Part Eleven: Underground Waterway

Authors Note: I was verrrrry tempted to do the next part first, and leave you guys with a really nasty cliffhanger for an even longer period of time. But, I'll be nice, and clear up what happens to Carrie. And Chanaur. So, consider yourselves lucky, and thank my little brother. He convinced me to do this one first.

After falling for what seemed like ages, Carrie finaly hit the ground. She felt her body crumple, rolling a ways. Groaning, she lay back, clutching her left leg. Looking down, she saw that the femur had ruptered the skin. Blood seeped from her body, draining her life with it.

The punctuals on her neck stung, bringing her mind to her latest dilema: She had now way of curing the vamparism. She wasn't going to live much longer. Near the back of her mind, she sensed a feted stench hanging in the air....

A strange numbness had begun creeping over her; the curse taking a hold on her body.

"Perfect...." She put a hand on the bite, feeling her warm blood spill over her fingers. "I'm dead. Chanaur's never gonna know. I'm not gonna know if he felt the same way....."

The strange part of this was, she felt no pain. She was literally numb all over. What a way to die. Just numb up and drift off.... Until....

A lound thump and a grunt was heard just her left. A shadow hit the ground, and continued rolling until he smacked into the wall Carrie was leaning against. He sat up clutching his head. "Son of a...."

"Chanaur..." Carrie whispered. "Am I glad to see you!"

Chanaur jumped, and stood up. "I'm glad your alright. Now, just relax. I've got a crystal here...." He pulled it from his pocket, and brought it her.

Setting it down, he healed her leg first. "If I cure the vampirism first, the pain will return, and double what it should be, so hold on a sec." The bone knitted, her skin mended.

Picking up the crystal again, he set it on Carrie's chest, pushing it into her body. The crystal dissolved, flowing into her heart. Looking at her neck, he realized just how much blood she was losing.

The sight of her blood captivated his mind. His eyes locked on it, mesmurized by the most beautiful color on this or any other world. He tried to tear his eyes from it, but couldn't. Desperately, he shut his eyes tight. I can't let this happen again.... Not to Carrie!

Distracted, his hand touched the soft flesh of her breast.

They both looked down at the intimate contact, and then into the other's eyes. blushing furiosly, they turned away hurriedly, Chanaur snatching his hand back. "Sorry." He said hurriedly, thankful that he was finally able to remove his gaze from her neck.

"It's okay Chanaur..." She said hastily. He looked back at her face, and saw her looking back at him. Her flush deepening, she turned away again.

Chanaur kept his gaze set resolutely away, trying to keep his mind off of her blood. Off of her neck....

Her neck?

"Oh, jeez, Carrie...." He turned back to her, and put a hand on her neck. "Sorry, I forgot all about it...." He healed it, his eyes closed again. Although he couldn't see it, he felt the warm liquid coating his hand.....

When he finally opened his eyes, Carrie was looking into his face. "You know, your much too tense...." She touched his cheek gently, trying at a smile. "What's on your mind....?" She asked.

Again, she knew something was different. Knew that he was distracted. Sighing, he shook his head. The punctuals finally sealed themselves.

However, her blood hadn't been removed from his hand.....

He stared at it momentarily, praying that he could control it. But it had been so long since he had fed.... And that made him weak.....

Made the resistance oh so much harder....

He tried to clean it away, but he couldn't get it all off. Finally, with a knot in his throat, he brought his middle and pointer fingers to his lips. As he tasted it, a guilt clutched his heart.

But the taste....

The sweetest blood I have ever tasted..... He put a hand on his head, as if trying to force the thought from his brain. He had to control himself....

But he couldn't..... Not this time.....

"Chanaur?" Carrie sat up, trying to see into his eyes. "What's wrong?"

He backed away hastily, turning his head. His canine teeth lengthened, sprouting painfully through his gums. He wished Carrie would leave, and forget she ever saw....

But then he felt her hand on his shoulder, her touch gentler than it had ever been. He shrugged her hand off, praying that she would just go....

"Chanaur..... It's no big deal. So you touched my chest.... It's nothing." She put both hands on his shoulders, trying to comfort him.

"Damn it Carrie, get away from me!" He snarled, moving farther away. He found himself against the wall. "Just go...."

"Not until you tell me what's wrong." She was close, but didn't touch him. But she's too damn close!!

Carrie whispered his name again, hoping she could help him. This can't be just about what just happened.... Something important is happening here....

But what....?

"Please....." She said, her voice near silent. "What is it? I can help."

Chanaur sighed. He turned to face her, his eyes burning. There was a heart-breaking sadness behind it.... She didn't recognize the fire at first...

But then she saw that he had her blood on his lip, and then it clicked.

She hurriedly backed away. He smiled bitterly, a horrible, ghastly grin. "Can you really help, Carrie?!" He choked. He turned away. "I'm sorry.... I knew this would happen if I told you...."

"You... you're a vampire?" Carrie's breath was erradic, her trust wavering. I was right..... But what will happen now....?

He knew this would happen? What was happening?

Chanaur snarled. "Yes. Good God, I meant to tell you.... But I knew this would happen...."

Still, it didn't make sense... "Chanaur, what is happening? Please, tell me. I don't understand."

He sighed again, squeezing his hands into fists. "My father was a true vampire.... My mother a human...." Carrie noticed blood seeping from his fist, caused by his fingernails.... "I'm a half breed. I posses all the physical capabilites of both...." He squeezed harder, the blood flowing faster. "And as an effect, I also posses their weaknes....."

Carrie took this in, her heart cracking. She couldn't stand seeing him like this.... "Chanaur.... why are you ashamed....?"

She saw tears running down his cheek. "This has happened before.... My losing control....."

"I can understand that...." Carrie took a hesitant step forward, but he shot her another heated look. "But with who?"

Chanaur swallowed hard, and whimpered, "Taolin."

Carrie felt his sadness, his true hatred at what he had become. "So.... that's why you two broke up.... and why you wouldn't tell me the reason why...."

"Because I knew this would happen...." He let out a sob, and his hand unclenched. Seeing his own blood seemed to anger him, and he slammed his fist into the stone wall. His hand crumpled, but he left a good sized hole.

"Chanaur, calm down." She resisted the urge to comfort him, then sat down a ways away from him. "Now, tell me. What is happening?"

Chanaur choked back a cry of anguish, and muttered. "Your trust in me has been shattered.... You're leaving me....." He moved farther away. "I knew this would make you leave...."

"Chanaur, I'm not going anywhere." She moved into his line of vision, smiling at him. "Didn't I say that I would never leave you? Did you think I was kidding?"

Chanaur said nothing, just stared sadly at her. She saw the shame, the horror at what he had become.

Carrie closed her eyes. "You have no control over what you are. It's nothing to be ashamed of....." She opened her eyes, looking into his again. The bloodlust still scared her, but she accepted it. "I don't care what you are. I care who you are. You are my most cherished friend, among my last remaining family."

Chanaur blinked, and the fire dissipated slightly. "You care.... that much for me..... even when you know what I am?" He smiled slightly, his heart lifting.

Carrie smiled. "I'm not like other people, Chanaur."

"Yes." Chanaur smiled back, the bloodlust finally fading. "That's why I.... care for you so much."

Carrie noticed the hesitation, again. Everytime he did that, it meant that he was either covering something, or trying to get something out.

This time, she could be absolutely sure that he was covering for something. But, she let the subject fall. "How are you feeling?"

"Surprisingly good. Just.... keep your distance for a while." His eyes softened. "I don't want to risk it."

"Fair enough." She nodded, standing up. "Now, where do you suppose we are?"

Chanaur stood up, healing his hand. "Well, judging by the stench, I'd say were in the underground waterway. The water, of course, is nothing more than the acidic poison we're already used too."

They started walking, Chanaur leading the way. "The lizardmen live here, and in great abundence. The are immune to the affects of the water, and use it to execute sneak attacks. But above all, you need to watch out for-"

There was a loud rumbling, followed by the crumbling of the floor just where Chanaur was landing. Had Carrie been standing with him, she would have fallen too.

After a short fall, Chanaur hit the ground, landing on a protrusion of some sort. It stuck into his side, a blade. The blade of a spear.

".....Pitfalls." He muttered, ripping it free with a grunt.

He opened his eyes, seeing nothing but blackness. Turning around, he saw a tunnel, with a dim light near the end.

Where the hell am I? He raised a hand, a light appering in it. Ah. The catacombs..... He sighed, kicking the head of a warrior away from him. A wonderful place. Where else can you see the results of a war waged for centuries...?

Bodies were strewn everywhere, some fresher than others. Many of them still clutched their weapons in their dead hands. Their garb varied widely, seeing a Roman helmet on one, and the Coat of Arms of England on another. He started toward the tunnel, seeing no other way to go.

As he neared the mouth of the tunnel, his mind drifted back to Carrie. She accepted me, even after I almost killed her.... A true friend....

Does this mean.... That she truly loves me?

He sighed, happy that that had gone so well. However, that was his secret, so now she had to tell him hers.....

No. He smiled to himself. I shouldn't force her into a corner. Once she's ready, she'll tell me.

Chanaur stumbled on the helmet of a corpse. Looking down, he was revulced to see that it was still.... juicy. Looking around, he realized that some corpses seemed to be just hours old, while others had obviously been here for centuries.

Shivering, he became aware of new element. A soft, dulcet music was drifting from the direction of the light. A harp.... Several harps, to be exact.....

He found himself drawn to it, beguiled by it. The hands that played it obviously had experience in the instrument, for never before had he heard one played like this....

Before he knew it, Chanaur was in a vaulted cavern, lit by a strange bluish light. The cavern was home to a underground lake, of pure water, not acid.

Near the center of the lake, was a small island. Upon it sat three women, all of them playing harps. They were unclear, though....

Chanaur stepped carefully into the water, to get a closer look. Their skin was white, white as snow. They had green hair, cascading over their nude bodies. Sighing, he closed his eyes, the music stirring his soul.

He felt the water ripple, as the three women stepped into the water, coming closer. The one in the middle stopped playing, as the other two did the same.

"Tell us who you are....." She whispered.

"....Yes, who you are....." the other's whispered.

They stopped, about twenty feet away, awaiting his reply. He inclined his head, and said, "Chanaur Majere."

"The Count's grandson...."

"......Count's grandson....." Came the echo.

"Why..... What are you doing here. Your Sirens, aren't you?" Chanaur looked into their eyes, seeing a strange a yellowish cast to them.

"What are you doing here, halfbreed?"

"....doing here, halfbreed.....?"

Chanaur found the echo disconcerting. "I have lost my way. Do you know how I could get back to waterway?"

"Back to Carrie?"


"Yes." Chanaur said, growing impatient. "Could you help me?"

"We can help you. But not in the way you want...."

" you.....way you want......"

Chanaur felt the water stir slightly at his feet. He leaped out of the water, but not before he was caught in the coils of a great serpent.

The soft voices became sharp, and their breath hissed. Chanaur struggled, trying desperately to free himself. "Hero, you have fallen for the age old trap..... you men are all alike.....

"....Hero....all alike...."

His breath stopped coming. He felt his bones crack. "What.... what do you want from me....?" He gasped out.

He opened his eyes, to see the face of the woman just in front of him. Her face lengthened in a serpentine snout, her tounge flicking out. He was lifted high in the air, suspended by the coils that were now his prison.

The other two snake heads came to join her, laughing in his face. He was caught by a three headed serpent, not a siren.....

But he would have preferred the sirens... They killed you quickly. But the snake-women....

"Why your life force, of course....." The middle one whispered, her tounge flicking accross his face.

" force....."

The spot where her tounge had touched became numb, aside from a quiet stinging. The sting intensified, and he felt his strength ebb.

The other's came up to him, each taking long, lavish licks. The sting became a burn. The burning became an unbearable pain.....

With no breath in his lungs, he couldn't scream. Only moan piteously, fighting weakly. He felt his blood vessels expand, about to explode under the pressure of the embrace.....

"You are ours, vampire...." The center head took another taste, a sensual look on her face. "....To feed upon....."

"....ours......feed upon....."

"Chanaur!" Carrie called down the hole, hoping for a response. "Are you alright!?" Silence. "Chanaur!!" Still nothing.

She sank to her knees, calling again and again. After a good five minutes, she gave up. Standing up, she walked along the edge of the chasm, and continued on, her heart heavy.

Soon, she came to a new passage. Stone walkways crossed the acrid water, greenish in color. The stench of poison hung heavy in the air.

Carrie walked further, rounding a corner. A waterfall of the foul stuff was falling, blocking her way.

Sighing, she crossed another walkway, seeing a large tile in a corner. With any luck, that would stop the water fall.....

Near the middle of the path, she hear a disturbance in the water. She froze, brandishing her axe. Looking into the poisonous sludge, she saw a reptilian head glaring up at her. It rose farther out of the water, revealing broad shoulders, long, gangly arms, and powerful legs. It had a sheild and a one-handed axe for weapons.

As it stepped up onto the where Carrie waited, two more appeared, armed in the same way. She was surrounded, on a boardwalk three feet wide by a pack of lizardmen.

They hissed, and came in all at once. The first one to reach her swung downwards with it's axe, but missed her entirely. Carrie brought the dragon axe up, splitting it cleanly up the middle.

Continuing the arch, she brought it down upon the second, in a diagonal swing. The four halves splashed into the water, the acid hissing slightly.

The third advanced carefully, discarding it's axe and drawing a scimitar. They didn't look too bright, but they seemed smart enough.

Carrie stepped forward to meet it, avoiding the intrails of the other lizardmen. Once slip, and she'd be history. She came closer, her arms ready to deliver the final blow.

The creature was just out of range now, and every muscle in it's body seemed tensed. Lightning fast, it lunged forward, swinging downward with it's sword.

Carrie slashed upward, severing the blade and warrior in one swing.

She sighed. Was there ever going to be an actual challenge in this place?

She journied back to where she had seen the switch. A fourth lizardman guarded this one, without a weopon in sight. This one was much larger than the others, and possessed a bony frill around it's head.

Carrie put her axe away, figuring that this one would rely on different mechanisms....

Sure enough, once she had gotten within range, it reared it's head back, and spat a stream of acid at her. Carrie ducked it; it was aimed directly at her head. As it readied a second shot, she drew one of her electric throwing axes.

Carrie slid under the second, hurling the axe at the creatures head. It scored, and the usual effect was brought about.

She shuddered, thankful that the mess dissapeared after it ceased to exist. Feeling slightly sick, she stepped onto the large tile, hearing a loud, stone thump resound through the area. The rushing of water halted. The waterfall had been stopped.

Carrie's breath seethed, as she clutched her arm. So she hadn't evaded it completely.....

"If only Chanaur were here....." She sighed. For now, she'd have to deal with it.

She continued on, avoiding the lizardmen as well as she could. She preferred not to kill them....

She just wanted to get out of this place, and as fast as she could.

Carrie finally passed through another brick tunnel, much like the one she had first arrived in. Upon emmurging, she spotted a red lizardman, perched on a ledge high above her.. She pulled a throwing knife from her pack, and hurled it at the creature.

The lizardman opened it's mouth, and a large fireball issued forth, incinerating the dagger, and falling down to meet Carrie.

Sidestepping this, she shot back with ice. A large icicle speared it right between it's shoulders, and it splashed into the poisonous water below.

"God, I can't wait to get out of here...." She wrinkled her nose, as the fresh wave of stench reached her.

Carrie continued, dealing with several more creatures. After about an hour, she discovered another switch. Stepping on it, she saw the waterfall at the otherside of the cavern stop.

Stepping away from the switch, she soon found herself cornered. Five lizardmen. Two fire-breathers, three regular.

Carrie planted her feet firmly, ready to take them on. One by one, or otherwise.

Chanaur gave up, letting his body go limp. His entire body ached, and he still couldn't breath. The coils seemed to tighten suddenly, sensing his relaxing.

"So strong.... and tasty, this one....." The whispering voice returned, their faces back to normal.

"....strong..... this one....." Came the echo.

"He might last another day or two....."

" or two....."

Chanaur's senses had been clouded, from energy loss, and pain. He could, however, sense their ecstasy. It radiated around him, and gave him a different kind of strength.

He knew that if this continued, he could possibly strike back....

Chanaur suddenly felt the grip loosen slightly. He squirmed desperately, hoping that they would do what he wanted them too....

The coils tigtened, and slid up, to wrap around his throat. This was what he had wanted, and he bided his time, waiting for the grip to go slack again.

"We couldn't let you escape, halfbreed...." The center head licked him again, several times. The pain redoubled, and Chanaur cried out. "Not until you've been sucked dry....."

"......escape.....sucked dry......"

Their ecstasy seemed to intensify, strengthened by his life force..... Soon..... It's almost time to strike.....

He felt the coils loosen again. No more than a slight slackening, but it seeled their fate, all the same.

Too late, the snake-women saw his eyes glow. Too late, they heard the hungry snarl. Too late, they saw his fangs sprout.

Too late, they felt them plunge into thier scaled flesh.

Chanaur was getting his strength back, in the best way he could think of. The blood flowed into his mouth, sustaining him. He regained his senses. The numbness abated.

He looked around, seeing the snake-women writh in agony. He bit down harder, blood spraying into his face. The creatures finally attacked, the center head diving for him, ready to take him into it's jaws.

Chanaur had freed his arms, and drawn his sword.

The head stopped it's decent, a piercing shriek escaping it's lips. The sword had entered the things eye, and was ripped free.

Feeling stronger than he ever had, Chanaur, hung in the air, the coils had already fallen away. "May any of you who wish to face a member of the Tepes blood line...." He held out a hand, beckoning to them. "...then come to me...."

"Dhampire....." The middle head hissed and drooped, saliva dripping from it's mouth. "The halfbreed.... Who knew that one with blood as base as yours would have such power...."

".....Dhampire.....such power....."

Lowering his hand slightly, he aimed it at the lake. He froze it, locking the snake women in place. He dropped to the glassy surface, re-issuing his challenge.

The center head screamed in rage, diving for him. Chanaur gracefully leapt over it, and dodged it again in mid air. When he landed, he allowed it to strike again.

Sliding under it and slashing upward at the same time, he severed the head cleanly from the rest of the body. With one final shriek, the head hit the frozen surface of the lake, transforming back into the beautiful woman that it had been when he had first saw it.

He unfroze the lake, allowing the remnants to sink below the water. He stood upon the thawed lake, walking on water. He changed the sword into a dual-bladed bo, and beckoned to the other two.

They both shrieked a battle cry, lunging for him at the same time.

Maneuvering his weapon in a complicated arch, he divided the heads, both at once. They struck the surface, again returning to the nude women they were at one time.

The lake became murky with their blood, and he chuckled slightly. "Dhampire..... I'm surprised they knew the true name of a half-breed..." He snorted bitterly. "I'm surprised they knew that I was the Count's grandson, for that matter....."

A new light source manifested, near the back of the cavern. He walked accross the lake, and entered the exit.

Shortly afterward, the heavy iron door slid shut behind him. He held his hand aloft again, lighting the room. He was at the foot of a long staircase, leading back up to the waterway.

Back to Carrie.....

He cleaned the blood off of his face, and started up the stone steps. "Well, at least I don't have to worry about feeding for awhile.... The snake women have sustained me...."

For now....

At the top of the staircase, he found another iron door. Firmly shut, with a relief of the sun on it. Sunlight releases the seal.....

He tested the door, and it opened. "Hmph. Well, at least I don't have to wait for it...."

Stepping into yet another room, he found himself in what appeared to be an arena of sorts. High, smooth walls.... A vaulted ceiling....

And a creature in the center.

A gorgon..... He knew he couldn't win this battle.... I've had enough of snakes to last me a life time....

The gorgon turned to face him. It was a giant serpent, with arms, and smaller snakes growing out of it's head, in place of hair. The eyes fixed on him, and he recognized the yellowish cast.

It was the last thing he knew, before everything went black.

Carrie sat down hard, panting. Damn pack animals..... She cradled her left arm. They never attack alone.... Or in pairs, for that matter.....

She leaned against the nearest wall, removing her hand and looking at the wound. She had been hit by acid in the exact same place as before.... Now it was incapacitated, to say the least.

She took stock of the damage. One, she couldn't use her left arm; tendons had melted, bones had dissintigrated. Two, her right pelvis had been crushed by the swing of one of their massive tails. Three.... More than likely, she was poisoned. Man, I really wish Chanaur was here....

Well, she wasn't going anywhere for awhile. That much was certain. "So....." She tried to sit up, but her legs collapsed from underneath her. "Is this the end....?"

"Not unless you want it to be." A brisk, business-like voice rang in her ear.

She looked up, to see the demon Renon. His tail twitched slightly as he saw her eyes. "May I be of service....?"

"Yes...." Her breath seethed, and Renon kneeled down beside her. "A cure ampoule, and anything that could heal me..." She looked up at him. "How much would that cost?"

Renon smiled down at her, as he opened his briefcase. "Nothing."

"Bull shit. Demons never give anything for free."

Renon shook his head. "Yes, it does pain me to give this merchandise away.... but the master ordered to facilitate your passage through the castle as much as possible." He dug around for a while, and finally pulled out what she wanted.

"Is that so?" Carrie usually wouldn't listen to demons of any sort.... But this one seemed genuinely mortified. "What do you get in return?"

"In return?" He smiled. "In return, I get a hefty bonus when I return to Hell. But above all, I am no longer a salesman." The grin widened slightly. "I get to work alongside death."

Carrie found herself believing him, even though every instinct in her head screamed at her to ignore him. "Congratulations." Renon nodded politely, and handed her the items she needed.

Carrie downed the ampoule, and then picked up the healing potion. Renon raised a hand. "Careful. That elixer is intoxicating."

She smiled slightly, and took a small sip. The liquid washed down her throat, like a heady wine.... The pain eased, and the wounds mended.

She looked at her arm, and then looked up at Renon. "Thank...." But he was already gone. ""

Sighing, she stood up, experiencing a moment of dizzyness as she did so. Jeez, if that was what happens with just a small sip..... She clutched her head. What would have happened if I would have taken the whole thing?

She decided to put that out of her mind, as she waited for her head to clear. The waterfall had stopped, and now she had to make it back accross this sea of poison to get out of here.

And just where was Chanaur? Was he even still alive?

Yeah, I'm sure he is. She laughed. Like he said, there's nothing he can't handle.

Walking to the opposite side of the walkway she was on, she leapt up and grabbed the outcrop. Moving one hand at a time, she worked her way over to the opposite side of the cavern.

When she had almost made it to the other side, another pack of lizardmen was waiting for her. Letting out a heavy sigh, she climbed up onto the outcrop. She had six inches of rock to stand on, but that didn't bother her.

It was the water churning below her that concerned her....

She pulled out one of Chanaur's firebombs. She'd been waiting to use this prototype, and decided that now was the time.

Reaching back, she hurled it at the pack on shore. They watched it angle through the air, and land in their midst. Upon impact, the bomb exploded. The creatures shrieks and the sweet smell of burning flesh filled the air. Damn. Chanaur wasn't messing around with that, was he?

The burning lizardmen dived into the water, as the fire roared higher. The water was frothing below her, and finally, a lizardman with a trident surged from the water, and took a downward chop at her.

Countering with her axe, the lizardman fell back to the water, cut in half. No more challenged her, until she made it to the other side.

The flames had finally died, and she was already working up a lightning spell. She finished just as the first lizarmand slid up to meet her.

The electricity streamed through the acid, frying all of the beasts. Looking back, the one that had challenged her fled for it's life. As the bodies bobbed to the surface, Carrie shivered violently. She hated doing this.....

Feeling slightly sick, she rounded the corner, and passed the stopped waterfall. A trio of Fire lizardmen guarded a sun door.

Snarling, she dismissed them with a wave of her hand. A hefty wind wafted them over her head, and into the electrified water.

Carrie gagged. If the atmosphere was stifling before, it was suffocating now.

Finally, her journey through the waterway had come to an end. Thank god for small favors.... She approached the door and tested it, finding it open.

At last, she could breath again. A new room, with high, rounded walls and a vaulted ceiling. No stench, no decay, no bodies..... Bodies?

Actually, there were bodies. A whole bunch of them. The funny thing was, they were all frozen in place, locked in stone.....

And they were all men. Every last one of them.

Walking around, she looked into their faces. Most of them looked fascinated. Other's enraptured. Others, were just downright terrified.

She looked back at the place she had come from. Three iron doors led into the room. The one in the center was the one she had come through.

And standing a little ways from the door to the left, was a very familiar looking statue. It looked just like Chanaur....

It is Chanaur!

As she stepped toward him, a creature dropped from the ceiling, landing between her and Chanaur. A giant serpent, with the torso of a woman. The woman portion was covered in scales, and topped with a head of hair that was composed of snakes.

"A gorgon...." Carrie stepped back, again waiting with her axe. The creature slid forward, her 'tail' thrashing. As she neared, the tail coiled around itself, and swung at her.

Carrie was caught just under the ribcage, and flew accross the room, smashing into one of the statues. Clutching her solarplexus, she stood up shakily, wording a fire spell. Scoring right in the face, the gorgon grabbed it's face, hissing in agony.

As it squirmed, several snakes erupted from her head, and came toward Carrie. The gorgon finally recovered, and came forward.

Hissing filled the room, and Carrie couldn't take it anymore. Screaming in rage, she slammed the butt of the axe into the ground, causing a shockwave to kill the smaller snakes, and knock the gorgon off ballance for a moment.

Gathering a ball of energy in her hand, Carrie thrusht her arm forward, sending it straight between the monster's eyes. With a sickening splatch, a heavy lasceration was all that was left of it's face. Now dealing with a new hole in it's head, the gorgon was momentarily out of commision.

She stopped for a moment, allowing it to recover. She would never kill a helpless enemy.

When it finally advanced again, it was weilding a long sword, and a wooden shield. Carrie ducked under the swing, and landed an axe in the spot where her energy ball had hit.

It hadn't descimated the monster, but it did do enough damage to kill it. With one last squeal, it fell to the floor, and was still.

As the Gorgon dissolved into nothingness, so did all of the statues. Except for Chanaur, who was restored to life. Apparently, if the men were in that state too long, they did indeed die.

Carrie smiled at him, saying, "Your firebomb was a big success, by the by."

Chanaur was smiling, but in a much different way..... He stepped forward, embracing her. "Thank God for you, Carrie." He squeezed her tight. "I'm so glad your my friend...."

Carrie was aghast. What had brought this on? She wrapped her arms around him, and whispered. "Thanks. But what did I do?"

"Well, for one thing you saved my life....." He let her go, keeping her hands.

"I owed you. Besides, it's my pleasure." She smiled at him.

"And.... you accepted me. Even when I almost killed you." His eyes saddened slightly, but his smile was still untarnished.

Carrie kissed him on the cheek. "Hey, what are friends for?" She wrapped her arms around him again, feeling a tear come to her eye. He really hates what he has become..... If only I could help him..... "Speaking of which, how are you feeling?"

"I've been sustained. For now....." Then he told her about his little fracas in the catacombs. "So, needless to say, I've had my fill of snakes."

Carrie nodded, smiling. "Let's go. Maybe Rienhardt has already made it through." Still holding hands, they walked on. The heavy iron door slid aside for them, allowing passage.

They were now in a small room, made of stone. Fans were set into the walls. A shaft of Sunlight stood in the middle of the room.

And in the middle of the light, stood a woman.

Chanaur squeezed Carrie's hand. She looked at the woman, and flinched. She spoke. "So young, but with such power..... It's almost terrifying...." She laughed coarsely. "A true Fernandez. A shame to slay her...."

Carrie looked her up and down, certain she had seen her somewhere before. She wore a black dress, a blood-red jewel set just below her neck, into a sash she wore down her front. She carried a large staff, in the shape of a crescent moon, with a sapphire set into it.

"Who are you?" She finally asked.

"Hah. Wouldn't you like to know?" She taunted. Her face seemed fixed into a horrid grin. "I am a messenger. I bring a message from the master."

"And what is that?" Chanaur asked.

She shot a contemptable look at Chanaur. Then she did a double take. The smile dissapeared as she recognized him. Shortly after, it came back. "How does it feel to be home?"

Carrie glanced up at him, as if asking what she meant. He didn't turn from the woman, however. "I prefer my real home, away from you creatures."

She laughed shortly, her gray hair rippling. "So, you have a home among the mortals? Do they know what you are?"

Carrie stepped forward. "Yes. I know what he is." Her eyes narrowed. "Now what do you want?"

Her gaze fell on Carrie, and she flinched again. The eyes were empty of all emotions. Except for a massive superiority complex, this woman couldn't be qualified as animate. "Do you know who he is?"

"What the Hell is that supposed to mean?" Carrie said hotly.

"My my, what a temper you have." Shrugging, she said. "The message is this: Either lend your power's in the great work, or rot in Hell for all eternity. You see, both of you could greatly help in restoring Dracula to his full power...." She laughed bitterly. "I give you time to consider your answer. Think it over carefully. Very carfully." Then she faded out, lost in the sunlight.

Carrie didn't move for long moments. She turned to Chanaur. "What did she mean by you being home? And why did she ask me if I knew who you were?"

Chanaur sighed heavily. "Are you sure you want to know?" She nodded, stepping closer. "Well, as you know, I am part vampire. I get it from my father's side. He was a pure blood, my mother a true human. Do you remember my father's name?"

Carrie thought for a moment, then said, "Alucard, wasn't it?"

"Yes." He took a deep breath, and swallowed hard. "Alucard Tepes."

Chanaur saw her eyes widen. "You.... are the count's grandson?" She seemed thunderstruck. Searching for something to say, she finally got out. "How..... how long have you known?"

Chanaur turned away, unable to bear the look in her eyes. "Since I was poisoned. When I was dying, he came to me in a dream, and revealed this too me." Carrie came around to face him. "I was as surprised as you were."

"What else happened...... In this dream?"

"He.... proposed a deal."

"The one that you told me about?" Carrie put a hand on his arm.

"Yes." Chanaur put a hand on hers. Her touch made him feel better, made him feel at ease. "He wants me to continue his bloodline, as I am the last remaining living Tepes."

"So.... That's why he kept you alive. And why you wanted the Necronomicon....."

"Well, yes and no. You see, the real reason I want the book is to see if I can banish my hunger for good. But, I already told you this, didn't I?"

Carrie nodded. "But, what do you get in return?"

I get to see you live through this.... "I get to live." Chanaur cursed himself. Why is it so hard to say this? He took a deep breath, and whispered, "....and I get to see you live through this...."

Carrie embraced him again. She rested her head sleepily on his chest. "You're doing this for me?"

"Hey." He laughed. "What are friends for?"

Carrie sighed, and yawned. Chanaur carried her through the next door, and watched it slide shut. Sighing, he took stock of their new surroundings. They were in a dark corridor, lit by a couple of candles on the wall, but nothing else. The Castle Center.

"Well, I guess we wait for Reinhardt, then." He sat down, leaning against the wall, just below a candle. "Carrie, how do you feel?"

She nuzzled into him. "Tired. Very tired...." She yawned again. "Well, that was your secret. So, I guess I have to tell you mine, then...."

Chanaur took her hand in his. "Whenever you're ready, Carrie. I don't wanna force you into a corner." He squeezed her hand lightly.

Carrie seemed to relax a little. She sighed heavily, her body expanding in his arms. "Chanaur.... Do you ever get the feeling...." She hesitated.... How would he take this? "That.... you and I are more than just friends?"

Chanaur squeezed her hand. "Yes....." He sighed. "Like right now...."

Carrie nodded slightly. "Well, what happened.... is this." She swallowed hard. "You died. And when you came back, I was so relieved, that I kissed you."

Chanaur nodded, knowing what she meant. It had been more than the usual kissing they did.

"And then..... We went a little too far, and it scared us both. You turned away.... and when I tried to comfort you, you wouldn't listen. And then, just before you went under again...." She swallowed again. "You told me that you loved me...." Carrie gave his hand an involuntary squeeze.

Chanaur stopped breathing. Carrie sat up, staring into his eyes. "Chanaur, are you alright?"

He snapped out of it, and nodded. "Yes. I'm fine...." So that's what happened.... But.... why did that upset her so much....?

"Carrie?" Her eyes were expectant, waiting for his answer. "Why would that upset you so much.....?"

Her eys fell. "Well...." Carrie fumbled for something to say, again. How can I say this....?

Simple. The voice in her heart said. I love you. Is that so hard to say?!

"Perhaps I should refrase that....." He squeezed her hand. "What did Milenia say to you? You were pretty happy until she spoke with you."

Carrie looked up at him again. "Chanaur...." I love you. I want nothing more than to spend my life with you.... "I.... I....." her gaze fell again. She just couldn't meet his eyes.

"Carrie, whatever it is, just say it. I won't hold it against you." He put a hand on her chin, bringing her eyes back to his. "I promise."

Carrie looked into his eyes, seeing reflected there a strange mix of emotions. She found it disconcerting, because she couldn't quite place it.

"Chanaur...." She put a hand on his, bringing it to her cheek. Her hand rested there with his.... "The reason, that I was like that..... is because...."

The emotions in his eyes became clearer, though she still couldn't discern what they were..... Angst? Admiration....?


His thumb stroked her cheek. "Carrie, if it's this difficult for you.... It's okay. You don't have to say it....."

"No." She sighed. "I need to get this out." She swallowed hard. "Milenia told me that you didn't remember anything.... From the night previous." Carrie relaxed suddenly, almost collapsing. "and.... that it could have been the fever talking....."

Chanaur's carress became more noticiable. It became softer, more loving..... "Is that so...." He enfolded her in his arms. He laughed. "Carrie..... you get worked up way too easily....." His caress moved to her back, sending pleasent shivers up her spine.

"Chanaur..... Promise me.... that you'll never leave me again." She touched his neck with her lips. "I don't want you out of my sight again....."

Chanaur sighed. "I'll do my best, Carrie." He yawned, causing her to do the same thing. "We need to get some sleep...." He kissed her on the forehead, and whispered, "Good night.... My dear friend."

Carrie never answered. She must have already drifted off. He let out a large breath. At last, the mystery was done with. Things were back to normal again....

In a manner of speaking, that is.

Does this really mean that she loves me? Could that be considered a confession?

No..... She was probably just scared of losing me.... Besides, if it isn't, and I believe it is..... and I tell her the truth...... What will happen then?

Change. Too much change can never be a good thing.....

Sighing again, he began to fall asleep. If only he could believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loved him. But.... How could he be sure....?

Chanaur felt tears come to his eyes. He stared down at Carrie. She seemed so happy.... So at peace.... He prayed that one day.... They could know the truth.

What is wrong with me? Why can't I just say it?

I love you, Carrie.....

Chanaur fell into an uneasy sleep. As his mind shut down, one last thought drifted accross it....

Tomorrow is another day.... another chance....

End Part Eleven.

Part 12