Chapter 1 Captives Among Us Conquer
Captives Among Us Conquer
It was said to not last forever. They wouldn’t have to suffer for long, but they had been suffering and starving; kept prisoner and barely kept alive with this blood broth boiled in a big pot. They were treated like animals... and they were nothing more than that to their vampire masters that would feed off of them. A whole coven, an infestation of vampires in an abandoned castle. Sometimes when the weaker human blood-bags would grow ill, for the lack of being able to sustain them with just an empty broth they would chop them up and cook them for the rest. That was the highlight of life for these suffering souls.“Latonya, Latonya!” Annamarie called. “Mother is sick.” What disgusting waste and filth they slept in; eating and sleeping and defecating all in the same little box of a cell. It wasn’t uncommon to hear wails and screams in the night, from when some were dragged out and taken away to be feasted upon and put back, drained, weaker and sometimes going deaf or blind, or both. Yes, this was their lullaby to sleep. Latonya did not wish this for her mother and her sister... she planned to escape, for she knew it was either stay here and suffer and die, or take a chance to escape this hell; and most likely be hunted down like animals, but a risk she was more than willing to take. She was desperate for any other option than to stay in this cell to rot and die. Something within her told her she can rid herself and her sister and her mother of this if she really wanted. Something told her she had the power. What is this change I feel, this hypnotic change, am I dosing off, am I feverish? Latonya began to lose consciousness and control of her mind. The dungeon grew blurry and dim and the bars she gripped in her hands slipped away. Latonya had no idea what was to come of this hypnotic state she went under. She let it take her over and blacked-out.
Latonya’s eyes turned dark and glossy, her skin turned to scales and her dreaded matted hair turned white. Strength grew in her hands as they held onto the bars and they exploded, shooting away. Vampires hurried to contain this situation, but she sent the bars flying into them, impaling and hanging them as ornaments on the dungeon walls. What a divine demonstration of an evil takeover.
She had awoke on the floor of the prison. What had happened? Was it all a dream? No it wasn’t. The bars had been broken and she looked over to find her mother lying still there where she did, and her sister as well just next to her mother, staring at her making the sign of the cross.
“Latonya...?” Her mother said as if questioning within herself whether what she had witnessed of her daughter was real or of her own delusions of ailment; seeing the vampires pinned on the walls lifeless.
Latonya, not knowing it yet, was a new breed of witches that she would learn of in time set-apart from this greart escape. Another tale in and of itself.
“What happened?” Lantonya asked. She looked on across over the floor of filth and dirt and grew an awareness of her surroundings. The prison bars gone, and no one alive to stop them from leaving this place. She scrambled up and took action, regardless if she accepted or understood what had happened; it was a complete blank to her, but she knew what she had wanted. She wanted her and her mother and her sister to get out of here. She gathered them up and made her way to the steps, up to the sun or to the moon, she didn’t know, she hadn’t known for days; but she knew it to be the way out.
Helping her sister as a crutch supporting her mother’s weight, they limped their way up the stone steps. She was weak very weak. No she would not make it far and would just keep them from fleeing themselves. Her mother wasn’t strong enough by logic, but the heart fights logic; the two, the heart and the mind have been at war ever since the dawn of man. Could she save her heart from drowning in sorrow, if it was to come to such a thing where she and her sister would have to leave their mother behind and make a run for It themselves. Latonya wanted all of them to remain together, but she might not have any control over that being more than just an unprecedented and foolish hope.
The vampires would soon come after them. Leaving her mother behind was not a decision Latonya or even Annamarie had concluded upon. Their mother made this decision when the roar up the stairs followed after them atop the castle walls. She collapsed. “Go on, leave me, get out of here!” They looked back and gave their mother one last goodbye, running on ahead, looking back at her for a second and last glance.
They had escaped and turned to face and looked up at the castle from the grassy field far beyond; with the torches lighting above where their mother had been left behind; and at the mercy of the merciless. The only thing that chased after them now was the mourning of their mother. They turned in approach of the trees to seek refuge from across the exposure of the field. The saplings promised safety above all else... more safety than what they had known for a long time now; since they were brought to the castle. The trees were dense, unwelcoming and unruly, but it was nothing compared to what horrors they fled from. They came to a stream and rushed to drink from it, watching vigilantly all around for any danger. “We need to reach beyond the barrier where our magic will be stronger, and we must hurry if we are to make it, they will not let us leave from here alive to reveal their secret hideaway. They will not.” Annamarie said, keeping her wits about her. They were young and healthy regardless of their frail and skin-and-bones appearance now.
She was right, they would not let them escape, they needed desperately to get passed the barrier where their magic would be stronger. “I don’t know how you were able to use magic back there Latonya... it was a wicked sight to see you do what you did... nothing less than what the vampires’ deserved, it was a miracle granted by the devil, if I’ve ever seen one; and however you were able to do it, I know things to be from the devil to come with a great price. There is to be a great curse upon you Latonya, I can feel it.” She followed after her sincere and ever weary growing sister as they trailed along the stream, pressing to get out of this victimized circumstance and well out of reach from the vampires.
Her sister was the only one who knew what happened that night. Latonya had no idea of what had happened. What has she done, has she brought this upon herself? Was her obsession to break free from the dungeon the thing that caused this? Was her hope for it so strong that the devil himself had responded and granted her wish? It was certain that she had not known. Not even a trace of a brief memory; one moment her hands were on the bars, and the next, she was on the floor awakening to a profound and dream-like miracle, a dream and hope fulfilled from out of a nightmare existence. All those poor dying souls left behind; what would become of them... Latonya felt an increase of power and Annamarie stopped and turned, beginning a spell. She opened up a black split in the atmosphere; she had created a portal and this portal of hers would lead them back home to the village from where they were taken from. Where, if there were any at all, answers to this would be. There was something amuck about this whole thing from the very beginning, for significantly just her, her mother and her sister had been taken. She felt there to be a conspiracy behind and about this whole thing. Someone in the town had wanted them gone... why... and who... and whether they would ever find an answer was the most important question. They would keep their return to the village a secret, speak to no one and trail within the shadows of life until they could learn what happened. No doubt whoever was behind this would not expect their return, so they had the upper-hand here in a way or had them at a somewhat disadvantage. But not enough to tread on in there loudly and proudly for the whole world to know it... whether they wanted to know it or not.
Fear pulsating throughout their bodies, pounding in their blood, sickening and unsettling their state of well-being, plagued them. It was disgusting what this vile situation had concluded to. It took their mother from them and summoned the devil. Annamarie was sure of it. The devil was called to their aid, and he made his relentless and undyingly devoted appearance. It had to be so. But, there was good magic... just not the magic Latonya had used... their was black magic as well. Black magic was more powerful, yes, but what had been a sufficient offering to give up to the devil for Latonya’s request of him... she would now have to belong to the devil, right? Isn’t that how it works? The price for what happened that night, would have to be an exchange for Latonya’s soul. Annamarie’s sister belonged to the devil, and she would remain cautious of it until she knew how to go About dealing with it and doing something about it. She would help her sister find a way to keep the devil at bay from coming to collect what is his. There was a man, a wise man outside of the village, he would know if anyone would of what to do. He lived on the outskirts of the town for a long time, and he was no-doubt labeled a witchdoctor of some kind. Lucky day for him, he would be visited by two authentic witches for probably the first time in his life.
They would be done with this village. This disgusting village full of morons, the poor and rich alike. Stupidity didn’t favor you whether you were poor or rich, and that was the real world. A world that learned of magic and rejected it, and called it evil. Leaving the powerful to humble themselves and keep their power a secret, but what good was it to have power if you couldn’t use it? They should just do in the whole village, light it up, burn it to the ground. That was wishful thinking. But they would never find out who exactly it was who wanted them gone if they did that. They would have to delve deeper than that, for this might be bigger than to just involve a few of the villagers to be the mastermind behind it all. “Sometimes I wish people were smarter than that.” Annamarie slipped a cloak off the rack from inside the closed up shop, and put it on as Latonya did the same. They hurried and had gone through the portal again; now in this desperate living, they were forced to turn to thievery. Next would be food... and then rest. They would choose a room in the inn. Nothing could stop them, and they would be gone well before the sun came up, before anyone would be the wiser. Cheese and a loaf was as good a meal as any, and that was what they ate as they watched the moon rise outside the window. Annamarie closed the shutters, shutting out the superstitious cold, rejecting the mortal world outside. She took a look at her condition in the mirror with the washing bowl beneath and noticed how filthy a mess she was. Latonya hadn’t looked near as bad. She still had color to her cheeks, whereas there was none within her and her desert skin sucked into her bones. “This won’t do.” She touched her face and a speck of light absorbed into her skin. It spread out over her entirety rapidly, and where there was nothing but just skin-and-bone once, there was now shapeliness and plumpness. Latonya drew up her hand and was about to do the same spell, but Annamarie turned and grabbed her arm and silenced her anxiously. “Don’t use magic! Latonya I fear for you. The devil was summoned by you, I don’t know how, but he was and I am certain that performing magic will make your situation worse. Don’t, I will do it for you...” Annamarie put into action the same spell and Latonya became enriched with life and beauty; the swell of her breasts and hips filling out the robe. Latonya’s ashy hair gleamed with a sheen of vitality and vibrancy as the dirt was cleaned away from her complexion. Her green eyes shot back at the window to the clattering sound of the wind against the shutters; a sudden horror came over her turning her expression dim. “Annamarie help me, don’t let the devil take my soul.”
“I fear it is due to be collected, but I will not let the devil have
your soul, even if he is to face us now and it comes to the very thing of I having to prevent him. I will stand in the way of him from taking you.”
Latonya grew frightful by her words. The devil would not like her mocking him like this, and might just show up right now to make an example and a fool out of her.
“Annamarie be careful with what you say. Don’t test him. Don’t entertain the thought of such things.”
“My dear sister. I am reckless you know that. I will hold my tongue if it frightens you. Come now let’s get some rest for the night and try to dream of a happier time.”
They hadn’t left a trace of ever being there; right down to every significant speck of dust on a surface. It was an easy thing to do with magic. A simple spell, and after that, it was as if they were never there, like they hadn’t even existed more so then a ghost or a wandering spirit floating between here and the afterlife. They appeared outside the village in black cloaks with rations enough to suffice for the journey if they were to make it without magic, but of course as soon as they had appeared from out of the portal at the gates of the village they made haste on foot. With Annamarie being the only one using magic, she didn’t want to waste her strength if she didn’t have to. Magic was taxing and would leave her too weak to go on and vulnerable to the likeliness of an ambush of thieves... but what would such scoundrels find appealing of them if they hadn’t any valuable possessions. That was right, they would need magic to fend them off. Annamarie was desperate to find help and who better to seek out than the hermit, who thought it best to keep to himself, to talk to no one; have nothing to do with the town or anyone in it. The hermit who found magic to be a gift and a beautiful thing above all else. She felt secure in knowing this. When one found themselves in trouble, what was best but to keep to yourself, even if the answer was right in front of you, you were to not seek it out, let it come to you. Annamarie swiftly moved on with Latonya just behind her. Latonya, her younger sister, seeming to depend on her for everything now. Whether because their mother was gone now so she would have to look after her or whether because she knew Annamarie had an ability to do so, she did not know. But she led her on through the field and through all despair behind and beyond.
“Did you hear that?” Latonya said. Annamarie looked up and saw that the sky was brewing a storm. It was going to rain soon. Of course this was the season for it, rain would inevitably fall, but they would carry on no matter what. Off in the distance there was a place of refuge, a place they hoped on reaching by nightfall. Valor took their pace, kept them on track. Wild grass began to blow and bend in the wind as the rain began to fall forming puddles along the way. They were almost there; the likeliness of getting held up by any reasons of this wilderness were slim to none. They could see the lantern in the distances through the dim of night and they came to the porch of the ugly wooden shack of a shelter to shake off the rain. Before they even knocked upon the door, it opened, creaking as it swung in to reveal total darkness as the lightning flashed to tell them there was no soul to be found inside. The old hermit hadn’t been here for days, if not a matter of weeks. Annamarie entered the makeshift cabin and saw to laying her burden on the table near the fire as she grabbed and threw some wood in the fireplace and lit up a roaring flame. She was warming her hands as her sister joined her and drew the table nearer to the fire, unrolling the bound rations and ripping off a portion of loaf and cheese.
“I can’t believe how far we’ve come Annamarie, in such a short amount of time.”
“Yes, but isn’t that usually how great things happen... all at onebrief moment in time. This is a good thing Latonya, we have come so far... and we are still to go quite a ways... this is not rest for us Latonya. After this man returns, I fear it is going to be a great deal of strain and fighting for what we believe in. Don’t lose what you believe in Latonya... don’t alienate your identity for anyone... even if you don’t trust who you are or what you are anymore... I will always be here to save you from harm or from anything that would make you lose yourself.”
“I have been jealous of you Annamarie for so long, I’m sorry. The jealousy has faded... it was pride really. I was too proud to admit you’re better than me.”
“Better than you? You think me better than you?”
“In all accounts you are. You are more experienced, you are more beautiful and you have always taken on greater responsibility than I or anyone could have. Your ability to do so has made me jealous of you, and feel challenged by your very presence as a result.”
“Such a burden to think you have to measure up to someone else. Don’t be me, what makes you think that you had to be me.”
“I just wanted to be treated and looked at how you were treated and looked at.”
“I am not stronger from my abilities Latonya... nor am I weaker when it comes down to it. I am your older sister... I am born to protect you and must protect you. Don’t look at me as a thing you must be. Look at me as your loyal family, all that is left of it now, but in all certainty still your loyal and supporting family.”
“How I have been blind.” Latonya said as she came down closer to the fire and gripped her sisters hand. “Thank you Annamarie, my family, my blood, my support... stay with me until the very end of this. Until I am to meet the devil.”
“You don’t even need to make that request of me, I am here to see to it, see this through and to stay by your side no matter what is to come of me. The devil will not take you without dealing with me first.”
If magic was seen as an evil thing in the eyes of mankind and all witches were damned to hell for it, then maybe it was and maybe both of them were without sanctity and could not be saved. Maybe they belonged to all and were the reason for all evil and must have been undeniably utterly wretched abominations, whose souls were inevitably doomed to this fate all along.
The night storm wailed outside saying to them that anything out there tonight would be swept away and lost in the cold and bitter darkness. They would wait for the witchdoctor to return to his shack. This shack that was small enough to heat by the functional and good sized fireplace. The main features of the whole little room was a table, a bench and two small windows, one to the left of the door and the other on the wall darkest and furthest of the fire.
Latonya would not leave her sister’s side even to go investigate the eerie far wall. Maybe she would go over and just have a look out the window... but what would she see; the drenching rain bombarded the glass so she could hope to only see a blurred, rickety old porch lit with the faint light of the outside lantern. Maybe they should put out the lantern so is to not draw any unwanted attention. No... the witchdoctor lit that lamp for a reason, most likely he would look for it to find his way back to his cottage, his lowly little shack not a very pretty sight, but a decent shelter from the rain and the cold. He had a whole bunch of odd gadgets and little mechanisms which were squeaking and turning in the wind outside. Surely he would find his way.