The Long Game

Indomitable Hope and Broken Souls

The sun, his beloved, forbidden sun, was just setting beyond the grand curtained windows and the last of its dying light caressed the wispy draperies with soft hues of pink and purple and red. But something even more exquisite drew his attentions away from that melting orb which he could not yet embrace.

He had just disclosed the revelations of the astonishing exchange that had transpired between him and the genius man Joseph Kowalski. Expressing bewilderment and doubt for the possible reality of these new developments had only beget the fire now before him.

Mina Murray, in all her beauty and abiding faith, standing straight and tall in the absolute conviction of the words that poured forth from her. And Alexander, the powerful four hundred year old Prince of Darkness, stood amenably before her almost as a pupil to a teacher. Or a monk to his holy relic.

And his queen held her court.

To him.

"You have done evil, wicked things," she acknowledged calmly. "No one can refute that. There are most likely evil things you have done that you have not told me."

He opened his mouth. Mina held up a hand to stop him from speaking and he did.

"No, I do not wish for you to lie or deny. Nor do I wish for you to tell me now."

Alexander closed his mouth in wonder at her. Mina continued talking.

"But do you think that if you had not done some good, if you had not inspired something admirable, that if you were completely evil and wicked with no redeemable virtues at all, that these things would be happening?"

He stood in silent witness in the presence of her impassioned words. As a righteous angel, she preached her message of hope and deliverance to him. This damned creature of the night. This vampire.

"Your desire for sunlight has been destroyed - yet Renfield and I have been working behind your back to exhume that dream, that prospect."

She smiled as his face revealed his shock and bewilderment before he regained his composure.

"We work to help you throw off this curse and live as a man, because you have the heart and mind and soul of one."

He opened his mouth once more and she stopped him once more.

"Your Resonator and it light it creates has been destroyed by your enemies. Yet this man Kowalski with all his knowledge and drive and passion has survived and resurfaced with an improved design for continuing this extraordinary work."

She reached out her hand to stroke his face gently.

"This invention of yours and Kowalski's. It brings hope and, literally, light to so many of those in darkness. Whatever your other motivations were for the Resonator, the light itself is a gift to all those in darkness. And to you."

She dropped her hand from his dear face and placed both hands haughtily on her hips, smiling.

"Do you really believe all these elements could or would come together so perfectly if you were a completely evil, wicked, dastardly creature without hope for absolution?"

He knew who he was, what he was, what he had done. And he could not bear to lie to her. Not her.

"Perhaps," he quietly said without guile or pretext.

She tilted her head and arched an eyebrow at him in controlled vexation.

"Well, then, you are wrong. And I am going to prove that to you."

Almost against his dark will, a smile of admiration and wonder at her indomitable character whispered across his face.

Her words were beautiful, full of light and forgiveness and hope. He wanted to believe in them so badly.

But he was not quite sure he could.

Not just yet.

But oh, how he wanted to.


Abraham van Helsing was not insane or mad. Well, not entirely.

He was simply a man with a mission. And that mission had not changed in all the years since his fiery rebirth.

Destroy the Order of the Dragon.

He had betrayed them, Browning and his men. And true to the strict laws of their order, they had punished him.

Him. Their most diligent vampire hunter.

He had gone astray from their instructions and they had destroyed everything. His life, his lovely wife, his precious children.

Not just destroyed. Annihilated. Obliterated. Incinerated.

And they had made him watch. Hear. Smell. Perhaps even taste their ashes upon his tongue as the embers drifted down upon him in that black night.

And that must never be forgotten or forgiven.

He had heard tell of the creature Dracula. He had studied the legend when his rank still afforded him access to the dusty, hidden archives deep within the lair of the Order of the Dragon.

And he had believed. With chills and disquiet, he had studied the tale, the process of that transformation from human man into that damned creature. Of course, he had shared this information with no one.

Though he had referenced the location in his medical notes years later. Those notes he had burned away to ash.

And when he had picked himself up from the murder of his family, terrible, unspeakable thoughts had begun to form in the back of his mind. Like slithering, crawling eels forming a mound of repulsive, unimaginable coils of deception and evil.

If he could find and exhume this monster, then he could use it to wreck vengeance upon the Order of the Dragon. The only question was one of control. How to control an unstoppable force?

Love.

And he had. He had searched far and wide, until he had discovered him in Romania. Sacrificed his travelling companions. Revived the creature Dracula.

And offered him vengeance. Lured him with the taste of sunlight.

Too bad it had all gone wrong.

And now, van Helsing returned to his roots.

The destruction of all vampires.

Especially that one who had failed him so completely.

Vlad the third, warrior prince of Wallachia, second son of the house of Basarab of Romania. Who had once served on the high council of the Order of the Dragon.

Vlad Tepis, who like van Helsing himself, had dared to defy the Order. And in return was punished in the most extreme manner possible. Found guilty of heresy, excommunicated by the church.

By dark, occult rituals transformed into the Fell One, Nosferatu, Primo Master Vampire. The first of his kind.

He could almost feel sorry for this being who paraded himself about as Alexander Grayson.

But in this dark world, there was no room left in van Helsing's broken soul for anything but hate. And retribution.

Abraham closed his eyes as he lay upon his cot.

And dreamt of fire, tears, and screams.

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