Chapter 1: Dawn
Aestas’ father, Aaron, stood up from his crouch over his daughter. His fangs dripped mercifully of blood, her blood that he drank to save her.
“Heaven forgive me for my ways and give my daughter life. This was the only way I could save her.” The last thing he wanted was Aestas to be an evil undead. It was an ironic prayer. His daughter would be neither dead nor alive. He still wished she could still be the bright-spirited girl he had left behind for his journey.
“Papa?” Aaron looked down and found Aestas clinging to his leg. “Papa… I’m scared… I want to be with Mama…” He knelt down and stared gravely into her eyes as she spoke. “There was a light… Mama and Christopher waited for me there… But I got pulled away… Someone said I will never see them again… Papa, what happened?”
Even though she is full of good, they’ve rejected her a holy home to turn to after her time comes. Aaron blinked away a few tears, then spoke to his daughter as gently as he could. “Aestas, you were attacked by Count Draynor of Draynor Manor. He tried to turn you into his slave, but I saved you. Unfortunately, in doing so, it meant turning you into my slave. Do you understand? I did this out of love. You can never see your mother or brother again. The gods have designated another place for us.”
Aestas looked at her father. “Y-you’re a vampire?”
“Yes… but I will always be your father, not your master.” He bit his thumb, hard, causing it to bleed. He held it out to her. “Drink, so the bond will cease to exists and we can live as family.”
To his surprise, Aestas pushed it away. “No, Papa… We are family no matter what…”
“I don’t need to drink blood… Not really. I don’t know why, but I don’t feel the way the stories described.”
“No… not really…”
For several moments, they sat in silence. Aestas stood up and went downstairs, Aaron following after her. They stopped in front of the covered bodies on the ground.
“Go outside and play for a while, Aestas. But mind sharp wooden objects and the rising sun. I will care for them.”
Aestas nodded and started towards the door.
“Don’t play by the streams either… It will only make you sad,” Aaron added.
So many rules! It’s so unfair! She ran outside, staring up at the moon. It seemed to frown at her, then hid behind passing tendrils of fog.
Aaron sighed as he looked out the window and found Aestas sitting on the ground, sobbing. He cringed. Oh, my little one. No longer will the sun’s warmth kiss your face. The moon’s cold will kiss it now. The gods will watch over you, I hope, and help you adjust. Zamorak may take a liking in you, but Saradomin will ensure that you remain the good girl you are now. He turned away from the window and stared at the bodies of his wife and son. If only I had taken you with me… We would all still be living together…
About an hour before sunrise, Aaron went to look for Aestas.
“Aestas, where are you? It’s almost daybreak!”
After nearly thirty minutes of searching through the empty village, he began to worry. What if there was an accident? What if a slayer got her? No, she has to be here somewhere!
Aaron turned around at the sound of her voice, leaping to the side just as a wooden stake came down.
“Papa!” Aestas screamed again.
“Stay back, Aestas!” Aaron warned as he got up and identified his attacker. “You! How dare you come back!” he roared.
Count Draynor laughed wickedly. “Stupid slayer! You were lucky to have tasted my blood without my knowing or you would have been mine to command!”
“Never will I be a slave to hell-spawn!” Aaron growled, picking up a fistful of dirt. He threw it into the Count’s eyes.
With a short cry, the evil vampire struck blindly with his stake, only to impale air. He stopped at the sound of voices. “I will return!” he cried, turning into a wolf and disappeared into the dry forest.
“Over here! He went this way!” a voice called.
Aaron ran over to Aestas. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine.” She shivered at Aaron’s appearance. His fangs were bared, his face slightly disfigured from the transformation.
“You there! Are you all right?”
Both looked up towards the voice’s owner, a man in his late teens carrying a stake. His companion, much younger in appearance, carried a crossbow with wooden stakes as bolts. Both gasped.
“He’s a vampire! Kill him before he takes the girl!” the teen cried.
“No! Stop! I’m her father!” Aaron cried as he stood up. Aestas stood as well, holding his hand.
“Enough hell from you!” the ranger shouted. Before they knew it, a wooden bolt whizzed through the air and struck Aaron pure and true through the heart.
“Papa!” Aestas screamed just as he fell to the ground and turned into ash. She knelt down, frantically trying to pile the ashes together. “Papa!” she screamed again. A wind began to pick up, scattering some of the ash across the field. Aestas threw her body over the remainder. “Papa, don’t leave me!” She sobbed heavily face-down into the ground.
“Lass, that was not your Papa,” the teen began. To his horror, Aestas looked up at him, face covered with dirt and disfigured. A pair of fangs revealed themselves.
“How would you know?! He was my Papa, not yours! And now everyone is gone!”
“Shoot her!” the teen stammered. “We can’t save her now! Just shoot!”
“Why did you kill my Papa?!” Aestas started towards them. “Why?!”
The ranger fired.
Aestas cried out as she felt an excruciating pain in her chest. She staggered and fell to the ground on her hands and knees. Blood dripped off the edge of the stake.
“She… She’s still alive! She didn’t turn into dust!” the ranger stammered.
“Idiot! She can’t be alive! She’s undead! Shoot again!” the teen yelled.
“No need to. Look.” The sun rose and cast its rays on the pained girl. For a fleeting moment, both expected her to shrivel and burn.
She instead looked up at them, the sun in full view of her face. To their horror, she pulled out the stake and threw it at them. Blood oozed from the wound and soaked her dress. “You killed my Papa and tried to kill me,” she whispered. She took out a handkerchief from her dress pocket and placed the remaining ashes and some soil in it. Carefully she tied the corners together and placed the little package back into her pocket. “Why? We’ve done nothing wrong…”
Chapter 2: Morning
“You blubbering idiots! You scoundrels! You murderers!”
“But Dr. Harlow, you said-”
“Had you remembered your quest, we wouldn’t have an orphaned girl now, would we?” Morgan, a Draynor villager, scolded.
The young slayer and archer bowed down their heads in shame.
“Had I –hic– the strength to –hiccup– tan yer hides I would!” Dr. Harlow cried. He clumsily tried to take another gulp of ale.
“All right, Dr. Harlow, I think that’s enough for now.” Morgan gently took the frothy mug away. “I think these two young ones have learned their lessons. There will be no more slaying for them.”
“Aww! But Uncle Morgan-” the boys began to protest.
“No buts. I’m not going to have you two making mistakes like this again, especially in such a heedless manner. Go home. Tell your mother I’ll be home before sunset.”
Reluctantly, the boys started for the great wooden doors of the Blue Moon Inn.
“Without yer slayer gear!” Dr. Harlow added.
Thud! went the crossbow. The stakes clattered onto the table besides it. Grumbling, the boys finally departed.
“Ah, I should have never let them go,” Morgan said sadly. “Such a grievous mistake made.”
“How iz de lass?”
“Healing, but very traumatized. There is one thing in the boys’ story I am troubled by. They claim that she is a vampire, but she was not affected by a stake through heart. Now if she was human, she’d be dead, but she’s still alive. Nor did the rays of the sun turn her to ash. Is this possible, Dr. Harlow, that she may be a different species of vampire?”
“Well, iz she a vampire?”
“I haven’t checked yet, sir.”
The old doctor stood drunkenly. “Lez go and see den!” He fell with a thud, snoring. Morgan looked over to the bartender. “Put the drinks on my tab,” he said, picking Dr. Harlow up.
A few hours later, in the second story of the Inn…
“Here! She has a bite here!” Morgan whispered.
“You see wrong. She has two bites!” Dr. Harlow exclaimed.
Suddenly, Aestas stirred. Both men stepped back from the bed.
“Papa…” Aestas whimpered, her eyes still closed. “Papa, where are you?” She opened her eyes and sat up weakly. At the sight of the men, she cowered behind the blankets. “Please don’t hurt me,” she whispered.
Morgan’s face softened. “Don’t worry. You’re among friends now. How do you feel?”
Aestas shook her head. “May I have some water instead?” she asked shyly.
“Wouldn’t you rather some blood?” Dr. Harlow asked cautiously.
Aestas made a face. “Yucky!”
Both men burst out laughing. “Well, that settles it. She’s no vampire,” Morgan said. But why does she seem different?
“Oh, but Papa said I was. He made me one,” Aestas whispered.
“Eh?” Dr. Harlow stared at her. “What say you?”
“Count Draynor almost killed me, but Papa saved me.”
“Mercy bite… Interesting… Child, tell me, what is your name?”
“Papa says I should never give strangers my name.”
Morgan chuckled. “Very well then, let’s make this better. My name is Morgan, and this is Dr. Harlow.”
Aestas’ face brightened. “I’ve heard of Dr. Harlow! Papa used to tell me he was his classmate while studying in Varrock! A classmate of Papa’s must not be a stranger. My name is Aestas Sol.”
“Sol? Your father was Aaron Sol?! Hah! What a lad he was!” Dr. Harlow laughed. “Used to play jokes against those old masters.”
“Dr. Harlow, how come I’m not like the other vampires?”
“Good question, child.” Dr. Harlow looked over to Morgan. “This is something I have not encountered in my studies.” He sighed, shaking his head. “To think, Aaron… a vampire, but how?”
“Who cares how? What’s important is that we need to care for her,” Morgan began. He paused at the sight of Aestas staring out the window with full sunlight on her face. “Perhaps I should take her with me.”
“You do that. She’ll fit in, I think. In the meantime, I think I shall go see Reldo in the Palace to see if he has anything on this peculiar case.”
“Vampy girl! Vampy girl!”
“What? A vampire in broad daylight?”
“Don’t play with her, children, or she may bite you!”
Aestas stood among the market stalls, helping Morgan with the grocery shopping. The people of Draynor huddle close together, whispered about and staring at her. Some of the men turned up their collars around her while the women wore scarves. The children made crucifixes with twigs and danced around her with them.
“Hey Vampy! Why are you playing with garlic? Doesn’t that burn?” a boy taunted behind her as she bought a small net of the odorous cloves.
“Anything else you want, Aestas?” asked the stall keeper nervously. Aestas shook her head.
“No, that will be all.”
“Nope! She wants to buy some blood? Do you have any blood, Siles? I’m sure you have some pig blood lying here abouts!” the boy snickered.
Aestas checked her basket as she placed the garlic inside. Her hand met the splintery wood of a stake. Tears welled up in her eyes.
“Aw, you made her cry!” the boy said to his friend. “I guess she’s afraid of stakes, eh Manny?”
“Haha, Pat! Good, then we can get rid of her.”
“Oh quit picking on her! She’s only doing a bit of shopping.” The boys turned to find the Wizard Mizgog behind them.
“Oh yea? She’s a monster!” Pat snarled. “It’s monsters like her that left me an orphan!”
“Monster? She’s a little girl.”
“No, she’s a vampire,” Manny said stubbornly.
Aestas gingerly picked out the stake and tossed it into a nearby woodpile before starting her way ‘home.’
“She’s a vampire?” Wizard Mizgog asked, confusion spreading across his face.
“No, she’s a thinggummywhat,” Pat said sarcastically.
“She’s a thinggummywhat?! I thought they were smaller…”
“No, no, no! She’s a vampire!”
“Blast it, you rascals! Quit playing mind games with me or I’ll turn you into a whosawhatsit!”
Aestas sat by the fire, busily engaged in shelling peas for the next day. Morgan watcher her, rocking in his chair thoughtfully.
“Aestas, would you like for your father’s ashes and birth soil to be enclosed in an amulet?”
Aestas stopped. “But amulets are expensive-”
“Not at all. I notice you carry them in your pocket in a handkerchief and it could easily get lost. Would you like to go to Port Sarim with me tomorrow to have it made?”
Aestas looked at Morgan. “Why are you being so nice to me?”
Morgan shrugged. “You’ve been nothing but good since you’ve come here, Aestas. Though it’s only been a few hours, it’s almost like you were here ever since you were a baby.” He stopped when he noticed tears welling up in her eyes. “Oh, don’t cry… Shh.” He got up from his chair and gave the girl a hug. “I know you miss your family.”
“I want my Papa, Mama, and brother… They’re so far away from me… And probably in different places… Mama and Christopher are in heaven, but Papa… Papa says the gods won’t let vampires go to heaven.”
Morgan looked in surprise, then shook his head. “I don’t think that’s true. I think the gods can see how good of a person your Papa was to have saved you.”
“But he made me into a vampire. People say vampires are evil and bad.”
“You’re not evil, are you?”
Aestas hesitated. “No… At least, I don’t think so…”
“Then don’t say you’re evil.” Morgan smiled. “Now run along. I’ve fixed up a bed for you upstairs in the northeast room. See if you like it. I’ll take care of the peas.”
Aestas gave Morgan a hug. “Thank you.”