October 26, 2016
299. RENARD BETROIS
Vrykolakas, Planet Friki (Core Reality); Late 16th century
Higher vampire; humanoid; male
Power Rating: 1 – 100
POWERS, ABILITIES, WEAPONS & TOOLS
Renard possesses slightly advanced strength, speed, agility, endurance and durability.
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.
Year 11, Day 328
Geaustier took Astor and I through the back alleys of Old Vrykolakas, avoiding anywhere soldiers were stationed. This saw us taking the long way to our destination, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Ducking behind buildings when we needed to, we maneuvered as discretely as possible, without looking conspicuous. A byproduct of this was, I got to see much of Old Vrykolakas. It was a quaint area, with lots of interesting shops and places. The vampire culture was very similar to that of humans. They enjoyed things of all natures and varieties, from the innocent to the vulgar, from the enlightening to the self-indulgent. Alas, even though vampires differed from humans in many ways, there were also many similarities.
Eventually, Geaustier led us to our destination. I was told it was a sanitation business. I immediately said I was not drudging through the sewers and getting covered in feces to reach the castle. Astor told me to relax, and then pointed to the sign on the door. It read “Renard Betrois Sanitation Services” in an ancient vampire script. It was the first time I had seen any writing outside of the names on the tombs, and the first time I encountered any aspect of language that was not English.
WEIGHT: 209 lbs.
HAIR: Black and gray
Astor told me that over the 4,000 years it took for Belmont Rathegalia to locate the ancient hidden aima well, he grew very fond of the English language in the centuries just before the portals were no longer used. For some reason, he was drawn to it. So, one thing Belmont did was make English a second language to be studied by all vampires in their house and associated with it. This made sense, for most of the humans they were breeding and farming at that time came from English speaking areas. Soon, the English language became a trait associated with the Rathegalia House, and when Belmont was appointed king, almost all other vampires wanted to become fluent in reading and writing the language, as well as to adopt the ways of the royal family. Thus, English spread out across Friki, which is why Astor and Geaustier are able to speak it, why the werewolves speak it, and why it was written on the gravestones at Vampire Hollow. However, just as there were purists who opposed using the portals and drinking human blood, there were purists who preferred the ancient vampire language as opposed to English. Renard was one of them.
Geaustier went in first to greet his brother and warm him up, as Renard was a crotchety fellow, who preferred to live and operate solo, away from all others. He only interacted with people when absolutely necessary. He was this way while in the Rathegalia army according to Astor and Geaustier, and became even more so, after they were defeated and made to live in Old Vrykolakas. As such, there existed a chance Renard would not help us on our endeavor, and we would have to find another way to get to Castle Rathegalia. I prayed Renard would agree, though, for we had very few options.
After a few moments, Astor and I could see Geaustier and Renard arguing inside Renard’s shop. The brother was not taking to Geaustier’s words so well. It was apparent he did not want to help. Understandably so, the mission was a dangerous one. If he were caught helping Astor and I, it would mean certain death. And I know humans have always said, one of the plights of being able to live forever is that you eventually get bored with life, but I always thought the contrary. I believe that the longer you live and the more you experience, the more you want to cling to life, as living and existing in the world is all you know. Would it be harder to switch to a new profession or way of life if you had been doing it for 20 years or 200 years? Thus why I believed being able to live forever would cause one to seek to preserve their life even more, because at the end of the day, the unknown after death still haunts those who can live forever if not killed. And that very thought of the unknown after death was riddling Renard’s mind at that moment.
Astor began getting restless, as the longer we stood outside, the more chance we had of being discovered by the evil warlord’s men. We had already received a few weird looks from passing vampires, and it was only a matter of time before soldiers came over, asking us why we were just standing outside of a sanitation shop, looking suspect. Geaustier could not convince Renard to help us. Then, at the moment when Renard made eye contact with Astor and me, he waved his hands in a motion, as if he were shooing a cat away. This was followed by Renard yelling how the Rathegalia blood power was a myth, if anything, and if it wasn’t, it had been eliminated when the Rathegalia bloodline was exterminated. His words did not sit well with Astor at all.
The prince looked around to ensure the coast was clear, and he immediately transformed into mist, and rushed into the shop. While doing so, he slammed shut all the shutters on the windows to block visibility inside, so I ran in the door after him, and locked it. Then, Astor extinguished all the lamps except for a few, creating a dimly lit room. Next, he emerged from blending in with the darkness, and used his shadow to grab Renard by the neck and lift him in the air. Renard looked terrified and dumbfounded at the same time. He could not believe what he was witnessing, and was horrified it meant his death, for Renard apparently was not as loyal to the Rathegalias as Geaustier was.
We overheard Geaustier mention that Renard disposed of sanitation for the evil warlord by removing it from the castle in exchange for money. Astor questioned how Renard could work for the vampire who killed his family and caused so much death and chaos across Friki. Renard had no answers, stuttering and mumbling in fear. Astor then told Renard that he would get us into the castle, and the display of the Rathegalia blood power should be incentive enough. Renard agreed, and Astor let him go.
My heart was pounding the entire time. The last thing we needed was for Renard to scream and have dozens of soldiers running into the shop. However, his shock overruled his fear. Renard also grew remorseful. As he rubbed his neck, he told Astor he was sorry for abandoning faith in him and his family, but he was sure the prince was dead. However, now that he saw Astor was alive and he possessed the Rathegalia blood power, he said there was no question where his loyalty lied. Renard had sworn to Astor’s family before that he would serve them until the day he died, and on that night, Geaustier’s brother decided to keep his promise.
After Renard gathered himself, we all sat down in a back room of his shop. He told Astor and me that on the next night, he was scheduled to take some empty barrels to the castle dungeons to be dropped off. From there, he would load his cart with the barrels filled with waste, and take them for disposal. His plan was for us to hide in a couple of barrels, and when we arrived at the castle dungeons, he could carry us inside and place us with the empty barrels, before loading the filled ones to take away. The guards would never know the difference, and once inside, we could break out of the barrels, and make our way to the portal. It sounded like a solid enough plan, but my only reservation was about Renard himself. I still was not certain he would not turn us in the first chance he had. When I expressed my concerns, Geaustier gave us his word that his brother would not betray us. Astor had shown he trusted Geaustier with his life, so I trusted in him as well. Finally, we completed the plans that night, and waited until the next to depart…