Ratislav of Wallachia
638 years old
1383, Wallachia, a place rife with war. The country now known as Romania was under the rule of the house of Basarab with many appointed nobles to control their territories. A mountainous region just south of Transylvania and north of what would later become the capital of Romania, Bucharest, is where this story begins. Just a few snaking roads made their way through the dense forests of the wild region infested with bears, wolves, lynx and many much less natural threats. The people were heavily religions and superstitious, knowing that creatures not of this world lurked in the night.
Ratislav did not begin his life as the monster he is in modern day, the only heir to a warlord with his mother dying in childbirth he as treated with the upmost respect and lived in the lap of luxury from day one as the peasants struggled to merely survive. His father hammered home the importance of glory in battle and taking things by force. To be strong and to be feared. Ratislav learned from the best sword fighters of the region, he learned strategy and how to command an army. While not initially sadistic in his ways, Ratislav had little care for peasants and upon taking the seat of power from his father their struggles would not improve.
Richard never did marry, though it’s certain he sired illegitimate children during his life, but none were known to him. It didn’t matter, for he never planned to give up his seat of power willingly.
Death, and undeath
1431, a mere five years until the legendary Vlad the Impaler's predecessor, Vlad Dracul, would take control of the region. The country’s rule would change hands no less than eighteen times within the fifteenth century. Had Ratislav not met his fate, he may well have taken the throne himself. War was on the horizon and Ratislav prepared for it, unknowing it would be his final battle as a mortal man.
With such strife and unrest for many years, supplies waned and the smiths of the region could only work so fast creating and repairing armour and weaponry. There were words on the wind of an enchanted sword that would promise a victory in the upcoming battle. Stories of such a blade were mixed, though most told of a powerful sorceress trapped inside. Upon witnessing the blade, Ratislav was entranced, paying the merchant that brought it to him a great sum of gold without realizing the state the man was in. The sword had sent the merchant mad. From the moment of touching the hilt of the legendary weapon, a voice echoed throughout Ratislav’s mind demanding freedom from her steely prison, but Ratislav had plans and was not about to bargain with an inanimate object.
The day of battle came, leading his army Ratislav appeared to be on the verge of victory once more until a sharp pain shot through him, or rather, a sword had placed the perfect blow in a gap of the warlord’s armour and forced its way between the man’s fifth and sixth rib piercing his lung. Upon seeing their great warrior leader fall, Ratislav’s army retreated, leaving the Wallachian lord dying slowly on the cold blood soaked ground. Hours passed, the battlefield emptied, leaving only corpses, scavengers and those on the brink of death. As his lungs slowly filled with blood, Ratislav looked at his sword, with the sorceress in the sword looking right back. Those yellow eyes filled with sadistic amusement at the fallen warrior that had initially declined her demands. Fearing what waited for him upon death, Ratislav made a deal with the eyes staring back at him; Her freedom on the grounds she saved him from death. Deal.
With his very last strength Ratislav raised the sword above his head, coughing up a few specks of blood whilst doing so, and struck the sword over a rock shattering the blade into pieces and freeing the dark soul trapped inside. Ratislav didn’t see the afterlife that night as agreed upon, however, his heart no longer beat. Ratislav was not dead, but undead. Stuck between the two worlds, a cursed creature that burned in the sunlight and would be a scourge upon the living; a vampire.
From monster to civilised
Ratislav would eventually return to his castle, the very place he sat already being fought over by his lessers. Furious his army would abandon him in battle, even though he had fallen, Ratislav flew into a rage. His entire court, torn limb from limb by the ravenous vampire. With each person’s blood drained, the vampire learned their memories and saw their treachery was always on the horizon, it was only a matter of time.
Reinvigorated, the vampire became the terror of his land feeding on whoever dared approach his castle, and often those that didn’t even try. Many locals fled the region in fear and those who stayed grew superstitious and carried symbols of their god with them at all times which seemed to deter the creature. When word reached the Order of the Dragon, an order of knights sworn to defend the cross and fight enemies of Christianity, the castle was sieged. Greatly outnumbered and weak to their holy weapons, Ratislav fled his castle and Wallachia. He would never hold as much power again, though he would never simply lay down in defeat.
With his name carrying such weight, a new one had to be developed. Taking the name Richard Ardelean the vampire would travel the world remaining undetected by most, and those that did discover his true identity or what he was, were soon silenced. As the years progressed, as did mankind and the technology they created. With each victim, Richard learned something new, reading their blood like an autobiography. The vampire found he could learn an entire language through someone’s blood, how to sail a boat and in more modern times how to drive a car. The victims he prayed upon went from lesser beings to intriguing creatures. His need to blend resulted in him being quite fond of good conversation and company, though the warlord he once was still burned in the back of his mind. He still found pleasure in striking fear into mortals and watching them grovel at his feet.
There are rules, you know
- A vampire cannot enter sunlight, for they will be burned alive.
- A vampire detests the symbol of God, it is a reminder they have turned their back on death and their own salvation in the afterlife.
- A vampire must consume the blood of the living.
- The blood of the dead is detested by a vampire.
- The blood of the sick is poison to a vampire.
- No mortal may pierce a vampire’s skin without divine intervention.
- Fire cleanses sin and burns the vampire, though will not kill them.
Well aren't you special?
- Richard can know a man’s entire life story, inherit skills and knowledge through blood alone.
- Richard can scale walls like a spider, even if there is nothing for him to grip onto.
- Possessing inhuman speed, it can almost give the vampire the appearance of being in two places at once.
- Victims may hallucinate and dream when being fed on, this can be addictive to mortals and offer them a strange high. It comes at a price, too often, and the mortal will die from blood loss.
- A master of disguise, Richard can hide within the bodies of his deceased victims, even mimicking their voices. The only part he cannot mimic is their eyes, for their eyes are the window to the soul.
- Richard can transform someone into a vampire without the use of his own blood, however it’s rare and most end up deceased or mindless ghouls.
- Richard's body may burst into a swarm of bats to make a quick escape from a situation, though it's rare he uses such a power.
Nice to eat you
Richard’s sexuality isn’t bound to a single gender, his tastes lean toward rare individuals, ones he hasn’t met a hundred times over in his long, long life. A stickler for good company and fine conversation, and one that isn’t a simple, screaming peasant. He’s fascinated by untouched knowledge, a strong personality and one that understands his fine tastes. He has charmed many into bed, only to feast on them and discard them like gristle from a cut of meat. It would take something special for him not to consider a potential love interest little more than food.
Maz stumbled upon Richard wounded both physically and mentally, having recently lost the person closest to him. Even in his injured state the man had an air about him that caught Richard's attention. Initially, their relationship was little more than a deal to feed the vampire in exchange for healing, but after a dangerous turn of events, the two grew particularly close and the deal changed to something more. Maz is the excitement Richard needed in his life and his beast blood fascinating to boot.
- It amuses Richard greatly when mortals and younger immortals fear him, though is intrigued by those that don’t.
- Richard fears death, or more accurately, what waits for him after death. Perhaps his only true fear.
- Richard has been known to be cannibalistic, drinking the blood of other immortals. If anything, it’s to learn from them and enjoy their unique flavour. He considers it a bonding experience.
- Richard is hesitant to share his blood, for he has the memories of thousands of people that are now a permanent part of him. It’s been known to send people mad.
- The man is a shameless user of dating apps, he can often be found scrolling through people like a dinner menu. Fast food, delivered right to your door.
- Because he gained the knowledge of language through blood and not traditional learning, Richard speaks languages perfectly and without an accent.
- Unlike many of his kind, he does indeed have a reflection.
- Richard has a housekeeper named Magda, she also originates from Romania.
- 'Ratislav' means 'Glory in battle'.