You were my first love, the earth moving under me

Bedroom scent, beauty ardent, distant shiver, heaven sent.

I'm the snow on your lips, the freezing taste, and (the) silvery sip

I'm the breath on your hair, the endless nightmare, devil's lair.

Only so many times I can say I long for you

The lily among the thorns, the prey among the wolves.


From "Feel for You" by Nightwish

Lyrics by Tuomas Holopainen



Chapter Fourteen

Tragedy and Stars


One by one, our brave Barbarois protectors have started to fall; first Benge and now Caroline. I do not know if they are dead, but it has been too long and there cannot be much doubt as to their fates. Such cursed luck we have had since we left Charlotte's home those few nights ago. I knew that our escape would not be easy, but I never thought that it would be such a hellish nightmare. We have come so far — Chaythe is no more than a night or two away — and I have tried to think positively and not dwell on our possible failure. But how can I not, when we have been tormented by endless pursuit and death. All of my dreams and plans for the future are slowly crumbling away; and although I try to be strong for Charlotte's sake, I find myself losing heart just the same. But still, I will not give up — not yet. Charlotte and I will continue on as long as I have some semblance of life left in my body.


The pain — never have I felt such pain before. If it were not that I would wake my dear sweet Charlotte, I would scream out loud from the agony of it. Between the burns, the silver cross bolts and the hunger, I am hovering on the brink of pain-induced insanity. Even writing these few lines leaves me clenching my teeth and shaking. But I must overcome it — I must not alarm Charlotte, for she is already frightened and confused as it is. No, I will quietly endure it and not let her worry over me.

Mashira has left us — he will be our decoy for the pursuing D. Hopefully the dhampir will follow his trail while Charlotte and I reach Chaythe without further harassment. I wish my old companion well and I hope that I do not learn of his death — for while I cannot say that we were friends, still he earned my respect and I would be saddened by his passing.

Ah . . . how it still burns — how the flames still seem to sear my skin, even here in the cool darkness of my carriage. But as I look at my love's face, I know that it was worth it — it was worth every torturous second just to be here with Charlotte again. What did I ever do to deserve such love and devotion? Me — a monster of the darkest nightmares; loved by such a gentle giving creature. Just the remembrance of Charlotte holding my searing body in her loving embrace and of her pledge to follow me even into to death . . . it is still very difficult for me to relive it in my mind, let alone write of it.

I heard the explosion and felt its vibration from within the confines of my casket. As the carriage jerked to a sudden stop, I knew that once again we had met with ill luck. After a few moments, I heard the man as he opened the carriage door; and then Charlotte as she cried out when he forced her outside. As I hurriedly pushed open the lid of my wooden sanctuary, I cursed aloud as the anger began building within. We had come so far and our prize was almost in our grasp — I would be damned to an even darker hell if I let these two barbaric humans think that they could take Charlotte away from me. I would not allow them to take away the one true beautiful thing that I had in my life. So without hesitation, I opened the carriage door and stepped out into the deadly sunshine.

The sun — that great life giver in the sky — that causes crops to grow and tides to turn; but for me and my kind, its warm golden glow is nothing but a death bringer. It had been so long since I had last felt the touch of the sun on my face — and if it had ever brought me any joy then, it certainly did not now; for the only thing it brought me was pain — an almost indescribable searing pain.

Almost immediately the flames started to dance along my exposed skin and it was all I could do not to fall to my knees and cry out. But no, I would not give those two despicable hunters the satisfaction of believing that I was weak. Indeed the sight of a vampire willingly exposing himself to the sunlight was probably enough to make them think any number of interesting thoughts; and I hoped that one of them was that they should be afraid.

Through sun-seared eyes, I saw my love as the red-haired man held her. Charlotte's eyes were wide with fear as she watched me slowly make my way towards her, my hand outstretched. She struggled in the man's grasp as he and his brother shouted out their filthy jests to one another. Charlotte cried out as the first bolts struck me; and then again when the fourth one found its mark. I was still only halfway to where she was being held, when she finally managed to twist out of her captor's embrace. As she reached me, I felt my strength start to fade while her arms circled me and together we slid down to the ground.

My pain had become so great that had I been mortal, I would have long since collapsed and died from it. As it was, I could feel myself growing weaker with every passing second and I knew that if I did not get away from the harsh daylight soon, that it would be too late for me to make any kind of recovery. But as Charlotte held and supported me, I forgot all about the burning agony that my body had become as I looked into her dark frightened eyes. Although I was distantly aware of the two men shouting out to one another, I instead closed my mind to them and focused everything on Charlotte as she held me. If it had been my fate to die at that very moment, in the arms of the woman that I loved, I would have accepted and welcomed it.

I cried out when Charlotte pulled one of the cross bolts from my chest; and my eyes widened in wonder and fear as she held its gleaming length to the hollow of her throat. "I can't go on without you." She softly said, her eyes intent on mine.

I could see the love and determination in those amber pools and I think that my heart welled even more with love for her. Truly I did not deserve such love — such devotion as was being offered to me at that moment. But despite her words, I would never let Charlotte follow me into death. I would not allow the world to be deprived of her gentleness and beauty. No, I was too selfish to allow her to sacrifice herself for me. I didn't know if I had the strength to wrest the bolt from her, but before I had a chance to find out, our luck turned.

It was at that moment that brave Mashira saved us with his cleverness and own unique mutant power. It is because of him that Charlotte and I are still here, continuing on towards the castle. I only hope that his noble sacrifice is not wasted — for D is unlike anyone he has ever battled before and as much as I know about Mashira, and am confident in his abilities, still I could not honestly say that he would be the winner of their encounter.

As I look now on my Charlotte's beautiful sleeping countenance, I feel the shame well up inside of me once more. While the damage that I received from the sunlight would not leave any lasting marks upon my body, still it left a mental scar across my heart. As Charlotte and Mashira helped me back into the carriage, I was once again overwhelmed by a great weakness and my wounds started to throb. After I had settled myself back into the protective confines of my traveling casket, Charlotte took my hand and I could see the wetness of the unshed tears that welled in her eyes as she took in my painful burns.

Trying to sooth her fears, I told her not to worry and that I would heal and recover. Once again I told her of the City of the Night and how we would be free and safe once we reached it. With a slightly shaking hand, I reached out and cupped Charlotte's cheek hoping to alleviate some of her worry and fear for me. As sleep finally overcame her and she rested her head on my arm, I was again tempted by the hunger that is my nature. Although I was injured and in need of replenishment, I fought against it one more time and clenched my jaw in silent frustration. No matter how much I need it — how much the hunger tried to drive me — I would never drink from Charlotte; I would starve myself into dust before I would ever sink that low.


We have finally reached Chaythe. The castle is unlike anything that I have ever seen; and I can safely say the same of our hostess as well. I will honestly confess that I do not know that much about Carmilla before accepting her offer and coming here; for I have always chosen to live apart from my brethren. Indeed I never sought out their company or joined in any of their long stretching games of amusement that helped to ease the loneliness of their immortal lives. But even with my limited experience, I could see that Carmilla was much more than she seemed.

She was older than I, but then I was still considered to be quite young by the standards of my kind; and her manor of dress was quite outdated. The bodice of her gown, what little there was of it, was quite suggestive and utterly provocative — I could not imagine Charlotte ever wearing such a thing, but on Carmilla it seemed quite perfect and natural. There was no doubt she had been quite beautiful when she had been a human, and her vampire features only served to heighten that impression. Her manner to us was very cordial and inviting. Yet underneath all of her friendliness and hospitality, I felt something dark and menacing radiating from her. I cannot say what it was, but although I wanted to trust her, it left a slight doubt in my mind. Still when all else had failed, Carmilla had offered her help and friendship; and I would give her the chance to prove herself before I passed judgment on her.

But enough of Carmilla for the moment, and instead let me tell you of the ship — for it outshone all the grandeur and wonder of Carmilla's castle home. As I looked up at its towering length I could hardly believe that such a thing could have been designed and made by once mortal hands. Its gleaming spires and stained-glass windows left me gaping in awe. I wondered to myself how such a thing could possibly fly through the night sky — how it would even be able to lift itself from the earth. As our hostess told us about the gleaming tower, I found that there was much about my dark heritage that I never knew. To even begin to believe that our once great race had traveled the breath and length of this world and beyond in such machines was almost incomprehensible to me. Perhaps I had been remiss in not spending more time in the company of my own blood, indeed there was so much that I did not know about what I was and what I could do. But once my love and I reached the City of the Night, I would see about rectifying that, but for now the only thing I could focus on was our leaving. Yes, that great ship was indeed a marvel; but more importantly, it was also the means to our liberation — this is how Charlotte and I would finally be together.

As I looked down at Charlotte, she turned towards me and gave me a small smile; and the light of that smile lifted my heart until I thought it would soar even higher than the ship would. At that moment, I knew that she and I had done the right thing and that all of our hardship and heartbreak had not been in vain.

Charlotte and I parted briefly so that she could refresh herself and change her clothing, as she had been wearing her nightclothes for the length of our journey. I could see that my love was still tired from our long travels, but we did not have the time for a lengthy rest so a brief respite would have to suffice for the time being. For in a few short hours Charlotte and I would leave this hate-filled world behind us and begin a new life together, far away somewhere safe in the confines of the star-filled sky.


It is almost dawn; and soon the sun will crest across the sky, awakening the world to another day of life, love, struggle and death. As the moon and stars are replaced by the warmth of that life-giving orb, I will look upon its golden beauty one last time — even as I curse it with my last breath. I will curse it for not being powerful enough to light the darkness that has settled into my torn and bleeding heart. For everything that meant anything to me — all the love and tenderness that gave life to my cold dead existence — has been extinguished forever; and now I wait for true and final death to take me.

I do not know if this journal will survive and ever fall into the hands of someone else — someone who will read it and perhaps learn some lesson from it. But I will write these last few lines in the hopes of cleansing my black soul of all the pain and misery that I have brought to those whose lives I was unlucky enough to touch. I will also leave them for a man and his son, who grieve for the loss of their family's greatest treasure — unaware that their grief is truer then they know. For Charlotte, my radiant light in the darkness . . . my one and true love, is gone; and all my will to continue on in this life has died with her.

Although it was not I who stole her life and almost damned her soul for eternity; still, I am responsible for it. For it was through my own folly and blindness that I discovered too late what was awaiting us in Chaythe — the home of that scheming and murdering traitor, Carmilla. It was my arrogance and recklessness that led us to that place of horror and death, and I have no one to blame but myself. For me, the end cannot come too soon — and perhaps then, I will be able to find some redemption for the death and despair that I have caused.

If only I had taken the time to learn more about Carmilla — if only I had been more cautious instead of blindly accepting her invitation. Perhaps if I had been more willing to spend time in the company of my own kind, I would have learned of her — learned what she truly was and what she was capable of doing. But no — my arrogance had once again been my downfall, as it had been all those centuries ago when a cocksure young man had gone to bed with his windows open.

Yet if I had not been so selfish, perhaps my love would still be with me now. Charlotte had been willing to follow me into death, and as I had held her in my arms and savored her radiant beauty and the feel of her body against mine that one last time; she had made it very clear to me that she was also more than willing to follow me into un-death as well. But never — never would I condemn her to that dark fate; for Charlotte was too bright, too gentle; I could never take away the very thing that made her so dear to me . . . no, I could not take her humanity from her.

As I look down at my long pale hands, I can still see the blood — Charlotte's blood — and I once again feel the icy coldness of tears in my eyes. Although the dhampir and I had worked together to bring Carmilla down, still D had been the one to give her final death. How I wish that it could have been I who snuffed out the existence of that vile murdering bitch! The darkest pit of the most nightmarish of hells would never be enough for her — she deserved the torment of a thousand suns for what she had done . . . and yet, it was I who brought her the means to resurrect herself, it was I who delivered Charlotte into her deadly scheming hands. All of this has been because of me — me and my selfish arrogance — and now I am more than ready to pay the price for my vanity.

Still I ask myself why D did not kill me when he had the chance — why he had allowed me to live. But the more I reflect upon it, I see that by allowing me to live, he had visited an even darker, more painful sentence on me than had he granted me the peace of death. Such cruelty . . . it must be the vampire side of his heritage showing through; no doubt his father would have been quite proud of him. Yet, by allowing me to escape he must have know what I was going to do — and so I will take this time to thank him, thank him for allowing me to take Charlotte away with me so that we could be together just as I had promised her we would be.

So thank you D . . . I can only hope that one day you will find that missing part of yourself that will allow you to become whole — so that you will be able to see the beauty in the darkness and know the bright light of peace and love in your own heart. For every creature — mortals and those that once were — should have the opportunity, at least once, to feel the warmth and love of another and have their heart touched by it.

But now, as my love and I travel deeper into the twilight sky, I cannot help by wonder how things would have been had I done as Charlotte had asked. In truth, I do not believe that when it came down to it, that I would have been able to take that final step and share my blood with her. As much as I loved her and needed her, I was afraid that she would no longer need me once the change had been completed. Vampires do not usually live together, at least not in the way that I wanted to live with Charlotte; for our temperaments and vanity make it difficult for us to live as equals, even among each other. I could have saved Charlotte by changing her, but I would have lost her in the end anyway. I think that would have been even harder for me to bear, to know that my love was out there in the world somewhere without me . . . that I had given her immortality, and I could not share in it. Yes, I am as selfish as Charlotte accused me of being; but I cannot help it. I had waited centuries to find someone like her, to experience what I had with her; is it any wonder that I did not wish to give it up? But still, it has all come to naught in the end; for Charlotte is gone and I am as alone as I have ever been in my long existence. I am dead — dead in heart and soul, as well as body.

Why? Why was I so cursed? For truly I have been cursed since the day I was born, all those long centuries ago. Cursed to die and be reborn as a monster, cursed to wander the world alone and hunted, cursed to find love and then only to lose it through my own arrogance and folly, and cursed to die alone the cold darkness of the endless sky.

But no, I am not alone — not really; for Charlotte is here with me. She rests inside of me, in my mind and forever in my heart until death finally claims me — and even beyond that. Yes, my love and I will be together soon once more — together to roam the stars, our souls free of all the pain and heartache that shackled us in the world below.


The sun is slowly approaching — I can feel it hovering just on the brink of the horizon. Soon it will be time, time for me to take my beautiful love into my arms once more and hold her in my tight embrace. Then together, we will see the sun rise as we had been unable to do before; it's golden warm light filling the stained glass windows of the ship and covering us in a myriad of beautiful colors. Then one final time, I will press Charlotte's rose-tinted lips in a kiss as the flames begin to dance along my skin . . . and I will hold her tightly until only our mingled ashes remain — joined together for all eternity and truly free for the first time in our lives.

So do not grieve for us, do not trouble yourself in to feeling sad by our leaving. Yes, our leaving — for I do not look upon this as our final death; instead I will look at it as our traveling to some new distant place that has yet to be discovered. Yes, Charlotte and I will be explorers; searching the endless stars for that one place where our souls will be able to rest together in peace and love — as I promised her one moonlit night while we stood together surrounded by roses and entwined in each other's arms.



I sit here by your side

And weep you goodbye

I'm singing songs of sorrow for you

True gentle rose of mine


Let my love shine and be your guide

On your way towards the portals of light


From "Portals of Light" by Falconer

Lyrics by Stefan Weinerhall



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