The Trials of Ching Kwan

Ching Kwan was quite possibly the most skilled non mystical vampire hunter of all time. He is believed to have killed up to 700 vampires during his lifetime, as well as over 200 Demons. His greatest legacy however was his creation of the new fighting style, “Jineng Chaoguo Liliang” skill over strength, which through careful, precise technique’s, allowed normal people to take on vampires, demons, vandals, monsters and other supernatural creatures in direct combat. It’s no exaggeration to say that almost all vampire hunters around the world have utilised this method of combat to some extent, and whilst there have been many variations of the practice, its core principles still stem from Kwan’s pioneering work.

Sadly however despite these great achievements Kwan remains a controversial figure to many modern vampire hunters due to his role in the Hatsuka tragedy. Whilst he did what he did to protect those closest to him. Kwan was still indirectly responsible for the slaughter of countless innocents as well as the return of many dangerous Demonic creatures to our world. His most ardent followers will tend to downplay the Hatsuka horrors and his role in it, but ironically that is the last thing Kwan himself would have wanted. He carried the guilt over this catastrophe to his grave and spent the rest of his life trying to make up for his mistakes. He would be horrified to see the lives he had taken be airbrushed from history. Above all else however Kwan devoted his life to helping people combat the forces of darkness and therefore he would want his mistakes to be known, to prevent anyone else from repeating them. His entire philosophy was in learning to overcome superior odds which can’t be done unless you acknowledge that you have vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

With this in mind please do not view this as an insult to what was in spite of his flaws, a hero and a great man. It is simply an attempt to chronicle the cause of a real life tragedy that took so many lives, and understand how good men can be forced to do terrible things and finally how the forces of darkness can manipulate the very best of us.

Ching Kwan was born in the year 1945 in Hong Kong. After the chaos it endured during the war, Hong Kong, along with mainland China would suffer from an infestation of vampires, who attempted to take advantage of their strife and hardships. Kwan’s home town of Jaisa would be hit particularly hard by the vampire plague however. By the time he was a teenager, the bloodsuckers more or less ruled the town. As a result of several near fatal run ins with the local undead inhabitants. Kwan developed an interest in martial arts and study into the occult from a young age. Though books on vampires would be banned in the Jaisa once the vampires really got their hooks into the towns leaders, Kwan’s family held onto their collection in secret. They were a wealthy family.

Despite this however, Kwan’s parents were always careful not to antagonise the vampire forces of the town as they grew stronger. They wanted their son to be able to defend himself if need be, but they were not foolish enough to try and take on what was one of the largest vampire communities in Hong Kong at that point. Kwan however like a lot of young boys was rebellious and frequently got into fights with the vampires human servants and broke curfews and deliberately provoked the vampires as much as he could. Even as a child, the young Kwan would often shouting at the vampires as they went by the window of his house, carrying the remains of their victims.

Eventually however when Kwan was 18 he would have his first major confrontation with the undead when his girlfriend, Michelle was captured by them. Her own brother had been a familiar of the vampires and agreed to hand her over in order to be turned. It was a typical test from vampires to see if someone was worthy of becoming one of their own. Not only would the familiar hand over the person they loved the most, but they would also be forced to feed on them after turning.

Kwan fought his way into the vampires stronghold, killing up to 17 of them, including Michelle’s recently turned brother, before rescuing her. The vampires were completely unprepared for someone to challenge them, and furthermore Kwan’s knowledge of their weaknesses allowed him to catch them off guard. Even then however by his own admission it was a desperate fight, and he was forced to rely on long range weapons, such as a crossbow bolt, holy items and the sun itself to destroy them. He frequently said that had he attacked the bloodsuckers during the night they would have torn him to pieces.

Following this, Kwan, his family and Michelle would be forced to flee to mainland China to escape the wrath of the vampires. It wasn’t an easy move, as Kwan’s fathers business was local. In China the family were more or less reduced to paupers and Kwan’s father would soon be forced to take loans from the Triads to make ends meet.

This would in turn lead to Kwan falling in with the Triads. When he learned that their main enemies were vampires, he offered to help pay off his fathers loans by taking jobs to slay the undead. The Triads were actually able to gain a lot more influence by offering protection to people from the vampire horde.

At first Kwan was happy to learn from the Triads as they certainly made his hunts easier and he even learned many techniques from them. However it didn’t take long for Kwan to become disgusted with their ruthless practices and the fact that they would charge people for help against the undead.

He soon went on to hunt vampires on his own which earned him the wrath of both the Triads and the vampire population. Kwan was not only in direct competition of the Triads as a vampire killer, he also supplied knowledge to many people on the weaknesses of the vampire which further rendered their services obsolete.

Eventually the Triads responded by killing his family, and Kwan in retaliation murdered the leader of the Triads before being forced to flee from the police. Michelle remained behind, having grown to be a formidable vampire hunter in her own right thanks to his training. She initially wanted to go with Kwan, but he told her to remain here as someone needed to spread the knowledge on how to combat vampires so that the Triads hold would vanish. Michelle reluctantly agreed though what became of her is a story for another time.

Kwan fled to America where he became a freelance vampire hunter. He hated having to charge some of those he saved for money, but sadly he had no choice. He had many successes against the American vampire population, who similarly were not used to being targeted in such a direct way, and his antics soon brought him to the attention of an eccentric millionaire named Harold Jackson. Jackson’s home city, Lawless had been infested by vampires much like Kwan’s. The bloodsuckers owned everything in the city. The media, the police, etc. Jackson’s own father, a big shot tv producer had even been a slave to the vampires, supplying them with some young up and coming actresses to feed on. Desperate to make up for his fathers sins, Jackson would adopt a costumed identity, the Devil of Lawless and along with Kwan, who adopted the costumed identity of the Dragon of Lawless, they battled the vampires and their human allies on the streets of Lawless throughout the latter part of the 60s. Whilst they endured many losses over the years, ultimately the costumed vampire hunters were able to crush the bloodsuckers stronghold in the city by the end of the decade. Afterwards both Kwan and Jackson would go their separate ways and continue to hunt vampires in different parts of the world. Many believed that the two had a clash, but in truth Kwan simply wanted to explore Europe next and spread his new knowledge and techniques there.

In Europe Kwan would work with many other famous vampire hunters over the next few years and continue to improve on his knowledge and fighting skills. He decided that many traditional forms of vampire hunting were inefficient for single combat. Prior to Kwan’s pioneering work, most vampire hunters avoided direct, one on one combat with vampires if they could.

Legendary vampire killers like Daniel Holtz and the Cushings preferred to hunt the undead using traps, long range weapons such as crossbows, flaming torches and crosses. They also preferred to combat them during the day time and when they were on their own too. When it came to staking meanwhile, it was often a messy and prolonged process. Simply stabbing a wooden stake through a normal persons chest would be a very difficult process contrary to how most modern vampire hunters make it look. Vampires meanwhile often have stronger bodies than humans and therefore most vampire hunters for centuries where forced to use a hammer or a mallet to drive the stake into the chest. As a result hunters could only really stake vampires during the day when they slept.

That’s not to say that the likes of Daniel Holtz and the Cushings couldn’t handle themselves in a fight, and that there were never any instances of a skilled fighter overpowering a vampire. Generally speaking however, one on one fights were things that vampire hunters wanted to avoid, due to vampires supernatural strength, speed, agility and endurance.

Kwan however was determined to find a way for an ordinary human to defend him or herself from the undead in any scenario, and so he built a new method of fighting that not only incorporated many different kinds of martial arts, but also numerous different techniques from vampire hunters too.

Using this style Kwan worked out how to use a vampires greater strength and endurance against it, studied all of the information available on the different breeds and matched them with the correct forms of martial arts etc. Perhaps his greatest contribution however was the creation of a new method of staking vampires.

Using a similar process to the famed one inch punch. Kwan worked out a method where an ordinary person, through carefully pressing their entire body weight onto the stake, could push it with enough force to cut through even a vampires chest easily.

This method soon spread throughout the vampire hunters community thanks to the many contacts and allies Kwan had built up during his time in Europe and would eventually become mandatory training in most vampire hunting organisations. Even freelance and lone vampire hunters would study and learn Kwan’s new staking technique that would jokingly be referred to as the “one inch stake.”

Many tall tales and stories would be told about Kwan during this time, with some claiming that he could beat any vampire or demon or monster. Kwan himself however always remained humbled by the admittedly few defeats he had endured. He constantly reminded his students that no one is unbeatable, and that one must never become arrogant when dealing with the supernatural. The basis for Kwan’s entire philosophy was that it’s not just about the punches you throw, the kicks you make, but also the environment, the weapons and above all else your knowledge of your opponent. The second you buy into your own hype as unstoppable vampire killer and forget that, then even the most inexperienced, common vampire can defeat you.

Kwan’s new fighting style that he dubbed Jineng Chaoguo Liliang would prove vital in pushing back the massive wave of vampires that had emerged in Europe after the second world war. Whilst the Nazis were thankfully crushed at the end of the war, the vampires they had allied themselves with and who had been given a chance to spread and unify throughout Europe, would continue to thrive and grow in power throughout the 50s, 60s and early 70s to an even greater extent than in the East.

Kwan’s technique couldn’t have come at a better time, and in addition to this, Kwan himself would also play a vital role in taking down one of the leaders of the European vampire war machine, Roskaria, a vampire king and former friend of Hitler, who was carrying out a eugenics program on a secret island. Roskaria wanted to create the perfect human who in turn would make the perfect vampire. Those he captured were subject to horrific experiments as well as put through gruelling tests to make sure they were strong enough mentally to be part of his super race of vampires. From this island Roskaria also controlled many of the vampire operations throughout Europe.

Kwan would be part of a special team, which also included his old friend and former partner Harold Jackson and his former lover Michelle who infiltrated the island, though it was Kwan himself who personally slew Roskaria.

Following this incident, Kwan would travel back to Hong Kong. Feeling that he had somewhat neglected his own people by focusing too much on the vampire crisis in the West.

Kwan would come to settle in the small city of Hatsuka, which always had a thriving vampire population in the year 1975 after taking care of the original vampires that had forced him to flee from Jaisa in the first place.

He initially hoped he could free Hatuska as easily as he had done his own town and Lawless, but he soon learned that these bloodsuckers were much better organised and were in fact at the centre of the vampire operations of Hong Kong, forcing him to stay a lot longer than he he had intended.

Whilst there he soon fell in love with a young woman named Valerie Yeoh, whose husband had been killed by a particularly vicious vampire. With her help, Kwan tracked down and killed the vampire which would subsequently inspire other people in the city to start fighting back against the undead. Kwan would also open his own martial arts school in Hatsuka, which was helped many others learn how to fight back against the vampires.

Kwan and Valerie meanwhile would later marry in 1976, with Kwan becoming the adopted father of her daughter, Amy. Unfortunately however, Amy did not like Kwan. In spite of the fact that he had avenged her fathers death, she viewed him as a menace, who was antagonizing the vampires unnecessarily and that sooner or later it would lead to catastrophe. In all fairness to Amy this would be proven to be correct somewhat, not only by the constant attacks by vampires against the family. (At one point Amy’s school was even attacked by a pack of vamps) but the greater tragedy that was to befall Hatsuka as a result of Kwan’s notoriety.

Just as in most other places, the local gangsters, the “Red Dragons” in Hatsuka had been feuding with the vampire community for many years and the vampires had by and large emerged victorious. Prior to the war, the Red Dragons had been the equals to the vampires who also always had a presence in the city, but the greater influx of vampires after the war had diminished them to a small, pitiful collection of thugs and amateurs, forced to carry out a few petty crimes just to make ends meet. Most people weren’t even aware they still existed.

This would prove advantageous to the remnants of the gang however when they were able to successfully capture both Valerie and Amy. The gang threatened to kill them unless Kwan agreed to destroy a powerful resurrection spell contained within the legendary Hatsuka Pagoda.

The Pagoda was located outside of the city and was long believed to have been abandoned. Rumours however persisted that it was haunted or populated by unnatural creatures, but no one, including even the vampires were seemingly brave enough to check it out.

In truth however the Pagoda contained a powerful spell that had been created by the supreme vampire king of the East, Hu Sian. Once a powerful wizard who fought to protect the people of China. Hu Sian had fallen victim to a vampire during one of his many battles against the undead. Slowly but surely he united his new people, the vampires and other supernatural creatures together under his rule. Sadly for him however any empire or organisation he tried to build never lasted, as vampires were such cowardly, self serving creatures. Still using his various resources and knowledge of magics. Hu Sian was able to build a powerful spell which could bring anyone who died in one particular area back to life, regardless of how they died. It was arguably the greatest resurrection spell ever devised in the history of the planet at that point, outside of the Gods own resurrection spell to revitalise the earth after Set’s rampage.

Hu Sian then built a stadium of sorts using magic in this area where he would force creatures to fight one another over and over again. Each creature would be allowed to die five times after which if they had failed then they would be banished through a portal to Quortoth, the darkest of the dark worlds. If they survived however they would not be released, but they would be given extra lives. Obviously none of the combatants were volunteers. They d all been kidnapped by Hu Sian’s vampire and demon minions from all over the world.

The arena was located below the city of Hatsuka. Most of the cities population didn’t even know it existed and even Kwan himself was sceptical.

These sick and twisted games became a useful way for Hu Sian to further gain influence and power as vampires from all over the world came to see these games and would pay anything, magic, victims, favours of various kinds.

The magics required not only to resurrect the creatures involved, but keep them locked up and the portal to Qurtoth open were kept at the very top of the Pagoda in the form of a large magical sphere. Hu Sian had tremendous affection for the Pagoda, and Hatsuka in general, as it had been the scene of one of his greatest triumphs as a man. Though some think by making it the center of his new vampiric empire, Hu Sian was also wanting to purge himself of his former humanity as most vampires do.

Each floor to the Pagoda was guarded by a creature that had previously fought in the games and proven its worth. There were five floors in total. Kwan knew that he would have no chance to defeat the creatures on his own, but fortunately he would be allowed to take only two men to accompany him on the floors of the Pagoda. The magic that guarded it would prevent any more than three people from taking part in this twisted game. Quite why Hu Sian had designed it this way, is not known, but many suspect that it was because he never lost his sense of honour and wanted to give even his opponents a sporting chance. Kwan chose his two most promising students, Yixen Chan and Ying Hung who had already helped him take down a particularly vicious nest of vampires.

The Red Dragon wanted Kwan to destroy the talisman that was creating and sustaining the games in the hopes of crippling the vampires empire and influence. Sadly there was nothing Kwan could do to save his wife and adopted daughter other than to go with the Red Dragons wishes. The criminals had enlisted the aid of a powerful demonic sorcerer and rival to the vampires for help, and through dark magics he had encased both Kwan’s wife and step daughter in a bubble which would rip them slowly apart if any of the Red Dragon were killed. It would also only evaporate if the Pagoda’s spell was destroyed.

Finally the Red Dragon had also lied to Kwan, stating that the vampires were forcing innocent humans to take part in the games. (The bloodsuckers only didn’t use humans because they didn’t last long enough.) Kwan however should have investigated further and would have if it had been any other case. Sadly he was all too eager to brush aside the larger consequences for the sake of his family. To be fair even the Red Dragon themselves had no idea of the full horrors they would be unleashing, thinking that the monsters would turn on the vampires for enslaving them.

Kwan insisted that they visit the Pagoda during the daytime however. He wanted to be sure to have the sun as an advantage if there were any vampires nearby.

When they reached the Pagoda they saw that there was no entrance. The entire building looked beautiful. It was bright gold (gold was the colour of magic, which suggested that the entire building was constructed out of magic.) Suddenly however a skeleton creature appeared out of thin air to Kwan, asking him if he was here to compete in “the Trials”. Kwan reluctantly said he was, and the Skeleton then told him that in order to destroy the sphere at the top he would have to wear a special magical suit. A yellow suit, with black stripes down either side. Again Kwan agreed and the suit suddenly appeared on him, after which a door opened up leading to the first floor, with the skeleton creature vanishing just as quickly as it had arrived.

The first floor of the Pagoda was straight forward enough. It was filled with six zombies, all of whom could move fast and were very skilled fighters, though other than their instinctive fighting skills, they were still dumb and consumed with a desire to eat the flesh of the victims. The first floor was also filled with the bones of their former victims. Kwan and his two students weren’t allowed to bring weapons into the Pagoda either. Instead they could only use the weapons that were supplied on each floor. On the first floor were three large blunt object’s at the very back.

Kwan had never dealt with zombies before. His speciality was after all the vampire. Still he knew that most breeds of zombie could be killed by a sharp blow to the head. (The magic that reanimated them, often took root in the head.)

However when Kwan and his two friends struck the zombies in the head though they would die, the magic of the Pagoda would instantly revive the magical creatures.

Worse there was no way to simply skip past this stage. The stairs to the next level would only appear if all the guardians of the first floor were slain. Kwan however soon figured out that the zombies could be killed by completely destroying the head, rather than just a simple blow. Working together, Kwan’s two students would hold the rest of the zombies off, whilst he used the weapon to smash each zombies head into mush. Once the last of the corpses was taken care of, stairs appeared at the back of the room, allowing Kwan and his students to ascend to the next level.

On the second floor, there was a giant praying Mantis creature, whilst the weapons, which this time were by the stair case, were three cutlasses. This creature was not a demon however. It was a beast, an order of creatures that originated within the Savage Realm. Beasts were not as malicious as Demons. They simply hunted and killed to survive like animals, though unlike animals they possessed unnatural powers and in some cases greater intelligence. Cyclops, Centaurs, Manticores, Hydra’s and Minotaurs were other more famous examples of beasts.

This creature’s species meanwhile known as the Instregia, were very rare. They stood up to 12 feet tall, and possessed tremendous physical strength. What really made them so dangerous however, were their lightening fast reflexes.

Kwan and his two students attacked the beast at once, but it easily managed to deflect their blows with the cutlasses using its pincers. No matter where and how fast they tried to strike, the Mantis continued to deflect their blows. Kwan tried to work round this by having his two companions strike either pincer whilst he tried to go for its eyes, but the beast it seemed was smarter than it looked, and pushed Kwan’s student into him as he prepared to strike.

The beast then started to make its attack and began slashing its pincers at Kwan. He did his best to try and block, but he wasn’t fast enough and the Mantis slashed his chest and then clubbed him out. Again Kwan’s two students tried to strike the insect from behind, but it swung round and knocked them both out. The beast then dragged Kwan towards the other end of the room, where the remains of its previous victims were. It intended to wrap Kwan up in a sack where it would keep him alive for weeks, possibly years as it slowly ate his flesh. The Instregia did not have to eat much to survive and therefore could live off of its prey for a long time. The magical properties in its sack could keep its victims alive without food or water, and even after their organs had been removed. The creature liked its meat to be fresh after all.

Kwan came to as the Instregia started to wrap its sack, which it spun from its mouth in a delicate process around his legs. He’d never felt a force like it before. He honestly thought his legs were being crushed at first and he couldn’t move them at all. He tried to crawl away using his arms, but the giant insect held him tight. As he looked around he could see the remains of the previous creatures victims wrapped up in similar sacks. Only the head and torso of the one closest to Kwan remained, and even then most of its skin had been peeled off and its torso ripped up the middle. Its face had been so mangled and disfigured it would have been impossible to know who it was in life, but even then Kwan could still see an expression of unbelievable, horrific agony etched onto the unfortunate souls distorted face.

For the first time in his life Kwan was genuinely terrified and did his best to try and crawl away. He wasn’t even attempting to fight back as he knew it would be pointless. Fortunately however Yixen Chan distracted the beast long enough for his master to crawl towards his cutlass which he used to cut through the sack covering his legs. Chan’s distraction did nothing to hurt the giant insect meanwhile. He struck at one of its legs, using his cutlass with all his might, but the cutlass actually bounced off of the creatures skin.

It was at that point that Kwan realised that the creatures only weak points were its large bulbous eyes and a plan started to form in his head.

Running under the creature and towards his student. Kwan snatched Yixen’s cutlass and pushed his student behind. He then struck at the Insect with one of the cutlasses, and again the beast effortlessly blocked it.

This time however Kwan held on and pushed his cutlass towards his opponent, until eventually Kwan’s sword was knocked high into the air. Kwan then struck the Insect with his other cutlass, and yet again it blocked it, but this time Kwan held the animal in place whilst his previous sword fell on top of one of the Instregia’s eyes and cut it.

That had been Kwan’s plan all along. He knew that if he just threw the sword at its face it would block it, so he had to make the abomination think that the sword had just been flung out of its hand and then he had to keep it in place and distract the abomination with another strike.

His gamble paid off, and whilst the Instregia was distracted by the pain, Kwan struck its other eye with the cutlass, blinding it.

The beast started flailing around, desperately clawing at the air, whilst Yixen dragged Ying who was still unconscious to safety. Kwan meanwhile waited for the right chance and soon jumped onto the Mantis’ back. Holding on tight, he climbed up towards its head and stabbed his cutlass straight through its eye and into its brain.

The beast instantly collapsed to the floor and with its death, another stair case appeared leading to the next floor.

The three men needed a few minutes before ascending to the next level. Kwan knew it was wrong to even ask his two students, who despite their skill were clearly out of their depth to come along, but sadly, even now he wasn’t prepared to ask them to leave. The Instregia had shown him how much he needed help.

The guardian of the next floor was a monster. Much like beast, monster has come to refer to any unnatural creature in the modern age, but originally the word was used to refer to a particular group of creatures who originated from outside our omniverse. Where they actually came from, no one knows. Some speculated that they were from another omniverse that had died, others that they were the creation of a rival to our the creator of our universe. Whatever the case, the monsters came in many shapes and sizes, but they were all seemingly devoted to the destruction of all life in our reality.

This monster however appeared to be relatively human in appearance, but as soon as Kwan approached it, one of its arms turned into a long green tentacle and it not only smacked the cutlass out of Kwan’s hand, but hit him across the face, knocking several of his teeth out in the process.

Kwan’s two students instantly tried to retaliate, but this time both of the monsters arms turned into tentacles and it grabbed both men by the legs and started swinging them into the air before tossing them to either side of the room.

Kwan meanwhile noticed that there were three pairs of nunchucks on the wall beside the stair case. He instantly ran towards them, picked up a pair of nunchucks and went to his friends aid, before the monster could keep tormenting them.

The guardian swung its tentacles at Kwan, but he managed to deflect them with his nunchucks, which seemed to create electrical shocks for the monsters tentacles. Obviously they were made of some mystical force that could harm this relatively unknown creature. The two fighters continued to strike at each other, both landing blows, but nothing serious for the next few minutes. It soon became obvious to Kwan that the monster was merely toying with him however, as it slowly drove him back to the staircase. Yixen attempted to intervene and attack the monster from behind cutting off one of its tentacled arms. He then managed to impale it, before the beast whacked him with a tentacle towards Kwan.

Enraged, the monster started to assume its true form. Both its legs and its arms (with the severed arm instantly re-growing) turned into several long tentacles, whilst its skin turned completely green. The monsters head meanwhile transformed into a bald, green skinned, reptillian looking monster, with large fangs and a forked tongue.

It was hard to make out the rest of its body as it was concealed behind a mass of tentacles but it appeared to be long and serpentine. Kwan tried to use his nunchucks again, but this time there were so many tentacles that he was overwhelmed. The monster not only beat Kwan to the ground but it soon ensnared him in several of its limbs.

Yixen meanwhile tried to slash at its tentacles, but a quick strike from one sent him tumbling back down the stairs to the second floor again, breaking his arm in the process. The monster then picked up his cutlass and shattered it to pieces.

Ying meanwhile, having dislocated one shoulder when the monster threw him across the room, still continued to try and fight the tentacled abomination. He slashed his sword as fast as he could at the incoming tentacles and managed to slice several of them off, but there were just too many of them and worse, much like a Hydra they’d keep regrowing. Several of the tentacles were able to trip him up from under, whilst more soon came down on his back whilst he was on the floor. Cutting him like a vicious cat o nine tails.

Meanwhile Yixen managed to crawl his way back up the stairs and fetching another pair of nunchucks attacked the monster. He was soon overpowered, but his distraction bought Ying enough time to take off more of its tentacles. He even managed to hack at several of the tentacles that had ensnared Kwan, though Kwans attempts to try and reach the monsters head proved to be just as futile as his two students.

Once again however just as it seemed as though this monster was indestructible. Kwan quickly got an idea. Picking up his nunchucks and his cutlass, Kwan sliced off one of the monsters tentacles, but before it could regrow he struck the stub of its tentacle with the nunchuk. Whilst the tentacle did regrow, it took almost a minute longer and the monster actually recoiled in pain when the nunchuck hit its stump, which it had never done before.

Using this combination Kwan sliced off almost all of the monsters tentacles, and hit them with the nunchucks afterwards until they were almost all gone. In desperation the monster resumed its human form, with both its limbs (made up of surviving tentacles.) It dodged Kwan and tried to make a break for ironically the last pair of nunchucks to defend itself until its limbs could grow back, but with one strike of his cutlass, Kwan parted the monsters head from its shoulders. It resumed its original form one last time, before melting into a puddle on the floor, after which the staircase to the fourth floor appeared.

The guardian of this level of the Pagoda was a vandal. These demons were rivals to vampires. Both were created by two different members of the same ancient race of demons. The Kardons, and therefore were ironically much more closely related to each other than they were to other demon races. Both however instinctively despised one another as their creators had been bitter rivals.

Whilst vandals shared many of the same powers and weaknesses as vampires, they fed on their victims souls rather than their blood, and they fed on them using their claws instead of their fangs. There were many different species of vandals, just as there were vampires. Kwan had a few dealings with vandals over the years. In fact he had even been forced to work with one, reluctantly, to take down a powerful European vampire king. Still just because vandals were the sworn enemies of vampires did not mean that they were not every bit as evil and twisted as the bloodsuckers themselves.

This vandal belonged to a particularly vicious breed known as the Tascersia, though its appearance was mostly human however. It was slightly more gaunt and its expression more blanc than a normal human, and as soon as the three challengers entered the fourth floor, the vandal’s finger nails grew into 12 inch long claws. Its eyes also started to glow red and a cruel smile started to form on its lips.

Kwan as always was the first to strike with his nunchucks, but the vandal sliced through them instantly and delivered another deep scratch into Kwan’s stomach, and then another across his right hand cheek, before kicking him in the chest.

Yixen attempted to land a blow next and went for the vandals feet. He did actually manage to catch the demon off guard and trip it to the floor. Ying then intervened and impaled the monster through the heart with his cutlass. Sadly however it didn’t even hurt the vandal, who responded by slicing Yings throat with one of its claws.

Yixen attempted to help Ying as he chocked on his own blood, but sadly there was nothing he could do and the vandal after pulling the sword out of its stomach sliced Yixen with it across the chest as he attempted to defend his friend, whilst a quick slash to the chest sent Kwan crashing to the ground. The vandal then picked up Ying as he was nearing death and stabbed its left hand straight through his stomach.

The vandal glowed blue as Ying’s body started to wither. Kwan had seen this revolting process of the vandal devouring its victims soul before and sadly he had been just as helpless to stop it the last time. After the demon stopped glowing it threw Ying’s lifeless husk of a body at his two friends, and then pulled Kwan out from under the withered corpse of his student by his foot.

It was stronger than before after its recent “meal” and felt it could have fun with Kwan. It repeatedly slashed at him. Kwan however was able to trip the soul devourer to the ground by grabbing hold of one its feet with both of his.

He briefly held the vandal there for a few seconds before it broke free due to its superior strength. Yixen meanwhile tried to strike at the vandals throat with his cutlass, but the with swipe of its claws the vandal cut the blade into pieces. Kwan however seized the opportunity and with a powerful air kick he sent the vandal flying several feet.

Kwan then had a quick scan of the room for weapons, only to see that in contrast to the previous floors there was nothing on any of the walls. However he soon saw that there was a large wooden pillar at the centre of the room. A wooden stake through the heart was the most common weakness of both vampires and vandals.

When the demon rose to its feet again, Kwan told his student to stay back. For now. He then jumped over the Demon as it charged at him and landed next to the pillar which he broke in half with one kick.

Kwan then lifted one half of the pillar up and rammed it towards the vandal. The demons claws however however easily allowed it to slice through the stake before Kwan could get it anywhere near its heart.

Yixen then tried to kick the the vandal towards the stake from behind, but again the clawed monstrosity was too quick, and it overpowered Yixen. The vandal held its claws to Yixen’s throat and demanded that Kwan put the stake down and kick it toward it which he did. The soul devourer then used its strength to completely snap the stake with its foot.

At the same time however Yixen managed to land a lucky strike on the vandals foot with his own whilst the demon was distracted by Kwan, after which he then flipped over the vandals head and pushed it towards Kwan, who delivered a punch with all his strength to the vandals ribs, breaking them.

Whilst the vandal was temporarily stunned by the pain, Kwan lifted it up over his head and threw the vandal several feet onto the bottom half of the broken wooden pillar sticking out of the floor. The vandal was impaled, but not deep enough to pierce its heart, but Kwan, wasting no time delivered a series of furious punches to the vandals stomach which pushed it down deep enough for the broken pillar to go straight through its heart.

The vandal instantly crumbled to dust and a stair case to the fifth and final floor appeared.

Sadly neither Kwan nor Yixen had time to mourn their fallen colleague as they were so desperate to get this nightmare over with, they both instantly ascended to the top floor. Both men were also running almost solely on adrenaline. If they actually stopped to think about it, they’d not only feel the exhaustion, but the numerous deep cuts and broken bones they had endured too.

The top floor was darker than the others. So dark in fact it was difficult to see. There were no windows of any kind and the walls appeared to be made of wood, or rather magic resembling wood. Finally there were also once no weapons to be seen. The fifth guardian meanwhile soon emerged from the darkness ahead. Kwan couldn’t believe it when he saw the creatures monstrous face came into the very little light that was there from the staircase to the fourth floor. It was a Turok Han. Kwan had read about these creatures extensively in his research, but most people believed them to be a myth or extinct. Even the Cushings whilst championing their existence more than most other hunters, had not encountered one in over 700 years. Kwan recognised the demon based on Harold Cushing’s illustration of the creature, that was said to have killed six members of his family.

The Turok Han was contrary to popular belief not strictly speaking a vampire. It was a relative of the vampire family, created by Khastran, the creator of the vampire race. Khastran was once the most powerful and feared of all demons and the ruler of the Hellish realm. He was ultimately slain on our planet, by the combined might of both the Gods and the Angels. Just before his death however Khastran created lesser demonic creatures solely for the purpose of ensuring his resurrection. Once these demonic children, who he shared a link with, even from beyond the grave outnumbered humanity then he would live again. The Turok Han were the first such attempt to create a race like this, but despite their power and ferocity. Khastran soon abandoned them. The problem with the Turok Han was that they were too demonic and could not blend in with humanity. The vampire would prove to be a much more effective creature, as whilst still as evil and bloodthirsty as the Turok Han, it’s more human appearance and the fact that they were once human, meant that they could infiltrate and understand humanity better. Though thanks to people like Kwan they had never managed to outnumber us and resurrect their father.

Still a few Turok Han would survive and continue to multiply over the centuries. The fact that Khastran didn’t bother to perfect the Turok Han curse the way he would with vampirism meant it was more difficult and unpredictable for Turok Han to turn others into members of their own kind. Whilst anyone could be transformed into a vampire, only those with the absolute strongest bodies could withstand the change into a Turok Han. Ironically Kwan himself probably would have been an ideal candidate.

The Turok Han shared their vampiric cousins thirst for blood, though they lacked any higher intelligence. They were driven purely by an instinct to kill, and torture and were feared even among other demons.

The fifth guardian was naturally the strongest of all the guardians and when Yixen tried to attack first this time, the demon sent him flying over ten feet to the other end of the room. Kwan was a little luckier and managed to land a punch on the Turok Han’s chest, but the bloodsucker didn’t even flinch. Fortunately Kwan was able to duck its retaliation and tried to trip the Turok Han up, like he had done with the vandal. Unfortunately however due to its vastly superior strength, he couldn’t even budge the brute’s legs. The bloodsucker then responded by kicking Kwan across to the other end of the room.

Yixen meanwhile jumped up and tried his best to fight off the demon. He delivered a series of punches to the vampire like creatures chest and face, but again it did nothing and the Turok Han, proving to be a lot faster than its towering, almost seven foot frame would suggest. Easily deflected one of Yixens punches and started to twist his remaining arm. Yixen tried to pull free as hard as he could, but the Turok Han’s strength was just too great.

Kwan tried to bring the Turok Han down with an air kick, but the bloodsucker simply swatted him away with its other hand. It then put its foot on Kwan’s chest and held him down.

The monster, proving that it wasn’t quite an animal in terms of intelligence despite its savageness, made Kwan watch as it slowly tortured his student. First it broke Yixens remaining arm, which it then pulled off completely. Then it ripped off his already broken arm, before disembowling him with the talons on its hands.

All the while Kwan furiously struck the bloodsucker to no avail. Yixen tried to remain stoic at first, but as the Turok Han tore more pieces off, he began to scream and beg Kwan for help, but sadly there was nothing his old teacher could do.

After a few more minutes of torture, the Turok Han finally put Yixen out of his misery. First it brought his spine down on its knee, breaking it in two, and then it pulled on both his shoulders and legs until he was ripped in half, after which it tossed either piece aside.

The Turok Han then reached down for Kwan and lifted him up by the throat with one hand, whilst another it dug its talons into his stomach slowly. Kwan in desperation started to dig his thumb into the Turok Han’s right eye. At first the sadistic monster tried to shrug it off, but eventually it became too much even for it and the demonic fighter dropped Kwan.

As Kwan tried to flee however, the Turok Han reached out and dug its claws into his back. Before it could hoist him into the air again, Kwan managed to pull free, albeit at the cost of the flesh the monster had grabbed onto.

Kwan knew he couldn’t possibly hope to defeat the Turok Han on his own and with no weapons, and so he headed back to the stair case, hoping he could find the nunchucks on the third floor. Unfortunately however when he reached the stair case it vanished.

He was now completely trapped and alone with this savage and for the first time in his life, he honestly had no idea what to do, other than to run from his enemy, whilst he tried to think of a strategy, if there even was one.

The Turok Han however caught up with Kwan again. (It didn’t help that entire room was now completely dark.) The Turok Han held Kwan by the arm and snapped it like a twig before throwing him on the ground. (Making sure Kwan landed on his broken arm.) The bloodsucker then stood on his broken arm, before trying to bring its foot down on his spine. Fortunately however Kwan had just enough strength left to dodge its attack, but the Turok Han was relentless. It kept trying to crush him under its feet, with Kwan only narrowly keeping out of the way, rolling ahead of the undead demon until eventually he hit the wall of the fifth level.

Knowing there was nowhere else for him to go. Kwan stood up to face the Turok Han one last time, but soon saw that the vampiric creature was suddenly being more cautious around him, after it had been gripped in the throes of bloodlust.

Kwan suddenly figured it out. He remembered reading in the Cushings diary, that one weakness the Turok Han shared with many of its vampiric cousins was a vulnerability to sunlight.

Clearly the Turok Han was scared of accidently breaking the thin wooden walls in case Kwan ducked. Now at last with an advantage, Kwan walked slowly to the side with the Turok Han following him, before reaching out with his good hand and jabbing the Turok Han in the same eye he had previously stuck his thumb into.

Whilst the super demon briefly keeled back in pain. Kwan turned around and used two one inch punches to break through the wall behind, allowing sunlight to pour into the room. The Turok Han was briefly caught in the suns rays and its body instantly began to burn, but it managed to get out of the way in time before it completely caught fire. The monster however was severely burned and overcome with rage for the first time towards its attacker, but Kwan wisely kept in the suns rays and continued to kick and punch at the wall, breaking more parts of it open. The Turok Han however kept retreating back into the shadows, and in desperation Kwan reached out to try and pull the demon into the suns rays. Instead however the Turok Han grabbed hold of Kwan and pulled him out of its rays. Fortunately however Kwan managed to lift a broken piece of wood from the wall with his feet which he then stabbed into the Turok Hans chest when it lifted him over its head.

Unfortunately however a stake through the heart could not kill a Turok Han, but Kwan didn’t stop there and ripped the make shift stake out of the monsters heart and slashed it across the face several times before stabbing it in its wounded eye which he used to push the demonic guardian into the suns rays. This time its entire body started to go up in flames, yet it still struggled to get free of the sunlight. Kwan then delivered a final air kick to the stake in the monsters eye which finally sent it tumbling backwards and out through the hole in the wall. The Turok Han’s body completely burned up into nothing but a pile of ash before it even reached the bottom of the five stories of the Pagoda.

With its death a new door appeared at the back of the room, leading to what Kwan had come here for in the first place.

Before he could finish his task however, he had to rest. The exhaustion and his injuries had finally caught up with him and he collapsed on the Pagoda floor. It also now sunk in that he had led two young men, who had originally come to him for help to their deaths. He had made it clear to both Yixen and Ying before that there was a strong chance they wouldn’t make it back, but they still readily agreed to help him. Kwan had helped rescue their families from vampires after all, and so they felt it was the least they could do to try and save his. Still he should have known they were not ready, but again he was desperate for help and they were the best he had.

Kwan actually hoped that some of the injuries the guardians had inflicted on him would turn out to be fatal, as whilst he would do all he could to protect his family. In many ways he didn’t want to make it out of this alive either.

After a few more minutes, he hoisted himself up and trundled towards the door. On the inside of the room was nothing but a large blue sphere. As Kwan prepared to muster up the energy for a flying kick, the skeleton creature from outside suddenly reappeared.

“Congratulations. I didn’t think you would have defeated the Turok Han. He had over 900 kills in the arena, without a single defeat. Including me. I was once a great warrior like you, you know.” The creature said before Kwan interrupted.

“Unless you have anything useful to tell me, please I’d rather not have an audience.” Kwan said.

“Why is that? You’ll be freeing lots of innocent people, or do you know deep in your heart that is a lie, one that you’ve spun as much as those vile men who have imprisoned your loved ones?” The creature asked.

Kwan didn’t say anything. He knew he couldn’t.

“You won’t be rescuing anyone but your family. Worse if you break that sphere, you’ll be unleashing all of the demons, monsters and beasts locked up in the arena. Your city will become a haven for the very kinds of creatures you’ve devoted your entire life to fighting. Are you really willing to let that happen?”

Kwan paused for a few seconds.

“Help me.” He asked.

“You clearly have greater power than that sorcerer if you’re a part of all this. Please. I defeated your champions. I overcame your trials. You owe me. Destroy the spell the Red Dragons have placed around my family.” Kwan pleaded.

Sadly however the Skeleton creature was not co-operative.

“I want to, but I am afraid, just like guardians I am bound here by the magic of Hu Sian. He would never help you. He loves to play his games. They’re the only thing that makes his immortal life worth living. The only way I can stop you is to tell you that thousands of people will die if you destroy that orb. Your conscience is the final challenge.”

The Skeleton creature vanished and Kwan would think it over for a few minutes. He tried to rationalise it in his head, arguing with himself that if he didn’t break it, his family would die, but that this way he could help fight the monsters that were unleashed into the city. He also tried to make himself believe that the Skeleton was lying to him as well, but in the end, he put all the thoughts out of his head and smashed the sphere with an air kick. He let his emotions take over for just a second and it was enough to damn him.

As soon as the sphere smashed, the entire Pagoda began to shake and break apart. Kwan wisely stumbled down stairs of every floor and outside, just as the Pagoda turned into a massive ray of light, stretching up into the sky, which then vanished completely, leaving nothing behind.

Up ahead meanwhile Kwan could see that the city of Hatsuka breaking apart. Buildings collapsed as the ground opened up at various places and hordes of monsters, beasts and demons all emerged in search of new victims. Kwan instantly ran back to the city to try and help, but there was obviously very little he could do.

For the next few weeks, the city would be completely ravaged. Hundreds of people lost their lives as Hatsuka became a no mans land. Kwan was able to find both his wife and step daughter meanwhile. Whilst Valerie was grateful for what he had done, Amy called him a murderer and selfish, accusations that Kwan didn’t argue with.

Eventually Hu Sian whilst amused by the chaos his former pets were causing, soon felt that Hatsuka was more trouble than it was worth and decided to destroy the city to avoid the paranormal being exposed. Using the portal to Quortoth underneath it, Hu Sian sucked the entire city to the darkest of the dark worlds. He gave Kwan a warning, 24 hours before as a sign of respect for passing his trials. (He also allowed Kwan to keep the yellow suit from the Pagoda too, which did allow Kwan a certain immunity to certain magics and had even healed his wounds after the Pagoda had collapsed. Kwan would continue to keep the yellow suit as his main battle costume for the rest of his life. He became instantly recognizable for it. Some say that he kept it not just because of its power, but also as a reminder of the horrors he had unleashed.)

At the same time however Hu Sian also sent a Nelapsi after Kwan to try and block his escape from the city, viewing it as another fun game. (The Nelapsi were similar vampiric creatures even more ferocious than the Turok Han. Hu Sian hadn’t even let it fight in the arena as he felt it would be pointless as it would slaughter all competition.)

Kwan was able to get several people to safety before the city was sucked into Quortoth, but sadly most of the cities surviving population would be pulled under with it. Finally as Kwan would later learn, some of the demons and beasts and monsters had also managed to escape the city, including some who had become extinct in the wild, who would once again flourish.

After escaping, Kwan and his family would flee back to Europe. Utterly crushed by what he had done, Kwan left his family for their sake. Valerie begged Kwan to stay, but he refused. He felt that not only was he putting them in danger, but that he did not deserve Valerie after what he had done. Kwan would devote himself to finding and destroying Hu Sian. He would bring down many of the vampires other operations and sick games all over China. At first the vampire king found Kwan’s antics amusing, but eventually he grew to genuinely be angry with Kwan and their feud became more bitter on both ends.

Ironically Kwan would later work with Amy, who took up being a vampire killer in his absence. Their relationship would greatly improve over this time as they both worked together to destroy the monster that had dragged her home city to hell. Amy would even apologise to Kwan for having been so hard on him, having come to see how there is a need for people to do what he does, and that had other people stepped up sooner then Hatsuka may not have been lost. At the same time however she also made clear that whilst she understood why he saved her and her mother, she could never condone the choice he had made in the Pagoda. Kwan agreed and every night he would be haunted by nightmares of seeing the city he had once sworn to protect be pulled into the darkest of dark worlds.

In 1985, after working with his step daughter for many years and finally bringing down Hu Sian’s empire, Kwan would disappear. It would later be discovered that he had joined the enigmatic time travelling vampire killer, Marcus Cushing on his travels to fight vampires throughout all of human history.

Together, Marcus, Kwan and a woman from the 14th century named Caro would travel through time and space in a magical temple, battling vampires throughout all of space and time. What became of him on these adventures is a story for another time however.

Whilst Ching Kwan would go on to do many more heroic things, sadly nothing could ever make up for the Hatsuka tragedy. Over two thousand people, either lost their lives or worse were condemned to the most nightmarish hell dimension. Contrary to what many of his defenders and followers say. He knew the full ramifications of what would happen if he destroyed the orb. He overcame the most powerful opponents knowing what would happen. Neither the claws of a Turok Han or his own conscience could stop him.

The important lesson to learn here is that you can never, ever play by the rules of the forces of darkness. No matter what is at stake. Kwan, despite his great intellect and bravery. Let himself become a pawn of not just the Red Dragons and their Demonic sorcerer, but of Hu Sian himself, who viewed the Trials of the Pagoda as an amusing little game. Kwan should have tried to find another way. Whilst his most ardent followers would insist that anyone would have done the same, and maybe that’s true, we must always remember that no good can come of bending to creatures like vampires will, no matter how we try and justify it to ourselves.

Sadly Ching Kwan, who was otherwise quite possibly the greatest vampire killer, will always serve as a stark reminded to the rest of us. For all his great accomplishments, to many he will only be remembered as the man who condemned thousands of innocents to the darkest hell dimension to save his own family.

My First Experience with Vampires

It’s difficult to describe your reaction the first time you meet a vampire. Many things go through your mind at once. On the one hand you try and rationalise it any way you can, on the other however there is a twisted fascination because it challenges everything you thought you knew.

If vampires exist, what else is real? You now know that life after death is possible, that creatures who defy the natural order exist, and that mankind does not rule the world in the way we would like to believe.

Above all else however is the terror of not just facing such an unforgiving, relentless monster, but of knowing that thousands of others like it are out there, hiding in the dark.

My name is Ferne Shelley and this is how I came to learn the truth about vampires.

My first encounter with the undead occurred in the quaint little town of Lista. I had just finished my Psychology degree at The University of Essex. I must confess that I had largely become a student in the first place simply because I wanted to put off going to work for a couple of years. In many ways this trip was supposed to just be another way of postponing my inevitable move from being a carefree, happy go lucky student, to the trenches of a 9-5 desk job.

I had three real friends throughout my time at University, Marie, Claire, and Diana. They were really the first friends I ever had. I was always something of a loner as a child, and I was picked on a lot throughout my childhood and my teenage years. I remember being so happy in my last year at school simply because everyone just forgot who I was, which sadly was a step up to how I had been treated before.

My relationship with my parents had also been somewhat cold too. They were never cruel, but at the same time they never really paid that much attention to me either. I remember wanting to confide in them about what was happening at school, but they just weren’t interested in any meaningful way.

They always struck me as being the type of people who didn’t really want to give up the rich social life they had before I was born. Even when I was a young girl, I can remember them leaving me with babysitters and relatives to go on holidays and even just nights out.

When I went to Uni it was like being transported to an entirely different universe (well at least that’s what it felt like at the time. When I did visit another universe years later it was a somewhat different experience)

I’d been mistreated for so long that someone being polite was an alien experience to me. All I really wanted was to matter to someone.

I finally did find someone who loved me for who I was not long into my first year at Uni, Claire Jane. She was a lot more confident than me, she had a boyfriend named Michael who had been her high school sweetheart, but I still got the impression that she was desperate to meet new people as well.

It was easier for her than me, as she was such a friendly, nice, chatty person and it was through her that I would meet Marie and Diana. All four of us were in the same class, and having already loosely known Claire, she asked me along with Marie and Diana to go for a drink one time. The four of us ended up becoming fast friends and my time with them for the next three years would go on to be the happiest in my entire life.

No one made me feel as sure and confident of myself as Claire did. Really she was the cool, older sister I never had. (Even though she was two years younger than me, she just always seemed so much more mature). I thought we would always be friends, with the both of us going down to the pub as old ladies, but sadly life would take us down very different paths.

It all began on our trip through Europe in the year 1979, (twelve years ago) which started badly, when we soon became lost in the German countryside. Sadly whilst Claire was a wonderful woman in many ways, she didn’t have the best sense of direction. To be fair we were all to blame however. We didn’t really have any proper plan. We had just hoped to travel through the German countryside, visiting small towns along the way,  but we just weren’t prepared.

The long, dreary trek’s through the dark, across German roads weren’t exactly what I or any of the other girls had in mind when we envisioned this trip. I thought it would all be having fun at German festivals, getting drunk, maybe meeting some cute German guys.

When we finally reached the town of Lista it was such a relief, though if I had known what was about to happen to the town, I would have turned and run as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

Lista was a beautiful place, with a real innocence among its town folk, which may have been why the vampires had enjoyed targeting it for so long. The pack of vampires that had terrorised the town were led by a particularly vicious member of their kind named Caros, who had been turned sometime in the 15th century.

He was a survivor, having lived through the rule of the vandals (Demonic rivals of vampires who ruled Europe for many centuries) and both world wars. Unlike most other members of his kind he did not join the side of the Nazi’s during the conflict. Not for any moral reasons of course. Being a born survivor he wisely kept himself out of both World Wars and simply continued to prey on small rural areas.

Lista had been his latest target. For months his vampires had been visiting the town every night, dragging people away, men, women, children even infants. Their victims remains would usually be found strung up in trees near the town for their families to find the next day.

The people at first were too scared to do anything against the monsters. Some of the villagers even thought they could appease the vampires, but when it became obvious that the demons couldn’t be bargained with, the people finally fought back.

The vampires having believed that the townsfolk had been terrorised to the point where they were completely docile, were completely caught off guard when the people of Lista pelted the beasts with bottles of holy water. Overwhelmed, the vampires were driven by the villagers to a massive pit they had dug during the day, filled with stakes. The vampires that fell into it were either impaled or burned to death, by being doused with holy water. Caros however was wise enough to flee as soon as he saw the holy water. (Vampires are notorious cowards.) Whilst most of his men were killed by the villagers, unfortunately however Caros just became eager to get the villagers back for this humiliation. It wasn’t just petty revenge. Having built a reputation as the supposed king of the vampires in the local area. Caros could not allow this humiliation to go unpunished.

The villagers meanwhile foolishly believed that they had seen the last of the vampires, and celebrated afterwards.

When we arrived it had been two weeks since the vampires had been “defeated” and the town was still celebrating. We saw was a mass of people gathered round an effigy of Dracula being burned, and there was also a festival in the streets with people wearing Dracula masks and even children holding up crude drawings of vampires with stakes through their hearts!

I remember thinking it was odd, but I assumed it was just an obscure festival like Day of the Dead. It seemed quite charming in a way and we even took part in some of the festivities before finding a hotel for the night. A warm cosy bed, a nice little town, with an eccentric, quirky festival I could tell people about back home. I honestly thought this holiday was finally beginning to pick up. I have tragically never been more wrong about anything in my entire life.

Caros had slowly been building up his forces in the fortnight since his humiliating defeat. Snatching hitchhikers, stopping cars going down the road and pulling their unfortunate occupants out and turning them into vampires. He also recruited numerous vampire clans from the local area, who again feared him and knew of his reputation as the “king”, and called in favours with other vampires from all over Europe to help bring about his revenge.

However what really gave Caros the edge was the fact that he was able to take control of the towns only priest, a man named George. Caros’ breed of vampire who were known as Nosferatu, had the power to take control of any human being that they bit.

Even the strongest wills couldn’t resist the power of a Nosferatu and Caros had bitten the priest on the night his forces were repelled.

The poor souls that the Noseferatu’s take control over are still awake, they are just unable to go against the vampires commands. The priest wanted to warn the town that the vampires were planning another attack with all his heart and soul, but he just couldn’t. Under the vampire kings command he would perform a black mass ritual to deconsentrate all of the holy water. (A ritual which involved him butchering a woman the vampires had captured.) He also obviously would not bless any more water either.

Caros and his now larger group of vampires decided to strike the people of Lista during the night, just after the party.

It was an absolute slaughter. The vampires butchered the people still in the streets, and burned down houses in order to drive people out (as the vampires could not enter a house without an invitation). Without the holy water to burn the vampires from a distance, there was no way anyone in the village could fight back.

I remember waking up to the sound of screaming in the streets. At first I assumed it was just people getting a little bit too rowdy during the festival, but then all of a sudden, something came crashing through the window.

Panicked, I instantly rose from my bed, still somewhat dazed and half asleep. I could see through the smoke which soon filled the air, that there was a fire at the end of the room. I realised what had happened as insane it may have sounded. Someone from the streets had thrown a petrol bomb in through our window!

I turned to wake Claire who was lying next to me. We had been lucky enough to get two rooms, one for me and Claire and another for Marie and Diana. Clare began screaming at the sight of the fire, but thankfully she didn’t let her fear overwhelm her and jumped out of bed whilst making sure that I was right behind her.

We both headed for the door which the fire hadn’t reached yet. Out in the hall everyone had fled their rooms, including Marie and Diana as they had all been petrol bombed. All of the guests and staff hurried down the steps in a stampede through the hall, down the steps and out into the streets.

Outside looked like a war zone. Buildings on fire, people running through the streets in sheer panic. Straight across at the other end of the road, I could see a figure standing over a woman seemingly biting her neck!

The woman was clearly dead. Her throat had been torn clean out, blood was dripping down the pavement and onto the street. The figure standing over her then looked up at us, all huddled together, utterly petrified.

The figure’s skin was completely snow white, its eyes meanwhile were just as red as the blood dripping from its mouth. It had no hair and every tooth in its head was razor sharp, though its upper canines were far longer than the rest of its teeth. The monsters clothes were ratty, and torn and slime dripped from its fingers. I could hear a squelching sound as it walked, barefooted and slowly towards us. It actually left a slime trail behind it just like a slug.

The smell that came from the creature was overwhelming. It practically choked me. Honestly I wanted to be sick just looking at it.

We all began to back away slowly from the monster, when all of a sudden one of the women at the back screamed. I turned and to my horror saw four similar creatures crawling down the walls of the flaming hotel like spiders.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but before I could take it in, the monsters suddenly jumped through the air and landed on several people in the crowd, including the woman who had screamed. The beasts ripped their throats out in seconds with their bare teeth! We all ran. Marie, Diana and Clare all kept close to me. As we fled through the town we saw people being cornered,  beaten, torn apart by ravenous monsters, but there was nothing any of us could do to help them.

We could hear the creatures roaring and hissing behind us, but none of us looked back. I was just so terrified I had no thought other than to get the hell out of this place!

That began to look like an impossibility however. At the end of the road we could see five of the creatures completely covered in blood and entrails blocking the way forward. We all stopped and froze. There was seemingly no way of escape. As I turned round I could see more of those hideous things coming up the other direction. I still couldn’t even believe the situation I was in.

I almost felt like laughing at the absurdity of it all, when suddenly the monsters began to wince and cower. I turned around to see a young man standing in the road wielding a cross. He had come out of one of the houses. He was reasonably young, probably close to my age, had thick black hair, and was quite tall and athletic looking. He told us to follow him and we all instantly agreed. The fact that he didn’t have fangs, red eyes or stunk definitely worked in his favour!

He ran through the house he had come through on the left end side of the street. Though it was burning he still went through it as the flames hadn’t consumed the whole house.

Marie was a little hesitant to follow however which would prove to be a fatal mistake. She was scared of the flames, but as Clare reached out to try and help her, one of the brutes snatched her from behind and pulled Marie backwards. Another two then jumped her and they all began tearing her apart. The man who helped us said that there was nothing we could do for her and sadly he was right. That still didn’t stop us from having to pull Claire back.

After we made our way through the house we reached the garden. On just the outside of the garden there were the remains of a family. Clearly the occupants of the house who had tried to escape the fire and been pounced on by vampires waiting outside.

We continued to run down the street passing more burning houses, with the man who had saved us waving the cross in the direction of any vampire that came near.

Eventually we reached our destination, a the bomb shelter in the garden of another burning house.

There was a second man in the shelter. He was much smaller, somewhat out of shape with grey hair and clearly a lot older.

He didn’t look pleased to see us at all. In fact he started to scream at the younger man.

“Brian what on earth are you playing at? Rushing out there, when the town is being torn apart by those monsters! Always desperate to play the hero aren’t you? For all you know these three women have been bitten and are under their control.”

Brian tried to assure the older man who was called Alan, and was Brian’s father that he was sure we weren’t vampire stooges. Of course I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but fortunately Clare who could speak German was translating for me and Diana.

Brian and his father kept arguing after we were let in the shelter. Eventually Claire suddenly interrupted them and asked “Excuse me, what do you mean under their control?”

Brian spoke softly to Claire and said “Those monsters, vampires, have the power to put anyone they bite under their control.” He began to tear up and couldn’t look at Clare anymore. “One of them bit my, my mother. They snatched her just outside our garden.  Dad tried to help her, but he had been cornered by the flames. They’d already petrol bombed our house. I was lucky to get out of my room alive. I could see what they did to my mother from my bedroom window however.  They forced her to, to murder my sister!”

Claire was in shock. I could see Alan at the other end of the room weeping uncontrollably, his head in his hands.

Brian continued “When they bit her they threw her and Sarah together. Mum and Sarah they hugged for a while. She even told Sarah that it would all be okay and then suddenly she threw Sarah to the floor. The vampires then handed mum a hammer and she, she”

He didn’t finish but he didn’t have to. Once he had regained his composure he explained that this bomb shelter was built during the second world war and that even the vampires couldn’t get through it. Brian said that it was best to wait here until some help arrived.

That could be months however I thought, assuming it ever did arrive. Sadly this was our only option. The streets of Lista were a literal war zone. None of us dared to brave them again.

The night was long and difficult. All five of us hardly spoke a word, though all of us took it in turns to cry. We had all lost so much that night.

I tried to remain calm and brave, but at times it hit me that I would never see Marie ever again. Then it would hit me that it was because of vampires! What was I going to tell her parents? It would get too much for me, and I’d break down.

I didn’t sleep at all that night. When dawn broke, Alan and Brian were the first up and told us that we needed to go now.

The vampires could not go out during the day and so if we were ever to escape, now was the time. Brian, ever desperate to play the hero went out first just to see that there were no vampires.

Brian and Alan’s house had been burned down. The streets were littered with bodies and pieces of bodies, blood literally caked the pavements, and most of the houses were in ruins. The stench of death was everywhere.

As we walked nervously down the street Claire suddenly tackled me to the floor. I looked up to see a car driving at an incredible speed down the road, before it smashed into a house on the other end.

Claire saved my life, whilst Alan, Diana and Brian had managed to jump to the other side. The car had come so quickly from around the corner that I didn’t even notice it. As I looked around I noticed a large group of people at either end of the street. The people were covered in cuts and bruises. Clearly the vampires had been torturing them all night, but the bloodsuckers hadn’t killed them as they wanted these people to be their eyes and ears during the day time.

We all instantly headed back to the Shelter with the vampire’s human servants in hot pursuit.

Fortunately we all made it in time, but not only was it apparent that there was now seemingly no way of escape, but the vampires also knew where we were hiding!

As we cowered together in the shelter one of the vampires servants spoke.

“You can’t stay in there forever. This place belongs to our Master now. When he rises tonight he will find you and you will die like the rest of this miserable town, alone, scared and in agony.”

A part of me felt like opening the door and just getting it over with, rather than slowly rotting away in here.

Brian however was sure that someone would find us and said we just needed to wait it out. There was about two weeks worth supply of food for five people in the shelter.

As we sat in the shelter, terrified that the vampires servants could break down the door at any minute, Claire broke the silence and asked, somewhat nervously who the vampires Master was?

Alan spoke, his voice quivering “You don’t want to know. And I hope for your sake you don’t have to”

Alan revealed that there was a pistol in the shelter. It had been placed here by his father, in case they were buried alive during an air raid, and could take an easy way out.

Sadly the gun would be of no use against any of their tormentors. Guns couldn’t kill vampires, and there were only 6 bullets in the gun, but close to 50 humans under the vampires control.

Alan told us that he had contemplated using it on himself last night. “After what those monsters did to my family I thought it would be easy just to end my pain. One quick shot to the head, then its over, the monsters couldn’t hurt me any more. But I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving my son alone to face this horror.”

He was still angry about Brian’s recklessness but also knew that had it not been for his son’s bravery then we would all be dead now. He was proud of Brian, but after telling him so, still begged his son not to ever do anything like that again. Of course given the type of person Brian was, he also knew that his warning would not be heeded.

The day was long and hard. There were so many times when I felt like opening the door and just running through them, but every time Brian and Claire would calm me down.

Claire as always was my rock. She had saved my life, but even more incredible was the fact that she was somehow managing to keep calm throughout most of this nightmare. She’d even try and steer the conversation back to normality, talking about the things she was going to do when this nightmare was over like marry Michael, and try and find a job teaching.

That had been her ambition as she had always loved children, though to be honest I think she just liked the idea of having all those holidays off. Diana had ambitions of wanting to be a writer meanwhile, whilst I sadly didn’t really know what I was going to do with my life, though again I didn’t really think my future was guaranteed at that point anyway.

There were moments when even Claire couldn’t keep her cool however. She cried about Marie several times. Whenever she started crying, me and Diana couldn’t control ourselves either.

When night finally fell we sat there waiting for the vampires Master to show up. Alan assured us that even he couldn’t get in here by force, but he was still terrified of what hideous trick the demons would try and pull on us next.

Sure enough the vampires Master (whose name I did not know at this point) soon arrived by the door with a group of his most vicious servants.

They had been able to enter the garden as it had been completely destroyed and therefore no longer counted as a private residence. We could tell the vampires had arrived even before Caros issued his demands by the stench that arrived with them. Caros spoke in a loud and booming voice.

“Poor, pitiful creatures, clinging to life, when you know its pointless. Come out now and I’ll make sure that it’s quick” He said.

Just then I could hear the rest of the vampires burst out into fits of hysterical laughter, followed by a massive slam on the door which startled us all.

Caros spoke again “Very well then, how about I make you a trade? One of you come out here and I don’t tear this young woman and her child to pieces.”

We could hear a child and a woman screaming outside. Brian went to open the small window on the door to see for himself. Alan had warned him against it, telling him that it was a trick, but again Brian didn’t listen to his father. Brian saw a young woman, bloodied, her left eye black and swollen, hugging her screaming child who must have been no older than three.

Caros spoke again “We’ll kill both of them unless you come out NOW. We’ll make them suffer. You’ll hear the sound of them screaming for mercy. I’ll force the mother to watch as her child dies!”

Brian headed for the door. Alan instantly jumped in front of him and pushed him back.

“I cannot believe that you would be stupid enough to fall for that trick. If you open that door you will kill us all. That woman is clearly under their control.” Alan said.

Brian however could not leave a young woman and her child at the mercy of the vampires and tried to assure his father that he wasn’t simply going to walk out there and expect the vampires to keep their word. He was also confident that even if she was under the vampires control he could handle her. Brian also still had the cross he had used to fight off the vampires that had cornered us earlier, and hoped to use it maybe scatter the bloodsuckers around the mother and her child.

Alan was still against it. Claire also offered to go instead, which Alan was still against. Obviously he cared more for his son’s well being than any of us, but he thought it was an insane idea for anyone to go out there.

Diana and I contributed nothing to the conversation of course as we couldn’t speak German. I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to go out there at that point, in fact I know I wouldn’t.

Brian couldn’t be bothered to argue with his father anymore and after picking up his cross he headed out the door as his father shouted at him.

Outside the vampires instantly swarmed Brian, but as soon as he lifted the cross they began to cower. He quickly reached for the woman and the child. However as he headed to the door Caros placed his hand around the cross and even though it visibly burnt his hand, the vampire snapped it to pieces effortlessly. The girl and the woman then fled towards the shelter, leaving Brian behind, whilst Claire and Alan ran to the door, but there was nothing they could do. Alan did empty two shots into Caros but the blood sucker didn’t even acknowledge them.

Caros toyed with Brian for a while, breaking both of his arms before tossing him into the rest of the vampires who swarmed the young man and tore him to bits. Alan screamed in anguish as he kept firing at the vampires, and it was only Claire shutting the door that prevented him from running out into them.

We could hear Brian’s agonised screams from inside, but fortunately they didn’t last for long. Brian was at least luckier than most of their other victims in this respect.

Alan meanwhile sank to his knees. He didn’t even cry, he just looked completely broken.

I tried to comfort Alan, whilst Diana and Claire meanwhile went over to see the woman and her child, but the child ran away from them and cowered in a corner. Diana tried approaching the boy again, but this time when the child turned round, Diana saw the awful truth. The child was a vampire! It had buried its head in its mother’s breast before, and had been dressed in gloves and a hat to conceal its true nature. Its mother was human, but she was completely under the vampires control just as Alan thought.

Now Diana could see its hideous white face, massive fangs and bright red eyes and before she could move away the monster sunk its fangs into her throat. Within seconds it ripped her entire throat out. Claire and I ran over towards Diana, but it was too late. She bled out in a matter of seconds and was dead before we could even begin to help her. Brian’s heroic sacrifice had not only been for nothing, but it had cost Diana her life.

The vampire child soon attacked Claire too. Despite being just a child, it still had a much greater strength than either of us.

Before I could even try and help Claire, the child’s mother punched me in the face. I’d never been in a fight before and I was instantly sent crashing to the ground, my nose bloodied.

As I lay there on the ground, she grabbed me by the throat and began to choke the life out of me. I suddenly heard a bang, and her blood splattered on my face as she fell to the floor.

Alan was standing behind her with the gun still smoking. The vampire child turned around after the shot and ran towards Alan. Alan however managed to knock the beast towards the floor by hitting it in the face with his gun. He then impaled the Demon child right through the chest with a makeshift stake he had created from a chair leg that he hammered through with the butt of his gun.

Upon being staked the vampire crumbled into nothing but a tiny little pile of ash on the floor. Alan then put the gun to his head and blew his brains out.

There was nothing anyone could have said to talk him out of it. The vampires had destroyed his entire life. I just wish he hadn’t given the animals the satisfaction.

I felt like passing out from the shock of everything that had happened, and the pain in my nose was overwhelming. A combination of the pain, as well as the sight of Alan’s brains splattered on the wall, and Diana’s blood dripping from her throat actually made me vomit.

Claire helped me to sit down and checked my nose to see if it was broken. She lightly pinched my nose and when that hurt like hell she concluded that it was broken. She clearly wasn’t a medical student!

There were bandages in the shelter but as she plastered up my nose I could see a bite mark on her arm. The vampire child had managed to get in a lucky bite during the struggle.

It was the final straw. I instantly started crying. Clare realised what I was upset about and put her arms around my shoulders.

“The vampire who bit me is dead. I am no longer under its control. We don’t know if the bite is fatal or not. Just because it’s that way in the movies doesn’t mean”

I interrupted her. Barely able to speak through the tears I told her that I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Claire then told me firmly that if need be, I would have to kill her.

At that point I wished that Alan hadn’t used the last bullet on himself. I hugged Claire as hard as I could. I swore to her that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her, but it was all pointless.

Over the next few hours Claire began to weaken, her skin turned white, her eyes began to go red and her teeth began to enlarge.

I held her in my arms. My best friend, the person I loved more than anything else in the world, as her life and everything she was, was slowly eaten away by a Demonic force.

She was brave at first, but as her condition worsened she began to cry. She screamed that she didn’t want to die, she was only 22, she wanted to marry Michael, she didn’t want her parents to go through losing their only child. Her final words to me just before she was completely consumed were,

“I can feel it, its all going away. Everything I am, I feel like I am already dead. Oh god this is what they feel like all the time? They can’t feel anything other than wanting to hurt people. Please don’t let me live like this Ferne. Please kill me!”

Within seconds she was gone. I hadn’t even had the time to grieve for Diana before Claire was taken from me too.

I walked away from her corpse and headed for the stake Alan had made, but when I turned around I saw that Claire had already risen. The sight of my friend as one of those things was the most horrifying sight I will ever see in my life.

I foolishly hoped that I might be able to get through to Claire. If I had known then what I do now I wouldn’t have hesitated to stake her, but I just didn’t want to admit that Claire was gone.

Claire began to speak before I had a chance to say anything. “Don’t worry old friend I will make this quick.” She said.

I foolishly tried to reason with her. I told her to remember Michael, remember her parents, and remember that I loved her like a sister and always would.

She laughed and said back to me. “Don’t worry I won’t change you. I couldn’t spend eternity with you, constantly prattling on about your sad little issues and insecurities. It would also just be too be cruel to make anyone live a life like yours forever. It’s not like the vampires would accept you anyway. No one has.”

I cried, as Claire laughed and continued to mock me. “There you are crying again like a little girl. That’s your solution to all your problems, just to cry and whimper and whine to whoever is unfortunate enough to be near you.”

I wasn’t crying for the reasons that she thought however. I cried because I realised that Claire was truly gone. She would never say such a thing, even on her worst day. She loved me like a sister. If there was one thing I was sure of it was that.

I ran to the door. Whilst I knew this monster wasn’t Claire, I still didn’t want to be killed by a monster that bore the face of my friend.

I managed to make it out of the shelter and to my surprise all of the vampires were gone. I didn’t stop to think why however as Claire was coming after me.

As I ran out into the streets I still saw no vampires? What had happened, had they got bored of torturing me and ran away? Just then as Claire came charging at me an arrow suddenly shot straight into her back. It narrowly missed her heart. As she fell to the pavement she pitifully started to beg me for help, but again I was not fooled. I knew the real Claire had died in the shelter. I just wish I had had the courage to slay the monster baring her face there and then. I was too scared to even look at her, and the blood sucker, being crafty and cowardly like all members of its kind soon reached up, overpowered me and used me as a human shield, stopping her attackers from firing any more arrows, before she then jumped onto a nearby roof top using her new inhuman strength and then across several more until she was out of view.

Two men armed with crossbows then came running out of the ruins of one of the houses and cornered me.

These men were from Rentros an organisation designed to track down supernatural creatures. They had managed to slay many of the attacking vampires, though sadly Caros had escaped (and taken down six Rentros troops before hand). The Rentros men would take me and the few survivors in. Among those who survived the slaughter included Brian’s mother, Carla, who the vampires had also kept alive to further torture. They wanted her to live for a few days knowing what she had done to her daughter.

According to one of the Rentros men, it was a favourite activity of vampires to make people murder their loved ones. He felt that vampires enjoyed dragging decent people down to their level.

The Rentros men provided an official cover for the story and sent us all home. My life would be a black pit of despair for the next few years however. Without Claire, Diana and Marie the loneliness was unbearable. Even to this day I have never made friends quite so close. Eventually however I would overcome my depression and join Rentros.

I wanted to make the vampires pay. It felt like that was all I had left. In a way the vampires had dragged me down to their level after all. I’d spend years training with Rentros, honing my skills and body and learning everything I could about the monsters until I was able to kill them.

However as the years passed I came to view them with pity. I saw that actually they were pathetic creatures, unable to feel anything but hatred. Slaying a vampire came to be an act of mercy for me.

I would also sadly have many more meetings with my former best friend Claire, who would soon go on to become my greatest enemy. I will kill her. One day. I know her better than anyone else, I know how her mind works. Even when it has been corrupted by a Demonic force.

I tell this story to let you all know how important it is to have knowledge on what is really out there. If the me of today were trapped in Lista, my friends would still be alive. The greatest trick the devil played was in convincing you he didn’t exist and it important that you do not fall for it like I did.

There is a war going on and whilst some people can get away with sticking their fingers in the ears and pretending it doesn’t exist for a time. Sooner or later unless they are not vanquished, the vampire horde will catch up with all of us.

The Void

5 Theories | What lies Beyond Our Universe | ILLUMINATION
We used to say the sky was the limit.

Humanity has always had a tendency to think that the tiny area it occupies represents all of existence.

The original hunter, gatherer tribes believed that their forest was all there was. The first civilizations that emerged in isolation thought they were alone. Then we believed that our world was the only planet in the sky. Even when we discovered there was an entire universe around us, we felt that must surely be the limit. Finally we opened our minds to the possibility that there were other universes, perhaps an infinite number. A multiverse.

Unfortunately however even the multiverse still didn’t prove to be the end. How could it be? If new universes are constantly being created and each universe is expanding, then logically there must be a place they are being created from, and a space that each universe occupies and is expanding into.

The void as it would come to be known, by those unlucky enough to visit it represents the space outside of all universes and multiverses, and is where they all originate from either directly or indirectly. No one is quite sure how the void functions or if there is yet another space beyond it. For now however it would seem this strange chaotic place represents the limit of our understanding.

In the void there are no rules or laws of physics as we would know them. It is at a base level, literally nothing. However ironically it is for this very reason that it became the fountain of life.

5 Theories About What Lies Outside The Observable Universe! - YouTube
When you have nothing, ironically anything can happen

Our own universe is governed by laws, as are all other realities, though obviously not all universes have the same laws. In our reality we know that a cat can’t suddenly turn into a Tyrannosaurus Rex, that a building can’t magically pop into existence as it would defy the natural laws, and that entropy will affect everything in the end. Therefore whilst life is possible in our universe, there are extreme limits on where it can form and what it can be.

In the void however literally anything goes. There is no cause and effect, no up or down and therefore no limitations on what can and can’t happen. Realities of any kind can just pop in and out of existence. Many of these universes however are not able to form properly. It is known that some universes are brought into existence by the will of the creatures that could exist within them. (Who are able to affect their past due to the lack of time in the void.) In some cases that will might be strong enough to bring a whole universe around it into existence properly, in others however, only for a second before it fades again.

It has to be remembered that the law of cause and effect does not even apply to most universes, never mind something as vast as the void. Again in the void there are no rules and therefore each universe doesn’t even need to have a beginning in the conventional sense as incredible a thought as that might seem.

It is believed by some that the void may not be actually be empty, when universes are not popping in and out of existence. Instead all realities that could potentially exist are present in the void, but as invisible, ghostly apparitions. One of the few travellers to be trapped in the void for a short period of time without any kind of protective suit, said that she could feel something constantly tugging at her from all directions. Hands, claws and goodness knows what else. She could even hear screams some of which were aware of their situation, others however sounded more like echos. Either way she described it as the most terrifying experience of her several hundred year long life.

If this theory were correct then only a tiny fraction of apparitions in the void are able to actually manifest and become proper universes, whilst others are able to reach a half way point and become ethereal beings, who are a step up from the ghostly apparitions, but are still incomplete. Ethereal beings often fade in and out of existence, and are constantly in danger of descending back into apparitions permanently at any point.

Ethereal beings at least have been encountered by the few visitors to the void. Sometimes ethereal creatures aren’t even aware that they are ethereal, and believe they have always existed, only to get a nasty shock when their world starts to collapse around them. Other times they cling onto life at all costs, but end up being driven insane by the nightmarish state they are trapped in. Some of these ethereal beings have been known to try and drain the life energy from other members of their kind, or young, vulnerable worlds and realities to stabilize themselves. In some cases this can work, but they often end up becoming twisted caricatures of the creatures they would have been, and the life forms they have drained.

Other ethereal beings have been known to try and enter existing realities and become a part of them. This is difficult however as all realities have at least some kind of defense, though those without a higher power are the easiest to infiltrate. In a very few instances these ethereal beings can live in the universe they invade, but in others their presence can end up causing disruption as it is unnatural, as was the case with the Devourer, a being that entered our reality billions of years ago. Despite its ominous name. (Which was obviously given to it.) The Devourer did not intend to hurt any of the creatures in our universe. In fact had its reality been able to form properly, then it would have gone on to be a great hero in its timeline. Sadly however its body disrupted the natural laws of our reality, which meant that disasters and upheaval would follow it everywhere it went.

Fortunately not all realities come into existence this way. Many universes are created through what is known as a stable time loop. Here a life form, or sometimes a natural phenomenon travels backwards in time to before its universes existence and creates it. These types of universes are ironically often among the most stable.

Other universes meanwhile simply split off from the original that was created and again are often more stable than the original that birthed them. This type of collection of universes together is known as a multiverse. An Omniverse meanwhile is when several different collections of universes gather together to form essentially a super multiverse. Certain universes may gravitate towards one another for protection. Others meanwhile are created by what we would call deities.

Now deities can come in all shapes in sizes in the void. Some are creatures that simply spring into existence. It’s not just universes as we would know them that can emerge from the void. Individuals, single worlds, even landmasses can and do just pop randomly into existence, and in some cases remain so as a totally different type of reality or being than any we could imagine.

In many instances these singular beings of the void will create other worlds, or realities to inhabit. Other times they may be forced to create them in order to anchor themselves to existence. On some occasions they may simply create them as experiments.

The “gods” themselves meanwhile may be vastly powerful beings who don’t belong in any universe, or they may be an ethereal being whose universe doesn’t form, but is able to will itself into existence by absorbing the power of various other ethereal beings until it has not only stablised but developed the power of what we would call a deity itself, and can either create, or even bring other ethereal worlds, beings and whole realities to life and redesign or rewrite them however it sees fit.

Other deities meanwhile can spring up in universes themselves. Beings as mundane as humans can end up becoming gods if their society advances to the point where it reaches a level 5 civilization, which is able to harness all of the energy in its own universe and create realities of its own.

Type 5 civilizations are exceedingly rare. In fact none has ever existed in our own multiverse, but again across the endless void. Anything is possible.

Not all “gods” or “deities” are interested in creating. Many of them simply want to rule or control existing universes. Not all higher powers are malevolent in this respect however. Many of them can serve as protectors of the universe, worlds, or multiverse’s that they take over from anything else in the void. All universes have natural defenses to some extent. They will all repel something that is unnatural such as an ethereal creature, but there is no denying that those with some kind of higher power are better protected overall.

Our own multiverse was the creation of a higher power. Whilst it would be wrong to say that the Creator has done well by us, at the same time we can be grateful that our creation was helped along by another being. As difficult as our history has been, it is still better than to be trapped in the nightmarish state of the ethereal creatures.

We have only scratched the surface of the void. There are universes and gods out there that go well beyond our understanding. The fact that any member of our species has managed to explore the void in any way, is itself almost unbelievable. It’s doubtful any species will ever have a full understanding of the void however. For now it seems to be the limit for all species, but if history has taught us anything, it is to never assume that we are either at the center of existence, or that we can even begin to understand how insignificant we are.