Honor and Sacrifice: The Story of Victor Corvin

Part 1: Born in Blood

68 Years Ago.


Blood mixed with the water in the basin between the woman’s legs. Its slow, undulating red swirls moved listlessly through the tinted liquid until it was splashed violently by the tireless hands working above it.

“Bring more hot water!” called the midwife to the younger women around her. There was a sudden flurry of movement from all around the room.

The midwife’s face was creased with lines, both from age and concentration, as she worked to ease the suffering of the woman who had already spent many hours in labor. She soaked her hands and then took another rag from one of the attendants, desperate to stop the flow of blood. The woman shuttered in pain and let out a loud groan. Her skin was pale and glistening with sweat in the abundant candle light.

“Not much longer, m’lady.” urged the midwife from behind the cloth draped over the woman’s lower half.

But her worried expression was not lost to the man in the doorway.

Standing there, nearly as tall as the wooden frame would allow, was a gruff looking man with tangled gray locks and a short chopped beard. His unkempt hair and harsh gaze contrasted sharply with his steel clad body. The seamless joints of his plate mail armor gleamed, with one hand resting on the hilt of his long sword, and the other wrapped around the curve of his helmet that was tucked underneath of his arm.

“She is a strong woman.” he said flatly.

The midwife was unassured, but gave him a sidelong glance, pursed her lips, and nodded dutifully. She then removed the dripping, blood seeped rag and rung it into the basin. The water became a murky reddish brown.

With heavy footfalls the man made his way across the smooth stone floor and the young women parted to make room for him. He stopped next to his wife who laid on a bed of stretched hide and pillows stuffed with goose feathers. She arched her back, her linen gowned body wracked with pain and fever, and let out another groan. The man reached out and placed his hand onto hers.

“My horse is ready.” he informed her.

The woman’s head turned slightly. Her matted brown hair fell over her bloodshot blue eyes as they rose up to look at her husband. She released her grip on the bedding and squeezed his mailed hand instead.

“Stay…” she implored weakly, “just a little longer.”

The man shook his head.

“King Blackthorn’s footmen have already taken the southern forest. His knights will surely follow by dawn. We must make our move tonight.”

The woman suddenly clutched her swollen stomach and shot forward in pain. She breathed rapidly for a moment, and winched visibly. An attendant rushed to her side, supporting her with another pillow. After a moment, she looked back to her husband with fear written plainly across her face.

The man withdrew his hand. He took a deep breath and furrowed his brow.

“I may be gone a number of weeks. I am to lead the cavalry against the advance.”

“I need you to push, m’lady.” the midwife interjected.

The woman clenched her body and groaned through her teeth, then she laid her head back against the pillows and closed her eyes to fight the swells of nausea. Her chest rose and fell heavily.

“The men are waiting for me.” he added finally.

The man quickly turned on his heels and walked back towards the doorway. The attendants hastily moved out of his way, the closest taken by surprise and dropping the folded stacks of cloth that they carried. Each one of them cast their eyes down to the floor as he passed, out of respect for him, but also to hide their looks of dismay.

“Please… Baelund.” the woman called after him faintly.

The man stopped a few feet from the doorway.

He stood motionless for a moment, and a silence fell over the room.

Then, with a practiced motion he lifted his helmet and grasped it with both hands, pulling it down tightly over his head. His hands slowly fell back to his sides, but his head remained held high.

As no one dared to speak, the midwife’s voice finally broke in.

“M’lord,” she said gravely, “she’s lost a lot of blood.”

The man’s head snapped over his shoulder with a half turn and he gripped the hilt of his sword with lightning speed. He glared at the old woman.

“And I’ve lost more blood than any to see this kingdom born!” he roared.

Some of the attendants squealed at the terrible bark of his voice, some cowered behind their armfuls of folded cloth, but they all scattered and withdrew from the man. The midwife’s face only knotted in anger. She maintained a savage stare with the steel clad man as long as she dared, but then her eyes, too, were cast downward.

Just then a painful scream erupted from the woman who laid on the bed. Her body quivered and shook violently as she doubled over in pain. The attendants quickly rushed to her side and it took all of their strength to hold the woman down. The midwife was nearly toppled over before she could get herself back under the cloth that covered the woman’s legs. She looked to the woman in a dour manner, as she expected the very worst, a still birth, but then the midwife’s eyes shot wide with surprise.

“I see the crown!’ she exclaimed.

The remaining attendants swarmed around the woman to get a better look under the cloth. Their worried expressions soon melted to ones of squeamish curiosity and then pure wonder as the child began to make its way out of the birth canal, guided along by the hands of the old midwife. The woman howled with agonizing pain, struggling to keep conscious under the tremendous pressure of the birthing.

Minutes later, covered in blood and screaming, the child was born. The midwife announced that it was a boy, and that he looked healthy. Once he was freed, she lifted him up and gave a wiry grin to the young women around her. The young women beamed back with smiles on their exhausted faces.

Then the attendants carefully took the child, cleaned, and swaddled him. The woman, paler than before and unable to sit upright unassisted, fought vigorously against the darkness that stole away the edges of her vision long enough to reach out for him. The midwife carried the boy over and delivered him into his mother’s arms.

The mother looked down at the boy with radiant joy and tears of happiness streamed down her face. She looked over her child as he rested peacefully, nestled against her chest. At that very moment she decided what she would name her first born son.

She looked up with a surge of hope lining her tired face.

“Shall we call him Victor?” she asked, looking to the doorway.

But the blood loss had finally overcome her and her vision blurred and fell into darkness. She let out a soft sigh, her eyes fluttered, and then closed.

The old midwife exchanged uneasy glances with the younger women around her, then lifted the child from his mother’s arms, and carried him out of the room.


(Author’s Note: This is the first of what will be perhaps 10 parts to Victor’s back story, leading up to his arrival in Narrowhaven. Until such a time as all the parts are finished, I reserve the right to change any portion of the story as needed to suit the final piece. This includes facts and events to ensure the story fits with the lore of the shard (which I’m told is still being finalized). To clear any misconceptions, I also note that the mother does not actually die, she is strong like her husband said, and that Baelund is not a King, just a knight from a kingdom that gets conquered by Blackthorn during his reign long ago. Although I do want to play a vampire, he isn’t going to be some cheesy stereotype. Check back in a couple days and you should find Part 2 when Victor grows up and learns more about the world. Feel free to post your feedback. I hope you enjoyed it!)

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