The Crimson Monarch

In a remote mountainous part of Belgium, there was once a small kingdom with a reputation of being haunted by all sorts of ghosts and spirits. By the year 1916, the kingdom included little more than an impoverished village and several hundred acres of rocky wilderness. The ruler of this kingdom, Count Saric, was known as a ruthless tyrant. He was said to be heavily involved with occult studies and rituals, and some even claimed he possessed supernatural powers or that he was a vampire.

As a child, Count Saric had studied the history of his kingdom, and he remained bitter at how invading armies had slowly but surely taken over so much of the surrounding territory that his own kingdom was now all but forgotten. But he had great plans of restoring his family to a position of power. He directed his subjects to begin mining operations to create huge stockpiles of gunpowder. He also drafted every villager into his army, and began planning his invasion of the surrounding areas.

By the Fall of 1917, even the courtyard of Count Saric's dilapidated castle was crowded with barrels of gunpowder. His five children were playing among these stacks of barrels when the unthinkable happened. Machine gun fire became audible somewhere in the distance, and then a fighter plane came hurtling out of the foggy sky, crashing directly into the courtyard. The entire castle was destroyed in the ensuing explosion.

They say Count Saric's survival was due to his occult powers. But he did survive, and swore he would have revenge on his enemy. Unfortunately, too little remained of the downed aircraft to determine it's origin. So the Count declared war upon all who fight.

In the winter of 1917, Count Saric took to the air in a heavily modified Fokker DR-1 triplane. From then until the Fall of 1918, the Count is said to have shot down over 100 fighter planes. No aircraft, whether British, German or French, was safe from this deadly fighter pilot.

While it was not uncommon for pilots to land next to a downed opponent's crash site and collect a souvenir, usually some part of the airplane, Count Saric had a far darker habit. He would collect parts of the downed pilot. They say the Count could remain airborne for days at a time, although his plane, like the man himself, was only ever seen at night.

By the Fall of 1918, there were few fighter pilots who hadn't heard of the fabled Count Saric, and the airspace around his tiny kingdom was avoided by all. On a snowy evening in late October, the Count once again boarded his plane, telling a servant “I have yet one more to catch”. Count Saric flew off into the cold starless night, never to be seen again.

Of course, there are some who say the Count is still up there somewhere. And it's difficult to disprove them, because almost all mention of Count Saric and his tiny kingdom has been removed from recorded history. What ever became of the Count, what horrible rituals he may have practiced, and what horrible truth might exist behind all the rumors, will never be known.