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I, Von Roo


by nintyplayer

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Thelonius made his way down the old, unkempt path to Castle Von Roo. He carried with him a lantern, for night had taken the sky, and nothing else but an empty satchel. The young Kiko moved without fear toward the castle; for he knew that he was safe. The Aishas that pointed him in the direction had sold him a potion of protection against the vampire's bite for the small fee of about 100,000 neopoints. Anyone familiar with the vampire curse might pay millions for a working potion; besides that, the count hadn't appeared in public for years, so Thelonius guessed that he may be in hibernation.

      The purpose of the Kiko's visit was one of personal intrigue. Local legends had called Von Roo a monster, an unstoppable force of purest evil; but in the last twenty years or so, no one had seen him at all. Questions of his existence – or, at least, the status of his health – came into play. Thelonius saw this as the perfect time to enter the castle and uncover whatever secrets that may have been hidden behind its walls.

      Upon reaching the end of the path, Thelonius found himself faced with a large gate made of tall and rusted metal bars, possibly iron. Beside the entry point on the gate where the road ended, there was an old wooden signpost with letters faded over time. Barely able to make out what it said, Thelonius deduced it as:

      CASTLE VON ROO

      Therein lies the dark Count;

      Enter at your own risk

      A warning sign? Thelonius thought. There is no need. Everyone knows what is here. Despite the size and rust of the gate, it opened easily. Apparently, for some odd reason, it had not been locked.

      The building that Thelonius saw before him was a ruined stone mansion of a very old style. He admitted to himself that it did intimidate him, but only slightly so. Strange vines grew along the the castle walls, but the colossal stone doors were untouched and, upon closer inspection, slightly ajar. Someone or something had opened it, but it was not the Kiko, at least to his own recollection. He did find it very unlikely that it had been opened after his arrival, so he blamed it on bad housekeeping. Thusly, Thelonius made his way inside of the ruined mansion.

      The interior of Castle Von Roo might have once been vibrant, and it was baroque in style, but the furniture had been covered with white sheets to block the thick layers of dust that covered most of the building. Walking inside, the Kiko found himself in a large open room with a doorway to both his left and his right. Ahead of him, there were two staircases to the second floor, and between them a large doorway which probably lead into the basement of the place. Thelonius lead himself up the staircase to the right; the basement did not interest him, nor did the first floor.

      After some searching around, Thelonius found a point of extreme interest: the Count's personal study. What works laid in there might have held the answers to all of his questions. One lone tome was laid out on a desk without a sheet covering; interested, the Kiko went to it. The book was a thick, handwritten piece with extremely fancy handwriting covering each page. Could it be? Thelonius thought to himself, flipping it to the first page. A personal diary of the Count? Thusly, he began to read from the first paragraph.

      1 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I, Von Roo, formerly a citizen of the Haunted Woods, have found a new home on a nearly uninhabited island near Neopia Central, and have decided also to begin a new diary. Should it prove to be a reliable source of inspiration, I may continue to make entries in it for a long, long time. In any case, the home I've found is a great stone mansion of the newest style which the previous owner is selling for just under one million. I suppose he's in a hurry to sell, but I don't understand why. To me, it seems that the mansion is perfect.

      It is two stories, plus a basement, with three bathrooms and four bedrooms as well as one half-bath. The yard is not unimpressive, with plenty of room for a garden, or whatever I wish to do with it. My servants – a Usul named Mindy and a Shoyru named Jeb – will have moved me into the mansion by next week. My magical tomes will look great in that library, as well. My next entry shall be next week.

      8 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I, Von Roo, am making my second entry in this diary. Now I have made my way into the mansion, and it has been a week since my previous entry. It is a wonderful place; I am very happy with my purchase. The owner was on old Tonu, and before purchasing the house from him I was once again given a tour. I knew for certain that I would but it. The only place we did not go is the basement, where according to the Tonu there is a small infestation of Korbat-like creatures. I will take care of that tomorrow.

      I must admit that I will miss the Woods. Before I left, I gave that old puzzle fiend a great riddle. I wonder if he's finished it yet! Not likely; I didn't intend for there to be any solution. Also on my mind is the old carnival. I assume everything's still running properly; there were no problems last I saw it.

      I believe that I'll look into the basement tonight. Perhaps I'll find something interesting.

      9 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      Jeb took a lantern and lead me into the basement. The door lead to a balcony overlooking the entirety o the basement, which was also connected to a spiral staircase. There was not much in there besides cobwebs and candle holders. A desk covered with various old papers was set off to a side, as was a large stone box. Jeb and I attempted to remove the lid, but it was a fruitless experiment as we were both far too weak to remove it. Honestly, it's probably just useless old junk.

      That Tonu did lie to me, though! No infestation was to be found. I do not blame him; this basement is in terrible condition. That stone box interests me, however. Jeb, Mindy, and myself will go down there tomorrow morning and try again to remove the lid.

      My first dream in the mansion, sadly, did not treat me well. I, Von Roo, was subject to many strange and disturbing nightmares involving spirits, plagues, and fire. Hopefully I can sleep better tonight. My room, after all, has been made very comfortable. Perhaps I just miss my old home in the Woods.

      10 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I, Von Roo, lead Jeb and Mindy down the stairs to the stone box. We were not able to lift it, but did succeed in moving it ever so slightly. I tried to gaze into the small opening we made, but was unable to see anything. I am absolutely certain that something is in there.

      For dinner, we had a feast of various pasta dishes. Mindy is a fine cook; I'm truly glad that I brought her with me. Jeb is useful as well; he's begun a garden. I am looking forward to whatever comes from that.

      That Tonu who previously owned the mansion ma know something about the stone box in the basement. I've written to him and Jeb, after instructing Mindy in the art of keeping a garden, went to deliver it to a contact address that the Tonu had left us. I am very excited to see what's been hidden away. My servants, on the other hand, are much less intrigued. They are superstitious folk and don't trust things unknown to them.

      Eliv paid me a visit today. He doesn't look so well. After we had tea, he presented a possible solution to the puzzle that I gave him. I truthfully told him that he was wrong. Perhaps he'll show up from time to time, but perhaps not. He left shortly afterwards.

      10 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I, Von Roo, am writing a second entry today, for I could not bear the secret any longer. Jeb was gone and Mindy was asleep, so I went alone into that old basement with a lantern and a metal rod in hand. Squatting by the stone box, I set my lantern down on the table and forced the metal rod into the small opening. It was difficult, I admit, without either of my servants to aid me, but in a sudden rush, I, Von Roo, brought out all of my strength and, using the metal bar, lifted the stone lid off of the box. The lid hit the ground with a loud slam, and I fell back, dropping the bar.

      Eager to gaze into the box, I collected myself quickly and retrieved the lantern from the table. Drawin in a breath, keeping myself calm, I went to the box and looked down into it.

      "Master Von Roo?" It was Mindy; she broke my concentration. "I awoke to a loud noise. Is something—" her eyes grew wide. She was looking past me. "Dear Fyora, what is that!?"

      I turned away from her to look where she was staring. Before I had the chance to see anything, my lantern light went out, shrouding the room in darkness. I heard a scream of horror from Mindy, and then complete silence. I felt something grab my hand in the dark, and I, Von Roo, fainted.

      **********

      11 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      Wake up, Count Von Roo. The voice was dry, but soothing.

      "Who is out there?" I, Von Roo, called out. I got onto my feet; my tail was injured. Alas, my legs were, too, and I fell. I felt weak, drained of energy. There was no light.

      I am not your enemy, but you are dying, Von Roo.

      "What have you done to me? Mindy! Where is Mindy?!" I brought myself up to my feet again, resting on the stone box. My hand went in; I felt it touch the metal pole. I took it in my hand went on to stand without support, holding the bar ready for attack.

      Put down that bar, Von Roo. I can save you. Would you attack your savior? I obeyed. This will hurt only for a bit. I felt a pinch on my neck, but did not struggle. For a while I was in pain, but it did stop. Once again, I fainted. When I awoke, the Sun had come up and shone through a small basement window which proved to be the only source of light. The basement floor, now clear to me, revealed Mindy, apparently unconscious, and also a strange blue-ish Chia who was standing near her.

      "Mindy!" I cried out, without response.

      "It is of no use, Von Roo," the Chia said. "She had departed from this world."

      "You," I yelled at him, "What have you done!?" I felt suddenly full of energy and anger. I, Von Roo, leapt up and jumped at the Chia, ready to fight. As I passed through the stream of light, I felt a great pain, and fell to the ground. He helped me, quickly, out of the light; I was panting and in extreme pain.

      "My name is Hubrid Nox," he said, "And what I have done is saved your life. Rather, your un-life."

      "What do you mean, you beast?" I demanded.

      "You released me from my prison. For that I am eternally grateful; but I needed to feed."

      "Feed?"

      "I am a powerful necromancer, Von Roo. My natural life has ended, and so I must drain life energy from others. Through my magic, I granted you a new life; of course, I had drained all life from both of you beforehand." I once again looked to Mindy.

      "Monster! What have you done to me?"

      "I have made you into a new being, a vampire. You are living, but also dead! A new form of life; you are undead!"

      I moved forward to attack again, only to find that the light once more greatly injured me. I screamed. This creature had warped me, turned me into something of a monster; and what of Mindy?

      "Hubrid Nox, what of Mindy? My servant – is she drained as well?"

      "This poor creature is lost. Dispose of her, placing her in my stone coffin." Nox stood, either oblivious or uncaring in regards to my loss. He turned to face the stairs. "You will be immortal. You will never feel pain, and you will never die; but you must feed."

      "Again with the feeding? On what must I feed?" Hubrid Nox looked to me, then pointed at Mindy.

      "Them." He walked away, ignoring further questions.

      12 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I have done an evil thing, and have hidden Mindy in the stone coffin. Surprisingly, I was able to lift hear easily. Since yesterday, I feel stronger, faster, and smarter – but I hunger greatly. I feel absolutely drained of life during the day, and have developed sharp fangs in my mouth where average teeth once were.

      What have I done?

      13 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      The following document was placed on this page:

      "Dear Von Roo,

      Ah, yes, I remember you well. After all, you purchased my home! It is a fine place; I hope you are enjoying it. The ground there is quite fertile, so your garden will surely grow well. That is one thing, though, that I never had any talent for, so best of luck to you.

      As for your questions on the basement, I am sorry I did not explain before. I had, at one time, been a great warrior, and did have many adventures. One of those adventures was particularly dangerous: when I met Hubrid Nox. Nox was a powerful dark wizard, a necromancer, who commanded legions of undead. I was a warrior in the fight against evil, and after months of fighting I bested Nox and cast a spell, imprisoning him in a stone coffin. I was sure no one could remove the lid and, as I could no longer lift it myself, I left it there in the basement.

      Nox is incredibly dangerous. Some evils should never be released. For Fyora's sake, don't open that box!

      - Argon Tonu Jr."

      Jeb returned this morning. I, Von Roo, had to lie to him and tell him that Mindy was on vacation. He helped me to bury the box in the back yard.

      The hunger is unimaginable. Feeling faint. Must rest.

      16 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I have consulted my magical tomes and discovered old legends surrounding the vampire, which I, Von Roo, according to the word of Hubrid Nox, have become. The vampire can be destroyed in the following ways:

      - Beheading

      - Light exposure

      - Piercing the heart

      And also one may be weakened by being exposed to garlic for a long period of time. Furthermore, I have learned that I am not truly a vampire – yet. I am half; in order to become a true vampire, I must take a life.

      I am starving. Today I had to truly force myself not to attack Jeb. He is worried about my health. I told him to cease his worrying. I have not eaten since I encountered Hubrid Nox. The Sun is rising; I must sleep.

      17 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I am so hungry. Surely this will be my last entry, as I have grown too weak to write any longer. Thoughts of destroying Jeb fill my mind. I am truly unworthy of his pity and his servitude. He, at least, will be safe.

      Nox's voice booms through my head at night, when I am awake. I try my best not to give in. He urges me to attack my servant. No! I can't give in! Even now, his voice haunts me. Curse this wretched body, and curse that stone coffin wherein my servant Mindy now lies. Hubrid Nox, you monster, leave me alone!!

      No.

      Please?

      You are now my servant, as Mindy was yours.

      I am not. I control my urges. I am not like you.

      You will be like me soon enough. When you are reborn, you will be free.

      Leave me alone!

      18 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      I have slain Jeb. My friend, servant, and comrade has fallen by my hand, and yet I am not upset, and feel no remorse. On the contrary, I feel absolutely great. My strength has increased, and the horrible, painful hunger haunts me no more.

      I was weak last night, and fainted with the diary in my hand, opened. Jeb retrieved it, and read it to himself. He knew then that Nox had slain Mindy, and was himself filled with anger. Jeb attempted to them take my life – or unlife – using a sword that had previously served only as decoration. I awoke to find steel in my heart. That fool! He read only that the heart must be pierced, but I knew from my studies that the weapon must be a wooden stake!

      I attacked; he was weaker, physically, than myself. Jeb struggled against me, but I granted him no mercy. Using my fangs, as if by instinct, I drained the life from my old friend. It was over in an instant.

      I, Von Roo, have changed. Now I have become an all-powerful vampire.

      25 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      A week has passed since I last ate, and I am again growing hungry. How can I feed, though? I have no more servants, and none have wronged me. Would I, then, devour innocents? How would I do so? This is all very troubling.

      Go to the Woods from whence you came.

      Why? No one I hold and qualms with is there.

      That old Tonu is.

      I have no issue with him, only you do. Leave me alone!

      I made you immortal, Von Roo.

      You have made me into a monster! But alas, if I should do this, would you set me free from your influence?

      Yes.

      Then it will be done.

      27 Month of Gathering, 152BN

      That old Tonu was weak. Fragile, even. I, Count Von Roo, had no trouble with him. He was once a great warrior. Are all Neopians so weak? I find it hard to understand.

      Nox has left me in peace, but I am not lonely. I have books to keep me company. They will surely last me years. I need eat only once a week, so I am fine. I no longer have an issue with taking innocents. This is simply how the food chain works. Weak gives way to the strong, and only the strong will continue to exist. One day, we will progress to a point where vampires will rule over all of Neopia.

      When that day comes, I will be there. I will follow, nay, lead my vampire brothers and sisters into a new age. Those who stand before us will be crushed. We are the natural choice for the dominant species. I, Von Roo, will lead them forward. I, Count Von Roo, will continue what has been set in motion.

      **********

      Thelonius closed the dusty book and stepped back. Only the first of many diaries, he was sure, but he wasn't about to press his luck. He looked out the window; still night. This was time to leave. Thelonius exited the room, and made his way down the stairs.

      A thought then came to Thelonius's mind. Year 1 had just begun, and the term "BN" had just come into being. The dates must have been retrofitted. Von Roo must be alive! There was no other explanation!

      "Leaving so soon?" At the top of the stairs stood Count Von Roo, who had not eaten in approximately one week. "Please stay! I've not had dinner yet – perhaps you'll join me!"

      Thelonius screamed and ran from the mansion. Count Von Roo walked down the staircase. "Foolish Kiko," he said, "I, Von Roo, cannot be outrun!"

The End

 
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