Chapter 3 Dracula's Past
Now in the castle's main room, the two sat before a warm fire, sipping at their drinks. “Sorry about the cooking wine.” Victor apologized. “But it was all I could find in the kitchen. My former assistant, Igor, must have taken every ounce of wine with him, when he took off. Even that so called hiding place he had with that noxious brew he was so fond of is gone.” Baron Von Frankenstein visibly shuddered at the memory of Igor’s nasty smelling liquor. “Vile stuff I'm sure.” He confided.
The monstrous form sitting in an overstuffed chair regarded his mug with indifference. “A bit on the bland side for sure, Vic my good man. But the previous owners of this Hodge-Podge of flesh, seems to have had the taste buds some what accustom to the vineyards of the lower classes. It is, however tolerable for the moment, Thank you.”
Victor smiled and sipped at his own drink. It was, unlike Dracula's drink, a non alcoholic herbal tea with only honey as a condiment. “What about this arch enemy you mentioned, Mr. Dracula.” He asked politely. “Who is he and why is he after you?”
Dracula smacked his lips and swallowed another gulp of the red liquor. “You better start calling me Edward from now on Vic.” He told the little scientist. “We don't want to slip up at the wrong moment, now do we.” The giant monstrosity chuckled before going on. “I'd kind of like to get used to this new body, you so kindly fashioned for me without worrying if someone might figure out who I really am.” Victor nodded his head in agreement and sat back in his chair to await Dracula's story.
“Well now,” the former vampire mused, “I suppose we should start at the very beginning; or at least as far back as I can recall anyways.” His eyes took on that far away look common with those recalling past events. “That would be a very, very long time ago.” He said ominously.
Victor frowned at the statement. “Just how old are you Dracu... I mean Eddie?”
Dracula snickered at Victor's slip up and leaned back in his chair. He then moved his huge feet toward the warmth of the fire, getting somewhat comfortable. “Very, very, very old.” he said and grinned again. “Would you believe my mother was what you would call a Gypsy Wicken.”
“You mean a witch.” Victor inquired unsure what a wicken was.
Dracula chuckled again. “A misconception I assure you, my good companion. witch's and wicken's are two entirely different things. A witch is one said to be in league with demons and such; where as wicken's, are those associated with the art of healing through the use of herbs, spices and various plants. They are in fact healers. It was said that my mother was one of the best, but to me, she was just peculiar.”
“What do you mean by peculiar.” Victor asked.
“Maybe peculiar isn't quite correct.” The giant speculated. “More like daffy, looney or maybe bizarre; take your pick. She was those and many more as far as I was concerned.” Dracula paused as his mind pondered those events of his early childhood. “I didn't know her for very long though,” he went on, “for at the age of about ten, she simply up and left. That was in the area of 800 and some odd years ago.” Turning his gaze back to the doctor; his smile was such, that Victor felt keenly, the hidden hurt.
“Anyway,” Dracula went on, “it was my father who actually raised me. He was a simple hunter, common in that area, and we lived quietly far from any towns or villages. I forget where, but it was deep in some dense forest. I can recall quite well how much fun I had back then; wandering the fresh smelling green meadows or swimming in the many creeks and brooks nearby.” He paused momentarily and his smile became a genuine grin.
“We lived contently for a number of years,” he continued, “when my father started to notice something odd about me. For some reason I was not aging as other children did. In fact my childhood lasted something close to thirty years. My father, as you might have guessed, was very concerned at first but soon realized I was not some kind of Demon spawn. He accepted me as I was and we lived out our lives with little trouble.” Victor watched as the happy smile faded and was replaced with a neutral, blank expression.
“Eventually my father died,” Dracula continued his narrative, “and I was left to fend for myself. As you can probably guess I stayed away from people for quite a long time; something like a hundred years I think. It was only when I met a young lady riding through the area that my life took a different path.” His grim face returned to one of pleasure at this happier memory. He turned to look intently into Victor”s eyes. “Her name was Natasha Dracula and she took my heart with but one look.”
“Wait a second.” Victor halted the tale. “You mean your name wasn't Dracula all along?” The giant merely chuckled at the doctor, and grinned.
“No,” he answered with a merry twinkle in his mismatched eyes. “My fathers name was Vladimir; Silviu Vladimir. And I was originally named Lucian. Kind of ironic that name, as I was informed it meant 'light'. Maybe it was a warning from my mother for she picked that name for me.” Dracula shrugged his shoulders indicating indifference to his previous aversion to sunlight.
“Natasha and I,” he continued, “fell in love and eventually got married. Her father, you should know was a man of some power back then and had many enemies which wanted him dead. I, being the new heir, was forced to take some rather violent actions, which resulted in many deaths. These skirmishes did eliminate my father-in-law’s enemies, but it also left me with a bloody reputation. Justified or unjustified, it didn't really matter; I was branded a slaughterer and acquired the nickname, Vlad the impaler.” Dracula paused for several minutes lost in the past.
“But,” he picked back up, “ life does go on. We lived our lives as best as we could and when Natasha's father did pass away, we had expanded our holdings considerably. We in fact owned much of an entire valley and then some. It was at this time, I took on the name of Dracula and using my last name as my first.”
“Count Vladimir Dracula.” Victor said softly.
“Yes.” Vlad replied. “The addition of 'Count' was Natasha’s idea though not mine. She felt that it would enhance my stature in the region.” Dracula rolled his eyes and grinned. “Natasha was, at times, a bit of a dreamer and wanted it known that the 'House of Dracula', had aspirations of kingdom hood. That never happened of course.” Dracula paused again, a somber, painful look on his face. Victor was on the verge of inquiring what had happened when his new friend took up his story once more. “The plague took my Natasha from me and ended any reason I would have had for power.”
“I am very sorry,” Victor said.
His sincerity did not go unnoticed, as Dracula regained a semblance of a smile towards his new-found friend. “Thank you Vic,” He said and took a needed gulp from his glass. “That is all in the past though my friend. Kingdom Dracula will never be.”
Wanting to ease his friends pain, Victor changed subjects. “What of this man Van Helsing?” He asked. “Where does he come in?”
“Not for a few hundred years.” Dracula replied. “Actually it was only about twenty years ago. Abraham Van Helsing was just a young man back then, and a ruthless bastard at that. He once strangled a peasant woman just to watch her die.”
“My God!” Frankenstein gasped. “Why was the fiend not hung?”
“Helsing is an evil prick for sure, but he was not without influence. His family is very powerful and had the whole incident covered up. In fact the only witness to the crime was the one that took the blame for it.”
“Oh, and who was that?” Victor asked. The giant looked his way and smiled. “Oh my god! You mean to say Van Helsing framed you?”
“You got it Doc. Wasn't to difficult to do either considering those skirmishes that had happened in my past.”
“So you've been on the run ever sense?” Frankenstein asked.
The monster turned to face Victor once more. “Yes and no,” was his reply. “Helsing is after me but not because of what I know of his deed. He's after me because he knows I'm an Immortal, and wants to find out why so he can become one himself.”
“You mean you can make him Immortal?” Victor asked in amazement.
”No of course not.” Dracula said shaking his head. “If I could do that, I'd still have my wife Natasha now wouldn't I. I'm sorry to say I haven't the vaguest idea why I don't age like others do; no idea at all.”
“What about this aversion to sunlight?” The doctor asked.
“Oh that was something that developed slowly over time. In direct sunlight I started to get these small sores on my arms and legs. They weren't very bad at first but got worse as time passed. Didn't take me and my father long to figure out that it was being in the sun that caused my skin to burn. I had to take steps of course and became a man of the night. Well boy at that time, but you get the idea.” Dracula paused just long enough to finish off his drink. “Dark clothing helps.” He restarted. “It seemed to slow down the burning when ever I was forced to travel in direct sun light, but it was still very painful.
Abraham and myself have had several encounters for which he paid dearly,” Dracula went on.
“Hows that?” Victor asked, enthralled the the Vampires tale.
Dracula looked Victor directly in the eyes. “Van Helsing had a son once.” He said. “Once.”
“Oh dear!” The little doctor exclaimed. “You murdered his son?”
“Hardly.” Dracula said, handing his glass over for a refill. “Abraham's son was as much a monster as his father was. Fact is he was raping a young child when I came across him and put an end to his miserable existence. The girl's parents unfortunately were already dead so I took the girl with me as my ward.”
“Oh! And what has happened to her?” Victor asked while handing Dracula his refilled glass.
“She is still around.” he replied vaguely. “Up until a few months ago,” he went on quickly, “I was still dodging Van Helsing's men. Abraham as you're aware of already had convinced everyone I was the Dark Lord, a Vampire, bent on the destruction of the human race; Blah, Blah, Blah You know the rhetoric so I needn't explain. The rest you know. The locals here caught me, but instead of turning me over to Helsing, they took it upon themselves to hang me. Exit me, Enter you.”
“Well, well.” Victor responded. “A most compelling life you had.”
The giant smiled at the doctor's comment, then turned towards his new companion. “What of you my good doctor? What was your life like... before me?"