Chapter one: Whispers of old‘And in other news, the charred bodies of three men were pulled Friday from a car that had been in Farport Harbor for hours after it plunged off a pier and landed on its roof, police said. Part of the burned out Hyundai Accent was sticking out of about 4 feet of water when it was discovered around 6:30 a.m. at the Farport Shipyard, a privately owned mara-‘
The woman switched off the radio whilst staring at her husband, giving him her famous ‘not around the kids’ look. The man merely sighed as he grabbed his little daughter and placed her on his lap, letting her have a better view from the train’s window. The girl pressed both her hands against the glass while her mouth was slightly ajar. Slowly but surely the country side was changing from its cold northern climate to greener pastures. While affection and warmth was heavy in cabin 23-a, the cabin next to it had a different aura. A tall broad male, possible six-three, give or take an inch, was hunched over. His dark hair cut short and rough matched the dark vibe he was giving off. The wounds on his fists were starting to heal, the once damaged skin now whole and of a pink colour. He glanced to his right as he stared at his own reflection, the bright grey eyes so similar to that of a full moon.
---- “Are these accurate?”
A deep controlled voice called out, finally breaking the silence after what seemed hours. The man on his left nodded, his right finger tapping lightly on the old oak carved table. Around the table were nine figures, most of them wearing certain attires that matched the mood in this room; dark and dreary. It had been a long time since a full meeting had been called in place, centuries even. The counsel of nine wasn’t something of a frequent occurrence. “That makes seven thus far. Not to mention one was from lineage.”
He spoke the last word a bit harder, emphasizing the importance of it all. A woman at the end of the table nodded before she spoke, voice thick with an accent now long gone. “Speculations and repeating the facts changes nothing. All of the bodies were burned, yet autopsy showed heavy amounts of internal damage and small traces of silver fragments around the fractured areas. I think we are dealing with a hunter, a skilled one at that.”
Seconds later a heated discussion took place once more, this time lasting longer, not stopping until the eldest of them all spoke up. “Enough of this. Send out four seekers. I want this…’hunter’.. found and brought before the counsel.”
His voice was cold, very cold, the type of coldness that could only be achieved after witnessing the depravity of the world for eons. When he spoke the others listened, knowing full well that they ought to obey. A small smile crept upon his face, showing dazzling white teeth, two of them longer than normal. “Let us see how long it will take.”
The coldness in his voice could only be matched by his unyielding dominance and uncompromising nature. He had seen the very best and the very worst of humanity, even orchestrating several of them himself. Mankind did not know his name, even though his family wielded humanity like a puppet master from the shadows.
He left the room behind him, knowing full well that his plans would be performed to the letter, his direct offspring too loyal to do anything other than please their liege, their father.
He wandered the halls of his current residence, a single digit trailing a line over walls that had stood here for centuries, but were still younger than he himself was. He reached his chambers and found his personal aid there, still seated behind a desk, hands placed on an electronic device that would record his thoughts and eternalize them. It felt strange after all these years to have his autobiography written; eternalizing his life and sharing it with those that would inherit his throne when this cruel imitation of life was finally over. “Apologies for the delay, a family matter came up, we shall not be disturbed again. Now, where were we?”
Good and evil are two opposite poles that are present in an uneasy equilibrium. There is no coherent distinction between good and evil across all cultures, no clear definition that classifies the evil as being evil. Good and evil. Light and darkness. Nature needs opposites to function, to maintain a thin balance in nature. An example of this equilibrium was the epidemic that festered in the southern lands of the Elamite nation, 2135 BC, in what is now called Iran. Border skirmishes and internal strife were a constant threat, casualties on both sides heavy and numerous. In this collection of conflict and death, something horrible was born. A plague started to spread, striking out at all sides without prejudice. Thousands of people died, leaving only a shell of its former population alive. Most migrated north and seeking shelter or cleaner lands, the ones that stayed were written off, although a few managed to survive the plague for a time, each in their own way.
During the worst and in the very heart of it all a pregnant woman was found in a disease infected village. Her blackened skin and boils bore signs of some of the worst symptoms one could have from this plague, yet she was still somehow clinging to life. In her last minutes alive she birthed two children, twins. One was crying loudly, the other was completely still almost as if it was stillborn, born at the exact moment the mother died. Their father used what remaining life he had left to take them away from the doomed village and up north, he died upon reaching the city gates, two small bundles in his arms.
These children were as opposite as could be, like darkness and light. The eldest twin was brimming with life, enjoying every sensation life had to offer and filled to the brim with an energy that was almost unhealthy. He was quick with his emotions, trusted his instincts above his rationality and was overly protective of his friends. The only times the boy’s health suffered was during a full moon when he would have feverish dreams and painful headaches. The younger brother was colder, in every way. He did not enjoy life the same as his brother did. Where one would find happiness and enjoyment, the other found opportunity and knowledge. He was smarter and more slender than his brother, preferring to use his intellect to solve any childhood disputes. His skin was pale, preferring the night more and more than the scorching hot sun during the day. Although he could stand day light just fine, it gave him a nauseating feeling that something was off, as if he was growing ill. Over the years this only increased.
For years and years the brothers stayed together as brothers, although it was a thin bond. One married and started a family, three strong boys and two girls. The man was blessed with love and warmth. The other brother became a talented merchant and quickly began to amass wealth that raised his position in life. He married like his brother, although it could hardly be called love. His marriage did not bring the joy of childbirth, something he blamed his wife for. For years they lived like their neighbours, like men, both finding a reason to exist in their own way. While other men quickly began to show signs of aging, the two brothers did not. The one who embraced light only aged slowly, at his sixtieth year he could have passed for a man in his late twenty. The brother who embraced darkness showed even less signs of aging. At first it was hailed as a gift of god, yet overtime people became suspicious, claiming that something unnatural was at work here.
It all finally ended in a great cleansing fire during a full moon. A mob had gathered to force these two families out, fearing that the evil was at work here. At first it was just shouting and weaving a torch or pitchfork angrily, yet it quickly escalated. The older brother gave into rage when the mob stabbed one of his grandchildren. He and his offspring roared out in anger and attacked the mob with such ferocity it literally paved the street in blood. Limbs were torn off and skulls shattered as if made from glass. During this time of madness most of his family managed to flee the city and spread out in every direction.
The younger brother solved things on a different way. During his years in this life he had amassed a great deal of wealth and employed a few people. He had bought caravans and personnel to trade for him and to manage his company during the day. Over time he hired guards and mercenaries to protect his caravans. So when the rioters came for him, he retaliated with his own personal army, him at head of it. He had never fought in his life before, always using rationality to do his work for him. Yet, when he took his first life with his sword and felt the blood splatter on his face and tongue, he felt more alive than ever. He carved a bloody path through the streets to his older brother, hoping he could reach him in time.
The two families joined up and destroyed the city entirely. The younger brother began to move faster and faster the more blood he drew, eventually even clawing and biting at people when his sword was stuck inside someone. The elder brother and his sons were like feral beasts, throwing people farther than was possible and even tearing doors clean off walls. When morning dawned half the population of the city was dead, corpses littering the streets. The elder brother and his sons and daughters that had stayed with him were heavily injured and most of them unconscious. The younger brother displayed almost no injury, the deep cuts and dark bruises now only appearing as minor scratches and marked skin.
What happened after this terribly night is only speculation. Some claim that the younger brother fully embraced darkness and found a way to infect those close to him as well while the older brother and his blood kin were now cursed to suffer the same rage every full moon. Others claim that from that night on they had become monsters, although stories now refer to them as vampires and werewolves. The only thing that is reported as truth is that days later the younger brother killed the older with his bare hands and teeth in some mad rage. The still injured sons and daughter of his older brother were quickly imprisoned and guarded at all times. And nine months later the younger brother and his wife were blessed with a child, as if the act of taking light had granted him life in return.
He raised an eyebrow when he stopped hearing the tapping of fingers on the keyboard. “Yes, child.” He said, knowing full well that his aid would have trouble concentrating on the task at hand. He already knew what would be asked of him. The aid, like most of his kind that served here, were lesser vampires. They made up the bulk of the vampiric population, yet lacked the abilities a pureblood would have, nor possess their perfect healing.
Stories about purebloods and their origins were alien to many of them, shocking when revealed, almost as if you just said something on a biblical scale. The aid wanted to learn more about the families, if the rumors were true that the ‘blood slaves’ the purebloods kept were the descendants of these once mighty werewolves. Was it true that only by drinking their blood did the purebloods and lesser vampires have a surge of life within them that allowed them to procreate? Was it true that the werewolves of old had a strength much stronger than the average human and that an alpha could go toe to toe with a pureblood?
The ancient man grinned, amused at the fact that his aid, a person that had been walking this earth for over a hundred years was still so oblivious to events that had transpired eons ago. Yes, the vampires kept many slaves around to either serve them or act as donors of blood. A few of them were the direct offspring of the once mighty werewolves and were kept under tight guard at all times. These descendants had grown weak and ill over the course of generations, the demand for their blood forced the vampire overlords to inbreed them to keep up with demands, finally nearly extinguishing their bloodline; the only temporary cure the vampires had to make new pureblood offspring.
A part of him wondered if there were some fragments of these mighty wolves still out there in the wild, unpolluted by inbreeding and captivity. Even centuries later he could occasionally still feel the throbbing pain in his right shoulder when he had fought his brother; an alpha. Could there still be others like him out there? His mind briefly mused over the possibility of this new ‘hunter’ being a descendant of these wolves, yet it was unlikely. There had not been a wolf sighting for over a thousand years.