This is a oneshot.
There will come a time,
when the heads of three Princes
will watch the burning of the dawn
on a pillar of white.
There will come a time
when an ancient hunger will awaken
deep in the northern woods
and consume all her childer.
There will come a time
when an Elder Darkness will stir
deep below a city which has forgotten
and will surprise the Elder, its children.
Of these signs, you will know,
the Dark Father, bastard of Caine,
will awaken, and drink deep of blood sacrificed to it
Of these signs, you will know
that the time has come to lay claim
to your Clan`s safety,
to fight the Dark Father.
On these signs, you must know,
that Gehenna waits, even at the door,
as an actor waits in the wings
It is coming! It is near!
Shine black the sun!
Shine blood the moon!
Gehenna is coming soon
- The Book of Nod
In the dark the dead are dancing. I know, I know, oh oh oh
It was already late in the afternoon, at the early signs of twilight, that Bran Stark awoke from sleep. A bit of darkness was already pouring through the castle windows, and the smell of cold air promised harsh snowstorms in the long night ahead. At the foot of his bed, to the right of his his now useless legs sat Summer, who stared at him with his bright yellow eyes; watching him more like an eagle than a wolf.
Bran's tired, weary eyes scanned his surroundings to reassure himself that he was indeed inside Winterfell, and not some harsh, dank place in some terrible part of his dreams. He had dreamed that terrible dream again; the dream that kept hounding him in his sleep. It made afraid, and this fear made him lonely.
Gods be God! He lonely, for he could not tell the others – not even his brothers – of his dreams, for they were so strange, and this strangeness only added to his already fears, which made him feel even lonelier, which then made him even more afraid. And it gets worse after each dream, after each sleep.
It was a bitter cycle.
As if sensing his master's anxieties, Summer came closer to lick Bran's face, and the young boy petted the direwolf, hugging him and rubbing his face against the soft fur, but even Summer could not undo the dread in Bran's mind, for the dreams showed him things too deep and too terrible for any man – let alone a child – to comprehend, and he wished more than ever that his mother was here. Robb – his beloved brother – and little Rickon would occasionally visit him, along with maester Luwin and the other Stark bannermen, but none of them could silence his fears.
The familiar smells of the castle gave him some measure of comfort as more of the darkness descended. Soon, Old Nan will arrive to light the candles of his room, and bring him supper, and outside his door, he could hear the chatter of his guards, the smell of their leather and clinking of their steel. And yet they did not give him comfort.
Summer licked him again, as he sorted out his thoughts, and Bran gave the direwolf a reassuring scratch behind the ears. As he stroke the Direwolf's fur, Bran tried to recall the sights, sounds and impressions of his dreams; of that faraway world beyond the walls of fate and stars; beyond the realm of the seven and the Old Hods.
He dreamed of this world and its magnificent cities; filled with light and mechanical wonders. He dreamed of great machines and greater knowledge; of power beyond the reckoning of the wisest and the most powerful; of ships that could travel through sky and stars; of gigantic vessels that tore down mountains and mastered nature herself.
He dreamed of this distant world, a world of darkness and wonder. He dreamed of it again and again and again, in all its beauty, in all its horror and of the terrible holocaust of shadows and screams that consumed it.
In this vision, he saw the world devoured by living darkness, and he saw upon its lands the march of many strange and terrible things, more terrible than the Others spoken of in legend. He saw the one known as the Dark Father, and his many vengeful childer. He experienced the screams of the one called Lilith Darkqueen, and her consort, the fallen Lightbearer, and their many children and servants – The Fallen Ones; The Disfigured Ones who now scream and gnash their fangs in forgetful torture.
He saw the agents of the Wyrm, and the mad Weaver. He beheld the cold pitiless cruelty of the machine sorcerers, and their enemies from the old traditions. He trembled at the sight of ancient wraiths and many other things too terrible to speak of. He beheld the deathless and their eternal war for the Prize.
But most of all, he dreamed of the Kindred Thricedamned; the Cainite Thricecursed; the Vampire Thricehated. He dreamed of they who drink blood; they who fear sun, flame and treachery; they who do not age in body but wither in humanity; they who revel in their own sins.
But it was not any ordinary kindred that Bran dreamt of. No, he dreamed of a more specific kind – the kind who bear the mark of the third eye; of the Unicorn; of Golconda. They among all their kind bear the mark of Grabriel the Merciful. And they cowered in dark hidden places, as their world crumbled and the age of the Kine withered from the touch of ageless death.
The Kindred of Golconda.
They cowered in a small temple, a temple dedicated to a tortured crucified heathen god. They hid and waited for their lord, he who was first to bear the mark of the third eye. They gnashed their fanged teeth, and wept blood as they waited for their master, for they do not yet know if he speaks true or if he had forsoken them.
And Bran listened to their words.
The Withering has come.
Gehenna. Gehenna is upon us! They cried, and a few among them began to die. One by one, they whithered and died, reduced to dust and oblivion, until only a pitiful few remained.
Doom was upon them, for their ancient fathers and mothers had awoken, and the most terrible one of them all: Caine Kinslayer, Caine the Cursed, Caine of Nod, Caine Vampire-Sire.
He and his eldest children have returned, and their descendants – noble and cruel, monstrous and just - cowered in fear for they shall all be punished and their blood shall be devoured by their ancient sires.
Blood and fire engulfed the once wondrous world, and it became truly a world of darkness. Mortal armies rose to meet the evil from beyond. They fought with flame hotter than the sun, with steel harder than Valyrian Steel, with courage to shame the noblest knight.
They fought and then they all fell.
The demons and the madness overtook them all, until even the demons themselves were devoured by the chaos that they served. Mighty cities – greater than King's Landing or Braavos, filled with towers of light and sorcery - were crushed under the relentless tide of darkness, even as the screams of billions rose to the sky for mercy and surcease.
But at last, the waiting of the bearers of Golconda had come to an end, for the one they waited for had come. Bruised and injured, but he has come.
Saulot! Bran thought. He did not know how he knew the name, but he knew it nevertheless.
Hear me, for I am Saulot Caineson, he who is both Redeemer and Destroyer, Healer and Demon Lord, Saint and Sinner. I, Saulot of the third generation, of they who came before the Great Flood. I, Saulot who sought Golconda, and who alone among my brothers and sisters have sought the pardon from the one above.
Hear me Children of Caine! Hear me marked ones; thou of the three eyes of Golconda.
The time of Gehenna is here. The time of our kind is at an end. The time of darkness is now. Whether we meet it in absolution or damnation is now in the hands of those who will fight, and I – Saulot of Contradictions – shall be among them.
And yet not all of us shall be allowed to fight in this war. For though, we are doomed, I am loathe to allow our kind to perish completely. And thus, I give to you, childer of my heart, a path to a new world, a new chance and a new gamble.
There, you shall create anew, and redeem the sins of thy sires with deeds worthy of Golconda, that the mark of Caine shall pass from your hearts and cleanse our kind of their sins.
But Saulot's followers would not listen to him. They begged to fight alongside him, to die beside him. For they loved Saulot, and he loved them.
But Saulot, three eyed Saulot, refused their request. He bade them silence, and they obeyed.
I say to thee Timshel. Thou mayest. Timshel.
A new future and a new home I give you; free from the shackles of the past and of the curses of the one above. To this new world, you shall go. You shall no longer fear fire for the wrath of Michael – the General of Heaven - cannot harm you. You shall no longer fear the light of the Sun, for Gentle Raphael's embrace is beyond you. No longer will you be cursed with treachery among your own kind, for the Uriel's cruelty can no longer find you.
But thou are still Kindred, and ye shall hunger for vitae still, and the darkness shall be your companion in this world as it was your companion in ours! Do not let it control you. Thou hast conquered the beast. Do not let it conquer you. I give you hope, but to your hands, I also give toil.
Thus, I say again, Timshel. Thou mayest. I give whatever blessings I can give you, but only if you hold true to Golconda. Stray from it, and may thou find damnation a thousand times greater than they who now suffer in Gehenna.
And thus I say to all of you, go and redeem thyselves and our kind.
And with that Saulot disappeared. Bran would have liked to learn more about this strange creature, this powerful mystic or sorcerer or wizard, for he could sense great power in him, but it would not be so, for his dreams prevented Bran from straying from the refugees who cowered in the darkness. They who are both monsters and innocents.
And Saulot's followers obeyed. They who bear the mark of the third eye of Golconda; the Unicorn's mystical horn, they left the devastation of their world, and came here, to this world when Valyria was young, and the land was still rich with magick. Bran saw it all. He saw their arrival, like whisper in the dark places of Westeros and Essos many thousands of years ago.
They found their new and adopted world strange, and yet they thrived. They thrived as they had always thrived. They came among peoples and cities, and enriched them with knowledge, even as they secretly devoured their blood.
Bran saw that they had a role in the founding of ancient Valyria; in the flourishing of the Andals in Westeros; in the wealth of Braavos; in the glory of Meereen, and many other cities long lost and forgotten.
They remained true to Saulot, even to this day, though they are now divided.
But this was not always so. For a long time since their arrival, the exiles kept close together, traveled together and hid together in the strange land where dragons once dwelt. And for a time, this was good, but the need for childer overcame them, thus they began to sire
they also had childer,
But their childer did not bear the mark of Golconda, and many of them hearkened to the ancient ways of that long forgotten world from where their sires came, and after the passing of many years attempted that foulest of sins among Kindred: Diablerie.
But the Kindred of Golconda knew this; knew it better than their childer could imagine, and in sorrow, the elders slaughtered the younger, lest they spread the curse upon their adopted home. When the deed was done, the exiles scattered to the four winds, wandering on their own, abandoning each other to their own fates.
One of the Tremere wandered to the dark, cold places beyond the Wall, a sorcerer of blood, and a warrior of terrible powers. His female counterpart went to Dorne, where she is now known as the witch of the desert, blood drinker and conjurer of spirits.
Two of the Nosferatu made their way into the sewers of Meereen, where they now feed their blood to their army of ghouls; but their sister wanders Westeros' cities, seeking out mortal secrets and mortal blood for nourishment.
The Gangrel warrior went to the Dothraki Sea, where he now sups upon the blood of both the brave and the coward; of the strong and weak.
The Toreadors, for their parts, wander from Westeros, to Essos, to the farthest East, and back again. Even now, Bran saw, they travel as minstrels, mummers, poets and singers; actors and artisans; drawing men and women alike to their terrible beauty and taking from them both gold and blood before discarding them for newer pleasures.
The Ventrue woman went to King's Landing, where she now reigns queen over hidden palaces of night and blood, but her male kin travelled to the slums of Braavos, and seeking gold and power in the shadows, became the secret puppeteer of the Iron Bank.
The three Brujah also settled in Braavos, and Bran saw that they were the true rulers of the city, controlling its merchant princes, as dark scholars and hidden philosophers, their hushed counsels obeyed as absolute commands.
And then there were the Malkavians... The Malkavians, they... A little boy knows not what he is peering into!
Bran woke up with a yelp, causing Summer to suddenly become alert. He did not realize that he had fallen asleep again, or had he actually been awake?
Bran couldn't tell. The last thing he saw in his dream... Was it a dream? The last thing he saw were countless dead faces, staring at him from within the darkness, and behind them, the laughing face of the Malkavians, taunting him in their strange voices.
It was strange but Bran never could find where the Malkavians were hiding in his dreams. The only clue to their whereabouts were the faces. So many dead faces...
It was dark now, and Bran pondered the hidden message of his dream, but it was a dream about vampires! And Bran knew that vampires were not real, or at least no more real than Grumkins or Snarks. This did not make any sense at all.
He dreamed the same dream again and again for many day nows, since his fall. He was sure, for it was these dreams that woke Bran from his coma.
His eyes had burst wide open, and screamed and screamed and screamed that dark day when he first awoke from his long rest. Forgotten were the vile secrets of the Lannister siblings. Forgotten was his long fall from the tower of Winterfell. Forgotten was the loss of his legs. All he saw, all that he remembered were he terror of his dreams, of the doomed world and the dark creatures that escaped to his own.
For many days since his awakening, Bran could not speak. All he could do was helplessly tremble on his bed, as Robb, Luwin and Old Nan watched on helplessly. They tried to give him milk of poppy to help him sleep, but he threw it back at them, furious and unwilling to rest or sleep. He did not want to sleep.
He did not want to dream.
But dream he did, and each time he woke, he woke up screaming. A Septon was called and prayers made to the old gods, but none of them could protect Bran. Robb tried to write several letters to their parents, but they could do nothing except send back letters of love and encouragement.
Bran suffered from the dreams for an entire week since his awakening from the coma, and it was more from exhaustion and familiarity rather than courage that he slowly began to regain his sanity. Slowly, but surely, Bran began to speak again, to smile again after the long, terrible week since his awakening had passed, though many in the castle still whispered that a vile spell had been put on him.
His thoughts of fear and terror were interrupted by a knock at the door, and old Nan entered without being given permission. She smiled, plate of food in hand, and slowly walked to the side of his bed. Summer sniffed at her, beggin for some food, but the old woman shooed him away before setting Bran's food on an oaken table beside his bed.
"Dreaming again young lord?" She asked while beaming brightly at him. When Bran responded with only a sallow face and fearful silence. Nan expected this. Bran had changed since his fall. It changed him in more ways than one. Nan reached into her pocket and took out a meaty bone for Summer, who accepted it and began chewing on it on the floor, pleased and contented.
It was completely dark now, and outside, the snowstorm's howls shook the wooden roofs of the castle. Nan closed the windows to keep out the chill and lighted a few more candles both for herself and for the boy. With that task done, Old Nan sat at her favorite chair across Bran's bed, and began humming to herself as she picked up on her needlework by the candle light.
"Old Nan," Bran spoke at last in his soft lilting voice, but he hesitated, unwilling to speak his mind. Nan waited patiently, stopping her work to give Bran her full attention. "What do you know of the Vampires?"
The old woman looked at him slyly. It was a strange question completely out of the blue, which meant that it was – until only a moment ago – a secret.
"Oh, sweet summer child, why do you speak of dark creatures?" Old Nan asked in her gentle old voice.
Bran hesitated then he answered, "I dreamt of them."
Nan's eyes widened. Vampires! So that's what he's been dreaming about.
"Vampires are not of this world," she said simply, but honestly. She felt he deserved the truth. "Neither of the old gods nor of the seven. They come from a world of darkness. Do not speak their name lightly. But come your supper is ready," and she offered him a bowl of rabbit soup and some warm bread. "We will talk while you eat, young lord."
Bran obeyed the old woman and began to eat his supper.
"I do not know much about vampires, young lord," she began as Bran began to eat his supper. "I have heard the stories of course, and I have told you these before." She looked at him with questioning eyes. "Why do you dream of them young lord?" she asked.
"I don't know," Bran answered as he put down his bowl. "I don't know."
Nan sat, back and the flickering of the candle made her seem like an old crone, and she began to tell him of the stories, the same vampire stories that Bran had heard before, but dismissed as nonsense.
He did not dismiss them now.
"It is said, my lord, that they came from another world, a world of darkness. In the old tales my mother told me they came to our world from the darkest places, in realms of blood and darkness."
Images of burning cities returned to Bran's mind. "Can you tell me the stories again, please?" he asked
Old Nan watched Bran strangely for short while then looked down at Summer, who was studying her carefully while gnawing at his bone. The old women felt uneasy, as if she was missing something, but she nodded her head, and began her tales.
"The Vampires..." she began. "They say that they look like giant bats with fangs as long as a grown man's arm, and magicks vile and evil. They would steal into homes and hearths to devour the blood of the living; to quench their thirst upon young maidens..."
Old Nan told her stories (many of them not actually related to Vampires but Bran did not mind) for almost two hours before she became weary, and blew out the candles to let herself and Bran rest. Outside, the snowstorm was still raging, and they wrapped their furs tighter to keep out the cold.
Fortunately, the castle was quite warm, but even so, Bran was shivering. He was shivering as if he was lost outside in the blizzard, in the wastes beyond the Wall.
Bran was dreaming again, but he did not dream the same dream as before. Instead, he stood in the snow, waiting for a dark malevolent figure approach. From the blizzard, he came closer and closer, and Bran could sense the power emanating from him; a power of fury; a power of blood.
Finally, the creature stood before him, and Bran saw that he was a pale young man covered in leather and mail.
"Hello Bran," the Kindred said in heavily accented Common Speech, and to Bran's surprise, it was neither cruel nor cold, but sad. He could feel a terrible sadness in the vampire. "I have been waiting for you. Shhh, child. Don't try to speak. It was I sent you those dreams. Blood Raven and I are waiting for you, here in the cold darkness. I have come here to summon you."
"Are you a vampire," Bran managed to ask despite his early fears. He remembered his other dreams, but he never actually got a good look at the vampires until now.
"Yes," he said and a third eye appeared upon his forehead, and it gazed upon him like a terrible orb. "A Tremere to be precise, but you already know that don't you?"
Bran took a step backward, but froze as he realized that panic was about to consume him.
"Winter is coming, young greenseer," the Vampire spoke suddenly. "A Cold Gehenna that will consume your world. There will be war and there will be strife. And the Others are coming.." The Kindred then frowned, angry or perhaps anxious. "Just as the malice of the Antediluvians consumed our world, they will try to consume yours. I will not permit this. My kindred will permit this." The Kindred then smiled, though it was more like a smirk. "After all, where would we get our vitae if humanity perished from this world?" And the sadness in his voice turned into sarcastic laughter.
"Sleep child. Be at peace. There will be enough time for questions when we meet in the waking world. Sleeeeeeep." And his voice sounded like that of hungry serpent.
But Bran could not sleep. He could only dream. And dream he did; of cities burned by dragon fire; of fleets and armies clashing; of the banners risen and fallen; of wars won and lost; of cries and moans from the cold, silent north; and of the chilling death that spread out to Westeros and then to Essos and finally all throughout the known world.
And before them all, he saw the Vampires, their feral eyes watching him like those of Dire Wolves, and Bran was struck with a strange sense of irony that they were the salvation of Westeros. He did not understand this knowledge, but he knew it with certainty nevertheless.
And then Bran looked at his Direwolf, and he saw a vision of himself. He, like the Vampires, yearned for blood in the darkness, yearned for it like it was the most precious thing in the world. And then he began to dream again; of burning cities and dying worlds.
AN: The Tremere Vampire is my PC from Bloodlines. No one special.
There may be typos. I haven't edited anything yet, so I'll work on it later.