Chapter 1:

Nightmare of a life

Vampire Lanterns

"Ugh! What's going on? Where am I?" Demyan woke up in the middle of a castle ruin. His vision was blurry and his whole body was twisted by pain. Bothered; something was weighing him down; he glanced downwards. Someone was laying on him. Long ash brown hair. "A human female?" He realized they were holding hands. He could tell, she was already dead. She was becoming colder by the second. Demyan lifted his upper body and gently put her down. Her hazel, but empty eyes were slightly open filled with tears staring into the abyss of the netherworld. But the rest of her facial features were blurry for him...

Demyan sat up abruptly in his dark bedroom. He was covered in cold sweat, breathing heavily. "Was that a nightmare?" He felt something wet under his eyes? "Tears?" He chuckled arrogantly. "It's years I felt them on me. When was it? I guess, when I was like a small kid..." He picked himself up out of his bed and walked towards the window. It was like four in the morning. He sat down on the window sill looking over the broad forest on the other side, where the human settlement was bordering with it, on the other side of the river. He stared at one specific spot; a window, which was still lit by candlelights.

Demyan was a vampire prince living in the Waste Lands, where the three kingdoms of Vampires, Goblins and Demons were situated. The Forest of Howls was the home of the werewolf kin. On the other side; in the Lush Lands Humans, Elves and Fairies lived in harmony.
How much Demyan despised the peace of Lush Lands. He envied their resources, the pretty nature and an easier way of life. That well protected part of the country, which was covered with forests, meadows and here and there a settlements of noble creatures.
The capital in the middle, sitting on a lovely hill. Icy mountains protected them from the north and in the south, they enjoyed the warm weather from the ocean. Also, that was the only way to escape this continent.
In the Waste Lands, which he called "home", he needed to participate in war very often and only the strongest could survive the harsh living conditions of their realm. Most of it was covered by the desert, barely able to grow any crops. Volcanoes nonstop spilling lava and ashes in the north and a wide cliff swallowing the ocean in the south. The air was hardly breathable from all those toxic and hot fumes coming from the north.

Someone knocked on his door. A servant came with the message of his father summoning him into the main hall. He dressed himself and went straight away. His father the vampire king Sava was already impatiently sitting on the trone and tapping his finger next to his wife; Demyan's mother.
Demyan kneeled down in front of him and greeted the king with their signature vampire gesture. With the back of his left arm; tips of his fingers, he touched his forehead, lips and placed a fist on the right side of his chest.
He didn't dare to look into his father's eyes. It might unnecessarily provoke him. His father stretched his right arm over his son's neck. "Tomorrow you will depart for the next campaign into the Goblin Kingdom and later into the Demon Realm... for a year!"
Demyan froze. "Not this time of the year!" He clutched his fist on his chest. Sava noticed it. "Are you disrespecting my order?!" Demyan lifted his gray catlike eyes towards him. His pupil slits narrowed out of fear even more than usual. "No, my KING... I just didn't expect to be this time of the year..." Sava frowned over his son's childish custom.
Every year at the start of the Autumn, the Lush Lands were holding the "Festival of Lights". They let off fireworks and lanterns filled the sky and rivers all around their realm. Demyan was always watching it from his tower bedroom since he was a small child. He was already 100 years old, who looked like he was still in his 20s, but he never missed it once.
It made Sava furious and he took his sword out of the sheath and stabbed his son into his left shoulder. Demyan flinched, but didn't dare to let out any sound. He was already used to his father's abuse.
Sava grabbed his son on top of his head, by his long, thick raven hair, to pull out his sword more easily. Demyan without a word stood up; blood dripping out of the fresh wound, he bowed down and went preparing and packing for the campaign. His facial expression was neutral. In situations like these, he should feel sadness or anger, but for years, he was emotionally cold and empty.
He was his father's best knight, fighter... puppet. These small wars between them and the other kingdoms were a normal occurrence. They needed them to obtain food in the form of orc slaves from the goblins, gems and magic items from the demons. In his bedroom, while changing his clothes, he was glancing out of the window at the settlement. Disappointed he would miss the festival for the first time. Observing it from a distance was a little guilty pleasure and an unrealistic dream to once participate.

One Year Later
The vampire kingdom celebrated the return of their prince, who came back with a huge loot from both; the Goblin and Demon realms. This will keep them fed and well cared, for the next two years.
Demyan didn't change much, just acquired a deep scar on the right side of his face; stretching from his eyebrow and ending short under his eye. It was luck, he didn't get blind. His father on the other hand was pleased; it made him look more intimidating.
After a great feast, which was held in honor of their return, Demyan retrieved into his cold, empty chambers. The battlefield or his bedroom, it felt the same for him. It didn't even look like a bedroom worth of a prince. The size wasn't the problem, it was huge, but the furniture... A bed standing in front of the window, on the right was a broad closet and left was an armchair next to bookshelves. That was all...
He dusted the window rim, where he always sat. The window on the other side of the forest he always closely watched was dark. It made him frown. Demyan sighed; on the other hand, he came back home the right time. The Festival of Lights will be held again next week. At least something played in his favor.
The next evening Sava ordered his son to venture into the Forest of Howls. They needed some lumber. In the Waste Lands, there are no trees, so they have to take it from over there. Demyan should act as a protector, since tonight will be the blood moon and they can't wait. Their supplies are on the bottom already.

Every race, except humans, had their time, when the full moon gifted them with extra power, aggression or blessing. Elves gained from the Green moon, Fairies from the purple, Werewolves had the red one. Vampires gained from the blue and Goblins from the brown. Demons were special, because they had to wait for a moon eclipse.