Vladimir Sango looked closely at the collapsed debris. The blocks of rock that were in front of him weren’t really a problem. He had enough power in him to move them. However, he smelled that the track didn’t come from behind the blocked corridor. It came rather from his left side where he saw a big rock lying against the wall. A normal human being alone wouldn’t be able to push or lift it. Without performing much effort, he pushed the stone mass and knew he was right all along.
An opening came free behind the rock he had just pushed aside. A smell of unwashed human flesh rose from the hole. There was a scent in the odor he smelled that he didn’t like, something that made him almost puke. Vladimir squeezed himself through the narrow hole and began crouching down to crawl further through the hole. It seemed to be a short tunnel leading to another corridor. There he could stand up again. The way descended slowly and turned in a spiral to the right. Slowly, as a predator that smelled his prey, he went downwards on the rough stone path.
The walls were dripping wet from the water that flowed in little streams off them. Vladimir looked very attentively where he put his feet. Not that he was afraid to hurt himself, his Old Power would preserve him for that or cure him instantly. He couldn’t forget, however, that he looked as a human being and was also dressed as one. He expected to be outside the caves again later on. It would look weird if his clothes were stained and torn. He couldn’t afford to be seen like that. People would ask questions and he didn’t like persons prying.
After a certain time descending the corridor, it led to a new cave. A cave that stretched out very far and was cut in the middle by a river in which the water flowed in a rapid speed. A normal person should lose his balance very fast in this rough water. His own human shell would be dragged along if he would try to pass it. The track definitely came from the other side. He had to find another solution.
His eyes looked through the dark vaults and he discovered a little plateau at a man’s height on his right side where the river was at his smallest. He also saw another rock which was lying on the same side about a meter from the other riverside. He calculated his chances and discovered it was possible to get intact on the other side. To go back the same way was impossible and he should look into that matter when he withdrew from the area.
Helped by some protrusions in the wall, he climbed effortlessly on the plateau. Vladimir estimated how hard and high he had to jump. The flat surface was about two meters long and so his run-up was very short. His supernatural force brought him after his jump on the rock where for a moment he wobbled, found his balance again and jumped easily to the other side. He looked at his clothing and saw some wet places here and there because of the climbing. That was the least of his problems, it would dry.
Suddenly he had noticed a movement on his right side. The hermit had spotted him. Eligo knew now he was there and Vladimir slowly went in the direction he had seen him. ‘Eligo, n’ai pas peur, don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you. I just want to ask you some questions.’ He listened for a moment and didn’t hear footsteps anymore. Eligo also listened and was standing still. ‘I know Abigor who has given you the eternal life. Maybe I can help you to end your time as a prisoner in these caves. Don’t you want to escape and use your powers that you received from Abigor? Or do you want to stay here and dwell around till the end of times? You could be a king in the human world with the powers Abigor has given you and your kingdom would last for generations and generations. Talk to me, Eligo and answer my questions and I’ll give you what you always have wanted.’
For a time, Vladimir didn’t hear a thing, but he kept smelling the presence of Eligo. The man was thinking. He could easily entrap, him, but then it would be more difficult to get answers. Flies are not caught with vinegar, but with honey. Suddenly he heard the shuffling footsteps again that were approaching now. ‘Thank you, Eligo, I’m promising you, I’ll free you of this eternal prison.’
Out of the dark, a man came closer, dressed in old ragged clothes. He looked hollow-eyed and neglected, but above his cheekbones, there were two flickering eyes wherein he could discover the Evil. He almost couldn’t stand the smell of him. The man probably hadn’t washed in years. In his hand, he had a stone bludgeon, he presumably used as a weapon. It wouldn’t help against Vladimir. His force was older and stronger.
‘Étranger, stranger,’ Eligo’s voice screeched. You could hear he had a hard time speaking. The years of isolation in the deep caves had almost made him forget how he had to speak.
Fortunately, Vladimir knew dozens of languages, his memories contained so many lives in so many parts of the worlds that he could make himself easily understandable in French. ‘Votre souffrance est enfin presque finie, your suffering has almost ended. In exchange for some answers, I’ll end your stay in this prison. We serve the same lords, Eligo. You should be able to see that in my eyes.’
The man in front of Vladimir looked at him. The glance in his eyes seemed prying, but Vladimir looked back fearless. He felt the examining look scanning him and allowed it.
‘Vous êtes du Diable aussi, you are also from the Devil.’ It wasn’t a question but a statement. The man nodded and put down his weapon. Obviously, he was convinced Vladimir wasn’t a danger.
‘My dear Eligo, I have a problem and I think you can help me. My gratitude will be important and I will save you from an eternal wandering here in these caves. I guess that wasn’t meant to be like that when you gave your soul to Abigor.’ Vladimir knew to say the right words. He wouldn’t use the term selling because that would sound negative. After all, he knew that a good end to this quest depended on using the right words.
‘I want to know the finding place of a rare artifact. With this artifact, I also can make my dream true. Becoming rich, live forever. Isn’t it true, Eligo, it’s a dream every man hopes to become true.’ He knew Eligo or any other person would recognize a soul mate. Even as it was a black soul, filled with Evil. ‘Can you help me? Have you received the ability to foresee from Abigor, can you look into the time?’
‘Je le peux, I can!’ Eligo’s voice sounded a little less husky. ‘But only when you can deliver what you promise. I’m slowly becoming tired being locked in here.’
Vladimir nodded. ‘I’ll do what I’ve promised and even more. You’ll enjoy together with me of my power and my possibilities. My right hand, doesn’t that appeal to you?
‘Eligo saw the Evil in the eyes of Vladimir and he decided he possessed great powers and would have even more if he helped him. Soulmates recognized each other and had to help each other to be even more powerful and to rule the world.
Without speaking further, Vladimir saw Eligo’s eyes turning upwards until you only could see the white of his eyeball. ‘Creatures of the Night will pass beyond the death into the Underworld.’ Eligo’s voice sounded different, deeper and older. The voice of a divine messenger or maybe Abigor himself? Vladimir couldn’t care if he just received the right answers. ‘They will travel upon the Styx and pay Charon. Traveling to the center of the rivers of the Underworld, where the answer on your question is waiting.’
‘How can I enter the Underworld and come back again, Eligo?’
He knew there had to be a possibility. If the enemy could do this, there had to be at least one method to do this.
‘Your soul only can travel on this of a freshly died soul. Remember where you enter the Underworld, it will also be the exit. First of all, drink your own blood and afterward that of the recently passed away soul and you will enter the Underworld.’
‘Thank you, Eligo, for your words and your help. I’ll give now everything you’ve asked. See your own future and you’ll know that I’ve told the truth.’ Vladimir couldn’t hide the grin on his face.
The eyes of Eligo turned again and pulled open in fear. He indeed had seen it. Vladimir was before him in one great jump and he separated with one blow of his right hand Eligo’s head from his body. Like he had promised, his right hand had been for Eligo and he had ended his life of eternal wandering in the caves.
Vladimir bit his wrist and licked the blood that flew out of his veins. Without waiting, he took the cutoff head and tasted in high expectation Eligo’s blood. It hardly took some seconds. He heard his own blood rustle in his ears and felt suddenly dizzy. When the mist came before his eyes, he knew he was on his way to the cavern of the Underworld.
Mercedes had introduced her friend Marcel Thibodaux to Diana and Julius. From the first moment, Julius hadn’t liked him. Naturally, he wasn’t a real fan of the werewolf people, but Marcel had something, he couldn’t point out. Something he didn’t like. The moment he saw Diana could get along better with him than with Mercedes, he felt jealous. The man was broad-shouldered and with his beard he looked more like a Viking, although his hair had to be a shade lighter. The auburn hairy giant fitted more with Mercedes than with Diana, he thought. Although he knew they needed him and, therefore, he folded his disapproval into a submissive admission to the necessity of the case.
‘May I ask, Mercedes, how this transition to the Underworld will happen? It’s no use going there if we can’t come back. I know I’m repeating myself, but that’s what’s it's all about, isn’t it?’ Julius wanted revenge and that’s why he had to come back.
‘I’ve taken care of some things along the way. My thanks go to some friendly doctors. Fortunately, we have some allies there. The case is that we need the blood of deceased people to do the trick. You, nightwalker, you need the blood from… well, let’s not forget what we are. You need the blood of your offspring from the first generation, those who haven’t drunk yet. Can you obtain that sort of blood?’ She looked at Julius for an answer on her question she had carefully asked.
‘No problem both Diana as myself have two new family members who haven’t drunk yet.’ Julius called with his mobile and ordered to bring him two vials with the blood of the specific nightwalkers. ‘So, it’s done. Is the procedure the same for both of you too? Are witches and werewolves the same when it’s about the blood?’
Mercedes looked a moment aside to Marcel Thibodaux. ‘Blood has his own life and characteristics. Spells can’t go around that. Marcel and I have some genes in common. That’s why I visited a friendly doctor who specializes in such a specific research. In fact, he’s researching the family ties between the real wolf, the ‘Canis Lupus’ and our kind. Both Marcel and I have helped this doctor giving blood to do this analysis. His favor in return, the real blood of a wolf, is at this moment our key to enter the Underworld.’
‘But what’s the procedure. It’s not that by drinking that blood, blood of a nightwalker or blood of a wolf, we’ll be able to enter the Underworld, won’t it?’ Diana was convinced if it would work. She hadn’t much faith in Mercedes, even so she was convinced of her powers.
‘No, it’s not that simple. First of all, you have to be isolated in a place where a protection spell has been cast. Just like this room as I have proposed. The body, the shell will be left behind in this world and in that condition, it’s very fragile. You have to avoid that anyone hurts or destroys this lifeless object where you have to return into. Secondly, you drink the blood of your offspring, we the one of our ancestors. As the last step, you drink the poison I’ll give you.’
‘What, poison! Are you crazy? I don’t want to commit suicide.’ Diana had shouted out again. She took every opportunity to criticize propositions of her female opposite. ‘What certainty do you give that you don’t want to poison us really so that we don’t open again our eyes forever?’
Mercedes sighed. ‘Okay, Diana, what do you want? Or we do it this way or you just wait until your enemy finishes the race of the nightwalkers and destroys everything on earth that passes his way. The choice is yours!’
Diana looked bad-tempered. She hadn’t a choice and she knew it. ‘We’ll do it your way, but I want to go after you and if I see you’re not dead and the two other companions are… I assure you that the wolf thing will not save you.’
‘No problem, Diana. But don’t wait too long. The longer you wait, the further you‘ll arrive from the place we will be. We have to stick together, even after the ritual when we are in the Underworld. It’s from the greatest importance that we come back in our bodies before the circle evaporates. Otherwise…’ Everyone understood there would be no future if that would be happening. ‘How long?’ Marcel asked. ‘How much time do we have before we have to come back?’
‘Some sources say a week, other’s speak of a few days, but let me ask you the question if this really plays a role. If we don’t know where the box is situated, it’s over and we don’t have a reason to come back to his earthly existence.’
The group was startled out of their concentration when they heard a knock on the door of the room where they kept their meeting. It turned out to be the two vials blood for Diana and Julius. After delivering these items, the messenger left the space again.
Mercedes took two other little vials out of her inside pocket. ‘Here I’ve got the wolf blood for Marcel and myself. As you see there are four beds here, the way I asked. Let’s take place and begin the ritual. I’ll let you know what you have to do.’
Each of them took place on a bed while Mercedes drew a circle around the beds. First with salt, then with another powder that colored yellow and touching the salt made a burning stripe upon the floor that practically extinguished immediately. While she did this, Mercedes mumbled strange words. Spells that originated from ancient times, old and well-tried the words floated inside their ears and hearing the mantra of those words all three became quiet.
‘Now drink your own blood.’ The two nightwalker bit their wrist and drunk their own blood. Both Mercedes and Marcel cut their hands with a knife and did the same with their blood.
‘Now it’s time for the blood of our family.’ Mercedes gave a vial to Marcel and Diana and Julius emptied their vials that were delivered to them.
Around them, the circle began to smoke. The process had started.
‘Now the last ingredient. Out of the same pocket, she fetched a green bottle and opened it. She first gave it to Marcel, who after a first hesitating moment nipped from it. Instantly he became dizzy and he heard his heartbeat slow down. He heard the beat hammering in his ears, slower and slower and he laid down on the bed. Slowly his eyes closed and he didn’t breath anymore.
Diana and Julius had noticed with amazement the quick working of the poison. Mercedes offered the green vial now to Julius. He looked at Diana for a moment and made a toasting gesture to his female friend before he took a gulp. The stuff worked equally fast with him. Mercedes nodded at Diana. ‘Alright, I’ll take a swallow first and will pass it to you quickly before I leave this world. Control my body if you want to see if I’m telling the truth, Diana, but don’t wait too long.’ Then she took the poison.
Before she could fall down backward on the bed, Diana had the vial in her hands. When Mercedes didn’t breath anymore Diana checked her wrist and listened afterward to her heart. She nodded, surprised. Mercedes was dead. She just looked one moment at the vial and swallowed the rest of the poison inside. Just as with the others, death came jumping on rapidly as a predator out of the darkness and dragged her along without her having the opportunity to defend herself.
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere