Danse de la Mort

Behind the Veil of the Nightmare

In the Mind of the Fear Bringer

Edward Zurich

From the cool dry parchment pages of a simple brown leather bound journal…
This is the tale of the making of the Lord of Terror.

My name is Edward Zurich and during the 22 years of my mortal life the only time I ever truly felt at home was when I was alone on the open road, alone with my music. I held no grand ambitions beyond a good meal, a warm bed, and to enjoy life. Tragically, that was not my fate, my fate was to die in an experiment, an experiment designed to test us for some unknown purpose.

I was not alone that night, beyond the monsters that night there were four others. Becky-lynn, the society girl from a life of privilege. Dox, the high tech wunderkin with the social aptitude of a slide rule, but always happens to be more than useful enough to keep around. Jack, a delivery driver, a general utility man, and the man with the van. And then there was Tina, she I did not understand.

It was that fateful night, the last night of Mardi Gras, that I Edward Zurich was reborn, and I knew I never wanted to be alone again. What I did not know it at the time, nor did I seek out, but that night I began the journey that would mould me into the Lord of Terror.
These words are recorded here not just to chronicle my history, but to remind me of my human past so that the beast within does not overtake my ability to resist it.

A night at Mardi Gras…
It was my first time back in New Orleans in three years, I was out on the town and looking for a good time and a warm bed for the night. The streets were packed like always during Mardi Gras and I was making a killing, regardless of my success that night, I could guarantee more than a good meal and a warm bed from the day’s take. It was then that I saw her, she was young and I could tell she had a passion for life, not in the sorority party kind of way, but the wanting to squeeze every ounce of life out of every minute sort of way. I ended the song the other players and I were jazzing, took my cut and made my way through the mass of people that stood between me and her. I started to chat her up seeing if we could have a good time that night, but she brought down the heat, can you believe it she brought the heat on me. I have had my share of dis-satisfied “customers” but never have I had a girl bring in the police. But I took the hint and moved on, or so I thought.
Then I wandered over to the local jazz joint when I saw a particularly tempting target, she too was young, prim and proper, a bit out of place in so much drunken debauchery. She was escorted by a pair of strapping young lads, but they weren’t going to be any competition. It’s a shame really what happened to them later that night, they were probably good guys. They did however, make her party large enough for me to sneak in at the front of the line. After a brief exchange I made my way to the bar to pick up a drink for myself and this soon to be new friend.

That night was full of all manner of weird. No sooner than I had ordered the drinks I saw some crazy scumbag that was making a scene, and the one thing that throws the adventurous side of the ladies out the window is some deadbeat trying to get physical on the ladies. I rushed the scumbag and who do I find having the same idea, but miss call the cops. Together we drove the guy off, it did seem odd but not consequential at the time but she did not have any air of fear about her, despite the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. Despite my curiosity I decided to return to my newly acquired interest, because as my pa would say of Tina, that dog don’t hunt. As I turned to retrieve my drinks, the women who seemed to be the target of the creepy man approached me and thanked me for my actions and asked why I had intervened. What I remembered more than our conversation was that the tattoos which seemed to cover her body seemed to writhe over her skin, it was disconcerting but also intriguing.

By the time I was able to redirect my attentions to the socialite, I found that a new man was on the prowl. This man stood out like a character from another century, but immediately I felt something was off about him and that he might mean more trouble than just another competitor. I soon decided it was time to make my move and it seemed my charms were more than a match for luring this Becky-Lynn away from John Matheson. I would not realize until sometime later that it was I who was being outclassed and that Matheson was playing the long game letting me think I had a chance when I really had already lost.

Becky-Lynn who seemed at first to be the ideal challenge, soon turned out to be fool’s gold. Even then I began to see the subtle signs, she was filled with all sorts fear. She was afraid of missing out on life, afraid or disappointing her father, afraid of tarnishing her pristine image as a proper lady. Of course these fears were covered in a courtesan like veneer that cover her fears, even from herself. It was her fear of missing out on a party that lead us all to our fate that night.

Matheson invited us to an exclusive party that night, including the awkward dot com type Dox, Becky-Lynn her two escorts, the girl who brought the cop whose name I found out was Tina, and a new gent who was sent to be our driver. It all seemed too planned for what was meant to appear as a random encounter. I knew if we went the party I would lose my chance with Becky-Lynn that night but despite this I decided to go along as I feared what sinister plans Matheson had in store for them, their lack of experience in the seedier parts of the world would make them easy targets.

I went with them and while we were passing the cathedral, Matheson stopped the car, he changed into some sort of a monster with long slender claws instead of hands and tore poor Becky-Lynn’s escorts to pieces. Witnessing that, I felt fear, a true terror, that something so powerful existed, I was caught between run and fight. I tried to help the others, but before I could do anything meaningful, the girl with the tattoos from the jazz club grabbed me and bite me. Her name was Andrea and she took me from this life to my next. Her embrace changed me and I’m not always sure it was for the better.

That night when we awoke we encountered Sara Bancroft the architect of the night’s conspiracy. An argument broke out between Sara and Andrea, Andrea wanted out and she took me away from the group knowing that my memory would be spared while the others would have little to no recollection of that night. There was a symbolism in that, I was on the outside and I would have to try extra hard to belong.

Ask not for whom the church bell tolls, for it tolls for thee…
Several days later I was alone in Andrea’s apartment, where she had spent the last few days teaching me about the ins and outs of the kindred. I became aware of some sort of commotion over at the Corpus Christie Church, the same church I was so recently turned. Hoping to reconnect with the others from that night I made my way out there to investigate.

There I met up with the others and the prince, his entourage were there as well. Effectively, we had been instructed to seek out and kill our sires. But first we were tasked with investigating the disturbance in the church. The prince sent along Alexander, one of his enforcer types from his entourage, he was a pleasant enough sort, but it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to tell this guy was tougher than the rest of us combined. But his job wasn’t to protect us, only to make sure we did as instructed.

We went in to the chapel, first into the basement and found Father Marrow left incapacitated in something called torpor. We tended to the good father and then made our way to the chapel. It was ironic that it was in a church that I first saw the power of terror. There my sire Andrea, who was experimenting with the power of the beast, was radiating terror like light from a flame. Then I witnessed her focus her terror on to Alexander who was so overcome with fear that he had no choice but to turn and flee. We were left to deal with Andrea, but Andrea wasn’t quite home. Knowing we were little match for her in her current state I decided to take an unorthodox strategy and began to play some soothing music in such a way as to draw the true Andrea out. While I was busting out the axe, Tina rushed in to try and grapple with Andrea. I couldn’t believe it, here Alexander the great runs out screaming like a little girl and Tina runs up and grapples with her, fearless.
Then just as I was making real good progress on bringing Andrea back, Becky-Lynn is overcome by her fear and becomes enraged and goes after Andrea with a giant cross. I couldn’t let Becky-Lynn hurt Andrea, so I threw myself between the two of them and intercepted Becky-Lynn’s blow. I went after Becky-Lynn to get her to snap out of it but before I could act Dox did something to me that made me turn around and attack Andrea. In that instant I knew I never wanted my will subverted in such a way again. I would have to teach Dox a lessor for that infraction.

We then subdued Andrea and she snapped Becky-Lynn back to normal and revived Tina who had been incapacitated by Andrea. With all of the commotion inside the chapel, the police who had been massed outside were positioning themselves outside getting ready to break-in. So we decided to sneak out of the church.

Meet the parents…
Over the next couple of weeks we continued to seek out the other sires with some success. During that time it seemed that when Becky-Lynn was embraced that her mind was scrambled so that I was the enemy while this Matheson guy was the hottest thing since the habanero was introduced to jambalaya.

This was particularly confusing when out of the blue she asks me to be her fiancé. Now I have been with lots of women, but none have asked me to be their fiancé. She wanted me to go and meet her parents and help convince then that she is alright and they should not cut her off from her inheritance. Again, Becky-Lynn was driven by her fear, fear that her parents would be disappointed, that she would be seen as less than the prim and proper princess she sees herself as. I thought that since she was a creature driven by fear, that I could use my mastery of fear to keep her safe and thus lure her to me, but alas I would learn, I cannot attract with fear, I would only be able to connect deeply to those without fear.

I had come to an accord with Dox that should he ever use his powers on me again, I would unleash my full power over terror on him. Yet when I saw him manipulate Becky-Lynn’s parents, more than a twinge of fear passed through my mind as I wondered if I could resist his powers when the time came.

A night of revelations…
The night of revelations has had as much impact on my new life as did the act that brought me into my new life. We were headed into the beast’s lair, the Matheson estate.

Before we left I spoke with Becky-Lynn about what Matheson had done to her escorts that night and she claimed I was a hideous person to make such a lie up about Matheson. For a moment we tested our wills and I overcame her will and I realized she would never be mine.

We piled into Jack’s van and made our way out of town, towards the Matheson Estate. We travelled a good part of the way there when we happened upon an old gas station and café, but something was off, very off. We stopped to fuel up and check out the place. Despite the number of vehicles it was surprisingly quiet. When we approached the large glass window we saw what appeared to be a hairy naked man, covered in blood. He was clearly a werewolf and fortunately for us, we seemed an unappealing threat so he bolted for the tree line. Tina, always the one to rush fearlessly into danger started to pursue him but thought the better of it. I was inspecting the inside of the café when Becky-Lynn started to approach the bloody mess inside with a bestial glint in her eye. I was concerned about what would happen, that Becky-Lynn might lose control to the beast again and that if she kept giving in it would become more and more powerful eventually overcoming her own will. So I used the only tool I knew that would stop her, I placed a terrible nightmare into her mind. I placed the image of her losing control and tearing her little sister to pieces in her mind. I used the most potent image I could conjure to drive home the dangers of giving in. Unfortunately, I over did it and she went running uncontrollably away, only Tina was able to stop her before she entered the woods. I had over done it and the die was cast.

We arrived at Matheson’s estate, everyone hoped out and Jack disappeared like normal and the rest of us head up to the big house, we could see what appeared to be the old slave quarters and an old barn. When we approached the house with Tina locked on to Becky-Lynn like white on rice. Matheson’s black butler greeted us at the door and escorted us into the study where we met Matheson. Of course Matheson immediately captivated Becky-Lynn, who immediately confessed to Matheson that she wanted me dead and that I was a horrible monster. Granted my recent attempt to save her from herself happened to go so very wrong. When I first met Matheson I knew he was trouble, but now I could sense the clear and present danger we were all in. I had to strike the balance between saying or doing anything that would set him off and doing anything that would weaken our position. So I placated Matheson by explaining how I used the terror on Becky-Lynn to keep her from losing control and then used Matheson’s attack on Becky-Lynn’s escorts as a redirection tool. Becky-Lynn had totally fallen under his spell, when Matheson admitted to tearing her escorts to pieces she said that he probably had a reason.

Matheson and Becky-Lynn made it clear they wanted some alone time, everyone but Tina was happy to oblige their desire. Tina stayed while the rest of us went to explore the place. We searched the house and didn’t find anything. Then we realized there was probably a basement. We went around outside and found the entrance. Dox and I eventually smashed the door in and found where Matheson spends the days, but there was nothing interesting down there.

Figuring that Matheson and Becky-Lynn would be busy for a while longer we decided to check out the rest of the grounds. It was then that I remembered Andrea having mentioned something about kindred of a certain age could only feed on other kindred, and that Matheson was rather old. I was suddenly concerned that when we opened up the slave quarters we’d find a hoven of herd kindred. Even worse we opened the door to find a group of black men and women in a state of absolute deprivation. I knew there would be consequences when Matheson found out we busted up his door and now we were checking out the slave quarters, he told us not to go near. I was struggling with what to do, Dox was cool about it and went over to the barn. Jack appeared out of nowhere and we decided to get everyone out and light the place on fire to cover it up. I worked on getting the slaves out of there and Jack went to find something to light the place on fire. Jack disappeared again and just after I told the slaves the plan Matheson’s butler came out of the house and caught me in the act, I tried to stall him while Jack got the fire started, but before he could, Matheson, Becky-Lynn, and Tina came out of the house.

Matheson of course asked what was up and I gave some bull shit excuse for checking out the slave quarters and then redirected the conversation to the poor state of his slaves. But nobody was really buying my story, I knew things were not going well. Then Matheson offers a deal knowing we wanted information, he decided to offer a trade of blood for an answer and a slave. Tina, who has been desperately wanting to find her sire Lukas Gates, so she could kill him, was about to rush Matheson when He turned to her and his will just overwhelmed her. I figured that there was no way I was going to get out of Matheson’s territory without him exacting his price of blood from me, so I volunteered two portions of blood so that Tina could have her answers. I volunteered my sacrifice for Tina because she taught me more about fear and terror by standing up to Matheson than any other moment in my history. She challenged him while I feared to act.

If I want to master my control of fear in others I would first need to control it within myself. To that end, I must learn from Tina and forget about Becky-Lynn as Becky-Lynn’s fear is contagious. Sticking around Becky-Lynn would only make me weaker, I must learn from the strong, those without fear or at least the will to resist it.
I know Tina wants to go after her sire, but he is a monster, as a friend of mine named Lemon described it, Lukas has a predatory aura about him. Tina wants to destroy him and make him suffer. But he is not like other men, he will find pleasure in suffering and pain and will find satisfaction in Tina killing him as he thinks it would make her like him. I will not let that happen!! I don’t know if have enough power yet but when she finds him I will unleash my terror on his mind and teach him what fear really is. He will not survive and his fear will set Tina free. Then with Tina I will cast away forever my fear of being alone…

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Crimson_red rovent99

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