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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Introduction: Recently I have began to dwell into Fantasy, and so I decided to tackle my favourite aspect of Fantasy. The Vampire Counts. This will be updated fairly often and hopefully, it will attract some attention and keep you entertained! :victory:

Black Be The Day​

++++++++++Crag Peak, Sylvania.++++++++++

The vault was cold, icy. Condensation coated every surface, making it moist and silvery in the moon-light which seeped in from above. Stalactites of incarnadine coloured ice dripped from above like a thousand blades, their tips knobbed and gnarled. Pillars of bone, of skulls, kept the ceiling from collapsing against the marble floor, a fine white powder layering each. No visible entrances were in sight, bar the thin slits upon the roof, separating the inverted peaks that were stalactites with luminous slashes.

The carnal ferocity of the room, the stench of decay and spilled lifeblood, was overbearing. The marble floor beneath was fashioned so that each individual rent curled in on itself, pointing towards the centre. Here, deep within the Sylvanian mountains, none could hear the screams of the damned, the plighted.

Over a dozen figures in oily black robes, which flicked and spun in the night wind, stood at the centre of the room. Each obscured their faces with hoods, so that only rosy cheeks and scarlet lips were on show. Knee-high boots of leather and chain mail gloves chinked and clacked as they unsteadily stamped down on both feet, tempers growing thin. The evident curvatures of a female stepped forwards from the group, snorting aloud.

‘I have had enough of this waiting, why have I been summoned to this dreg place?’ She questioned, fingers curled into fists, her voice silky-smooth.

‘Ah, Aliana, forever beautiful and commanding..’ Came a mocking voice from the darkness around them, harshly resounding, like a orchestra bellowing its’ many instruments. The voice was oddly familiar to all within, their hackles raising on end, their fangs biting down on curling lips.

‘Show yourself, or I shall rend this place apart!’ Cried a brutally tall figure, ripping away his hood to reveal a patch-work scalp of interlocking scars, clumps of unkempt hair and a forking beard.

‘Calm your stead, Viktor.’ The voice replied, louder this time. The monstrous Vampire hissed inwardly and stepped back, shaking his head back and forth, identifying the voice.

‘Viktor-’ Began Aliana, a string of jet-black hair falling from the folds of her hood, her voice sexual.

‘Be quiet you insolent woman! I will not die for your idiotic needs!’ Roared Viktor, his lips curling at her, his unholy eyes flashing.

‘Harsh, how harsh, Viktor.’ The voice jested, the shadows towards the left of the brute twisting suddenly. Viktor spun on his heel, but it was too late. A blade ran through his sternum, chewing back and forth, warm crimson spray rocketing out.

Aliana stepped back as the bifurcated corpse collapsed, leaking its contents at her heeled feet. She delved into the folds of her own robes with both hands, each coming free moments later, wielding ornate scimitars. The murderer was gone, seeping back into the twisted shadows, booming laughter mocking the plight of Viktor as the gore-drenched form twisted, nervous systems acting up in their last pitiful moments. The crimson happily abided to the routes through the marble, rolling like crimson worms towards the centre, spilling out across the ground.

‘I owed him that.’ The murderer reasoned, barely obscuring the amusement in its’ hollowed voice.

‘Show yourself!’ Bellowed another male, his fangs gnashing at his lips, his tattooed face half-hidden beneath the oily robes that he wore tightly.

‘I would rather not, that would be telling on my part.’ Mirthlessly chuckled the shadow-man.

Aliana allowed the beast within to grow strong. Her brow liquidized and hardened into a tough, plate-like surface of pallid flesh. The muscles around her jaw distended, growing impossibly strong. Her eyes flashed amber, twisting in the moonlight. Her fingers lengthened into brutal claws, still clinging to her crescent-scimitars.

The shadows before her parted, and a figure in scarlet-armour which mimicked the human musculature bounded forth on great strides, supernaturally fast. Aliana allowed a shrill shriek, that echoed horribly around the vault, as a scarlet gauntlet wrapped around her tender throat and yanked her forcefully into the air, the tips of her feet dancing across the marble. Desperately she clawed at the armoured wrist, hissing and spitting. Her lupine features faded away in sorrow, in fear. Her amber eyes returned to their rich emerald, looking down into the dark ovals of her captor.

He grinned, baring sharpened teeth, tongue a contorting, wriggling serpent. The smell of spilled blood, of decay and decadence, clung to the figure like a veil. Her trachea and larynx compressed together, robbing her of both speech and air. Asphyxiation began to take place. Yet, she had died long ago. His gauntlets dug bloody rivets in the nape of her neck, the coiled fingers tightening drastically. She knew the face which venomously looked up at her. She had feared it once, quivered in the shadow of her assailant like a loyal hound.

She cherished it with her black heart. Once again he allowed a narrow grin, lifelessly. There was no emotion in his eyes, no care for the precious form which he held in his hands. And then, the gauntlet opened like a petal, fingers dripping rich beads of crimson upon the floor.


Aliana landed upon her knees, lacerating them on the fine flooring. The musculature-wearing Vampire above her stood, his gauntlet silhouetting against the moonlight as he examined it with harsh eyes.

‘Beautiful, riveting. Do you not agree, Aliana?’ Asked the dread being, not removing his eyes from his encompassing, clawed metal-clad fingers.


She did not reply. All eyes within the room, those of monsters and sadistic killers, were set firmly upon the duo. Hands were wrapped around pommels, fangs were bared. The newcomer was a broken memory of old in the half-dead brains of each, and that broken memory kept them in place. They feared the Vampire before them. Aliana continued to stare, even as the other Vampire gripped her hair tightly in his other hand, yanking her around and into his chest.

He pulled back, revealing her bruised neck.

‘Von Carstein…’ She muttered, shaking in his impossibly strong grip ‘….V-vlad!’

‘No,’ Spat the monster, curling back his lips, ready to quell his sating desire. ‘Worse.’


++++++++++ Ecliptic Castle, Sylvania ++++++++++

‘They are but cattle!’ Growled Aliana von Carstein, slamming one of her bejeweled fists into the bone-crafted table. The chalices arrayed upon it bounced, spilling precious crimson down their curved pieces. The sound echoed throughout the arched room, ringing the glass chandeliers which dangled ponderously above.

Her personal thrall, Raphael, shirked under the sudden pound. He looked down at his siren-like master and allowed a quick smirk. She wore a laced dress that flowed gently from her curvatures, the jet wool still-slick with the rain that wracked Sylvania. Her petite face curled into a uncouth snarl, the lips twisting in on themselves to reveal her glinting fangs, silvery in the snaking torchlight. Her brother, Radu raised his gauntleted hand in protest to his sisters sudden outburst, his artisan features hard as the stone which he had been birthed upon.

‘They are loyal supporters of our House. I will not allow them to be mindlessly killed, for the sport of such brash individuals.’ He proclaimed, his voice rich and commanding, causing several of the others around the table to narrow eyes in disgust.

‘Cattle!’ Iterated Aliana, rubbing her alabaster cheek with spindly fingers, defiantly gazing at the table-head, where Radu rested, armour creaking as he moved beneath its’ bulk. The gargoyle-like chair that rose above him looked menacing, jewel eyes looking down upon the assembled von Carsteins judgingly.

‘You have grown weak, old man.’ Interjected Ansgar from the sidelines. None were surprised that he took up the side of Aliana, his devotion to her was sickeningly fascinating. He was clad in a emerald robe, a thick belt of bronze fastening the puffed leggings at his hip.

Raphael was bemused by the argument. He had served Aliana for longer than he could remember, growing old by her bountiful side. In that time, he had been threatened, beat and bled by her bickering siblings, harbouring a hatred for all but Aliana and strangely, Radu. The Thane was a just man, and the last vestiges of humanity within him clung to the protection and wellbeing of the so called cattle beneath his mountaintop keep. The thrall adjusted his double-breasted tunic slowly, careful not to make eye contact with the other von Carsteins.

‘Have I? Have I really, brother?’ Questioned Radu, his flint-coloured eyes narrowing for the first time, his calmed voice twisted with a warning undertone.

‘Our father would have been ashamed.’ Intoned Sophia von Carstein, the only other female present. Like Aliana, she was beautiful. A platinum-haired, regal-eyed goddess. Unlike Aliana, she wore the items of war upon her. Hooked armour hid all but her neck and face and a long blade was strewn from shoulder-to-hip upon her back, sheathed in human hide.

A general, ushered agreement sounded from each of the other eight figures. Ansgar cast a sidelong glance at Aliana, his eyes flashing with surprise. Seeking guidance from his longed for beloved. Raphael laid a gentle hand upon the shoulder of his mistress, bending over so that his pink-lipped mouth was parallel with her pointed ears. She was not startled by his sudden presence, having known that he was moving forwards moments before, his irritable sandal-slap upon the marble reaching her ears instantly.

‘May I refill your chalice, benevolent lady?’ Benevolent was a lie, at least for the most part.

She only nodded, her perfect features twirled in thought. She yawned as though bored of their petty disagreements, cupping one hand over her perfectly aligned lips. Raphael took her own chalice in his hand, shivering as his fingers ran over the embedded bones. He had personally packed this for their journey, knowing she could, would not, drink from that of her brothers household. Poisons, acids and other devious things, delivered in liquid, had been the downfall of so many others.

In his other hand, he took up a silver pouring jug. Or, it had been silver. Now it was incarnadine in colour, the reflective surfaces having been dripped in the gore of goats so that Aliana was not forced the tormenting invisibility that came with Vampirism. Instead, her own monstrous manse was filled from ground floor to attic with expensive paintings that played her beauty off wonderfully. Slowly, the liquid swirled into the cup and he placed it back down upon the table next to his mistress’ powerful grip.

‘Sophia speaks wisdom, once more.’ Noted Radu finally, breaking the silence which had befallen the siblings.

Sophia flashed a wry grin at Radu. They were perhaps the closest within the room, and none dared to question what they shared; knowing both were quick to anger. While Ansgar and Aliana shared a unholy partnership that caused stomachs to twist, Sophia and Radu were siblings through war. Both had fought under their father at Altdorf, standing side by side when he was unrightfully murdered. She had been more than happy to proclaim Radu leader of their province, adhering to brother Konrad’s crazed rules. Raphael shuddered once more, trying to banish such adulterous thoughts.

‘I understand not your appreciation for the scum beneath our iron fists, Radu.’ Aliana hissed, her voice running rife with venomous jealousy.

‘I love you also, sister dearest.’ Radu mocked with a wolfish smirk, flashing his fangs at her suddenly, assuring her that he was in total command of this domain.

Raphael knew not the cause of this argument. Aliana often plucked urchins and lost children from the streets of Beldagrov, the township which her manse overlooked, sucking the life from their throats before having Raphael dispose of the bodies. But that was not which had enraged Radu such. The sudden absence of entire families across his lands had made him look a failure in the eyes of his peers, of his lord. Yet, Radu was among the greater of the von Carsteins. He was a stern tactician and a well able swordsman, being able to parry most blows with supernatural ease.

‘Enough already!’ Exclaimed Melchior. He ruffled his silver hair with one long-fingered hand, pulling strands into the air before letting them collapse back against his cold scalp. His aquiline features were covered in a layer of jet powder, so that only the rims of his eyes could be seen. His skull-esque appearance was truly frightening, and Raphael felt almost guilty for his quivering thrall.

‘I agree. I have grown bored of this.’ Moaned Aliana, barely suppressing the urge to burst out in laughter. She had enjoyed that verbal bout with her brother, but his hardened features suggested otherwise for him.

Raphael failed to understand his glorious mistress on occasions. Despite the sheer amount of time and close proximity which he had spent with her, she still wrapped herself in a mask of lies, deceit and playful mannerisms. Thunder rumbled high above the cathedral-like room, accompanied by the howl of wolves in the distance, piercing the pregnant lack of sound. Deep within the bowels of the fortress-house, such noises were but a collection of dulled vibrations, at least to thralls such as Raphael. To the Vampires, it came in every momentous wave.

‘More pressing matters are abound than the simple disappearance of peasantry.’ Koln muttered, rubbing his sharp chin between the pinch of his thumb and finger, his lower face marred with freshly spilt blood.

‘Our brother is correct.’ Nodded Ansgar, twitching his nose in agitation.

‘Indeed,’ Began Radu, his eyes looking blank suddenly ‘Reghorff, has turned its back upon us.

A general slam of chalices, hail of curses and spitting of oaths sounded. Melchior drew one of his crystal-pummeled daggers that he so keenly kept and brought its’ triangular tip down into the bone-table, sending a cobweb of cracks zigzagging towards the centre. His fangs were bared beneath his makeup, prickling at his lips, drawing beads of thick crimson that dribbled down his chin, enticing his tongue to lick them away.

‘How dare those cowards, swapped Sylvania for the Empire no doubt.’ Offered Sophia, her bronze lips twiddling with each word that she spoke. No-one bothered to strike down her claims, knowing that they were true.

‘I will raze the city!’ Melchior promised, his rapidly rising and collapsing chest causing Raphael to stare, despite not wanting to.

‘How long?’ Enquired Koln, barely biting back his bloodlust. Of all of the coven, he had fallen furthest from the light. Now he was brooding, animalistic. When blood was presented, he was thirsty, unstoppable and vicious. Monstrous.

‘Three weeks, maybe more.’ Radu confirmed and Raphael gasped, despite his better wishes. Sophia turned her head towards him, and allowed a narrow smile. Raphael shirked and she licked her lips deliciously, sexually.

His perverse thoughts were abandoned when he realised that would never be. Aliana had no intention of siring him, nor did he want to particularly become a cruel monster. Even so, Sophia would skin him before he got a chance. He was nothing more than a replaceable thrall, one of a thousand in the line. Yet, for some reason, Aliana favoured him greatly. It was certainly not for his appearance, or his lyrical voice. He placed it being with his unwavering loyalty. Aliana was his mistress, and nothing could change that now.

‘Reghorff must be made an example.’ Demanded Ansgar, flashing a look across at Aliana, hoping for her praise. He got a razor-edged gaze. It was not what he wanted, not the warm appreciation.

‘None shall survive. None, to fester their idiotic corruption and betrayal.’ Interjected Aliana, agreeing with the general sway of the conversation.

‘Oh, I wholeheartedly agree, my siblings. However I will not rush into this, like a drunkard in a stupor. For now, neither you or I can do a thing. Perhaps it is time we retired to our own chambers, there is much to be thought about.’ Radu half-ordered, half-suggested this. His voice was palpable, rich and flowing.

The thunder boomed again, the wolves howling as though in worship. No-one moved. No-one dared to do so, not wanting to be the first to leave. Finally Radu stood, his layered armour clinking, each individual plate scraping across one another, ear achingly. He bid them a farewell and retreated to his bedchambers, a pair of thralls following in his wake, heads bowed impassively. Next went Ansgar, enraged, scabbard clattering against his hip with each momentous step.

The siblings gently trickled from the room, until only Sophia and Aliana remained. Raphael locked eyes with her handmaid, a lithe female with a pair of bronze scimitars crossed across her back. She had an unusual mane of emerald hair, her tanned features contrasting heavily. She wore a corset and dress, both maroon and richly threaded with gold. She winked dubiously, flashing a smile after that revealed a pair of jutting fangs. Raphael was taken aback by the sudden revelation of yet another von Carstein within the room, unsure on what he could say to warn his worshipped master of a possible assassin.

‘You should not defy the word of Radu, sister.’ Warned Sophia, almost caringly.

‘Please, Sophia.’ Aliana returned bitterly, scanning her war-loving sister palpably.

‘I seek no conflict with you, Aliana. Do not tempt me to do such a thing.’ Came the retort, a growl of dominance to the ears of Raphael, who cringed slightly.

‘Nor do I with you, Sophia. I need no suggestions, however. I know what path I walk, it is a tremulous one at best, however..’ Aliana stated, trailing off towards the end suddenly, her voice dipping into a whisper.

Sophia leaned onto the table heavily, revealing her neck as she looked up at the ornate chandeliers, each individual crystal and diamond gently chiming against one another. There was no marred reflection, no imperfect portrayal of Sophia. Raphael never had truly understood why Vampirism disallowed the gifted to become these invisible beauties, hidden from their own faces but for portraits, of which, Aliana had many.

‘We have grown strained as of recent times, sister. I blame you not for such outbursts. I myself have done similar things, I cannot blame you.’ Admitted Sophia, smiling reassuringly. It was an odd gesture, but one that made Aliana feel full within, as though she was not alone.

Raphael noted that the nameless von Carstein in the background shifted uncomfortably, tensely. There was an air of death around her, the stench of copper radiating from beneath her tightly bound clothes. Mixed with that however was the sour tang of herbs, furthering the pungent smell about the mysterious von Carstein. Her gaze was focused entirely on Raphael, locked into a half-snarl, lips lifted to reveal a narrow gash of pearly white teeth. A shiver wracked his spine, jarring his bones. Her half-snarl turned into a mockery smile, clearly that she was resisting the temptation to snigger at the morose thrall.

‘I appreciate such understanding words, Sophia. Beneath your immense beauty and war-like nature, there is an unbound intelligence.’ Smirked Aliana, taking a gulp of the liquid within her chalice.

‘Your compliments are too kind, sister. I must bid you farewell for the night now, however..’ Sophia declared. The pair stood, sharing a kiss on both cheeks before bidding farewell. A quick glance over his shoulder showed Raphael the emerald-haired von Carstein, equally looking back at Raphael with peach eyes.

Loyally, Raphael never strayed far from the side of Aliana. With each majestic step she took, her hips flicked and her dress rustled. Had had gathered up her chalice and now held it aloft, easy for his mistress to take it in hand if needed. Of course, she did not. The sun was now beginning to arise from behind the distant peaks, shedding red fingers of light across the desolation that was Sylvania. Filaments of morning light seeped into the twisting hallways, forcing Aliana and her thrall to delve into the depths, through tapestry-lined chambers and palpably carpeted hallways.

The chambers gifted to Aliana were not particularly exquisite. There was no door, and instead a thick curtain of crimson had been placed before the arched doorway, the folds flapping silently in the breeze. Aliana gripped the velvet in one of her clawed hands and yanked it open, commandingly entering her gifted domain. Raphael stepped into the cold arch, wheeling around and pulling the folds back across upon their rungs. Even the velvet was icy in his grip, his fingers recoiling instinctively upon the first touch.

For several seconds he simply stood there, focusing on the finery of the material, eyeing each twirl and weave expertly. A low thump in the chambers behind Raphael enticed him to turn on the ball of his foot, eyes adjusting to the half-light wherein his mistress stood. Aliana stood in perfect nakedness, her dress around her ankles. Her pale body curved in a stretch, her hair falling down her back as she unbuckled the decorative clips that kept it close to scalp.

Raphael stared for a moment, before it clicked in his head that her body was nothing new. He had seen her in such a condition on more occasions that he could count, and each time he was marveled in her glorious bareness. Raphael placed the chalice on the ground and marched across the chambers, the continuous slap of his sandals causing Aliana to stare at his feet, licking her bright lips. She had not fed, but there was no fear in Raphael’s movements.

Leaving her standing on the cold marble, clawed hands on hips, Raphael went for the dresser in the background. The mirrors had been shattered and removed, each individual chip crushed into a glittery-like powder and tossed into the winds. Upon the comfortable chair, however, a nightgown was tossed unkemptly.

It was of fine silk and inlaid with pink flowers, something brightly beautiful that contrasted against the darkness of its’ wearer. Raphael had personally traveled to Grand Cathay to acquire the gown as a gift for his mistress, who had been greatly pleased by the gesture.

He took it up in his hands, bringing it about and moving on Aliana. Spread-eagled, she awaited. He filtered in next to her, slipping the sleeves upon her smooth skin, feeling her icy touch upon his fingers. He stopped, taking in the aroma of perfume which was wrapped in Aliana’s hair, sniffing it and bringing in his head next to her own, resting his chin upon her shoulder. He slipped his arms between hers, bringing in the silk bind and wrapping it at her waist.

‘Is that all, mistress?’ He asked attentively, the scented perfume still embedded in his nostrils, attracting a sneeze that he narrowly avoided, biting down on his tongue to ward it off.

‘Yes, Raphael.’ She said and he left, sparing her a smile as he rapidly departed. Their interaction stayed on her mind, even as she collapsed against her bed and fell into sleep.

2,989 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Comments? Anyone?

Premium Member
3,929 Posts
Your latest pieces have been a huge improvement. I'd mentioned before that you spent a lot of time, perhaps too much so, on descriptions, making the pieces feel more like you were fluffing out than telling a story. However, this moved along quite nicely, and I didn't notice any unnecessary/halting moments in the story. You used your descriptions much more effectively than you have before, which is what I see as your biggest improvement.

Good shit, DA, and an excellent job of delving into the WHF universe

2,989 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the kind words, Bane_Of_Kings and Boc! Glad you enjoyed :)

Here's the next part, It's a bit longer than the last I think, but not much. This one is spread out more, though, into smaller parts;

When the sun retreated behind the horizon, yanking with it the last vestiges of light, Raphael returned to the chambers. He brought Aliana a chalice of crimson, taken recently from a bled victim in the catacombs beneath Ecliptic. She awoke with a startle, sitting upright, blankets slipping from her elegant form like water. She took the chalice in hand, marring her cheeks and lips with rich scarlet, licking it away with a tongue of pink. Sleep was not the same for Aliana and her Vampire brethren. They dreamt of being with their fellows, feeding and slaughtering. There was no dreams of bounding fields and pretty flowers that were often rife in the minds of the cattle, the men and women and children.

He stood attentively as his mistress peeled away her nightgown, tossing it uncaringly onto her bed and nakedly rummaging through the gathered traveling cases. Finally she found what she wanted, a amber-coloured dress of fine material. She slipped it over her head, arms rigid in the sleeves. Her fingers curled on the cuffs, fastening the pearled buttons together nimbly. She required no assistance in pulling the formfitting dress on the smooth clothe clinging to each individual curve, forcing Raphael to stare in raw admiration.

‘Stop it.’ Demanded Aliana suddenly, shattering the silence with her lyrical, beautiful voice.

‘Stop what, Lady?’ Wondered Raphael, arching an eyebrow.

‘Your gaping. It is annoying me, greatly. If I did not hold you in such a high position, slave, I would have rend you from head-to-toe.’ She growled, her warning far from false. The use of slave hurt Raphael within, like daggers driving into his heart.

‘I-I never re-realised..’ He stammered in return, looking guilty. Of course, he was lying. Even Aliana knew this and allowed a feral smile, parting her lips to reveal her dread fangs.

‘Has there been news of Reghorff?’ She blurted suddenly, changing the course of the conversation drastically, much to the relief of Raphael.

‘None of importance, mistress.’ Came his simple, curt answer.

‘You are withholding information, Raphael.’ She pointed out angrily, jabbing an accusing finger at him.

‘I am not,’ He began, voice half-risen ‘You are just being paranoid once more, Lady Aliana. What I hear, you hear. I promise you that..’

‘Are you sure, errand boy?’ She taunted laughingly, snorting to herself.

‘Fully, mistress.’ He promised, a tone of irritation cowering beneath the many folds of his voice.

‘Then that is all, Raphael. If I am in need of you, I shall send one of Radu’s serfs to collect you.’ Her erratic voice growled in the torchlight, her form dancing as embers spilled out towards her once more in the wind. Raphael bowed deeply and retreated from the room, not rising back to his full height until he had pulled the folds of the velvet curtain back across.

When he stood in the gallery, alone, he allowed a long drawn sigh. Had he really goaded her into anger? Had he forced her into the outburst? No. her conversation with Lady Sophia the previous night had all but confirmed that the Vampires were in a strenuous state, murderously attacking their closest out of spite. If he was to be honest; he was glad to be away from the von Carstein Lady, fearful of her tremendous wrath. He had little duties now that he was not needed, and thus the waiting began.

He trawled from wing to wing, banquet hall to banquet hall. The lavish, gothic designs of Ecliptic Castle were strangely pleasant. Despite the violence-depicting tapestries, the marionette-displayed corpses and the claret coloured paints, Raphael felt at ease. He knew that he could have been walking parallel with a monster, a killer who’s kill count could have been tenfold the population of Sylvania. Yet still, he felt no fear for such things, no gnawing at his soul.

His continuous footfalls ended abruptly when he entered another feasting hall. Whereas the others had been devoid of life, this one was a ruckus of singing and dancing. Thralls in purple garbs twirled around one another, smiling and laughing while sharing gulps of alcohol. Others sat at a long table, eating from piles of food that made Raphael’s stomach growl in anticipation, picking at meats and fruits veraciously. At the head of the table, a old man slumped over, his flesh gray and haggard. A pair of crimson lines were strung out along his neck, each one still wet.

A feeding ritual. Whoever the Vampire was, he had now retreated back into the darkness, leaving in his wake a slack fleshed corpse and a grand party. Thick, surly Sylvanian accents were a sonorous orchestra, flamboyantly echoing throughout the hall, in Raphael’s mind, with enough force to shake the timbers above. As though on time with his entrance, the music stopped. Heads turned towards him, shallow nods and animalistic greetings acknowledging his presence. Some of the faces were turned pink with exertion, others glossy with perspiration.

Panting, a skinny-faced woman pranced towards him, carrying the folds of her dress in both hands. A scraggly mane of khaki hair draped from her skull, greasy strands licking her face. A scar ran along the length of her right cheekbone, curling the corner of her lip upwards before disappearing off her chin and into her collar. It was her azure eyes, wide and surrounded by alabaster, that made her even half-attractive. Raphael stood tall, his shirt clinging tight to his chest and gut. He forced a smile, trying not ti twist his lips in disgust.

She was pungently wafting, a horribly radiating smell from beneath her dress. Raphael pushed the cuff of his nose, lifting the tip upwards. She curiously looked at him, the smile on her face drooping away into a saddened expression. Apologetically, Raphael allowed his arm to fall away, despite the unbearable smell and reached out, cupping one of her hands in his. She smiled up at him, pulling away her hand and dancing back into the crowd, twirling like a colourful spinning top in her dress. Several times she indicating for him to follow, and each he denied with a twiddle of his palm.

He laid one hand on the wooden pane beside him, leaning against it as he continued to watch, with a smile upon his face. The interlocking prongs of figures, wenches and serf-men, sang a ancient tune of Sylvania that caused the fake smile upon Raphael’s face to disappear. Once, his mother had sung this to him. It had been sung at her funeral, after the wasting sickness had turned her into a walking cadaver, forcing Raphael to tear her head from her bony shoulders with a hatchet.

He had been but a child then, and to reasons then unknown to him, he cared not for her plight. He had reveled in her death, leaving her decapitated corpse to leak putrid blood within their cottage.

The song was a haunting melody. A flute player stood atop the table, walking to and fro, casting his baleful tune across the feasting hall. Those sitting clapped in appreciation, some even raising their chalices in salutation. Others tapped the wood beneath their plates and cups, pounding it with finger tips, a staccato of thumps.

Raphael clenched his fist tightly, the well-cut nails cutting crimson crescents into his palm. Something within him boiled, bubbled and then burst. The scarred woman spun past once again, flashing a wicked grin. She twirled her hand, attempting to entice Raphael. He shook his head in shame. Such a hag trying to bed him? Ha! Ridiculous.

The thrall of Lady Aliana was not weak of mind. He would not bend to the whim of a nameless, worthless whore. Even more so, a disfigured one. If he chose someone such as her, he feared the repercussions of his Lady. It would not go to have someone such as her, it was not right. She was destined to die, another nameless servant in the service of the hallowed von Carsteins. He would rather split his own throat with a shard of glass than bed her.

Anger coursed through his every muscle, vein and nerve. The tune continued to blare, the sound now a shrill roaring. A horrible, damned sound it was. There was a gnawing at his soul, plying it apart and slowly devouring each unsatisfactory morsel. He turned away from the jubilant hall, looking back into the darkness that he had crept from. It beckoned him with shadowy fingers, each rippling in the luminous torchlight. He stood there for a short passing of time, entranced by the obsidian recess.

He cast a quick glance over his shoulder, smiling uneasily at the woman. She shared it, before continuing to dance to the terrible tune. Raphael sank back into the shadows, leaving the loudness behind. The fell hounds of Sylvania howled in the distance. Somewhere, some unfortunate soul was in the midst of being devoured. Raphael allowed a silent prayer for mercy, snorting his disgust at such a gesture.


Hours into the night, the monstrous portcullis of the castle withdrew vertically, chains clanking. Before the final quarter of the gate had even retreated into the holdings, a trio of horsemen advanced inwards, mounts snorting vaporous clouds into the dark dwellings. Men-at-arms in rich scarlet armour and skull helms advanced from the archways around the courtyard, halberds held at the ready.

The leader smiled unnervingly. He was tall and clad in silken robes, dabbed in emerald and peach. A curved dagger was the only weapon he bore, fastened to his hip with golden thread. Hair of silver was tied into a flowing topknot, the remainder of his head bald and creased with age. Both of his companions were old, clad in leather armour and bearing tall spears. One was blonde and defiant, the other bald and hawkish in appearance.

Cawing ravens had perched on the battlements above, beady crimson eyes watching the procession of figures with interested. Raphael himself had joined the birds when the alarm had spread through the keep, and now his fatigues were soaked with perspiration, his lungs burning within his chest cavity. The ravens did not move as he slipped between a pair of braces, leaning over ponderously. He struggled to find purchase and nearly fell to his death, his sweat-logged gloves slipping on the smooth surface.

When he finally wiggled himself into a safe position, he stared intently down on the heads of the assembled warriors and guests. Raphael did not know who the mysterious guests were. Perhaps they had simply stumbled on Ecliptic Castle, favoring the safety of its impregnable walls over the wilds of Sylvania? He blamed them not if that was true. Not even the most loyal of Sylvanian citizenry were safe from the wrath of the undead. If one was foolish enough to venture into the darkness, then it was his duty to die in the name of the von Carsteins.

The lightning flashed, followed several seconds later by the rumbling boom of thunder. The warhorses below neighed loudly and reared up, striking out with their frontal legs. The men-at-arms stepped back, out of reach of the muscular limbs. One was unlucky enough to receive a blow, crushing his nose and breaking his jaw and cheek bones, killing him instantly. The corpse collapsed flatly, halberd clattering away. Blood dribbled from the skull helm, pooling around the broken head in a crimson crescent.

Not one of his companions moved. The warhorses settled back down on all fours and the hawkish mercenary jumped from his saddle, spear held across his chest in a protective, double-handed grip. The tattoo of a coiled serpent rested on the nape of his neck, in the centre of which sat the numerals VI. It became apparent to Raphael that he was a veteran, it was a mark of soldiery. He was no minor mercenary, he was a trained warrior. He looked up over his shoulder and acknowledged Raphael with a grin, his eyes like chards of ice.

The thrall fell backwards. The smooth concourse of the battlements jarred his tail bone as he landed, scattering the ravens which had been nestling there in a rain of black feathers. Each caw that they delivered brought them further away, into the darkness that Sylvania offered. He turned back towards the tense situation below, happy to find that the hawkish fellow was no longer looking his way. Even on his feet, his lanky frame towered over most of the men-at-arms.

Next onto the ground came their master. Despite his aged appearance, he landed almost acrobatically. He needed no support from the hawkish mercenary, who was focused solely on the warding off of the men-at-arms. The warhorses stood still, only their heads twisting back and forth, manes flicking in the cold breeze. The blonde haired man remained mounted, his mount wheeling around to face the clanking portcullis as it sank downwards once again. He clearly looked fearful, nervously nibbling upon his lip.

‘I wish to speak with Radu von Carstein, at once.’ Demanded their leader, his voice ancient. It sounded odd as it echoed throughout the courtyard, ringing in the ears of all present. Only now did the blonde man dismount, allowing a bow-legged thrall to lead the horses away, towards the stables.

The trio allowed themselves to be surrounded by the men-at-arms. The scarlet-clad psychopaths stepped in and formed a honour guard, each of them ignoring their dead brethren beneath their feet. The hawkish fellow cast another quick glance up at Raphael, nodded at him, before they were led into the forever-darkness of Ecliptic Castle.


The great oaken doors of the throne room were slowly dragged open by a dozen serfs. Each strained under the weight, muscles burning, trains of perspiration running into their eyes. The illuminated chamber was starkly bright when compared to the remainder of the keep. Great braziers burned around the ornamental room, dripping embers onto the blue-veined marble. A regal carpet ran the centre of the room, bordered on either side by dozens of fluttering standards.

Over a hundred men-at-arms stood around the room, halberds clenched tight to their armoured chests, cloaks of ruffled fur billowing out behind them. Unlike the others in the keep, these were each gifted the allowance to wear the clawed symbol of Radu von Carstein upon their shoulder pauldrons and greaves. The Count himself was currently in the throne room, his hands cupping his cold cheeks. His raised throne was made from the blackest of rock, wrapped in golden and bronze metal rungs. Dashes of crimson, as though a painter had lost his temper with his brush, were splashed across the floor beneath him.

Horns blared deafeningly as the oaken doors slammed to a halt. Men-at-arms pranced in, trailed by a small group of men. Radu sat up immediately, a predatory smile spreading across his handsome features. Two of the three figures were armed with spears and short-swords, while the third had the appearance of an ambassador, only bringing with him a curved dagger, the pommel of which was of mammoth ivory.

As they drew nearer, the men-at-arms split off between the flanking banner poles, slipping away in pairs until only the guests remained. The younger of the two soldiers, a blonde haired man with an air of nobility around him, was visibly shaking.

‘Who dares bother me?’ Questioned Radu, his voice a rasping growl. The emerald-peach robed man stood firm as he pulled himself onto the first of the steps that led up onto the throne, his topknot swaying.

‘Radu von Carstein..’ He began, inclining his head slightly in respect ‘I, Lord Franz Ritter von Kruez, Protector of Reghorff, am the one who dares bother you.’

His accent was not native of Sylvania. It was strong, barbaric. The vowels were painstakingly elongated, twisted and renewed so that each word he spoke was little more than a mockery of those which they should have been. Ritter was a title of the Empire, meaning knight. He was a warrior, then. That was indeed good for Radu, he could relate with von Kruez through that. Had he come to attempt an assassination on the throne-dwelling beast, though?

‘Are you of the Empire, child?’ Asked Radu, arching one of his brows to emphasize his question.

‘I am, von Carstein.’ He said flatly, his vowels emanating across the throne room. It was said in an insulting manner, as though Radu had simply stated the obvious.

‘Then Reghorff truly has thrown in its lot with the Empire. I was hoping that the rumours were nothing more than that, rumours. Of course, all cannot be as simple as that, can it?’ Concluded Radu, each word a hiss, yet still von Kruez stood strong, unimpressed by the monster’s display of rage.

‘You misunderstand, Vampire. Reghorff has never left the side of the Empire. It was you, men of Sylvania, who turned their back on the Empire. Reghorff remembered its glorious origins and has now returned to them.’ Strongly retorted von Kruez, his chiseled features remaining still.

‘You amuse me, von Kruez. I could kill you in an instant if I so wished, but it does not vex you. Why do you stand before me, defiant and ignorant? What has brought you here to my court in such confidence?’ Now, he was interested. What possible answer could von Kruez give him? He was dead either way, Radu had decided that as soon as his eyes had met those of the so-called Protector of Reghorff.

‘I come here to give you an offer, dog. Leave Reghorff in peace, or I will run you through on the field of battle and mount your head upon the highest banner pole.’ His voice was stern, his accent simply helping to add the commanding tone.

Radu von Carstein leapt to his feat, drawing his Falcata and pointed it accusingly at von Kruez. Both of his hired-muscle lowered their spears so that the hooked point was aimed at Radu’s damned heart, their faces furrowed into snarls. The blonde’s weapon was trembling in his grip, the haft a blurring line, the tip appearing unthreateningly weak.

‘You dare threaten me, child?’ He roared, furious at von Kruez. The Imperial still stood, in reach of Radu’s Falcata.

‘I do. Now, are you going to use that pretty blade of yours, or is it a pretty ornament?’ He goaded, looking the Vampire in the eyes. Franz Ritter von Kruez had long since forgotten how to fear death. He had accepted that it would come, welcomed it in fact. His family were all gone, he was the last of a noble line. A rainbow in the dark, abandoned by all that he believed he could love, left to fester and rot.

The Vampire Count admired the bravery of the man. It was a genuine feeling, but still he felt malicious contempt towards von Kruez. He looked down on his opposite. He could almost hear the heartbeat of von Kruez, the throbbing of each vein and artery. His skin turned as crimson as the blood which it harboured, only the whites of his eyes contrasting against it. Radu would suckle him dry, he promised as much. The old man wanted death! He wanted Radu to rip him limb from limb!

Once again, the feral grin spread across Radu’s face. Fangs slipped from his lips, carving blood rivets along his chin. He threw back his head, relishing in the aromatic stench and the moist sensation upon his lower face. And then he darted forwards. He was a mere obsidian-clad blur, Falcata swinging madly. The blade cleaved the blonde haired man from shoulder-to-hip, spurting gore across the ground, organs spilling out in a carnal tide.

The other hired-muscle spun his spear in a whistling circle before him, the tip flashing in the fire-light. Two rapid swings from the Falcata were deflected away, stifling a snarl from the Vampire Count. The mercenary returned a blow suddenly, the tip of the spear burying itself into the chest of the Vampire. With a smile he yanked the spear free, droplets of gore striking the blue-veined marble beneath, and stabbed again.

This time, the Count’s free hand shot upwards, gripping the haft. His opponent looked on in bewilderment as the Count flicked his wrist, snapping the metal and tossing it aside uncaringly. Falcata held in a reverse grip, the Count ended the pitiful life of the man. Rendered in two at the tip of the chest bone, his opponent simply stood there for several moments, glazed eyes staring on at his murderer. Fleshy threads tore and blood cascaded as both parts came away from one another, wetly clapping against the marble.

Von Kruez smiled enthusiastically, silken robes blowing in the wind around him. Radu, blade dripping strands of gore, chest rising and deflating rapidly, tilted his head in wonder. The Imperial envoy drew his dagger, bringing it along the centre of his chest, cutting left and right. Blood spurted from the terrible wound, soaking his robes through and through. His face twitched in pain, the corners of his mouth curling upwards, his lips flipping.

‘You see, von Carstein, I do not fear pain or death.’ He grunted through bared teeth, pulling his dagger from his flesh with a slurp.

‘That is good, von Kruez. But how else will I take pleasure in your quartering and hanging?’ He hissed, bloody bubbles growing around his mouth, his lank hair slick with crimson.

‘So confident, von Carstein. You will not be the first of your kind which I have slain, nor will you be the last.’ Factually returned von Kruez, the muscles of his face still twitching uncontrollably.

And that was it. The pair threw themselves at each other, dagger meeting Falcata in a series of loud clangs. Sparks erupted in great showers as the hell-metal of the Falcata cried out in unholy agony, meeting against the blessed silver of von Kruez’ dagger. Surprisingly, the old man matched every blow from Radu. His free hand held behind his back, as though he was strolling, he parried each strike and cleave that came at him.

He ducked behind a banner pole, spinning around it in his acrobatic fashion, and laid a kick in the ribs of the von Carstein. The audible crunch was good for von Kruez, and he allowed a tense smile to spread across his spasmodic face. Using the banner pole was a purchase, von Kruez threw both legs up into the air, again striking the Vampire Count in the side. His quarry stumbled away, knocking over several adjacent poles, sending them clattering onto the ground. Radu followed them, snapping poles beneath his weight, growling and twisting on the floor.

Still the fight continued. Radu thrust his blade upwards from the floor, nipping von Kruez’ leg. He yanked back, again lacerating his flesh, this time just below the other. He winced and back flipped away, landing clumsily. The von Carstein laughed triumphantly, arching his back and kicking his legs out. He landed on his feet in a low crouch, Falcata held before him, protecting his face. The Imperial was not visibly struggling, however Radu knew that he could not compete with his advanced metabolism for much longer.

‘You are done for, von Kruez! Surrender and your death shall be quick.’ He offered, pulling himself to his immense height, the white nubs of his cracked ribs pushing painfully against hi skin, stretching it.

‘I will do no such thing!’ He decided, throwing himself forwards once again.

Radu von Carstein smiled. The Imperial landed on his curved blade, pushing deep, ripping flesh aside.

Leaning in close, Radu muttered three words.

‘Scream for me.’

3 Posts
incarnadine - Great word

"Aliana allowed the beast within to grow strong. Her brow liquidized and hardened into a tough, plate-like surface of pallid flesh. The muscles around her jaw distended, growing impossibly strong." You use the word strong twice here. You have really good diction, I would suggest another alternative for one of them. Just a suggestion.

"A general, ushered agreement sounded from each of the other eight figures. Ansgar cast a sidelong glance at Aliana, his eyes flashing with surprise. Seeking guidance from his longed for beloved."

Seeking guidance from his longed for beloved ? I am not following this sentence, perhaps I am reading it wrong.

"He forced a smile, trying not ti twist his lips in disgust."
Mistype - to*

I really enjoy the scene with Raphael in the feasting hall with his brethren Sylvanians.
It has a very real life feel to it.

"Using the banner pole was a purchase, von Kruez threw both legs up into the air, again striking the Vampire Count in the side." as a purchase?

The fight between von Kruez and Radu is awesome. Also, I liked the background info you give the reader on von Kruez. Nice work man, the story is catchy. I want more information on Reghorff.

85 Posts
Wow, I have to say your writing has come on in leaps and bounds dark! This is really excellent.

Im not gonna give you too much grammar crit as it distracts from what you really wanna hear which is how the story reads and wether the plot and characters are good.

Little note though about your writing, watch your rhythm. Your sentences can be a little stop starty sometimes but this can be fixed by Reading over what you've wrote and replacing words and adding commas.

Watch out for using certain words that you don't normally use too, words like curvature should be used in the singular only.

Now for the good stuff.

Plotwise.... This is really enthralling, nice to see a warhammer von carstein piece that doesn't read like a 2D horror story!

Your characters are nice and diverse with Raphael offering an excellent human perspective.

Keep up the good work man, this is definitely on my Reading list!
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