1797 - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
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Having searched for Richter for an entire year, Maria was nearing the end of her thus far fruitless efforts. As soon as she had felt despair, however, Castlevania suddenly materialized from the mist before her as if to point the way. She entered the dark castle and began exploring it alone, in search of any clues.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Richter had been kidnapped by the Dark Priest Shaft, whose plan it was to use the Belmont in a plot to ensure Dracula's return and eternal rule. Controlling Richter magically, he made him into the lord of Castlevania, giving him full control of the demonic structure in Dracula's absence. This ensured that any who would come to challenge Dracula would have to face Richter first, and given the vampire hunter's supreme power, Shaft was certain that none could defeat him.
At this same time, powerful forces were struggling for the soul of an ancient and powerful warrior. Sensing the violent shift in power that occured with Richter's forceful conversion to evil, and feeling the danger of a Transylvania bereft of a Belmont protector, Alucard, the half-human son of Dracula, awoke from his long sleep for the first time since aiding Trevor Belmont in 1476. Knowing, but fearing, what he had to do, he set off for Castlevania.
Once there, Alucard soon met Maria. Not trusting her at first, he remained cold and distant. Soon, however, he learned that she was searching for Richter Belmont, whose disappearance was the ultimate cause of what Alucard had felt. He agreed to help Maria in her search for Richter. Alucard succeeded in finding Richter, but their meeting was not at all amicable. Richter, sitting in the Lord's seat of the Collisseum's ampitheater, proclaimed himself to be the lord of the castle, and summoned powerful demons to destroy Alucard. Confused, Alucard later found Maria and told her of what he had seen. Maria at first refused to believe him, and ran away to see for herself.
Once Alucard had obtained two special rings, he was able to open a door in the heart of the castle which lead to a mysterious ceremonial chamber. Within, he again met Maria, who told him that she had verified what he told her -- Richter had joined the enemy. Believing that he must be under the control of some evil, she gave Alucard some special glasses which could see through any illusion, and she pleaded with him to save Richter. Telling her to pray for her friend's soul, he set out for the castle keep to confront the vampire killer.
Fighting against a Belmont for no less than the third time, Alucard was truly amazed at how the power of the bloodline had increased over time. Alucard held back the man's savage attacks long enough to put on the magical glasses and look for the illusion. Above Richter he spied a green spell orb, hovering in circles. Alucard smashed the sphere with his Holy Sword even as Richter continued trying to destroy him. At last freed from control, Richter fell to the floor, confused and astonished. Maria came running to see what had transpired, and before the three of them appeared the specter of Shaft, proclaiming that the resurrection of Dracula was at hand. To their horror, the Dark Priest then summoned a twin Demon Castle from the sky, which hung precariously from the clouds, inverted.
Alucard felt the power of his father flowing from this new castle. After briefly introducing himself to Richter, he urged Maria to take him to safety, telling them to leave the defeat of Shaft and the destruction of Dracula to him. They complied, and Alucard grudgingly faced the prospect of having to fight his father once again.
Once he had explored every nook of the new castle and had retrieved the five remains of his father, he brought them to the heart of the castle and the door to the inverted ceremonial room opened for him as the clock struck thirteen. Within, he confronted Shaft, who babbled on mindlessly about his desire for the rule of Chaos and the coming of eternal darkness. Alucard swiftly defeated the insane warlock, sending him to his ultimate doom. However, having brought the remains of Dracula into the ceremonial room, Alucard had unwittingly completed the acts necessary to resurrect his father, who swiftly appeared before him as darkness flooded from an evil eye.
Alucard refused his father's futile offer to return to his service. Enraged as he always had been by his son's alliance with humans, Dracula revealed his true form and fought his son in an epic battle. When the combat subsided, it was Alucard who stood victorious. Even as Chaos began to envelop him, Dracula pleaded with Alucard to tell him the last words of Lisa, Alucard's mother, the last woman whom Dracula had ever loved. Alucard told him these words: "Do not despise humans, for theirs is already a hard lot. If you cannot live with them, at least do them no harm." He also told Dracula that Lisa said she would love him forever. Pleading in vain for the woman's forgiveness, perhaps finally feeling some form of regret his 400 years of ultimate sin, Dracula vanished in a flash of light.
Alucard met Richter and Maria outside the ruins of the terrestrial castle. Richter apologized, blaming himself for making Alucard fight his own father. Alucard placed no blame on the man, however. He simply told him that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph was for good men to do nothing. He then proclaimed that he would return to sleep, in order to purge the world of his cursed bloodline. As he left, though, Richter asked Maria if she wanted to pursue the dhampir. With a moment's hesitation, she told Richter that she had grown to love Alucard, and could not let him leave her life. So Richter bid Maria farewell, and she chased after Alucard.
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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.