Chapter 1: Ressurection…at a Price
I slowly rode my way into the hamlet of Ziegsturhl. The only thought that crossed my mind was how pathetic this excuse for a settlement was. A few small buildings, the largest of which was a pub, hardly constituted as anything. If it were not for my dire situation, I would have never even thought about entering such a place.
I tethered my horse to a tree near the entrance of the hamlet and entered the pub. Like the rest of this god-forsaken settlement, it was nearly empty. The few patrons did not even lay an eye upon me; they were too busy with the ladies of the night. I took a seat by the bar.
“The tavern is closing!” shouted the bartender. “Go back to your homes, men!” Everyone else left, except for me.
“What?” I shouted. “No mug of ale for a weary traveller? I could reward you greatly, for I am from Coorhagen and am of noble blood.”
“I stay open for no man in these dark times,” replied the bartender. “Things come with the night that no sane man would welcome.”
I sighed, then left, cold of heart and stone, into the long, bitter night.
As I made my way out of the tavern, I felt that something was wrong. I turned towards my horse, only to find it brutally mutilated. Large carts were turned over, blocking the only exits out of the hamlet. Then I heard someone shout, “There he is! Get him!”
I turned, and saw lowly brigands rushing out from all sides. They were lowly brigands, not worthy of being struck by my blade, but I had no choice. I drew my sword and shouted my battle cry, “Vae Victus!”
One of the brigands charged at me, only to fall when my sword went straight through his chest. I then sliced open two others in one stroke, then stabbed another from behind. And yet, the brigands still threw themselves at me. They were pathetic, unwilling to realize how outmatched they were. I raised my sword to strike the last few of my attackers down.
Then I felt something strike my back, followed by a sharp stabbing pain. I fell to the ground as the last of my attackers backed away. I could hear one shout, “Finish it!”
Then I felt something stab straight through my body. Pain washed all over me, then I felt nothing as darkness consumed me.
I found myself chained to two pillars. Around me was fire and molten rock. I looked down, and saw an iron sword stuck through my body. It was no doubt the same weapon that had struck me down.
I looked across the endless horizon. Vae Victus…“suffering to the conquered.” How ironic, I thought. Now I was the one that was suffering. It was nothing simple like physical pain; rather, it was a cruel jab of impotent anger, the hunger for revenge. I didn’t care if I was in Heaven or Hell; all I wanted was to kill my assassins.
“Imagine this,” said a haunty voice from behind. “Kain, nobleman of Coorhagen, trapped in the eternal abyss. How pathetic.”
“Who dares to speak of me like that?” I shouted. “I was overpowered by an entire army of assassins!”
“Oh, really?” said the voice. “Then explain this.” I felt the sword being pulled out from behind. It wasn’t a feeling of pain, though; it was only a tingling sensation.
Finally, my mysterious speaker appeared in front of me. He was a tall, bony man with a black robe and clothing that seemed to be made out of human bone. He freed me from my chains, then said, “I will give you what you wish: revenge on those that murdered you.”
“How could you offer me such a thing?” I said.
“Patience, Kain,” he said. “I am Mortanius the Necromancer. I can return you from the grave, at a price.”
“I care not for what the price is!” I shouted. “I seek nothing but revenge! I will destroy my murderers!”
“Of course you will!” said Mortanius. “Now, we shall begin…” I then felt pain for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. I felt my body quiver and shake with newfound power. My hair began to turn a disturbing shade of white, while my teeth began to transform into fangs. Mortanius handed me the sword my attackers had used, and before I could help myself, I licked the blood caked onto it.
“What is this?” I shouted.
“I have returned you from the grave,” said Mortanius. “Now, pass through the flames, and you will return to the land of the living.” I rose to my feet and staggered through fire and magma, finding that it did not damage me as I wore my new armor.
The necromancer laughed behind me. “You will have the blood you hunger for.”
I found myself in a cold, stone coffin. Normally, it would take a great deal of strength to lift such the lid of such a thing, but I was able to throw it clean off with one nudge. I climbed out of the grave, finding that someone had recently opened it. I never doubted for a second that the necromancer had a hand in this development.
I looked at my pale body, examining the many changes I had endured. The necromancer was right; I had been restored at a price. In my foolishness, I had not realized what this price was. I had awakened to the pain of a new existance…as a vampire.
(to be continued)