1792 - Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

n days gone by, there had been peace and prosperity. Nevertheless, it was not everlasting. Behind tranquility's veil lingered chaos - mankind's thirst for destruction… their longing for their Dark Lord.

Those who would disturb the prosperity and sentence the world to darkness assembled in the late 18th century. For it was time, once again…

The Dark Priest Shaft, with his congregation, sought the return of the King of the Night to cleanse the world of decadence. Within a monastery, the ritual was prepared. The blasphemers had everything needed, the young maiden, and the corpse. With hilts tightly in hand, the heretics drove a sharp blade into the girl, spilling her blood – the blood that supplied the sacrifice.

Their Master awoke.

Living in the night, he had power to altar his form to a wolf, a bat, and mist. Sustaining his life by sucking the blood of young women, he took whom he pleased. He was Master of the Demon Castle. Lord of the Undead.

Count Dracula had returned.

Ascending to a familiar Throne in his Castle, the Vampire's minions convened, forming an unholy throng at the Master's advent. His forces were sent forth, laying waste to Transylvania. The mass pillaged and set fire to a village, kidnapping desirable young women for their Lord.

Richter Belmont, heir to the Belmont family namesake, and Vampire Killer whip, answered this recurring return to madness. Richter raced toward the blazing village on his carriage, after gathering crucial equipment. The fiery young man reviled injustice, and the terrible sight before him made his blood boil.

Before arriving at the village, Death emerged to taunt the Vampire Hunter. Testing Richter, Death attacked with a small display of his power, which was thwarted. Prior to taking leave back to the Castle, Death warned that the trials would continue the rest of the way.

Richter disembarked at the village, angered at it being overrun by Dracula's monsters. The Vampire Hunter razed the dark creatures, but arrived too late in order to save the women taken hostage. To his shock, one of them was Annette, his girlfriend. Dracula knew of her tie to his blood foes, and had special plans for the young girl.

Wasting no time, Richter headed for Castle Dracula to rescue the maidens and defeat its Lord. He spied the Dark Priest Shaft in the Castle's Entrance Hall. The occult man was tormenting a small girl with a hex. Her body unmoving, she drifted aloft while caught in a geyser of light.

Richter attacked, but the Priest escaped, vanishing into thin air.
After the rescue, the blonde girl inquired who her hero was. Richter introduced himself. She'd heard of him before from Annette. She was Maria Renard. Maria said she'd come to defeat Dracula, but was overcome. It was curious that a small girl would confront the Count, but she was an alleged Vampire Hunter, too.

Richter laughed at the notion of the pink clad youth hunting Vampires. The girl sought to prove herself, so she wanted to tag along with Richter and help in anyway she could. At first, Richter dismissed the thought immediately, telling her to go to her parents. Maria said her parents were with her, watching over her from Heaven. When her temper flared due to Richter not allowing her to accompany him, Maria displayed strange yet powerful magic. Surprised and convinced of the girl's power, Richter reluctantly allowed her along.

In a mud-covered cemetery, Richter found another maiden. The young nun named Tera rejoiced at the sight of Richter, professing him to be Heaven sent. Richter felt praise should be saved for later, and urged her to hurry back to the village. Before he set off, Tera asked who he was.

"Richter Belmont, Vampire Hunter," the young man responded. Tera reassured her savior that God was watching over him.

Later, along river rapids around the Castle, Richter encountered a girl named Iris, the daughter of the doctor. Richter's arm was injured in a confrontation with monsters, and Iris convinced him that she should bandage the wound before he left.

Not much for words, Richter uttered his thanks and was ready to go. Iris told him that she should be thanking him, and beseeched the young man to be careful.

High atop the Castle's Clock Tower, Annette waited.
The cell door to her prison opened, revealing Count Dracula himself. The dashing Vampire complemented her beauty, stating how he'd enjoy biting the neck of such an attractive girl. Annette demanded he stay away.

A haughty smirk accenting his features, the Count asked why. He told her he could give her eternal life and sustain her good-looking condition. She could rule the world at his side, forever.

Raising a knife, Annette threatened to kill herself, telling the Count she'd never fall in such a contemptible manner. "Contemptible?" the Count questioned.
Dracula reasoned that if his existence was contemptible, any desire, any aspirations of man would be the same. After all, it was by man's will that he was existing in the living world.

Abruptly, Shaft appeared in the doorway, announcing that a suspicious character was making his way through the castle. The confident Vampire chuckled that destiny was so much fun. He told Annette they'd continue the discussion later and excused himself, vanishing with proud laughter.

Annette whispered for Richter to save her…

Richter made his way through the Castle, defeating monsters and eventually killing the Dark Priest Shaft in battle.

At the Clock Tower, he found Annette in her cell. They made sure each other was unharmed, and Richter admonished her to return to the village. He was obliged to continue further to complete the centennial Rondo of Blood between the Belmont Clan and Count Dracula.

Annette pleaded with him not to go, a dangerous battle lay ahead. Richter knew the risk, but Dracula's blood called out to him. He told Annette to return, and before she could dispute his decision, he left to meet his destiny.

Shaft was so resolute in stopping the Hunter; his ghost attacked Richter at the top of the Tower. After finally putting the Dark Priest to rest, Richter continued en route for his last battle in the Demon Castle.

Richter triumphed over Dracula in a climactic battle. Subsequently, the Count surprisingly began ruminating on matters aloud.
Dracula told his opponent that his resurrection was not even his own doing. Humans called him forth from his slumber. He was brought back through the desire of those who lost faith and sought to venerate him.

Before disintegrating, Dracula asked Belmont if he could truly be called evil, and told his slayer that it had been a pleasure, and that he'd meet the Belmonts again, in due time.

Together, Richter and Maria escaped the Castle before it could crumble atop them. Richter went back to Annette, strengthened from his great victory, and the Rondo of Blood completed full circle.

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