Undiscovered Country

BY : Philippa MaQuente
Category: Hellsing > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 1512
Disclaimer: I do not own "Hellsing" and I make no profit from this story.


Three



            “I was indeed the ‘vampire Alucard’ for more now than a hundred years, and under contract by a human family as an anti-vampire agent. Before that, you know my tale, at least a reasonable facsimile of it.” The speaker was grinning at this moment, just pleased as hell with the surroundings, and finding that adventure was never more than a hair’s breadth away for one of his kind. “I know the Courts were aware of our exchanges with Millennium, and I’m quite sure the damage would have been far worse, and the fatalities greater, had the English Court not existed, its forces aiding in the aftermath. However, Millennium’s vendetta was extremely personal, and if they were tied to the German Court or the English in any way I never knew. And for us, it did not matter… At least, I did not believe it mattered. You know many of the Ancients are solitary, and I was indeed. I kept Vicky, and myself, to myself, for all that time, and it took her to get me to step into the world once more.” Right then, her eyes were trained on him, and they were dewy. Subconsciously her fingertips were touching the dark line against her pale throat. “I have neglected to tell her of the world in forgetfulness and selfishness, and I apologize, dragostea mea.” She looked so sweetly shy as the eyes of the group turned on her. “But we came out of hiding at last to meet others, and we thank you for welcoming us.” There was applause.



            Vlad and Vicky had been introduced to a group of Theo’s friends and neighbors, an interesting mix of humans and vampires, all cooexisting with the mutual secret. There were some unique folk gathered there, from just any corner of the world, sporting various colors and eclectic styles.



             “I’m Vicky,” she began meekly, stepping forward. “I was a police woman before I met… Alucard.” She looked at her maker, visualizing the face she’d seen just before the shot. “Honestly, that was one of the wors’ nights of my life, but also one of the best. Because of him. He gave me the life I was looking for all along.” She grinned unabashedly, proud of everything she’d become once her spirit had its room to grow. “I walked the night at my Master’s side and destroyed Millennium under command of Sir Integra Hellsing, and now we’re free. I’m so ‘appy to be with him, out in the world. Already wonders never cease!” She said, laughing and looking at her company. Potential friends like never before surrounded her.



            “You guys ‘ave ‘ad a really unusual life,” said a sandy-haired man with his arm around a raven-haired woman. “You had a human Master?” There were a lot of assenting voices, asking about that one.



            “Mum told me about this but I didn’t quite believe it at the time,” Theo put in.



            “The head of our organization was Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, great-grand daughter of the figure Professor Van Helsing, as caricatured in Dracula. She was an incredible woman, a will on her practically destined for vampirism, yet she remained human to her natural end, and we loved her.”



            “Sir Integra was more than a friend, more than a boss. She was everythin’.” A slight blush and a secret smile clung to Vicky’s cheeks and mouth.



            “How old was she…?” the sandy-haired guy asked, hesitantly. Vlad arched a curious eyebrow.



            “She was 91.” The guy, his hair pulled back in a short tail, his dress casual jeans and a tee shirt, whistled and slapped his leg.



            “Zat really blows me out of ze water, man. You proved me wrong after like, a zousand years.” Suddenly the raven-haired woman burst out laughing, as did Theo and a couple others.



            “I think I missed the joke,” Vicky whispered to her maker. The guy, who she’d noticed had a French accent, offered his hand and the usual exchange went round.



            “I’m Oswald, call me Os. You’ve got to tell me ‘ow she did it. ‘Ow did she stay human?”



            “How do we accomplish our impossible feats? Her will was so strong, she persisted as stubbornly an untarnished human woman as I persisted in living a vampire.” Vlad’s tone was clearly fond.



            “A strong enough will to remain a human in direct contact with a vampire of your ztrength… She must have been zome woman.” Os was clearly staggered by the news, and he passed a regretful look onto the woman with him.



            “You see, he believes that any human crossing paths with a vampire is utterly doomed, either to vampirism or early death…” this came from the one Vicky thought bore a striking resemblance to Snow- White, her voice also poshly British. “That’s how I got here. Rea.” More handshakes.



            “That pretty much wraps up me, and all the humans we ever knew at Hellsing, with the sole exceptions of the Queen and Integra herself…” Vicky uttered miserably. “Master… The Geese…” So much guilt. Pip tried to console her.



            Remember ma cherie, we zigned up in spite of death for chump change and ze fun of it.



            “It’s also unusual to see a bonded pair keeping up zat custom,” the other Frenchman said in a curious tone.



            “Give her a break Os, you know I still call you Captain in bed.” Rea cut in pertly, one eyebrow cocked. Everybody laughed, and there was a lot of hooting and clapping. Os blushed hotly, as easily as Vicky did, and the group laughed again. Staring at the two couples face to face was an amusing if carnival-mirror image, and practically everything matched except their eyes.



            “Well, we have been kept like dusty antiques for a number of years,” Vlad quipped in response, getting a few laughs of his own. “But she chooses her address of me true to herself.”



            The girl let go of her lingering pain and guilt, remembering the difference between human and vampire and the price paid. She could not resurrect the humans that had died around her, but she could protect others. As she had been, and perhaps with less collateral damage now.



            “Wot’s so weird about me calling him ‘Master’? ‘S what he’s been to me since he turned me.” She touched the collar around her neck, which the gathered company leaned in to see better.



            “The Master/Mistress-servant bond generally happens when a new vampire is created and is relatively weak while under tutelage of the maker. Most bonded pairs break or lose it when the fledgling becomes as strong as the maker, and the initial urge to fall into those roles depends on the two wills involved. Over the course of history, the time spent in that phase got shorter and shorter for most, and many modern vampires reject the titles outright,” Rea explained dutifully. She had clung to the tie herself for a time, and understood the multi-faceted concept through her own experiences better than many. It had been somewhat of a study of hers, both from human and vampiric perspectives. “It seems you two have blended more meanings into the relationship than you started with.” Her tone was knowing, and she eyed the leather circlet that had no visible means of removal from Vicky’s throat. The blonde nodded in response, her cheeks glowing, with a smile of thanks given over to her dark-haired new friend.



            “Maybe our relationship is unusual, but it’s ours, and I would never change it. Master is Master.” Vicky beamed up at her Dracula, her fell lord of all darkness, and he returned with an affectionate gaze, ruffling her hair as was his wont.



            “A kinder, gentler prince of vampires indeed,” Theo said with a chuckle.



            “You’re one to talk,” Os retorted quickly, and Vicky found herself chortling at ease like all the rest. Her smile was wholehearted and wide, and Vlad basked in her joy at companions, enjoying the nouveau feeling of it himself.



            “Yes, Theo. You are one to talk, as you have heard our story.” Vlad clasped his girl’s shoulders and put a pointed look into the self-proclaimed 35-year old vampire child’s direction. “I believe it’s our turn to hear one.”



            “You’re right, but to really do mine justice, you’ve got to hear some of theirs too, and meet my parents. A little background proves necessary.” Theo pointed to the sandy-haired Oswald to start. “Os came to England in 1066 with the Normans, and in turn became a Court-King, as did Rea later, who was born in England around the same time, and was turned during the First Crusade. They knew my uncle, and fought with him during the war. His original name is Gwalchaved, his brother (my father) was Alouarn, and both of them were born before the Roman invasion. My mother is Castimonia, and was born in Rome as a half-vampire child. These folks know them well. All of them fought alongside my parents during the great conflict.” One by one Theo walked past his friends and family during his speech, and the lighthearted mirth was not lost or broken, but its time had ended. “When the American vampire population suddenly exploded with rogues in the eighties and nineties, the Ancients of the world began to gather at the call of my mother and father. Every Court put together its best minds and warriors to quell the rebellion and protect the people, and after years of fighting they succeeded in 2035 with a show of cooperative power so far unprecedented and unequaled by any of our kind.” Vlad and Vicky were the only two there who had not been present for the conflict young Theo spoke of, for an interesting mix of reasons. “We won peace and the cloak of secrecy once again. But there was a final reward that no one saw coming, least of all my own mother. That was me.” Theo jabbed a thumb toward himself at this. “My existence pretty much defies all the odds, human and vampire alike.”



            “I’m beginning to see that,” Vlad responded. “I also see that my fledgling and I have quite a bit of history to catch up on.”



            “All in good time of course. While we were chatting, I took the liberty of texting my girlfriend. She’ll be arriving any minute now with my parents to finish off the tale.” Indeed, there were three very different figures approaching the party as he finished his sentence, and it was reverence that grew over the audience. A gravitas of gentility and compassion seemed to pour off the figures, but radiating from one in particular.



            None of the three faces looked much older than twenty, and the leader was a girl barely looking sixteen, standing petite at five feet tall. Her face was cherubic and set with a truly haunting pair of violet eyes, fringed in icy blue. However, she was dressed like a dowager of seventy, with a shawl drawn around her shoulders, and wearing an old-fashioned floor-length dress. Her hair was luxurious, dark chocolate in color, and it trailed the earth behind her like a veil. The other young woman in the trio had bouncy chestnut curls to her shoulders, and was dressed very modernly and cutely, with a babydoll tee and a knee-length pencil skirt of denim. Her eyes were like spring grass. The final figure was a man, tall, broad, and blond. He was clean-shaven like his brother, but not as tall, somewhat younger in appearance, with a physique like an American football player. His eyes were blue and flecked with silver. A halo seemed to hang upon the small one, and she came forward precociously, a light grace in her footstep.



            “Welcome to you, such rare guests indeed. It is an extreme honor to have you, and before I get too excited and beg you to regale your personal histories to me, let us retire to the comfort of my loft. It’s been a while since I’ve entertained such guests.” There could be no doubt this speaker was Castimonia, the Roman Ancient who spoke now with the notes of Italy in her melodious purr. A light of recognition lit up in the Ancient Romanian prince, who in another time and another place, with another name, had met this woman, the Little Mother, the Eternal Historian, haunting the city of her birth.



            “How could I have forgotten you, Piccola Madre?” Vlad said, stepping forward. He bent to kiss her hand, and she smiled upon him fondly.



            “Why Count! Where have you been for so long?”



            “I’ve told some of that tale already, but I daresay it’s about time I relented to your request of so long ago.” She let out a girlish squeal of delight, and clasped his hand with excitement.



            “Oh wonderful! But another night, my dear Count. Please, my beloved maker, Alister, and my darling daughter-to-be, Madeline.” Alister stepped forward with a handshake, all business. He wore nice slacks and a crisp polo shirt, with his long hair down and wild. There was a distinct resemblance between him and the brother.



            “It really is an honor to meet you at last, considering what I remember from your lovely companion’s words and my history books. I am standing among legends. Vicky, the officer in the kilt, and his brother here, they blazed the trail in uniting the vampire Courts of the world and founding new ones to keep peace.” She took Alister’s hand with tremendous deference.



            “This whole thing is pr’tty humbling. Even though I’m older than your son I still feel like I’ve missed a lot.” Vicky could feel again her Master’s apologetic voice in her mind.



            Do you resent me at all, dragostea?



            Course not, Master. Not as if I couldn’tve found this out meself. But for awhile, it was jus’ you and me…



            “Don’t worry too much about it, y’sweet thing,” the Celtic warrior said, another clear native Brit, “if the two of you plan to live and operate in London, you can study at the library my wife owns. It’s a smaller branch of the one she founded in Rome many, many years ago.”



            “That would be fantastic,” an excited young woman responded.



            “Call me Mads,” the copper-curled girl said, greeting the newcomers with a two-fingered salute from her temple. She gave Theo a peck on the cheek and linked her forearm through the crook of his elbow. Theo greeted her with a kiss on the forehead, and Vicky thought them sweet. Behind this, Castimonia was greeting the others, some of whom hadn’t been properly introduced, but the group was breaking up. It was like they could sense the need for privacy in order to reveal the truth. They had all gotten that in their turn.



            “Good evening my dear friends and neighbors…” The lady’s voice was sweet in the background, saying hellos and good nights.



            “For now, it’ll be just us, my parents, and the two of you. But Gwal mentioned you were looking for a flat, and we can get you one right here in the neighborhood. Our friends are here, and we can meet them again.” Theo said.



            “That would be really lovely… What do you think, Master? Can we?” Vicky pumped her fists up and down excitedly in front of her. Vlad grinned and nodded, once. Her delight lit up a ten-foot radius of sidewalk around them. Theo glanced at his father’s face and saw the expected shock, and then elbowed him in the side.



            “It’s her choice, dad.” Alister closed his gaping mouth.



            “Right… Ok.” The man was abashed by such a thing, but he could at least respect the will of others. His own shackles to that word were far too negative to redeem it.



            Before the group really broke apart, Rea approached Vicky and offered out her hand again.



            “It was lovely to meet you; I would really adore having a chat sometime. Please drop by any time.” Vicky shook her hand vigorously, and came back holding a little scrap of paper inked with her fellow countrywoman’s cell phone number.



            “Yes, I’d love that!”



            Rea bounced off to rejoin her maker, and as Vicky watched all her new potential friends go off to their night’s business and pleasure, she marveled at how all of them seemed to be paired. Choosing a companion, she surmised, made the years bearable. Did she not find that true for herself already?



            In the gentle breeze of the evening, it was quickly just she and Vlad, Theo and Mads, and Alister and Castimonia who remained.



            “Please join us for some refreshments and a heart-to-heart. There’s a lot to fill in, and I’m sure you’d rather be comfortable while we talking living arrangements and perhaps potential employment…?” Alister said, drawing their attention.



            “Thanks for your kind words and ‘ospitality,” Vicky said.



            “We’re delighted to accept.” Vlad finished.



            Gaily the six immortals walked out into the gloaming, headed for the comfortable penthouse of two quite venerable creatures and their unusual progeny.



***



            Soon enough the party was seated nicely in the modernly chic living room of the hosts. Castimonia spread her blond-wood coffee table with a delectable fruit tray, sweet wine and a pitcher of citrus water. A crystal punchbowl sat as a centerpiece between the fruit and beverage; its belly was full of ice, and several rather familiar little plastic pouches were chilling in it, arranged to resemble the petals of a crimson flower. The two former Hellsing agents were impressed again; it was stunning considering the small space of time that passed between their meeting with this family.



            “Guests first please,” Castimonia insisted, handing out cocktail plates and forks. Their dishware was simple and elegant, and their furnishings relaxed. Their sleek, plush leather couch, loveseat and armchair were all creamy white. The carpet was dark forest green, and the white walls trimmed with glorious nature photographs and family portraits. Looking around the apartment, photographic evidence of Theo as an infant or a child in varying stages littered the place. There were even a few bearing a younger Madeline, and the two of them grew together in many pictures. The photos and portraits of Alister and Castimonia remained the same in every way save clothing. The den had the spacious, spotless kitchen attached, the walls a pale yellow, the cabinets all done in burnished oak. Vlad and Vicky accepted small plates and dug into the fresh fruit. “Wine?” their hostess asked, taking up the carafe.



            “Please,” the handsome Romanian prince said, tipping a goblet to be filled. With an expert hand, the young-faced lady poured off a perfect glass, and her guest breathed its heady aroma before sampling. “A lovely choice, my dear.”



            “Why thank you, my friend.”



            Vicky loaded a plate with strawberry slices and pineapple, and opted for a glass of the ice-cold water, laden with fresh lime and orange. It was amazingly refreshing, and the fruit delectable. To her immense surprise it caused her no pain.



            “Master, I can eat fruit!” The girl was so happy she was nearly in tears, and everyone smiled. The family began to dig into the repast, and the table came alive.



            “Hmm, that’s another thing I quite forgot, dragostea. It has been a while since I’ve tasted the smallest bit of even that, though I knew I could.” He selected a rather handsome apple, and bit into it with forgotten relish.



            “I find your story quite fascinating, and I think I speak for all of us when I say so,” Alister said, holding his wine glass out in front of him, “it is extremely rare for any vampires to work so closely with a human, much less for one.”



            “Indeed, and at the end I had a stunning revelation about that myself. At first, I resented being kept and subjected to the human’s meddling. Van Helsing starved and imprisoned me, and his grandson Arthur Hellsing, well, I liked him a bit better, but I wasn’t really his ‘friend.’ Integra was different- she actually cared for me, enough to remain chaste of all men, bearing no heir, and setting us both free at her death.” Vicky nodded vigorously.



            “Sir Integra was the strongest lady, and the best friend I ever ‘ad,” she put it. “Even after Master dragged me home unexpectedly, I fink she saw the potential in me right away. An’ she did care about us, and she cared about me more than all my teachers, schoolfriends and bosses before her.” As she spoke with her mouth somewhat full, her love of the woman was clear.



            “Amazing,” Castimonia said. “I think it makes Theo’s efforts all the more worthwhile, and it certainly proves the strength of humanity. This is groundbreaking!” Theo had been a quiet and patient observer of all this, and knew it was time to break the suspense. Vlad and Vicky knew to shift their gaze, expectantly.



            “Alright mum, I’ve still got to tell them what it is I do,” he started, leaning toward Vlad. “Hope this isn’t too personal, but the Hellsings experimented with your blood and enhanced your abilities over the years, is that true?” The youth’s face was respectful and serious.



            “Yes, they pushed me to accomplish things steadily further and further into the realm of the impossible, and at the last, I became indestructible to an insane degree.” The former Alucard wasn’t exactly sure how much the Court had known about Hellsing’s exploits, though he knew that certain services, like the provision of medical blood donations, and some coverage of collateral damages, were provided to the Protestant Knights through it.



            “Full-body glamours, blood-borne familiars, the absorption of memories and knowledge from drinking blood, plus more, right?” Theo asked. The room was silent.



            “Yes.”



            “And your fledgling has gained these abilities without the experiments,” he continued, “all of this puts you into a category unrivaled by nearly every other vampire that has existed or does exist, right now, except for me and one other from history. But me, the only way I got here was an actual act of God.” Something sparked in the back of Vlad’s brain. “My mother has been a faithful follower of Christ her entire life, and after she helped to organize the army that defeated the rebellion, she was given a gift she had wanted so long, by the only force capable of giving it to her. A child.” A hush had befallen the listeners, new and old alike. No matter how he told it, or how many times one heard it, the story always seemed to captivate the room. “I am the purest genetic vampire that has existed since the Great Ancestor, the lost son of Lilith. I inherited a burden and a purpose that no other vampire can ever take, and that is the destruction of vampirism itself. Those humans you met in the neighborhood? They were vampires once. I am the only one in existence capable of reversing the change.”



            “Oh God…” the former police-girl gasped. There was a lot of information in the speech she needed explained, but the really remarkable bit was not lost.



            “This is…” for once, the eloquent ancient prince was tongue-tied. His vampirism had been punishment, not choice, and finally when he’d stopped cursing God for it, he found God had orchestrated the cure. Forgiveness comes when one actually desires and deserves it…



            “If it is your wish,” Theo began again, “I’ll turn you both mortal right now, and you can begin your lives again as normal people, with our support of course. You can have some time to think about it.”



            “I think we might need to hear what it is you’re undertaking with this power first, so we know the full extent of our choice.” Vlad replied, finding his mouth again.



            “I am engaged in my attempt to change or otherwise eliminate every trace of vampiric power left on the Earth. A number of my friends and family have opted to change, and begin their mortal life again. But a few of them are staying until the end, including my parents and Maddie.”



            “Again, Mads please,” she interjected. “Theo and I were childhood friends, and I’m with him to the very last moment of this whole thing.”



            “I haven’t ruled out the possibility of sparking a huge conflict, and I think it’s best if I have a few allies, especially considering I don’t know how long tracking down every vampire in the world will take,” the lad added.



            Vicky’s face was a little harder. Her lips were set.



            “To tell the truth I’d rather continue working as an agent… for now…” the girl said, thinking not only of the work she’d done for so many years, but also of the spirit preserved from death inside her. Vlad looked with surprise at his last fledgling, but understood her wishes.



            “I myself have been this so long, perhaps I am not quite ready to let go of it either,” he responded. “For at least a while, why don’t we extend our hands back and join you, as free agents?”



            “We’d love to have you,” said Alister.



            “Indeed, you are a welcome addition to our little society,” Castimonia added jubilantly.



            “I’ve really wanted to meet you, ever since I read Dracula,” Mads put in excitedly, “may we all sit and listen when you give your history?” The former Count sighed slightly, and nodded. He was abashed but not offended. In fact it was sort of flattering.



            “I suppose. I might as well begin by telling you that my transformation to this body was not done by another. I have no maker walking this Earth. God struck me with this form, and kept me from all rest… Until now, I think, when I have at last stopped running from my past and wreaking my bitter havoc.” There was a distinct, intense look at the woman on his arm as he spoke. She peered at him with curiosity and fondness. Looking back over the listeners, Vlad saw that everyone had paused their sup, and looked at him with scrutiny.



            “The Lord certainly does work in mysterious ways,” said the faithful Ancient, the one to whom God had delivered a dream of an angel and a birth.



            “I’m s’rry I’m so out of the loop here, but perhaps you could tell us more about the beginning? Theo brought up a whole buncha stuff in passing I didn’t get,” Vicky said sheepishly. “Who’s the ‘Great Ancestor’…?”



            “Ah, that’s somehow a tricky question to answer, even though we already know,” the Roman woman began. “What we know is that our progenitor was the son of a woman many religious believers don’t even keep in the books- Lilith, Adam’s first wife, who left the garden, refusing to be subservient to her husband. We believe the origin of the vampiric will and the abilities it allows come from she, who was indomitable in will.”



            This tale had never really been told at any table, and rarely was there a storyteller better than Castimonia, the keeper of all vampire history. Her life had been a devoted study of others, and actions through time. Since her birth in the Great Fire of Rome entire cultures had lived and died, and at last, she alone kept the knowledge of the Great Ancestor alive within the spoken word. To the world it was lost to time, and if anyone else still remained with it, they had kept a closed mouth.



            “His name is about the only other thing that remains… Erastos, of Lilith. He walked the world in the age before mine, and disappeared before I was born. However both my husband and I were linked directly to him in a way we never knew. Alister’s maker was made by Erastos. Made, and then left.”



            “My maker was a terrible, cruel and vicious man…” There were scars, visible and metaphysical, upon him as he spoke, and sympathy engulfed Vicky’s heart at once. His pain was somehow palpable, and reminded her much of her own lover. Even thinking on her own life she remembered the pains. The agonies. It was the price they all had paid- suffering led to survival. “The years I was forced to pay obeisance to him I yearned for his murder- and I learned as little as possible about his life. I detested him.” Castimonia gripped her lover’s hand. “I have since taken my revenge, and I purged every trace of him from my world at that time. Yet I discovered his writings in a leather fold… I wished to burn it, but I knew that Castimonia would admonish me for destroying history. And so I presented it to her, without reading a word of it myself.” Vicky suddenly realized that she’d seen his face before, in a picture, surrounded by children that were rescued by his organization. A tear threatened to breach the perimeter of her eye.



            “As much as I despised the man myself, I had to know what he’d written, in order to learn as much as I could about the history of the lamiae. You see, Alister and I were brought together by his maker and my own father. We were bonded as part of their malevolent plans, but our union proved fruitful and strong- we overcame our elders and deposed them to begin an enlightened age for the creatures we are: my goal, knowledge and brotherhood, and his, the end of violence perpetuated by our kind. I cloistered myself in Rome, and began a library, and called my Court a sanctuary. I became the ‘Little Mother’ to all lamiae. My beloved served his reign in Gaul and began a journey ‘round the world to unite and regulate our numbers through the establishment and power of Courts.”



            “This is totally fascinatin’,” the blonde said. “I’m quite proud our Order was par’ of the effort.”



            “Your work was amazing in a number of ways, I’ve got to say,” the Celtic son said.



            “Why thank you,” Vlad replied smoothly. He too had found the regaling of this rare history completely engrossing. “I don’t think either of us left Hellsing imagining we’d be minor celebrities to anyone that didn’t hate us for a living.” Vicky burst into a fit of giggles, and laughter went up around the table in varying degrees.



            “Wow mum, he’s as witty as you are when you’re flirting with dad,” Theo said, grinning. Castimonia’s cheeks flushed like roses but she kept her smile wry. It was Mads’ turn to burst out snickering, and she elbowed her boyfriend from their seats on the couch. They had it to themselves, as Vlad and Vicky had been given the loveseat, and Castimonia was such a doll she perched prettily in her maker’s lap on the armchair. He towered easily a foot or more above her, and while she had slender limbs and waist, her full bust and hips un-obscured in the antique dress were nothing to his musculature. It was almost like the bulldog and the kitten from the “Bugs Bunny” cartoons. Both the guests loved the charm. The atmosphere was so warm, and welcoming. It was the comfort of a home.



            “If you’ll refrain from getting fresh with your mother in front of guests,” the girlish Italian beauty warned good-naturedly, “I’ll continue. Alister sent me Doiros’ writings while he and I were still guardians of our territories. Dutifully I read them, copied them to a newer medium, and stored the originals. I care not to share the vilest of what he recorded, as these pieces were drafted over a number of years, but the importance of this name, Erastos, and his role. Doiros himself seems to have found out very little about the man, having spent merely two years in his company, according to the pages I have. However, he was the first and only to ever meet Erastos more than once, and to have learned his name, which proved to be the key he needed.” Vlad cocked his head, letting out a slight “hmm.”



            Most of them around the table bore some form of nickname or a moniker other than the one given at birth. Vicky remembered the one “Oswald, call me Os” as well.



            “I never thought it much more than modernization until I realized that many of the ancients have done it, even just in taking simple pet names,” Alister said, “but it seems that we stray from our truest names to preserve or protect ourselves. Doiros was the only one to learn the name Erastos, and he kept it to himself, long enough to find a way to effectively erase his maker’s existence from the pages of history. Still, he recorded the encounter, and the name, and the man exists where Doiros hid him from the world.”



            “Does that mean… Tha’ he could come back?” Vicky asked. She was very curious about the strange trinity of powerful male vampires that flecked the ages. Theo and Mads exchanged looks.



            “Actually, we think he will,” the girl said, brushing a tuft of curl from her eyes. “So far our mission has met with only minimal resistance, all lone-wolf types and whatnot. We’ve had to polish off a few of them. But word has spread, you know.”



            “Yeah, and it won’t be long until another force gathers, to resist me and stop the change from vanishing. That’s why I need allies here. If Erastos resurfaces… We have no way of knowing what side he’d be on.” Theo’s words were ominous and solemn.



            “All three of us touched by God in some way,” Vlad muttered, almost to himself. Theo nodded.



            “That’s the real kicker. Erastos defied the laws of his creation and begat vampirism among humans, tampering with God’s plan for this one. You defied him after years of service, and he brought down a punishment. And I was given life in a womb that was not supposed to bear. What a terrifying and awful power each of us holds. You might even be capable of reversal yourself, if you bent your will to it.” What a proposition! Vlad’s eyes widened.



            “I never dreamt… never thought to try…” He shook his raven head in disbelief.



            “Don’t worry about it too much. At this point, it has to be me.” The youth said darkly. Mads rubbed the back of his shoulders with her hand, and leaned her head on his shoulder. Vicky took a similar cue and did the same to her maker. “It was very clearly explained when I undertook the job.”



            “Really? By who?” The ever-curious blonde asked as she leaned in, breathless. Theo laughed.



            “Well, by God. Though he’s probably nothing like you think. He actually appeared to me at first in the guise of me mum- and he’s not really a ‘he,’ but just the collected force of the entire universe taking consciousness.” The pair from Hellsing dropped their jaws in awe at the same time, and Castimonia giggled softly from her maker’s lap. One of Alister’s arms was wound about the full hips.



            “What?



            Theo shrugged in response.



            “Well, it’s a bit odd. Science and religion have been fighting for years over it, but the simplest answer is that ‘God’ is nothing more and nothing less than the entire universe, and all the possibilities and power of existence itself.” He paused to let this sink in. “The universe was aware of itself as only an all-powerful well of potential can be-” his attitude seemed wry- “but it wasn’t enough just to have a glittering expanse of stars, planets and galaxies. It wanted life.”



            “Oh my God,” Vicky uttered, out of habit. She looked around the room, at each of her fellows, and the sky out the den’s window. Then she looked at the gently smiling Castimonia, one of the stubborn ones who had clung to her identity for all those years. “But… Aren’t you, well, devoutly religious?” Castimonia laughed a bit.



            “Nowadays a bit more spiritual than religious. I have remained devoted to the figure of Christ, the one who preached love for all. It is an interesting quandary for us, since we now know that all the books and doctrines kept and recorded for so many years do not, in fact, directly apply to this world…”



            Vicky found her head spinning. It seemed that her partner was no less shocked.



            “What do you mean?” Vlad asked slowly, his voice barely audible.



            “I dreamt of an angel that told me of Theo’s birth, and Theo dreamt of the figure we’ve called God directly… And the truth is our world is not the first version of it. All the texts and writings of the Bible tell the story of the very first Creation, when the Universe was new, and wished to orchestrate humanity directly. Adam and Eve walked an Earth that was not this one. Now, allegorically, their story is preserved here, to teach us important lessons.” Stunned silence fell over the two former Protestant Knights. Both of them had worked for God, or at least for Integra, who did, and they had both accepted the common idea of Lord and Savior. “I know this must be all so much to take in, but there is one exception to it… The figure of Christ himself.”



            Alister nodded sagely, and Theo too.



            “Christ was not technically divine by birth, but he was touched by the Spirit, and preached and died for his plea of love. He’s since been immortalized as the son of God, yet he was naught but flesh and blood man. However, are flesh and blood humans not all part of the great creation that is our Universe? We are all composed and born of it, and we are all the children of ‘God.’ So Christ was divine and not divine, so was he both of God and of man. The truth is that we are all one great, infinite being. We are individuals and celestial bodies, land, air and sea, all one. The voice and consciousness the universe bears is born of the great potential for these things within it.” Castimonia’s voice was musical and childlike. Her listeners were almost spellbound. “This is all God ever is and was. After the creation of Adam and Eve, and all that followed on that iteration of our planet, the Universe decided that mankind would be left to shape itself each time it was reborn into a new reality. This occurs with the physical death, breakdown, and reconstruction of all matter.”



            “Like… every time the universe dies, there’s another big bang?” Seras asked with a quavering voice. Theo grinned.



            “Yeah, pretty much. Each time there’s something different. In some cases the Earth doesn’t form exactly right to sustain life. Sometimes the moon doesn’t form. Sometimes human history proceeds almost exactly as it did for us, but with a slight change. No Adolf Hitler in one, everybody born with the opposite gender in another. The only constant is our atoms following the cycles of life and death, breaking down, reforming, and going back out, over and over.” Vlad whistled in awe.



            “This is incredible, staggering, even a little frightening.” Vlad dipped his forehead into one palm. “It leads me to question the choices I made as a man. Even the reason I was changed into the creature I am now…”



            “Per’aps it wasn’t a punishment, Master, but a chance to see things from a different perspective.” The blonde rubbed her maker’s back soothingly. “I mean, before you turned me… I had no idea what I’d see, what I’d become. That you’d give me the tools I needed to fix me life, even. It’s weird, but being a vampire… saved me. Not jus’ my life. My sanity, my heart… I learned so many fings I wouldn’t ‘ave. I came to terms with my awful childhood. Maybe there was somethin’ you were meant to learn, Master.” The addressed Romanian slowly sat upright again and lifted his head. He looked at her in admiration and wonder. Then he embraced her, releasing a few tears onto her shoulder. She sighed sweetly and wrapped her arms around his neck, cuddling him like a child.



            “That’s the answer right there,” Mads said, as solemnly as they had yet heard her speak. “You lived an infamous life of violence perpetuated in God’s name when in reality he would rather have seen you like that.” Mads directed her words at the pair of newcomers, but her eyes were aligned with those of her boyfriend’s. He in turn curled his fingers in her tresses and pressed his forehead to hers. They were the same age, childhood friends and sweethearts, and together until the end. “The answer has always been love. Didn’t you say she was the reason you’re even here?”



            From his prone posture, his voice was slightly muffled.



            “Yes…” he tightened his embrace. “Seras, dragostea… What have you done to me?” Red spots appeared on her cheeks. Even though he was whispering toward her generous bosom, she had no doubt they could hear.



            The other two couples were also closely embraced, grateful as always for their companion, and really nothing more needed to be said.



            The refreshments were gone, and everyone quite talked out. Castimonia rose from her perch and broke the stillness in the room. Vlad composed himself as Vicky released him. It was time to say farewell.



            “My guests… new friends. The dawn comes, and I daresay you wish to take some time for yourselves. Tomorrow evening we shall get you settled in your own new home, and you can join our friends and family. Welcome to our neighborhood.” The Little Mother of vampires shook hands with her guests again, and everyone said their fond good-nights. It had been quite a night for all of them, and another step forward in the singular quest undertaken by the young Theo.



            Vlad and Vicky left arm in arm, their heads swimming with information and further questions. Since they were privy to one another’s thoughts, they did not need to speak to communicate, and though each of them buzzed mentally with these queries, they had understood the importance of their bond with new perspective.



            God was love. They were all God. Even in accursed bodies, which one day they would be freed from.



            Is this the paradise I tried to find at the end of a sword?  He pondered, looking down.



            Their freshly-turned hotel room greeted them, alongside sleep. Both coffins went un-removed from their discreet covering. The pair lay tightly in each other’s arms through the hours of sun.



Review Undiscovered Country
Report Story