The Next World
“Are you certain about this? What you are asking means possessing a heavy burden, maybe even more than us.” She asked carefully.
“I am.” Answered the youngest, “I have the right to know.” He added respectfully.
Always there. A coal that is warm outside and burning within he has sensed his entire life. He has seen, but never known them, a phantom figure with such a kind gaze there is no way it is evil. As a child they spoke to him, played with him; teaching him lessons as a guardian angel, but they were words mother could not hear and a face she could not see. He believed it to be a friend, imaginary, but all by accident the truth was discovered. They were real, once upon a time in a different world than this; a world of war, hatred; unimaginable pain that this world had used as a foundation for itself.
She looked to her husband who nodded in approval, then to the eldest who copied the same gesture. The other remained silent because of her biased and was this exempt from the Counsel’s voting.
“There is only one law you must follow: your mother can never know. With that, are you willing to keep this secret from her?”
He took a time to respond, carefully weighting what the consequences maybe, but then his own question was spoke rather than an answer.
“Why doesn’t my mother know?” He looked to his, best friends’ mother, who had no sense of sugar coating.
The mother actually waited for the rest of the Counsel’s approval before speaking, which added to the idea that this knowledge was even heavier than he had first imagined. The Counsel looked to each other, becoming silent and having the sadness that followed the reason come over them all. His half-sister step forward and placed her hand on his head, setting her thumb in the center of his forehead.
“You already know her name, but not her story. This is the truth about Kira Nightraven, the woman who became the One-Eyed Reaper.”
-1000 Years Later-
The lecture had concluded for the day, releasing the students to their personal activities. International Relations Theory was more widely enjoyed among its major classes primarily because the professor was a man who lived thru the material he taught. At one point he was a lawyer, another a medical doctor; soldier; scholar, now Trinity University’s Dean who enjoys actively teaching subjects every semester. His reputation, knowledge, and flawless features helped with student participation and attendance in all his classes.
The university had grown large in the centuries since its opening, expanding its colleges making it one of the largest and most diverse schools in the world. Founded on family grounds and the former capital of the Vampire Nation, this place holds a special meaning to the Dean. His mother’s family, his children’s family, all of them grew up with the stories seeped in this land. These stories were history, a history that became legend and a legend forgotten as the time went on. The Dean explored these legends, as a boy, seeking to separate truth and fantasy and found they often crossed and the lines blurred.
He walked the autumn evening with the holographing book projecting from the tablet. While he enjoyed the convince of this day’s technology, his library was still filled with ancient paper texts and physical bound books that had their own attendant to care for and preserve them for the occasional use. The Dean had read every book in his collection.
“Have you actually seen it?”
He overheard a small trio of students close to the hill’s top. Ordinarily that area is off limits to normal students, but they were just curious freshmen.
“No! But my roommate says he did during Greek Week!” The young man eggs his mortal friend.
Its a university-wide and immortal known legend. It was rather a rumor in the beginning spread by elders, a label on any immortal with that unfortunate trait: White-Haired Demons were an Omen of ‘Death’. They were extremely rare and powerful ‘beings’, a term often used to substitute ‘people’ because they were a source of destruction and always the ‘end’ of something. There are only four accounts of them, one living today as a guardian to one of the Counsel members governing the vampire country of Eden. He is Christopher Nightraven, Son of Athan Nightraven and grandson of the immortal Hei and Goddess of the Moon, Akasha. That man had a particularly difficult childhood and large shoes to fill.
His father was the first child the goddess had in over ten thousand years and the first vampire to not have a need for blood. He was a brilliant strategist, a warrior who poured every ounce of his self into making himself a better fighter, especially having no natural talent or gift. Athan continues to be Commandant of Eden’s Marines to this day. The Dean wishes to visit his uncle--despite the Dean being older by two years-- with the holiday break.
“This one was different!”
The shy girl tries to speak up, “Guys I don’t think we should be messing with this...”
They walked thru the weathered fence, the metal having done poor against the test of time and the Dean has been meaning to put in a work order to re-fence and has not. They stood on cursed ground, the willow that rose high and wide towered over this area and the trio. The Old Man had not aged, strong, eternal; engraved with decades of mortal memory and centuries of immortal experience. At its base, between two main roots comfortably rested an ancient stone stacked on a place for writing and a cross standing erect at its head with Eden’s crest in its center. This was a grave. One of two reasons could explain the lack of a name: time had wiped its evidence from this world’s existence or like others from the Third World War it was an unknown casualty.
It has always been here; before the university, before Eden, this gravestone was a marker from a time most had forgotten or only read about. That time however was very important to the school as its events led to the school’s founding and held an even deeper meaning for those who lived on with those memories. Contrast to common belief about immortality, there are very few vampires still alive who survived the war. The conflicts that followed, the battles waged for peace well...nothing enduring can end in one day.
“I heard its not a grave, but a prison--”
‘And soon to be your tomb!’ Sounded a voice of thunder.
The trio jumped, spinning to see a white-haired transparent stare at them. They lifted their hand and pointed to the three, repeating the previous phrase. The students bolted, screaming bloody murder regardless that the phantom was not chasing them, nor did they hear the laughter as he solidified. The girl tripped, sliding her knees across the grass and gravel she scrapped them bare. The Dean was there imminently, offering his hand, he lifted her into his arms and set her on a nearby bench. She was increasingly shy barely able to give a thank you thru her tears.
“May I?” The professor asked when motioning to her bleeding knees.
A light green glow hummed from his hands and bubbled around her knees. With each quiet pop more of the scraps healed and the blood returned to within the body.
“Feel better?” He asked and she nodded, “Thank you.”
“Try to keep in mind the campus rules when thinking of disturbing that grave.” He added with a kind smile.
The Dean sent her on her way, moving to the tree and apprehending the culprit by his hood.
“Chris.” The Dean scolded, “What have I told you about scaring my students?”
The vampire grinned, becoming transparent and passing thru his cousin’s grip. How could he ‘not’ scare them? If scaring kids every-so-often was the make-up for decades of resentment for his appearance than that is to say a decent exchange. An infamous White-Haired Demon, they are the rarest, strongest, but at least he has broken the chain for being a flame-gifted immortal. It was unusual to see Chris here, normally he is always with the Counsel--the Dean remembered.
‘Its that time of year again.’ Chris rolled his eyes, ‘Grandmother is here to visit the monument and hopefully she’ll stop like everyone else did.’
“Didn’t you say that last year?” The Dean tapped the tablet on his shoulder, “And the year before that and that year before that?”
’I get it, I get it! Seriously though, what’s the point? Its been a thousand years since the war.′ Chris and his nephew walked to the Howling Valley at mortal tempo.
“People remember the fallen in different ways.”
Chris huffed, ‘Come on Dante don’t give me that shit. Some people should and are better to be forgotten.’
She was well known for her pranks. Though she brought embarrassment to her family name constantly at this point it was no longer unusual. The ‘honor’ that came with her given name meant nothing to her, growing up it was the same stories, a legacy and tradition that probably was what persuaded her to act out in retaliation against all those expectations. She could hardly care less about something that has no place in this day. More to the point she hated constantly being compared to them. As she got older the distance between her and her family increased especially after none had noticed any manifestation of a gift within her. The black sheep of the family from beginning to the end when she finally cut all ties with them and set off on her own.
Working two jobs, studying for hours into the night and day; her efforts were paid off with numerous academic schoolers hope and grants that would be enough to get her into the high school connected to the university; be accepted into the university itself and graduate nearly debt-free. A sophomore and her harmless and mischievous pranks by the ‘unknown assailant’ had earned her a decent reputation. Every prank was original, but always harmless and did cause laughed even a on the staff. This latest one however will be legendary--she thought long and hard about it because more than a prank. With a bag of spray paint and rope she set off to the valley, on the way passing the Old Man and hearing the screams of a few freshmen as they zoomed past her.
“Its just a prank.” She smirked, remembering Sir Christopher had greeted her earlier.
This place was selfishly created for her. She wanted a place to remember, to come to and enjoy a one-sided conversation with the hope that she was heard. Above all this was to immortalized her. Akasha sat on the stone hands, enjoying her cup of tea while a second, filled one sat across from her.
The Howling Valley, a permanent scar in the land created by the battle between the One-Eyed Reaper and Eona Nightraven. Her own against Sierra and Rai paled in comparison. Imagine what would have happened had the Reaper been at full power. Decades after their legendary battle, this valley had plans for two monuments to be created. On one side of the waterfall at the valley’s beginning stood Eona, dressed elegantly in a gown fit for the goddess she had been claimed to be, offering her hand to the fallen. Opposing her was the One-Eyed-Reaper, her hands on top of one another, resting on the sword’s hilt she possessed in her final confrontation. In this massive statue, both of whom towered over the falls, the Reaper was displayed with her mask, not that her actual appearance was public knowledge. These were erect for the purpose of immortalizing the two great immortals whose actions shaped the modern world.
Eona was entirely opposed to the idea. That battle was the worst experience in her life and all she had done was end the reign of a tyrant. She did not believe herself to be a hero, just someone who did what was right and did it again and again. Further, the queen did not want that demon to be immortalized, she wanted her to be forgotten, but Akasha had made her a household named until she snapped some centuries ago. Akasha had not mentioned her in front of Eona since.
‘I keep hoping that someday you will come back, that you will see the world you sacrificed everything to create with your own eyes.’ Akasha started, ’Helios is expanding a lot faster on Mars than we thought and are experiencing uprisings and demands for independence. I told Eona I would handle it, but it still takes a few weeks to get there.’
Akasha looked at the aged stone face.
‘She still does not remember you.’
This was better than talking to an empty grave. Here Kira’s soul fought with all her might for what she believed in and that idea alone was enough to come here and be the one to remember her. This year was particularly hard because it was a milestone and was the only thing to make the immortal goddess notice the time that had once been irrelevant.
‘No matter how much time passes, you and I will probably never agree on your last decision. How could you make such a choice, with that expression?’ Akasha asked softly, ‘Why did you look at me with such sad eyes before going to fight Eona?’
Akasha would have continued the conversation had the presence of an unknown Pureblood not drawn her attention.
At the end of the Human/Vampire Wars the number of Pureblood had become less than thirty, growing none even with Dante’s birth due to the death of his biological father, Alucard. The Goddess sought to change that only slightly, learning from the mistake of having too many Pureblood Vampires. She choose carefully from two families of humans who had good relations with their vampire neighbors and gifted her blood onto them. It wasn’t long before the first of many lines of Pureblood Vampire were born and for their efforts and grace of help Akasha gave them an additional gift, to be immortalized alongside their children. Around four generations are alive today, bringing the count to fifty-three Purebloods. Akasha makes a habit of being there whenever another is born; a silent prayer and a previous wish.
‘I came today to tell you: this is it. After today I will not come back here after all...you, the One-Eyed Reaper, don’t exist in this world.’
The Pureblood set down a bag and rummaged thru its contents then brought out rope and spray-paint. The Goddess let out a sign, knowing without asking what this young-ling was preparing for. She did not like having her visit interrupted, but she wanted to teach this is silent child a lesson that will last for the duration of her absence, though knowing her grandson he would not allow this either. Akasha stood, setting her cup down before her rise and moved to step into the shadow--she halted. That’s-?
The young woman smirked as she decided which color to use first. That satisfaction turned back into her disgust, loathing the statue of the person who has ceased existing in this world. I’ll make her look like a Reaper alright! She looked around, sensing if there were any humanoids nearby because it would be very bad if this was found out.
From the valley floor, blanketed in crimson flower, she jumped between the statue and the wall bouncing back and forth until she launched and landed on the hand. This was the closest having ever been to her, the One-Eye Reaper, but it was not enough. The Pureblood cocked her arm back and felt the heat increase as she went to swing. Her wrist was snatched and she was lifted off her feet by it. A dark-skin and haired woman with crimson cat-like eyes held her up with an amused look.
‘Its disgraceful to vandalize someone’s memorial--’
The Pureblood didn’t hesitate in swinging her leg into the Goddess’s forearm she had put up to protect herself. Loosened from the grip the youngling’s continued momentum allowed her to become free; two balls hit at the elder’s feet and exploded one large cloud of smoke which allowed the younger to create a distance between the two. An interesting way of fighting. Whoever this woman is, the Pureblood thought, she wasn’t normal.
“Memorial? Don’t make me laugh! Its a shitty replica to make people forget the real past!” The Pureblood attacks, throwing two shuriken to both sides of the goddess.
Akasha is missed by both, ‘You are quite rude, talk in the language of your ancestors Raven Seras.’
Her surname had no meaning to her. One of the youngest Pureblood families it carried much pride in the many accomplishments despite its short years, but also high and heavy expectations of all its children. The young Seras escaped those expectations by not desolating signs of a gift--rather she refused to show the one she had.
‘That’s...better. Though fortunately for you, you are not my type.’ Akasha rolled her eyes, ‘Your reason for vandalizing this memorial? I would very much like to hear it.’
Raven barked, ‘Its just a harmless prank, its not like anyone really comes to visit this place anyway.’
Akasha rose a brow then crossed her arms annoyed over the allegation. The One-Eyed Reaper had been dead for over a thousand years therefore hearing of anything she did having an imminent impact one someone who had been born far after is ridiculous. Moreover Akasha was not pleased at the declaration that this young Seras ‘knew’ that person.
‘I do and this is not a harmless prank.’ Her shadows cast opposite the sun, ’You are from a different world than her. This statue represents more than a person, it is the idea: the knowledge of the consequence of hating one another. Nothing can be gained, but everything can be lost.′
Raven grins her fangs together the heat in her body climbing as her anger did parallel. She was being mocked, by this stranger who knew nothing--Raven stopped herself, cutting off the flicker before it could grow. She let out a steaming sign, forcing the best to leave thru her mouth and return her temperature to normal.
’I knew the Reaper better than anyone.’ Akasha said in a restrained anger.
Raven growled, throwing the paint and rope back into her satchel. No use in spray painting a Kabuki Mask on her face now that the park ranger is here. Throwing the pack over her shoulder she pulls on the hairline wires that recall the two shuriken back into her palm. Akasha watched her walk to the end of the hands, stop to glance at the face then at she.
‘Whatever, least I got some fun.’
Akasha questioned the statement.
‘Least she has someone who cares about her after she’s gone.’ Raven dropped off the hand and landed on the water’s edge as she continued down the valley eventually out of sight.
Dante and Chris greeted their grandmother.
Akasha smiled as the boys came closer, ‘Ah Dante! You have a member of the Seras Family in the school correct?’
“The scholarship student? I believe so.” Dante questions himself trying to recall this year’s school rosters.
Akasha smiled unusually wide, making the boys glance at each other in concern for themselves or whoever that poor student was.
‘Good, invite her to the banquet.’
The young Pureblood had a room to her own despite protest. Whether it was because she was a scholarship student or because of her linage she only wanted to be treated normally for once. Apparently there was no room and they had actually cleared out an old closed off room in the main building to squeeze her in. She hated being separate from everyone else; this room seemed out of the way; secluded; yet clearly it was for someone considering it was a mini-apartment. It had barely been a month since she was moved into here and she already thought staying in a tent outside was a better option. While in this room she felt unbearably lonely. She had felt and seen these emotions the first time she touched these walls with her bare flesh and vowed not to repeat that and kept her gloves on even in here.
The only comfort was her best friends Alison and Brian a human and ex-human who she befriended last year during World History. They come by always at the right moment, and like a fairy tale, whisk the immortal away from the closing walls of this housing and they explore the grounds. Unfortunately they were at club, one she had skipped to perform her ‘Legendary Prank’ that ended up being spoiled. Serves her right, she admitted begrudgingly.
A knock on her door meant a visitor because the other two just walk in: she was surprised to open her room to a grinning Sir Christopher holding a holoscreen between his fingers. Last he saw her was two years ago when he helped her evade police in the capital in the mist of attaching firecrackers to the heels of their shoes she may or may not have set off. She invited him in and offered a drink of numerous options all of which he declined when curiously inspecting the room she resided in. Wasn’t this--?
“Ah!” He caught himself spacing when pushing the letter into his young Padawan’s face, “Guess whose gotta dress up~” Chris sang.
Vigorously she opened the letter and then wore an expression of doomed dread; she hates public events, to include of his one in particular where she knows for a fact her family will also be in attendance to. Any calls, messages; even old-fashioned paper mail was ignored. This was not an invitation she could ignore, it was a personal one with the Goddess’s signature and crest meaning it was personally sent from her. Hm?
Next time you want to graffiti stone, use Bendermin Paint--its harder to remove. XP
The Raven drew a blank for a moment then yelled, “SON OF A BITCH!”
Elisabeth had not been to earth in many years, her time on the moon had allowed her opportunities she never dreamed of as a child. It had also been many decades since she had seen her grandchildren and was eager to greet them as adults. As the transporter entered the atmosphere the immortal looked fondly as her late husband’s work--he would have been proud to see how far his colony has gone from a simple outpost to an entire metropolis. I wonder how things have changed.
She longed to see her children and their families as well, but knew that more pressing matters had to be sought to before taking in personal affairs. Her half-brother Dante had mentioned something amiss with Eona’s seal, something that he had also held concern for for consecutive years. Eona was significantly resistant against the idea that one thousand years ago when she was momentarily possessed by the Reaper; that a part could still be sleeping within her. The Counsel voted all in favor, excluding Eona of course, towards keeping the truth of the ‘possibility’ hidden.
As her brother had spoken of his imaginary friend, no one had believed that that person and the Reaper were one in the same. The idea that thru all, a piece of the Reaper had survived, kept deep within Eona was a wild hypothesis, however, given the Reaper’s reputation for achieving the impossible such wildness would be considered truth before long. Dante kept a close eye on his mother, especially after he himself took on the burden of the truth. Nonetheless, thanks to his gift, they knew that something ‘human’ existed within Eona, not apart of her, but certainly deeply connected to the Pureblood. I wonder how much longer she has?
The transport landed and upon her dismount Elisabeth was greeted by her younger brother. They embraced lightly, taking note of the other’s change in attire since their last meeting a hundred years prior. Eona would meet them with Akasha later, but for now a walk around the campus in the fresh air would do them good.
“I know how much you hate hearing it--” Lizzy giggled innocently, holding out a horridly wrapped gift.
Dante exhaled grumpily, “But you will say it anyway.”
His sister nodded her head, denying him the lack of embarrassment only this once. When you are an immortal hearing such a human custom said to you annually gets annoying.
When the length of the campus was walked twice they changed directions to the hill that the Old Man stood over and watched all below. Lizzy sat on her knees and greeted the stone. Dante had hidden it under her coat, but from his bag, he pulled a broken fragment of a much larger piece, but still was easily visible to read the name engraved on it. This was all that remained of another tombstone he spent many long years searching for.
“Haha...” Lizzy laughed once nostalgically, “I didn’t think anything was left.”
Dante gave no expression as he carefully moved the grass and settle the ancient stone between the grass, but close enough to brush with the much larger and younger stone to its left. He searched long for this stone, millions of texts and records, most falling apart at the seams seeing that nearly half were paper documents.
As a boy, before he discovered the nature of his gift, he saw her. Within his sleeping mother’s lap he saw her first as age seven; raven hair, sky blue eyes, he thought himself dreaming when seeing this angel. Her voice was warm and gentle, but strength and power underneath words. A child Dante went to speak to this angel to touch her who embraced his mother so closely, but watched his hand pass thru her face. She smiled at him, bringing a finger to her lips:
‘Don’t worry little one...I’ll show you a sweet dream, next night.’
She came when his mother slept, but not always. he didn’t know who she was, nor where she came from, but he kept her a secret from everyone and came to believe her his friend. No else could see his friend. The angel would play with him, teaching him games, telling bedtime stories; a different person than he was used to. She taught him martial arts, Old Verse, his family history; the boy was very curious. Together they trained his gift, harnessed it, understood it--he was the light in this world, an immortal who can heal humans. On the day of his eighteenth he saw her for the last time. After that she was not seen again and later he found a picture hidden away and sought answers. His guardian angel, his first friend; when he accepted the burden of her story he did not know whether to cry or shout; hate or pity; mourn or forget. A part of him felt betrayed and the other could not forgive himself for his blindness.
Lizzy and the others could not believe he had seen her, who had died a demon, but then she had once been human and its was only natural since he was born that she would protect him. After all, Kira never killed children and he is the son of the woman she once loved.
“Eon...wasn’t that the name of that ferret Jake had?” Elisabeth muttered sadly.
She looked to the carved stone, worn by centuries of weathering.
“He was originally Kira’s ferret, Jake found him and took care of him while she was...away.” Dante explained.
Elisabeth recalled the time she saw Kira in London, seeing her again in the arms of a Doctor Emily Addy later on. She wanted to know why Jake’s friend seemed to have no memory of her and proceed to follow her home. Once listening to the two’s conversation she understood...she also chose not to tell Jake where his best friend had been all this time.
“Emily Addy...” She began, having known Dante was aware of the significance of that name, “It could be said her death was what gave rise to the One-Eyed Reaper.”
Dante agreed to a point, “If someone is pushed, their fall over the edge is not a choice, but how they decide to land is.” He said bowing his head to the two. The same could be said if someone is given only two choices to land--head first or feet first, however Kira was infamous for creating a third.
“You know...” Lizzy admitted, “You and grandmother are the only ones who believed that. She was my friend and only sister and yet even I couldn’t find it in myself to forgive her.”
Dante shook his head, “I never witnessed her actions, perhaps if I had--”
“But you didn’t, perhaps that is why you may be able to understand her mentality better than us.” Elisabeth’s tone became stiff and plain, “That woman killed her parents; her brother; destroyed her body and mind, betrayed her friends and abandoned her lover just for peace.”
Dante followed Lizzy down the hill, “Is that what you think her reasons were?”
Lizzy shrugged, “You will have to ask her yourself.”
“She is the one who sealed your mother’s memories and is the human who exists inside her after all.”
It had been a few years since Dante had seen his mother in person as his responsibilities as dean and a diplomat had him away from the planet often. Eona had stepped away from politics for a short time, a break in minor conflicts and swanked that tended to happen ever few years. She found a quiet place on the beach front, in North Carolina; a smaller city that had little tourism. The now ordinary citizen enjoyed the peace, picking up a job as a florist and started hobbies along the lines of candle making, pottery--she was horrible at sewing and needlepoint. Eona had no relationships as far as anyone was aware. she had casual partners, however there was no foreseeable knot-tying in her future. She often said she had no desire for a partner, that she had wanted to be free from such obligations, nonetheless feeling no loneliness.
‘Are you sure you won’t come?’ Dante almost pleaded to Akasha who had just greeted Lauren with a hug.
The Goddess did not make eye contact as she muttered, ‘I had lived ten thousand years in the body of another and seen thru the eyes of hundreds of thousands--forgive me, but it is not a favorable position to be in.’
Lizzy needed only to have contact to make a dive and had mastered her technique to make sure Eona, regardless if it was her own mind, could not follow them. Dante and Lizzy stepped on the leaves and twigs of mid-autumn. The trees of the inner-world still full and of numerous color that could easily fool the unaware of the illusion that is this place. They were not far from the university, just down the road, but from the beginning Dante had a feeling there was a difference between this place and the real world. The visitors both discovered the root of that suspicion.
Lizzy was un-surprised, “Back then the university didn’t exist. This is a preserving of the past she sealed away.”
Lizzy pointed to the tree beyond the main house and was almost happy to see this place had not changed, but was equally concerned of the reason it had not and at what cost had this been preserved. Her elder sister had an obsession with the past and part of her downfall was her inability to let it go. Now she has been here, alone, secluded for centuries with the memories of the life she stole from Eona; breaking one curse only to create another. Is that the legacy she wanted to leave behind? If so who is the one who really exists here: Kira or the One-Eyed Reaper?
Dante grabbed Lizzy before she crossed over a figure and allowed her to realize the snow that blanketed the grounds. A much younger Nightraven stood yelling on the top of her lungs despite no sound being heard. Eona came out, her words clear as day. The youngest cradled her companion as blood dropped from her face and left a trail upon her departure. Dante and Lizzy watched her hollow as she walked, without a hint of emotion as the storm picked up and blew away the snow for a clear spring day. Kira returned carrying a backpack over her shoulder after the first day of middle school. She ran, giving a hug to the maids then receiving praise from Eona who prompted for the child’s favorite meal to be made that evening.
“Come.” Lizzy touched her brother’s shoulder, “I know where she is.”
A short movement to the hill and they both came to a horrific scene. The Old Man that withstood the test of time outside; here it was blackened, scarred, painted with blood. It looked like an animal had made a toy of its bark and a person had used it as scratch paper. To another side a same person looked as though they were keeping a tally of something, but towards its end the perfectly straight lines had twisted and grew sloppy until no further marks were made.
“What the hell?” Elisabeth knew this was never an appearance of the Old Man.
“I’m sorry Eona.” Dante read the bottom of the tree.
The place where tombstone would be was instead a bloodied stain with that eerie message. It looked as though someone had leaned against this tree and either blood sprayed all over them, or they had suffered a fate similar to Catherine De Sandres.
“When people are protecting something truly special to them, they can become as strong as they can be.” Dante turned around to see the woman standing behind them, “You taught me that.”
Lizzy was caught off guard, but became defensive in her body language when seeing the eldest. She did not know what to expect, she had no expectations and even a part of her hoped she would not come face to face with the root of all evil. The eldest had patches of black all around her, bits of black and white in her hair had given into the idea that two apperances the seond eldest was famniliar with had merged into one.
Her expression was entertaining to say the least, a thousand years without seeing her younger sister and she almost didn’t recognize her. Dante has also matured--his voice was enough for her to know--no longer the little boy she played with, she did however feel a knot in her stomach--he was ‘here’. That knowledge made her uneasy herself.
“I know who you are: you’re Kira Nightraven, the One-Eyed Reaper, and my mother’s--”
“Kira?” She had closed her eyes and her authority of voice had wavered as the years wore her, “That’s right...that’s what my name was.”
Suddenly his normally bright sister became quiet. She was by no means regretful of her decision, but was certainly guilty of breaking her word. Just as quickly as Kira had hardened her voice, she eased and lightened the mood. It was too much to ask that of an honest person.
“You are here; I must be losing my touch after-all, you; you had best leave soon--there is nothing for you here.” Kira casually walked and then leaned against the tree.
“I was worried something may have happened.” Dante couldn’t help his eyes wondering to the tree, “Its becoming harder to sense you.”
Kira’s eyes remained shut, but her gaze was still felt and known to have been looking at Elisabeth. She had yet to get that far in telling the boy it seems, more of an explanation than anything else.
Elisabeth said, “You’re dying.”
Dante sapped his head to her, disbelieving her statement then just as quickly back to Kira. The white-haired woman rose a brow and giggled at the inaccurate statement; death cannot come to the already dead.
“Wrong. I’ve been dead for over a thousand years.” She stated quickly, working to form understandable sentence, seeing that she is long out of practice, “Who you see before you is nothing, but a shadow of the Nightraven.” Kira smirked humored, “Elisabeth; you better explain--I am not...” She gestured to the tree, “Stable.”
Dante had felt his mind read because that was going to be his next question. Its not natural to have more than one in a single body; the original host will always do what is necessary to protect itself: search and destroy. The body’s natural defenses will do anything to eliminate a dangerous foreign entity. In this case Kira had disrupted the body when she forcibly removed Eona’s memories.
“That cannot be.” Dante spoke aloud.
Kira continued to grin, drawing from the newer sources of power unnoticed, as she moved her head towards the sun, “I am a parasite...a curse. What remained of my power went into erasing my existence from your mother’s memory.”
Dante sounded as a tantrum-ing child, “Why?”
He grabbed Kira’s shoulders, pinning her to the tree, “My mother has no idea who you are, what you did for her; me; the world! You sacrificed yourself for our world and you are willing to die without being loved by the woman you gave everything for!”
“You’re right...I did love your mother.” Kira started softly, “You must also understand that your mother also stopped loving me; she loved the memory of a younger, innocent, and human me. I would not stand for being remembered as someone I am not.”
Dante’s eyes became wide, “That's not true! My mother has always loved the real you, not what my father made you into--”
He hesitated, realizing the sensitivity of the subject. Kira killed her mother and father, but by doing that she killed Lizzy’s mother as well. In addition she killed Dante’s father (though he never met him) who was firstly Lizzy’s father. It would not be surprising that were are no warm feelings between these two separated sisters. He never has asked how she felt in that regard.
“Ah...Alucard...” Kira became quiet, then continued with a victorious grin, “He seemed to enjoy creating and continuing the cycle, the corruption in the world--thinking himself a god above all others.”
The two younger siblings looked to each other, “Because of my actions, the cycle of hatred was broken and the Curse of the Nightraven was ended--Alucard and I’s deaths well...evil can only be defeated by evil and I willing took on that role. That...that evil...is the real me...”
Dante lessened his grip, his tears dropping on Kira’s shirt as she brought his head to the curve of her shoulder. She caressed his head and was happy to notice the difference in their height. He is much like his father in an appearance aspect. Dante stepped back and wiped his eyes, hating that the first time he meets his childhood friend its to end just as quickly.
"No, evil may have created you, evil may have tormented you, but evil is not what rules you."
Kira’s persona lightened, she glanced at the tree that marked her insanity--somehow, that insanity was ‘healed’ as these two visitors entered this place. Kira could not fathom and explanation, she had long noticed her fall back into insanity, and chose to remove herself from Dante’s youth in order to protect both himself and herself. Her own memories were scattered, broken; mixing and being overwhelmed by the memories she held in this place--that was all she could do. Back then Kira found removing Eona’s memories of hers completely was beyond her ability and settled for using herself to seal them. With that decision, Kira was never allowed to go into the ‘dream’.
Dante and Elisabeth spoke to each other as Kira’s mind wondered, trying to understand how she was even able to speak to them rationally. Until now she had no clear recollection of her life, she was consistently battle Eona’s mind to remain here to suppress the knowledge of Kira Nightraven’s existence and it is only by these two’s presence that such a battle has stopped. Just as Wolfgang had taught her long ago...a warrior does not remember who they are until a battle’s end, that is the only means to victory--to cut away any distractions.
Elisabeth thought in the moment she met Kira again all of her hatred and anger for taking her mother and father from her would explode and cause her to exact justice in their name. That was not what the immortal felt in this moment, after learning of her father’s deeds; her mother’s hands that cradled her so comfortingly and warmly were the same that held a blade and cut into Kira’s flesh and bone, staining red with the blood of her own child. The love the youngest received was far more than the eldest had and it is perhaps pity that stayed her own hand from enacting ‘justice’ for parents she knew nothing about.
She was a child back then, who knew nothing of how the world worked, or the darkness she was blinded to that lived within her very home--no she choose to turn away from the darkness that was so obvious. Elisabeth understood the reason for her parent’s deaths: it was the consequence of their own actions that had caused it, but to have a face to that consequence made it difficult to forgive. To have someone you called friend kill your parents...that is not a thing to take lightly, but now she faces this friend, this sister at her weakest point...
Kira stared at her with a smile, prepared to accept another’s wrath and hatred.
Elisabeth spoke, “You once asked me what kind of person I saw you as.”
Dante glanced at Kira who recollected the conversation, vaguely, as being the first time she found out about the immortal’s gift, “I did, didn’t I? As I recall...you told me I was someone who wouldn’t kill another without good reason, that I would hate myself because I was a good person.”
Kira chuckled at the irony of that statement.
“I was wrong.” Elisabeth admitted.
Kira nodded humored, “Very--”
“You’ll kill anyone if it meant protecting the people you love.” Elisabeth corrected, “Good or evil, you don’t care what you are; you are relentless, brutal and unwavering in your path, no matter how much destruction or how much pain there is.”
Kira and Dante stared at Elisabeth for a time and Kira burst into laughter, a surge of energy created by the revision. People in this generation are full of surprises and continue to surprise her.
“What makes you think I love anyone or anything? What makes you think I just didn’t want to watch the world burn for everything that was done to me?” Kira asked darkly
Elisabeth continued to be unmoved, “Because you’re a kind-heart-ed person.”
“You may have hidden behind a mask, but you eyes never lied--whenever you saw Eona, whenever you saw Jake or Adam, even without your memories...you always held back.” Elisabeth continued, “I saw how you looked at us, even with how much hatred you felt, after all that you suffered, you never changed.”
Kira chuckled, “You give me too much credit. The only kind thing I ever did was erase myself from Eona’s memories. That was not mercy, that was kindness.”
She would say she is looking forward to seeing how different they are from her own generation, but that would be another lie--she will not remain to see it. Kira laughed, harder and harder until she cried, amused at the difference, if Elisabeth had said this to her back then she would have a different response--Kira would have rejected admitting she did anything for another. She always lied about her intentions and feelings, but now...such a necessity doesn’t exist anymore.
“Dante don’t!” Elisabeth used her ability; forced the ground to move and keep him in place as he was inches from touching Kira.
“What are you doing?” Kira asked, returning to the moment at hand, “Whatever you were about to do, don’t even think about it.”
“But I can--”
Dante was cut off as Kira continued, “No. You need to leave--if you dare return...”
A shadow grew from her back, reddened eyes that shone and corrupted the very surfaces it touched. The shadow twisted, emerging from the flat black it too the form of death went hovering over its host.
“I’ll remind you why I am the One-Eyed Reaper.”
Dante and Elisabeth both felt themselves being pushed out of the subconscious, but only Dante was physically moved back.
“I am one who set fire to an entire world because of what it had done to people like me.” Kira’s flames, a bright, living color grew out like a wing, “Its ups to you, and this new generation, to make sure that new world does not repeat our sins.” She cringed her teeth as she said with desperate, lonely eyes to Dante, “I'm glad...my death was meaningful.”
Elisabeth had enough. She was the master of her gift not this invader and she was far more versed in entering people’s mind, even Kira’s own than Kira herself. She halted the push, catching her sister off guard. The moment of hesitation was enough for Kira to be thrown into the tree, flopping on the ground. Elisabeth, annoyed with the high and mighty persona of the Reaper knelled beside her and placed her hand on the woman’s head. She blew away the thick, black clouds that was the horrors of Kira’s life; from sight and mind they were gone. The ones long forgotten shone thru, memories she could not remember for hundreds of years, the one’s of happiness and joy, light and love. Kira saw the world before the world saw her.
It seemed like she was living her entire life all over again, the moment Eona gave her her scarf to stop her bleeding, that Wolfgang came to free her from her cage. Eona showed her how to walk, how to run and dress; they bathed together, learned the alphabet and how to read. Kira experienced her first snow, running outside with little clothes on and regretted jumping into a pile instantly. She made snow angels and a snow man, threw a snowball at Wolfgang and then began training with him. She was bitten by Eona and was sent to school--she met Jake and became best friends. He showed her how to play video games and climb tress, how to see in the dark and how to swim. They skipped stones in the pond behind his house and went fishing with a stick and string with a worm on a bent fork.
Kira walked down an unknown hallway, having lost her way to the next night class. In this hall she heard the violin in the band room and hid when a late night music teacher noticed her and motioned for her to come in. The teacher showed her how to hold a violin, positioning her hands to the proper place on the bow to strum once. The sound was different than what the teacher had created and Kira wished to created that same sound. That was when she learned what ‘music’ was and ‘beautiful sounds’. Between classes she practiced, having tortured Jake with the rough screech of a sound for the first year and a half. Her Christmas gift to Eona that year was a piece she had heard in a vampire movie called Queen of the Damned Jake suggested. Of course the maids of the house ‘motivated’ her to read the book, written by Anne Rice.
Kira met Eon in the woods one day, a lone and fearless weasel who jumped from a branch, landed on Kira’s shoulder and made off with her sandwich. He managed to do the same act six times before Kira managed to catch him by the scruff of his neck and demand he ask before taking her food. To him, Kira was a pathetic excuse of a hunter, but she had managed to quicken and catch him--he liked that. She chased him in the woods, here she learned to scale the mountain side and slip between rocks with ease, how to track animals and be undisturbing of deer and avoiding bear.
Emily visited the house often and made fun of her, taunting her with prizes of food if she could sit still thru one checkup without pouting. The day she ran into the doctor and saw her new employment at the school, having her hair ruffled as she lectured the carefree doctor on smoking in the school. Getting into arguments over what was better music, venting to the doctor about how unfair Wolfgang was on the very act of her breathing. Emily cornered her in the classroom, their bodies touching in a way the Kira found alarming, confusing and exciting. They went to the arcade, danced; went bowling and hiked the valley. Kira failed at cooking even the simplest of meals and was told she could not live on instant ramen and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She was able to properly boil an egg after a dozen and a half of fails which resulted in an abundance of treats for the ferret for almost a month.
Kira carried Eona to her hotel room, seeing how flustered the queen had become at having their roles reversed--a face Kira wanted to see more of. The human reached to touch Eona, but quickly pulled away before the Queen saw her.
Emily and the human hugged, they kissed passionately and strengthened their bond in bed.
Ian and Kira found each other again, going on trips to the bookstore and bar. Ian spoke of a woman he cared deeply for, but never had the courage to express his feelings for. Kira teased him for facing immortals rather than facing his feelings--they both shared that trait. They went to hockey games and Kira found a new enjoyment for human sports, those at a speed she could actually keep up with and play--though she was not well suited for ice skating. Though annoyed with each other her and Jensin also shared times with their common relative, going to dinners and watching something called Football (which she though was a religion since they watched it every Sunday at first) Kira never quite understood the rules for, but both men were very passionate about a team called the New York Giants.
Emily and Kira laughed at the bar, enjoying drinks and doing literature homework; with four people who lived during the time of Shakespeare it allowed for her to ace Classic Literature. Those times at Octave meant the world to her, as she talked with people from all different eras and backgrounds, learning about a world she had been sheltered form her entire life was eye-opening. There was so much to do and so much time she had to do it.
Kira and Emily took a trip, traveling the four main Isles and experiencing her first train ride. Watching the beautiful scenery with more green than she had ever seen before. Seeing castles of older times pass by and seeing the lands as Emily had in her youth, having traveled these same routes though through much slower and more dangerous means than in the modern day. Kira never thought she would spend a night in a castle and compared to the main house this building of stone was far bigger.
Kira practiced her new powers and strengths, often running into a wall in the sewers. She was glad ‘someone’ found that funny. Elisabeth was particularly curious about Kira’s gift, she and Kira often practiced creating different shapes and burning certain targets, often making a reference to a movie called Hellboy and wishing Kira had the pretty blue fire. Jake also wanted to see that fire, commenting that if she did not it would have a dull effect on the next Heroic Cuplet he writes about her. Kira rolled her eyes, though Hei thought to disagree, he would have to create another mask if her flames changed to an absurd color like blue or red. The two all chased after Adam after a off-hand comment about pink suiting her best like an Anime character, though Elisabeth agreed she was spared from chase. An act Adam considered most unfair.
Kira and Akasha sat across from each other, one more impatient than the other. Kira growled, scratching her head as she tried to think of her next move. She pointed to the piece with the horse on it, incorrectly calling it a Rook as she questioned what was the Rook and how it moved. Hei wrote on paper behind Akasha where to move and what piece was what, but after not beating Akahsa over thirteen times Kira turned around and realized the older immortal had been looking at the mirror behind her and the instructions were for the Goddess who had never played Chess either.
Angèle chased Kira out of her salon during business hours, commenting how she scared away her customers. The immortal killed time by playing with the children in the square, often allowing the human teammates to hop on her back and adjusted to a speed of the children vampire. She sat on the hill, the children rolling down, others playing in the flowers and four of the rugrats came up to the Reaper and placed a crown of flowers upon her head. Even when wearing her mask, to have only one eye open, they could tell she was smiling. In return Kira opened her hand and four blackened flame butterflies fluttered outward and were chased. Though the other children understood who this woman was to them, as the one who brought their parents’ death, few held lingering resentment.
A baby Dante evaded his tired mother, and made way towards the stairs--Kira appeared behind him, calling to distract the infant who followed his imaginary friend. Kira showed Dante secret passages to avoid the maids and the guards sent looking for him, being an important tool in his mischievous nature. This friend read along with him, though required the boy to flip pages for her, but eventually he gauged the speed of her reading and did so automatically. She tutored him in how to read older texts, reprimanding herself when her own colorful vocabulary rubbed onto him in his teen years. Comforting him after his first heartbreak, tugging at him before he crossed the street, while paying attention to his phone on his first trip to the Empire to visit his grandmother and uncle; who was actually younger than him.
Kira looked fondly at the drawing of her and he when he was a young boy, those early years with his unseen friend. She heard the maids talking about these drawings, how similar they were to her own at his age and how alike and different the two are now. At Dante’s high school graduation she stood in the back of the auditorium and watched, clapping happily as he walked across the stage and took his diploma in hand and when he gave his speech as valedictorian--of course with a tutor like Jake that was to be expected.
He spoke of the times ahead, of he and his peers being a new generation that now holds the responsibility to lead the next world into something better. He spoke of all those who made he and them possible, of times they had as children. Humans and Vampires alike were people who wanted to bond with others, be they imaginary or real. Dante had looked at Kira when he said that, talking of his own experience of wanting friends and with a shove (that was literal, seeing as Dante was very shy and Kira had to shove him towards his classmate to say hello). The audience rose, clapping for the Class of 2035 and with that Kira was prouder then than at any other point in her life.
Kira’s head was pounding as the flood of memories came and went all at once.
“What...what did you do?” Kira asked out of breath, “What was...”
“I brought the remaining memories you and I sealed away, the ones you buried the deepest.” Elisabeth explained, releasing Dante from the ground she had imprisoned him in.
Kira held her aching head, “That was my life...?”
Elisabeth nodded, “Grandmother Akasha told me that you had forgotten the value of your own life. I want you to remember.”
“Why?” Kira chuckled hollowly, “I who killed your mother and father...who betrayed your trust...would it not be justice for you to exact revenge in their name?”
The sister was quiet for a time, watching as Kira recovered from her forced remembrance and was likely to be incapacitated for a while.
“Because you are my sister...and the fact that I saw what she did to you...I can understand killing our mother...” Elisabeth said, noticing Kira twitch at the statement, “But I won’t forgive you for killing Alucard, no matter what you thought of him, he was still my father.”
Kira exhaled, rolling her eyes as she leans back against the tree as Elisabeth continued, “My revenge against you is making you remember. I want you to remember everything you’ve done good or bad and to live with the weight of your choices.”
“Who are you?” Dante asked randomly.
Kira tiled her head slightly in confusion, “Who am I? You know who I am Dante, everyone does.”
The man shook his head, “No, they know who you allowed them to know. I ask not the person you had to be, or who they wanted you to be, I want to know who you are.”
Kira corrected him, “Don’t you mean who I was?”
“No.” Dante assured, “You cannot fool me, I know, for a fact, you are still alive.”
Elisabeth and Kira both hesitated, but for different reasons. He cannot know that, only Emily and her know and Kira did not yet realize until she herself had created fragments. Fragments: pieces of humans left behind after their death, like a burning torch, ignited by one fire; even should the original fire go out, the torch will continue to burn and can be used to create anew. Emily did not discover, but was the first to come to an understanding of the phenomena and was the first to intentionally create a fragment and after being consumed by Kira, passed the knowledge and her notes for her lover’s use.
She never told Kira she was in-fact alive and played it off as being a ‘shadow’ a copy of her ‘original self’ in order to allow Kira the chance to move on. If Kira knew Emily was still alive inside of her, she would do anything to bring her lover back, even if it endangered or ended her own life. Kira played the same role, doing as her lover had done for her for Eona’s sake. In the Reaper’s case however, she used this fragment as a means to give herself more time. She needed it in order to disarray any remaining feeling Eona would have of her and allow her the chance to remove her existence from Eona’s memory and give her a chance at true happiness.
How Dante, a Pureblood, managed to discover this fact, without notes, without Kira’s knowledge, was beyond her. Someone...someone had to have told him, had to have given him a hint or idea. Of course the genius vampire would know, he knows, just as Kira, almost everything.
“Jake.” The Reaper chuckled, “No wonder you know about that, Jake told you.”
Dante nodded, leaving Elisabeth alone in her confusion, “I ask again.” The ground crumbled, freeing him, “Who are you?”
Kira smiled contently, understanding now, how she has returned to sanity and why such a line of questioning was proceeded. Dante and Elisabeth came down here with an alternative motive, he knows Kira’s fragment is indeed dying and what to do to save her.