respect the elders [story part 9]
January 23, 2012 § 1 Comment
December 28th, just after nightfall.
You are not a child, you are not a man and you are not a woman. You are not human. You are a blight of nature and you should die. Make no mistake, that is the only impression you will ever make upon a human being. They will not accept you for who you are now. They will not offer you shelter and comfort. They will hunt you down, they will be relentless and they will succeed.
For what you are indeed, the world has never seen, either fact or choice it doesn’t change for what it is. It is unsuspecting and fearful. Leeches and mosquitoes, you are no more than that. You are now free to make your own destiny and claim your life as it should be for you are alive now more than any human being will ever be. You will feed on them such as a leech does on its prey, but make haste and make yourself unseen because you will be feared and hunted where leeches will be not.
You walk slowly under the sun and run with all your might under the moon. Nothing will end your life against your will and nothing will ever make you obey in front of the unworthy. Your masters are now no more – for you are your sole master and your own executioner.
Walk with your head high for you are now both king and queen among humans, make your choice now and never look back. Feed on their life. Walk as an angel, hunt as a demon. Master that art and you shall never be in any danger from humans and others alike.
Cherish and respect your elders, for they have the absolute power over your life – and you – as an elder yourself will never subdue your kinship to bid your will against their own. You will respect your elders and do their pleasing out of respect and not fear. Do this and live freely, disobey and disrespect them and die young at the hands of your own fate.
Go now and take all that you wish but remember: your greatest weapons are not your bite and strength, your greatest weapon is your mind. Use it wisely and follow one rule: never make yourself known outside your kinship. For they are many and we are few. For they are weak in strength but not thought. Fear them as they fear you.
The above excerpt is word by word written from my diary, as is a big part of this blog anyway. The writing above is everything that I could remember and translate as accurately as possible. It was spoken in Latin and it is what I consider the most important part of the events below:
As soon as I was yanked from my feet and before I could feel any regret that something spoiled that perfect evening with Regina – I had traveled well over 1km, on top of the hill, in front of the old church. The whole trip was rather intense for me and it couldn’t have taken more than a minute.
Regina and I were standing in front of the old church now, she wasn’t even breathing hard. I wondered if she needed to breathe anyway. Not that she was “undead” – no way, she was more alive than I was really, but the whole “I cannot die” thing made me wonder. I was once again scared and amazed by her. What else was she capable of? What else didn’t I know or I knew wrong about vampires? Why didn’t she turn into a bat like Dracula did – now that would have been a sight to remember.
“Stay here.” Regina said with a tone that only my mother once had. She should have known better I’m the kind that comes when you say stay and stays when you say come.
Then she was gone, a gush of wind around me let me know about that because my eyes were failing me. Wasn’t it enough that she moved as fast as that but it had to be so dark outside and damn near impossible to see where you set your foot?
This is the church in question. Twenty steps behind me was the house where the guardian of the cemetery gates lived and 150 steps in front of me, beyond the church, was the high school. Right now, like always at this hour, the top of the hill was deserted. Not even birds seem to be around here during the night.
Nevertheless, as soon as Regina slammed through the doors I heard voices from inside. How the hell did she know someone will be here now, at this hour. Inside the church!
I went in a run after her without even thinking at what I might get myself into.
As soon as I went inside, I slowed down and hid behind a pillar before someone noticing me. Too late, they had noticed me and in an instant someone grabbed me and threw me over 10 meters where I landed in front of the big ass altar. Regina was looking down at me.
Next to me, was a girl, a woman maybe in her late 20’s. She seemed she had been crying, but now she didn’t seem so scared anymore. She seemed dazed.
I wanted to ask her what’s going on, who is she and all that – I really did – but standing in front of Regina were three people who were by now hissing at me and eyeballing me like I was a big McFlurry.
In that second Regina propped her hand on one of them, on his neck, twisted it and with a loud crack he was on his knees with eyes wide open looking at her. Not dead, just… dazed.
“Nobody touches.” – Regina said. I felt good hearing that and she knew it.
Then one of them standing right next to me grabbed me by my hair, pulled me up and sank his teeth in my neck. In under a second. The pain I felt was horrible. I can’t explain how much pain that is, it’s like he intended for the bite to be as painful as possible. I felt it in my whole body not just the neck, all the way down to my toes. It was excruciating. Burning your hand doesn’t even begin to explain it – and we all know what reaction we have when we touch something hot.
I didn’t feel the pain for long – maybe a fraction – it was just the bite really – because quicker than he bit me – and that only by the fact that we was right next to me before doing it – it was over.
He fell down next to me. His body did. His head stayed around for what seemed half a second longer and then fell on the other side. Like a basketball. I was frozen in place. To give you and idea what this meant for me: I had never been to a funeral or seen a dead man in my life before, and now “I lost my virginity” to that by seeing this. I felt like puking and shitting myself in the same time. This was no romance novel – I was truly scared for my life.
I looked at Regina and she was wielding a big, long, golden knife – looked like a sword but wasn’t really long enough to be called a sword. It was about the size of your arm from the top of your index finger to your elbow. That’s the best description I can give you. It was golden – not silver. It had no elaborate handle except another golden bar, the size of one’s fist, that went perpendicularly over the handle. It was even bloodier than the actual body for what I can recall.
Silence. My face: priceless. The girl was still not screaming or yelling or doing anything really. She was just staying there looking at the whole scene unfold.
“I said – NOBODY TOUCHES.” Regina said again.
The only one of them that said nothing and did nothing was a middle-aged man, in his thirties maybe, very muscular, blond hair and tall as a statue. His gaze was one of total obedience.
“My queen – I’m sorry for this. Please spare me, nobody meant you no harm. These critters did not have the pleasure to meet you yet.” – The blond guy said.
As he said that, the one that was previously almost strangled by Regina started backing up, still on the floor, he was pushing the floor with his feet to get as far as possible. His eyes read pure fear. I wondered if that’s the look I had when I first saw Regina’s fangs shining elegantly in my face.
Regina turned to him and before I even saw it – because I never really did, except a blur – I heard a “familiar” sound and his head also started rolling on the floor. I puked this time. Violently.
“My queen – please.” The blond said.
“Silence. Enough know already who I am. I don’t need other critters on my tail. You are responsible for his death.” – She was referring at her most recent “hunt”.
“You – ” She was talking with the blonde girl now “Did you make your choice yet?”
The blond guy interrupted – “She did, but not officially, I haven’t had the chance to speak.”
“Do it fast.” Regina said.
I remember that as Regina said that, she helped me up and I wasn’t really sure I wanted to take her hand at that moment. She was venomous. Her eyes deep black and piercing through my whole body, her fangs fully extended and her eyebrows arched like that of an eagle who had just spotted his prey. She was menacing and her movements were that of a black panther – elegant, provocative yet deceitful – a panther turns from elegant to deadly in an instant. Just like Regina.
“Who are you?” – I said. I didn’t really know what I expected for an answer. I already knew who she was, but now I wasn’t sure anymore so I guess I needed reassurance.
“You know who I am, but you’ll need centuries to know all that I am, because I needed centuries to build who I am.” Regina said, and with that put me into more confusion, like there wasn’t enough already.
Meanwhile, the blond guy had finished picking up the blonde girl from the floor and was talking with her. Then he started in Latin and said the text as it is at the beginning of this post.
The girl didn’t seem to be able to stay on her feet but as soon as he finished he repeated the whole text in French and with that the girl said: “Oui, j’accepte le sang” the blond guy picked her up and she bit – hard – on his neck, right after he managed to cut himself – severely I would say – with a nail. And she drank apparently. She drank a lot.
Make no mistake, she was human – but she kept on drinking for what went on for more than two minutes, after that they both passed out. Unconscious.
It was now midnight and me and Regina were in total silence, in an almost impossible to see inside of a church and we were alone – well except the bodies and the unconscious people.
“I am not afraid of you.” I said, not in a menacing tone, but in a calming, reminding myself kind of tone.
“No, you’re not. I know that.” Regina said.
“Of course you do, I told you. And it’s true. However…” and I looked around.
“Yes… They consider me their queen. I am the strongest of our kind, and the oldest.” She said and set her knife back in her jacket. I didn’t know she carried one. Of course I didn’t.
“The oldest???” I exclaimed – desperate, confused and amazed. I was not only in the company of a girl, but this girl was centuries old, a vampire and she called me her mate. I was either the luckiest man – to be alive, and others – or the most scared man alive. I had to pick. In that moment, I picked the first one because it seemed to be better for my short-term well-being.
“Yes, they have never seen someone older than me. I have, yet only once. When I was made. And only one, my maker. I haven’t seen him since.” She said that and bowed her head down in sorrow. Was there love from her for the one that made her into this? I really thought so at the moment. But why? How could someone love that, I wondered. Now I know. I felt jealousy – of course – but I also felt gratitude, because without him I wouldn’t be with her, I wouldn’t had known of her beauty and the feeling I have when I’m with her. I wouldn’t have had the pleasures which seemed out of this world with her. I wouldn’t even had known she was ever born. I would be searching for a soul-mate and I would be caught in the same boring life I had until she found me.
“I imagine there are others, older, but not many I reckon. Maybe a few. Other than that, they are either dead, sleeping, or lived in the shadows for the past few hundred years. I think the latter is the most probable and news does not travel fast in our world anyway.”
“So that makes you… the president of vampire nation?” – I don’t know where I came up with that but I felt numb and silly. Just like someone who just had an accident and was feeling for the first time that he might just live, and now felt really giddy and in the mood for jokes. I remember that particular phrase and her smile and then her laugh. She laughed really hard for maybe what was the first time I heard her. It was full of what I would call the thirst of life. That laughter you hear from some really beautiful girls who seem to just suck life (pun intended) up and enjoy it to the fullest. Those kinds of girls who just smile and laugh at everything and for you, at a distance, it seems that nothing bothers them, nothing can touch them and everything is perfect in their life. That kind of laugh.
“Yes.” She said.
“I’m doomed.” I said
“Yes my love, yes you are.” Regina said, and with that, still smiling, she took my hand, we looked at each other and walked out of the church down the long corridor, just like a bride and a groom about to get married. Except the fact that we were going in the wrong direction from the altar.
“What about the…?” and I looked back.
“He knows what to do, there’s a crypt beneath this church and I imagine nobody will open it very soon after that.” – She giggled, referring to my recent meeting with another crypt – “Besides, it won’t be long before they will rise.”
“What just happened there anyway?” I asked.
She looked at me and we stopped walking, just at the side of the church. She examined me from head to toe and I have no idea what she was thinking. Maybe if I was worthy of knowing, maybe if she should actually tell me. Maybe she was just hungry.
“Anyone who is turned into a vampire is offered a choice whether to turn or not. It is written in the Codex and it must be obeyed. As you have just seen, she accepted. I imagine she was his mate or someone of importance. We don’t turn too many people regardless of what you might think. It’s severely weakening for both, and as you have seen, it renders us vulnerable for a considerable amount of time.”
“What do you need to do to become a vampire? Do you need to die? Are they dead?” I asked.
She didn’t answer. All she said was “…hmmm… another time.” Think of it she never really did tell me how, I found out but not from her.
“What’s the Codex then?” I asked.
“The Codex Strigis.” She said. Seeing as I’m not entirely pleased, not that she cared. She was still in her “I’m a vampire, don’t mess with me, see my fangs” stance and not yet into the “I love you and I’m as gentle as a kitty, here, feel my puffy fur” stance.
“It’s our most sacred text – not as in religious – as in respected. It is a book, written in Latin, which contains the most important rules and guides by which to go both as a young vampire and as an elder. You usually have the chance to read it all when you’re young [a young vampire she meant], you will have your chance.” – I didn’t want to know what ‘my chance’ meant, but I hoped it wasn’t what I thought it was.
“Guide as in a general information or as in a law book?” I asked, getting more curious by the second. This was big! It was like that Book of Shadows we keep hearing about in the movies, the one which each and every witch seem to have.
“Well, disrespecting them [the rules] in front of the old or the influential – like human politicians for an example you can understand – doesn’t go so well, but in front of others, they are often overlooked.”
I wanted to know whats the punishment but good enough, she provided.
“Disrespecting them in front of me means death.” She said, mischievously smiling, without even flinching or looking at me.
I gasped for a second there, maybe even shivered a bit, inside my stomach there was World War III going on, but soon enough I gathered my strength – after all why should I fear, I wasn’t a vampire so it didn’t apply – and fired away.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I wrote it.”
After a moment of silence and a good three or four waves of goose bumps over my skin I relaxed. I began to understand who she was, but little did I know about what else the book contained, and what else she herself broke by just talking with me. I was just realizing what I just heard, and understanding with horror that even though she wrote the book, she was also the one to break her own rules.
Remember: “… follow one rule: never make yourself known outside your kinship. For they are many and we are few…”
She made herself known to me. Why? What was so important about me? And why so easy? All this seems like a fairy tale even for me, it came too easy, too relaxed, too… casual and normal.
That was a question I wasn’t really prepared to hear an answer for.
codex – Latin equivalent of the word ‘book’ or, in other words, the best translation of the English word ‘book’ you can find in the Latin language. Other candidates might be ‘dictatum’; ‘liber’ or ‘enchiridion’ but none expresses ‘book’ as well as ‘codex’ does.
strigis – the genitive singular form of strix – old Latin and Greek with a meaning of evil spirit and/or vampire. The Romanian old term for a vampire is ‘strigoi’ which is derived from the Latin term ‘strigae’ which means the same thing.
Together, these words, ‘Codex Strigis’ form in what we could interpret in English as ‘The vampire book’ or ‘The book of evil spirits’ or plain ‘Vampire book’.
The bible itself is also often referred to as being a ‘codex’ – as such we could assume that ‘Codex Strigis’ could safely be interpreted also as ‘Vampire bible’.