Secrets of Ravenstone: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book One

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Chapter 7

Even though the morning started out with Mother Nature giving us a break with the light sprinkle, it rapidly turned to a heavy rain that poured for hours without a trace of letting up. The rain ceased activity for the shop owners and vendors at Raven’s Port and Village (RP and V); closing their shops and covering their stands. They retreated inside, until the rain stopped but kept themselves busy, rearranging their shelves or stocking up their merchandise.

Everyone at Ravenstone Manor stayed inside, making use of their lounges within their dwellings.

My mom was occupied, having been invited to Katrina’s Wiccan gathering in the kitchen with many others. They exchanged spells and other magical endeavors. I was happy for my mom because at least she could talk with others who practice magic, when I’m not around. But she still remained a solitary practitioner most of the time. She got agitated at times because the other witches would put pressure on her for some of her spells that she wouldn’t share.

I stayed upstairs, allowing my mom to have time with the witches, reading the books Marxus had given me. But this time, they had my full attention. I reached for the vampire book laying it on my lap with a hard thud, for it was heavier than I thought and remember. The binding was black leather, with worn but not torn edges. Embossed on the cover, was the symbol of a Gothic fleur-de-lis. Looking at it closely, it resembled a creature with slanted eyes, horns and wings. But maybe that was just my imagination.

Beneath the symbol was the title VAMPYRES, embossed in fancy Gothic font. I could tell the symbol and lettering were once colored with some variety of silver paint, for I could see traces of its shine in the indentations of the engravings. I glanced over at the lycan book and it too, was beautifully bound in brown leather but not quite as old and antique as the vampire book. On its cover, was the symbol of a crescent moon with a Wolf’s paw-print set in the moons’ curve.

The symbol and title were also embossed into the leather. The title LYCANTHROPES was written in a Celtic font, colored with gold that was clearly visible. I wondered for a moment, who could have written these books but then realized that anything I thought of, probably wouldn’t even come close to the actual answer. Admiring the books, my attention reverted back to the vampire book. I carefully handled the cover; fingers running along the ledge. Written on the first page was a vampire’s synopsis in old lettering inscribed in blood written by quill:

“Contained within these pages, are the historical origins of a race known as the Vampyre. To read these pages and words, is to gain knowledge of how we came to be since the very first, down through the ages, to the very last of the Barathous bloodline. This book contains the account of one born a Vampyre, and ones turned or created afterwards. Read this book with an open mind and heart and know this race still lives, flourishing among you; unseen at times and have the most unique abilities, that only some could ever dream of possessing. Not all are evil as mankind has thought us to be. We feel and love deeply but yet, we are the most dangerous and lethal race that can not control our rage or thirst. And at times, we can not control our emotions.

My name is Drayven Xavier Barathous and I am the original author of what you are about to read.”

I read in amazement, running my hands over the surface of the pages, knowing they were written in blood. As I did, my hands tingled slightly. Maybe it was the energy emanating off the pages, static electricity or my own energy, because that’s the only explanation, for vampires don’t possess magical qualities. Not to sound like BELLA from TWLIGHT, for I’m nothing of the sort, but vampires have always fascinated me, so I found this book extremely intriguing.

Flipping through the pages, were writings and symbols practically covering every inch of the pages. What they said or meant, I didn’t know but they were magnificent to study and resembled Roman calligraphy. The blood written pages were a beautiful contrast on the parchment paper. There were sketches and photographs of people I’m guessing belonged to the Barathous bloodline, along with names and centuries they originated in. Some pages were too faded to make out. On the last few pages before the remaining blank sheets, was a family tree dating from the century during the domination of the Roman era (10 A.D.) up to now, the year 2025.

Beginning the tree was Drayven Xavier Barathous; the original vampire born from a human female but created by a demon who took her husband’s appearance. Doesn’t that sound like something you’d hear in a Hercules movie? From the sketch of him mostly done in a black pigment taking up a whole page to itself, was more of a demonic vampire. Veins running down his neck, longer fangs and black eyes. Two inch claws tipped his fingertips. The sketch was frightening so I flipped the page finding another sketch, but in his human form. He was incredibly handsome with shoulder length hair colored dark, representing black hair, eyes colored red and with carved features. I thought to myself, “WOW! IF HE’S THE VAMPYRE THAT INSPIRED DRACULA, I CAN SEE WHY. TALL, DARK AND GORGEOUS. MY GOD…HIS EYES WERE CAPTIVATING AND THIS IS JUST A SKETCH.

I continued scanning the remaining pages. The person on the last, was an outline figure of a male; not completely filled in. No name of who he was, but the information stated he was the last original of the Barathous line, living in the year 2025 and that he too, was born a vampire. Is he still alive and where and does he look like Drayven? I found one more page stuck to the last. Gently pulling the page apart from the one before it, the page revealed the mark identical to the one displayed on the books cover, signifying the original vampire’s status, which would be tattooed somewhere on his body.

Skimming back through the pages, I discovered a brief explanation that the vampire race wasn’t recorded until the eight century, even though vampires began in the first century A.D. They remained hidden until then. Another section described their abilities and feeding habits. For example, five vampires could share one human for a single feeding; though not much but enough to satisfy their thirst and sustain them for a short period. Vampires feed several times a month but can go long periods of time without feedings before they begin shriveling; drying out but not dying. Newly turned vampires however, need to feed everyday for their appetite is insatiable until learning to control their cravings which is NEVER really fully controlled.

Their abilities were remarkably explained in Drayven’s words himself:

Strength: We are incredibly strong; much stronger than the average human being. We have the strength to lift an adult man or Lycanthrope in human form, off their feet with just a single hand. We can tear limbs apart; extracting organs with our powerful bare hands with no effort.

Speed and Senses: We are faster than humans or Lycanthropes. We can run long or short distances, being there instantly and rapidly, we can not be seen. We have the ability to teleport ourselves from one place to another in a misty essence, with the thought of the location we wish to be. This is limited to places we have visited within a given distance or within 200 miles. Our vision is magnified as we hone in, adjusting our eye sight. It is enhanced 100 times or more. We too, have the ability to see in the dark just as any nocturnal creature. Our sense of hearing is impeccable allowing us to hear conversations, whispers and sounds up to 26 miles. Sense of smell too, is incredible for we can detect the scent of blood from miles away.

Agility: Vampyres have enormous superhuman agility. We can move, jump, climb and run without exhaustion.

Invitation: We have to be invited into a home by the human owner or we are blocked by an invisible barrier. I think it is witchcraft that prevents our entry but that is not proven. We can though, enter an abandoned home or those owned by another Vampyre. Public accommodations hold NO barrier.

Emotions: Our thoughts and all emotions are highly enhanced. If provoked, they can become overwhelming, leading a Vampyre to shut down their emotions permanently. Vampyres without emotions become Rippers; far more dangerous than ones who decide to keep them. Our sexual appetite however, is insatiable lasting for hours. Days at most, if given the time, as every nerve in a Vampyre’s body is heightened 100 times!

Compulsion: Vampyres control the thoughts, emotions, actions and behavior of humans, altering or erasing memories on a temporary or permanent basis. I myself, the only Original and that of the first-turned Vampyre of my bloodline; my brother Alexander, can compel the thoughts of other Vampyres. But as the line continues, this ability to compel another Vampyre is lost and has diminished.

True Self: A Vampyre’s True Self is the appearance we hide from humans. When revealed upon rage, we display red eye pigments and the extension of our canine fangs. An Original’s True Self reveals demonic features of longer upper fangs, claws and black eyes resembling that of an insect. I however, can not reverse the red eye pigments for they are permanent. The scent of fresh blood or during intense emotions pertaining to rage or lust, trigger this appearance. I have experienced all of these and they are overwhelming, yet VERY intoxicating.

Immortality and Healing: Vampyres cease to age once they are turned. Features and facial hair remain exactly as they were before the transition. Vampyres are immune to all conventional illnesses and viruses, including infections. We heal rapidly; depending on the severity of the wound. It can take a matter of seconds or minutes but we do feel the pain inflicted. Our bones can repair damage once broken and fully recover from gunshots inflicted by a new weapon called a Gun, stab wounds or torso wounds. If a neck is broken, it takes time for it to reset and heal. We awake from our unconscious state with soreness in the neck. One of our weaknesses, are wounds to the head that slow us down but our healing ability is always in effect. Taking hours for the wounds to heal, we awake suffering from migraines that gradually dissipate, as do our abilities for a short time.

Blood Bonds and Memories: A bond between a Vampyre and his or her newly turned newborn is unbreakable, unless the Maker releases them or is killed. Blood memories are shared when tasting the blood of our mates or humans, seeing past memories. The creation of a new Vampyre can not just be given when a person seeks it. It has to be given as a gift, desiring Immortality. Except where one is wrongfully bitten against their will, which is unfortunately common in these dangerous times. As an Original, I have forbade the creation of those who seek Immortality for their own personal gain. The turning process requires a Vampyre to drink the blood of the one being turned, almost draining them. Once that step is complete, they are given the Vampyre’s blood which begins the transition that may take hours or days to take hold. Creation of a newborn Vampyre under the age of 18 years, is considered an abomination and is strictlyforbidden. The reason is self-explanatory: if a person is young, he or she would not be able to handle the transition for it would conflict with their natural mental aging process. If a child becomes a Vampyre, their mind ages and advances to that of an adult rather quickly.

Weaknesses: Decapitation results in a Vampyre’s permanent death. Direct sunlight burns our skin or causes slow combustion, if exposed for long periods of time. In more recent times however, I have discovered a piece of jewelry crafted of the highest quality silver with a blood Garnet stone setting. This allows a Vampyre to walk in full daylight without injury. I have not participated in this dark magick. I prefer the darkness of the shadows, for that is all I have ever known. Vervain is an herb that causes feverish symptoms and burns if in contact with our skin. Heavier consumptions lead to unconsciousness. Removing the heart is another permanent method to defeat a Vampyre. That is, if one can get close enough. Iron is the only metal alloy that weakens our race, killing us if exposed for long periods of time. It burns our skin, limits our abilities and we can be killed if stabbed through the heart with an iron weapon. Deterioration is another detriment for our race, for if we do not feed after a certain time, say 100 years of a suspended state, we begin deteriorating turning into a mummified corpse. I have seen this come to pass. And even though it is not a weakness, we are immune to magick except for the magick of a Jinn, in which I have discovered are a race of living beings. One of which is my true Maker and creator of my bloodline. I do not have his name other than the initial M.

Myths: Garlic has no serious effects, except for the scent of which irritates our sense of smell and eyes. Holy crosses have no effect. Vampyres have reflections, souls and a pulsating sensation in our chests. Not a heartbeat per se but the blood pumps through the arteries. We are alive and our skin has a cooler temperature like that of someone standing outside on a Winter’s night. We are not dead corpses. We do not turn into bats or anything of the sort, for that is the most ridiculous concept of my race! And we are not afraid of Gods presence for he had no hand in our creation. But we are something to be feared, have no doubt about that.”

I stared at the pages with so many questions and thoughts running through my mind. Too many to sort out at once. I huffed as I closed the book, sitting there momentarily thinking about everything I have read. But I mostly wondered why he listed everything in such detail but I guess Drayven really wanted people to know the truth about the vampire race. He accomplished that from me.

Having read the book and learning what it meant to be Keeper, made me feel like I was in school all over again, with loads of homework. Like I told Marxus, no pressure but I made a promise and I’m going to keep it. I laid the vampire book aside on the bed next to me then leaned my head back, rubbing my eyes. Sighing, I lowered my gaze toward the lycan book, ready to read its content when suddenly someone knocked on my door. Startled, Zanz (who had come from the bathroom after using his piddle pads) stared at the door, growling. I laid the book on top of the vampires’ then stood. Petting Zanz’s neck, I whispered that everything would be alright before approaching the door. Once his growls ceased I called out,

“Who is it!?”

“Me…Sarah!” her voice sounded depressed.

I opened the door; Sarah standing in the doorway with the most dismal expression. Leaning against the door frame I joked,

“You look bored.”

“How could you tell?” she complained, hunching her shoulders momentarily.

“Your face says it all.” I stepped aside, letting her pass then closed my door, leaving it open ajar.

Looking around, she complimented my rooms’ color scheme and decor. She walked over, plopping down in one of my chairs. Sighing deeply she gazed out my patio balcony windows, watching the rain hit the railing. As it splattered onto the colored glass and ground, she bluntly said,

“Ugh…I hate the bloody rain. It always rains here.”

“I don’t mind it. Zanz does, though. Poor boy wants to go out for a walk.” I replied sitting across from her in the other chair, “But the rain makes everything smell so fresh and clean afterwards. I guess that makes me a true water sign then.” I smiled.

“Oh, you’re a water sign? I’m an air sign. Guess that’s why I’m a wee-bit ditsy.”

“You said it. Not me.” I chuckled.

“Hey!” she threw the chair pillow at me.

Zanz innocently mistook that as a sign of aggression as he snarled, taking slow steps toward her. She froze, not making any sudden movements as she stared into his golden Wolf eyes.

“Zanz…Zanzabarr, back away! Now!” I ordered as I snapped my fingers, making eye contact which is when he noticed that spark of flame. Lowering his head, he backed away. Seeing his submissive stance I continued, “She’s a friend. Easy boy.” I knelt down, scratching his neck then stood, walking toward his bed where his toys laid, “Here.” I tossed him one.

He caught it midair in his massive jaws then jumped on my bed, chewing the toy aggressively. Sarah slowly stood and muttered as she stood near the door,

“He’s frightening. How can you stand having such an animal like that!?”

“Takes a special soul to know another.” I answered, “And he’s protective. That’s all. It’s been just us. Well, my mom and us. Anyway…” I focused in her direction, “what do you want to do because hanging around in my room, isn’t much of an option.”

“I don’t know. What were you doing before I knocked?”

“Oh, I was uh…reading some books Marxus gave me. Not important.” I replied bluntly, walking toward my bed realizing I had left the books out in the open, “It’ll probably bore you.” I inconspicuously hid the books under my large pillows.

“Well, anything Marxus does is important.” Sarah mumbled then changed the subject, “Since the rain limits all our outside activities, we have to find something to do. The telly in the lounge is bloody bonkers due to the rain, so movies are out.”

Before I could reply, there was another knock. Thinking I shut it completely, it slowly swung open and standing in the doorway, was Jonathan. He studied the door frame, then flashed a wide grin asking in a friendly tone,

“Am I interrupting anything?”

“No, not at all. What’s up?” I answered.

“Hi, Jonathan.” Sarah smiled.

“Hey.” he returned the smile, “And nothing much. Just delivered a message for Marxus and you?”

“Bored out of our minds.” Sarah interrupted before I could speak.

“Well, don’t know what to tell you. I’ll be hanging out with the guys for a while, so will the two of you be alright without my friendly face?” he smiled once more.

“I think we’ll manage. I have some Keeper duty later, anyway.”

“Ha-ha…you said dooty.” Jonathan commented in a goofy manner.

“Jonathan!” I threw a pillow at him which he caught with precision.

He chuckled, tossing it back at me disturbing Zanz as he jumped off the bed. He wasn’t afraid to let Jonathan know it either, giving a threatening growl, which Jonathan returned with a hiss. That was the wrong thing to do for Zanz took that as another act of aggression. Stating firmly I stood between the door and my Wolf,

“Would everyone stop antagonizing my dog!? He’s part Wolf, remember!? He still needs to settle in! He’s nervous!”

“Yeah, how can everyone forget that which is why I think I’ll uh…go.” Jonathan quickly answered, disappearing down the hall.

“Yeah, me too.” Sarah fearfully added as she stepped out into the hall.

Once again I calmed Zanz’s nerves, speaking softly as I stared into his eyes. Petting the scruff of his neck I glanced over my shoulder, seeing Sarah standing out in the hall. I sighed as I commented,

“Tell you what…why don’t I meet you at the manor and we can figure out what to do then, alright? I need to be with Zanz. New place with new scents and people.”

“Sure, whatever.” she frowned, “Might have to swim there though, if this rain doesn’t let up.” then she quickly left.

“Zanz, Zanz, Zanz…what am I going to do with you, hmm boy?” I whispered,”Calm the storm baby…calm the storm and take it easy. No ones’ going to hurt me and I love you for protecting me. Thank you but…I think you need some fresh air.” I kissed his snout then once more, stared into his gold eyes; intense and intelligent, knowing he understood every word I said, “That’s a good boy…that’s my little hound.”

He leaned forward, licking my face. Once calmed, I attached his leash to his harness then grabbed an umbrella and towel. Glancing back at my bed, I hoped the books would be safe. I had faith they would be so I closed and locked my door. Venturing down the hallway, I descended down the stairs to the lounge.

My mom heard my voice speaking to Zanz, as she sat in the kitchen. Briefly excusing herself, she walked toward me with a large smile. We engaged in quick conversation and I revealed to her, my plans of joining Sarah in the manor’s lounge. Before she could tell me her plans for the day, the group of Wiccans sitting at the table, called for her return. They flashed smiles and waves, of which I returned. Giving a hug I turned away, opening the door watching the rain pour down over the property.

“Have fun.” my mom said.

“You too.” I smiled then glanced at Zanz who panted in excitement, “Ready boy?”

With my large umbrella, we ran down the gravel walkway, entering the side entrance through the iron gate (that I discovered recently), leading to the manor’s lounge. Zanz shook the water from his fur as I shook my umbrella onto a large indoor mat, then leaned it against the wall to dry. Kneeling in front of Zanz, I dried his fur with the towel which I hung over one of the chairs near the fireplace to dry.

Sarah glanced up hearing my voice, observing as I approached her.

“You…” she sighed reluctantly, “brought your dog?”

“Yes, Sarah…I brought my dog.” I snapped, “He needed a walk. I brought his muzzle and some treats, so don’t worry.”

She grimaced, with a distaste for animals.

“I’ll be right back. I need to talk to Marxus then we can…whatever.”

“Sure. Fine. I’ll meet you in the dining hall.” Sarah answered, “Take your dog with you, yeah?”

I sneered as she walked away then gazed down at Zanz who watched her attentively. Making clicking sounds, I alerted Zanz to follow alongside. We ascended the curved stairs up to the second floor. Seeing Marxus’ door closed, I knocked softly. Receiving no answer, I was about to walk away when the door opened ajar.

“Come in, Little One.” his voice announced from inside.

I pushed the door open, peeking my head inside seeing him sitting in one of the chairs, reading a letter of some kind. Clearing my throat I whispered,

“I’m sorry if I disturbed you.”

“No, not at all.” he replied, “I’m actually glad you came. Come in, please.”

I sat Zanz by the door then walked over, sitting on the couch while Marxus intensely reread the letter. There was a moment of silence when I asked curiously,

“I know it’s none of my business, but is everything alright?”

“Hmm?” he looked at me, “I’m sorry?”

“I came at a bad time, didn’t I? I’ll go and come back later.”

“No, please. I, uh…just received this letter and it disturbed me greatly.” he held up the piece of paper, “Here. I’d like for you to read it.”

“Are you sure?” I gently took it from his hand, pausing for a moment.

Marxus nodded as he stood, walking toward his patio doors.

I read the letter. After reading it several times, I laid the parchment on the ledge of the table. Asking with a quivered voice I gazed toward Marxus,

“The men in that letter? Were they really following us ?”

Marxus continued staring out the window, placing his hands in his pockets. Sun shining on his face he replied,

“Yes…yes they were and they were asking a lot of questions.”

“But they’re not going to find us, right because we’re supposed to be safe here! That’s what you promised! Besides, we’re on an island hidden in ominous fog so…”

Marxus turned, returning to the couch; kneeling in front of me. Compassion filled his Hazel-Brown eyes as he looked directly into mine. Reassuringly, he said in a calm voice as he reached out holding my hands in his,

“You’re safe, Little One…I promise. I’ll never let anything happen to you or your mother. Now, after reading that letter…are you alright?”

“Yes and no, but thank you.” I replied, holding back my tears.

“Don’t thank me, sweet girl.” he said fatherly, “I’ve tried my hardest to protect everyone here and so far so good.” he smiled before returning to his desk, leaning on its ledge facing me.

“Marxus? Exactly what happened to those men?” I inquired as I stood, “Or do I even want to know? Is there a chance that these men could find their way here?” I folded my arms.

“They will not be coming here, nor anywhere…for that matter. What happened to them, knowing Nikolaas, he handled things accordingly, just as his letter stated. For you see, Little One…Nikolaas is a vampire. Need not say more.” he revealed, “And so is Steven and Roberto. Actually that whole town is a nest of vampires.”

“ A nest? That explains a lot, then. My mom and I stopped there on our travel here but we never had the chance to speak to any of them except for Roberto who took our order.”

Marxus smiled then changed the subject,

“Have you had the time to look through those books?”

“Hmm?” I lost my thoughts for a moment putting all the pieces together then answered clear headed, “Yes, actually. I read the vampire book and glancing through it, I can’t believe vampires have been around since the first century. That’s…after Christ during the Roman era. Amazing how they’ve stayed hidden.”

“Yes, they are an amazing race. Perhaps…never mind. Those books will help you understand them. I suggest you read more until you fully comprehend everything.” he commented.

“I will and I really want to learn more about my position here and what it’ll entail. What is this title, Keeper of Secrets and Keys?” I asked, “My mom wonders the same, as I explained things to her. It must involve more than just protecting those artifacts, right?”

“You’ll learn. There’s only so much a person can take in, in such a short time. A lot of things you’ll learn as time goes by. Reading those books, is one of your tasks. Now, what did you want to talk to me about?” he said.

“You know what, I got sidetracked after reading that letter and now I completely forgot what it was. Everything we spoke about, erased my mind of the thought. Sorry.” I grinned.

“No worries. Whenever you gather the memory, remember, my door is always open. Well, not really but you get the idea.” he joked.

I chuckled then turned, walking out with Zanz, closing the door behind me.

“Have a good day, my lovely!” Marxus called out then sat behind the desk, taking on his true form; a man with mysterious tattoos down the right side of his face and red eyes. He smiled as he continued in a soft whisper, “If only you knew, Yzavela…who it is you really speak with, half of the time. So many secrets, so much time. Ugh, time to go. Master calls.”

He chuckled lightly as he glanced around the study, nodding then disappeared in a burst of flame, leaving behind the faint stench of sulfur. Moments after, the REAL Marxus returned from his absence, catching the strange scent left behind and wondered if maybe a candle burned or he had forgotten to put out the fireplace. Seeing neither was the cause, he grew curious as he opened the patio doors, letting in the fresh air.

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