the least.

She only smiled understandingly as she looked up at Alucard. “As you wish, Lord Alucard.” The preferred name was easily accepted.

Alucard. The opposite of Dracula. It was a pity, really – she thought that Adrian was a beautiful name, a touch sweet, a touch royal, but that might be more fitting of a boy and not this standoffish young man with such a heavy burden to bear.

She didn’t know if he preferred the title of “prince”, but that seemed more of a title that would befit Adrian, and not Alucard. “Lord” was neutral enough.

“Thank you,” she said in response to his offer to escort her to their camp, “for the shelter. And for aiding us during the attack.” The gratitude extended to all three of them as she took them in, but the Belmont easily waved her off. He had dropped the spear, but he remained tense as he stalked off at Alucard’s mention of returning to the camp.

He was the one that would lead them, it seemed.

Nyavka would wait for the other two to follow before falling in step with them, folding her hands in front of her as she thought over the Speaker’s question.

But there was something else… “I am sorry, I don’t mean to shy away from the answer, but I haven’t got your name.”

“Oh!” Realization dawned on Sypha’s features then, seeing the curious look of Nyavka. The motherly peacemaker gave way to an abashed girl. “No, no, I should be the one to apologize – I got carried away. My name is Sypha Belnades.”

“It is a beautiful name,” Nyavka offered.

It wasn’t an answer Sypha had expected, but it brought a wider smile to her lips, even though it turned sour. “You are also hurt,” she observed. And Keres had been as well… “We’re really not good at this.” Her last comment was made more to herself. This was greetings and first interactions, and the list of failures was growing, it seemed; first her and Trevor, then Alucard and Trevor… Trevor and Keres, them and Keres, and Nyavka…

One of Nyavka’s hands reached for the cheek Sypha’s gaze had rested on as if she had just been reminded of the wound. The touch travelled down to her neck, to check if there was a scratch there, as well – she felt it, but it was hardly as deep. There was something comforting in the light chuckle she allowed as she pulled her hand away. They didn’t seem to bleed anymore, though she noticed that there was still blood on her palm, from where she had dug her nails into the skin.

“These are nothing, miss Belnades,” she reassured easily. “They will heal. I don’t favour flaunting scars, especially ones as ostentatious as these, you see.”

Sypha did wonder at the dismissal – the cut on her cheek seemed deep enough to scar. But before she could ask anything in that regard or even address this continuous formality between them, Nyavka began to speak and she settled on simply listening, “As for how all of this has come to be… I suppose I should start from the beginning. Lady Anthos was recently imprisoned under the accusation of treason.”

“Because of Carmilla,” Trevor intervened; it was a sign that he was listening, even though he was walking ahead of them.

Nyavka nodded. “Yes. She rules over the duchy of Styria in Austria. I am afraid that I can’t offer more details in that regard, I am aware only of the aftermath of that. I don’t believe that she has simply acted in her King’s interest, however; there’s growing unrest among King Dracula’s court.” No matter… “Lady Anthos’ life was spared because the other triumvirs are yet to be found. She was supposed to be interrogated, but, well…” She made a simple gesture with her hand around herself.

They were here now. That hadn’t come to be. “I was serving Sviatopolk I of Kyiv at King Dracula’s court as an advisor. He rules Kyiv under direct orders from Moscow.”

“A vampire with a human advisor?” Trevor’s question was pointed. He wasn’t certain that she was human, not fully, at least. Such a connection with nature required more… inborn intuitiveness.

And she confirmed his suspicion, but not before adding, “The Forgemasters serving at King Dracula’s court are humans. I am only half-human – my father is a vila, although I think you use a different word for us here.” She had become aware, as time went by, of that fact. “Iele, I believe?”

“Besides many others,” Trevor answered.

Another halfling. His life wasn’t meant to get any better, was it?

“We are known for serving darker aspects of life, I suppose,” Nyavka continued, “but we do nourish and want balance. What King Dracula wants to achieve is far too absolute and one-sided. I helped Lady Anthos escape for that reason, although we are not directly familiar with each other. We escaped through the mirror; that must have alerted the night creatures. I had hoped that we might find you, as well, Lord Alucard.” Not so soon and not in such circumstances, however. “There are many whispers about you at court.”

 

Lucyfer

I'mma Die On Top
Although Alucard would not antagonize Trevor further for the moment, he was not entirely unaware of the impact Keres’s reactions and words had created. He saw Trevor’s tension more easily than he saw Keres’s vanishing act. That was outside of the realm of the supernatural vampire speed, which he could see. Indeed, it was terribly unique to Keres, and he did not fully understand why.

Nor did he understand much about the triumvirs. Like a good foreign king, Dracula had not done much to cultivate them. The years before Lisa were full of drudgery; the years after were full of malicious intent. It was only during those years when Lisa lived that Dracula had begun to reassert himself, hardly the blink of an eye in a vampire’s life.

But Alucard saw the stance, and saw that hatred, and knew it was going to be difficult going forward. ‘Sypha can handle it.’ He kept that thought to himself as well, as it seemed Nyavka was reluctant to speak until she had a name. It was only until she elaborated further on what she was, that it made some sense. ‘Names are power among many like her.’ Perhaps not the vila themselves, known more to Alucard as the iala. He didn’t know much about them, but he thought they were blonde. ‘Could be the half part.’ Her hair could be a brown, or a darker blonde, perhaps. Night made it difficult to be certain.

Of course, he’d also never heard of a male vila.

“Please, just Alucard,” he sighed at the ‘lord’. Perhaps he would become accustomed to it later, he was not sure what his future had in store, but right then he certainly didn’t feel, nor wish to be, noble. Trevor Belmont could flaunt it, but all of his nobility came from Dracula, not Lisa, and it was not something he felt much kinship with at the moment. “If you have heard of me in my father’s court, then you must be aware I have forsaken such birthrights.”

Perhaps not. Perhaps his father did not make it common knowledge that his son had rebelled, and he had nearly killed Alucard. “I do have an aim in kind with you and yours, Miss Nyavka,” she seemed to prefer formality, and though Alucard had denied it for himself, it may be best to stay on that, “we aim to see an end to Dracula.”

He ignored the look Sypha gave him. Always that terribly sympathetic, worried look when he said it. A touch proud, as well, perhaps.

She spoke next, “Though, perhaps it would not be good if you and Keres continued. The prophecy only denotes three,” she held up her hand, and ticked off, “the Hunter, the Scholar, and the Sleeping Soldier,” since that wasn’t obvious, she gestured to Alucard, “he was asleep, for a year, when we found him.”

“Three to deal with Dracula,” Alucard noted, “nothing about his minions.”

Sypha blinked. “I, ah…I hadn’t considered that.”

“I doubt the prophecy considered that, either,” though he imagined they could overcome much, another pair of hands against Dracula’s minions wouldn’t be turned away – and it seemed Keres had a grudge against one of them as it was, and was unlikely to be turned easily away, “But what reason did you wish to find me?” The question was asked as they reached the camp…and found Keres already waiting there.

Speed indeed. His brows lifted at her presence, and the deer she’d apparently brought for them to eat – a peace offering of sorts, no doubt.

Sypha looked cheered, “Ooh! This will be so much better than the gamey rabbits we’ve suffered! And I think I still have some potatoes….” Sypha went right over to the deer, prepared to skin it herself, never one to shirk the duties she knew, which all related to travel. Alucard knew very little, and certainly wasn’t going to volunteer himself to skinning a deer for the experience of it. “Trevor!” Naturally, Sypha would try to summon him for help – to keep him from causing any mischief with the vampiress in their midst – besides if she got him on that, she could figure out a construct for their cart.

Prophecy might have only specified three, but she saw no issues with having back-up for Dracula’s armies.

It was obvious Keres had calmed.

Her clothing might still be a mess, but the eyes were far calmer, no longer so bright with bloodlust, and any wounds she had endured, were healed.

“That was rather fast,” Alucard pointed out.

Keres shrugged, “When they don’t hear you, or see you, you can catch most anything. There was a herd of them,” she didn’t bring the ones she had drained. It had taken more than one; deer weren’t the most nutritious of things. Nature made that violent creatures, like lions and, well, humans. Humans at the top of the list, naturally.

“I was just asking Miss Nyavka why she wished to find me.”

“I assume because you weren’t with your father. I had plenty of questions about that,” which, she would get to, as she got to Nyavka, but she’d allow Nyavka opportunity to speak about this ‘finding Adrian’ business she wasn’t aware of.

Not that Keres was aware of very much, right then. At least she was finally of a mind to start caring about what she didn’t know.

And about shelter, before she considered how to patch her clothing, or where to steal clothes from. Sure, her attire was still holding together, but she had some standards, and this was far from the norm. She'd rather put on a peasant's dress than continue in these bloody tatters of what used to be a nice dress. Carmilla would pay her back in interest for that, too.

Asteria Asteria
 
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