1844 - Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness - Cornell
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Death, the evil witch Actrise, and the vampire Gilles de Rais resurrected Dracula with the sacrifice of a virgin in an old Wallachian castle on the land of the Oldrey manor. In a plot to give the Count a new, living body, they secured the help of a man-beast named Ortega, and used him to kidnap Ada, the sister of the man-beast Cornell who, through severe ascetic training, had learned to unleash the sealed man-beast power within him.
The man-beasts had long ago decided to live peacefully with humans, and had sealed their powers away in order to prevent them from being abused. Cornell felt that it was possible to use his powers for the good of humanity, however. This is why he left on his journey of ascetic training. He returned only to find his village a lotus flower of flames.
Tracking his sister's scent, he was eventually lead to the outskirts of the Oldrey manor. There he ran into Ortega, his old rival. Ortega made it clear immediately that it was he who had kidnapped Ada, in exchange for power given to him by Dracula. Cornell was astonished, asking the other man-beast if he had sold his soul to the Devil. Ortega only laughed and walked away.
When Cornell reached the Oldrey manor, he found its occupants in distress. The master of the estate had been made a vampire by Gilles de Rais, and the madman was actively trying to turn the rest of his family, including his young son Henry. Mary pleaded with Cornell to save her son, offering him a key he would need in exchange for the boy's safety. Cornell gladly led the boy to safety through the manor's perilous garden maze, where The Monster himself had been promoted to master groundskeeper.
After braving all the challenges of the castle, Cornell met Ortega one last time at the foot of the Clock Tower. Ortega was determined to settle his score with Cornell -- he had been deathly bitter about being defeated by his former friend many years ago. It was this bloodlust which led him to accept Dracula's offer. Now fully able to unlock his own man-beast potential through Dracula's power, Ortega transformed into a horrible lion-like chimera and savagely attacked Cornell.
Once Ortega had fallen and reverted to his human form, he felt satisfied but also horribly remorseful. He had faced Cornell with his full power, and had seen Cornell give everything he had to defeat him. But he had indeed sold his soul to the Devil, killing so many villagers and endangering Ada. There was now nothing he could do to help right his wrongs.
Dracula's meddling could not hold the man-beast magic steady, and Ortega felt his powers spiraling out of control. Warning Cornell to keep back for his own safety, Ortega took the only option he had remaining, and cast himself from the high rooftop, exploding in a brilliant flash of light. Cornell was deeply saddened by everything that had occured, but knew that he had to press on.
Cornell finally found Ada in the Clock Tower, with the direction that Ortega had provided him in his last breaths, but Death appeared and wrested her from his arms. The end-game was rapidly approaching, and the trio of evil-doers had Cornell almost exactly where they wanted him.
Oblivious to their plans, Cornell proceeded to the Castle Keep and confronted Dracula, who was holding Ada prisoner in a magic crystal. Dracula tested Cornell's powers in battle and was impressed, but knew that to bring this battle to its conclusion, he would have to make Cornell falter. He attempted to shatter the man-beast by bringing to light the truth about Ada -- that she was not in fact Cornell's sister, but a survivor of the humans who had been killed by the man-beasts before they had made peace. Dracula accused Cornell of being nothing more than a shallow deceiver interested only in his own salvation.
Cornell was indeed shaken by these words, unsure of how true they might be. However, he had little time to ponder them, as Dracula absorbed Ada into his body and transported Cornell away into the Chaotic Realm. There, Cornell fought a desperate battle against Dracula Ultimate. Finally achieving victory, Dracula began to sink into the dark mist. However, Cornell saw that Dracula was going to take Ada, still imprisoned in a crystal, into the underworld with him. Unable to penetrate the barriers of dark energy swirling around Dracula, Cornell finally willed his man-beast power to leave his body and to shatter the crystal imprisoning Ada. Before the man-beast soul could return, however, the dying Dracula grabbed it and pulled it down with him, leaving Cornell a mere mortal.
Cornell and Ada later found Henry Oldrey, and the three left to rebuild their village. Cornell despaired over what Dracula had said for a while, but with the help of Ada, he realized that the vampire's words were untrue. He did love Ada and continued to care for her for the rest of his life.
However, back in Castlevania, Death was completing the plan. Above the coffin of Dracula was Cornell's wolf soul, sealed in a crystal. Actrise was thrilled, stating that it was as much power as the crystal could possibly contain. With a wave of his scythe, Death used the power of the wolf soul to predestine the rebirth of Dracula in a mortal boy.
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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.