October 9, 2016
282. ASTOR RATHEGALIA
Castle Rathegalia, Vrykolakas, Planet Friki; Early 18th century
Higher vampire; humanoid
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
Astor has exceptional speed, strength, agility, durability and senses, but they are dulled, due to not eating. He also has a mysterious hidden power, yet to be unlocked. In addition, Astor possess weapons and hand-to-hand combat skills.
My name was Captain Noble. I was a superhero who worked for the US government, before becoming lost at space. After being consumed by the universe, I am now Cosmic Noble, and this is an excerpt from my new journal.
After meeting Pathfinder and entering the portal, I landed on the destination planet. As my luck would have it, I landed smack in the middle of a swamp. Knee-deep in muck and water, I trudged my way out of the muddy lagoon, and found solid ground. From there, I did an inventory check, since my entire bag of supplies was soaked, including the navigation system. When I turned it on, it was going haywire. I cursed fate, as I was one portal away from home, but I didn’t even know what direction to head in. As I looked up in the sky and saw multiple moons, I realized using constellations to guide me would not be any help, either. The chances of finding recognizable ones were next to none. My water and food rations were still intact though, thank God, as the sight of the swampland did not offer any promising meal options, and I did not feel like straining water and boiling it for consumption. The only thing I had to do was find my way out of the swamp and to the portal, before my rations were exhausted. So, I set off in search of my way home.
The terrain was treacherous – there was little solid ground between swamps. Ifigured, I must have landed dead in the middle of a stretch of small ponds. Tiny creatures hopped and slithered about around my feet occasionally, as I maneuvered through the dense bogs. I even saw some ghastly looking fish-like creatures swimming about below the water surfaces, making me glad I decided to not brave the waters, and swim a straight line to the woods opposite of my location. Doing so would have also ruined my supplies, so it was the obvious choice. Not swimming in alien waters unless absolutely necessary has actually been a rule of mine while lost at space. In any case, the swamp was filled with creatures not to my liking. It was imperative I exited quickly.
WEIGHT: 206 lbs.
SKIN: Pale gray
HAIR: Pale gray
After finding my way to the edge of the swamp at the end of the night, dawn began arriving. Eventually, the planet’s sun rose behind me from across the ponds. The heat grew intense quickly, and the atmosphere became incredibly humid. The air was muggy, and insects were abound. I counted my blessings I was exiting the area, and would be traveling through a less treacherous part. Thus, once I cleared the edge of the swamp, I began walking through the forest.
As I made my way amongst the trees, I grew tired, and wanted to stop. I did not see any animals, which was very alarming. The swamp lands were teeming with life. Yet, the forested area next to it was seemingly absent of any. In all my travels, I never experienced that. So, even though I was tired, I was reluctant to rest, because I knew not what lurked around me. I kept moving.
Despite my best efforts, when dawn arose, my body was on the verge of collapsing. Traveling through the portal to this planet greatly drained me, which has a tendency to happen. My guess is, the further of a distance you travel, the more taxing the effects are. Nevertheless, I continued to move on through nightfall, in hopes of finding somewhere I could rest semi-peacefully. That was when I stumbled across a remote cabin home.
The structure was made of brick and wood. It was old and worn, but sturdy and firm nonetheless. The cabin also had an empty stable to the side. As I approached closer, I noticed a faint flicker of light was emanating from inside. The owner of the home was present. Either that, or a random fire had been lit. In either case, someone was there, or had been there. Thus, I took it upon myself to knock, and see what nature of being resided in the house at that moment.
After a few knocks, nobody answered. I heard faint movement, so I continued knocking. The chance the person or people spoke English was next to none, and I did not want to startle anyone by shouting in a tongue they did not understand, leading them to think I may be hostile. However, nobody was answering. Therefore, I walked around to the first window, and peered in. That was when I saw a lone figure sitting in a large chair. He was motionless, staring into the fireplace before him. It was also evident he made no plans to answer the door. I, however, refused to move on. So, I braced myself for what might come, and opened the door.
As I walked in, I quickly scanned the surroundings. It was a modest abode, with a few rooms off to the side. The main chunk of the house was the large common room I walked into. I gently spoke to the man, stating my name, while slowly walking forward. Still, he did not move. I saw the fire reflecting off his eyes. He was obviously alive and awake. Yet, he continued to ignore me. I repeated myself once more, but to no avail. He remained motionless and absent. That was, until I moved in too close.
In a flash, the man whisked from the chair, and was behind me, holding the tip of a sword to the back of my neck. I froze, not wanting to alarm him. Standard metals do not harm me as easily as they do a normal person’s body, but from the feel of the alien metal, I knew it was different. I could not risk it. So, I slowly dropped my bag, and waited. After a moment, there was still nothing, though. I began contemplating making a move, and taking him out, but I really did not want to murder a potentially innocent man. I spent months slaughtering life while surviving. After the S.S. Prism, however, I realized living as a savage was no longer necessary. Besides, the fact the man was able to move fast enough to get the drop on me spoke to his abilities. He was no ordinary sentient creature. So, I waited.
The air grew nervous, but for only a few more moments, , as the man eventually lowered his weapon. Then, to my surprise, the man spoke English! His accent was indescribable, but his words were clear. I was dumbfounded. Pathfinder being a celestial and speaking English made sense. He was a supreme cosmic being over all in the universe. But this man was not. Thus, as his voice told me to turn around, I did. Looking at him some more, I noticed his pale skin and hair contrasting his fiery eyes. He was tall and built but looked sickly, as if he had been battling illness for a while. Next, he asked me my name. I replied with Noble. The man then addressed me by my name, and told me to leave. I replied I could not do that. He paused for a second, most likely contemplating whether he should kill me and be done with the trouble, or hear me out. Thankfully, he chose the latter, and indulged me by asking why. I took the opportunity to explain.
I told the man all about where I am from, what happened to me with getting separated from Shuttershock during a battle with the Worm Witch Fata Dracaena, surviving for over 7 months on alien planets by traveling between portals, before eventually finding the S.S. Prism and regrouping, and then meeting Pathfinder and being led to his world, so I can use the portal to return to my home planet. The man simply stared at me in response. No emotion or expression was on his face. I began contemplating how absurd my story sounded, and how he must have thought me to be a loon. He did not, though, for he replied that he could point me in the right direction, but could not help me get there. I was utterly relieved he could help me find it, but I was also unnerved at the fact my chances of getting there could be slim. If there were other beings like him out there, ones possibly more healthy and less righteous, I did not know if I could survive. Thus, I decided to try and convince him to aid me.
I inquired if he knew about the portal, and was able to accept such a seemingly absurd story from a stranger of another species, why he could not take me to the portal himself? I said it was clear he was physically capable, seeing how he moved so fast, and wielded a sword with such proficiency. The man was quiet as he sat back in his chair, before replying he simply couldn’t help me. I knew then the man harbored something inside that was deeper than a desire to not want to leave his home, or having a prior obligation. I also knew he was a man of conviction and upstanding character as well. He could have tried to kill me, or he could have lied about knowing where the portal is, but he didn’t. So, I moved to appeal to his sense of reason and understanding.
I informed him how my home world was at risk of annihilation. I told the man how Earth faced an impending doom, and if balance was not restored by defeating the known evils that plagued my planet, while preparing for any unknown evils around the corner, all of my kind would be finished. I said that was why it was so important I needed his help to get home. It was these words that struck a chord with the man.
As he stared into the fire, I could see the wheels in his head turning. The man empathized with my dilemma. I told him of this, and he looked at me sharply, before changing his expression into one of sorrow. Then, he stared into the flames. I was making no headway. Alas, instead of pressing the issue, I inquired if I could stay with him for thenight, at least to rest, and continue on my way in the morning. The man agreed, pointing me to one of the side rooms. So, I took my bag, and went to the bedroom, where I laid down on the bed and thought about the day to come.
Luckily for me, the nights on this planet are very long, so I was able to get lots of sleep in before sunrise. When morning was upon us. I gathered my things and exited the room. The man was sitting in the chair still. However, next to him was another chair. He wanted me to join him, so I did, and as I sat next to the man, I could tell a long night of contemplation made him willing to share what was on his mind.
The man began by telling me his name is Astor Rathegalia of the royal Rathegalia bloodline. His family had ruled their planet of Friki for centuries, after bringing peace between the two main species on the planet, what us humans know as vampires and werewolves. Astor further explained that he knew of my kind and my homeworld, because before the Rathegalia reign, vampires and werewolves would use the portal to Earth to feed on humans. Vampires would even bring humans back to Friki, to breed and harvest them like livestock. That was when it became a part of a vampire’s education to understand as much about humans as possible, including their home planet, cultures and languages; a tradition that is still alive today. However, Astor’s ancestor, who became the first king, discovered a substance native to Friki called aima. It is a water-like substance, produced beneath the planet’s surface, that once ingested, acts like blood does in providing sustenance for vampires. It is always replenished, as with each rainfall, the water that seeps into the ground is enriched with the substance of aima, and then can be harvested. Thus, Astor’s ancestor declared the need for human blood void, and outlawed the usage of the portal. Werewolves had more than enough game to hunt on Friki, so they agreed, and the portal was blocked off. All was well, and everyone lived in harmony. That was, until evil arose again.
Many generations later, a vicious vampire warlord quickly rose to power. He was everything the Rathegalias and new society was not. He did not believe in peace amongst the species. He did not believe any of the empires in existence should be equal to that which he hailed from, and he did not believe that the Rathegalias were fit to rule. So, he amassed an army of vampire warriors, and began attacking werewolves. Before long, his army grew to such size and power that he completely pushed werewolves from the empire into hiding, despite the Rathegalias and their loyal followers having joined forces with the werewolves. They were simply outmatched. The overwhelming sentiment of fear the evil warlord placed in the hearts of the common vampire, that werewolves would rise and kill them all, was stronger than reason. The belief the evil warlord placed in their minds, that the Rathegalia family was not fit to rule, because they were not for the vampire people, riddled the brains of the masses as well. Thus, once the werewolves were gone, they next turned on Astor’s family. Finally, all of the Rathegalias were killed, with the exception of two. One was left to be imprisoned forever as a trophy for the warlord to keep, and the other was exiled to a land barren of all aima, to never return. It was the ultimate act of disrespect and disgrace on a once royal family name. Then, the man went silent and ceased his story.
In that moment, I realized the Rathegalia exiled was Astor. I offered my condolences, for witnessing the slaughter of your family and having your birthright torn from you by an evil warlord, and the very people who your ancestors and family sought to make a better world for, had to be excruciatingly painful. This much Astor admitted. It was also why he said he could not help me reach the portal, for it is located inside the Rathegalia Castle, which now was under the control of the evil warlord. Astor’s ancestors had built their castle fortress around the portal, which was located on a mountainside path, to keep anyone from using it again. It also protected any humans who happened to use the portal from Earth, for once they arrived on Friki, the knowledge of the portal and their journey through it was erased by higher vampires with telepathic abilities. The humans were then sent back home, unharmed. In the past, before aima was discovered and the Rathegalias were in power, when humans wandered through the portal, they never returned. Nevertheless, the portal was inaccessible.
At first, hearing Astor explain things made me lose hope in returning home. However, I remembered everything I had been through already, and I refused to quit. I expressed this to Astor, and he looked at me, confused. He said I must not have understood that it was a suicide mission to try and use the portal. I retorted that I had braved hundreds of suicide missions since being lost at space, and I wasn’t going to let one more prevent me from returning to Earth. Then, I urged Astor to come with me. I promised in return for his aid to getting to the portal, I would help him defeat the evil warlord, and reclaim his throne. Astor laughed at my words.
When he saw I was not laughing, his chuckling stopped. He then said I was insane to think a withering vampire, and a human with admittedly considerable special powers, could defeat an army of vampire warriors who indulge in aima to their hearts’ content. He also said he vowed long ago to never kill again. When he was first banished to the forest near the swamplands, he killed animals and drank their blood, in a furious attempt to maintain his strength. Soon, he had slaughtered almost all the beasts in the area. Those he did not slay fled to save their lives, and never returned. He realized at that moment he became no better than the evil warlord, by becoming a killing machine, driven with the lust to gain and maintain power. So, Astor resided to slowly allowing himself to die, after coming across the house and claiming it for his own.
Hearing the defeat in Astor’s voice, I knew all too well what he was going through. I had been in the same place mentally numerous times while lost at space, and I told him so. I expressed my understanding for wanting to give up, and thinking death was the only way to overcome the pain and sorrow. I said I knew what it was like, feeling like a bloodthirsty savage, responsible for so much death. I told him I sympathize with the tragedy of losing his family, and relayed my empathy for all his world had been through at the hands of the evil warlord. However, the fact was the fight was not over, and I told Astor that with conviction. I spoke to him about how if my desire to perish had came to pass any of those times I was lost on alien planets, that my home would perish as well. I said I had to keep pushing, and I refused to stop as long as I had life in my body, for the billions of people on my home planet depended on me. I expressed to Astor that he faced the exact same situation, and as men of conviction, we both have a responsibility to do all we can to make things right in our worlds, regardless of how impossible it seems. Then, there was silence again.
Astor looked at me, glanced at the ground for a second, and then stared at the fire once more. I searched for more words to say to try and get him to believe me, but decided to stay quiet instead. He was not the type to be swayed by more talking than necessary. In fact, I could tell too much talking would push him further away. I said everything I could, and I spoke my truth from the heart, so I remained silent. And that was the right move, for after a few more moments, Astor turned to me and spoke. He said he understood my words, and felt my passion. He also said I was suicidal for saying he would take on the evil warlord and his troops.
However, Astor also told me that he could not let a righteous man and kindred spirit like myself go alone to face death, when he had the ability to help. He declared he would work to get me to the portal, and if he met his own death, then so be it. Astor told me he would at least die knowing he did what he could to help me save my home world, even if he failed to save his own. I thanked Astor, and with that, we planned to begin our journey the next day, after preparations were made.