In a desolate city, snow slowly fell. A thick blanket was cast upon the land. A church stood tall over smashed buildings and mutilated bodies. Slowly the church doors were pushed open and a young woman stepped out holding a blood stained sword. Sluggishly, she stepped down every step leaving a trace of blood from her bandaged feet and a drawn trail from her dragging sword. Once in the center of the church courtyard she fell to her knees, catching herself as she planted her sword into the ground. Her grip slipped and her body collapsed. Face down she slowly turned her face to the horizon. Her eyes trailed down to her bandaged, bleeding hand and she quickly twitched her fingers. Her eyes then trailed down the snow to her sword that was adorned with a tied ribbon and necklace.
"Mother," the girl faintly whispered, her eyes swelling with tears, "Did I finally free your soul? Can you rest now? Did all those deaths and sacrifices finally calm your enraged spirit Father? Did all the countless, drained bodies help you to smile once again my sister? Can I rest now?" She closed her eyes and tears streamed down her face, "My friends, who have died for my cause, can I rest now? If you would have just listened none of this would have happened. That day, it all happened because of that day..."
In 18th century Amsterdam, tales of vampires became realities as human lives began to vanish. As the arrival of the Avertarte family approached fingers pointed and the rift between the humans and the vampire kingdom grew. Driven by malice and revenge, the humans formed an organization called the Sregneva Namuh under the direction of the Everendai church. Their purpose was to defend the human race and rid their world of the horrific reign of the vampire kingdom. Backed by thousands of soldiers and traitorous vampires, who despised their own kingdom, the Sregneva Namuh posed to be a horrendous threat and brought to a draw a battle that seemed never ending.
In the courtyard of the Avertarte castle a young girl sat reading a book beside an intricate water fountain. A little girl came running out of the castle towards her.
"Sister! Sister! Did you hear? It stops today!" the little girl exclaimed with excitement.
"What stops?" the young woman questioned as she looked up from her book.
The little girl struggled to catch her breath, "The fighting! Today father and mother sign the treaty with the Sregneva Namuh and it will all be over." She began to twirl around as a smile stretched across her face, "I can't believe it. I'll finally be able to go beyond those cursed walls and see the outside world. It's so exciting, don't you agree sister?" she asked with notes of laughter trailing behind her question.
"You're all fools." She said blankly while returning to her book.
The little girl suddenly stopped twirling and fixed her gaze on her sister, "What?"
"Do you really think that signing a piece of paper is going to change anything? The Sregneva Namuh are probably using this treaty as a decoy to allow us to drop our guard so they can have a clear shot at annihilating us all. And once our kingdom falls, the idiots of our race that joined them will be killed as well. Thus, getting rid of all the vampire rats and killing two birds with one stone."
"How could you say such things?"
"Just telling the truth." She stated and turned the page.
"You're so negative." The little girl saddened.
"I do what I can." The young woman said as she closed her book and rose to her feet.
"Where are you going?"
"Away from you. You're giving me a headache." The young woman said as she walked away.
The little girl struggled against her tears, "Julia!"
Just then a youthful woman stepped out of the castle and into the courtyard. Her skin was pale and stood out against her midnight black hair. Her eyes were crystal blue and matched a crystal blue pendant she wore around her neck. A gentle smile adorned her face at the sight of the two.
"What's the matter my little one?" the woman questioned.
The little girl ran to the woman and wrapped her arms around her waist, looking up into the woman's eyes, "It's all going to end right mother? Once you sign the treaty the fighting will end right?"
The woman brushed the hair out of the girl's face, "Of course it will." She said reassuringly.
"Then tell Julia. Convince Julia." The girl pleaded.
The woman looked to Julia with concern, "Julia -"
"No need for lies mother." Julia said as she breezed past them.
"Julia." The woman sighed.
The little girl raced to the corridor, "You wait Julia, you'll see!" she called after.
Julia threw up her hand and continued down the corridor.
Within the Everendai church a young woman stood at the bottom of an altar, staring up at a massive sculpture of the Virgin Mary. Her rich brown eyes gazed upon it with absolute certainty.
"Today marks the day of the beginning of our purification. May God bestow us with strength to destroy the demons that plague us." She said to herself.
"Lady Trista?" a young woman called as she stepped towards the altar, making sure to keep a considerable amount of distance between them.
"Is everything ready, Sister Cornillia?" Trista asked, keeping her eyes on the statue.
"Yes but..." Sister Cornillia started, dropping her gaze to the cobble stoned ground with regret.
"Don't worry sister. Sister Maryellia is making a sacrifice to God to repent for being such a disgusting child of the Devil."
"I know but it still seems a little-"
Trista frowned at her words, "It must be done. We cannot look past what she is. She will sacrifice her tainted life to lead us to the Promised Land which we were. The damned will be sent to the Damned and rot in Hell for eternity."
A young man stepped in behind Sister Cornillia, "Let us be off Trista." He stated dryly.
Trista gazed upon the statue for a few moments and turned on her heel, following the young man out of the church. Sister Cornillia slowly looked up to the statute with worry.
The front gates of Avertarte castle inched open slowly. Trista and the young man were escorted and led through the courtyard, into the sanctuary of the castle.
"Welcome." A young man called as he entered to meet them. He carried himself with pride. His posture was absolute and his elaborate royal dress was pressed and styled in a meticulous manner, "I'm quite happy that you have taken our offer of an olive branch."
"Yes. We realized we should sully our hands no longer for God shall condemn you soon enough." Trista said through a smile, not cold yet not kind.
"Trista!" her companion warned.
"Yes. My apologies. I got ahead of myself." She said as she reveled triumphantly at the young man's pained expression.
"Sorry for my late entrance." The blue eyed woman announced,
"Mundee." She said as she smiled at the young man, "Lady Trista, Father Randolph." She called as she fixed her gaze on her guests.
"No need for your apology, Maria." Mundee smiled.
Maria took Mundee's hand and his tension faded as he looked to her and smiled.
"Please. Let us proceed to greater matters." Father Randolph began.
"Yes." Lord Mundee agreed.
Lord Mundee led them to a table where a written treaty awaited.
"To a new beginning." Father Randolph announced.
"Yes. May our people proceed into a world of peace and equality." Lord Mundee added.
They all signed the treaty and encased it in a glass case. Father Randolph and Lady Trista left the Avertarte grounds.
The little girl pushed open the door to the room slightly and peeked in, "Is it over?"
Lady Maria turned to her and smiled, "It's over." She said and held her arms out to her.
The little girl ran into her mother's arms with laughter and tears of joy.
Julia walked into the room and made her way towards the glass case,
"So this is our false sense of hope." She sighed, "We're all doomed." She folded her arms and scrutinized the signatures.
Lord Mundee walked over to Julia and wrapped his arm around her shoulder, "Julia, come, celebrate with us."
"Celebrate what? A dream differed?" she replied, keeping her eyes on the paper.
"Even if it is a dream it is still a celebratory event, don't you agree?"
"Why celebrate something that doesn't even exist?"
Lord Mundee wrapped his arms around her waist and spun her around, "Oh Julia let us dream!"
"Father, stop it!"
"Not until you agree to celebrate!"
Julia burst into laughter, "Okay! Okay!"
He set her down and they laughed.
Lord Mundee placed his hand on her head, "Come. Let us feast."
Lady Maria, Lord Mundee, and the little girl walked out of the room leaving Julia behind staring at the glass case.
Lord Mundee returned, "Julia." He called.
She shifted her gaze to him and ran to him. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and they both left together.
After dinner was served, the family returned to Lord Mundee and Lady Maria's chambers.
"Jeez, I think I'm going to burst. Just one small movement and plow, gush, I'll spew wide open and my guts and blood will be everywhere."
"Great after dinner talk Imalia." Julia said sarcastically.
Lady Maria brushed Julia's hair and Imalia lay on L. Mudee's chest across the bed. From outside music played and the smells of food filled the air as the people celebrated.
Imalia quickly sat up at the sound of the music, "Father. Do you hear it?" she smiled, "I bet they even have fireworks." She ran to the window and opened it. She looked back towards Lord Mundee, "Father, will you take me? Please." She begged.
"Not tonight." He said, almost exhausted.
"Pretty please father? Make Julia take me." She continued to beg.
"Ha!" Julia exclaimed as she stood to her feet, "Julia's going to bed." She said as she walked to the door.
"Sister, please?" she whined as she ran to Julia and hugged her,
"Please, please, please, please, please, please, please!"
Julia punched her on the head, "Stop begging!" she yelled before leaving.
Imalia grabbed her head, "Mom! Julia hit me!" she cried as she forced out some tears.
"Imalia." Lady Maria gently called, "Tomorrow, tomorrow I will take you. Get your rest my little one."
Imalia quickly stopped her tears and wiped them from her eyes, "Okay mother." she ran and hugged her, "Promise?"
Lady Maria giggled, "Promise." She said and kissed her on the forehead, "To bed with you."
"Yes mother." She said and kissed her cheek, "Father, will you come tuck me in?"
Lord Mundee rose and walked to the door, "Yes."
"Love you mother."
"Love you too, my little one."
Imalia left and Lord Mundee walked towards Lady Maria.
Lord Mundee leaned close to her, "I love you, Maria."
Lady Maria laughed, "I love you too, Mundee."
They kissed and Lord Mundee left, closing the door behind him. Lady Maria walked to the bathroom and began to undress and take down her hair. Approaching an enormous warm bath, she stepped in slowly so the warmth could greet her statue cold body one body part after another. As depth increased she submerged her whole body and rose in the center of the bath. She pushed the hair out of her face and rubbed her smooth arm. Behind her a figure rose out of the water and inched its way towards her. It grabbed her and slit her neck wide open and disappeared into the water, leaving her lifeless body floating to the top. The water filled with her blood and the bath turned red.
Lord Mundee walked into the bathroom, "Maria, I just don't know what to do with that girl. I swear Imalia will never want to grow up." He sighed, "Maria?" he turned his gaze to the bath and immediately noticed her lifeless body, "Maria!" he shouted as he jumped into the bath and pulled himself through the water "Maria!" he reached her body and turned her over while picking her up, "Maria, answer me!" he pleaded desperately.
The remaining veins and flesh holding her head to her body broke off and her head dropped into the water.
Lord Mundee's breathing became heavy and his eyes grew wide with terror, "Maria." He whispered, "Who did this to you...you can't be gone. Maria." Tears streamed down his face. "Maria!"
At the sound of her father's scream Julia burst through the doors of the bathroom. She searched the room and fixed her gaze on her father in the middle of the bath. Her eyes immediately settled on the headless body in his arms.
"M-Mother?" she exclaimed.
Imalia dashed into the room behind her.
"What's going o-"
Julia quickly snatched Imalia back before she could witness the sight.
Imalia began to fight against her, "Julia! What are you doing? Let me go!"
"Shut up!" she yelled while throwing her out of the room, "Go to bed!" she commanded as she shut the door and locked it.
Imalia folded her arms and pouted, "Jeez, she can be so mean at times." She complained as she walked back to her room.
Lord Mundee walked out of the bath holding the body and head of his wife. Julia forced herself to watch as Lord Mundee placed the body on the bed and placed the head where it should be. Her eyes began to burn and she could feel her throat clinch and become dry.
"Fa-" she began.
"Here Julia." He said as he handed her Lady Maria's necklace, "She would have wanted you to have this."
Julia stared at the necklace and hesitated taking it, "But-"
"Just...take it Julia." He said despondently. He walked to Maria's side and took her hand while kneeling, "Please, leave me."
Julia watched her father kiss her mother's hand and brush the hair out of her face. She dashed out of the room and closed the door behind her. She slid against the door into a fetal position and began to cry, holding the necklace to her chest.
Sweet Dreams to Nightmares Chapter 1The treaty is signed.
By Lesley Bohannon