Memories of Midnight
By Daravon Ragnar in Dark Ages
"Ah, this mansion... most of my past lies within those sturdy walls."
Gilbert stepped down from the coach, his eyes fixed at the impressive building on the outskirts of Piet. The coachman remained silent and was visibly uncomfortable with the situation.
"Very well, you may go now. Be back tomorrow morning to pick me up."
The man simply nodded and hastily left Gilbert alone at the front gate of the Chevalier's mansion. With a dreamy gaze, he opened it and made his way inside. His mind was lost in thought as he wandered the lush gardens that led to the mansion itself.
" Exactly the same as when I was a kid. The caretaker must have been doing a good job. The very same violets here and the small beautiful bushes over there..."
Sitting under the comforting shadow of a tree, Gilbert
observed his surroundings and sighed. It was already past noon
and there was a lot to be seen. And a lot to be done.
The screams, hideous deformed shadows everywhere. Nowhere to
run, nowhere to hide. Instinctively, the child sought refuge
behind the bushes. But it was everywhere, it knew everything. It
would be merelly a matter of time. A desperate prayer to Danaan,
the screams growing louder. Darkness enveloping his sights, his
consciousness slowly vanishing...
A couple of birds in the tree above him suddenly announced their presence loudly, bringing Gilbert back into reality.
"Heh, seems like I disturbed those two..."
He stood up and slowly walked away, looking back several times at the enamored birds, trying to remember what it was like to feel love. Or even just to feel.
"I have wasted enough time here. Time to proceed inside
and get this over with." - he thought, bringing his mind
into focus again.
The large wooden door finally opened with an acute sound, revealing the luxurious interiors. Gilbert observed each detail with interest. It really hadn't changed from the times he lived there. The same pictures of his ancestors, that as a child he feared so much he would avoid walking in that room alone. The ivory table in the center, with it's beautiful candelabra...
He sat down lost in thought again, remembering his family gatherings around this table, some joyous, others mournful...
He could hear the sobbings from below. It was his mother,
bleeding and crying, embraced by his father. "Witch, you
shall burn in Chadul's Realm for this! Meet your master!"
The woman explained, gesturing to show that someone actually threw a stone at her. The look in her face... he could never imagine...
His stomach reminded him he hadn't eaten anything since morning.
"I hope the caretaker has stocked some food as instructed..."
He walked towards the kitchen, taking one last glance at the serious, oppressive pictures on the walls.
Taking a few slices of cheese, bread and dried meat, he
quickly ate his meal, without even feeling it's taste. The
surroundings occupied his attention too much for that and he knew
there was no time to lose. Back into the main hall, he climbed
the stairs, eyes gazing at the wooden boards bellow his feet and
ears listening carefully to the noises they would make.
That fog... it was everywhere, blinding and confusing the
child. He could hear the screams of his mother in the distance,
and even the faint voice of his father, calling his name in
despair. The flames of the candelabra danced wildly, as if they
had a will of their own. His nude feet could feel the ground was
humid. Flowing from the very spaces between the wooden boards, a
red liquid covered all of the ground, as the screams of his
parents were distorted into inhuman voices that scared more than
encouraged him to search for them.
Suddenly noticing he had simply stopped in the middle of the stairs, Gilbert jumped the last steps two at a time, as if making up for the lost time.
"Nothing of that matters now. I just have to get this over with. Then I shall have the answer."
But the temptation was too great. The doorway to his room was
open in front of him, partially revealing the interior. He
entered and laid down on his bed briefly, just to feel it.
Sleeping at night. Nothing can be more frightening to a child.
Every night the "thing" would come for a visit.
Hovering in the darkness before him, simply staring without the
slightest of movements. The panicked child screams and everything
is over. All that is left is the warmth of his parents and the
protecting light of the candle, revealing that nothing but the
harmless shadows of the night lurked in the darkness of the room.
Until the next night.
Gilbert opened his eyes abruptly. A rudiment of a smile could be seen on his face as he remembered the demons of his childhood.
"All gone now. Soon"
Standing up, he examined the wardrobe, just to find it was utterly empty. He looked from the window into the garden and noticed it was already getting dark. Reaching for the candelabrum in the desk, he could see a book laying on it. "The Nature of Light and Darkness, by Mireille Vartan."
"Ah, the Philosophy University of Rucesion I could never
He sighed as his mind took yet another trip unto the past.
It was terrible, but he somehow knew it would happen. There
was no way anyone would be willing to accept that and the
University was no exception. His father got the notice from
Rucesion, informing him that his soon was being sent back to
Piet. He finally understood everything. It wasn't the family. It
wasn't the mansion. Gilbert reached for the only person in the
world he had left, the one that would protect him from
everything. A slap on his face was everything he got. From that
day on, his father never again directed a single word at him.
Gilbert's emotions turned from sadness to anger to despair, in an
endless cycle of suffering. His curse would follow him wherever
he chose to go.
The room was almost totaly engulfed by darkness already.
Gilbert quickly lighted the numerous candelabra all over the
mansion. By now he was convinced he would have to stay another
day in order to finish the preparations. He now calmly wandered
through the house, visiting and examining carefully all of the
rooms. Ah, the baby room. This was where he lived the most joyful
period of his life, free from the constant fear and, specially,
the fear of others. He rocked the craddle gently, listening to
it's repetitive noise and remembering the stories his mother told
him about his birth.
"It was a stormy night when you were brought to this
world. Several shooting stars could be seen in the horizon that
evening and the townsfolk believed that to be a bad omen. One of
the midwives even told me I should get rid of you as soon as
possible. (smile) Of course I would never do that, my sweety. But
as I was telling, your delivery was very complicated and almost
cost both my life and yours. The physician later said it was
plain impossible for a baby to survive what you did, yet your
health was nothing short of perfect. A true miracle, they said.
You have the favor of the Gods, my dear Gilbert. (hug)"
Gilbert tried to force a smile on his face as those memories crossed his mind, but all he got was a smirk instead. He could not understand it. Those memories were pleasant in their respective time, why couldn't he feel anything anymore? What was wrong with him? Heh, what a silly question. Everything was wrong. His very existence was an outrage on Nature. He should have consummated that which he was about to do before receiving the spark. Cursed spark that had such a high price.
He held the necklace firmly in his hands, trying to dispel the
confuse thoughts that started to assault his mind.
The glass contained a lethal dose of hemloch, mixed in with wine. He drank half of it and stopped, trying to muster the courage to proceed. Like a furious hurricane, ideas he had never thought about arose in his mind. By the goddess, he was about to kill himself to escape the curse, how strange was that? For twenty long years, he lived in constant fear and suffering, yet he was alive up to this day. Was it unable to kill him? Was it worthy of all that fear in the first place then?
"Oh... once the effect of that green thing is over I'll fall back in cold reality and see just how senseless all those ideas I'm having are..."
But that wasn't what happened. Deoch seems to have recognized the intensity of his suffering, of his emotions up to that point. From that day on, the spark would follow him forever. Yet, he could feel a part of him had died on that night, it was just so ironic...
Why? Why had his emotions been taken away from him? None of
the aislings he had ever met where like that, much on the
contrary. Maybe it wasn't the spark that killed his emotions
after all. It just had to happen, for his own survival. Sensing
his suffering was about to finish his existence, his protector
removed them. Yes, that was probably that. He shouldn't be
worried, he could feel a higher power guiding his steps from now
on, showing him the right path, helping him organize the ideas,
find the right sources... After all this is over, everything will
"Gilbert... over here, Gilbert..."
Gilbert was pulled out of his daydreaming abruptly. He remained silent and alert for some time, then dismissed that familiar voice as just one of his louder thoughts.
"Enough exploring for today, I should get some sleep
He thought, slowly walking to his old room and laying down on the soft bed.
The scholar opened his eyelids and remained in the bed for a few moments. He then stood up and walked out of the room.
"Hmm.... seemed like it came from the cellar. Can it be that..."
Gilbert's face was expressionless as he climbed down the long stairs into the main hall, and then the ones from the kitchen to the basement. The scene that presented itself to his eyes perplexed him.
"It is... just like that fateful day, when I was but a child! Am I daydreaming again?"
Hanging from the ceiling, with a rope around her neck, the
lifeless body of his mother was right there before his eyes. Or
was it? The fog was getting thicker, turning solid objects into
formless shadows, clear images into deceiving illusions...
His father was crying desperately, embracing the inert body of
the wife. Without a word, the youngster watched from the doorway,
at the top of the stairs. The father probably never knew he was
there, witnessing such an event. It was starting. The first
victim had been made, even if in an indirect way. Maybe the
townsfolk were right. He was never supposed to be born.
His memories had come to life before his eyes. Spectral figures of his mother and father danced in the fog, echoing their dialogues of the past, as if their images and sounds were forever stuck on that place for all of eternity.
"Gilbert! Where are you?"
"The priest will come tomorrow, dear. Don't worry, everything will be solved."
"Why? I can't understand, of all families... I have always been devout to Danaan... (sobbing) why are we being punished, why..."
" No it's not our dear child! Not my dear Gilbert, stay away from him! I swear I kill you!"
"Witch, you shall burn in Chadul's Realm for this! Meet your master!"
"I'm... sorry sweet. Please forgive me. (crying)"
"It must be the house! Honey, let us go away from this place!"
Gilbert slowly walked in the fog, among the spectral images, without looking to the sides. The entire mansion had come to life, telling the history of everything that had ever happened within it's walls. The limits between past and present had vanished completely, creating a surrealistic world that only Gilbert could understand.
"Gilber... he...lp... me..."
The scholar's attention was suddenly attracted. That
particular voice, it seemed to be coming from the couple room in
the second floor. Of course, it could only be coming from
As expressionless as before, Gilbert climbed the stairs and walked towards the room, ignoring the pandemonium that was taking place around him. His father was laying in the ground, agonizing and asking for his help. He had finally broken the vow to never speak to Gilbert again, after all. The spectral figures of the elders and the physician where there, talking among themselves.
"It is really a pity indeed..."
"We all knew it would happen sooner or later."
"I'm sorry, Gilbert. Your father was a great man."
"I told him he shouldn't drink as much but he wouldn't listen. I should had obligated him..."
Oh, but Gilbert knew it wasn't rum alone that killed his father.
Ignoring the spectres, the man walked around the room, applauding slowly.
"Bravo. Very good. You surelly have been improving since
we last met, sir "Deamhan de Mealladh".
Or should I call you simply... Terror?"
The fog slowly started to dissipate, the spectral forms disappearing along with it. Silence was once again present at the house. A dark red, translucent cloud could be seen hovering in the center of the room. It had two darker spots that remotely resembled eyes and the substance of it's formless body was in constant movement. Gilbert kept talking.
"It was a long and arduous way, but here I am today to put an end to all this. I thought I would have to summon you here, but since you graced me with your presence spontaneously..."
"Ah Gilbert, my dear friend... so you have found Dante's works, I presume?
"Not only his. That little scared children has grown, you
see. With Luathas guiding my steps, I could finally understand
everything about you. Dante's manuscript, forgotten in a dusty
shelf at that abandoned basement of Loures Castle... the
"possessed" little girl of Undine, condemned to a life
of suffering like mine was... The old beggar of Mileth, wasting
his life of misery and his sanity in a tavern from morning to
I wonder just how many of the "insane" people in our world, as well as those burnt for witchcraft, weren't in fact helpless victims of your demented schemes. I shall avenge all of them. My mother, my..."
"Your what? Father? I appreciate the compliment, but I guess I don't deserve the credit for that one."
The Terror seemed to be smirking in his own way. It proceeded.
"You understand Gilbert, this is nothing personal. I need the refined fear, the horror of those pathetic mortals as much as you need the air you breath. I hate to admit it, but you are necessary for my continued existence."
"That is too bad. Once I reveal to the world everything I have discovered... You can imagine what will happen, don't you? Children will laugh at the tales of the "mighty Deamhan de Mealladh", the master demon of illusions. You will be destroyed, starving slowly to death. You'll suffer as much as you have made countless people do."
Gilbert's voice lacked the slightest sign of emotion in it. The Cloud smirked again.
"I see. Yet, you'll be feeling as empty as before, isn't it so?"
"You thought you'd come here, tell me all this, and that would somehow fill the void that Deoch has instilled in you, correct?"
"Couldn't be farther from the truth, Terror."
"It seems Luathas has taught you how to lie convincingly as well. Oh, how you wish you could feel hate again. I have killed your family. I have made your life miserable. And you can't feel anything for me. Killing me will be as insipid as everything else about your life..."
"..........That is nothing you have to be worried about. Luathas will show me the path after I am done with you, just as he has before."
"Luathas? Hah! Luathas... You fail to understand the entity you serve, little mortal. Luathas hasn't chosen you out of compassion. Your coldness is perfect for the gathering of knowledge. Emotions only cloud the judgement and... Why am I wasting my time explaining that to you? Mortals will never understand. You aren't happy just being pitiful, you strive to remain pitiful. I despise you."
"Say what you will. The only power you have over people is that which they allow you to have. Once they understand it, all will be over. The omnicient and omnipresent being has been reduced to a farse, an illusion. You are pitiful, not us. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get some sleep."
The translucent cloud suddenly became as solid as the furniture in the room. Gilbert was startled.
"But... How? You cannot do that!"
"The main weakness of mortals... arrogance. Haven't you found it strange that your little friend Dante, as well as everyone who ever tried to understand me, died in horrible accidents right at the most critical point of their research? Oh, maybe your mind was a little too occupied with your pathetic quest for your lost "humanity" to notice that, hm? To presume a mortal like you could defeat me... ridiculous!"
The cloud slammed the table violently, throwing the candelabra on the luxurious tapestry. The flames spread with an unnatural quickness.
"Does this seem like an illusion to you too,
The Terror said moving closer to him. Gilbert ran away, but the demon simply took a shortcut through the solid walls. His icy ethereal hands enveloped Gilbert's neck, making breathing impossible. All of his life rolled through his mind again, except this time the memories... had flavor. Yes, he remembered at last what it was like to feel again. Hate, fear, happiness, sadness, love...
Gilbert's cold body remained there, with an enigmatic smile on the face.
A crowd had gathered around the remains of the Chevalier's Mansion.
"What a pity, Gilbert was a good man"
"That's what inevitable happens to worshippers of Chadul."
"They used to sacrifice goats in the gardens here, I have seen it once..."
"They say the mother was a succubus. Have you heard that too?"
From the beautiful mansion, only rubble and ashes remained. The only object that survived unscathed, atop of it all, was a green cross-shaped necklace...