From humans to vampires
Rouen’s slums, 1584.
Raphael had difficulties walking with this gunshot wound. One of the guards had shot him in the leg with his musket. Raphael managed to lose them again but he knew they were closing in on him because of this wound slowing him down.
Wretched musket! This kind of weapon is so treacherous! Not like the noble weapon that is a rapier! thought Raphael.
As he was trying to flee from his pursuers, his legs gave way and he fell in a small alley. Thought his face didn’t show it, Raphael panicked; he could hear the guards approaching. He would be captured and tried like a criminal! How dishonouring!
He rose on his feet and began to walk again when he saw a little girl standing in front of him. He didn’t know from where she came, there was only junk and such in this alley.
-Monsieur! Hide there!
She showed him a place behind a wooden wall.
Raphael didn’t have time to hesitate, the guards were closing in, he could hear their shouting. So he did as the little girl told him and hid behind the wall. When the guards arrived, Raphael tried not to breathe or make any sound. He didn’t trust the safety of his hiding place or the reliability of the little girl, but then again, he didn’t have much choice. So he tried not to move and listened. The guards questioned the little girl:
-Hey! Wretched beggar! Did you see someone going around here? An aristocrat? Answer me at once if you do not want to receive a beating!
The man seemed already ready to hit her since he lifted his hand as he spoke but the little girl calmly replied:
-I did see one, a blond one. He went that way.
From his hiding place, Raphael could see the little girl showing a completely other direction. The guards believed her and began to run in that direction.
The child came back toward Raphael while keeping her calm demeanor. But Raphael was in shock of the deed she did for him. Why did she do that? If they find out she hid him and lied to them, they will beat her probably much more than if she hadn’t answered... To be honest, he thought she would have sold him or something... Maybe she expected a reward from him? But he wasn’t the one who seemed the most profitable for her... A wounded wanted criminal... Maybe she really did it out of kindness, seeing how he needed help? He got out of the hiding place and told her on a grateful tone:
-You… you saved my life! Merci! I…
-Don’t go out now! They are still near! Duck under this pile of wood! It’s my home, they won’t find you!
Raphael couldn’t believe the thing he took for trash was this little girl’s home. But he did as she said and though it pained him to kneel, he did it and entered the thing she called a home as fast as he could. She then entered too. The place was built for a child and even sitting, Raphael had to bow to fit. He was occupying half of the ‘house’ to himself.
-So… this… is your home? …Where are your parents?
-They are dead. The plague…
She didn’t seem to want to talk about it. As she spoke, she lowered her eyes that were getting wet. Their death seemed quite recent...
-Oh! …I am deeply sorry for questioning you about it. It was most rude from my part. Hum…
Raphael was embarrassed and shut up. The little girl didn’t say a thing and kept her head bowed.
After a while, Raphael continued:
-I am still rude by not telling you my name. It would be appropriate that I present myself to the one who saved my life. I am Raphael Sorel, son of the count of Sorel.
Raphael tried to bow more than he already was to gallantly salute her.
-May I know your name, jeune demoiselle?
The little girl looked at him with surprise in her eyes. Never had someone been so polite toward her. It was pleasing to the point it was embarrassing. She blushed.
She waited to see the reaction of the man. Her name wasn’t exactly French. Her father was a protestant Englishman and had married a catholic Frenchwoman who converted for his love. In this time of religious warfare, she wasn’t always welcomed in the region even if she was born in Rouen. The guards often mistreated her for this reason. Seeing the man didn’t seem to be bothered by her name, she continued.
-… Your wounds… I don’t know how to treat them… She said clumsily, not knowing what to say.
-Oh, this is not a problem, Amy.
Raphael tried to sound cordial by calling her by her name while smiling.
-I know how to take care of it. I studied medicine under the queen’s personal doctor.
As he spoke, Raphael was already making himself bandages for his wounds by ripping his vest.
-I only needed some free time to take care of my wounds. I never had any today!
Amy was looking at him and listened without a word. She seemed shy.
Suddenly, they heard footsteps coming toward the house. Raphael instinctively put his left hand on the hilt of his rapier and kept alert while Amy looked toward where the sound was coming with apprehension in her eyes. Both tried not to make a sound and waited silently. After a while, the footsteps had gone farther away and disappeared. They both let go a sigh of relief.
-I shall have to move out of this town soon, otherwise they will find me, whispered Raphael.
He suddenly added:
-But… you… you say you live here, without your parents, alone? Don’t you have any other family?
-No sibling, no uncle, no aunt, no grand-parent to take care of you? No cousin? Here or somewhere else?
Raphael looked at her sadly. He felt sorry for her. Her life conditions were terrible!
He then felt he had to do something: She saved his life, nobody ever did that. His own family now hunted him down to put him on trial and condemn him for an injustice. And she, a poor little orphan girl saved him from certain death while she lived in atrocious conditions, even putting herself more in danger for him. He had to do something! A fatherly instinct came in him and he decided to help and protect this little girl.
-Amy, I have a proposition: Would you… would you want to leave the town with me? I have some money left; I would rent a mansion somewhere and live under a false identity. I already have an idea how to do it. I would like to take you with me. Your help have been like a sunray in my life today. Those last days, you were the only one nice to me…
Amy was struck at the proposition. She was living, mostly surviving, in this city, often not eating like she should, then this man came and wanted to take her with him to live in a mansion! It was so sudden! Sudden and strange. She was suspicious of his intentions. She had heard many horror stories of killers who preyed on little children, like that Gilles De Rais, who killed about a hundred children or something... Stories that her mother was telling her so that she would beware of any strangers. But maybe he only wanted to hire her as his servant... which would be good...
-Hum… Monsieur Sorel… What do you want exactly of me?
-I want you to come with me! You saved my life! I would feel mostly ingrate to leave you here in this…home of yours, while I go live in a mansion! You do not have any family anymore, I lost mine too. They are not dead but they are among the ones chasing me now, they even are the instigators of this manhunt and will gladly put me to death if they catch me. I do not consider them my family anymore! So we both have no family at all! We could be a family together! Would you permit me to consider you as my daughter? As a gift of gratitude?
Amy didn’t know what to say. His daughter? She thought this man was crazy. Why would he take her? Yeah, he owes her his life, kind of… but she only hid him from the guards because she hates them and anything that would annoy them is good. The guard who addressed her had beaten her a week ago and he didn’t even seem to remember her... Yet she remembered him... and really didn’t want to help him. But … she didn’t think it would go that far! …That man… wanted to be her father!
She suddenly had memories of her family. Her father died two years ago. He had contracted the plague and died. Her mother had so much misery trying to feed her children after that… Then her little sister died from the plague too and her mother fell sick as well. She never could recover, too sick to work, she became a beggar. And the guards… they were so mean to her maman! They often came and began beating her for nothing! When Amy tried to protect her mother, she got beaten too. Both she and her mother were often beaten and insulted by the guards for the protestant beggars they were, even if they weren’t practising this religion anymore. In fact, her mother returned to her previous beliefs after her husband’s death. But nobody wanted to help them. They shunned them and chased them. Her mother was almost always crying... And one day, some months ago, when she woke up in the alley they slept in, her mother was dead, beside her, still holding her in her arms. Amy had to wrestle to disengage herself from her mother’s embrace and the rigor mortis before she did as her mother told her to do in case she died and took the few money her mother had hidden on her clothes before she went to tell the priest of the mother’s passing. The grave digger threw her mother in the communal grave as were her father and little sister before her. And Amy was alone.
Those where memories Amy wanted to forget. As she remembered this, her eyes became teary again.
This man wanted to take her somewhere else and give her a better life. Why would she refuse? Could it really be worse?
-But… why does your family wants to kill you?
Amy already regretted asking that. She feared his reaction. Raphael seemed a little annoyed but answered calmly.
-Because… I killed a noble. Four days ago. Monsieur de Savoie, an aristocrat who was very supportive of our family and very influent with the king. Now that he is dead, they lost his support, so, of course, it is more important than me or the real facts about what happened!
Raphael was getting angry and scornful.
-This man suddenly became crazy, even possessed, and tried to kill me! I had to defend myself! So I killed him out of self defence. It was an accident! But my father never wanted to hear my explanations, he didn’t believe me! He disowned me, condemned me and sent the authorities after me! I tried to gain some support from my mother, but she rejected me too! My siblings where also on my father’s side! Everybody was! After all I did for them, no one would believe me or even want to hear my side of the story! When the guards came to arrest me, I had to defend myself again, I killed them too. But I had to flee when more came. I fled ever since…
Amy listened to him and said nothing. Raphael then finished his story.
-I am now an outcast. A fugitive. A criminal… Until my name is cleared. So this is what really happened. If you come with me, I fell you had to know. So, have you decided?
-Euh… I will come with you…
-You won’t regret it. I shall honour my debt to you! I shall protect you and will teach you everything I know! By the way, how old are you, Amy?
-Seven years old…
-Do you know how to read?
-We shall begin by that! When I get my mansion, I plan to have a great library. I had one at home. Books, knowledge, it is of outmost importance in life, and you will become a true sophisticated lady with all the knowledge I will teach you! You shall also learn arts, drawing, painting, dancing… That, I will teach you myself, I am a truly accomplished dancer, if I say so myself… It comes from my mother’ Spanish side. She never forgot her country and brought her servants with her when she married… I loved to see her Spanish personnel dancing some of their country dances when there was a celebration…!
His eyes were glowing with passion as he was remembering those happy times. He then came back to his first subject.
-I will also teach you languages, English… You know English? Spanish, German, Latin, Romanian, Italian… I know almost every language there is in Europe! I even learned a bit of Chinese! But for some other subject, I shall have to hire you a teacher… Sadly, I do not know how to play music…
As he was enumerating all that she could learn, Amy was still looking at him in disbelief. She then interrupted him:
-Will you… give me food?
It was a stupid question but she was so hungry she could only think about that. Raphael looked at her with surprise and concern, then asked:
-Are you hungry now?
The little girl nodded without a word.
-Then we leave this place at once! The guards must be far now, I will buy you something that will satiate you! No daughter of mine shall suffer from hunger!
They carefully went outside and tried not to get caught while getting out of the city. Amy was acting as Raphael’s scout, looking before to see if there were any guards, then signalling if he could follow her.
When they were out of the town, Raphael told Amy he knew an inn where they could probably hide. The innkeeper was mostly greedy and Raphael felt he could probably buy him into hiding them for a night. He and Amy would go there.
At the inn, Raphael bought the very best meal he could to satisfy Amy’s stomach. The little girl never saw that much food in a plate in all her life. She ate as much as she could while Raphael looked at her, happy to see her pleased and satisfied to pay back his debt.
That night, as Amy was asleep, Raphael was sitting on his bed and he wondered: Why have I offered to be her father? Why did I took her under my wing? Wouldn’t it be better for me if I left her here and continued fleeing the authorities alone? She is now a burden for me… I could have given her some coins to thank her for her gesture and go away… Despite what I said, I don’t even know where to go now… I don’t have as much a place to live as she has… Isn’t taking her with me a little futile? We’ll both be on the streets...
Raphael glanced back at Amy, sleeping quietly. His gaze softened at the sight of her. She seemed so little… so cute… He remembered his first sight of her: This little girl, in front of her so-called house… She seemed so fragile, so small… How could he abandon her? They may both have no place to live but he would protect her! And he would find a place for her to stay! They will reside in a house soon! After feeling betrayed and worthless, being thrown away by his family like some useless garbage, he now felt he had a reason to live! It was to make Amy happy! This poor little girl who seemed so sad… and who did so much for him...
He whispered to himself:
-Yes… I dedicate my life to you… my daughter…
Being a father was so much more rewarding than he thought before! He felt he had a goal now. He never got married because in his eyes, no lady was good enough for him. He rejected all marriage proposals his family had for him. He was too busy with his studies to think about starting a family now. After all, he had time; he was only twenty-five years old. He completely dedicated himself to the art of medicine and his first two loves: fencing and dancing. When he had some time left, he played to the Jeu de paume, a sport he loved deeply. He didn’t have time to find love, or simply a wife. The best a woman could have from him was a dance with her. He knew he was sought after by the ladies but maybe he was a little too solitary to be a family man. In fact, he had a reputation of being cold and distant among all who knew him. He thought he was cold and distant himself. But that was until he met Amy. His heart melted…
In the morning, Amy woke up as Raphael was entering in the room with a plate of food.
-Did you sleep well? He asked, smiling.
-… Yes. Merci…
-I brought you your breakfast. You shall have to eat fast because we will leave this place as soon as we can. I bought a horse and some blankets and food supplies from the innkeeper. We will travel south. I know someone who lives in Toulouse that could help us and give us shelter.
Amy still listened to him and didn’t speak. She was still not accustomed to the fact that she was not alone anymore. She even was still surprised to have woke up in a bed. And it seems he wasn’t a killer… She woke up… thought Amy. That was good. She ate her breakfast without a word.
They went outside after the meal. As Raphael was preparing the horse, Amy asked him:
-… Are you sure you want to bring me?
Raphael stopped and looked Amy in the eyes. Amy then noticed he had beautiful deep blue eyes.
-Yes. I owe you my life.
-… I just showed you a hiding place and showed the guards some other direction. Not like if I came and beat them for you.
-The intention was the same: You wanted to save my life. You endangered yourself for me. No one ever did such a thing for me before.
Amy knew it wasn’t her real intention but she kept quiet for a while before she continued.
-… But… won’t you regret having me with you?
-Not at all. To be honest, I thought about it last night and I realized your presence was very important to me. It is more than mere gratitude, you give a meaning to my life.
Amy still had difficulties understanding why Raphael wanted to look out after her so much but she had to confess, she liked having someone to take care of her.
She then looked at the horse, he was big! She wondered if she would be able to mount it or if she would fall.
-Are you ready to go? Asked Raphael.
-Then, hold on tight!
Raphael grabbed her and put her on the horse before he swiftly mounted too. He put his right arm around her to keep her from falling and the horse began to gallop. Amy was excited, it was the first time she was on a horse and she was going to ride all across the kingdom! What an adventure!
They galloped for many days, taking some breaks and sleeping under the stars since the temperature was warm. In a village, Raphael bought some pretty dresses for Amy since her clothes were all rags. Amy loved the dresses and felt like a lady with them. She was beginning to smile and to feel at ease with Raphael. Raphael then told her:
-Amy, now that you are a lady, you must learn etiquette. I will teach you how you must salute when you see people. Watch quietly and learn.
Raphael bowed to her.
-This is a gentleman salute. Not what you will do.
Then why do you show me? Thought Amy but she said nothing.
He then did a curtsy like if he was a lady, grabbing an imaginary dress and saluting gracefully.
-This is a lady salute. Try it.
Amy tried but saluted awkwardly.
-Non, you must do it more gracefully, like a river flowing, like a flower opening, like a gentle breeze. You know, like that.
Raphael made another curtsy and then Amy tried again.
-That is better! You are a fast learner! You have talent!
-Remember that whatever you do, you must do it with grace. Grace is of outmost importance in any aspect of your life.
Even if he pretended to Amy that everything was under control, Raphael sometimes wondered how he would do to offer her a house and take care of her properly. He was running out of money. He hoped his plans to go see a certain friend of his would be successful. He hoped he could thrust him. This friend was in a rivalry with the man Raphael killed, so maybe he would be more comprehensive. At least, in the south, there may be fewer confrontations between the religious factions, he thought. They did not need to be involved in those stupidities. Amy needed to escape this negative climate.
When they arrived in Toulouse, Raphael rented a room and told Amy:
-Amy, I want you to stay here. I have to go see someone. I shall be back. Do not worry.
He came back some hours later.
-Soon Amy, we will have a house to live in!
He seemed satisfied and began to stretch out on his bed.
-We just have to wait a little longer. The bargaining has begun and I won’t stop until I have what I want!
Raphael went outside every following days of the week, leaving Amy alone. He came back after long waiting hours for the little girl. One day, coming back much later than the other days, he told her triumphantly:
-We finally have a home!
Toulouse, August 1590.
It had been six years since Raphael adopted Amy and he still was amazed at his daughter’s talent. She was becoming a true accomplished lady. He was so proud! She learned all the good manners a lady should know; she was great in all intellectual or artistic disciplines… She even began to show signs of being a great fencer. And she was left-handed like him. He could proudly say it came from her father.
Raphael felt he had to teach her fencing even if she was a girl, because he wanted her to be accomplished in everything and he never knew who would threaten them. His relatives or the authorities hadn’t found them yet, but who knows if they would one day? He always felt they were a threat to him and by that, to Amy as well. He lived under a false identity, pretending he was a widower living with his only daughter, not telling anyone Amy was adopted, but if his cover had to be broken and he was to get caught, he would without a doubt be executed. He never told Amy, but the mansion wasn’t exactly bought by honest means… Along the way, something went wrong with the friend and he had to change his plans… and get rid of the friend... Another crime on his hands... If anyone found the truth, capital punishment truly awaited Raphael.
But even with this Damocles sword over his head and the fact that he knew other languages and Amy was learning some, he wanted to stay in France: In his opinion, it was the best place to raise his daughter properly. Beside Amy had some difficulties learning and speaking languages.
But Amy’s biggest problem came from her relation with others: She always seemed to restrain herself from socializing. She was very shy and introvert. She mostly just spoke to Raphael and barely to the other teachers or the servants. Since she did not interact with anyone else, Raphael was her teacher for almost every subject.
Also, at her age, it would be time for her to make her Society debut. She was now thirteen years old. But she clearly would not fit in there with all those condescending aristocrats trying to notice each other’s slightest mistake. If she didn’t want to talk to people right now, it was okay with Raphael. He wouldn’t force her to get involved with this kind of society that he himself hated and despised so much. What imported most was her happiness. He was happy if she was happy.
So they mostly both lived as recluses in the mansion, Raphael was spending most of his time in the great library where the former landlord had amassed a lot of books from everywhere including strange books about mysteries and supernatural, which Raphael had a passion for, while Amy was writing or drawing in her bedroom.
One day, Raphael found a mysterious letter in the mansion’s library. The letter seemed to explain this thing that happened six years ago, The Evil Seed, which it seemed to be called. It appeared that this event was the cause that made Monsieur de Savoie become crazy and try to kill him. It seems it affected many people around the world. The author of the letter wrote that some people turned into monsters and some became crazy. The king of Wolfkrone became crazy, some monks in a temple somewhere in the Far East all turned crazy and killed each other, some kind of lizard monsters appeared near Greece… All those events would have come from a sword, Soul Edge… An evil sentient sword that would grant its user tremendous power but that could also control them and turn them totally deranged if they didn’t have a strong enough will. Six years ago, it seemed, the sword found someone mentally weak enough to be possessed by it but physically strong enough to be chosen as a host and withstand the exertion of the possession. The Evil Seed was released when this person became slave to the sword.
Raphael thought about this stunning information and came to a conclusion: What if the nobles he hated so much were to take this sword? Power-hungry as they were, they would become crazy and kill each other for this sword… He would get rid of the nobles, mostly of his relatives… Too busy fighting among themselves to look for him, they would no longer pose a threat to him and Amy…
It didn’t take much for that despicable aristocracy to turn on each other and badmouth each other but now they would kill each other and then they would be the ones having trouble explaining why they did it... His relatives would see what it was to be seen as a murderer... They did not believe him when he told them that he only defended himself from a crazy man, well, they would see now how someone could really turn crazy and kill... Yes… He could present this sword as a gift to his father… To be forgiven for his mistake, he would tell him… His father would never guess his true intentions… His father was such an idiot!
As heir of the family, Raphael always had to do everything to assure his family’s good standing, while his father was gambling and womanizing. Raphael’s younger brother wasn’t better either. He always envied Raphael for being heir of the family but only took advantage of his older brother’s efforts and never did anything to help. They all relied on him to solidify their family’s foundation amongst the noble while they were total incompetents. And they dared to turn on him when he had this fight with Monsieur de Savoie! Sometimes Raphael wondered how they actually managed to live those last years without him. He would just like to see them in their misery and laugh at them.
He thought the quest for this cursed sword was a good plan to ensure His and Amy’s safety and a good revenge so he made preparations for a long journey to search for the relic.
Raphael then went to see Amy in her room.
-Amy, my beloved daughter, you know how I am proud of you, how I love you and want you to be happy?
-Yes, father. I love you too, replied Amy.
-Well, I have to tell you, I will go on a journey. I do not know how long it will be, but I promise I shall come back to you.
-Where are you going?
-Many places… To be honest, I will be searching something. But do not worry, I will be back. Be a good girl, behave yourself and I will be back soon.
She gazed at her father with imploring eyes and Raphael got troubled.
-Amy, I have to do it… for your sake… I will take care of something very important and put it behind us for good… Please, do not make it harder for me to leave you... If I had the choice, I would stay by your side, but I have to do it…
Amy lowered her head and said nothing as Raphael kissed her on the forehead and left. She looked by the window to see him leave on his horse and as he waved back at her, having a bad feeling, she wondered if it was the last time she would see him.
Toulouse, March 1591.
One rainy night, someone knocked at the door. A servant opened the door and found Raphael barely alive down on the porch. His horse was in the middle of the street. Some servants helped him get inside and brought him to his bed.
Amy awoke to the sound of people talking. They seemed to come and go in the house in agitation, so wondering what was that all about, she went outside her room. She still wasn’t at ease to speak to people, so she observed from a distance what was going on. By what she heard, her father had come back but was severely wounded. She ran into his bedroom where servants were going in and out.
Raphael was lying down on his bed with his eyes shut and was groaning in pain. Nobody noticed Amy who began to walk toward her father as some servants were taking out his coat and his shirt. They suddenly backed in horror as they saw the terrible wounds he had on the chest. Still deeply opened, blood and strange black pus was leaking from it and the inside of his coat was completely stained in blackened blood. A sudden stench filled the room. The servants were too disgusted or afraid to touch their master and left him moaning alone on his bed as they went outside the room to go search for a doctor.
Now left alone in the room, Amy went to her father’s side. Raphael was still groaning and his eyes were closed.
Raphael slowly opened his eye. As he looked at Amy, he smiled weakly but the smile faded fast.
-Amy… I… didn’t succeed in what I wanted to do…
-You came back, which is all that counts…
-Yes… maybe… but... I failed…
He turned his head to hide his shame. He never failed, he was not supposed to fail...
-Don’t worry about it, father… A doctor will come. He will take care of your wounds…
Later, as Raphael laid unconscious, the doctor came and examined him superficially. He did not dare touch Raphael’s suppurating wounds and then made a fast worthless diagnostic to Amy and some servants gathered around Raphael.
-Honestly, I don’t know what he has. I’ve never seen anything like that in my career. All I can say is let him rest, give him plenty of water and let nature follow its course. And open the window.
Then disturbed by the horrible stench coming from the black pus and seemingly not wanting to be there, he left. The servant all left Raphael’s bedroom and Amy stayed alone with her comatose father, feeling helpless.
Raphael woke up that night as he heard loud steps in the corridor coming toward his bedroom. They were coming fast and the allure seemed menacing. He heard the sound of metal armour clanging and clattering.
Suddenly, the door crashed and Nightmare appeared. Raphael gasped in terror. The Azure knight was coming toward him swinging his enormous sword above his head.
-I want to see your madness! I want to hear… your anguish!… You deserve nothing less than the destruction of your soul!
As Nightmare was about to smash him, Raphael woke up screaming.
He then calmed himself a bit.
-Ohh… It was all a dream… a nightmare…
The room was calm. Raphael could only hear his heart beating fast in the silence of the night.
-It seemed so… real…
He was still trembling at the dream but he could now feel the pain in his chest. He knew he was not dreaming, this pain was real, too real. In fact, his body ached from everywhere. He looked toward the door and listened for a while but soon fell back into a coma.
The following days, Raphael was often unconscious or delirious. He could start screaming in terror anytime and seemed to see things nobody could. He talked about a giant eye looking at him… about monsters moving in the room… After some time, Raphael ceased to be delirious, but except for Amy, nobody dared enter in his room anymore.
Some days later, Amy went to check out on her father as she did since he came back from his journey. Raphael was still unconscious and feverish. His wounds never seemed to heal. There was always this black ooze suppurating out of them. It wasn’t his blood but something else…
-Oh! This horrid black pus is coming again out of father’s wounds... What is that?
She tried again to wash the most of it with a cloth and it stained her hands again.
-Yeurk! I don’t know what is it, but it’s disgusting! I hope it’s not some kind of plague…
Memories of her parents dying from the plague came back to her and she didn’t want to lose her foster father to this calamity as well.
-Papa… please… stay with me…
When she finished washing her father’s wounds, she left to go wash her hands of this disgusting fluid.
Raphael woke up one late evening as Amy was attending to his wounds. He suddenly noticed something strange about her.
-Amy, what happened to you? Your eyes… they look so tired!
-I’m a little tired indeed, father.
-But… you look more than a little tired… the contour of your eyes is all reddened!
Amy went to the mirror and checked herself in. She didn’t notice this before but she seemed indeed very sick. She noticed she was also paler… She looked like a corpse…
-… Maybe… maybe I got sick…? I look like you…
She took a small mirror and showed it to Raphael. It was the first time Raphael looked at him since his return; he was appalled at his sight and even though his condition seemed more deteriorate that Amy’s with the contour of his eyes mostly blackened instead of reddened, he noticed the similarities between them and it worried him.
-Amy, I don’t want you to come near me anymore! I want you to rest!
-But, father, I have to take care of you…
-The servants will do it!
-Non, they don’t want to enter here. The smell repels them.
-… You mean… you took care of me all alone? Nobody came to attend to me?
-… They are scared to get your sickness…
Amy couldn’t refrain tears to run down her cheeks.
-… They say you will die soon…
She began to sob.
To see his daughter crying was heartbreaking for Raphael.
-Amy, please, go take some rest… Don’t mind me… I will be fine… I felt better last night…
-Snif!… Are you sure? You are not lying to me just to make me feel better?
-Non, I swear! I really felt better! Do you think I made the entire journey back here just to die now? The worst is over, I will be fine.
-I love you, papa… ! Snif… I don’t want you to die… !
-I won’t. Now go to rest. Don’t worry about anything.
Amy wiped her tears and left the bedroom to get some rest as her father told her.
Raphael suddenly felt really tired. This conversation had exhausted him: he closed his eyes and lost consciousness again.
That night, Raphael woke up with a thirst. He sensed he was less weak than he was before, but he was so thirsty! There was no water left in the carafe Amy usually left on the bedside table. In her worries for her father when she left crying, she forgot to fill it again.
Raphael called for a servant by ringing the bell beside his bed connecting to the servant quarters. A maid came after a long waiting time. Raphael was losing patience.
-… You called, Monsieur? asked the maid, politely bowing.
-Yes, an eternity ago! Raphael blamed her while getting up his bed.
The servant seemed surprised of his sudden regained strength, she was also afraid of his foul mood and didn’t move. She didn’t tell him the reason of her delay was that the staff argued about who would have to go see him. They were mostly waiting for him to die and didn’t want to enter that now macabre bedroom.
-First of all, why did you let Amy alone to take care of me? Not that I want to see your face but you never helped her, you left her alone…!
As he approached, the maid knew something really wasn’t right about her master. His flesh was so pale, his blue eyes… now strangely reddish… But she daren’t move as Raphael continued speaking.
-Amy is just a little girl and you left her alone… to do all the work… The work you should do... What am I paying you for? You should give me something in return! Yes! You should give me something in return, and I know just what! Your blood!
Led by a sudden malevolent instinct, he suddenly grabbed her and bit her neck. She didn’t have time to react; Raphael was already sucking the life out of her.
-I’m so thirsty! It’s been so many nights that I had this urge to drink but couldn’t figure out what I wanted; nothing seemed to relieve my thirst! My body needed blood! I had lost too much of mine! I need it!
Raphael finally let go of the servant, who fell down, drained of her life. His thirst now relieved, he came back to his senses and realized what just happened.
-Oh, mon Dieu! What have I done? I took her blood! I took her life! … What have I done?
Raphael could still taste the blood of his servant on his lips. It tasted so good… But he was horrified at what he did. As he washed his mouth from the blood in front of the mirror, he noticed that his canines were longer. He didn’t take any time to stare at it, he put on a dressing gown and went to his library. He now had a very good idea about the cause and the consequences of his illness and wanted to confirm that hypothesis. He searched through his books and finally found something. The result wasn’t really comforting.
-Malfestation… I have become a vampire…
He had contracted vampirism through the evil sword’s energy and had been slowly transforming into one those last days. But he didn’t realize it at first; he was too weak to think. But now, he suddenly realized the extent of the tragedy.
She touched him, she touched his blood, he was highly contagious... She even had some symptoms of it... He was more worried about Amy than about himself.
-Amy… Non, not her…
The urge to drink blood hadn’t left him and he had difficulties concentrating. He wanted blood, more blood…
-Non! I must find a way to cure that! Is there a way…?
Raphael was frantically searching through his books when suddenly a servant came in the library.
-Monsieur… are you feeling better? asked the maid on a slight surprised tone since she thought he was dying in his bedroom.
Raphael turned toward her and she got scared by his frightful appearance even if Raphael’s expression was now one of grief.
-You should not have come here, Françoise… stated Raphael with a hint of regret in his voice. But suddenly, his expression changed and he gazed at Françoise with an evil look. The bloodlust and his resentment toward his servants for letting Amy and him down fuelled his rage.
-Fear my wrath!
Françoise turned to flee but Raphael quickly seized her, brought her toward him, bit her on the neck and, once more, drank the blood of a servant. It was so sweet… He felt contented and let go a sigh of relief. But when the body fell to the ground, Raphael got back to his senses again. He backed away in horror.
-Oh non! Not again!
His dressing gown was now stained with blood. He picked the body to hide it but instead began to lick the remaining blood avidly. When he finished, still leaning on the body of his servant, Raphael cried. But not for long as the lust grabbed him again: He needed blood!
He hid the body and went back to his bedroom where he tried to drink the remaining blood of his first victim. But the blood had all dripped and dried out.
Raphael changed his blood-stained clothes and got dressed to go out for more blood. He suddenly stopped and leaned on the desk, realizing what he was about to do.
-Oh Dieu! Aidez-moi!
He never was that much of a fervent Catholic, but tonight, he really needed divine help. He went to his drawer, took out his rosary and began to pray God.
-Notre père qui est aux cieux, que votre nom soit sanctifié… que votre règne vienne…
Remembering she had forgotten to fill his carafe, Amy came to check on her father. When she entered, she saw Raphael kneeling, holding a rosary and praying in despair.
Then she saw the corpse. She gasped in shock, startling Raphael who quickly turned back.
-Father, what have you done?
-Don’t look, please…! I didn’t want to…!
Amy stared at her father with a horrified gaze while Raphael was now hiding his face in his hands. Sobbing.
Amy was shocked and didn’t know what to do. She suddenly smelled the scent of blood in the room and she felt a strange urge for blood. She got revolted at the thought and put the idea behind her. She knew something terrible had happened to them even if she didn’t really know what or why.
-…What will we do, father…?
-I… don’t know…
Raphael was completely shattered. He, who had always acted confidently, was now in a state of complete distress. He then tried to regain his composure. He had to be strong for his daughter. He thought she had to have some explanation.
-It is because of Soul Edge… The magical sword I tried to acquire… An evil sword, but I had my reasons to take it… It is a phenomenon called Malfestation… It’s my entire fault… I contracted it from the wounds I received from the vile sword… And you… my beloved child… Oh, I am so sorry…!
Raphael got back on his feet and came toward Amy. He took her in his arms and embraced her.
-Please… do not succumb to it… Don’t do as I did…
With the slight blood urge she felt and the bite wound on the maid’s neck, Amy then knew they truly had become vampires. She became sad, very sad… She began to weep and Raphael too.
With the brutal murder of two of his servants on his hands and the fear of losing control in the city, causing other death now that he had turned into a vampire, Raphael thought it would be unwise to stay in Toulouse. He decided to move somewhere less crowded than a city, so that he would not do too much damage and could search peacefully for a cure for Amy and him. His daughter had not yet truly experienced the vampire thirst, but despite that she didn’t have fangs already, he knew she had transformed like him last night, or if she didn’t, she would soon, and he did not want her to come to this.
In the morning, when Raphael looked at his wounds, he found out they were merely scratches now. The transformation into a vampire had healed him, or the fact that he drank blood maybe? He didn’t know, but what he knew was that he physically felt much better now than before.
The servants did not really understand what happened. Their master, who was dying not so long ago, was walking around and giving orders to pack his books and furniture in a coach. Now that he was on his feet, the servants had some regrets about having deserted him on his deathbed. It seems he wanted to get even with them since he dismissed them all of his service and gave them their final wages. But they never really liked him; he was too cold and haughty. This morning, he seemed more cold and haughty than ever. There was something about him that made them feel uneasy. Coming back from the dead, his skin still very pale, he seemed scary with his ice cold blue eyes even if the servants didn’t see him with those red eyes last night... Yet there seemed to be some kind of evil spark in his eyes...
They were also pretty sure he fired Madeleine last night. Nobody saw her coming back since she lost the argument and had to go see him… But Françoise… nobody saw her this morning either…
As the coach was full, Raphael gave one last look at his mansion and opened the coach’s door for Amy. Amy, holding her favourite doll against her, looked sadly at the house and asked:
-Where will we go now, father?
-I don’t know. Where the road will take us.
Raphael then lent her a hand, helping her get on the coach.
Amy climbed on and Raphael closed the door. He then sat at the driver’s place and whipped the horses.
The horses began to gallop and Raphael and Amy left Toulouse for good.
After their exile from Toulouse, they went toward north then they roamed eastward, not knowing exactly where to go.
During the day, they looked more normal, Raphael’s eyes were not reddish like at night even though they had acquired a slightly yellowish taint among the blue while Amy’s eyes remained green even at night, but they were both weaker and still looked paler. The night gave them strength. They began to live at night time. Traveling at night and sleeping at day.
Each time they stopped to rest, Raphael searched in his books for a cure to their affliction but couldn’t find anything. Along the way, he also tried to make some research in universities or such places of knowledge but he found nothing useful either.
While they travelled through Germany, Raphael remembered his fight with Nightmare at Ostrheinsburg and cursed the Azure knight who almost killed him and left him and Amy with this damned condition. But he wondered what really happened after the fight? Why did Nightmare let him live? Where was he now?
-Did he gave me the Malfestation on purpose and would have let me live for that? But he tried to give me a final blow… Could it be that I destroyed him by piercing the eye of the sword? Humpf! It doesn’t matter! I have no business with this monster anymore!
During the journey, Raphael had more and more often urges to drink blood. He tried to resist at first but one evening, he told Amy that he would go buy some food in a near farm and ended up drinking the blood of a peasant he caught in a stable. But he promised himself that he would only drink a bit to satisfy his thirst and then leave his victim alive. While he was serving himself on the neck of the woman, he had to fight the persistent desire to drink all her blood until the last drop. Finally, his strong will enabled him to control himself and after he felt a little filled up, he gently deposit his unconscious victim on the floor and tried to stop her bleeding wound with a bandage while he closed his eyes trying to chase the relentless desire away as he applied some pressure on it to stop the bleeding. After he felt the wound had stopped bleeding and his craving had calmed down, he rose to his feet, turned his back on the unconscious woman and began to leave.
He suddenly heard a sound. When he turned back to look, he saw the peasant rising on her feet. She was paler and seemed numb. Raphael strangely sensed she was waiting for his orders. He gave her meaningless orders and she followed them, then stopped and waited for the next order. Raphael was amazed at what was going on and he felt thrilled at the thought he could make slaves like that. He knew he was contagious when Amy got infected but he didn’t know he could infect by biting others and mostly that they would obey him! No need to pay for servants anymore! But for now, he didn’t have any place on the coach for her, so he decided to kill her. No need to leave a monster like that behind. He gave her one swift thrust through the heart with his rapier and she fell for good. He then went back to the coach without a word. He whipped the horses and the coach left the place. Amy wondered why he didn’t bring food but said nothing. She suspected what happened.
As time passed, they both experienced changes in their condition, Raphael became more and more wicked as this eyes also reflected that change by becoming completely amber during day, losing any remaining trace of blue. The evil power was too strong for him; his mind became increasingly twisted by the evil of Soul Edge. He began to hunt victims regularly to appease his constraining thirst. And as he became more evil, he was taking more pleasure in the hunt. The only person he still cared about was Amy.
Amy hated her vampire condition and drank blood only when she felt really, really thirsty and that it was unbearable. But she never hunted herself. Her father did the dirty work. He didn’t want his little girl to soil herself with this. She looked so miserable the day she told him in tears that she couldn’t stand it anymore and that she needed blood. Both her fangs and her bloodlust had finally grown and it was too much for Amy. Raphael would have done anything to comfort her and make her feel better. But all he could do was to bring her blood…
With all that was happening to her, Amy became really depressed. She didn’t seem to find anything enjoyable and became pessimist. She hated her life. Raphael was sad for her.
-Amy… you’re sad are you?
-You know I love you. I will always be there for you.
Raphael smiled at her and was trying to cheer her up.
-Yes. I know.
Raphael really didn’t know what to tell her that would make her feel better.
-Are you tired of travelling?
- Would you like to have a place to stay and to live well? To call home again?
-Yes… but such a place could never exist; we would still be monsters…
Those words pained Raphael: He was feeling guilty toward Amy for her transformation into a creature of the night. It was all because she took care of him when he came back from his fight with Nightmare. She was the child he had sworn to protect, the child he considered his daughter. And she had become a monster. Because of him. He knew it was all his fault and he had to amend it and make her happy again. To hear her cries and see her pain at what she had become was too much to bear.
-I will find you a place Amy! Where you will feel welcomed! Where you will be happy to live! And one day, I will find a cure!
Amy forced a weak smile on her face so that Raphael wouldn’t feel too bad. He was trying so much to make her happy. But she didn’t have any hopes. She didn’t care about anything anymore. All she wanted was to be left alone. To confine herself somewhere and never get out.
They arrived in Wallachia. The country seemed wild enough so they could have some peace. In a village, Raphael learned of an old abandonned castle a little further north. He thought it would be far enough from civilisation.
-What do you say, Amy? We could live there?
They arrived in the castle walls at night. Amy went out of the coach and looked at the fortress with her father.
-It doesn’t seem too old or decrepit, declared Raphael. We could be comfortable here!
Amy had to agree, the view was splendid. Those mountains, theses forests…
Raphael smiled when Amy told him that she found the place beautiful.
-Yes, it is, Amy… Let us visit inside now!
After the inspection, Amy stated that she really liked the place and she had already chosen which room would be her bedroom.
-Parfait! We may begin to decorate the place! Exclaimed Raphael.
He then frowned and looked toward the village where they had passed before and where many had looked upon them like strangers, or even worse, like outcasts or some kind of leprous. They could still see the village from here, down the valley.
-We will need some help… Wait here, Amy, I shall come back with a new domestic personnel in no time!
So with their new minion servants, Raphael and Amy now lived in their new castle. As time went by, Raphael’s soul darkened even more. His corrupted mind did not think about a way to cure them anymore but thought that instead, he could transform others so that Amy would stop feeling like a monster. Having given up trying to find a way to cure them both, he decided to infect everyone else. He began to infect the nearby peasants with his disease and spread the infection always further away so that Amy didn’t feel rejected. He was willing to put the entire world into darkness so that his beloved daughter wouldn’t feel lonely and didn’t have to hide anymore.
But Amy never accepted being a vampire. She didn’t become as evil as Raphael. Only insensitive. Feeling estranged to the world, she became a recluse. Raphael knew that she liked solitude but he knew that this solitude she was now living was imposed on her and that she suffered from it. It pained him. So he sometimes brought her some human ‘pets’ to play with, so she may have some friends. He tried to pick those he thought would be funnier for her. Amy played with her ‘pets’ for a while but soon became bored of them and preferred to stay alone in her room.
The person she still most liked to spent time with was Raphael himself. He was like her; she didn’t feel different with him. He always had been so kind to her since they met, something the evil of Soul Edge never could change. And… he was handsome. Since they were living alone in their castle, since the somewhat dumb minions didn’t count, she wasn’t sure how she considered him now. He considered her his daughter, she knew it too well: He still considered her like the little girl he met seven years ago even if she had grown up, a thing which annoyed Amy sometimes because she thought she may consider him differently than a daughter would consider her father. She wasn’t certain but she believed that she was in love with Raphael. He was her prince charming, with his manners, his style… He was so elegant! She needed him, she needed his presence and to know that he was near.
But was it love? Or just loneliness? Feeling more recluse because she was rejected by others but closer to the one who was like her? She was really confused. He was the only man she really knew in fact. And probably the only one she will ever know now that she was a monster. And she didn’t know what she wanted. She had to realize the kind of love she had for him first... Anyway, she knew Raphael will always see her like his little girl, his frail little child he had to protect, until the end. As they will remain monster until the end. No need to wish for anything since hope only brings disappointment.