Vlad’s kingdom of death inhabiting Wallachia was reminiscent of the old barbarian days. This man had been busy for years developing connections within the Ottoman Empire, but his stubbornness and slippery tongue made him a target amongst many of his counterparts. Vlad was a disliked man, but no one could deny his ability to forge allegiances and incite progress.
Vlad was sitting in his throne room, patiently waiting his slaves return from negotiations with King Matthias Corvinus, a person who he really despised. They spied on each other frequently, never building trust, but their uneasy truce worked as long as their means were relatively balanced.
Diabolos entered Vlad’s throne room and was met with a look that could kill.
“Who are you, and what are you doing in my throne room? Speak, before I have you decapitated and added to my collection.” Vlad was an impatient person, very temperamental.
“Just relax a little bit. I have something for you, but you must make all the others leave before I grant it.” Diabolos was obviously unintimidated.
“How about you give me it and I shall decide if my guards should leave?”
“Well, I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.”
Diabolos’s playful manner seemed to confuse Vlad. With his growing ruthless reputation, Vlad had grown used to people routinely fearing him for good reason. He was a sadist and took pleasure watching victims succumb to torture.
“Very well.” Vlad looked to his entourage and commanded, “Leave us.” Vlad turned his back to Meph as a sign of lacking respect. “Now speak, who are you?”
“You may call me by the name Lord Diabolos.”
“I’m sorry, but am I supposed to know what that is?” Vlad still hadn’t turned to Diabolos.
“Hmmm, not as intellectually gifted as many of your predecessors.” Diabolos provoked Vlad while circling around, making Vlad look at him in the eyes. Vlad was unnerved and growing angry, and Diabolos could feel Vlad’s rage building as he stared with unforgiving eyes.
“Speak, demon, before I slice you in two.”
“Demon is appropriate. I have a bargain to make with you.”
Diabolos really enjoyed his position of power. It was just far too much fun, and made up for the long periods of wasted time.
Only people like Vlad could appreciate what Diabolos was about to do for him, and only people like Vlad were interesting enough for Diabolos to even want to visit.
“I’ve watched you,” Diabolos said, but really hadn’t. It sounded convincing enough. All he had to do was listen to the stories of people around the area, and it was explicitly clear they feared Vlad and considered him the embodiment of evil. “I’ve seen you do remarkable things. The impaled bodies on the pointed spears, now that’s just an incredible image. With that alone, you’ll definitely secure your name in the history books. What I’d like to do for you is further extend your ability to strike terror into those around you.”
Diabolos had caught Vlad’s attention and he was easing up on his piercing stare. Even without supernatural abilities, it was hard to not be intimidated by Vlad. Some people just carried that manner naturally. “I’m listening. Continue, demon.”
“Call me Lord Diabolos. You’ll want to reference it later when people ask where you received your power from.”
“I have my own power. I need not that of a demon.”
Diabolos floated in the air and shot fire from his hands in a display to stun Vlad, and he succeeded. Pyrokinesis was always an effective means of persuasion.
“Incredible. You mean to give this to me?” Vlad was no longer combative.
“I’m going to administer the first step to possibly achieving my greatness. It would then be up to you to yield results like this.”
“Please, yes, give me this endowment.” Now Vlad was on the opposite end and willingly offering himself to Diabolos.
With just that minor proof of the Djinn life, Vlad’s perception had completely changed. Just for show, Diabolos created a whole demonic look and feel. He had to make Vlad think he was really Christianity’s Satan. Horns and red skin, Diabolos took on the epitome of a mythological devil, and he bit into Vlad’s skin. Well, not exactly. Diabolos grabbed Vlad by the neck with his teeth and used the psychokinetic ability to simulate biting down. The actual drinking of blood was never necessary for Diabolos to transfer the ability, but it was effective symbolism. There was no way Diabolos would disclose of the mana concept yet.
“The moment you die, I’ll be there waiting to fully change you over. Until then, continue to wreak havoc.”
“That’s it? What is it I can do?”
Diabolos thought to all the old fables. Vampire myths had always been popular, regardless of whether or not there was proof. The generally accepted theme of fiends in the night feeding off the life essence, leaving behind a trail of bodies. It fit too well with Vlad’s persona and Diabolos knew what Vlad would become wasn’t far from those stories.
“Your night vision will increase, and each person you tap into, you’ll become stronger. Drink the life force within the body and you will see like I do soon enough.”
Diabolos couldn’t wait to see how much mayhem this new spectacle was going to bring. He didn’t wait for Vlad to come back to his senses before exiting the throne room. Diabolos heard Vlad call his guards and screams quickly followed.
“Quit moving!” Vlad’s voice called out to his very first victim and Diabolos laughed to himself.
So whenever Vlad went into battle, Diabolos watched and eagerly anticipated his death, only to be disappointed when he continued living. Vlad had mastered the drinking of the blood and seemed to enjoy it. If he only knew it wasn’t necessary for the energy transfer. Honestly, by the way Vlad did things, Diabolos wouldn’t have been surprised if he drank the blood just to drink blood.
Then one day, lying in a pile of human remains, Vlad had been skewered with four swords, yet he still clung to life. Diabolos danced through the field like he was joyful about finally watching Vlad fall. Vlad was a hard one to kill, even before given the extra strength.
“Hello, demon,” Vlad said to Diabolos.
“Hello, my little pin cushion.”
Vlad coughed up blood with a smile across his face. “So, are you here to complete the transformation?”
“I was thinking about it, but what good would that do me?” Diabolos teased.
“You wish to deceive me, is that it? You give a promise and do not uphold your end of the bargain?”
“No, I was just imagining what it would be like if they knew you lived. You may go on for a while, but eventually people will question why you still remain.”
“So I change my lifestyle. I will change my role as long as I can continue to strike fear into people.”
“That’s what I wanted to hear.” Diabolos smiled.
As much fun as it is to watch people scare others, the populace was terrified of entities living unnaturally long. Diabolos witnessed many people in previous power transfers discover this problem the hard way. If a person remains unchanged, society gets nervous. When a person lives for a hundred years and still looks twenty, they get scared. Once the fear is widespread enough, someone fixes it by ending that seemingly immortal person’s life. Diabolos has yet to achieve transferring full immortality to a person. They’ve all died at the hands of the fearful, namely large portions of the Roman Catholic Church, and thanks partly due to Thanatos’s interaction, but that’s a story for another time.
Diabolos leaned down to Vlad and pulled the swords from his chest. Many of his arteries had been severed, but by now, Diabolos’s body had mastered Convalescence and how to transfer this capability. Diabolos touched Vlad with the mana energy and performed the transformation.
It took a while, but Vlad had finally healed to the point that he could continue. “Now Vlad, you must take on a different name. You have just risen from the dead.”
“I shall no longer use the name Vlad and intend to listen to your advice. Thank you, Diabolos. I shall call myself William, perhaps.” The simple token of appreciation that Vlad remembered Diabolos’s name was good enough.
“Willie it is.” Diabolos couldn’t leave Vlad without teasing.
“No Demon! William.”
“Old Dirty Willie it is!” Diabolos laughed.
They shook hands and Diabolos left Vlad to do what he wanted. Vlad wanted to learn from Diabolos, but the best experience is that learned on his own. When Diabolos tutored people, he always felt them leaning on him too much, so when Diabolos left their sides, they felt betrayed. At least Diabolos didn’t feel that need with Vlad.
Only the strong willed last more than one hundred years, and Vlad was one of those people. As Diabolos watched Vlad from beyond the etheric veil of Purgatory during the first few days, concern filled him. The new senses overwhelmed Vlad’s mind, becoming a storm of disorientation. Vlad stumbled like a vagabond through the streets of the towns, kicked over by people riding on horse drawn carriages and muggers tried stealing from him without finding anything. He even managed to get stabbed twice, although it healed relatively quickly and didn’t bleed out.
Diabolos knew it would be a painful experience, but something Vlad needed to go through. Vlad was angry with Diabolos for not helping him through this ordeal, but it made him stronger. A couple days later and the senses untangled and he could feel the power.
“I don’t need you!” he yelled at Diabolos, although Vlad couldn’t see him.
“Good luck,” Diabolos whispered in his ear.
Vlad turned around to find Diabolos, just to see nothing but air. “Where are you? How are you hiding from me?”
Diabolos debated whether or not to speak with Vlad and he decided not to hide anymore. It was more fun talking with Vlad then just watching. “Follow me.”
“Where are you?” Vlad asked.
“Hiding within Purgatory.”
“Why did you allow me to go by myself?”
“To make you stronger,” Diabolos replied. “That should have been obvious.”
“It was disorienting, that’s what it was. If I remember correctly, I was also stabbed a couple of times.”
“I helped you out.” Diabolos was lying. Vlad healed by his own ability. “I pushed your healing along faster than it would have on its own.”
“So what do I do now?” Vlad asked.
“Whatever you’d like. I know you still have a rivalry with King Matthias. Why don’t you go torture him for a while?”
“Yes, I do owe him a couple times over. Especially for that last battle. He really caused some serious damage.”
“Four swords to the chest, yeah, I would say so.” Diabolos laughed.
“Matthias’s going to die when he sees me and that’s before I kill him!” Vlad was exhilarated. “You can follow if you’d like.”
“I planned on it.”