• In his early days Alaerion was but a humble farmer, he was of average height in relation to the rest of the village and had shoulder-length blonde hair that he always kept well groomed. His eyes were of the purest blue color and it was agreed amongst the women of the town that his smile was among the most beautiful in the village. Having spent his life on a farm Alaerion was rather muscular and had developed a dark tan.

    Alaerion lived on his farm with his wife and his two children, one a teenage boy and the other a young girl. He loved nothing more than his family and for many years they lived together happily, undisturbed by the world outside their small town.

    As the years passed and stories of the many brave adventurers reached their small town, Alaerion began to grow bored of the monotonous lifestyle he had chosen. He started to dream of taking up a life of adventuring for himself and began to share the idea with his friends at the local tavern.

    As Alaerion's dreams of greatness grew so did his desperation to escape the boring life he lived. When Alaerion learned of the existence of a man just outside of the town that could help him, he was eager to pay him a visit. He went home to his loving wife and kids that night and told them that he had decided to become a great adventurer.

    The next day Alaerion set off for the man's cottage and when he arrived he found the old man in the back of the house. He was a very tall man, standing about a head taller than Alaerion and had a very dark complexion. He had greasy black hair that reached midway down his back. The man’s irises were also completely black as though his pupil had consumed them. The man had just finished filling a hole in his yard and, upon noticing Alaerion’s arrival, stuck his spade into the ground and leaned on it.

    "Hello, sir, my name is..." He was cut off.

    The man turned to him and replied, "I know who you are and I know exactly why you're here. Many adventure-seeking mortals such as yourself have visited me in years past, all asking the same questions and all willing to do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true. You seek power beyond human comprehension, you aspire to find the fountain of youth and sip its waters, and you wish to be renowned throughout the lands. I can grant you all of this and much more. Go home and consult with yourself and your loved ones and decide if your dreams are worth pursuing.”

    Elated, Alaerion left the man's house and went back to his farm as instructed. There he told his family what the man had said and discussed with them the limitless possibilities that would open to them if he accepted the offer. Knowing full-well how desperately Alaerion wished to achieve his dream, his wife encouraged him to accept the man's offer while his children were delighted at the idea of their father being a famous adventurer.

    Later that night Alaerion lie awake, deprived of the sweet sleep that had come so peacefully to his wife and children. As he waited for sleep to find him, Alaerion thought about how much he would miss his family on his travels. After thinking about it for a while he began to feel a little guilty knowing that while he would be out travelling the world he would be leaving his wife and children at home to run the farm. At the same time, he knew that the adventures he would undertake on his journey would be unlike anything he had experienced in his life and he concluded that the opportunity was too good to pass up. He resolved that his family was more than capable of running the farm on their own and that he would return to visit them as often as he could. Though he thought he had made his decision, he continued to argue with himself about the topic until the early hours of the morning when he finally fell into a fitful slumber.

    Alaerion awoke a few hours later and prepared for his first day of greatness. He dressed himself in the finest adventuring garb that the local traders had to offer and said goodbye to his wife. He entered the room of his children where they lie sleeping on their beds and kissed them each on the forehead.

    As he walked down the path leading to the gate guarding the entrance to his farm, he noticed three large holes dug in his yard. They were each roughly six foot deep, one was about his size in length and width and the other two very similar but the dimensions half the size of the first. He saw a spade leaning against a tree stump near the three holes and sat on top of it was the man he had met with the day before. He spoke, "You've decided then, have you? Very well. Once the deal is done there will be no turning back and no way to undo the consequences of yours actions. If you accept the terms of the agreement, you need but p***k your finger and leave your mark on this contract."

    The man pulled a large scroll from his back pocket and held it out to Alaerion with his left hand. In his right, was a small knife with the blade extended in Alaerion's direction. Almost instantly Alaerion pricked his thumb on the blade of the knife and pressed it to the bottom of paper.

    Alaerion watched as the blood continued to flow from his thumb, having half expected it to heal the moment he removed it from the paper. He watched as it beaded up on his thumb and then began to trickle down his hand falling to the ground a single drop at a time.

    As he watched and waited for his promised powers, he noticed that the flow of the blood from his thumb was steadily increasing. What was a moment ago a few drops falling to the ground had now become a steady stream. He looked at the man, who had returned to his stump and was watching the process with little interest, with a sense of betrayal. He began to feel a craving, it was small at first but as the intensity of the stream increased so did that of the craving. It was stronger now; he could feel it pulling at him. Stronger still, it had consumed him to the point that he couldn’t feel anything but the need to satisfy the craving and then… darkness.

    Alaerion awoke to a dark bedroom several hours later, the moonlight pouring in through the window being his only source of light. Alaerion stood beside his bed and saw in the mirror that was placed at the other end of the room that his once bronze skin had become eerily pale as had his beautiful blue eyes. His blonde hair had changed as well becoming white to match his new complexion. He attempted to speak but bit his lip when he did and realized his now had large fangs, to his surprise he wasn’t bleeding though he knew he had punctured the skin.

    Alaerion began to look around the bedroom and noticed his wife wasn't there. He called for her, being certain not to bite himself again, but didn’t receive an answer. He ran to check on his children and found their room empty as well. Frantic, Alaerion tore the house apart looking for his family when he noticed through a window there was a lamp sitting on a stump outside and standing beside it was the man with the spade who Alaerion was convinced had murdered his family.

    He ran out of the house and confronted the man.

    "You! Was this part of the deal that we struck? Was ruining my life not enough for you?! You've taken everything that's dear to me! You've turned me into a monster and you killed my family!"

    At this the man chuckled and said, "I did nothing but what was agreed and it was not I that killed your family."

    "Then who?" Alaerion shouted, "Who is responsible for the death of my family?"

    Chuckling once more the man responded, "Why, you are."

    Alaerion stumbled back a couple steps and then fell to his knees in sheer disbelief. "I did? No! I wouldn't, I couldn't! They were the world to me!"

    The man stood from his perch and approached Alaerion. He began to circle him slowly.

    "It was the craving. You remember the craving, don't you? You remember how small it was at first and then how it grew until it was all that you could think about. You craved blood and once you had become completely consumed by the craving you lost all control. You attacked your own family and sucked the life from them to satisfy it. Calm yourself and concentrate, it's still there. Curbed though it may be it is still there, lurking in the back of your mind and it is there that it shall remain. For I have delivered on my promise, you have received the gift of immortality and with it supernatural speed and strength. As for the fame, I'm sure the story of how you slaughtered your own family will have circulated through the village by sunrise."

    The man paused a moment as Alaerion moaned in agony at the loss of his family and then preceded.

    "It is you that erred, not I. You had this farm, a lovely wife and two adoring children, everything a man could ever need, but you were greedy. You dreamed of power and glory, too blinded by your own selfishness to realize what you had and now it's lost to you forever. You have paid the ultimate price for your new found power and you must now deal with the consequences. But, look on the bright side, at least you have an eternity to figure out where you went wrong."

    At this, the man began laughing wickedly and strolled over to the gate. He plucked his spade out of the freshly filled grave of Alaerion's wife, picked his lantern up off the stump and disappeared into the darkness of the woods leaving Alaerion on his knees in front of the graves of his family.

    At first, Alaerion didn't believe it. He refused to believe that he had killed his family, it must have been the man. Then he felt it, the craving the man had talked about, subdued for the moment, but still lurking in the deepest recesses of his mind. He remembered it then, how powerful the craving was as the blood flowed from his body and the need to replenish himself became uncontrollable. He remembered the pleasure he felt as he sucked the life from his dearly beloved, the taste of the blood filling him with ecstasy. The pleasure was so intense that he couldn’t stop until he had sucked every last drop of the precious fluid from his wife and still he wasn’t satisfied, he moved on to his children, their small bodies unable to summon the strength that was required to fend him off. After he had gorged himself on both of his children, filled himself to the point that he felt ready to burst, the craving had finally been satisfied.

    He rose to his feet slowly and moved agonizingly toward the fence of his farm. Once there he picked three roses from the bushes that his wife had planted years ago. He fell to his knees remembering her delight at seeing them prosper in the rich soil and the beauty that they brought to their farm.

    Lacking the strength to pick himself up off the ground again Alaerion began to crawl slowly toward the graves of his loved ones. He winced with every small movement as though it were causing him intense pain. Once he had managed to span the gap between the rose bushes and the dirt mounds that hid his family he placed a rose on each of them and then began to weep.

    Alaerion now seeks redemption for the tragedy that was bestowed upon him so many years ago. He also seeks revenge upon the man with which he made a devil’s pact. The graves of his family are now the center attraction of one of the world’s loveliest rose gardens and it is said that Alaerion has taken the rose as his own personal symbol.