The Vampire of All Hallows' Eve
rating: +23+x

by Ethagon

It was the eve of All Hallows Day, the last chance for the departed to exact their vengeance on those that had caused them harm. Then, on the Day of All Saints, the gates to beyond would open and all the poor souls of the last year would enter.

On this darkest night, an unassuming bat flew from festival to festival. It had no vengeance in mind for long gone had been those that wronged it. Instead, it was searching for something. So it flew along the coastline of bonfires, that partitioned land and festival from sea and storm. It listened to the wind until it caught the slightest whisper - 'Unusual Cargo'.

It changed course and landed upside down under the eaves of a roof, its ears wide open to not miss a sound. Under it the night brimmed with life. The children and the poor went from house to house, lamenting in place for the ghosts they couldn't see. For their and all departed's sake, they got soul cakes in return. Souling they called it.

The bat The beggar slipped into the festival below.

'Changing forms' like this was just a matter of telling the universe that he had always been this way. His kind used a variety of tricks, mostly by staying hidden from everyone and everything, to better sell the new form to the world. Still, the universe demanded a price paid in blood for making a Lie so blatantly about what you were. At least the bat had been ingrained enough into them, that Lying about it was a small price to pay.

As soon as he stepped into the festival, fleeting stares turned to him, fixing his form like rays of the sun. How much he yearned to rather stay somewhere unobserved and eat in peace, but he had no choice in the matter. It was either continuing missions for the Society of Vampires or collecting blood for his matriarch, like everyone else. At least this way, the blood he took was for him alone.

The form of a beggar was halfway unassuming. Everyone wanted to ignore the poor if they could. As part of the person he now was he wore a black cloak. A mask, like some of the kids wore, would have been too attention-grabbing. The humans used both cloaks and masks to make the ghosts think they were part of them. They rather underestimated ghosts on their last day on earth, in his opinion.

As he walked through the market, he opened his ears again. This beggar had always had good ears. Hopefully, they wouldn't be pointed again. At least they'd be hidden by the cloak. He caught several points of interest.

There was a man hastily walking away from a booth of divination. The method of divination seemed to be the reading of thrown apple seeds. The seeds had been carved to have 12 sides of equal length, so it was likely this was true divination. Tempting to get quick answers, but it was best to stay away from someone who could actually reveal him.

He turned his attention towards the bonfire. Beyond it, the sea raged with wind and waves, but none of it could come past the 'line' of fire. He asked the people next to him why the fire was so small.

Apparently, some Christian official was here and had restricted the firing material. That way it wouldn't be used on 'some pagan ritual' as the official had described the bonfire.

Christian Officials they said. It was likely then, he was dealing with the Royal Office for Christian Artifacts. They were probably here for the same goods he was after. Had they not interfered, the Commission of Unusual Cargo would have sold it at a certain auction infiltrated by vampires.

In a moment where all eyes were elsewhere, he swung his coat strong enough for a wind to go through the fire, hastening its inevitable death.

He continued to walk among the celebrating, getting more information about his target. He was looking for a certain kind of manner of speech. He found it near a booth for fish. It was the English you could often hear from members of the Commission if you had the ear for it. The conversation he caught wasn't of much interest, except for one vital piece: How long it was from here to a hall the Commission was currently using for "storage".

The beggar took a fish to still his human hunger and went on his-

He stopped.

Had one of the fish just turned its eyes to look at him?

One of the fishers noticed him. "The fish look at you too? It's just the lightning, wouldn't worry about it. Not like fish have ghosts."

The beggar nodded but internally shook his head. Typical for humans to think they were the only ones entitled to a soul.

The beggar The traveller, after a walk through shadows, inquired a passer-by about the halls ten minutes away and found answer. He would go there shortly, but first the traveller Kaesauvaonfai would hunt. A vampire could always do with some more blood and it was All Hallows' Eve after all.

He found his victim in a young man, going alone through an alleyway, too far from the festival to call for help. His prey walked past the traveller a shadow without care, not even having time to be surprised as the shadow the bloodsucker sank his teeth into the prey's neck and drank.

The holes in the corpse's neck were quickly hidden with a precise dagger slash and Kaesauvaonfai went on with his way. He didn't have forever until the bonfire would have burned out.

Looking at the halls he wondered how the Society of Vampires would store the goods. The áuṭupiri giáhen had after all long fallen from grace, they're hideouts only consisted of dirty crypts and graveyards. Maybe in a few centuries, they would house in mansions again, as their station demanded.

He equipped himself with some strength and jumped onto a nearby roof. From there it was another silent jump to the roof of his desire. A quick gaze through the window confirmed no one looking in his direction. No one was still looking when he went through and landed in the hall, the goods before him.

It was a nearly full skeleton of a great blue-horned whale, the queen of all marine life. More importantly, its bones when powdered and consumed could replace your recent memories with ones of the sea. A perfect tool to keep the existence of vampires hidden.

Kaesauvaonfai stepped closer and began his work with closed eyes. He felt his matriarch guide his hand as he painted an unknowable sigil with shadows on the bones of the great creature. When he was finished he went to another spot and repeated the process.

He got to the last sigil before he was noticed. He felt the fixing presence of two eyes on the back of his head before the corresponding human started to speak.

"WHAT are you doing there, young man?" The human's steps came close enough to get a look at the vampire's cloak normal uniform. Kaesauvaonfai elected to cough.

The human stopped. "Well?"

Fitting with this person's first assumption a young man's voice came out of the vampire's mouth. "Sorry Sir, it's just this part of the whale looked a bit weird." He said as he finished the last part of the sigil.

"The whale is in my custody. I will be the judge if anything is wrong with it." The human stepped closer again. Just a few more steps and the man would have no time to react-

He felt another pair of eyes on his head. What the vampire's head unfortunately also felt was a shot going through it only moments after.

Before another shot could pierce him for the second first time, he jumped to cover. Behind the surprised first human and then with another step behind some crates.

"What on earth was that for?"

"I was warned by a fortune-teller, but we thought it was still at the festival. It's a revenant."

"A revenant? What would a revenant want with the corpse of the king of the sea? And drawing in shadows on it besides. This is clearly the work of a Vampire."

Damn it. Only the Royal Office and the House of Jones had documentation so thorough that they knew enough about vampires to draw this conclusion. The first speaker would be from the Office and the second from the Commission. Back-up for the latter was likely on the way.

"A vampire? Are you sure about that?"

"Of course I am sure! Do you trust your pagan fortune-teller over a scholar now?"

"I'll see what I can get against it." Footsteps left the area.

Kaesauvaonfai looked up at the lamps shining some amount of light into the hall. He had placed his Matriarch's sigils. Now they just needed to be enveloped by complete darkness for her spell to work. Well, and of course for the bonfire at the festival to burn down to get rid of all evidence here.

The Royal Officer stepped in front of the crates he was behind, a handheld cross stretched out in front of him.

This was the annoying part about being a vampire. Yes, their constant concealment gave them the ability to lie to the universe. Unfortunately, the listener is part of the Lie. Even without being aware of it, they could fix his form in a direction more suited for them. So the presence of this cross and an accompanied Latin prayer didn't hurt him because of that stupid religion, but because the Officer believed it would.

Under pain, the vampire pulled out a dagger and hurled it at the lamp above him. Now in darkness, he pulled down the crate next to him and jumped away from the Officer.

He landed directly in the path of the Commissions agent, who had returned with both hands filled with grains of rice that he now threw at him.

"Five-thousand-four-hundred-and-fifty-two!" Kaesauvaonfai spat out before driving another dagger through the man's shoulder.

His opponent was quick to react and put a stake through the vampire's heart at the same moment.

The vampire laughed. "No stake for you. You and your friend opted for crosses and rice. All blemishes have been set." And at the moment the human looked at his face the stake and its damage was still there gone.

The Officer emerged from the crate "Ignore the creature, a stake through the heart hurts it either way."

The Commission person drove another stake through his heart. Why did he have two? The vampire grabbed his opponent, threw him at another lamp, and collapsed.

He could let the second stake vanish like the first, but he had only about two Lies left in him.

It was raining outside. Kaesauvaonfai grinned at that. He used his second-to-last Lie to order the rats in the hall to extinguish the remaining lamps. Then he coughed. "You were awfully well equipped to handle me."

"If you're here then you know as well as I do what fate the the first skeleton the Commission caught befell. Of course, they sent their best to not lose their reputation. Besides, you need to be prepared for anything on this unholy night." The Officer was slowly walking around him while keeping his distance and the cross still extended. Most likely he wanted to reach his perished friend's pistol.

The vampire coughed out another laugh. "Unholy night? It is you people who made it this way. I'm just along for the ride."

"Nonsense. Its pagan origins are obvious."

"Sure, everything is pagan, if you go far enough back. But tell me, is All Hallows a heathen's holiday? No, your people just mystified something of their own creation. They yearn for the unknown."

The Officer had now reached the corpse.

"Let me live for just a moment longer and you might just make it out of here alive." He lied.

"And why would I do that?" The Officer was now checking the pistol.

"It was you, who kept the firing material from the bonfire, wasn't it?"

"Another local pagan ritual that needs to cease. It was attracting unholy creatures if anything."

"It was keeping them out! But at least one bonfire is out now and the line is broken. I wonder if there are any ghosts at sea that are currently very angry about where their skeleton is. But-" He was shot in the head.

- I'm sure it's fine since whales don't have ghosts.

The flood broke through the hall only a moment before the last of the lamps went out. In the moment of absolute darkness, the Matriarch grabbed the skeleton and whisked it to a faraway place. Leaving behind the Ghost of the Sea's Queen.

Her skeleton wasn't there. Enraged and confused she and her waters would wreak havoc over all she came across, until the dawn of All Hallows.

Among the waters, a last Lie was used and the corpse of a vampire a cloud flew away.

The cloud would sigh if it could.

All lies were temporary so it would gradually turn into its original form across the next week. At least the objective was fulfilled and the cloud wouldn't be in a blood debt for its Matriarch. It was just a shame that it didn't really get a chance for a longer hunt, this All Hallows' Eve.

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