The family were all drinking the delectable red stuff from out of glasses and feasting upon the juiciest meats they could procure. Today was a celebration, the day they were handing over the family business to Vali, they were all cheering and dancing whilst consuming the food almost endlessly. They jeered so carelessly that their drinks were dying the three long tables with their crimson colour, and even the scraps from the meat were beginning to litter the room. Vali would have ordinarily asked them to stop, since washing the stains off of everything or buying new replacements was ordinarily a pain, but it wasn’t like that was his problem anymore. They’ll have to deal with it themselves now. He looked at the family gorging on the meat as if it were their final meal, which he found ironic, since he should probably be the one acting like they were. His brother, Vilhelm, having fun talking with various family members that neither of them had seen in decades. Vali wished he could be doing the same, after all it was his party, but he simply sat unamused by the festivities due to the tempest in his mind. He sighed, forcing his body to relax. He needed to keep calm, no matter how he felt about his family, he had to do this-even at an event like this. Despite his efforts, Zaharia, his Aunt, looked at Vali with some concern and stood up from her chair next to her brother, Liviu, who was Vali’s cold uncle. Then, after a moment standing, Vali made eye contact with her and she began making her way toward Vali. As she did so she just wouldn’t break contact with his eyes. Okay, do it now, stop wasting time, Vali thought.
He stood up after she took her first few steps, his dark silk waistcoat reflecting the chandelier light with the shirt that rested below it. His family noticed their new leader stand up and immediately reflected his action, raising their glasses and cheering although he hadn’t. They eventually noticed that he hadn’t raised his glass and lowered theirs, looking at Vali with the same concern that the halted Zaharia had.
‘I resign my position as chief hunter, find someone else to bring in the stock, because I simply cannot.’ he said, adding a power and authority behind his voice that he had never done before.
There was an immediate laughter, then a silence that replicated his.
The first to break the stasis was Vilhelm, since he was the first to truly notice Vali’s sincerity, ‘You mean to say that you’ve trained all these years, proven yourself to be the superior son, much more able than any of us to lead our dealing with meat... And you’re only just now deciding not to lead, that’s bullshit Vali, don’t pull my leg.’
Vali sighed, but kept his body tense after the exhale. Here it comes, he thought to himself. ‘I’m not joking around, Vilhelm, I’m leaving, now.’ he said as he walked towards the door immediately behind his table when he heard the collective hiss that he’d expected from his family.
The first to attack was his uncle, Liviu, the weakest of the siblings from the last generation, but he still was one of the worst people to fight first. Though it was to be expected, they never got along. He dashed at Vali, baring his fangs whilst he grabbed Vali by the neck. Vali was at least hoping he could take a few of the weaker family members out before getting overwhelmed by some of the stronger ones, but it seemed he was in the worst case scenario. However, this unfortunate turn wasn’t going to affect how much effort he was going to put into this final fight, after all it was for her. He grabbed Liviu by the arm, squeezing and digging his claws in until Liviu shrieked and loosened his grip just enough for Vali to hit him with a powerful telekinetic push. Liviu’s claws left Vali’s throat exposed as he flew backward into the opposing wall, cracks appearing in the stone brick around him. Vali’s throat would soon regenerate, but not fast enough if he was going to defeat the other family members who began to charge after seeing that Liviu didn’t stand a chance on his own. Damn that Liviu, he planned for it to happen like this, Vali thought. If Vali’s neck lay this exposed for so long, he would have a vital spot that could win a single family member out of the hoard this fight, and he just wasn’t willing to go down so easily.
I have to do it, he thought. He dashed over to the still recovering Liviu, and immediately without hesitation sank his fangs into his neck. The other family members immediately stopped their pursuit of Vali, gasping and throwing up the blood and flesh they had consumed so carelessly moments ago. As Liviu faded and his body shrivelled, his eyes locked with Vali’s, ‘All this for a wench, an ephemeral pet eh, Vlad?’ was all he said calmly as his eyes closed. Calling Vali by his formal name was something the uncle always did out of spite, he knew how much Vali hated it.
Once Vali stood up, his throat immediately sealed, and the cold air was no longer gaining direct access to his windpipe that had no use for it. But the uncomfortability of this cold air and an open wound was replaced and completely overshadowed by the pain of consuming his uncle's blood. It coursed through his veins causing him a burning pain that showed itself through the black veins that began to beat against his skin as if they were trying to escape. Vali’s body jolted involuntarily with the pain it caused him, however, he didn’t fear it as he knew it would merely give him more power than consuming a human ever would.
The family watched him in disgust, How ironic, you puny leeches, Vali thought. Vilhelm spoke first again, this time separating himself from Vali as much as possible as he spoke ‘You’re beyond help, Vlad, we all know not to consume our own.’
Vali laughed hysterically at the comment, ‘Like consuming those who have done nothing to warrant it is any more ethical, brother.’
Vilhelm cringed when the supposed monster referred to him in such a way, ‘They’re lesser beings Vlad, if you were just able to get over your feelings toward this pet and kill her like all immortals should, you would understand that she was meaningless.’
‘Meaningless?’ Vali growled before he dashed towards his brother and kicked him into the wall Liviu had held him against moments before. He was surprised at the speed he was able to do it at, and it looked like his brother was too, slumped against the wall and slowly regenerating from the immense damage done to his head.
The other family members roared and hissed as they hurtled toward him before he could inflict any more damage to his brother. Luckily for Vali, the situation now aligned exactly how he hoped it would from the start. His younger cousins, who were illogically eager to prove themselves to the family launched themselves before the others and at a much higher speed.
All it took Vali was to grab the first two inexperienced leapers into an iron grip where they could do nothing but scrape their underdeveloped claws and hiss, and then use their bodies to punch the next few with a layer of protection. Vali thought about throwing them at the stronger family members after using them to incapacitate their siblings, but there wasn’t enough time to loosen their grip. So he turned and ran up the wall, he now had a speed advantage even over family members who he knew to be faster than him before, he’d be able to drag this out for just enough time. He ended up running upside down on the roof, and as he passed a pillar he slammed one of the flailing siblings into it, causing it to fall and for the boy to go limp. Before the child had a chance to recover, Vali immediately sucked the blood from the child whilst the other scratched even more violently to no avail. The pain spiked, but he couldn’t stop there. He dropped his dead cousin onto the ground below before opening his mouth to consume the blood of the one still full of life and fear. But he suddenly found himself falling to the ground. The boy’s mother, Zaharia, had gone the opposite way and successfully cut him off. Her fiery face jumped off of the roof after him as he fell, but even she wasn’t fast enough to stop herself from seeing the horrid sight of her child turning into a wrinkled prune before they landed.
Vali found himself coughing and heaving from the pain. But he had no time to waste, his aunt hurled herself at him with a fury he had never seen anyone possess. The piercing look of her eyes alone made Vali feel defeated already. ‘I’m going to kill you and then that delicious meal you’ve done all of this insanity for.’ she yelled as she threw a flurry of punches at Vali, he couldn’t dodge any of them since Zaharia was always the fastest in combat, even now, but they caused no damage. ‘Damn it!’ she yelled as she dashed away from Vali’s sight. He couldn’t even tell which direction she went, but it didn’t matter, now he had the others to deal with now that they had finally caught up. He turned and danced through the storm of strikes the various distant family members threw at him, everyone in the torrential flinging of limbs including Vali with surprised looks on their faces, the amount of power he had gained from consuming three family members was terrifying. Plus, it wasn’t like he had fully absorbed their power yet either, he felt himself getting stronger by the second. Eventually, he was able to start returning attacks amidst the whirlwind instead of just dodging, and one by one he picked them off. He found himself longing to find an opportunity to consume each of them as he went, but the remaining members in the fray would always take full advantage of their new space perfectly to stop him from moving to where they didn’t want him to go. But all this did was delay the inevitable. They had no plan other than to throw themselves at him, until he converted them into a pile of unconscious bodies, all needing at least a few minutes to revive from the strikes he dealt them. Finally, some time to consume, Vali thought, he opened his mouth and leant toward his most recent victim.
‘Hey!’ Vilhelm yelled.
Vali sighed as he slowly rose back up, jerking violently in beat with the pulsating of the black rivers that coated his body. He looked to his brother who had fully recovered, Vilhelm’s eyes darting cautiously and continuously about Vali’s body for any sign of an attack that might be thrown his way. Vali smiled and made a dash towards Vilhelm, but then stopped, Zaharia had gotten to him first. She sucked his blood from behind him and threw him to the side after she had finished, as the body moved out of Vali’s line of sight, it revealed her iconic black armour and halberd that many had learned to fear in times of war between clans.
Vali watched curiously as she twitched and had black veins crawl out from under her armour and onto her neck. ‘I certainly didn’t expect that from you, Zaharia.’ He giggled.
‘I just want to eviscerate you, this fight won’t even be close, kid.’ she said shortly.
Vali began to laugh uncontrollably, but was stopped when her blade passed perfectly in between his upper and lower jaw. Severing his head into two. Vali’s body fell to the ground with a thud.
‘That’s one of the insufferable pair down,’ she sighed, ‘Lord knows what I’ll tell their parents and the Stăpâni Adunați.’ she continued as she walked away.
‘It’ll be fine.’ she heard in response as she felt something pierce her stomach from behind, Vali rose from the ground to peer over her shoulder as she looked back, ‘You won’t have to tell them anything.’ He added as he pulled his arm from inside her.
She immediately spun around, healing her wound, swiping the weapon at speeds Vali couldn’t quite avoid. Deep wound after deep wound was inflicted and limb after limb was lost, only to be regenerated before the old one could hit the ground. ‘Vlad Dracula the second, You’re the grandson of the original, our ruler blessed by darkness itself to rise above the pitiful state of beings on this land. Why would you betray your kind?’ she commanded.
‘We’re leeches, nothing more. Just because we can steal the life force from other beings doesn’t make us superior in any way, it makes us immoral thieves who are too afraid to live our lives like the rest of the beings created.’ he explained.
‘So this is the conclusion you’ve come to, all this to justify your unforgivable acts when it’s really over a sack of meat you grew too attached to… The original will visit you soon enough. And I will relish that moment from the dark-ones embrace.’ she smiled as he disarmed her.
‘If you truly relish the extermination of our kind, then sure, you will.’ Vali retorted as he decapitated her. She fell silently to the ground, and showed no signs of immediately regenerating.
Vali stood victorious in the hall he grew up in, now a mess of destroyed architecture, and the flesh of both those who were meant to be consumed and those who were meant to consume-and at this point Vali couldn’t tell them apart.
Exterminate my people? I suppose that is the logical conclusion, he thought as he reflected on what he told his aunt earlier. He had never thought of doing it this way, he was certain he would die during this fight, he just couldn’t be the one to harm Doina. So he was willing to die, knowing he put a dent in the population of those he hated, those that would consume her like she were a piece of meat. But now things were different, now they would both survive, if only for a little longer. He had saved her from certain death, he just had to remove any chance of that happening in the future. He had to eliminate all the clans, the original, and eventually himself to stop any possibility of this happening. In order to do this he would need to amass power by satiating the new found hunger he had gained for his own kind, he would have to start now by reducing his clan to nothing but a pile of husks before they could regenerate.
Sorry but I have to do this Doina, you might be repulsed or even hate me for this, but I must do this for your sake. You’ll be freed from the prison in a few minutes, once I’m a little less hungry.