Europe: 15th Century
“It’s with a heavy heart, but one still filled with hope that I close this journal. It is now no longer in my hands, nor in the hands of the council. Now, only time will tell.” The almost three hundred year old vampire closed the leather bound journal filled with paper and placed the quill he used to the side. He went on to tidy the small table he used as a writing desk before blowing out the single candle he used for light. He didn’t need it as his eyes were in perfect condition, but neighbors tend to frown if you moved about your home without the aid of some light.
Gustav smiled as he thought about his neighbors. They were terrified of things that went bump in the night. They had no idea that the monsters they feared lived amongst them, and not only for the past decade or two, but for as long as humans roamed the earth. He felt sorry for them; they only lived a small number of years before life, as they knew it ended. But, on the other hand, he was jealous as well. Many of his human friends had passed on; some he could no longer remember yet others were still fresh in his memory. Sometimes he wanted to tell them what he was; what was out there, but it was against the law. It was because of the laws that they were in the position they found themselves in currently. He looked at the journal again. “It’s our only hope.”
He couldn’t help but to think about what had happened in the past. There were times in his life that he cursed his long lifespan, just wishing he could’ve forgotten about everything, but sometimes; just sometimes he had to remember. Even if it weren’t for his own good, at least it would be for the good for the future.
“Gustav, you need to run. Take the baby and run, son. Don’t look back. It doesn’t matter what you hear, run and don’t look back. You know where to take him, do not falter in your duty, lad. We’re all counting on you. Run, Gustav and be safe.” The woman pulled the young boy to her chest and hugged him hard. She held him for a mere second before pulling away. She turned and lifted the baby boy out of his cradle and handed him over to his new temporary guardian with the greatest of care.
The young boy nodded solemnly. “Yes, Tatell-mate, I understand. I will do so; I will protect him with my life.” He kissed the small boy in his arms on the top of his head. He pulled the bundle closer to his chest as their mother made sure the sling was securely around his waist, before she wrapped his cloak around them. He could hear screams and cursing in the passages, but didn’t focus on them. He waited as his mother opened the secret passage for them and when the opening grew large, he slipped through. He wanted to look back, but the door already closed behind him so he moved forward, silently and with ease, the baby used to him and not making a sound.
The narrow passage went steadily down, growing more damp and narrow. Gustav knew the walkway like the back of his own hand. From the time he was able to form his own memories, he walked here. He knew his duty as first born, the seriousness of the situation and that it rested on his shoulders, but even more importantly, it rested on the shoulders of his youngest sibling; the boy, yet to be named, but already marked as the one whose linage would shape the world.
A bloodthirsty scream sounded from behind them, and Gustav tripped over his feet. The bundle in his arms jerked awake. The words of his mother; their Tatell-mate rang in his ears and Gustav didn’t look back. Instead, he increased his speed, as he lightly moved down the darkened way, the need for light unnecessary. The way out was just a few feet away - he had to make it. Already his sensitive hearing could pick up footsteps running towards them. He was unsure how many there would be. Gustav slowed his pace as he neared the secret exit. With sure movements, he found the latch and swung the door open without a sound. He climbed through, found the outside latch, pulled it down to close the door behind him and then continued to break the latch off, ensuring that the secret passage could no longer be opened from either side. Gustav looked around, spotted where he needed to go and set off again.
The baby against his chest had settled down again as Gustav made his way over to the docks. It teamed with life even though it was still a few hours shy of the sun coming out. Gustav used his small size to get in through the crowd without being seen. He stayed closed to a couple as they made their way forward towards the large vessel that looked ready to sail. He couldn’t help but to swallow hard; he loved the boy in his arms. He hated the fact that he would never get the opportunity to play with him, to see him walk or to show he what it was to have an older brother. However, he knew his duty, he knew what he had to do and the fact that he wanted to be an older brother meant nothing; the baby’s life came first.
Gustav moved between the people until his eye settled on a young woman who stood close to a man and he could sense their grief. As a vampire child, his empathy ability was well attuned and he knew without a doubt that they’d lost a child. They would be perfect. Seeing their attention stray from the various pieces of luggage they had, he quickly placed his baby brother into what looked like some sort of sewing basket and kissed him again. “I don’t think we’ll ever meet again, but you and your kin will be the answers to our future. May you be blessed, brother of mine.” Gustav quickly stepped away and took to a hiding spot not far off to make sure his brother would be all right before he disappeared again.
From his hiding place he looked on as the young couple returned to their luggage and the woman picked up the basket. A frown appeared on her face and Gustav held his breath. She opened the basket and he could hear her gasp. Her husband looked up and she indicated to the basket. Both peeked inside again and then looked around. He could hear them whisper, but didn’t want to listen to what they had to say; instead he prayed that they would take the gift that was given to them. Gustav smiled as the woman relaxed and the man smiled. He made a right choice; his brother would be safe - for now in any case. Gustav didn’t linger any longer, turned around and disappeared quickly. He didn’t look back to the docks and he didn’t look at the castle he once called home. Now, until the day he was needed again he would be just another street child. He had no choice - it had to be done. It was still his duty. His small hand reached into his pocket as he took out the leather bound pages in which he had a duty to write. The first entry he knew would be the hardest and he already didn’t look forward to it, but he also knew that by the time the sun disappeared again he would’ve filled the first page. Hopefully, he would fill plenty more.
Gustav was pulled out of his memories and cocked his head, hearing a sound at his door. It was time. Without fear, he stood straight, drew the knife from his sleeve and waited for the danger to enter. It was the end. The fight was quick, but bloodied and the shadow left just as quickly as it came. Gustav’s body grew cold, and the leather journal meant for the good was lost to the evil.
‘It is written in stone that the rivers will run red with the blood of the innocent, making man run with fear. And from the North two lines will appear; the first – seventh time worthy and hailed by the King. The other pure; untainted and unfamiliar to what danger lurks, but still worthy to rule and the two will meet side by side and when the moon is at its bloodiest they will fight for light. Without their union there will be no light. Without light there will be no peace and darkness will descend over the land and evil will prevail…’