1094 - Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
n this age of knights and chivalry, the bloody crusades raged. Among the havoc arose two great heroes of the Church - Mathias Cronqvist, genius military tactician, and the young, hot-blooded swordsman, Leon Belmont. While serving side by side, the two knights forged a strong friendship, and their combined strengths made their company unstoppable on the battlefield.
While away leading a successful campaign against the heathens, tragedy struck. Mathias' pure and blameless wife, Elisebetha, passed on due to illness during her husband's departure from home. Upon returning from victory, hearing this news caused Mathias to become so overwhelmed with grief and mourning that he became bedridden, and Leon was left to lead the company on further expeditions without him.
It was during this time that an unexplained horde of vile monsters began appearing within Leon's domain. Leon petitioned to the Church for permission to launch an attack against the creatures, but his superiors were only concerned with bringing subjugation to the non-believers in the east.
One night, Mathias roused from his sickbed to tell Leon that the monsters were associated with a vampire dwelling in the Forest of Eternal Night, and Sara Trantoul, Leon's betrothed, was abducted and brought to the vampire's castle.
Under the Church's mandate, the young knight was not authorized to act. Leon had lost his parents when he was very young, and had few relatives left. Sara was the single most important thing in his life, and he would not stand idly by while his beloved lay in the clutches of a vampire.
Without looking back, Leon renounced his knighthood and lordship, and rushed into the Forest of Eternal Knight by himself. There, he met an old alchemist named Rinaldo Gandolfi, who informed him that the master of the forest, Walter Bernhard, was using an alchemic relic known as the Ebony Stone to lock his domain in eternal night, thereby making him the most powerful among all vampires. As such, the lesser creatures of the night were in subjection to him, and Leon would have to defeat his foremost dark agents before he could face Walter himself.
To Walter, it was but a game. With his unparalleled power among creatures of darkness and immortality, he found sadistic amusement in toying with and crushing the lives of mere mortals. The only thing of value in Walter's eyes that he did not have was the Crimson Stone - counterpart to his Ebony Stone. With that, Walter could harness the power of slain vampires and become even stronger.
Rinaldo eventually revealed to Leon that the stones were created by accident while trying to create the ultimate alchemic treasure - the Philosopher's Stone.
The two stones became the most cherished objects among vampires, and having but only one made Walter the most dominate.
Rinaldo equipped Leon with a whip made from alchemy itself, and charged his gauntlet with power enabling him to use magic relics. Inside Walter's sinister castle, Leon boldly vanquished monster after monster; cutting swathes through Walter's hordes with the determination to save his dear one.
A friendship grew between Rinaldo and the former knight as the adventure continued. Leon would frequently turn to the old fellow for guidance and goods. Eventually, Rinaldo let down his guard and told Leon why he had stationed himself in the woods just outside Walter's castle.
Walter had turned Rinaldo's daughter, and the once innocent girl murdered Rinaldo's family with the bloody thirst of a vampire. Walter ruined Rinaldo's life like he had so many others, and forced the alchemist to hunt and slay his own kin. Rinaldo had challenged Walter, but was defeated. He waited in the Forest of Eternal Night to assist young adventurers who sought to confront Walter like he had once done; hoping that one of them would triumph.
But none had.
Rinaldo was truly impressed that Leon had lasted so long, but had unspoken doubts that he would not be able to defeat Walter once the time came to face him.
When Leon destroyed Walter's five guardians, the magical obstruction around the castle's highest tower withdrew, and Leon entered to be greeted by the master of the castle, Walter Bernhard. Leon struck at Walter with his alchemy whip, but it proved completely ineffective against the powerful vampire. As a reward for making it farther in the game than any before him, Walter returned Sara. He told Leon that he would be waiting for him in the throne room atop the tower.
Leon immediately rushed out of the castle and into the woods to take Sara to Rinaldo's cabin, but the magical protective barrier surrounding the cottage and safeguarding it from the undead was activated when Sara approached, incapacitating her. It was then revealed that the vampire had tainted Sara, and she was steadily loosing her humanity.
Desperate, Leon asked Rinaldo if there was anything he could do to reverse the infection. Rinaldo told him that he'd have to defeat Walter immediately, but Leon had no chance, because the alchemy whip he'd been granted was incomplete. The only way to finalize the weapon was to use it to take the life of a tainted soul - one that Leon trusted, and one that trusted him in turn.
Sara had overheard Leon and Rinaldo's discussion, and selflessly beseeched Leon to use the whip against her in order to complete it - thereby having a means of finally destroying Walter and saving others from her cursed fate. At first, this solution was unacceptable to the young man, but in due course, he was convinced that it was the only way.
With deep resolve and love for his betrothed, after entering into a blood pact with her, he struck, ending the life of the person whom he loved more than anything. Though it was what Sara had wanted, Leon instantly mourned her loss.
After giving his lost love a proper burial, Leon stormed through Walter's soaring tower, empowered by rage, hatred, and grief. With the strength of the new Vampire Killer whip, he tore through Walter's defenses and ascended to the throne.
Once within Walter's personal chamber, Leon declared to the vampire that he'd slay him once and for all. However, Walter wasn't the least bit intimidated until Leon lashed with the Vampire Killer. When the whip connected, to the vampire's great surprise, it shattered his precious Ebony Stone that Walter wore on his armor.
Walter avowed to teach Leon the meaning of true terror, but for the first time, a mortal bested him. Leon had overcome Walter's game, and even Walter himself.
Walter found a shred of security in knowing that with his powers, he'd surely disregard death and return. Like his stone, that hope was devastated as the divine being known as Death appeared within the throne room. Walter knew the meaning of such a presence. Death absorbed Walter's soul and offered it to his master, the wielder of the long sought after Crimson Stone.
To Leon's great shock and confusion, it was Mathias who emerged as the possessor of the Crimson Stone. He had absorbed Walter's own soul, thus abandoning humanity by becoming a vampire.
It was his act of revenge against God. Leon and Mathias had risked their lives fighting in His name, yet God ruthlessly took the one whom he loved the most. Mathias sought to defy God's decree of limited life by becoming an immortal, and cursing Him forever within his immortality.
Mathias had used Leon, Sara, Rinaldo, and Walter to serve his end of ascending to immortality. It was because of him that all of this had happened. It was because of him that Sara had died. He knew without a doubt that Leon would defeat Walter, and he used him to do so.
With the Ebony Stone destroyed, and the Crimson Stone in his possession, as well as Walter's soul, Mathias had no rival. He offered Leon a chance to join him in immortality, now that Leon knew what it felt like to have the one he loved mercilessly taken from him, and to have hatred in his heart for the one who took her. Leon rebuked Mathias, telling him he'd changed, that he was no longer the man he knew as his best friend - that he was no longer the man whom Elisabetha would have loved.
Mathias felt no remorse in severing his friendship with Leon, and told his servant Death to deal with him. Mathias assumed bat form and escaped the castle. As the Ebony Stone was destroyed, dawn would soon befall the Forest of Eternal Night for the first time in a long while.
Though it was a fierce battle, Leon defeated Death, as well. The Vampire Killer whip was especially effective against all related to the vampire - including Death. Before Death dissipated, Leon told the creature to deliver Mathias a message stating that Leon would never forgive him, and his kinsman would someday destroy him. From that moment onward, the Belmont Clan would be dedicated to hunt the Night.
Death was destroyed, and Walter's castle began to crumble without its master's presence. Leon escaped the collapsing castle as the rays of dawn pointed to an end to the horror, and a new beginning for Leon Belmont.