Prologue - The Beginning
Randell woke fitfully from his dream.
He had been walking through his mother's garden causing mischief as usual. This time, the young man had gone out of his way to make sure he stepped on the perfectly tilled ground in-between the tomato plants. His mother hated having to re-pin the fruit bearing plants to the sticks she used to hold the branches up. So the gaps in-between were fair play as far as Randell was concerned.
What he didn't know was that the pressure from his steps was causing the sticks to begin to tilt. Well, he did know, for this was his dream, and he knew the future before it happened.
Jumping in his mind to the aftermath of the whipping he received at the hands of his mother, Randell walked outside to cry in private. He was 13 and proud, but his mother knew how to beat the tears out of him.
'Curse all willow trees and the switches they produce' was Randell's cry every time he had this dream. But now, came the part the young man feared the most...
As the boy rubbed his bottom trying to get the sting out, the day fast-forwarded to night. It still Amazed young Randell how dreams got right to the good stuff, Managing to Bypass the sweaty chores and menial jobs his parents had him do.
But, there was the young lad sitting on the porch of his family's farmhouse just outside the city limits of Arabel in Cormyr. The tall towers of Myrmeen Lhals Palace could be seen from where he sat. It wasn't truly a palace, but to the 13-year-old son of a farmer, it certainly looked like one.
Then, out of nowhere, came a scream close to the road that ran by the boys home. Randell ran around the side of the house to see what was causing the disturbance. His fathers land was just a 1/4 mile from the northern route out of Arabel to the dalelands, and the sound of the scream seemed much closed than on the highway north.
Randell got excited when his father came out of the house with his sword drawn and shield out. The boy was very fond his father. Love could not really describe his feelings well enough. He respected his dad and knew he wanted to be just like him.
Randell knew that his father had been an adventurer at one time. The tales of his exploits were great bedtime stories that made the boy dream of places unknown and unconquerable situations that could only be defeated by his imagination.
Randell's father, Bersk, had been a good swordsman in his day according to the stories Randell had heard. Now, the young boy would have the opportunity to see his dad fight first hand! Even in the dream his adrenaline flowed and the excitement of the moment was so real.
Amazing how sometimes you can see the future in a dream and at others you cannot. Randell knew the ending of this encounter, but for some reason, was oblivious to it now. Maybe if he had seen the future, he might have woken up in a sweat much earlier. That would have been a blessing to him, if he but knew.
Bersk told his son to stay back and protect his mother.
Randell would have none of that. He would not miss his father's duel with whatever threat was by the road. So he yelled out to his dad, "She's inside father! Let me come and see, please!"
Bersk jerked his head around as his son disobeyed him. "Shut up boy! You'll bring the brigands right down on our heads! Now get inside before I take a belt to ya!" The boy stopped talking realizing what an error he made in yelling toward his dad.
Then, before Randell had a chance to get inside, a voice came out of nowhere, calm and sinister, speaking to the senior Ramirez. "No need for that my old friend, there are no brigands this night... only me"
And the shadow came out into the light of the porch lanterns. His form, being illuminated now, revealed a strangely dark fellow with very pale skin and evil eyes. Randell would never forget the eyes.
The boy could tell they were evil, for the man wore the mantle of death proudly and it affected every part of him, especially his eyes.
The stranger was somewhat tall, reaching about six feet and was slender at the waist with long claws for fingernails... Yes! Those were claws! The rest of the mans description was blurred for the only thing the boy could focus on were the vicious looking talons the man had as fingernails, and his death promising eyes.
Randell was very afraid and ran and hid behind one of the posts that held up the porch. It wasn't much of a hiding place but the young boy didn't care. It was a dream after all.
It was then that Bersk spoke to the man. His voice was quivering with fear, almost pleading for his life. "It wasn't my fault," Bersk began as he backed away from the evil being, "I didn't know what they were doing! You have to believe me!"
Bersk held up his sword to hold off the menacing figure came closer. "You didn't know!" the man spat, seemingly getting angrier by the moment. "You came into my house! Killed my servants, Killed my wife, and all you have to say is you didn't know! You showed no such prudence when claiming the honors and reputation for the deeds done. You fail to convince me." The man began walking toward Randell's father.
"I was outside with the horses," The terrified Bersk said, "please understand I didn't know who they were!"
The creature stopped at that and looked like he was considering something. "True, you were just an apprentice learning your trade at the hands of a supposed master. You were uninformed by your tutors because they needed someone to watch their backs." The man smiled revealing his upper fangs that drew his own blood as spat out the word master.
"But you were there and now must pay for your crimes." The vampire told Bersk so matter-of-factly that Randell, who was just overhearing the whole conversation, could barely move.
The undead being moved so quickly toward Bersk that the seasoned old warrior barely got a swing off before the creature had a hold of his neck strangling him to death.
Randell finally got a hold of his fear and ran out into the yard. "NOOOooo!" he yelled as he came up and started kicking the vampire with his worn out shoe. The vampire looked down at the young lad in open amusement.
"You have a son now," the vampire began, and loosened the hold on the father's throat so he didn't die immediately. The master of the undead looked directly in the eyes of the father, smiling evilly as a new plan came to mind.
"If you give me your son," he purred, "then I will spare you."
Unknown to any but the vampire and Bersk, the undead began using his will breaking magic on the father. It didn't take long, and soon the whimpering words of his father condemned the boy into the vampires care. Bersk's will had been broken so easily, that the vampire laughed inside. Oh how easy it was to overwhelm Bersk's mind with images of the terrible things he would do to his wife....
"No father, don't make me go with him!" Randell screamed, but his father had lost all sense of himself and was sitting on the ground like a bumbling idiot.
The Vampire then took the boys hand in a grasp that was unbreakable and held on like a vise. The boy screamed "NOOooo, NOOooo!" as the vampire held the boy tightly to him and flew off to some unknown destination.
The father barely registered the words as his son disappeared into the night sky. His fate was one that would torture Bersk for the rest of his days.
Then, Randell woke up. He was older now, about 22 and a handsome fellow. He was much stronger than he had been as a youngling and his muscles filled out making him into a very desirable bachelor.
When he awoke, Randell shifted himself in the dirt that was his bed now and opened the lid to his finely crafted coffin. When he got out, he brushed himself off and looked inside at what his life, no unlife had become. He would get used to it eventually, he knew, but it was still somewhat strange. No more pillows and warm covers to enjoy.
He walked down into the 2nd basement of his masters mansion, his uncontrollable hunger pushing him on through several secret and trapped doors that hid his true resting place from those who might come looking for him.
When he got to the other basement, there he was. Hanging from the wall by chains to his wrists and ankles. The chained man was about 4 inches off the ground and the bonds were starting to dig under the prisoners skin causing much pain. The man in chains was dirty and tortured barely groaning when he perceived Randell's entrance.
"I have waited 2 days for this." the young vampire began as he approached his victim. "Two days of starving so this could be that much more enjoyable."
Without any further words, the vampire attacked the man biting viciously into his neck and feeding on the blood that flowed. As the man felt the last of his life draining from him, the man managed to whisper something... "I'm sorry, my son..."
From a hidden part of the basement that only he knew about, the master vampire smiled his approval at his protégé's wickedness. But more than that, he smiled at his own twisted sense of justice. What better irony, than getting his last enemies own son to destroy the final Slayer of Wynet Castle.
A tear rolled down the vampires cheek and he left the basement unnoticed but still in great turmoil. The pain of loosing his love was still there no matter how much revenge he poured out. Now, there was no one left to kill on behalf of his love. His purpose seemed empty and hallow. Such is the life of a Vampire.
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