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The Balance of Life

Castle Von Haren

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a part of The Balance of Life, by CrystalRose.

A castle originally run by Dark-worshipping humans of old, this old structure is now home to most of the vampire thralls and minor leadership, their previous home of the Synagogue now inhabited mostly by the Vampire's higher ranking leaders.

TheRose202 holds sovereignty over Castle Von Haren, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

513 readers have been here.

Setting

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Castle Von Haren, also known as the Bastion of the Night or the Dreadhalls, is a safe haven of the Guardians of the Night. It lies within a dark forest where no being of light dares tread, its skies blood red at dawn and pitch black at night, but for the light of the moon filtering through the perpetual cloudy coverage. It was originally run by the Von Haren family, a family who, during the early days of the conflict, made a blood pact with the Vampires, offering mutual protection and safety. The Von Haren family is a phenomenon among followers of the Night. They follow the Night and practice dark magicks, but not a single one has ever asked to be changed. Despite this, their dabbling in the Black Arts has caused their skin to change, turning from a healthy northern glow to a pale white over several generations. The Von Harens of old are still the caretakers of the Bastion, but they ultimately answer to the King of the Darkness. Despite this, they maintain their own forces, called Dread Knights, who guard the grounds day and night, dressed in heavy blackened plate armour and wield poisoned halberds with grizzly points and razor sharp blades.

In recent years, the Vampires have also made this their home, leaving the Synagogue to their leaders and populating the once-empty halls with Guardians, using the many unoccupied rooms for their own. The Von Harens are happy to please the Vampires, but all who rest beneath his roof know his rule, and the house rules do not change for anyone, human or Guardian.

Side note: Angels have never been a large presence within the Dreadhalls, but they aren't unallowed. They should, however, be fully prepared to be treated coolly. Also, most of the Dread Knights are at least minor users of black magic, despite being human.
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Castle Von Haren

A castle originally run by Dark-worshipping humans of old, this old structure is now home to most of the vampire thralls and minor leadership, their previous home of the Synagogue now inhabited mostly by the Vampire's higher ranking leaders.

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Castle Von Haren is a part of Modern Earth.

5 Characters Here

Ulfang Von Haren [25] The current Lord of Castle Von Haren, this human's appearance has been warped over many years of using Black Magics.
Adrastos [24] Descendant of the Dark Prince, self entitlement of 'King of The Night'
Fenrik Gunndís Ehrensvärd [7] A strong woman with a deceptively young face, she's seen much battle in her days and it shows in her every movement.
Ardal BainBridge [7] He is an ambitious young vampire, who thrives on manipulating people.

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Character Portrait: Ulfang Von Haren Character Portrait: Adrastos
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Ulfang listens intently as the King of the Night reads, stony-faced and unmoving. And then, as the vampire puts fourth his request, Ulfang appears to go into a few moments of deep thought. He was stronger than his father had ever been, and his body was full of souls he could sacrifice instead of his own. While he didn't feel he needed an increase in either physical or mental power, it would serve his cause well. He looks back at Adrastos with a grin as he makes up his mind.

"I have very few weaknesses, my friend, but this spell may help to eliminate those few. And, I already feel an uncomfortable need for the consumption of the souls of those who would oppose me. I will do it," he responds with a wide grin. He was never one to pass up an opportunity to increase his magical power, even at great cost to his personal being, as is evident by the scars that mark every failed magical experiment he's conducted. While the ratio of success to failure is high, there have been quite a few experiments over the years

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Adrastos nodded. "Good." Was all he said. He needed the help, regardless of if the effect it had on Ulfang was needed or not.

"So, I'll begin. When it begins to consume me in that I'm no longer responsive, that's when you'll finish." Everything between start to finish couldn't possibly be explained so simply.

"Světlo a tma, smíšené v prostřednictvím. Spojí dohromady, následovat hrůzy. Chcete-li potlačit svědomí, pro vlastní účely. Sloužit tvé vlastní, a ne odpovědět na volání světla. Nechť zastiňují světlo tma.
Tmu od světla.
Tmu od světla.
Tmu od světla."


A bright light started to shine out of Adrastos from every limb. The pupils of his eyes disappeared, his eyes dimming from light to dark.

For many minutes to pass, he sat, simply glowing. There couldn't have been any way for Ulfang to understand what was taking place, only that the air had dropped considerably in temperature, and Adrastos was unresponsive. Having agreed to do so, and been informed when, this would be when Ulfang would continue the chant.

Upon touching Adrastos' hands which were positioned atop the parchment, Ulfang would feel the change taking place within the vampire King. Closing his eyes, he would be able to see it.

Two cellular power sources glowed in blackness. He could see energy being pulled from one, and given to the other. During the transaction, the energy being pulled came out as a brilliant, breath taking light.

A tranquil feeling would overcome Ulfang and Adrastos as every bit of Light energy was removed. Watching it evolve into the darker source, the tranquility ceased. Adrastos was immune to all physical feelings of pain, normally. This exercise, however, strained him within his soul. It was as if his very essence was destroying itself, and regrowing.

A burning sensation over took Adrastos' body, which caused him to verbally release the pain. His head shot back, and twisted in such a way that would have broken a humans' neck. His fingers curled in several different directions. What came next would put the essence of time completely in perspective for Ulfang.

The energy that was light, now shadowed itself as it progressed to the opposite cell. As all the energy entered the cell, it looked to seal itself.

From Adrastos' chest, the emptied light cell escaped. It would hover above the two beings' heads within the room, before exploding into the air. The cell itself turned into protective energy, as was the base of it's power. The energy burst out of, and through the top of the study. The entire Von Haren castle and grounds became enveloped in it. The energy would stand as a protective barrier between the castle and the rest of the world. Time would stand still, for all that were of Castle Von Haren, human and vampire alike. Only upon the castle master's permission could anyone not of the Von Haren family or Dread Knight, proceed through. This is what the magic sensed would most benefit Ulfang, as Adrastos said it would.

Having had the light energy taken from him, Adrastos stood physically motionless before Ulfang.

The darker cell grew within him. A cell representing his own essence came into view. Different shades of the grey twisted and rolled to make it's appearance. The darker cell seemed to draw Adrastos essence to it. The cell and essence combined.

All feeling of wonder and awe was gone. This combining of the two onset something so confident in its' power, it left both Adrastos and Ulfang completely astounded. The tranquility returned. The spell was finished.

Adrastos opened his eyes, to stare down at Ulfang. He had never before felt so sure of himself. The heavenly essence was finally gone from within him. His struggle would come to an end. He could now follow through with his plans, without having to question himself regarding the way about it.

Adrastos let out a loud, what could only be described as, growl. "Yes! YES!" He laughed, "Finally! Freedom!" He felt as if he could finally breath, even if he didn't need to. The weight that the Light essence had put upon his conscience was gone. He felt hungry. He wanted to eat, to kill, without hesitation. Not drink blood from a goblet, but to dine upon the blood and souls of the wretched humans that existed within the world; both evil and good alike.

"Tonight, my brother," He spoke to Ulfang, "A true alliance has been made."

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Ulfang simply watches the ritual happen with a curious gleam in his eye, speaking only for his part of the incantation. But when the cell of energy burst above the castle, Von Haren's eyes grow wide with alarm. "Exactly what did you just do?" he asks, his brows furrowing a bit at the new development. He hoped, of course, that this new deal would be as beneficial to both parties as the King of the Night made it seem.

"A true alliance indeed. Was it not true before? I am truly curious as to what you will do with your newfound freedom," he says, a tinge of suspicion within his voice.

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(I was totally unsure of what to write >.>)

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Adrastos eyed Ulfang carefully, "I just secured your entire castle grounds. Not a single soul can cross it's barrier without either your personal invitation or allegiance to your Dread Knight."

He pushed himself up from the desk, picking up the journal with him. "Oh, it was true before, but now it's unbreakable. The protection spell only last for as long as I live." An evil grin spread across his mouth, "Now our light friends cannot enter your domain, for any reason. Though of course they would have been met with a fierce retaliation had they tried before, but now, to try means to die, in their case."

"To be a bit more specific, you've your own realm, my friend. Not the Light warriors, or anyone can cross into Von Haren country. They wouldn't know how or where to look even. You've gone completely off the map, so to speak."

He crossed the distance between the two of them, and braced a hand on Ulfang's shoulder, "As far as my new found freedom goes, I believe I'll be doing a bit exploring throughout the realms. Just to try on my lack of conscience for size. Perhaps a village ravaging, or sinking a ship or two. Who knows? The possibilities are endless." He chuckled, and patted his brother on the back, embracing him in a shoulder to shoulder hug. "For the first time in a long time, I truly do feel free. And it's brought on an appetite. Did I hear someone mumble something about a feast?" He asked.

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"Mm. Magic often has very unintended consequences. I felt a shift in time, my friend. It is concerning. But enough of that for now! Yes, you did hear something about a feast. A banquet in honour of our allies. Your kind will feast on the best of the harvested blood of well-fed prisoners. There is also...ehm...regular food, if you would be interested, but I do so doubt it. Oh, and we also have raw human flesh in reserve." says Ulfang, his gaze still not entirely reassured, but no longer is it so suspicious. He smiles and nods as he turns about and reignites the green flame in his hand, the torches all about them exploding into darkness as the energy returns to his palm. One might wonder how many souls he uses to light this flame.

He leads the two back out of the catacomb-like archives and through the halls, into the main hall, where there is a massive gathering of people and Guardians seated about two long, expertly-crafted Black Oak tables, the naturally diseased wood gleaming oddly, despite having no varnish or finish. Large goblets of crimson red and thick blood sits before vampires, while various meats and breads and wines and meads are placed before the rest. One or two vampires also feast on the human meat, but most keep to the blood. Most of the vampires conduct themselves with dignity, as usual. The Northerners, on the other hand, act with much merriment, violently clanging steel mugs together and generally making a mess and speaking in loud voices. Not surprising for the Northmen, really.

On the far wall there rests a fountain upon a raised dais, an angry-looking dragon spitting a gout of water from its mouth into a basin supported by the wall and two thin dog legs below, the water on a very high-tech and high-class pump system that is truly breaching the impossible by today's standards. Three chandeliers hang from the ceiling, beautiful red crystals casting a lovely crimson glow over the whole affair. To either side, the ceiling is supported by massive pillars sporting rectangular in-facing banners with the Von Haren house insignia: crossed bleeding broadswords upon a field of black and lined with sparkling gold filigree. Stained glass windows depicting awful acts of necromancy and famous battles of the Dreadhall forces line the walls, the gloomy light of the moon barely able to pierce them as it shines through the clouds. As most of the castle's interior, it appears to have been carved entirely from Black Onyx, the entire thing seeming to meld seamlessly, causing an odd, but beautiful sheen of the floors, pillars, and walls. The massive room is a testament to Von Haren power and patience, as this alone may have taken an entire human generation to construct fully.

"And here it is! Beautiful, is it not? Every noble, every vampire, every person of note from the Northlands has joined us here tonight to honour our alliance, my friend," states Ulfang grandly. "Enjoy yourself, of course. And don't forget to sample the highest quality Northern Mead. I had it imported from the beautiful little hamlet of Road's End." He grins and moves to the head of one of the tables, where a decadent-looking throne-like chair sits, another one mirrored on the other table, vacant and reserved for the King of the Night. He picks up the mug that waits for him and raises it into the air, calling out something in the harsh ancient Northern tongue, causing all of the men to fall silent. "We are gathered today," he begins, "to celebrate a long and bountiful alliance with our black brothers, the Guardians of the Night! They have taught us much, and through their alliance we have become more powerful than ever! We sit together now, as equals, ready to forge on into the future and fight the weakness of the Light and bring an era of power to this miserably over-kind world! Rejoice tonight, my followers, for we march for Lionsridge on the morrow! A bit of a sudden announcement, I know, but we are now able to deploy forces of a size unimaginable to any lesser man! For you see, we have gained the perfect fortification, thanks to our allies! We needn't leave but a single platoon to the castle. My soon-to-be general, Rittmeister Edvard, will command the vanguard, and I will lead the main force! Tomorrow, we take the world back from the light, and plunge the world into a new, glorious black age, where the strong prevail and the weak are culled. We humans will no longer be plagued by the weakness of Light!" He laughs a mad laugh and downs the massive mug in his hand in a matter of seconds, slamming it down upon the table.

The men all look quite startled at first, but as the news dawns on them, they begin to cheer one by one, raising their mugs to the air, and soon the noise is deafening, and the festivities continue with increased fervour, and a friendly fight or two might even break out. Ulfang grins at his people, knowing that tomorrow they will use this new zeal to crush his enemies. This was a wonderful day for the Darkness. Finally, the weakness of Light would be purged from this world. The dark would no longer have to hide. He had a special incantation held for just such a day, in fact. As the combined forces marched upon Lionsridge, he would chant, and a black cloud of pure darkness would envelop the sky, blocking out the sun, demoralising the enemy with a perceived bad omen, and shielding the vampires from the harmful effects of the sun. And tomorrow, he would break out his most powerful feat of engineering yet. The Light would forever fear the Von Haren name, and the crossed crimson blades would be the symbol of true strength for years to come.

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Ulfang nods to his friend of many years and leans back in his throne-like chair at the head of the table, looking pleased with himself. He takes a long swig of his Northern ale and then speaks to his ally. "There's nothing like a big battle to bring two peoples together, eh?" he asks with a grin. "It's time to end this weakness of theirs and bring unity to the land, under the shroud of darkness. I am more than tired of hiding all of the time, aren't you?"

He watches over the jubilation of his subjects with interest. He must admit to being quite excited himself. Not once has he faced a bigger challenge with more at stake than he will tomorrow. It will not put an end to the war, but capturing Lionsridge would mean opening the gates into the land of Light, for his legions to march into and capture. And if he wins, he will be spoken of in history books for ages to come. Not to mention the achievements he'll make once he rules over the land. With the vampires beside him the whole way, of course...

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(oops...)

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(Obviously that was not meant to be a triple post >.>)

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The feast goes exactly as planned, and everyone involved is revitalised, energised for the battles to come. The next morning, Ulfang rises at first light and, after bathing in a viscous black substance and cleansed by his dark servants, puts on his Raven armour, strapping his massive greatsword across his back and fitting the bladed gauntlet he's known for upon his right hand. His eyes glow green momentarily as he takes a sort of inventory of his collected soul energy and smiles. He is madly powerful, having gone to the dungeons and drained half his prisoners of their lifeforce the night before. The newly zombified prisoners would make a good vanguard. Little more than cannon fodder really, but a meat shield was better than none at all, and they were often able to take at least the first line of the enemy down before being decimated. He walks to Adrastos' quarters, knocking politely upon the door with a mailed fist.

"Are you ready to go, my friend?" he asks, "My Dread Knights wait to begin the march. I have gathered the armies of the North here, and with our combined strength we make quite the sight." The King of the North grins. He had been waiting for this day for decades. Now it was finally time. His patience would finally pay off.