Standing within the depths of a forest of gnarled trees stood a castle where a vampire lord resided. While this vampire lord had lived for what seemed like an eternity to them, they also had a legion of other vampires under their command. Due to this, many myths and legends soon started to be told about the vampire lord and the castle that they lived in as a whole.
While many of these legends told of how the other vampires would go out in search of any unsuspecting humanoids, there were some that also seemed to suggest that some of them were instead curious enough to venture close enough to the castle grounds instead. However, no matter which tales were told, they all seemed to have one thing in common… Those who were brought to the castle were never seen or heard from again.
However, when three new individuals were brought to the castle, they soon found themselves being greeted by the vampire lord although when they tried to leave the castle, they found that they were trapped within the castle grounds. Will they find a way to escape or will they be trapped within the castle for eternity?
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In the midst of the night, a lone group of three boys could be seen in the depths of the gnarled forest that people were rumored to have gone missing in. While they seemed to be aware of the rumor, they had still chosen the option to explore the forest regardless of the rumors out of pure curiosity. While this had resulted in some calling the three “foolish”, others chose not to speak to them about their decision. However, it wasn’t long until one of the members of the group, Vaan, chose to speak up.
”Alright! It should be right around here! I know that the two of you had just decided to go along with exploring the forest in general however, I wonder what made the two of you choose to accompany me.” He said before he ended up glancing over at Bartz and Riddle. While he seemed to be rather curious as to why the two decided to accompany him, he also seemed to notice that Bartz chose to remain silent as well.
”Well, if you are so curious to know, it’s because you’re sometimes too reckless for your own good…” Riddle muttered softly. While he had decided to only tag along due to how Vaan had a habit of being reckless, he also didn’t seem to like standing out in the middle of the gnarled forest at midnight. However, it was also at this point when Bartz decided to speak.
”L-let’s just find a way out of here… This forest is already starting to scare me and the fact that it’s the middle of the night doesn’t help, either…” Bartz said. While he seemed to be rather spooked about standing in the middle of the gnarled forest, it wasn’t until the howling of wolves caught the trio’s attention that they started to search for away out of the forest. However, no matter how much they searched for a way out of the forest, they couldn’t seem to find it although when they found themselves standing in front of a large castle, the looming feeling of dread they had only grew until eventually, Vaan and Riddle heard an all too familiar scream but when they turned to look at where the young wanderer was standibg before, they could only see an empty space before noticing that the doors to the castle were left open.
Due to this, the two remaining members of the group could only theorize that Bartz was further ahead within the castle and soon enough, they too entered the castle although eventually, the doors slammed shut behind them which left them trapped within the castle.
”A-are we stuck here? I… don’t understand why the doors suddenly slammed shut behind us…” Riddle said. While he seemed to be rather unnerved by the door slamming shut on its own, he soon started to cautiously walk down the castle hallway that was before him until eventually, he ended up in the castle’s throne room. While Vaan did end uo following behind him, he also eventually managed to find Bartz who was standing right next to a vampire although soon enough, the two realized that there were more vampires than just the one that was standing next to Bartz.
Lord Aras had been lurking in the forest with a few of his kinsmen to feed. He had grown in a habit to leave his castle unattended. After all, the werewolves had long left. What was it? 300 years ago…yeah. Lord Aras dismissed his students, and they shortly left to their own dwellings.
He stayed in the forest for quite a while. The man had grown accustomed to roaming from time to time. Centuries of boredom would make anyone lose themselves. It was all he knew to keep his last bit of sanity.
A few hours later he made his way back to his castle. Flying, of course. Instead of the traditional bat that was rumored to be his kind in the Victorian Era, he preferred to just become a cloud of darkness. Much like a dementor was described in that one book.
Yes, literature has been a favorite of Lord Aras. Since he had barely anything else to do with his time he thought it only appropriate to read.
He flew into the window he kept open which led into his room. Shortly after, he heard the doors close and a faint voice. Smirking, he now turned into a bat and flew around the many staircases to the main area where the front door was, perching on the chandelier.
“So… Hi V and Riddle… You’re probably wondering how I ended up here and the answer is that well… A vampire kind of… dragged me in here…” Bartz muttered softly. While he seemed to be mostly unphased by what had just happened to him, he also ended up noticing that Riddle was less than pleased with his response.
”This is exactly the reason why we can’t turn any sort of attention away from you for a moment. Not only ate you too friendly for your own good but you also ended up getting dragged here and for the record, I am not dealing with another sticky situation. Do you understand me?” Riddle said. He seemed to be slightly disappointed by how Bartz had gotten himself into a slightly sticky situation however, he also glanced over at Vaan who seemed to be staring up at the ceiling for whatever reason.
”And why exactly are you staring up at the ceiling, Vaan?” He said. While he ended up glancing over at Vaan as he spoke, he also didn’t seem to be too amused with the current situation, either.
He listened to the group talk. It was quite more than he bargained for. After all, Aras had already had his fill. After hearing that one of the boys was dragged in by a vampire he immediately thought of his student, Val. She often grabbed more than she was supposed to and more than she needed. Often causing trouble for Aras. This was another one of those times.
Almost the entire time he was up there he felt eyes piercing him. Looking around he noticed one of the boys staring in his direction. He let out a little squeak, after all he was currently a bat. Aras flew down from his perch and onto the railing above them. The main area was accompanied by two staircases one left, one right, leading to the second floor. He just perched on the railing connecting the two. Now they definitely saw him. One of the boys seemed terrified whereas the other was completely unfazed. Lowering his little bat head, he turned into his normal form. Now he was standing on the railing and decided to greet them. “Hello travelers. It seems you have wandered into my house. I am Lord Aras. I would like your names…they won't matter for much longer.” He said, with a grimacing smile.
“And why would you wish to know our names? Vaan and I only came here to get our friend back and that’s exactly what I intend to do before leaving.” Riddle said. While he didn’t seem to be too keen on stating his name, he also ended up glancing over at Vaan as well before quickly going silent after he spoke.
“Well, the clearly grumpy one is Riddle, the one who was staring up at the ceiling previously is Vaan and I’m… Bartz… please don’t hurt us…” Bartz said. While he still seemed to be quite spooked by the previous events that had happened to him, he still decided to state his name along with the names of the two that he was traveling with. However, he also seemed to notice how Vaan and Riddle didn’t seem to be entirely pleased with the current situation.
“Good, at least one of you listens.”he said after names were stated. Shortly after he jumped down to where they were on level ground. Snapping, two other beings walked into the room. One seemed to be made of old metal and was some sort of old robot whereas the other one was a man with red hair and a lot of jewelry.
”I see we have some visitors. Good thing I skipped your little feed expidition" Michael said, looking to Lord Aras. Michael didn't mind being an understudy and had no intention in overthrowing Lord Aras. After all, it seemed centuries of training would still not get him close to the expirence of Lord Aras.
Aras nodded at Michael's remark and looked to M3DR as the machine seemed to be analyzing something. The robot clicked and whirred. The doors disappeared along with the windows. It suddenly became much darker without the moon shining in. “I'm sure this wasn't your plan, kids. Sorry but you'll have to be punished for trespassing. We'll give you a 2 minute headstart. Run”
“That’s what I was planning on doing!” Vaan said before he picked up Riddle and started to run. While he also managed to grab Bartz as well, he quickly started to search for an exit however, he didn’t seem to be so sure of his plan.
”Couldn’t we use magic or something? I get that one of us uses fire magic the most but maybe covering the floor in a layer of ice might work as well.” Bartz said. While he ended up casting a spell that covered a small portion of the surrounding area in ice after he spoke, he also quickly began to run as well.
”You could probably just leave that task to Riddle! Besides, you need to focus more on getting the hell out of here, Bartz and I do NOT want to end up dead or as some sort of captive.” Vaan said. While he seemed to be quite spooked by the possibility of what could happen, he also seemed to notice that Riddle had managed to create a small mote of fire as well.
”That very well makes two of us who do not wish to have that fate. Besides, it’s your fault for dragging us into the forest in the first place, Vaan and Bartz having been taken didn’t help, either.” Riddle said. While he still didn’t seem to be too pleased with having been caught up in a sticky situation, he also ended up creating a small mote of fire in the palm of his hand that he could throw at a target should the need arise.
”Oh and if we ever get out of this mess, you two are in serious trouble. Not only did you get us all in some sort of danger, you also ended up breaking a rule as well by going near that gnarled forest…” He said with a monotone tone of voice. While his slight anger at Vaan and Bartz had seemingly faded away, he was still not at all amused about the situation that he had been thrown in the middle of.
”Look, my curiosity got the best of me, alright? I heard about the rumors surrounding the fact that people have gone missing however, I never thought that we’d be in a sticky situation. Plesse just forgive me for that mishap!” Bartz said with an apologetic tone of voice. While this seemingly did nothing to allow him to avoid a potential scolding later, he also didn’t want to get caught, either.
The two vampires smirked and looked to each other as the robot started to power down. Aras sighed and checked his watch. Michael paced around until the two minutes passed. Once the two minutes was over, they darted in opposite halls. Aras was on the right track. After all, he caught their scent. Michael was a novice compared to him. Yet there was a reason Aras kept him around that even Aras himself wasn't so sure of.
Once they were around 120 feet away Aras began to slow down and start walking, listening to their banter while humming.
Michael realized that he was going the wrong way and made his way towards the halls Aras went, cursing to himself. He was slower than Aras so he wouldn't be there for another few minutes.
“Well, now what? We’re stuck in this mess with no way out however, there’s also no telling what they could possibly want with us either…” Vaan muttered softly. While he chose to keep to a low whisper when it came to speaking, he also glanced over at Bartz who was currently running alongside him. However, he also noticed that Riddle chose to remain silent for the time being as well.
”I would have chosen to split up but you’re the one who’s stuck carrying someone. At the very least, it would hopefully serve to provide enough time for at least two of us to escape…” Bartz muttered softly. While he spoke in the same hushed tone of voice as Vaan, he also ended uo glancing over at the aforementioned individual as well. However, he also seemed to notice that the third member of their group had sworn to be silent for the time being.
Aras had realized that Michael was about to catch up to him so he decided to speed walk. Clicking his heels together, he floated and landed onto the ceiling.
“I'm catching up.” He boomed down the hallway, echoing throughout the mansion. Paintings on the walls seemed to jump at the sound. A piano started to play a melodramatic tune. The floor seemed to become more slippery and the lights started to flicker.
Michael heard the voice and turned into a bat and flew the opposite direction. All just off of instinct. Aras must want them to himself or else he wouldn't have projected so much. The robot seemed to whirr back to life and go through a secret passageway, ending up in front of the group.
The machine started to sound a loud BUZZ as Aras approached from behind the group. “Hmmm….I hope you three can fight. I need to stretch these old bones.” Aras said, menacingly.
“It’s not like we have a choice in the matter.” Bartz said before he created a fireball in the palm of his hand. While the flickering orb of flame seemed to be rather harmless while it remained within the palm of his hand, the fiery projectile was also set to create a small burst of flames upon impact with a target.
”I’ll have you know that we’re more than capable of holding our own in a fight. Now, how about you just let the three of us go and I won’t have to use any sort of magic.” Vaan said before he ended up creating both several ice shards and a fireball in the palm of his hand. While he had let go of Riddle before casting a spell, he also ended up noticing that Bartz was also holding a fireball.
”Understood. However, the both of you are not in the clear just yet. In fact, if we ever get out of this mess, you both are in for an earful…” Riddle muttered softly as he ended up glancing over at both Vaan and Bartz. While he had also created a mote of fire using the corresponding elemental magic, he also seemed to be on high alert for anything that cpuld potentially go wrong as well.
Aras smirked at the three. “Good…good. You all are just the right amount of clueless! Perfect!” the man said before he disappeared into a dark fog and a voice echoed through the house “You have to find a key to escape. It's on my coat. Hide and seek!” Aras loved to toy with his prey. It reminded him of the old times where people would try to hunt him in his own house. What a fun time that was!
The mansion seemed endless and was barely lit, the halls seemed to move as did the staircases. It seemed as Aras was a floor above them.
“Alright you two! We need to come up with a plan! While we have to get out of here as soon as possible, we also do not know what lurks within these walls. As a result, I would have normally suggestes that we split up but… it might be too risky.” Vaan said. While he glanced over at Riddle and Bartz as he spoke, he also seemed to be contemplating the options that the group had when it came to trying to find a way to get the key and escape from the castle. However, he didn’t seem to expect that Bartz would soon run off to try and find a way to the second floor on his own nor did he seem to notice it until Riddle decides to point it out.
”Vaan, Bartz just ran off… I do not know what he is doing nor why he decided to go off on his own but… it’s probably not safe for him to just simply run off on his own.” Riddle said when he noticed that Bartz had simply run off. While he seemed to be somewhat concerned for the young wanderer, he also seemed to be waiting for Vaan to also notice the situation before saying anything else.
”Wait… he ran off? That isn’t good at all! We don’t even know what all could be lurking here hence the reason why I said that splitting up now would be risky!” Vaan said. While he now seemed to be somewhat scared by how Bartz had simply run off despite the dangers that could possibly be lurking within the castle, he also made the decision to run off after him as well.
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