Author’s Note: This is a work of fan fiction, written to pay tribute to both the video game Bloodborne and the visionary author H.P. Lovecraft. I in no way seek financial gain from it, and the settings, concepts, and some of the characters within remain the intellectual property of From Software and Sony Entertainment.
For the first installment in this series, please see the Prologue & Chapter 1.
The lodgings to which I alluded were a set of cramped rooms on the second floor of a narrow, red brick terraced house at the bottom of the Central Yharnam thoroughfare. From the outside the structure looked to be in the modern, iron n’brick style, but was topped with a curious spire and seemed to lean a little, as if compressed by the similar houses which flanked it either side. The windows were also curiously all iron-barred, as were those of all the other dwellings, which at the time I put down to an ascetic preference for modernism.
The landlord resided above me and was an ageing wheelchair-bound paraplegic named Petr, who was polite by Yharnam standards but seemed to want to leave my presence as soon as any business was concluded. It did not impress upon me at that time, giddy with merryness as I was, the curiosity of a disabled man in a city supposedly in possession of miraculous blood. Nor did it overly trouble me when I heard him shouting in the night at demon’s perhaps only he could see, a sharp bellowing: “Away, away”. I put that down to the nocturnal confusion that can afflict the elderly, and left him to his solitudinous ravings.
In those first few days I explored only within my immediate vicinity, up the Central Yharnam thoroughfare and into the square beyond. My initially enthusiasm was only dented but lightly by the somewhat desertedness of the streets, even at midday hours. I made enquiries as to where I may find a desk for my writings, and to whereby I might find passage to visit the famed Castle Cainhurst, host of the monarchs of old and situated on that great island in the middle of the Lake east of the town. The former item I managed to obtain from a most spiteful hag lurking near the viaduct, who seemed to spit out only the most essential of words before shoving the writing bureau my way and slamming the door behind her. But as to the latter, I was warned on no uncertain terms by every resident that I met that I was to cease my enquiries about Cainhurst at once, and not make any attempt to cross the land-bridge that lead to the infamous castle. A shoesmith I met in a tavern, drunk on the blood that is as ubiquitous to Yharnam as liquor is to my homeland, let slip in a barely comprehensible mumble that there there was some kind of disagreement in progress between the Healing Church and The Cainhurst residents, whom they called Vilebloods. Notwithstanding, following my interest in this matter the suspicious stares of the city folk seemed only to intensify, and I ceased my probing in this direction post-haste.
Having aborted my Cainhurst plans, I set out one morning in the direction of Cathedral ward, with the intention to navigate it’s alleys and perhaps descent to the old part of the town. The reader may have divined my origins as being of a troubled childhood, predisposed to crookery, but it may surprise one to hear that I have had some education, and my interest in history may rival that of a noble scion. Having missed the Cainhurst coach, so to speak, I now yearned to see the peculiar early architecture of Old Yharnam, where the first settlers placed their roots and founded this unique township.
Despite my enthusiasm I was not in good spirits, however. Petr’s ravings had been of particular volume and aggression the night past. I could hear his infernal banging and cries of “away, away!” through the floorboards of my ceiling, so much so I feared he must be embattled with an assailant. Out of neighbourly concern I rose what little courage I possess and ascended the creaky staircase, but found his door locked. With nothing more to be done, I returned to my bed, but even long after the cacophony ceased I could hear a sickly popping, which I assumed at the time to be less than adequate plumbing.
Furthermore, as I emerged from the dwelling that morning I passed a man known as “Tiber” in the doorway coming the other way. Tiber was a sort of helper or nurse to Petr, and was of such bizarre disposition (even by Yharnam standards) that I tended to give him a wide berth. He was extraordinarily thin and ghostly pale, and had a festering head injury which my eyes strained to avoid inspecting too closely. He was also a mute, and as we passed he gave me a look of such horror that I quickly sped up my pace and was glad to be out into the deathly quiet street.
I had thought my mood would brighten as I passed through Cathedral ward, it being the district in which I had found my salvation. However, as I traversed the square which sits adjacent to Oedon’s chapel I came over in a hot flush, for although it will sound extraordinary to disbelieving ears I felt that I was being watched, not by any person in the square itself but from above! Instinctively, I elevated my gaze to the church spires that loom above the square, and although I saw only the gothic edifice of the chapel building the feeling of being examined only intensified, and worse, a migranal pressure began to build in my head precisely where the growth that had caused my illness had been! In what the doctors had called the amygdala! In fright I’m sorry to say that I ran from the square into the alleys, with the full intention of reporting to the church healing rooms for another transfusion, for surely my ailment was returning! But as I put distance from Oeden’s chapel, the sensation began to fade, much to my relief, and I continued on my fateful journey.
If I had thought that my sojourn to Old Yharnam was to bear any more fruit than my attempts to see Cainhurst, I was to be corrected in my assumption most abruptly. For on arriving at the sarcophagal building that I knew to contain the passageway to the old town, I found the area blocked by the scruffy armed local militia that seem to gather with increasing frequency on the streets. Some dread malady seemed to be afoot, for Healing Church doctors, recognisable by their robes of pearl white and obsidian black were scurrying around this border looking concerned. Furthermore, great coffins, bound by curious chains, were being loaded onto carts by various hunched over figures. What disease could have afflicted Old Yharnam that could not be resolved by the blood that gave this town it’s very meaning? My enquiries at the border only elicited a gruff bark from a pitchfork-armed militia man: “Ashen blood! Away!” And thus I was promptly shoed from the area.
Crestfallen and nervous, I returned to central Yharnam and quickly descended into one of the ubiquitous basement bars set in the below ground level of the townhouses. Upon entering the dank interior, the figure sitting at the wrought iron bar stood out as a foreigner almost immediately. For one, he was nursing an ale, rather than the blood that Yharnam residents are more likely to imbibe. For second, his clothing was of a distinct familiarity to me, being of exceptionally fine cloth, and consisting of a navy blue, brass buckled garb of a military fashion…why, but he was wearing a garb and possessing the cane of the constabulary of my own land! As he turned to face me I saw his pale blue eye and what little colour I had drained from my face. I was his quarry, I was sure of it! He had followed me here to make me atone for my sins! And sure enough, his first word to me was an insult! “Vermin!” He spake, and spat into an upturned metal bucket at his feet.
I quickly about turned and made with haste to leave that accursed hovel, but just then two pitch wielding militiamen stumbled into the narrow bar, half blood-drunk already. My way blocked, I turned back to face the long blonde-haired enforcer of the law with as much courage as I could muster.
“M-me?” I stammered. He gazed at me for a good half a minute, as if assessing the quality of a lump of meat. Finally, he turned back to his ale.
“No. Not you. You are one of the sane one’s, perhaps as yet uncontaminated by the filth of these streets!”
Relieved but still shaking a little, I perched next to the man and ordered a dirty brown ale from the barkeep, who looked at my choice with disdain before moving to serve the raucous militiamen the more intoxicating serving of blood.
The Constable sipped his ale.
“Ahh..” he exhaled, clearly finding his drink more refreshing with a kinsman for company.
“So you came in search of a cure. Well, was it worth it? Or have you yet had enough of these wretched beasts, freakish slugs and mad doctors?”
I was taken aback by his most singular choice of words, and spoken so openly! How daring!
“I…I was cured. Of a dread malady. A crippling ailment, sir.”
The Constable fixed me again with his harrowed gaze.
“And was it worth it? Know that everything in this world has it’s price. And it’s rarely worth paying!” he declared, and spat again into the odd upturned bucket.
I drank deeply of the ale and ordered another. Despite having no appetite after the day’s unsettling events, I felt I should eat, and asked my new unlikely companion if he cared to dine.
“Ahh!” piped the barkeep from the shadows upon hearing this.
“But I feel Valtr there has likely already had his fill! His belly will have no room for more, I’d wager!” This last statement elicited cackling laughter from the militiamen at the end of the bar, who now I noticed were blood drunk in the extreme, and in possession of unusual amounts of grubby hair about the face and hands.
Valtr, as it seems the constable’s name was, growled and spat into his bucket, and then most oddly of all, proceeded to place the spittoon upon his head, but as to wear as a helmet! He abruptly stood, and I felt that a brawl was about to break out in that heinous hovel, and promptly rose to leave. Any pining I had for refreshment had receded. Valtr, however, simply brushed by the miltiamen who backed away a little wearily, although sniggered under their breath as I followed him into the now darkening street “Beast eater….”
As we parted ways in the concourse beyond the entrance way Valr leaned in close as he stared at me through eye holes bored into his iron bucket-helmet.
“If you need a familiar face, come back to this bar!” And then, even more bizarrely, performed an abrupt gesture whereby he slammed his cane to his garb and then hoisted it into the air. And with that he was off, marching in step down the street in the direction of Cathedral ward.
I returned with haste to my dwelling, and had to misfortune to find the mute Tiber lurking in the entranceway. By the gaslamp light I fancied that in his face there was a look of grotesque pleading, as if he wanted me to save him from some inner torment. In no mood for more strangeness, I bolted passed him up the stairs, and secured myself in my room to ponder the day’s events.
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