2035 - Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
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Castlevania suddenly and mysteriously appeared in Japan during the first solar eclipse of the 21st century. Julius's seal was not entirely permanent, and the reappearance of Castlevania had been prophesized some time earlier. One of the believers in this prophecy was Graham Jones, leader and missionary of a new, mysterious cult.
Soma Cruz, a European visiting Japan as an exchange student, was visiting the Hakuba Shrine with his childhood friend, Mina Hakuba, to view the eclipse. The two were knocked unconscious as soon as they entered the shrine. They awoke to find themselves within the Demon Castle. Soma immediately met the cold and powerful Genya Arikado, who claimed to be an intelligence agent. He helped fend off a sudden surprise attack at the castle gates, and he explained to Soma where he was. He also told Soma that he had the ability to control monsters, which seriously confused him. Soma didn't fully believe what he was being told, but he seemed to sense that Arikado could be trusted. He was told to come to the master's chamber and that all would be explained there.
Of course, to reach the chamber, Soma would need to explore the entire castle. On his way, he met a variety of characters who had assembled there for various reasons. First, he met Graham Jones, who at first seemed cordial and friendly. He met Yoko Belnades, a descendent of Sypha who had been dispatched by the Church to observe the eclipse. He met 'J', a man who had been suffering from amnesia since 1999. Finally, he met Hammer, a soldier sent by the military to investigate the castle. He had decided instead to go AWOL and set up a shop at the castle gates.
During his journey, Soma learned that Graham believed himself to be the one who would inherit Dracula's power according to the prophecy. When Soma told Graham of his power to rule over monsters, Graham went crazy and denied the possibility.
When Soma next ran into Yoko, she told him that Soma's revelation had thrown Graham into a panic, and that his confusion and desperation would make him vulnerable. Yoko ran off to confront Graham on her own before Soma could even have a say. Before long, Soma found the two of them, and just in time to save Yoko from death by Graham's dagger. He had stabbed the young woman once already, and would surely have finished her off had Soma not appeared. Graham cursed him and fled to the castle's topmost floor.
Soma gave chase after exploring the rest of the castle and collecting the souls which he needed to make his way to the uppermost areas. He chose the souls he would command for his battle against Graham by taking the advice of Genya Arikado to follow the three ancient tomes which he found in the castle.
Upon entering the room with Graham, the man proclaimed himself Dracula and accused Soma of grand theft for stealing the souls of his monsters. He said that Soma would receive the penalty of death, and thus their battle began. It seemed that if not for Soma, Graham truly would have become Dracula. However, after the "missionary" had turned into a horrible beast and Soma had put an end to his lunacy, he died shrieking that his defeat must mean that he was not Dracula after all. Soma was relieved in victory, believing for a moment that he had defeated Dracula and ended his resurrection, but then a foul aura surrounded him and an intense power flooded into his body, changing him. In horror, he realized that it was he who was truly destined to become Dracula.
Genya Arikado, who was in actuality Alucard in disguise, felt the transfer of power, and he was ready to confront Soma. Though the power of Dracula had begun to enter Soma, Alucard was using his powers to slow the transfer and prevent its completion. He explained to the disheveled Soma that it was he who had brought him here intentionally, so that he could control Soma's transformation and help him battle against it. Soma was exasperated, but he knew that he had to fight to keep his own soul. Alucard revealed to him his one last hope. The source of Dracula's power lay in the Chaotic Realm, beyond a black door which only Dracula himself could open. Alucard told Soma that he would have to go to this place and confront the pure source of Chaos. If Soma was to enter that place and lose, it would mean the return of Dracula. If he were to win, it would mean yet another reprieve from the Dark Lord's return. Soma set out for the mystic portal without hesitation.
However, before he could enter through the gateway, he was stopped by Julius Belmont, who had earlier regained his memory and told Soma of his role in the sealing of Castlevania and of his fate in the battle against Dracula. Julius now knew that Soma was to become Dracula, but did not understand that he had not yet fully become the Dark Lord. So the two were forced to battle. Soma did not wish to fight or injure Julius, and so he restrained his power. At the same time, Julius felt Soma's own soul within his body, and he did not attack with his full strength.
When both of the men realized the futility of their struggle, they ceased the foolishness. Soma told Julius what was happening, and that he had to enter the portal to fight against his own fate. Julius understood completely. Before Soma left, he asked Julius a favor. He asked Julius to kill him if he were to lose his battle and return as Dracula. The vampire hunter replied that he would honor this request.
Soma entered the portal to the Chaotic Realm, and fought through its bizarre, mind-numbing reality. When he at last reached the end, he faced Chaos itself. In an incredible battle for all the ages, he succeeded in defeating the cosmic force and prevented himself from becoming Dracula, but not without help from all his friends, who combined their powers to send him a message of hope.
Once Soma won the battle, he and everyone else were transported back to the shrine. He awoke in Mina's arms, and she promised him that she would be there to help him should anything bad ever happen. As the solar eclipse passed, Castlevania faded away with it, and the terror which had so swifty descended was lifted away.
Julius said that he felt the power of the Vampire Killer fade along with the castle and that he did not fully understand what it meant. Perhaps the weapon had fulfilled its full purpose and would no longer be needed. But perhaps, if the evil of Dracula someday returned, it too would reawaken...
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All original content copyright © 2005 James Haley. Permission is granted to distribute and create derivative works from this story in any format under the condition that this notice remains intact.