London, England. 1233 AD
The narrow lane had led him to a dead end. He was surrounded by enemies- the Scarlet Hand Brotherhood had finally discovered his hiding place.
Adrian was not afraid of dying. Hell, he ALREADY was dead, technically speaking. The excruciating pain caused by the sharp blade of the Celt rippling through his entire body, was still fresh in his memory. The agonizing cries of his brothers in arms never left him alone. They were there in his sleep, so he simply hadn’t slept since that very day.
The day when he betrayed his own men. They relied on him for leadership, and he had simply lead them all into a death trap. Every last one of the Roman soldiers who had been under his command were slaughtered that day. The wild savages had no mercy. He was the last one standing. To die fighting, in battle, was one of the most honorable deaths a Roman centurion could possibly ask for.
But not like this. Not when their grave would never be found by their comrades. Their bones scattered into the four directions of the world, their families unable to at least be offered an honorable burial.
It was his mistake. He better die here and pay in hell for all the lives he couldn’t save. It was too late now. The sharp blade of the savage was like a welcomed, long-awaited lover. It ripped through his muscles and penetrated his heart. Alas, the death didn’t come as swiftly as he had hoped.
He had no idea how long he had been laying in the soft grass for, surrounded by the rotting corpses of his soldiers. Some were friends from childhood. “Please, Gods, I beg of you! Deliver me a swift exit! For I grow eager to meet with my ancestors in the underworld. I pray thee, oh mighty Orcus, punisher of broken oaths. Please do not tarry, take my soul away from this damned savage land already!”
As if the god of the underworld heard him, for a creature unknown to Adrian appeared out of the midnight silver mist. The land here has indeed been cursed, he thought to himself, before the creature materialized fully in front of him. It took Adrian all his willpower not to scream. For nothing- not even years of battling enemies in foreign lands- could prepare him for the sight of … Death? Was this how it all ended then?
The creature looked at him with its hollow black eyes and Adrian stilled. He had no strength left to fight. His sword lay a few meters away from him, buried under the bodies of his soldiers. There was nothing left to do but to wait for his end to come. He closed his eyes and uttered one last prayer. And a goodbye. He would never see his family again. His beautiful young wife, who had just given birth to his son- his firstborn. Thank god they were behind the wall, safe, far away from this hell.
As thoughts of his loved ones filled his mind, Adrian suddenly felt a sharp pain, as if something had bitten him. He quickly opened his eyes in utter panic, and swiftly regretted it. For what he witnesses then, he would never forget, he would remember it for the rest of his eternal life!
The creature was sucking the blood he still had left in him. Adrian made a weak effort to get up, which seemingly frightened the cursed thing, as it made an ugly sound and disappeared into the woods, just as it had appeared earlier.
Completely exhausted, the Roman general prepared to die. But just as he felt his body relax and his soul prepare to enter the next world, a spasm made him bend in two. In a fetal position he tried to crawl, but failed, as another spasm- this time much stronger than the first one- rendered him completely unconscious.
With this, the Transformation of Adrian, Roman general and leader of thousands of Roman soldiers, had begun.