Raphael Sorel's seven years war

Destination Hanover

Raphael and his minions were now sailing toward Germany; they had to reach Ostrheinsburg as soon as possible. Raphael's boat was tied to his minions' ship which was a little bigger than his own.

Raphael was leaning on the boat's guardrail and was looking at the horizon. He told his minions:

-To be honest, I do not care about this Algol. I do not fear this 'so powerful king'. And maybe he won't even appear already… Anyway he won't be left in peace; I doubt very much that Nightmare will appreciate his presence in his castle…

He then turned toward Marienbard.

-But… there is one thing that I do not quite understand: you said Nightmare had conjured all the Soul Edge fragments toward Ostrheinsburg but I thought Nightmare didn't exist anymore… What is going on in Ostrheinsburg exactly? When I last saw him, Siegfried Schtauffen seemed free from Soul Edge's influence… Is he possessed again? Or is somebody else possessed?

Marienbard answered him:

-From what we know … Inferno is Soul Edge's spirit and actually probably the incarnation of Nightmare since he has no host anymore. But we do not know how he came back to life in this form.

Raphael suddenly realised.

-Ahh… Came back to life… The crazy girl… with the mysterious man… in Ostrheinsburg with the children… They resurrected him… Well gave some power for him to live as someone, not just a sword… So the actual Nightmare is not Siegfried Schtauffen but Soul Edge itself… And they were two… So I kept following two persons all this time… No wonder I sometimes got lost and they seemed so different! So Siegfried really was free from the influence… I thought he was still crazy half of the time! Marienbard, you really embarrass me with this! I am so ashamed!

Marienbard got nervous and lowered her head. Like all minions, she feared her master.

-I am sorry master. But… I am telling the truth.

-Yes. I am glad you told me. It's just that… I feel ridiculous, I pursued Nightmare for many months and all this time, I never found out he was not the same as Siegfried! Such a big mistake! Still I am glad you know that much, ma chère, you are really useful to me…

Marienbard was relieved that Raphael seemed to find this rather amusing.

-Thank you master.

But even if he told Marienbard she was useful to him, his minions all had something that bothered him: Auguste was coarse and seemed stupid, Jacqueline was annoying, always saying some comments about anything, her voice being mostly irritating and Marienbard was too silent to be trusted; aside from answering him when he asked something, she never spoke and kept looking at him even thought she did try not to show it. It should have been Jacqueline shutting up…

Yet despite their faults, Raphael also appreciated their presence, he was feeling less lonely and for now, he was in a pleasant mood. Not having to row or to sail the boat himself was really enjoyable.

Then the boat came to Emden's shore in the afternoon, Raphael and his new minions disembarked and went toward the city after selling the boats cheaply to some fisherman. Before they entered, Raphael told Auguste:

-Take off your mask Auguste, you look like a fool. Why do you even wear that?

But Raphael didn't even take the time to listen to his answer and began to walk toward the city's shops. He wanted to buy some clothes for him and his servants while trying to hide his own stained clothes. They all had stained and ripped clothes.

-Now you all shall have something more fitting for your position as my new servants.

Dressed this way, it will clearly show to them and the world that they serve him. They would remember it. They entered a clothing shop. A young woman in a maid uniform greeted them.

-Welcome to my store! I'm Lynette! Can I help you find something?

-En effet mademoiselle, I am searching for some maid and servant uniforms for them and some new clothes for me.

-I do have maid and servant uniforms… I have many style for the maid dresses. Which one would you like?

She went to a rack and picked some maid dresses to show Raphael.

-Hum… Maybe this style. But cut the skirts like you did for your own.

-Oh yeah, I cut mine because it does attract customers; some masters like it better on their maids… It seems to work for you… But it will cost you a supplement for the sewing job.

Raphael blushed.

-It is for fighting purposes. Stated Raphael still blushing.

-You don't have to excuse yourself, it's none of my business what you do with your maids.

She smiled and Raphael wondered if she thought he was a pervert. He looked at Marienbard and Jacqueline and had the impression they may be slightly blushing too while fixing the floor… He thought: Now they think I am a pervert too! He sighed and added:

-I… do not… Well, cut the skirts to their knees. I would not like it as short as your own…

He would not have minded in fact, as long as it was not as indecent as Ivy's costume… Even if he did not consider himself a pervert, he wasn't that prudish. But the allusions Lynette made embarrassed him too much so he asked that she lengthened the skirts. Anyway he didn't care that length is was, as long as it was not too long to be embarrassing for them to fight. He did not absolutely wish it to be short like Lynette's skirt.

Lynette took the dresses and went to the counter to cut the skirts and sew them.

-You made a great choice for your maid's dresses. So about this length?

She showed the length with her hand.

-Euh, yes.

-Now for the man, what would you like?

-Well, I shall take that uniform over there.

-Very well. Nice choice also. And for you?

-Give me some time to choose.

-Alright, take your time.

And Lynette began to arrange the skirts' bottoms, sewing some lace to it while Raphael rummaged through the elegant clothing section.

-By the way, anything new? Suddenly asked Lynette to nobody in particular, just to make conversation while she was sewing.

The three minions seemed to stare at nothing in particular, only waiting for Raphael to choose his clothes. They sometimes looked by the windows or toward the clothing racks. They really didn't seem to know what to do. They looked at Lynette with a questioning expression when she spoke but said nothing. Lynette continued.

-Anything new going on in the city or the country? I learned the Emperor has sent his army toward Ostrheinsburg. Do you know more about it?

Raphael swiftly got out from behind the racks, holding a pile of clothes in his arms.

-Non. We did not know about this. What is going on in Ostrheinsburg?

Lynette continued to sew as she told them:

-Well, the evil that was there seven years ago seems to have come back and it is even worse now with monsters and things… So the Emperor has decided to destroy the place once and for all. He sent his army and even got the help of some small kingdoms around. They are all going there to stop the spreading of the evil because some more villages had to be evacuated. It was already worse that those around Ostrheinsburg had been destroyed seven years ago, if the evil now spread… You didn't know about this?

The minions seemed to listen attentively to the conversation but none of them interrupted as Lynette and Raphael were speaking together.

-Well, just some details… but not everything… We are not from here.

-No, I can see it. Well, mostly hear it. You sound French.

-Indeed, we are French. Except Marienbard. She is… she is from somewhere else.

Raphael didn't know what nationality Marienbard was, he didn't ask her and didn't care but he knew she was not French. She was speaking French with a bad accent.

-From where is she from?

Raphael looked questioningly at Marienbard who simply answered:

-Ireland.

The conversation ended on this, Marienbard did not speak anymore than this, Raphael went back to his shopping and Lynette continued to sew. As he tried to decide between the many clothes he picked for him, Raphael thought about what Lynette just said. It was embarrassing. If armies were there in Ostrheinsburg, they may impede them… maybe even attack them as Soul Edge creatures… but then they may also be very busy with Nightmare's forces…

After Raphael found what he wanted, he went to pay for the clothes. Lynette counted the money and suddenly told him:

-You don't have enough money.

-What? But…

-I told you the sewing part was charged. You must include it.

-You said that?

-Yes.

Raphael suddenly remembered. He was embarrassed. He would not give up his own stylish clothes and his servants needed new clothes too… the dresses were already cut and almost finished… He didn't have the choice to take them… He should not have been so careless with the boats' prices when he sold them to the fisherman.

-Hum, that is quite annoying…

Raphael turned toward Auguste.

-Well, Auguste, you shall have to wait to get proper clothes.

Then Raphael paid for the rest and went to change for his new clothes and soon after, the dresses were ready so Marienbard and Jacqueline went to put them on. When they got out of the fitting room, Raphael looked at them.

-Now that is more fitting. You… euh, you look fine with that.

He didn't make too much comments, he felt Lynette's gaze on him and thought that she must still think him to be some perverted aristocrat. He stopped looking at them and suddenly noticed Auguste who moved beside him to look at the girls too and sighed.

-Why are you still wearing your wolf mask?

-Well… I…

-Take it off. I may not have enough money now to dress you as it fit but at least, I do not want you to dress like a beast in civilisation!

Auguste took the mask off.

-Now follow me.

Raphael went outside. The minions followed and Auguste quickly put his mask on again when Raphael wasn't looking anymore. They had stayed so long in the store that it was now almost night. Lynette putted the closed sign on the door just after they got out.

Raphael asked his way to someone and came back toward his servants.

-We now have to go to Hanover to get to Ostrheinsburg.

Suddenly Raphael saw Auguste still wearing his wolf mask. He made an annoyed expression and brutally took the mask off without a word. He then handed the mask back at Auguste who took it back looking pitiful.

-Sorry master… I just…

-Do not anger me any more than this. You shall be allowed to put it only when we shall be outside of the city. Not before.

He thought: Those minions are not completely under my control… It is for futile things but I do not trust them completely… I should not be so distrustful… they are now my minions, if I do not trust them, it means that I do not trust my own powers… They are my servants now.

But his powers came from Soul Edge, not totally trustworthy itself…

-Now we need a way to travel… muttered Raphael thinking out loud.

-Master… I'm thirsty… said Auguste still looking pitiful.

-Me too… also stated Jacqueline in an also pitiful tone.

Raphael looked at them. They were experiencing their first bloodlust. Marienbard was still quiet and didn't say a word but he knew she was as thirsty as her companions. Somehow he felt some pity for them: he remembered his first bloodlust when he didn't understand exactly what happened to him. He was restless, anxious… He didn't know what he felt or how to react to this strange new impulse. He felt thirsty for some days even when he was drinking water.

He wondered when exactly he became a vampire since he felt the thirst some days before the real night. He got cured of his wounds only that fateful night and the thirst was far stronger than the other nights, he also doesn't remember having felt his fangs before that fateful night either, but to be honest, he wasn't really conscious all theses days.

In a twisted way, his minions were lucky to have him even if he was responsible for their condition; maybe he could calm them more and tell them what it was that they were feeling. He knew they had to quench their thirst before they left the town. He ordered the women to hide in the back of the alley and put back their old costume then come back. They did not understand why but obeyed.

Raphael then decided to take some rich victim; it would appease their thirst and it would provide them the money for the trip to Hanover. They ambushed two slightly drunk aristocrats carelessly walking in a dark alley as the night was falling. Raphael's minions brutally jumped on them and drank without refinement staining their clothes with blood all over them. Raphael knew they would have acted that savagely; that was why he had ordered the women to put their old clothes back, he did not want them to already stain their new maid dresses. Since Auguste already had stained clothes from his previous fight, it wasn't too bad for him, he would just have to put more bandages and pretend it was his own blood.

While the minions were slaughtering the men, Raphael stayed behind, watching over them while repressing his own bloodlust rising. He had drunk his minions' blood not long ago so he was able to resist the bloodlust and let them drink alone even if he did felt tempted. And since it was the first time his minions drank blood, they really needed to drink more than him.

He remembered the night he changed, he had completely drained of their blood two of his servants and was still thirsty after, he knew he would have got out of his manor and prowled the city to take other victims if he hadn't come back to his senses for a while. But while he had got back to his senses, he still knew he was only delaying the moment he would kill again. That is why he prayed that night and hoped God would do something even if he never was very fervent and while he prayed to God in despair, he could still feel his bloodlust rising inside of him, terrifying him. But God did nothing.

It was only when Amy came, catching him alongside one of his victims, that his bloodlust completely suppressed itself. The shame he felt in front of his daughter and his worries for her were stronger than the supernatural thirst. Then, it took quite a while before the bloodlust came back too strongly for him to resist, he did push back the lust many times and many days, even weeks but when it overwhelmed him again, he never could resist it anymore.

His servants were now going through what he had undergo then; they were in a total blood frenzy when they finished draining the unfortunate men of their last drop of blood and were ready to roam the streets to kill someone else and drink again but Raphael ordered them to calm down. After a while, he succeeded in calming down his minions and ordered Marienbard and Jacqueline to change back again in their maid costume while he took the aristocrats' purses and counted the money. They then left the place to buy their trip in the morning, leaving two horribly mutilated corpses in the alley.


Meanwhile, the coach with Amy in it made a stop to Breitenstein and the travellers went inside the village's inn. Amy wanted to show again her drawing to the clients before she would go out to ask the rest of the villagers. She first showed it to the innkeeper and his wife. The wife of the innkeeper exclaimed:

-Did you do that drawing? It's really good!

-… Thank you. Yes, I did. It's my father; I'm looking for him…

-Oh! You are searching for your father? Poor girl… Sorry, I did not see him.

She added:

-But how much would you charge if I asked you to do a drawing of my children?

-Euh… well, I do not…

-Oh please! You draw so well! I would pay you ten thalers!

-Euh…

Amy didn't really know the value of money. She had some money and she paid for what she needed mostly trusting the merchants' prices but she didn't really know the value of things. She didn't even care what she paid along the way, mostly at the beginning since she mostly had Hungarian money; she had to trust the merchant on what they gave her back. Then she got some German money but still didn't have a clue about the value of things. But now with her lack of money, she was more careful. A drawing for 10 thalers, she thought it must be a really good price but she wasn't certain. But it was more than some meals and a room… How do artist sell their things? And mostly, did she want to draw for others? Not really…

By the time she thought, the wife of the innkeeper went inside the door behind the counter, telling Amy to wait and came back with her four children.

-Look, aren't they cute? This is Gunther, those are Mildred and Ingrid and this is my little Gertrude.

Amy looked at them with an embarrassed gaze. The lady was holding a little baby in her arms, while two little girls around probably two or three years old were holding each other by the hand smiling at her, and a slightly older boy probably about five was staring down at the floor too shy to look at Amy. The woman was gazing at Amy with hope in her eyes. Amy sighed and said:

-Very well. I shall draw your children. But please, can you ask your customers if they have seen my father for me? My father is named Raphael Sorel… He is French, has a rapier by his side, blond hair and …brownish eyes… turning on red. Like me.

-Of course no problems! I will ask! Thank you for the drawing!

Amy outlined a shy smile and began to draw the children who were always moving around except the baby whom the mother had put in the cradle her husband brought until their father told them to sit and be quiet, while the innkeeper's wife went to ask the clients about Raphael. After some time, Amy finished the drawing and the innkeeper's wife came back from outside. She even went to the village to ask but it seemed no one matching this description came here. Neither Raphael nor Claude, whose coach must not have stopped in this village. The woman felt sorry for Amy but then Amy handed her the portrait of her children. She looked at the drawing and tears came to her eyes as she looked at her beloved children on paper.

-It's beautiful… I'll give you twenty thalers! You deserve it!

Amy was surprised even if she still hadn't a clue of how much it was worth.

-…Merci.

The lady showed the drawing to her husband and some friends who all exclaimed how good it was and some of them came to ask drawings from Amy too. But this time, Amy politely refused and went into her room. She was too embarrassed.

-I could have made myself more money but… it's so awkward!

Even if the people downstairs had been kind to her, Amy felt better in her room alone. But she did appreciate the compliments… and even if it gave no results, the lady was kind to have asked for her about her father, it was one less trouble since Amy still hated to have to address everybody… It has been a good evening… even if she did not find her father. Maybe she will soon…

The next day, she went into the coach and continued her journey, all went uneventfully except for the few times someone thought they saw her father but it was in fact Claude again, and they reached Hanover in the evening. Amy quickly got out of the coach to go ask passers-by about her father. She had already showed many people the drawing she did of her father without any positive answers until someone told her:

-Yes, I did see that man. About half an hour ago.

-You did? Did he have blue eyes? Amy had some doubts.

-Well, he was a little far for me to see exactly. He was in a coach and he stopped at the relay some streets away from here. He was with two women and a man…

Amy sighed, Claude, his mother and wife again… and the servant who was sitting with the coachman, accompanying them… She muttered quite annoyed:

-Will he get in my way all the time?

She told the man.

-Non, that's not him… Merci quand même…


Raphael was now eating at the relay with his three servants after disembarking from the coach they came in. They had finally arrived in Hanover, they were near Ostrheinsburg! Raphael was excited, this quest would soon end. He would get Soul Calibur and then create the perfect world for his daughter. The world she deserved, where she would be happy. He thought he now had to buy horses to go there since no coach would go to such a terrible place.

While eating, he learned some more details about what was going on in Ostrheinsburg; some courageous people who went a little farther toward the cursed place, said that the forest around was now totally corrupted by evil with normal animals turned into monsters and trees turning deformed and ugly. There were even reports that some of the emperor's soldiers had turned evil with the influence of the place and were now attacking their own fellow soldiers. Many where scared to go there and deserted the army. It was total chaos over there.

Raphael thought it was a good thing since it will allow them to travel more freely across this evil place, the emperor's army being too busy killing each other or fleeing. He just wondered if the evil of the place would turn him and his minions into beasts even more. They may be more prone to get influenced by this evil and will surely feel their bloodlust grow in there… Maybe the soldier won't attack them but they will instead attack the soldiers… But as long as he kept most of his sanity intact, he would be able to reach that sword and then he would not have to worry about anything anymore. He didn't know about his minions' sanity but as long as they don't jump on him suddenly that was all he asked… He looked at them eating and unwillingly felt some worries for them. He told them:

-You heard like me what it will be like in this evil place. Being like we are, we may be more influenced by what is happening. If you feel any change happening to you during the trip, tell me. I do not want you to become completely insane. If you feel it is becoming too dangerous and you won't be able to go on, tell me.

They all looked at him with a surprised gaze. They then answered reverently:

-Yes, master.

-But I expect that you act like faithful followers with courage, loyalty and dignity.

-We will master. answered the three servants in choir.

They finished their meal and then went to a stable where Raphael bought two horses, he had not enough money to buy each one a horse, he even had to haggle over the second horse's price, so they would have to content themselves with that. But anyway maybe the horses will be so scared approaching the place that they will want to flee in terror so it did not matter how many they had. Marienbard mounted behind Raphael while Jacqueline and Auguste got on the other horse.

As they were now all mounted and prepared to leave the city, Raphael suddenly had some weird feeling; like there was still something to do in town… He didn't really understand why, but he felt he could not leave already… His horse stamped the ground impatiently, wanting to gallop but Raphael was keeping him from moving.

He thought: What is keeping me here? I have nothing more to do here…

-…What is it, master?… Asked Marienbard after a while, a bit of hesitation in her voice, seeing her master's worried face. She didn't dare speak too much and annoy him.

-… Nothing. Just a strange feeling… Now, let us go to Ostrheinsburg! Amy is waiting! I just can't wait to see her again!

He pushed aside the strange feeling and left the town with his minions.

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