Part Thirteen: In the Oubliette

Authors note: One word: Sorry. I appologize that this one took so long, but inspiration is very rarely on my side. For those few that actually read my work, here is the thirteenth part.

Reinhardt paced back and forth, his hands folded behind his back. He had been doing this so long that he had worn a rut into the dirt floor of the Oubliette. The whole time he'd been pacing, he had never taken his eyes off of the curtain of black fire. He couldn't see through it, and he heard nothing apart from the dull roar of the flames. Apparently, Chanaur and Carrie were either in a different prison, or still unconcious.

As if to confirm his suspicions, the wall of fire abated slightly, so that he could see just over it. Directly across from him was Raziel, chained to the wall by his wrists and ankels. He was about thirty feet away from him, and seven feet up.

To his right, was Chanaur. He was bound to the wall, at ground level, to the point that he couldn't move. His eyes were wide and staring, locked on some unseen horror; when Reinhardt looked in the direction he was looking, all he saw was another wall.

However, it did seem a bit out of place in comparison to the others....

In the middle of the chamber was all of their weopons, mounted on a small rack. If he could get to them, Reinhardt could free everyone from their bonds, and then go find Carrie.

He took one step towards the firewall, and it flared higher than ever before. Maybe it was illusion, maybe it wasn't. Either way, he wasn't about to take that chance.

He fell into his pacing again, his eyes now on the ground. He knew that the one who put them here would probably be arriving soon. Unless someone else had been selected for whatever the dark lord had planned for them.

And just where was Carrie?

Chanaur tried in vain to close his eyes. He couldn't move anything. It was as though his body had been disabled as his mind was forced to take in the spectacle before him.

Just as in his dream, Carrie had been tethered to the floor. Just as in the dream, she had been tortured. He could see her screaming something, but he couldn't hear what. She was fighting the chains, trying to get out of her prison. Her eyes were panicked and full of pain. Though there was no longer a mark on her nude body, she still felt the pain. He wasn't sure if she could see him or not.

His mind had been dulled, so he couldn't use his magic, or his telepathy. He was dimly perceptive of a curtain of dark fire to his left, and someone else chained to the wall on his right....

Raziel..... How did he get here?

He felt his conciousness slipping. At last, he could fall asleep, and not have to watch Carrie's martyrdom....

As if he had heard him, the figure in the black robe came from the darkness. Waving a hand absently at Chanaur, he felt wide awake.

Carrie turned and saw the man. She cowered from him as he walked to her. However, he went past her, and came to Chanaur.

A dreadful air seemed to hang about this person, or whatever it was. It's cowl lifted to Chanaur's eyes, but he could not make out the face.

In a dry, cracked voice, the figure spoke. "Halfbreed. You disgust me." A bony hand cracked accross Chanaur's face, a ring on his finger cutting Chanaur on the cheek. "Your father died for his dishonerable liason, among other things. For four hundred years, Alucard Tepes had hid from the Count. He had found solace in a human woman, who loved him, long before she knew who he was....."

The cut began to sting and fester. His cheek was numb where the hand had struck him, as though his energy were drained at the single touch of his hand.

"Who....." Chanaur forced his lips to move. "are you to call my Father by his name?"

The figure reached up with his hand, and pulled back his cowl just enough so Chanaur could see his face. He gagged. The face that smiled back at him was no more than a school. He was face to face with Death himself.

Death pulled his scythe from thin air. "Your father committed the worst crime a nobleman could ever commit. Though he was not exactly of Noble birth, himself. Though he was a pure Vampire, his mother was not a true Nosforatu: A mortal turned by the Count himself...." Death held the scythe at Chanaur's bonds. "I am tempted to release you, and find what your true powers are....." He withdrew the scythe. "But I have orders. Enjoy, my young Dhampire...."

Death left Chanaur, his footsteps echoing on the stone floor. I know the way of the Vampires.... Pure bloods such as the Count would never mate with a mortal turned..... Chanaur bit his lower lip, as Death approached Carrie, lifting the Scythe slowly. "Please, no....." Carrie whimpered. Thinning of the blood line..... My father told me of this 'code of honor' when I was old enough to understand. Then he said that he wanted his son to lead as normal of a life as possible, so he married Raine.....

Too bad it was to be his undoing.....

Death placed the very tip of the scythe between and slightly below Carrie's breasts. Slowly, painfully, The blade plunged into her chest.

The sound curtain nullified, as it had before, just in time for Carrie's first scream of agony. Chanaur's head felt like it was going to explode, for her voice was amplified a great deal.

The scythe angled inside of her body, turning upward. The blade erupted from her spinal Chord, at an odd angle. Death did this in just the right way to miss all vital organs, and cause enormous pain. Carrie's back arched, another piercing cry erupting from her throat.

Finally, Death slid the blade out, and Carrie crumpled to the floor. Her wounds were left open for a bit longer, before he healed her. The injuries were gone, but the pain remained......

Death walked away, leaving Carrie to weep on the floor. "Chanaur....." Her head lifted, her eyes wide. "I-"

The last part of her statement was silenced by the sound shield. "God Damn you, Death!!" Chanaur shouted, knowing he was going unheard. He tried his best to speak to Carrie, hoping it would get through.

I don't know how, but I will get you out, my love.

Reinhardt had stopped his pacing when he heard the screams. So Carrie was being tortured, and Chanaur was being forced to watch it. Amazing what the Count did on whims.....

No...... Reinhardt resumed his pacing. Renon said that he was to facilitate our progress to tower in any way possible. The Count probably wants to get rid of us as quickly as possible. But why would he do this......?

Reinhardt stopped again, looking around the room. One of us must mean a great deal to the Count, and he's trying to manipulate that person's mind to the point that.....

Well, the only person having there mind screwed with is Chanaur. Carrie is being tormented beyond human indurance, and Chanaur is forced to watch, unable to help.

"This is disgusting." Reinhardt said out loud. "Chanaur, we need to get out of here." He yelled through the silent flames. "Any chance of Raziel escaping?"

Chanaur stirred slightly. "Not without help." He whispered, his voice weak. "Have you checked that firewall for holes?"

"Are you nuts? I'm certain there is an illusion somewhere in this, but I'm not taking that chance." Reinhardt looked at the black flames. "Raziel told me about this stuff, and it can dissintigrate anything in seconds."

Chanaur fell silent. "Chanaur?" He said.

No answer. "Chanaur!"

Still silence. Reinhardt looked through the flames, which seemed to die down just to give him a better view. Some woman was walking to the wall that Raziel was hanging off of. Chanaur was staring at her, a hatred in his eyes that was rarely seen there.

The woman stopped, and stared up at him. With a gesture, the chains broke, and Raziel fell to floor, where he crumpled and remained still.

Something was wrong. That fall shouldn't have hurt him. Raziel had acted this way only once before, and that was the night Lacuna had died. His spirit had been shattered then, and the same thing happened here.....

But what had torn him apart this time?

The woman stared down at Raziel, a look of contempt in her eyes. She glanced back at Reinhardt, and their eyes met.

Reinhardt shook his head, unsurprised. It was Actrise, his 'aunt'. It seemed that he was right; she was the dark ones servent now, and had been for some time.

It seemed that Raziel hadn't known......

Chanaur finally spoke up. "Actrise?" He whispered. ".....I thought you were dead. And Raziel's sister for that matter...."

Raziel looked up at Actrise. "This...... this bitch isn't my sister." He spat out the word as if it were Venom. "She betrayed me. She killed my wife."

Actrise's face filled with rage. "I'll kill you in a minute, you bastard." Actrise kicked out for him, but Raziel knocked her foot away. "I do have ways of removing your immortality."

"Knock it, you two." Reinhardt mutterd. "You're acting like a couple of kids."

Actrise rounded on him, glaring at him. "I should have taken you when I had the chance." She smiled. "I would have, if you hadn't been protected. But Katherine was smarter than that wasn't she.....?"

"Leave her out of this." Raziel and Reinhardt said at the same time. Raziel continued. When did you begin to serve him?"

Actrise turned back to him. "Ever since I stepped into the Forest of Silence, following you and Lacuna, holding hands." She grinned at the surge of rage he exhibited at the mention of her name. "That night, he came to me in a dream. He offered me power beyond anything I've dreamed of, in exchange for the killing off Lacuna, and fifty children."

"And I was to be one of them. Correct?" Reinhardt whispered.

"Correct." Actrise said. She turned to Carrie, who still lay sobbing on the floor. "Had I known this child would have become as powerful as-"

"You bitch." Chanaur whispered, his tone lethal. "Don't you touch Carrie. She's done nothing to you."

Without so much as a gesture, Actrise walked over to Carrie. She reached her foot back, and kicked her viciously in the hyoid bone. Carrie didn't make a sound. She couldn't. Blood dribbled from her mouth, her trachea cut off.

Chanaur fought the chains that held him to the wall. Actrise delighted in this, and kicked her in the chest, and then the stomach. All Carrie did was gasp.

Raziel had picked up Chanaur's sword, and cut the chains. Actrise stepped away as he fell to her side.

Carrie looked up at him, her eyes full of agony. The wounds had healed themselves, but the blood remained in her mouth. "Chaanur....." She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, and pulled him closer. "Take away the pain....." She then wrapped her arms around him, and hugged him close, her sobs shaking both of there bodies. She litterally radiated pain. "Please....."

"I wish I could, hon....." He stroked her hair gently. "But, my magic has been dis-"

Suddenly, he was flying backwards, back to his spot on the wall. The chains mended and bound him again, and the same happened to Raziel.

Actrise stepped away from Carrie, her eyes fixed on someone in the shadows. She bowed, low, but then a huge hand slapped her accross the face. She wailed, and hit the ground.

Dracula stepped forward, his eyes cold, and calm. Deadly calm.

"Actrise, you were given specific orders." The emphasis on the word 'specific' sent a cold shiver up Chanaur's spine, and made Actrise cower. "You were to watch and make sure they didn't escape, until further notice. Never did I say to touch them or let them walk free." His voice was quiet, and full of contained rage.

"I'm sorry my lord." She whispered hurriedly, coming to her knees. Her eyes were too the ground, her body receded as far away from him as possible. "I came down here to-"

Another slap to the face, but she made no cry. She sprawled on the floor, her lip split open. Her fingers dug into the dirt floor momentarily, before she forced herself back to her knees. Her breath seethed, as she restrained herself from speaking again.

"You were told to take explicit care in making sure that Carrie was not harmed, beyond her martyrdom. What overcame you to disobey me, Actrise? " He had never seemed more deadly than when in this quiet rage.

She remained silent, knowing that if she told him the truth, that he would just hurt her some more.

The count smiled slightly. "My orders override your wounded pride, Actrise. We are supposed to be concentrating on getting these children to join us in the great act. Not worrying about if one of them rubs you the wrong way."

Actrise flushed, as a child being rebuked by it's parent. "My lord, It was Raziel-"

"I am not interested in who started it. What is wrong with you, Actrise?" His smile dissapeared, his voice becoming concerned. "I haven't seen you act so childish in a long time. I thought you had risen above this."

"Please......" She whispered. "Not here."

Chanaur was staring at her as she walked away, following the Dark One out of the Oubliette. Even when she had been alive, she had had that huge superiority complex, and never allowed anything to get under her skin. But obviously, Lacuna's murder really bothered her.

"Wait." Chanaur called out. Actrise stopped and turned around. "Was it you..... who killed Alucard? Raine? Imbrium....?"

Actrise made no gesture, just choked and walked on. Dracula gave Chanaur one last look, and walked on.

So she had. It was her that had killed his parents, and his surrogate mother. Carrie's mother.

Raziel seemed just as confused. What had before been sheer hatred, turned to sympathy. An overwhelming sympathy.....

"My dear sister....." He muttered. "What have they done to you.....?"

"Snap out of it, Raziel." Reinhardt muttered. "Actrise is dead and gone. She is nothing more than a memory. That woman may retain her human soul in some small way, but she needs to be freed, above all else." Reinhardt fixed Raziel in a slight glare. "If given the opportunity, Raziel, will you free her?"

Chanaur looked at Raziel. His mouth opened and closed several times, as if struggling for something to say. Then his face set, and he whispered "Yes."

Reinhardt nodded, and sat against the wall. Without another word, he started sleeping.

Raziel growled in his throat. Actrise, his former sister, would die if she came before him again. Never again would she be given the chance to hurt him. Lacuna, Imbrium, Alucard, and Raine. His wife, and his dearest friends. They were killed in her quest for power. Never again.....

Not like Ortega......

No..... He sighed heavily. Ortega died at my hands.....

Ortega had been the second to last remaining Man-beast. Rivals since birth, they competed in everything. Raziel had always been quicker, Ortega stronger.

Much stronger. He had once threw open one of the portculis at the castle wall, upward, with one arm. With absolutely no trouble, for that matter.

Then, one year before Dracula returned, Ortega called him out.

The battle had been long and bitter. Although they were rivals, there was an understood respect between the two. Raziel evaded every blow, Ortega's rage mounting.

Rage, of course, was a man-beasts most powerful weapon, if used right. Ortega unleashed his power, transforming into a Lion. His body swelled, his wild hair turning into a mane.

Now he was faster and stronger than Raziel. But then Raziel transformed as well. With blinding speed, Raziel circled around him, and kicked him hard in the back. Ortega took the blow with barely a flinch. He then backhanded him, sending him soaring into the mound of spectators. In seconds, Ortega was on him again, picking him up by the throat.

Raziel then slashed out for Ortega's face, leaving four deep marks. He dropped him, roaring in pain. Raziel then finished him off.

Broken and bloodied at his feet, the human Ortega stared up at Raziel, as if saying 'finish it.'

All Raziel did was turn and walk away. Raziel then went to live in the Forest of Silence, to begin his Ascetic training, wich would make him the first one of his kind that could manipulate the seal.....

When he had returned, Wallachia was under attack by the Legions of the Undead.

At the command of Ortega.

Although they didn't speak then, there eyes met. Ortega's eyes were smiling, full of power. Raziel knew that if they tangled at this point, he would be destroyed......

So he simply found Lacuna, and followed him into the forest, to stop him once and for all......

Raziel sighed, remembering what had happened when they finally met up......

Deciding to stop worrying about it, Raziel hung his head and started sleeping.

"Young Belmont?"

Reinhardt's head snapped up, and stared up at Renon. "What..... what are you doing here?"

Renon smiled in that brisk, business like way of his. "I am here to disclose some information that could prove useful to your escape."

Reinhardt fell silent. "Something wrong, sir?"

"Yes. Your Dracula's servent, correct?" Reinhardt gave him a skeptical look.

"Yes. And your point?"

"Why would you help me? I'm on my way to destroy him, and your going to aid me? Didn't you see what happened to Actrise?"

"Ah, but I am following orders. I am to facilitate your journey to the high tower in any way possible. So, I am here to tell you that one section of this wall of fire is illusion."

"Well, gee, that helps a lot. Which section?" Reinhardt's voice gave away that he didn't believe him in the slightest.

Renon shook his head. "Your choice if you don't want to heed my advice, but....." He walked to the part of the firewall that was nearest to the wall. He walked through it, and came around to the other side. As if to prove his point, he tipped his hat into the fire, and it dissintegrated. "Farewell." And he was gone.

Reinhardt approached the black fire slowly. Could he trust the demon? Demons, by deffinition, were not trustworthy in the slightest. And, being creatures of Hell, probably immune to fire.

However, his hat had been unnafected......

Reinhardt closed his eyes, held his breath, and plunged into the flames.

Hah. He took the bait.

My lord, what do we do about Raziel? Should he escape, he would most likely come after me next.

Raziel no longer concerns me. He may be the last remaining Man-beast, but he is weak.

You have said this before, my lord. Do you recall what happened at the Fernandez home?

He had help then, Actrise. Never forget that. Those children are among the most powerful beings I have encountered in a long time. And I told you never to mention Imbrium again.

Sir, I didn't-

Nevermind. We'll see the warriors on the other side. After, or if, they release the magic necessary to make it to the six towers, you will rondevous with Carrie. Make sure to incapacitate Chanaur before you engage her though.

What of Raziel?

Leave him to me........

Reinhardt had landed flat on his face, and gotten a nose full of dirt. He got up hastily, and freed Chanaur, who immediately ran to Carrie. Raziel dropped to the floor, and after a short affirming nod, walked to the rack of weapons. He tossed Reinhardt his whip, and selected a chain mace for himself.

Chanaur kneeled beside Carrie, who was still sobbing into the ground. She hugged him tight, squeezing so hard that his breath stopped coming. "Shh, Carrie. We need to get you out of here before anything can be done......" He picked her up, and carried her through the door that Death had used.

He found himself in a small bedroom. He lay her down on the bed in the corner, covering her in the blankets. He then took her hands in his, braced himself, and exerted the healing magic.

An unbearable pain crossed from her body to his, as they both screamed. If this was the reciprical, he couldn't imagine what it could have possible been to feel the full brunt of it......

Finally, the wave ceased, and they were both breathing heavily. She sat up, the blanket falling away from her torso. "Oh, Chanaur...." She whispered, wrapping her arms tight around him. "Thank you......"

He embraced her, and whispered, "It's alright, hon......" He stroked her hair. "I'm just glad your alright......" He hugged her closer. She seemed to shiver. "Cold?"

She nodded slightly, but then he felt the tears on his shoulder. "Your dream..... It came true. All of them have, so far. Tell me, have you had any others of late......?"

"No, Carrie....." Chanaur whispered, as he let her go, going over to the walk in closet in the corner. He searched for some clothes for her. He found her blue robes, and her pack.

He turned back to her, relaxing. "Everything's gonna be alright......" He sighed, smiling at Carrie. He was saying this more to himself than to her.

She nodded, and leaned back against the headboard. He extended her clothes to her, and she put them on. For some reason, she was completely comfortable with the fact that she was naked in front of him....

After she was dressed, she turned, and threw her arms around him. "Thank you. Thank you so much....." She hugged him tighter.

"Carrie, It's okay. No big deal....." He laughed a little, and wrapped his arms around her. "Are you okay? What's up?"

She shook her head slightly. "Nothing..... I'm just so glad to be out of there....." She sighed. "Back with you....."

Chanaur patted her shoulder absently. What's that supposed to mean.....? "I'm just glad to see that you're alright. I was so worried......." He put his hands under her shoulders, lifted her up, and swung her around, surprising her. "But your okay! Thank God your okay!"

She laughed aloud as he set her down, and he hugged her again.

He heard a sniff from behind him. "It's so beautiful....."

Chanaur turned around, and saw Reinhardt wipe away a fake tear. Raziel only smiled.

Carrie laughed, and disconnected herself. "You know, we should get going."

Raziel nodded. "But first, anyone else hungry?" He walked over to a second closet, opened it, and revealed a large pantry. "After three days in a dungeon, one develops quite an appatite."

He started rooting through it, Chanaur shaking his head. "Alright. But just remember, We've got a world to save."

End Part Thirteen.

Part Fourteen