Title: Blood Is
Disclaimer: Do I really have to mention that I don't own Castlevania? If I did, we would have gotten to see Julius curbstomp Dracula, the storyline would have been neatened up a bit, and Dracula and Alucard would have just HUGGED already after the reveal in Lords of Shadow 2.
Summary: Lords of Shadow Continuity: AU to Mirror of Fate and Lords of Shadow 2: Trevor wasn't the only one that had the truth of his parentage kept from him by the Brotherhood.
A/N: Okay everyone, here's the situation. Basically the downside to having my extremely active imagination is just how little control I have over it. It dictates when and what I write, not me, and right now, it really, really, REALLY wants to go back to Kingdom Hearts. Of course, I want to finish this fic before doing so, and this tug of war that's going on is not conductive to writing at all, hence this slowing update rate. Now don't worry, I WILL finish this fic, especially since we are so close to the finish line here, but expect the last few chapters to come fairly slow as the tug of war continues.
It was all that Gabriel's world consisted of.
Blood covered the walls and floor of the throne room. Ropes of it kept him restrained to the throne, binding his ankles and wrists to the chair. It kept his head tilted back, so another blood rope had an easier time force feeding him the castle's corrupted blood around the clock, and no matter how hard he struggled, he couldn't break free of them. None of that training he had done to learn his strength and powers seemed to do him any good; the castle had him right where it wanted him, and it wasn't letting go. Despite all the blood he was forced to take, he still felt tired and weak, like something had sapped all of his energy away.
He shifted on the throne as much as the restrains would allow, and they tightened around him for a few seconds, as if they were reminding him that they were not going to let go.
We need you here.
We can't exist without you.
We will take care of you.
You don't need anyone but us.
Gabriel shivered as the voices spoke, seemingly coming from the walls around him, and he felt his skin crawl as invisible fingers ran through his hair and down his cheek.
You belong to me, Gabriel Belmont! You will never leave here!
He tried to twist around and pull his arms free, but the loops around his wrists tightened so much that he felt the bones crack under the pressure. He stilled at the warning, and the ties loosened slightly, not enough to wiggle out of them, but the message was clear. Gabriel slumped down as the throbbing in his wrists faded as the cracked bones mended themselves and wondered, not for the first time, just why the castle was so intent on keeping him there. What did it need him for? He assumed it had something to do with its resurrection upon his return and how it appeared to use his power to do it. How it managed that, he had no idea, and it was unlikely that anyone would be able to tell him.
He closed his eyes against the blood covered throne room and tried not to think of what his future held. How long had he been here? Days? Weeks? He tracked the sun across the sky like he had always done, but there seemed to be no way to count the days as they passed.
Gabriel jumped at the sound of a human voice, one that he hadn't heard in a few years, and the blood rope in his mouth suddenly retreated, which allowed him to look at the visitor.
The old man, looking about the same as he had when Gabriel had last seen him on the road three years previous, gave him a faint smile. "Yes, Gabriel."
"How did you get here? What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you, of course. As for the how, the castle let me in easily."
Gabriel shook his head in confusion and reveled for a brief moment in the sensation of moving his head so freely; he was sure that it wouldn't last for long. "But why would you come here?"
"I needed to make sure things were on the correct path. That is all." The faint smile was still upon his lips, and Gabriel noted that the blood had receded from the rest of the room, leaving only the blood ropes that kept him tied to the throne.
"Indeed. Your destiny was foretold before you were conceived, Gabriel. I saw with my own eyes your intended fate in the mirror in this very castle. I planned carefully to ensure that you met your destiny, but those plans were wrecked by events beyond my control. Now, however, you have returned to the path that you were set on years ago."
"And what..." Gabriel hesitated, not sure if he really wanted to hear the answer to his question. "What path would that be?"
Volpe stepped closer to the throne. "You were fated to save us all, Gabriel, from the Lords of Shadow and from Satan, but to do that, you needed to be prepared. I realized that the pampered, long awaited son of nobles would never be forged into a proper weapon, so I saw to it that you were removed from that life before it could have an effect on you."
"You arranged my kidnapping." Gabriel clenched his hands into fists, and barely noticed when his claws dug into his palms, drawing blood.
"Oh come now, Gabriel. I had been tasked with ensuring you met your fate, and that gave me the right to do whatever had to be done. Your parents would have never allowed you to undergo what was needed. They would have sheltered you, pampered you, and protected you, and in doing so, they would have brought doom upon us all. A spoilt child is never good for anything, especially not saving the world."
"But how did you know that is what would have happened?"
"Don't be stupid, Belmont! I saw it in the mirror! You were fighting for our very souls, wearing the uniform of a Brotherhood knight! It was well known that your parents had been struggling to have a child, so it was a certainty that they never would have given you up willingly! I did what they would have refused to do. I secured the Chosen One and made sure you had the training you needed to succeed. Without me, we all would have fallen."
It was only the blood ropes that kept Gabriel in the chair, as he tried to leap forward towards the man that had ruined everything. "You had no right!"
Volpe took another step forward. "I had every right! Just as I had the right to take your son from your wife's arms! Just as I had the right to stand aside and let her be murdered by her husband's hand! You needed to be broken down, Gabriel, to better reforge you into the weapon needed to cut Satan down! You never would have succeeded otherwise! Your parents nearly ruined years of planning by taking you from this castle, and it took three years, Gabriel, three years, to put you back where you belonged, but now you are here. Things are finally right again, and I will be damned if anyone interferes again."
"You..." Gabriel felt a heavy weight settle around his heart as pieces began to click into place. "You set my father's death up. You conspired with someone, likely my uncle, to kill him."
"I did. I knew that it would be easy to chase you from the house once he was dead. You were always too frail, Gabriel, and at times, I despaired of you ever fulfilling your destiny, but that frailty kept you moving forward. You so desperately sought your wife's life that you were willing to do anything to get her back, and you fell for Zobek and Satan's plan perfectly, didn't you? In doing so, you brought the confrontation with Satan, just as had been foretold. You banished him, again just as had been foretold, and you saved us all, Gabriel. You should be thanking me!"
"Thank you! You ruined my life! Why would I thank you for that!"
"Your life is insignificant, Gabriel! You were born to serve a greater purpose, and it was my responsibility to make sure you could handle it!"
"I did what you wanted! I destroyed the Lords of Shadow! I banished Satan! Now why won't you leave me be!"
"One Lord of Shadow still lives, Gabriel, and Satan will be back. The reprieve is only temporary. When he does return, you must be ready and waiting for him."
Gabriel pulled against the ropes again in an attempt to reach Volpe, but they only tightened further. "And what if I choose not to do anything! What if being your weapon is not a future I wish for! Where does that leave your plan then!"
"You have no choice in this, Gabriel. Time, and the castle, will ensure that you do what needs to be done when the time comes. Sadly, many innocents will have to fall as well, but they are merely stepping stones on your way to your real target. I knew that your quest would end with you as a vampire, just as I knew that you would hide yourself away rather than return home once the hellspawn had been destroyed. The castle, you see, needs the power of another to keep itself alive. First it drew from the collective magic of the Bernhard family, and then it pulled from Carmilla. It was starting to attach itself to you when your foolish mother and father removed you from here. Thankfully, it had just enough of a hold on you to lead you back here once you'd left them behind."
"What do you mean by that exactly?"
"Did you really think the castle was just going to let its lord leave?"
"It hadn't fully anchored itself to you yet, which is why it collapsed once you were removed from it, but it still kept one tendril on you, even in its ruined state."
Gabriel stared at the floor for a moment, and suddenly remembered all the times he had heard the castle's voices -
You belong to us.
You cannot run away.
We will find you.
No one will take you away.
Come back to us.
Don't leave us.
You are mine, Gabriel Belmont!
I will find you, and I will bring you back!
No, my prince, no!
- even in the relative safety of his parents' estate.
Volpe continued. "With that, it was easy for it to lure you back here, without you noticing it was happening. The fact that you exhausted yourself getting here just made it easier for it to snare you. Now, it has you firmly in its grasp, and it won't let the one thing keeping it alive to leave again. It needs you, Gabriel, and you belong here, whether you like it or not."
"How do you know all of this?"
"It is simple; Cecil and I have been watching this castle. You are not the only one it speaks to, Gabriel, as it knew it needed me to help bring you back where you belonged. Cecil and I have been staying in a safe house within sight of the castle and village, waiting for you to return. Now that you are here, we have other plans that we must attend to, to ensure things work out the way they are intended."
"And what would those be?"
"Nothing for you to worry about, Gabriel. Trevor is no longer your concern."
"Trevor! What are you going to do with my son, Volpe!"
Volpe smirked at him. "We will need somebody to finish you off after you've fulfilled your destiny after all. Who better than your own son? Don't worry; Cecil should be fetching him right about now, and he and I will ensure that he's well trained to do the deed. We'll have to ensure he forgets any good memories he had with you, as we'll need him to hate you with every fiber of his being, but we have plenty of time yet." Volpe turned around and began to walk away. "Goodbye, Gabriel; this is the last time we will see each other."
"No! Bastard!" Gabriel surged up, out of the throne, and to his surprise, the castle let him. The ties loosened and slithered away into the shadows, and he leapt forward, claws outstretched. Rage surged up within him, and the candlelight dimmed and the structure groaned in protest as his power flared to life, suddenly free from the castle's drain. Volpe spun around, his eyes wide with shock and horror, as Gabriel streaked towards him. "You stay away from my boy!" Gabriel howled. "I won't let you do that to him!"
Kill him, my prince!
He has wronged you!
Make him suffer!
"Yes!" Gabriel snarled as he felt his fingers wrap around the old man's throat. "You ruined my life! I hate you! I hate you! I HATE YOU!"
Volpe's eyes bulged out as Gabriel began to squeeze, and Gabriel felt his lips peel back in a teeth baring smile as he slowly strangled the old man that had hurt him so much.
"No! I won't let him do this again! He deserves to die!"
The castle shrieked in triumph, and he wondered why for a moment, but that shriek suddenly turned into a scream of pain, and the castle's presence abruptly disappeared..
"That's enough, Gabriel." came a voice from behind him, and a hand came down to rest gently on his shoulder. Immediately, he felt the strength drain from his arms and hands, and his rage suddenly seemed to vanish, leaving him tired and a little shaky. The hand tugged him back, and he released Volpe, who gasped for air and scrambled back away from him, coughing.
"On your feet, Gabriel." the voice prompted, and that single hand had the strength to pull him up to stand on his feet. He stood there, confused, as the owner of the voice walked past him over to Volpe. The person was male, a little taller than Gabriel, and his medium brown hair fell to just past his shoulders and covered the back collar of the simple, floor length white robe he wore. Gabriel stared as the person walked over to Volpe and knelt down beside him. He pulled the old man to his feet, and Volpe's wheezing and coughing stopped, like he had never been nearly strangled to death. The cardinal looked at the strange visitor for a few seconds, and then his eyes widened in surprise, and he took a step back.
"Who are you?" Gabriel asked, and the stranger turned around to face him.
Blue eyes met red, the stranger smiled, and Gabriel also took a step back as a bright white aura appeared, and a pair of feathered wings seemingly sprouted out of the man's back..
"I go by many titles, Gabriel," the being said with a small smile. "I am the Left Hand of God, the Herald of the End Times, the Messenger of God. Though, you perhaps know me best as the Archangel Gabriel."
Gabriel felt his jaw working, but no sound came out as he stared at the heavenly being in front of him. An archangel! What? How? Why?
"You.." he began, stumbling over his words as the questions whirled about in his mind and pieces began to click together. "You're the voice I've been hearing all these years."
The angel's smile widened. "Indeed, I am."
"But why? Why would you do that? What purpose did it serve?"
"Because the path you had been walking would have only led to your own destruction, as well as the deaths of countless innocents. I Saw what would happen if you continued on that way, so I asked Him for permission to intervene."
"And.. and..." Gabriel sputtered. "And He allowed it?"
"Of course He did." The angel frowned at him. "Why does that puzzle you so, Gabriel?"
"No!" came a voice, and Gabriel looked past the angel to see Volpe staring at them in a mix of horror and anger. "You ruined everything! You shouldn't have interfered!"
The angel's frown deepened, and he turned around to face the disgraced Cardinal. "Ruined everything, you say? Pray tell, how did I 'ruin everything'?"
"I had Gabriel on the correct path! I had ensured that he was set to do as he was fated to do! I had everything ready, and you wrecked everything with your interference!"
The angel's aura brightened, and Gabriel was dimly aware of the castle screaming again. "I ruined nothing, William Volpe. I saved my namesake from your machinations, and in doing so, I saved humanity itself. Your plan would have seen Lucifer destroyed, t'is true, but at the cost of millions of lives, and it would have left Gabriel's soul corrupted beyond all hope of redemption. He would have done His work, and then would have been unable to get the peace and rest he so desperately craved."
"But Lucifer would have been destroyed, as you just said, as well as the Lords of Shadow. What is the soul of a vampire compared to that?"
Gabriel cringed at the callous dismissal, and he growled low in his throat. He heard the archangel shift, and a second later an arm slipped around his shoulders and tugged him forward. A feathered wing came around him, and he sighed as his agitation at the old man's words settled.
"No one gave you the right to make that decision, William Volpe.." the angel said firmly. "That is not why Gabriel's possible fate was revealed to you."
Gabriel jumped and looked at the archangel. "Possible fate?"
"The future is not set in stone, Gabriel." the angel said without taking his gaze away from the old man. "It is fluid, and it changes moment to moment. The mirror did indeed show you destroying the Lords of Shadow and banishing my fallen brother, but that was all it showed. William then took those facts and came to the conclusion that his plan was the only way to ensure that what he saw in the mirror came to pass. He also decided that you needed to completely destroy Lucifer, rather than just banishing him. No one could dissuade him of it, and few tried anyway, as they believed in his supposed wisdom and knowledge."
"And my plan has succeeded so far," Volpe insisted "Two Lords of Shadow have been destroyed, and Satan has been banished to Hell for the time being. Gabriel would have destroyed Zobek's dark half and killed Satan in time."
"In time, you say. How many would have died, in time, fallen to Gabriel's uncontrollable rage?"
"If that is what is needed -" Volpe began, but the angel was apparently at the end of his patience.
"But it was not needed! What you did, what you tried to do, was never the plan that He intended! You were supposed to speak to Wolfram and Edeline, explain to them what was going to happen, and ask for their permission to train their son, not steal him from his cradle while killing those trying to protect him!"
"But nothing! Your efforts would have ended in ruins for thousands of people, including Gabriel himself!"
"But Trevor would have destroyed his father! That's why I took pains to ensure that Gabriel never found out about the child!"
"Trevor would have only found death at his father's hands," Gabriel felt himself pulled against the angel's side, and he closed his eyes as the scene he had seen in the mirror replayed in front of him, "and his guilt and rage over killing his only child would have set him on a path that could never be returned from."
"Enough, William! Your part in this is done! Now be silent!"
The angel waved his hand at the old man, silencing him, and Gabriel shook his head in confusion. "Gabriel?" The angel turned to face him, and his hands came to rest on the vampire's shoulders. "Gabriel, are you all right?"
"Of course, you're not. I imagine that hearing all of that was not pleasant for you."
Gabriel stared up at the other's face for a second, and then a hysterical laugh burst from his mouth and echoed loudly around the throne room for a few moments. "Hearing all of that and having thoughts and suspicions that I've had for a few years confirmed was certainly not nice, but I'm more concerned about the fact that there's an angel, standing right here in front of me with his hands on my shoulders!"
"Why would you come down here for me!"
"It was you that was warning me away from my anger at God, so why would you care about me enough to come here!"
"Why didn't you intervene sooner! Why did you wait!"
Gabriel suddenly found himself held tightly against the angel's chest, with robed arms wrapped around him, and a pair of wings shielding him from the castle around them. He felt fingers threading through his hair, and he laid his head down, shaking in the embrace.
"We are sorry, Gabriel; that I can never fully express. We never intended for all of this to happen, but despite being taken from the parents that loved you, you were happy. You had a happy childhood, and you were raised well, even if you were habitually lied to. Revealing the truth would have disrupted that, and it would have made you wary and untrusting. And, I know you don't want to hear this, but William has his free will, just as you do. It was only when I realized that he intended to leave you here, alone and insane, that I realized that things couldn't go on the way they were."
"So much for all knowing and all seeing then."
"Only when We're actively looking, Gabriel."
"Did He... did He really agree to allow you to change things?"
"He did. I told him what I had Seen, and He looked and Saw Himself what would happen. William's plan would have succeeded in ways that we had never intended. You were never intended to destroy Lucifer, only banish him, but if things had continued the way William would have wanted, you would have done so. It would have taken hundreds of years, but you would have done it."
"Then why did you stop it?"
"Because it would have not been worth the cost, Gabriel. This castle is possessed by a demon, and like all demons, it feeds off negative emotions, especially anger, hate, and despair. Leaving you alone here would have allowed it to attach itself to you so it could magnify your hate and your grief until they consumed you. Your anger at Father would have turned to rage, and you would have taken that rage out on all of humanity. When the Brotherhood sent Trevor to stop you, you would have killed him. Learning that you had killed the son that had been kept hidden from you would have caused you to turn him in an attempt to save him, and he would have been so angry with you about it that he would have nothing to do with you for over 400 years. During that time your rage would have ruled you unchecked, with the castle feeding off of it and your power to keep itself alive."
"Why then, did you keep reminding me about my tasks and enemies?"
The hand running through his hair stilled for a moment. "Because Zobek and Lucifer certainly haven't forgotten you, and they will come after you eventually."
Gabriel sighed and slumped down a little in the arms that held him. "I just want to be left alone." he whispered.
"What... what must I do?" Gabriel raised his head and looked up into the angel's eyes.
"I can't tell you what to do, Gabriel. Your will is yours alone. All I can do is advise you."
"And what do you advise?"
"Go get your son. William and Cecil have not yet gotten their hands on him, but Cecil will soon. Once you have Trevor, you need to go home. You need your family, Gabriel; they are your support and security."
Gabriel lowered his head and shook it slowly. "I will get Trevor, but I can't go back home. My father... my father is dead, and everyone blames me."
"He's not, and no they don't."
"What?" Gabriel's eyes flew open wide in surprise as he looked back up. "But his heart stopped! And everyone was staring at me!"
"Yes, your father's heart stopped, just as yours did when you were turned."
"I turned him? I didn't intend to do that! Is he.. angry with me?"
The angel chuckled. "No, he's not. Right now, he's tearing the countryside apart trying to find you."
"Oh Gabriel, don't you understand? He loves you. It does not matter to him that you were raised by others away from him. You are his son, and you and your mother are the most precious things in the world to him." The angel's arms tightened briefly and then released him, before the wings folded back.. "Now, you have places to be. The two of us are outside of time at this moment, so we could talk, but I have to release it." A hand tipped his chin up to meet the angel's eyes. "Don't keep running, Gabriel; doing so will only cause pain to yourself and those around you. Go find your son, and go home."
Gabriel swallowed thickly and nodded. "I will."
"The castle's not going to let you go without a fight, so be prepared."
"You can't just whisk me away to where I left Trevor?"
The archangel smiled. "Now that would be cheating."
"That's what I thought you'd say."
Gabriel closed his eyes and felt the other step away from him. "You will always carry His favor, Gabriel, and I will always be with you."
"I understand." he said with a nod. The angel's presence vanished then, and the sense of the castle rushed back to him just as he heard something small and metallic fall to the stone floor.
He opened his eyes to see the throne room around him, and something small and silver glinting on the floor at his feet. He reached down to pick it up and quickly recognized the crucifix that he had pulled off of his neck when he had returned to the castle. How long had it been since then? He held the mended chain in one hand, and even though he couldn't see the sky through the roof, he looked up with a gimlet eye anyway.
"You sly, sneaky..." he grumbled as he slipped the chain over his head.
Gabriel... The chastising tone sounded in his mind.
"I know, I know, but really?" He looked back down, shook his head, and began to walk towards the doors that led out of the throne room. He didn't know how to get out of the castle from there, but if his parents had found their way through then so could he.
"Gabriel! Where are you going! Gabriel!"
Gabriel sighed in annoyance as Volpe started up behind him; he had forgotten the old man was there. "I have nothing to say to you."
"Gabriel, get back here this instant! You'll cause the end of us all if you leave this castle!"
"I highly doubt that." Gabriel reached the throne room doors, and he blinked in surprise when they opened easily. He stepped out of the throne room into a long hallway with metal gates on two sides. Hadn't his mother told him that they had come through one of those gates when they had come to the castle to retrieve him? Now which one was it?
"Gabriel! Stop! I forbid you from leaving! Now get back here or -!"
You have failed us.
Gabriel paused in midstep as the castle's voices suddenly returned, and he spun around to see Volpe standing in the throne room, surrounded by a expanding blood pool that covered the floor. As he stood and watched, blood ropes erupted from the pool and looped around the old man's arms and legs and began to drag him down.
"No! What are you doing! I brought him back to you! Grab him, not me! Stop!" The ropes began to pull him down through the floor, and Gabriel decided not to watch any further. He turned and continued down the hallway, before the castle decided to take the old man's advice.
Nothing bothered him as he made his way through the winding corridors, and he found his way easily. He didn't know why that was, but he opted to not worry about it. The sooner he was out, the sooner he could go get his son and take him home. He cringed as he walked; he owed Trevor a very large apology for leaving the child behind, and he would have to apologize to his mother as well for running away again.
No, he would worry about that later; right now he needed to focus on getting out of the castle before it tried something. He glanced over at a window. He could try getting out that way, he supposed, but he wasn't sure how long of a fall it was on the other side. Could he survive a high fall? Or would it shatter every bone in his legs and leave him helpless long enough for the castle to grab him again. And that's if he could even get through the window – it might resist any attempt for him to get through it -
Don't leave us, my prince.
He ignored the voices as he stepped into the front entrance. He was almost there; he could see the front doors head of him.
You'll never leave here!
The castle seemed to shudder under his feet, and Gabriel stumbled back a step as blood erupted from the floor in the center of the hall like a fountain. It rained down all around him, though strangely enough, none of it landed on him. He felt the crucifix under his shirt warm up in what seemed like a warning, and the blood splatters and drops rushed back towards the fountain as it began to subside. As it faded, the blood slowly ran off a figure standing in the middle of a pool that covered nearly half of the floor.
William Volpe stood there, head bowed, and then he raised it and opened his eyes. Instead of the brown that had once been there, however, there was solid red, and the old man smiled, showing a mouthful of long pointed teeth.
"We can't let you leave here, Gabriel."Everything: 4 -- Everything: 6
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