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From Blood To Ash

by Zuleika Boekhoudt 2 months ago in Fantasy
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The Witch, the King, and the vampire. Love, hate, and fantasy come crashing together in this mythical story

There weren't always dragons in the Valley. These mythical creatures drew their fiery breath in fairy tales written to entertain younglings. Like the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary and wraiths, it did not walk among mortals. Howbeit, when a soul does not find peace, it causes havoc.

"Why do you keep tormenting me, demon?" King Ansell shouted at the tops of his lungs. Water sloshed in and out of his wooden tub.

"My love. Why do you bereave me of my title? I'm nothing like the cold and horrifying creatures that plague the other world." The specter took slow, sensual steps towards the golden-haired King. "I am your lover," her plump, sultry lips whispered into the King's ear. "The woman who gave you her all. "You know... the one you've killed!" She raised her voice several octaves. However, only he could hear her. The ghostly figure sat on the tub's edge and blew her former lover a kiss.

"You know I had no choice. The Archbishop accused you of witchcraft." The King's wavering voice tried to match his former lover.

"Those who fear witchcraft have no cognition of their own tongue, for they speak, 'which craft?"

"Be that as it may, I could not oppose the church. You knew this, and you still kept dabbling in your sorcery." Ansell pounded his fist on the edge of the tub.

"What did you want me to do?" The figure stood up. "Let your people perish! Let children go without a mother, a father, or worse, let them succumb to their illness!" Her eyes glowed in the darkness. Her pain, nay, the betrayal that coursed through her transparent figure shone brighter than the countless candles illuminated the King's chambers.

Ansell's face turned crimson. He shrieked at his former lover, "Yes! It's your fault that you're no longer of this realm."

"And it's you who set me ablaze." The ghostly figure retorted and then vanished.

Every night for the past two moons, Althea, or rather, her vengeful spirit, taunts King Ansell. The same argument, the same accusations, and the same rebuttal has left the king feeling the same; guilt-ridden.

The Church's Archbishop accused his former lover of heresy and witchcraft. She tried to plead her case that she only used natural herbs. But no one believed her. She must have had some kind of magical powers to cure the sick, who were suffering from an unknown disease. In the Archbishop's eyes, she was a sinner, and as such, she needed to repent for her transgression with her life.

Even though Ansell was King, the Archbishop had more power, being a man of God. Thus, he demanded the King repent for his sins by bringing his lover, the Witch, to their Holy land.

To rectify his error and not lose favor with the Church, Ansell set the supposed Witch on fire and washed her sinful ways off his lands.

With tears in her eyes, she begged him not to do it. That it would leave her soul wandering through Purgatory for eternity. Despite her supplications, he still lit the fire, eventually taking her life. King Ansell had no choice; it was either her or his country, her soul or his. He chose his faith instead of love. The supposed Witch was not quiet.

A scream from deep within her forced its way from her lips. It was as if her terrified soul unleashed a demon. Her cry made the Kingdom's citizen's blood run cold with fear. She did not cry for help or mercy. Instead, she cursed everyone; the spectators, the Archbishop, and her lover, King Ansell.

Those warm days, which she brought with her, apaced to a period of darkness. Since her execution, the sky lost its blue, replaced with utter darkness. The summer's warmth had wholly disappeared, and in its place, a polar front had never seen before assaulted the Valley.

To make matters worse, countless people succumbed to a disease never seen before by men. Barring, it did not compare to the saturnine rumors spread throughout the Kingdom; creators twice the size in height and width of a grown man roaming the streets, taking the life of anything and anyone who crossed its path, sucking them dry.

The Council, who served as spokespeople for the proletarian of the Valley, drowned King Ansell with demands for a solution for the country's ills.

"God, what have I done that my people are suffering?" Ansell pleaded at the supreme being.

"You killed the woman I love," a dark and booming voice came from behind Ansell.

Ansell juddered around to the thundering voice. The blood drained from his face. Behind him stood a man taller than the average villager with alabaster skin, so pale like the bodies of the dead he saw tossed in the channel at the edge of town. Its gray, silky hair fell beneath his shoulders, but it did not represent his young age. Despite its built and youthful appearance, the creature resembled the dead more than the living. However, the creature's fiery blue eyes—cold, distant, soulless—pierced through Ansell's soul. Ansell let out a blood-curdling scream he believed would alert the guards.

The man-like creature hurtled towards the King and covered his mouth with its large hand. "Quiet now. You don't want me to kill more of your men," the creature said to the King with a devilish grin. Ansell's eyes narrowed at the blood dripping from the creature's fangs. "Now listen here, boy. I know you and your people killed my beloved."

Who is his beloved? Confusion laced Ansell's eyes.

"Althea," the creature whispered.

An icy shiver traveled down Ansell's spine at the mere mention of her name.

"I've seen and heard your nightly causeries. If I had not, you and your people would have ceased to exist. I surely would have loved to listen to your muffled screams while holding your pounding heart in my hand. But lucky for you, Althea comes every night spreading her sweet, bitter nothings.

I'm going to remove my hand, but I won't hesitate to snap your neck if you make the slightest sound. Do you understand? Blink once if you do."

Ansell blinked his eyes once, confirming he understood. The creature slowly lifted his hand. "Who, what are you?" the King asked with a shaky voice.

"Well, King—, I don't know why you humans give such importance to titles. It certainly speaks about your short life span and vanity. But I digress."—the creature stood at his full height—"Let me introduce myself. My name is Duke Rhazien. I'm a creature of the night, and the woman you killed is my beloved. There, short and sweet."

He chastises me about my title, but here he introduces himself as a Duke. What a buffoon. The King thought to himself. Rhazien only shook his head.

Ansell's nostrils flared. "I didn't kill her." The King demanded. He was tired of the baseless accusations. Even the castle's servant and the people Althea cured gave him disappointing glares. He merely lit the flame. It was the Archbishop who sentenced her.

"YOU BURNED HER AT THE STAKE LIKE A COMMON WITCH!" Rhazien shouted at the top of his lungs, blowing out all the candles that lit the King's bedroom. Foreboding swelled in Ansell's gut.

"Excuse me, I did not mean to shout," Rhazien apologized. "I need your assistance in getting Althea back."

"Get her back? How? She's dead," the King scoffed at Rhazien.

The creature rolled its eyes. If the King didn't fear for his life, he would have demanded its respect. No matter what, it should always revere a King, especially him, King Ansell.

Rhazien rolled his eyes once again. The King thought that he might have said his thoughts out loud.

The creature continued, "We must travel to the Netherworld and retrieve her soul. It seems that she did not make it to Purgatory for one reason or another... and as such, someone or something dragged her to the depths of Hell. She's a kind soul that shouldn't be there."

"Are you sure? The Archbishop accused her of witchcraft, and she cursed me with her dying breath."

"Oh, you mean the man in the white cloth who is a little bit too friendly with his flock?" Rhazien calmly dropped the Archbishop's head onto Ansell's lap.

Ansell hurtled out of the bathtub and reached for his robe. "What in God's name?" The hair on Ansell's neck and arms bristled. The creature killed the most influential man in his Kingdom.

"Oh, didn't you know? The one who spews Holy shite has been taking advantage of the destitute. Your kind. Disgust me. You kill a beautiful and innocent soul for healing the sick, but praise a charlatan," Rhazien guffawed with sarcasm and bitterness.

"What proof do you have of this? The Archbishop is a man of God. He would never willingly use his influence for his own selfish advantage."

The creature sat on the King's bed, crossed his legs, and chuckled like the King said was the funniest quip.

"There's none so blind as those who will not see."

"You're disgusting. Leave, you vile creature," Ansell demanded.

Rhazien laughed even harder, but there was a menace in each note. "No! Like I said, I need your assistance. And before you deny me. Please think about your people. It is no coincidence that the skies are dark in the mid of summer or that a person would freeze to death if they slept without a fire. Oh, and let us not forget the villagers getting sucked dry. That last one I'm not entirely responsible for. My creatures are uncharacteristically ravenous."

"Why are you doing this?" Ansell asked.

"It's an incentive, my dear King Ansell. Help me or see your country perish right before your eyes."

"Why me? I have done nothing to deserve this!"

Rhazien rolled his eyes for the umpteenth time. The King grew restless from the creature's insolence.

"I will roll my eyes, how many times I like, so get used to it, mortal. And to answer your question, I require your assistance because, for one reason or another, Althea only visits YOU, her KILLER. So YOU have a connection with my dear beloved." Rhazien juddered his fingers at the King's chest.

"I did not—"

"YOU KILLED HER. YOUR IGNORANCE KILLED HER. YOUR BLINDNESS KILLED HER. YOUR SUPPOSED LOVE FOR YOUR COUNTRY KILLED HER. SO IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE SUN ONCE AGAIN, YOU WILL HELP ME BRING HER BACK!" Razien bared his fangs.

A plethora of emotions, guilt, fear, and anger, assaulted Ansell's eyes. But the alabaster-looking creature spoke the truth. Ansell killed the only woman he and Rhazien would ever love.

"So, my King, get ready. We head towards the Netherworld at dawn."

Before Ansell could protest, the creature warned him, "If not, you will see your country burn in a sea of red flames, and the cries of your people will reverberate well into the night. And I will hold your beating heart in my bare hands."

Fantasy

About the author

Zuleika Boekhoudt

Love anime, food, wrestling and marketing stuff. Part owner of http://english-dubbed.com. Freelance writer. Words on

@Vocal_Creators , @getfandom , and @wattpad

Love to write about:

- Dark romance

- Anime

- Beauty

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