Side Story: The Elixir of Life

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Side Story: The Elixir of Life Empty Side Story: The Elixir of Life

Post by Damascus on Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:07 pm

[some backstory for Lancer's Master from the previous war \o/]

Immortality. The elixir of life. The philosopher’s stone.

That was what the alchemist’s called it. The ability to extend your life without end. What ridiculousness.

Bello flipped through the pages of the journal, scanning the notes inside. A journal by “Heinrich Agrippa,” some occultist that died a couple hundred years ago. He didn’t know why his teacher kept these things around. Nowadays, everyone knew alchemy was  nothing more than fancy. The 1800’s were fast approaching, and with it, a new era of modern science.

He scanned the rest of the books on the shelf, all written by various self-professed alchemists. Agrippa, Flamel, Dee, Brahe, Hohenheim. He stopped on that last one. “Paracelsus,” he called himself. Greater than Celsus. Such a narcissist. A long-dead fool, like the rest of them.

Bello slid Agrippa’s book back onto the shelf and scanned the Royal Society library. The sun was setting, casting a deep yellow-orange light over the shelves in the back of the room. It was getting late; where was his teacher?

He could wait here all night. He scooped up his own books impatiently and left the library. On the walk home, he huffed angrily to himself.

He’d come all the way from Italy to study chemistry at the Royal Society, and Professor Hull couldn’t even be bothered to meet him at school. Not to mention all this alchemy crap he’d been getting into lately. He was supposed to be a man of science.

Bello arrived at his home in the neighboring district as the skies grew dark, but when he put his hand on his doorknob, a sound caught his attention.

“Bell… o…”

A shiver ran up his spine. He saw a figure emerging from a nearby alleyway, leaning against the wall for support.

“Bello… Come here…”

“Professor Hull?” His voice was familiar, but somehow alien at the same time. His clothes were ragged, and something dark stained his skin. What was wrong with him? The student jumped back as his professor looked up. His eyes were crimson, and he had… fangs? Hull staggered forward.

“It worked, Bello. I did it. It worked!”

“What are you talking about?”

“The elixir. It worked.” He refocused on his student as though he were looking at someone else now. “Come here.”

Bello took a step back, then quickly turned to fumble for the doorknob. Just as he moved, though, Professor Hull leapt forward. He slammed into his student’s stomach, then jumped on top of him as he fell. Bello tried to push him off, but he was too strong. Unnaturally strong. Hull bent down and sank his teeth into his student’s neck.

Bello tried to scream, but couldn’t make a sound. He felt the pain, felt his blood pouring out, but it was all somehow distant. He couldn’t pry Hull’s hands away. Hull bit deeper into his neck. He felt cold. He didn’t even know why this was happening. He’d never get the chance to ask. Bello could only stare at the sky, gasping for air as he felt holes open in his throat.

Then Hull pulled away. He began to laugh maniacally.

“It worked, Bello. It worked!” He raised one arm and bit deep into his own wrist, black blood pouring out over his lips. “I’ll show you!” he laughed, pressing his wrist into the wound on Bello’s neck. He felt this crazed man’s blood mixing with his own, and suddenly his veins were on fire.

Bello spasmed and jerked in agony, but Hull held him down.

“You can join me! I’ll show you!”

Gradually, Bello stopped moving. He had lost too much blood. Everything was going cold and dark. The last thing he could hear was Hull’s manic laughter… and then he was dead.

Dead. No longer living. No heartbeat, no brain function, no biological signs whatsoever. That’s what he was.

Wasn’t he?

His flesh was rotting, and the flies were feasting on him. He was dead. But he wasn’t gone. He couldn’t see or hear, or even feel any emotions. He just had a vague awareness that he still existed. A soul, trapped in a body that no longer had any life in it. His brain was too far decayed for him to form any coherent thoughts. He was dead, but not yet.

There was no telling how much time passed. Days, weeks, maybe even years. His soul remained trapped in this cage of rotting flesh, refusing to be extinguished. But there was nothing there, no intelligence, just a vague will to live. Gradually, the soul started to reach out into the corpse housing it, and figured out how to move it. Just a little at first, twitching its fingers and toes. Then, it figured out how to move the arms and legs.

The body wasn’t strong enough to stand yet. It could only grope around, blind, but barely able to feel its surroundings. It was lying in a pile of something soft and mushy. Corpses. Many other corpses like itself. With what strength it still had in its bones, it tried to grab onto a nearby corpse to lift itself up, but only managed to tear off a lump of rotten flesh.

The body still did not have the ability to form thoughts, but it somehow knew what to do. It dropped the flesh into its mouth, forcing its jaw to move, what muscles remaining in its throat to pass it down to the stomach. It wasn’t nutrition, or a means to survive, but a means to rebuild. The soul took what it could use from the flesh, separating it out, stitching it into its own body.

The body ripped off more flesh from the corpses around it, devouring it, each lump giving it more material to rebuild its own rotten flesh.

Over the next dozen… days? Weeks? The body had eaten enough to reconstruct some muscles in its legs. It now had the strength to stand. Shakily, the corpse rose, stumbling down the pile of corpses. It felt around blindly, still having no eyes or ears. There were walls. Damp stone walls. He didn’t have the ability to reason that he was in a basement of some kind, but knew somehow that he just had to go up. There was something calling him. A voice from outside. A will.

He obeyed what the voice told him. He didn’t even know how to disobey. When it told him to walk, he walked. When it told him to eat, he ate. Dead, living, whatever it was. The more he ate, the more he could rebuild his body. Muscles, organs, bones. He was finally able to regrow his eyes. He could finally see his own body. Rotten and ragged. And he could finally see the man that commanded him. Some man with glowing red eyes and fangs. He felt like he should know who this was, but he still didn’t have the brain matter that would allow him to recognize him. That would come later.

And it did come. After decades of eating victims, satiating his hunger, he started to slowly rebuild his brain, starting with the brain stem and cerebellum. This allowed him to regain better motor control over his limbs and some of his autonomic systems. He managed to regain his own will and self-awareness.
He still could not form thoughts, but he knew now that he was feeling “hunger.” And experiencing “time.”

Decades passed in service to Hull. Was that his name? He still didn’t have many memories. He just had to keep doing what the man said.  He blood was inside him now, driving him, compelling him.

He had to rebuild his brain, piece by piece, cobbling together something that could pass for “reason” and “intelligence.” His memories started to come back, but they were mingled together with his nightmares and fantasies, transforming his newly-formed mind into a hellscape of hate and fear.

It was September 28th, 1974. That was the first time he could read the date on the calendar and understand what it meant. Now, he had regained his memories, and his full intellect.

He stared at himself in the mirror, recognizing the face he had managed to rebuild. He was once a man named Bello. But two centuries of being trapped in a state of half-life, living with a brain that was half-rotten, had extinguished any semblance of that man’s personality. All that was left was this cobbled-together hellish mosaic of a psyche. Hate and rage. He needed a new name.

But, he was still a slave of his master. The once-great Professor Hull of the Royal Society, now the master of an army of undead. A “Dead Apostle,” he called himself. The man once called Bello didn’t have the right to that name yet. He was but a lowly vampire, a servant. But, not for much longer.

He waited ten years for Hull to let his guard down. He hid his regained intelligence from his master, still pretending to me nothing more than a mindless puppet. He waited until just the right moment, as Hull was falling asleep in his chair as dawn came, his back turned away from his puppet.

He sank his claws deep into Hull’s throat, watching his eyes suddenly snap open in shock. He ripped out Hull’s vocal chords before he could choke out a command to stop his servant. And he kept on clawing, ripping out more of Hull’s throat. Next came his eyes, then his tongue! Everything had to go!
Hull was a Dead Apostle, a vampire that could regenerate so fast as to become virtually immortal. He just had to kill him faster than he could heal.

He ripped open Hull’s chest, tearing his lungs out, then tearing them out again as they started to regenerate.

He started to laugh as he felt Hull’s power over him wavering, then finally breaking. He was free. He was free. He was finally free!

Flesh littered the floor around them as he tore Thomas Hull to pieces. When the deed was finally done, no part of him remained that was larger than a closed fist. Black blood soaked every inch of the carpet. The man once called Bello stood there and laughed at the remains of his master. He was free!

Once he calmed down, he looked down at the book on his bedside table—the book he had been reading as he fell asleep. The Lesser Key of Solomon. Ars Goetia. A book about demons. How fitting that occultist fool. He picked up the book and leafed through it lazily. He did need a new name now. What better list to choose from?

Malphas. He liked the sound of that one. A mighty Great Prince of Hell, having forty legions of demons under his command. He builds houses, high towers and strongholds, and throws down the buildings of the enemies. A bit melodramatic. But, he supposed he better embrace his new existence.

He threw the book into the fire and laughed as he walked out of Hull’s house.

Ten years later, he stepped off a plane in Fuyuki City, admiring a marking that had appeared on the back of his hand a short time ago.

Side Story: The Elixir of Life Alg9xv

The Holy Grail War, it was called. A battle for an omnipotent granter of wishes. He knew why he had been chosen. As undeniably powerful as he was now, he was still imperfect. This wish-granter could give him the means to succeed where his master had failed. The elixir of life. Immortality.

In a few weeks’ time, he would be drinking from that golden chalice. None could stand in his way.


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