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The Pale Web: Reboot

Discussion in 'Tales from the Crypt' started by Count Vashra, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
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    After long consideration, I've decided that whilst I enjoyed the basic idea of The Pale Web, I didn't execute it that well. In this light, I have redrafted, and will now be posting chapters regularly.

    For new readers, this is the tale of a young Blood Dragon who loses her sire soon after turning, is adopted by a Lahmian, and her struggles between her two upbringings, along with various friends and enemies along the way. There are several references to the massive roleplay The Vampire Council as well.

    The Pale Web

    One

    After congratulating her brother on his new posting at a barracks, Lucinia Hadris turned for home. It was perhaps not the best idea to be wandering about at night, but with her armour and weapons she felt confident,.

    That was, until the crimson-haired young woman approached a bridge guarded by a knight in darkest blue plate. He turned his horse her way, and issued a challenge in a deep voice.

    “I, Sir Luis of Bretonnia, challenge you for passage of this bridge.”

    Lucinia’s better judgement was telling her to run, but her family honour compelled her to stay. If she were to die, best in a well-fought duel.

    “I, Lucinia Hadris of Middenheim, accept your challenge.”

    Sir Luis dismounted. “Are you sure? I must warn you even dismounted I am skilled beyond normal measure.”

    “Stop boasting and fight,” Lucinia said, to quell her own doubts. Her sea-blue eyes turned to steel.


    Eventually, Lucinia found herself disarmed and bleeding from multiple small wounds. She looked at Sir Luis’ helmet and growled, “Finish it.”

    He laughed. “I have no intention of finishing you. You fought well. I can train you to do better than anyone alive.”

    Lucinia blinked. This was unexpected. But to be the best warrior alive? Surely that was a goal worth achieving. She could show off her skills to her family, even. Luis certainly looked very skilled.

    “Your answer?” he prompted.

    “Teach me.”

    Luis removed his helmet, revealing a ruggedly handsome face with hard brown eyes and dark hair. Then it twisted o something monstrous with fangs and red eyes, for a second, before returning.

    Lucinia swallowed. Was she sure she wanted to train under that?

    “You will be what I am, a creature of the night. You shall live forever and have speed and strength beyond imagining. You shall have to drink blood, but only from those you defeat in honourable combat. And yes, you will look like that, but only if you choose. It is entirely worth it.”

    Eternal life as a blademaster, as a blood-drinker? Were there not tells of blood nobility in Sylvania? Lucinia promised to herself she would control herself. “I accept.”
     
  2. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Two

    Lucinia found herself in a strange world. It resembled her home, but the colours were all off, and outside was only darkness.

    She heard a voice eerily like her own behind her. “Welcome, Hadris.”

    Lucinia spun to see – herself. Well, a deathly pale, black-eyed version of herself. But she could recognise the medium size, the strong muscles, the crimson hair, and the always-friendly expression on the face. She was even wearing a black-cloured version of Lucinia’s red garments.

    “Ah, hello.”

    Her dream-self laughed. “You may call me Shadow-of-Doubt. I am a mind-warden. Each vampire – what you are now – has one, to protect their minds for magical assault, to advise, and, well, be a skeptic.”

    Lucinia smiled. “I had an imaginary friend when I was young. I wish she had been half as useful as you sound.”

    “I am sure she was, in her way.” A bed appeared. “Sit.”

    Luicnia sat beside her new – whatever it was – and said, “First, can I call you Shadow?”

    “Yes. Now, the first rule of mind-wardens: each is private and secret. Do not tell Luis or anyone else about me, or ask about his.”

    Lucinia nodded. “I promise.”

    “The second rule: I shall be in your dreams when you need me, but if you contact me enough I should be able to talk to your waking mind as well.”

    “I look forward to it. I would hate to need to sleep to talk to you.”

    “Third rule: As long as you protect me, I promise to protect you and advise you.”

    “I promise to do all I can to protect you.”

    “I think we know each other’s honour enough to know we both mean that.”

    Lucinia hugged Shadow. It felt great to have a friendly advisor to call upon in her sleep, and, eventually, whenever she wanted.

    Shadow squeezed her in response. “I consider myself fortunate to be your mind-warden. Thank you for letting me exist.”

    “You are most welcome. Thank you for being my mind-warden.”

    “I sense the mists of your transformation are fading. You shall wake soon. Farewell, Hadris.”

    “Farewell, Shadow.”


    Lucinia woke on a wooden floor. Blinking, she felt about herself for her multiple wounds, but, to her surprise, found nothing. If this was a benefit of vampirism, like her mind-warden, and not simply evidence of a month-long torpor, she liked it.

    She noticed her armour and weapons hung from a rack, which was very reassuring. Lucinia got to her feet and walked over to it, noting al the dents had been repaired and the blood cleaned. Sir Luis had obviously gone to some effort for his new…apprentice?

    “You admire my effort?” he asked.

    Lucinia turned, to find him in street clothes. He looked no less dangerous. “Yes. Good morning. I mean, good night.”

    Luis smiled. “That one always trips them. I do like to make my children feel appreciated.”

    “Thank you…”

    “Father will do. I have always wanted a daughter, even if only for the duration of knightly training.”

    “Thank you, Father.” It seemed a little disloyal to her mortal parents, but something told Lucinia she was beyond them.

    “I shall begin training you now. Take up your weapons and meet me outside.”


    Outside was a sizable yard. Lucinia took her position.

    Luis smiled, shaking his head. “Wrong, completely wrong.”

    The night was spent instructing Lucinia on correct stances. She had no idea how meticulous one could be.

    “I have centuries of experience. I want to see it put to good use.”

    “Naturally,” Lucinia grunted, arms beginning to lock from a long-held pose.

    “You may finish. I should explain about the bloodlines.”

    Lucinia listened excitedly. This was a far greater tale than any she had heard. A kingdom in the desert playing with magic, a queen corrupting her court, a warrior seeking to be the greatest in the world. Aristocrats who fed on their subjects quite literally (”arrogance, the height of arrogance”). Ladies who preyed on the wealthy and sought to corrupt the Empire. (“Entirely dishonourable”). Sorcerers who studied dark arts and lived on twisting magic. (“Insane”). And devolved vampires who lived as beasts. (“Mindless unfortunates”).

    “So you can see, we are the best bloodline. Who else can claim to have an active Master?”

    “I should love to meet my grandfather,” Lucinia gasped.

    “In a few centuries, when you are ready. He is stricter, stricter than I.” A shadow passed over Luis’ face. “Now, to bed. We shall continue tomorrow night.”

    “Yes, Father,” Lucinia said, looking forward to Shadow, but not another night’s training.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017 at 10:42 PM
  3. Borgnine

    Borgnine Moderator Staff Member True Blood

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    Messages:
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    This seems interesting and promising!

    It seems rather fast at some moments - for example, the simplicity of Lucinia's decision about becoming a Vampire - I found it a bit too straightforward for such a dramatic change in one's life - but I understand that's not the most important part about this story :) I am looking forward to more chapters.

    Is the mind-warden your own invention, or was it mentioned in some existing WFB lore?

    Also, I noticed a typo "The second rule: I shall be in yur dreams when you need me (...)”
     
  4. Count Vashra

    Count Vashra Lord of Shadows True Blood

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Thanks.

    Yes, I know it's unrealistic, but you could consider it a time compression or something. As you said, it's not the most important part.

    As for the mind-warden...it's my own invention, but it's not an addition to what vampires are - there's a reason it's telling Lucinia not to talk about it.

    Three

    It was time, Luis had decided, to learn to control the blood thirst. He took Lucinia to a road where many warriors passed, and told her to wait on it.

    “Challenge any who come. Defeat them, and Drink from them. Only what you need. Nothing more.”

    Soon enough, an armoured warrior appeared.

    Lucinia braced herself, and challenged him.

    Lucinia traded blows, surprised by how strong she now was, and drawn by the blood she sensed. She needed to drink it, she knew. She quickly finished the warrior, and proceeded to rip off his helmet.

    Luis appeared. “Remember, only what you need.”

    Lucinia nodded reluctantly. Why restrict herself? There was so much blood here! She extended new fangs and bit deep, savouring the taste. Crimson liquid ran down her throat, only inflaming her appetite.

    Then she felt herself dragged away. But she had not even started! It was so good! Lucinia fought, but Luis was too strong.

    “I said, only what you need.” He looked annoyed, but not angry. “We shall remain here every night, until you learn to control yourself, my daughter.” He dismissively smashed the Imperial to the ground.

    Lucinia sighed, torn between anger at being denied and disappointment at having failed. “Yes, Father.”


    After several nights of road duty, and several days of Shadow expressing doubt she would ever succeed, Lucinia found herself with an entirely different proposition.

    At dusk she went from the house to the road as usual, and waited for someone to challenge. Luis had disappeared, as he usually did.

    Instead of some armoured knight, however, the first person to approach was an extremely beautiful woman.

    Lucinia gasped in astonishment. The woman had long blonde hair, a black, sleeveless dress and black eyes, along with a tall, slender form. Lucinia felt quite unable to challenge her, even if she had been armed.

    “Good evening,” the woman said, smiling perfectly.

    “Good evening to you, madam,” Lucinia stuttered.

    Suddenly, like waves retreating from a beach, the feeling of ethereal beauty disappeared. The natural beauty was still quite there, however. “Oh, I am so sorry. I always do that to those I meet. Let us leave the road and talk, shall we?”

    Luicnai nodded dumbly. Luis had warned her to stay away from other bloodlines, but this person seemed far too kind to be some type of threat.

    When they were off the road, the woman offered her hand. “Annabella Castellan, of the Lahmian bloodline. Yes, I can smell your Blood Dragon.”

    “I should have known, I apologise.”

    Annabella shrugged. “I doubt you could have recognised me. You seem so young.”

    “A few weeks at most,” Lucinia answered.

    “Congratulations. Though, I would have preferred one of my line to have taken you.” Annabella laughed in her honey-sweet voice. “I am only joking. I am sure you love your sire.”

    “My…ah, yes. Father – Sir Luis – is very good to me, if strict.”

    Annabella cocked a brow. “Sir Luis? Of Bretonnia?”

    Lucinia nodded. “Yes, Annabella.”

    “I know him very well. He is very good at heart, if distrusting of others. Has he lectured you about the other lines yet?”

    “Yes.”

    “I shall admit to not living up to his standards of honour, but what is better, live pragmatism or dead honour?”

    Lucinia shook her head. “If you don’t live by a code, you’re not living at all.”

    “Technically, we’re not alive regardless.”

    Lucinia shrugged. It was hardly the point.

    “Now, I should be going. Luis and I have…history I would rather not revisit in front of a child.”

    “I am hardly a child,” Lucinia protested, wondering what history they had.

    “You are less than a month turned. I am 800 years.”

    Lucinia’s eyes widened. “Really?”

    Black eyes glowed with warmth. “You may achieve that if you are careful, Lucinia.”

    Just as Annabella went to leave, Luis returned.

    “Lucinia!” he growled, face near-monstrous. “Get away from that Lahmian! I warned you to avoid contact with others.”

    “Farewell, Annabella,” Lucinia said as she moved away.

    “Farewell, Lucinia.”

    “Go back to the house for the rest of the night, and do not disobey me again.”

    That sounded harsh, but Lucinia had survival instincts. “Yes, Father.”


    “You idiot,” Shadow said almost as soon as Lucinia closed her eyes. Her mind-warden had her arms folded and looked angry. Lucinia wondered if she had ever looked that way. “You were warned not to.”

    “But she was so beautiful, and friendly, and…” Lucinia trailed off.

    “That is what Lahmians do, Hadris. They get into you, make you want them, and then, they cut you. Of all the lines, they are the most dangerous. And, she nearly sensed me.”

    “I thought all vampires had mind-wardens.”

    Now Shadow looked even more angry. “You promised to keep me a secret. And I know your honour.”

    “I am sorry,” Lucinia said. “I shall try to avoid her.”

    “And other strong magic users. I will not be pried into.”

    “I would not want you to be,” Lucinia assured her. Shadow felt increasingly like a twin sister, and in more than just appearance. She was someone she could pour all her secrets out to. Shadow had promised she did not seek out Lucinia’s memories, only emotions, and everything else was completely voluntary. “But what of this history? If something is wrong between them, well, Father…”

    “Sir Luis can manage himself. It is not for a child to meddle in such things. And besides, you cannot even drink properly.”

    “I try,” Lucinia insisted. She hated when Shadow was on sceptic duty.

    Shadow’s gaze hardened. “Trying isn’t enough. What if you eat too much and become some monstrosity?”

    “How? And how do you know anything other than what I know?”

    “Blood, magic. They never go well together. Just control yourself, alright?”

    “Alright.”
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017 at 10:56 PM

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