September 22, 2012 § 5 Comments
The plan was to get to Gunnar and convince him in coming with us until we (she) figured out who’s behind all of this, and if there really is someone attacking the ones that are closest to her. I tought of me, but I wasn’t a vampire, I figured I should be safe. You never know.
However, like all plans, this one had a glitch too. There needed to be a Gunnar to convince in the first place, which was not the case here. Gunnar was missing.
We searched everywhere. There were no footprints in the snow, which was already almost 10 inches high. It was still snowing, so that couldn’t have helped much anyway. The front door was unlocked, everything in the house was in order, nothing broken, no sign of fight.
The fireplace was cold, if there was a fire there, it was long gone. We checked everything and at one point Regina even started screaming from the top of her lungs for him. Nothing. The scream itself, couldn’t have gone that far into the woods. The blanket of white, fresh snow was covering everything and proved to be a very good insulator against sound. The snow dampened everything.
We stayed around for maybe another half an hour or so, checked the basement and the small shed with the horses there. They were locked each in his own little space, and the stash of hay was in front of them, no even 10 feet away. A stash that was supposed to last through the winter. They were starving. I couldn’t help it and let them free – I hoped they wouldn’t eat more than they needed – there was plenty of water around us. Hoped they survived.
There was no point in waiting, he was clearly missing for the past three or four days, and he wouldn’t let the horses just starve like that if he intentionally went away by himself. Or the door unlocked, and a few other things that people usually do before leaving the house, like closing the damn upstairs window.
Something happened to Gunnar, alas, he wasn’t dead – yet – just missing. But then and there, it was clear that someone, something, was on to Regina, on to her offspring. This was no coincidence anymore, Blanche, Viktoria and Gunnar – they were all attacked in the same night – thousands of miles from one another. This was coordinated, well tought, and it involved humans and vampires alike.
From there, we went straight to the meeting. This one wasn’t called for by Regina, but by the elders themselves.
There was a minimum cvorum to be met, for a meeting to have a valid reason – at least 6 elders, or 5 regions. It was met on both ends, and she had to attend.
The issue was not necessarily directly related to the attack problem, but to the fact that Viktoria was attacked by humans, a group, and in a no-go zone. She had to explain herself . There isn’t much control in their world, but when it comes to one of the highest members breaking two or three rules in the same night, there needs to be some sort of clarification.
We were heading for that meeting, which took place in Scotland. Yes, Scotland. I have never, ever seen such a beautiful place in my entire life until then – and from then onwards up until now. Not Scotland, not all of it – but the actual place where we went. I can’t recall the name (I don’t know if I was ever told the name anyway) – but it was this beautiful mansion – hell, castle – somewhere around or near Inverness. Huge, eight or nine huge 18th century style rooms, all having their own fireplace, their own bathroom and more importantly, four-poster beds. I felt like at home in a way, but much better.
I can’t even describe it – you have to see it – I would have posted a photo but I can’t recall the name.
It seemed to be like the one in France, perfectly equipped with everything you need, beds made hotel style, I figured it was either a hotel, or a rental, but not a private residence. It was too standardized to be a private residence, I didn’t ask.
In any case, we landed in Glasgow at around 22:00 and headed straight for a pub.
Nobody waiting at the airport – Where’s your god now, ha?!
And now the fun part began:[audio http://k006.kiwi6.com/hotlink/6ae2glh3mt/02_-_days_to_come_feat._bajka_.mp3]
It was dark, cold and snowing. We took a cab to “any open pub”. Seriously?
We got of the cab in front of a bar named either ‘the old sheep’ or ‘the old ship’.
“Wait here.” Regina said.
“I’m freezing cold. What the hell are we doing?” I was more than confused.
“Just go sit in a corner for five minutes, time out a bit.” She said and with that went inside the pub.
Regina never, ever told me stay out, or you’re not allowed to come in, and because of that, I didn’t insist. If she had a reason for me to stay out, I would stay out. This was no time to piss anyone one, neither her, nor myself. We were both hungry, tired and cold. Really cold.
Five minutes later, Regina comes out in a hurry, with new clothes, classy ones.
“What the hell did you just do?”
She didn’t say anything and started going in one direction, then changed it and we went in the other way around.
Imagine this: a crazy girl in the middle of the night, snowing, running from one side to the other of a road, searching for something, while a dude is chasing her, trying to keep up.
Finally, a car made the familiar beep beep sound and she got in.
You’ve got to be shitting me.
I was just happy we were not out in the cold anymore. But wait, there’s more.
The moment I got in the car, just a fraction before the light going out as she started the car, I’ve noticed a tiny bit of red on her new jacket. Blood.
I realized what had just happened.
“So….” I didn’t even say anything.
“Do you need a detailed plan with points and sub-points with what just happened? I’ll tell you what happened: When you get in a new city during the night, with no means of transportation, hungry as hell, and cold, then, you need a human.”
“Do you think this is the first time I’ve done this? How do you think I lived over the centuries? I didn’t always had someone at my disposal.”
“We’ve been on the road for three days and I’m really, really hungry.” She said and started accelerating.
“Check if your mirrors are properly set for your line of sight dear.” I smiled.
“Very funny.” She replied in a sarcastic tone, and we were off.
And I felt for her. I truly did. She was basically a homeless child. Seriously. She perfected the art of going in, taking what she needed, and getting out, in under five minutes. And I bet she did this thousands of times, in thousands of cities, all around the world.
I was happy she wasn’t so self entitled anymore to take from me. She did, quite often, but only when I had the chance to also eat and rest properly, otherwise she insisted on feeding on others. I couldn’t blame her.
By the time we got to the castle, everybody was there, including Blanche, but not Viktoria nor Lars.
I hugged Blanche like she just came back from the dead. See what I did there?
I did. And she told me she had to get out by herself, because there wasn’t anyone to get her out. I felt bad for her. Imagine, digging your way out from a grave. Well it wasn’t that bad. She wasn’t buried, of course not. Just put in a coffin, in a crypt, with a stone lid. Nothing she couldn’t handle. Blanche was officialy dead to the world.
I apologized for not being there, and explained why. When she heard about Viktoria, because apparently nobody had told her, she freaked out.
Regina entered the castle in a hurry, pacing the hallway with really hard steps, imposing steps, demanding steps. Head held high, fast-paced, she didn’t say anything to anyone, but instead headed straight for the dinning hall.
The elders present there were Karl, Jackson, Nikita, Giorgio and Edmund. Lars was missing. I expected more of them, for example the elder of the UK, Arthur, wasn’t there. And we were on his territory. I know his name sounds a bit stereotypical and made up, but that was his name. I won’t invent another name just because I want to make this story more credible. Arthur was the name of the elder of the UK, and he wasn’t there. Period.
By the way, the UK doesn’t include London. London has three different elders.
I sat in a corner away from everybody, making myself as small as possible, while Regina gathered everyone, without saying anything, around the table.
“Whoever is behind this is going to have a very bad couple of months….”
“Surely you don’t think it was someone among us?”
“Who else could have the knowledge or power to plan such a thing?”
“Any human or vampire can hatch such a plan! It’s preposterous to accuse us!”
“I’m not accusing anyone. But we have to deal with this quickly. We cannot reveal ourselves just like that, not now, not there!”
“It seems to me that you’re the one revealing too much….” Said Edmund while looking at me.
Regina said nothing in return, just stared at him. I stared at him too, from ten feet away. Everyone else was staring at me.
“I think you lived long enough to realize why he’s here… of all the people, you should know better.”
Later I found out the reasoning behind this. Most of them, especially Edmund, but other elders too, had something in common. All of them were turned by their makers straight into strigoi, over night, but only after having spent months or even years with them, from a young age. They were raised into it, and left to make their own choice. Apparently this yielded ambition, loyalty and no depression nor regrets over the years…. I kind of understood that. Regina turning me by force would have probably meant years of hatred, and a feeling of robbing me of my life which would have never ever went away. Gunnar was a good example of forced turning.
Meanwhile, Lars and Viktoria pulled in front of the castle. He literally got her inside like a sack of potatoes, on a shoulder, and dropped her on the table. She was a mess.
History was repeating itself.
Regina quickly jumped over her and started stroking her, pep talking her and trying to ease any pain she had. It was clear for everyone around, me included, that Regina cared for Viktoria more than she let out. I don’t think she cared for anyone else as much as she cared for Viktoria, even if sometimes she got more than violent with her.
“It seems to me that not even a year ago we were having the same kind of gathering, with Viktoria almost being in the same position.” Karl said, trying to show a fake smile and putting his blond hair on one side, leaning on the fireplace like he had no cares, with a glass of wine in his hand.
“Your point being?” Regina said, clenching her jaw and tensing up.
“I hope there won’t be a third time soon.”
“I took out as many as I could, but there’s still plenty left.” Lars said, while making more room on the table.
He was talking about Viktoria which was literally punctured from top to bottom by holes. Larger, smaller, straight or skewed, on all sides. Some were bloody, almost closed, some were closed already, but she was squirming in pain. I figured that ought to hurt.
“You crazy bitch, you’ve done it again!” Regina yelled at her while ripping Viktoria’s clothes off, or what was left of them.
Blanche was sitting on the table, behind her, above her head, holding Viktoria’s head on her lap.
“They tried grabbing me! I was minding my own business and they just came out of nowhere and tried grabbing me!”
“Wait, they tried to kidnap you?” I stood up and said while approaching the table. Regina was looking at me and we were both thinking about the same thing, Gunnar.
“Yes.” Viktoria said.
“Gunnar was taken.” Regina said, and with that they all gasped.
“WHAT?” They exclaimed in unison. It seemed to me that Lars was the one most pissed by this. Figures.
“But he wasn’t just anyone! He was of you! He was stronger than all of us combined!” Some didn’t agree with this, but none contested it.
“Well then, that just proves there’s someone really powerful behind this.” Regina said.
“Or really smart…” I said while I approached Viktoria.
“How many were there?” Regina said, and by now she was opening up each closed wound where she could feel any foreign object, and as soon as she opened it, the bullets started coming out, some by themselves, some by force. Viktoria was screaming from the top of her lungs.
“An… army…” Viktoria said and clenched her jaw in pain.
“HOW MANY?” Regina said again and inserted her fingers deeper in a wound.
“40-50!” Viktoria blurted out.
“How many escaped?”
“One… two maybe… I’m sorry… I was taken by surprise.”
Holy shit I thought. Talk about the Terminator, he’s nothing compared to her. I wouldn’t have wanted to see what she did when she wasn’t taken by surprise. World domination probably.
By now, Viktoria was near unconscious. The amount of blood she had lost was already visible there, in the room, not even considering what she lost on the way here.
“Food.” Regina exclaimed.
“There isn’t any.” Edmund said.
“I’m sorry. What?”
“Arthur was supposed to bring it, but he’s either late or we have another mystery on our hands.” He explained.
Upon hearing that, I felt shivers down my spine…. Holy crap, I was the only slice of pizza in a room full of potheads with the munchies.
I went near Viktoria and I smiled at her… then I put my left hand on top of her head, and slowly underneath it… I tilted it just a notch and with my right hand I pulled on my sweater down. I kept stroking her head the whole time she fed, and, for the first time, she mustered a Thank you. Trust me, that meant more than all the thank yous I ever got in my whole life, put together.
There were mixed feelings about this. Some were pissed that I did that, some showed appreciation, some didn’t care.
Viktoria was clearly getting better in front of my eyes after this, and I needed to sit down. She took way more than Regina usually did. I felt every beat of my heart, and I felt like floating, unable to focus my eyes on a certain thing. Way too much.
Lars got me water and I thanked him. Regina and Blanche picked up Viktoria and took her to one of the bedrooms upstairs. She came back down in no time. Blanche stayed behind.
Downstairs, Arthur was finally making an entrance with four other people behind him. Three girls and a boy. Humans. Food.
I wasn’t nearly as revolted as I should have been, and I witnessed a full night of chatter while they were feeding on them in the same time. For them it was just normal sipping, and by the end of it, all of them were almost as drained as me. Pale, weak and sleepy. One of the girls sat next to me.
“So for how long have you been at it?” The girl said in a very thick Scottish accent. She was a local, clearly. I could barely understand what she was saying.
“At what?” And with that she realized, but didn’t say anything, that I wasn’t also a local.
“You know… a donor. Who are you with?” She asked, in connection with me not being a local. She figured I came with someone.
“I’m not… are you a donor?” I asked.
“Duh…” She replied.
“And how does that work?” I continued.
She was shocked. How could I not know how it worked.
“You don’t know? Who are you then?” She asked.
“I’m…. Regina is my sister.” I said.
“Who is Regina? That one?” Clearly, the only girl at the table. But that showed me that she had no idea who each of them was. They truly were mere food. No friends, no close nothing, just humans – food. I wondered what will happen with them, because they clearly didn’t know that any human that knows about them must either be turned or die.
And she believed me, also, that Regina was my sister.
“And why doesn’t she turn you?” She continued. And without allowing me to answer, she continued:
“I can’t wait for the day when I get my chance to be turned. But I’m too young still.” – I wondered if this was something she decided, or someone lied to her about that. In any case, I wasn’t too keen on making any friends that night.
Point was, that nothing of importance was discussed as long as they were there, the other people. After the elders and Regina got their spirits up and relaxed a bit, Arthur made a subtle sign to one of the humans and they all left.
As soon as they did that, they started speaking more seriously.
“So. I understand now, if we are to believe her, that it wasn’t her fault for exposing herself to the humans. However, that doesn’t change the fact. There still are some of them alive, knowing who she is and what she is, and they aren’t in our reach.” Karl said and Jackson nodded his head in agreement.
“And what was she doing there to begin with?” He added.
“She was following a lead, I had sent her to fix something for me, but I never tought that the trail would lead her there. I think this might be a gray area gentlemen. Surely, it’s forbidden to go there, but this is really important for me, and if it turns out that I’m right, for all of us.”
“I’m on to tracing down Sigismund. And I have reasons to believe he might still be alive.”
They all froze in place.
“Well that changes things… considerably. We don’t want that, do we?” Lars said.
“I’m not sure…” Regina said. I didn’t understand, she still had the love for him, but for some reasons they all feared him and didn’t really wanted him back. And they never met him. Was it what Regina told them about him? Was it some history that I didn’t know? Was it that they were too comfortable with the way things were, and didn’t want everything to turn to chaos with the ruling hand gone – because if Regina would have stopped to be the oldest – well – that changed everything.
“As soon as she regains her strength we’re going back there and we’re solving this. I promise you that. But in the meanwhile, all of you have to work together to find out who is behind this. I’m being threatened and I don’t need to remind you of your duty.” Regina said.
“You’re not crossing the border! And that’s that!” – They all agreed and formed a kind of a small resistance in front of her. This was no democracy, but Regina knew better not to oppose them just out of ego. She nodded.
“And you’re not exactly being threatened directly.” Edmund said.
“It sure feels like it. Or do you want to wait until someone actually tries to murder me too?! Or him?!” And she pointed towards me.
That was a loaded question, because they had mixed feelings about me. And I can’t blame them. There’s a reason I didn’t say anything or didn’t stay with them, and just kept to myself. All of them, Regina included, worked for centuries to be where they are, to decide such things and to have the power they had. And yet, there was this human kid, not even an adult, threatening to jump over all the steps and all the years, and just be a part of them – of the very top – just like that, because the queen says so? That didn’t sit well with them, and I understood. Some of them were nobodies for decades, even centuries, before gaining enough age, knowledge and influence to be able to be the elder of a zone.
All in all, this was a rather peaceful – and entertaining – for them at least, gathering. I figured they should do it more often, without a reason like this. They did, once every few decades apparently. Go figure.
We went to bed around 4 or 5 in the morning, and as we were going up the stairs, I could see the sorrow and anger in Regina’s eyes, and right there, out of everyone’s eyes, for the first time – I got close to her in a way that sometimes says more and offers more than even a kiss. I took her hand… it was as simple as that. I never really held her hand until that point. Not like that.
I slowly took her hand and got close to her and said nothing…. I just squeezed her hand in a reassuring way and she relaxed in an instant… she just became…. much softer. She let go and we went to bed without her releasing my hand the whole night.
You would think that a being so old and who has seen so much violence and so much sorrow, would be immune to emotions and affection, stone heart they call it. But Regina wasn’t like that. She enjoyed life when life was enjoyable, and she felt and gave love whenever there was any. She was just like you and me, if not more.
You would also think that they would prefer to be alone, with their thoughts, in the shadows, but that’s false. Nobody wants to live a life by himself, not mentioning roaming alone through the centuries. We fell asleep holding each other face to face and smiling, and her last words before falling asleep were:
“Tomorrow we’re going home…”
March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment
*** For those who are not here for a soap opera I would advise you to jump to the next post because this might just be one of the most soaking wet with feelings text you’ve ever read in your life. I put great strain on myself in expressing these feelings below, and it feels like I would be naked in a city full of people – rather than expressing my most intimate feelings to the world. Yet I did, and here it is. YOU will not miss anything important if you jump to the next post.
And again, if this feels too fantastic and too story-like for you, not reality like, then I’m sorry but would you rather read a bullet list with the events as they unfolded and get it over with? I’m describing everything as good as I can, expressing all my feelings and opinions throughout this whole story. And that makes it fantastic, because it is one thing to mark an event with words, and it is another to fill it with emotions. They are hard to explain, and break easily with the wrong choice of words. I need minutes for each word, I need to relive every second of what I’m writing about in order to express exactly as I felt then, and that is a battle of its own. It is hard and it is frustrating, because no matter how much you try, you will never be able to express a feeling into words or pictures, no matter how many they are. But I try… so keep that in mind, and if in doubt, try it for yourself, and marvel before your eyes how the story of your life becomes a fantasy, filled with emotions and feelings, describing things beyond imagination and belief. Try it. Try speaking about your most intimate desire, try putting that in words. I dare you. And then accuse me of being a fantasy writer. We are all fantasy writers my friends, when we lay our soul in front of everyone to see.***
I had stabbed her in her very live, but stormy heart. Through the side, under her left arm, with her very own golden knife that she held so dear. Regina was pierced from one side to the other, all the way through. I had stabbed her with such a fear and rage from within, I was not even aware I had it. It may have developed for the first time then and there. I had pushed so hard on the sharp knife that I had managed to pierce all of her, from the left side to her right side. Through her heart, through her throat, through her insides, all the way the knife went in with such an ease that it made no difference when it came out on the other side. I had not felt it going easier, not even at that point.
Only when the knife handle hit her side, I stopped pushing, and screaming.
No reaction from me, her or any of the elders was observed for the first two or three seconds.
For me it felt like the world had just suddenly stopped. Frozen in time. Forever. My immortal was now no more.
And then, in that deafening silence, after the initial shock, all hell broke loose inside me. What had I done!
Regina dropped Viktoria, and with a turn of a hand struck me in the chest so hard I lost my breath for almost a full minute. I literally thought I was going to suffocate right there. I flew two meters if not more through the air and hit the front door, smashing nothing, but breaking something in me for sure.
The elders all jumped towards me in an instant, grabbed me, growled at me and hissed at me. They were on a killing spree. Karl was the first to plunge towards me with a bite that I knew was not for feeding, but for ending my existence. He was stopped in his way, pushed violently to a side and hitting a small statue, smashing it to pieces. Lars, the one who said nothing, stood in front of me and did nothing also, but this time he did speak.
“YOU WILL OBEY HER TO THE DEATH.” He screamed at them, at all the other elders.
I had the right to kill her. As written in the Codex Strigis.
*** “You are one of the most terrifying predators to walk this planet. You have the strength of the ages, but again must I remind you, that your most precious weapon sits within yourself. It is your mind. Use it wisely, and do not rely on your strength to power you through the centuries. You will be immortal, and you will be powerful. Do not let the power corrupt your very being, do not let it drunken you with its flavor. Do not turn your back thinking your are invincible, for you are not.
Dare not listen to me, and you shall pay, for any human that will go and attain such a feat as to overpower you, has the control over your life. You, will obey this law. Even in front of seeing your kind die, you will not interfere. An overpowered kinship by any human is unworthy of your help, just like you will be unworthy of any help from your kind when it is your turn to die. Uniting against humans will only be done with a common goal and purpose, and will only be done towards an end. You will have your right to revenge, but you do not have the right over the life of your other.”
*** As good as I could translate and remember it, with some “poetic” interpretation of my own.
As written there, text that I had failed to read previously, or remember, or understand. I surely made sure the next time I had the chance to read it and understand it properly. In other words, stripping it of any fancy way of writing, it came down to this: Any human who overpowered a vampire in such a way, will have control over her life and death. The final decision, for it is often needed one, a vampire does not die easy, nor fast.
Although, I didn’t think I would survive one second later after deciding to kill her, forever. Although, I didn’t really think they would obey the Codex Strigis after all. Despite all of that, here was an elder, respecting Regina’s wish even if it meant her death.
Make no mistake, this rule, just as the others, who might seem off to you, was very, very well thought over the years. In a later post I will explain this one, the need for invitation and the willingly accept turning rule. I will show you exactly what and each mean, and I will show you how they are the most complex laws you’ve ever encountered, and yet expressed so simply.
Lars had made it very clear that I had to either finish what I have done – by doing nothing more – just waiting, or that I have to undue this, like rewinding a tape, I had to turn back time, grab the knife once more with my very same hand and pull it out just as I had pushed it in.
I was not going to do that. I was afraid. I have seen the madness in Regina, I have seen what she was capable of doing to Viktoria for what I had thought at the time, was much less, I have seen how she could break away easily, from such an ancient friend.
“You cannot stop us all!” I remember Karl yelling from the corner towards Lars.
“Do I have to dear friend?” He responded casually, and looked towards the others.
They were split, some wanted to obey the Codex Strigis or so they said, or just wanted the queen dead – but that was not true, they were the most loyal of them all.
Some on the other hand, were keen on killing me, helping the queen.
There were others, such as Giorgio which, in his Italian legacy, casually added.
“But friends, have a little passion. Be a bit creative. WE do not have to do anything to the boy. Let the queen decide.” He said.
I was terrified, I was sitting on the floor, leaning with my back against the front door, as in a gesture to make sure nobody can flee – or intervene from the outside.
At the time I would have preferred nothing more except being murdered by them, and not letting Regina decide. I was more terrified about facing her, looking her in the eyes, after what I had done, rather than death itself. I had no hope in Regina forgiving me. I couldn’t forgive myself either.
And then, as they discussed among themselves, I had slipped in memories, and my thoughts took me back home towards my parents and my brother. I remembered what my father said to me once:
“Listen, you are stronger than you think. All you have to do when there is nothing else to do, is actually stand up and do something, anything. You have to act when nobody wants to, you have to speak when everyone is silent. That’s all you need to do. Don’t be afraid of life, face it, and let it come to you.”
And he was right. I couldn’t stay there, waiting for my faith to be decided. I was human, I was strong, I was the one who had the say in it. I had to reinforce Regina’s will, and I had to muster my courage to speak against the most ancient creatures that walked this Earth, against those who loved the one who I had murdered, against those who were encircling me like wolves.
I started standing up, slowly, and they watched me. I saw their desire to see me do something, anything. I saw their relief when they didn’t have to act, and had hoped that I would, no matter to what result.
I stood up, straight and tall. My head was bowed no more.
“All you have left from humanity is your honor. If you care about it as much as I think you do, then you will listen to me.” I said.
Most of them went blank. No expression. Karl went mad. He wanted me dead and Regina alive. Lars was listening close.
“Continue…” Lars said.
“I’m the only one who can decide if your queen lives or dies. And you want to take that away from me? She fought for what she believed in for centuries, she fought for those same laws and rules you are now about to break. Are you absolutely sure she would not defend those laws with her death?” I was truly an orator. Damn you Cicero. In your face Hitler.
I let them boil in their thoughts, as I boiled in mine. It was this moment that I would know of my fate. I would either die at the hands of them, or trick faith once again. None spoke, but instead, after a silence that lasted centuries in my mind, but mere seconds in that room, they split apart, and made a corridor towards the end of the hall, where Regina was standing face down, dead as a rock, and Viktoria was in a corner, unconscious. I was pleased she was unconscious, I had hoped she was not dead. I was pleased because I was not sure, whether she would appreciate me saving her life, or she would assassinate me by my method of choice in doing that.
They were inviting me to act.
I walked determined towards Regina. It was now or never. I could go there, look at her and tell them it’s over. Regina would stay dead forever, for that was what I wished. I was scared, terrified, that if I woke her, I would die myself.
No matter how much you love a person, in the moment you’re faced with such a choice, doubts roll over you. Doubts that you once thought are not there. For I was more than once certain that if the time came, I would give my life for her. And yet, here I was, doing something totally different, ironically, deciding not to give her life.
I went to Regina and stood by her. I turned her lifeless body in my arms, rested her back on my chest and her head in the space between my head and my shoulder. She was comfortable I thought, at least she deserved that.
Powerless I thought.
But she was not. Even in her death, she eclipsed everyone and everything in the world. In my mind at least, she did just that.
Even in her death, Regina seemed more imposing than ever before.
I turned my head towards them and was decided to say just that: “She’s dead.”
But it’s funny, how your mind works. It’s funny, how your heart and soul act together. It’s funny how you think.
You believe you’re a rational, critical being. You believe the right choice is easy to make. Yet, you do not think with your brain and brain alone. There’s a fight inside of you, there’s a fight within your heart. There’s a fight in your very life energy. Not a physical fight, but you feel your world spinning around you, you feel your insides ready to burst, you feel your heart screaming to escape your chest.
When faced with such a decision – murdering the one you loved, for the benefit of… whom? When faced with it, everything goes blank. There is nothing left around you. There is no sound, there is no light. It is just you and the storm around you.
You cannot speak, you cannot think. All you can do is wait for a decision. A decision made by the winning part within your soul. A decision that is not rational, a decision that does not have a path or a line of thought. It is a decision that just arrives, it is there, and it is the strongest thought you’ve ever had.
It feels like an instant change of heart – you know the feeling – those first two seconds after you have a change of heart about an important decisions, those two seconds in which you feel more confident that you’ve ever felt before.
I turned my head towards them but said nothing.
I looked at Regina once more and she was exactly as that morning. Sleeping, innocent and beautiful.
And then I remembered what I had written in my diary, word by word, my heart was punching me with my own words, my brain was resisting but my own words could not be taken back.
The image of this beautiful being, sleeping in my arms, could not be unseen.
I remembered what I have said: “I wish sometimes that she would never wake up.” and I also remembered what regret I had felt for just thinking that.
How could I live with the regret of actually accomplishing just that, by myself?
“Do you love your queen?” I asked them without turning again towards them.
One answered, for all. “We do” – It was Karl, angry but submissive.
“Then take her to our room at let us be.” I said.
I have decided. I will watch her sleep once more, and ponder again, on my thought that day. Ponder whether she will wake or not.
And they did.
As they laid her on the bed, I laid besides her.
I caressed her hair, and kept my heart at bay. I kept battling the words from my diary which were raging furiously towards coming back to me. One by one, storming my heart.
Rid the world of her… my brain yelled.
Follow your heart… my body screamed louder.
How can you do this? How can a man make such a decision? How can you murder the most beloved and wonderful being you have ever seen in your life?
Could you do it twice – like I needed to do? Stab her heart and then, take the decision to let her go once more?
I was the angel that was having his wings ripped off. You cannot imagine a feeling like that, you just cannot. It cannot be put in words, it cannot be put in movies, it cannot be imagined or thought about. It can only be felt.
They say love is the strongest feeling of them all – and it truly is – but not by itself, love is not a singular feeling. Love is not something you can describe by its own. Love, true, strong, unforgiving love – the one that takes you to the highest plane of existence, the one that also puts you through the greatest torture and pain you would ever know.
That is love – a bliss and yet in the same time, cruel as nothing else can be.
I had nothing else in me for Regina, but that love. And it was tearing me apart.
And Regina, the one whom I’ve always seen as an angel and demon in the same time. As kindness and pure evil in the same vessel, was the same with love. A double-edged sword, a magic potion that could heal and kill together.
Love, such a small and simple word.
Love, such a simple way of saying “all the feelings one could have, mixed together, pushed inside your soul, amplified by a thousand.”
But enough with my thoughts and feelings, enough with my sorrows and self-pity. I was nothing compared to her, not a speck of dust even. I had no right in deciding anything. I was the homeless man compared to the virgin queen of England.
Yet, in the golden lit room, in the middle of nowhere, in the room where as far as I knew the fate of a species was being decided, there was a queen which stood no more.
And, as they closed the door and let us be, the battle within me was over, and the result struggled to come forward. I didn’t want it, yet here it was.
*…I don’t want you here.
Let her go. – Was the result.
February 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
So where were we?
Aha, France. Chateau de Launay.
Yes, the mansion in question is two stories high, a river that I remember wanted so much for me to swim in it, but to which I eventually had to deny its wish for my tripod style wound was still making me weak, was flowing calmly along the side of the mansion. There were big lush gardens all around it with enormous clear areas, surrounded on all sides by a forest. Even the road leading into the estate passed a small patch of forest. I felt secluded yet safe, and hidden. From everything.
The mansion itself was shining inside, as if it was built yesterday. Everything was neatly packed and stepping like royalty through the front entrance led us to a massive staircase that started off as two, one on the each side, and then united on the top floor to make for a big inside balcony above the main hall. To our left was a ball-room, although not as big as you would imagine, and to the right was a dinning area / living room in which everyone spent most of their time.
Continuing under the balcony led you into a small hallway which ended up opening inside a smaller hall, which also had two entrances, one for the kitchen and one for the study which resembled in great detail to my father’s study back home, although much bigger. I stopped there for a few minutes and searched through the volumes of books, hoping to find something of interest, but all I could find were romance and love novels, French and English.
The kitchen was modern with stainless steel table-tops all around and had all appliances a normal human household would need. I had the feeling this mansion was not theirs to take or dwell in.
Going back to the point where I woke, I went straight to the kitchen and made use of all of this. I wasn’t bothered by making sounds and wasn’t afraid of waking anyone, all the sleeping quarters were on the top floors and if they resembled Regina by a bit, then they wouldn’t wake so easily. They sleep deep and are more easily woken by movement around them, rather than sound. Which is an interesting fact by itself, how could be someone aware of movement around him, if he’s unconscious, sleeping?
After that, I went back to the room, cleaned myself and by the time I was done the clock was nearing 17 and the sun was already starting to go down slowly, although the process took more in the summer, up until 20. At around the same time, Regina woke, first one. But then again, she did went to sleep the first one too.
We had a very lovely walk around the whole estate and as we were heading back she performed a magician style feat, identifying all the animals that we could hear. I remember her watching my pleased expressions of hearing the nature. I had missed that from back home, and then she started saying animal names. At first it seemed random and I didn’t know what she was doing, but then it started clicking in my mind. One after another, she had identified all the birds and everything moving around, even some that I couldn’t really hear. I had to trust they were there.
We talked about what we always talk. About her, vampires, me and what would I do instead of her. We talked about the future, about the past, about life on other planets, about everything that didn’t really usually pop-out in a discussion with a girl. We weren’t debating today’s news, that’s for sure.
We had no romantic stops either, but we did hold hands which made me feel like a fifth grader again, with that feeling you first had when you took a girl’s hand. Do you remember that feeling? Think about it now. It’s a one time feeling – at least that’s what I thought, but here it was, steering butterflies in my stomach to go round and round.
By the time we got back everyone was up and around, taking seats at the luxurious table in the dinning room which was unfortunately empty, mostly.
Karl kept going back and forth between the room and the basement of the mansion, bringing with him pitcher after pitcher full of blood. I really wanted to go with him, see where is he bringing it from. I had hoped there’s no live donor down there, but then, I couldn’t really deny them anything saying it is wrong. Why would I? I didn’t think it was wrong either. Really, I didn’t, and still don’t. Humans abuse other humans in more horrific ways and get away with it everyday, and some others (lawyers anyone?) also excuse them for doing that by enumerating countless retarded reasons.
I just tried to picture it was red, red wine. Which was hard, because red wine has a hint of transparency, a certain special color, but blood is thick, dense, and put in a glass it becomes opaque and deep dark red.
The dinning room.
All the time spent with them at the mansion was here, mostly.
That very night, we were in the dinning room and everybody was acting friendly with me, asking all kinds of very weird questions, for me at least weird, sort of questions that you don’t normally ask a new person in your group. Some were talking about Regina, formally but friendly, in the same way that a group talks with a new-comer who is the mate of a member of that group, as if like trying to impress that member even more, or just humanize him or her, by telling long forgotten tales that make the said member to feel shameful or regretful, or just blush. You know what I mean.
I was surprised by Viktoria’s friendliness all the way through the night, well, until a point, which I would call an outlier. An extreme. A special situation, oh, very special. We were sitting on an armchair. Actually, I was sitting in the actual armchair and Viktoria horizontally in my lap, casually sipping on a glass of blood, asking me mockingly from time to time if I cared to “sample this fine beverage”. I didn’t care to ‘sample’ nothing of the kind, no.
In front of me there was the table, on the left corner five of them, Gunnar, Jackson, Giorgio, Arthur and Edmund were sitting and talking among themselves about various subjects which I couldn’t pay attention to because I was also speaking with Viktoria, well, listening at least.
On the right side of the table, Regina was in the middle, at the end of it, and on her left was Karl and on her right was Nikita. I had learned that Karl was the elder of the Germanic zone in Europe, including Switzerland. That was, even though not the biggest in size, a considerable amount of human beings to be responsible over.
Nikita was the Russian who sent us to that building in Moscow and, nonetheless, he didn’t apologize to me nor Regina, not once. But I still liked him, he seemed more relaxed than the stereotypical Russian would be and even made jokes about it. Fair enough.
Lars, the elder of the whole Scandinavia, and apparently the oldest and most “effective” if I can put it that way, was standing upright in a corner and speaking with another. I had learned earlier that he chose Götheborg in Sweden as a town to dwell in, because it offered him a unique midpoint towards all of his zone. To the west he had Oslo, to the east he had Stockholm and to the south he had Copenhagen. Look at the map, it’s pretty neat. I know I needed one to understand it myself.
Lars was speaking with no other than Bruno, the elder of the French zone, including the Benelux.
“Armando” – which I decided to name him, was missing. The elder of the “warm blood” was missing. I’m of course talking about Spain and Portugal.
Although, Italy was present, represented by Giorgio.
The Balkans, including Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Solvakia, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria was represented, in theory, by nobody other than Regina herself.
I couldn’t help but notice that all of them had names from their zone. Lars was definitely Scandinavian for example. I didn’t know whether they made so, for blending in better, or if they really were each from that zone, born there.
I asked Viktoria about it immediately, as soon as the question sprung into my head, and she replied with the infamous quote, although on a specific tone and interpretation of her own.
“Oh, but don’t you know the wolf saying?” Viktoria said.
“What wolf?” I replied.
“None in particular…” and she made a gesture of biting the air, as in imitating a wolf snatching its prey, smiling in the process.
“Don’t you know…” she leaned forward, my hair on my spine was on full alert already, “That no matter how much you feed the wolf, it will always look back towards its woods?” She was finished, already sipping from her glass and looking in another way. She said that and left me to stir in my own thoughts.
What did she mean? Of course, she meant that yes, they were from those zones, and no matter how much of the world they’ve seen, they always went back.
I asked Viktoria what zone is she the elder of.
“I’m not an elder.” She replied.
“What do you mean? You’re right up there with Regina.” I said.
“Yes, and that’s exactly why I’m not an elder.” She said this on a tone implying that she was above that. I looked confused, my eyebrows were trying to find the right configuration to express just that, but before they could, she continued:
“I’m like your beloved, I hop around whenever I’m sent or needed. And I enjoy it, it’s a very rewarding job.” I believed her, and I also believed that rewarding meant something violent for her, she seemed the type to enjoy that.
A lone wolf I thought…
But she was lying, she was representing part of Russia with Nikita, the western part, including Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Letonia and Estonia – although like she said, she did that just sporadically, leaving Nikita to deal with it all.
I showed her my right arm, where she bit me when we met, and I asked: “Like this you mean?” and added “This is rewarding?”
“Ohhh you still have it! I’m so glad you kept it!” She giggled.
“I’m glad you liked my little souvenir.” She added, still smiling and kissing it.
We were talking about a scar here, don’t forget that.
In any case, I started talking with Viktoria about Moscow, seeing how she was more than interested and Regina was already deeply discussing some hot topics with the two. I couldn’t really hear what, at least not yet, but I could sure read expressions.
Viktoria was fiddling with her glass, looking at me and then back at Regina, telling me all kinds of stories and pausing in between and asking me something else about Moscow.
And then I told her, everything. Regina was fully aware of what I was saying, and she didn’t intervene. If I wanted to tell her, it was my choice she figured. Nobody else here knew about Moscow except Nikita, which kept quiet.
I saw Viktoria’s face getting whiter and whiter and her mouth opening wider and wider. She was truly amazed, not by the fact that I almost died, no, she didn’t really care about that. She was more amazed that Regina didn’t say a word about it, but then again I was pretty certain Regina didn’t say a word about lots of things.
She was also amazed – apparently – that there was such a concentration of vampires in that specific building – what were they doing there and why were all of them so young and no maker in sight? She made that clear, by actually saying it.
She was also amazed that Regina not only dealt with all of them, but of what she did to save my ass.
When I got to the part about what Regina did to save me, everybody was listening in. They had all stopped talking and were just focused on me. They looked at Regina and she just nodded in a gesture of “It’s true, keep listening.”
By the time I was done Viktoria was outraged.
She stood up and screamed at me from the top of her lungs, with little pauses in between her words.
“You have been pretending for so long, you have forgotten what you once knew. Survival in the long-run is not possible, if the laws of life are not being followed, but broken instead!”
I had no clue what she meant.
“You have put Regina in danger, again!” She added. Again?
I stood up and literally slapped her. She was not expecting it, not one bit, and the others started laughing. Viktoria was not so pleased and yielded me as she did with Blanche. With a hand in my throat she put me to my knees forcing me to beg with my eyes for a gasp of air.
Regina didn’t do a thing.
“When will you stop being a child and just accept what you have been given!” And then she released and turned her back on me. She was referring of course to my refusal of being turned. She seemed really… upset about it.
But Viktoria was not referring just to me. She was referring to all the human race. With her eyes dwelling in the deep pools of whatever darkness resided within her, and those fangs extended beyond anyone’s imagination, she started blurting out madness after madness.
She talked about how they should submit the human race to their will. She pointed out that all the night the others have been talking about the benefit of the humans, like protecting them, offering something to them, interfering for a greater good, getting stability in some areas and some others like the kind. She pointed out that all her life, all she did was protect humans and keep the kinship hidden.
She was heading to the point of expressing the idea that humans shouldn’t be more valuable to them than food is to humans. We should be their superiors, in every way, she said.
But the fact was – that a vampire was not superior to any human. I did not consider anyone in that room to be my equal, but I did not consider them to be my superior either. Any human could be as dangerous, or as kind, or mad, as any other vampire. We have proven ourselves that we can be more deadly than any vampire could be, time after time.
And the fact was that vampires, as referred to their whole, the kinship, were as afraid of humans as the humans would be of them if they would only know of their existence.
We are not equals, we are not superior to one another. We are both here, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Don’t think for a second that humans are in any way inferior to a vampire. No. We might be weaker in strength, and have a shorter life-span, but we compensate through will, emotions, ambition, solidarity towards a common cause. I had no doubt that we, as humans, could exterminate the kinship in a blink if we wanted to, but at what cost? And for that very reason, never, ever, should we fight one another. Humans have as much to take from them as they can take from us. Refer to “alternative history” post for example.
Tell me of another animal on this Earth, vampires included, who wiped out hundreds of millions of their own kind.
Do I need to give examples here?
Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Napoleon, Fidel Castro, Hideki Tojo, Leopold II – just these few people managed to wipe out over 150.000.000 million humans, combined.
But that’s another story.
Viktoria was feeling frustrated that she could lose all she fought for, her submission and understanding of over five centuries, because of one single human.
But it wasn’t my fault, not entirely. Blaming time was in any case, not the right thing to do here. Viktoria was just plain frustrated and jealous in the same time. Plus, I always wondered where is her mate, because I knew she had one, somewhere, but I also knew that they don’t really put as much emphasis on relationships as we do. And yet again, that’s another topic.
This was the exact reason I felt glad every day that Regina was among us, and not Viktoria in her place. Because Viktoria was a wolf. She was angry, she was impulsive, she made rash decisions, she didn’t think in advance and she always reacted, never acted in advance. She was the opposite of Regina.
And if you ask me, Viktoria had plans, carefully laid out ones, of making the kinship known, submitting as many humans as possible, and just waging terror on the planet until she felt comfortable with her own kind. But that was a very stupid idea, and even she knew that, but still, the wolf inside her screamed outwards constantly, screamed for control, screamed for freedom.
But I didn’t understand. Why would Viktoria have such ideas, such plans?
It must have been my imagination again. Because the fact is, that if your food comes from a grocery store and your water from the tap, then you will defend those things (civilization itself) to the death, because your life depends on them.
I your food comes from a stream, and your food comes from the land around you, then you again, will defend those to the death, because your life depends on it.
So Regina, tought the same, about human civilization.
If your food comes from it, then you will defend it to the death.
But Viktoria… Viktoria didn’t.
She had more of an idea that what is happening today with KFC: breed for a purpose, and not outside it. And who could blame her? The humans were doing the same thing for thousands of years. We slaughtered not one species, but hundreds of them. Wiped them to extinction. What made us so privileged in face of the vampires?
If you think about it, in the end, the Earth would come better off with vampires as dominant. They would only hunt one single species, us.
I stood there, watching Viktoria scream and trying to make her point made. She was alone, clearly, in her thoughts.
I could only feel responsible for this whole situation, but I was sure it was boiling at a low temperature, deep inside her, long before I was even born.
Viktoria was trying to say something, something very deep, but with the wrong words, at the wrong time, and with the wrong attitude.
“The time of the lone wolf is now over…”
“Gather yourselves!” She screamed and raged within her, but making no sound to be heard by our ears.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” She seemed to scream without anyone hearing her. Inside her mind.
Viktoria was, now, for a very long time, her own ocean of madness in the desert of despair.
Don’t get Viktoria wrong, she was a perfect vampire, but not a perfect human. Like all of us, she had flaws, but unlike us, she was not afraid to show them.
You see, they aren’t really afraid, none of them, to show their emotions. You would think that the evil inside them is more acute, that their expressions show more of the animal lurking within. But that is false. At least in 99.9% of the cases.
They, like us, have the same madness, evil and anxiety. Fears, thoughts and stress. The difference being, that they aren’t afraid of showing that truly animal like expression, that primal evil and ancient rage.
There’s no extra muscles in their face, no theater lessons for face expressions, no. We can all do it, and sometimes do. But most of the time, as a human, part of a functioning, civilized society, we do not show those expressions. We, most of the time, don’t feel the need to show them, because we’ve been tamed. We pushed those emotions back, we held them at bay. We let them build-up and eventually evaporate, but not always, which we all know, that building up, is not always a good thing.
They don’t. If they are angry, you will know about it. If they are frustrated, you will know about it. Viktoria was frustrated for a long time, but out of respect and obedience towards Regina and the kinship, she kept silent. She was trapped in a spiral of silence, if you know what that is. If you don’t, then a quick summary explains the spiral of silence as being the refusal of speaking out your opinion against the opinion of the majority, out of fear for rejection of that majority or society.
But no more. I had managed to bring the anger of the wolf within to the surface. She was roaring and raging and it was me that threw the match to lit that fire within her.
Nobody in the room dared approach her, not even Regina.
But alas, when we thought we couldn’t hear more.
“You were the one…”
Viktoria froze, looked at her and said casually.
“Yes, yes I was the one. But you should not have been there.” She replied.
What was she talking about?
“And you neither.” She said and looked at me.
Oh sweet mother of god, she was responsible for Moscow. She had made all of those young ones, she was responsible for it all. But to what end?
Regina tilted her head down, clenched her fists and the others, including Viktoria, and me, knew exactly what will come next.
And like I said, they aren’t afraid of showing emotion. And it did come.
Regina bashed Viktoria into a wall so hard they both teared it apart, the 20cm thick, 300 year old wall, mansion wall, solid, strong. It went straight down, with them both plunging through it and straight into the main hall. They had missed the door by oh, 5cm maybe. Too bad.
I was paralyzed in place and wanted nothing to do with that madness. It was pure fear for me and pure evil for them. Anger at its highest point. Like the first milliseconds of a nuclear chain reaction, they roared and screamed and continued punching, biting and clawing at each other.
For the first time, I saw Viktoria fighting back.
And trust me, what I had seen in Moscow was nothing compared to it. Viktoria was a very, very able adversary.
Regina had very big issues in pinning her down, and sure enough, took blows that any normal person would consider deadly.
They were bouncing from wall to wall biting at each other and I could hear bones cracking all over.
I looked in a plea towards others and Karl shook his head in a “No” motion. You do not want to get between them he projected towards me.
I agreed, but couldn’t watch the madness.
Clothes, hair, blood, was flying all over the main hall. They had managed to bring total destruction to that hall. There is no way a human can do that without a sledgehammer, hell, an electric pick hammer would be needed to do such things.
And then, as if the madness was not enough, then, when I thought I had seen everything there is to see in their world. Then, when I thought I knew Regina more than enough, I was amazed, once again. And looking at the elders, they were too, for they stepped back by quite a bit, something which rarely happens.
Lars, which was still sitting at the table paying absolutely no attention to what was happening, stood up and came forth to see for himself.
Viktoria had managed to enrage Regina in such a way, that not even her, Regina, knew possible.
I don’t know whether it was adrenaline, fear, rage, biological or magical, but in an instant Regina seemed to change from “play mode” which was actually the most terrifying rage I’ve ever seen and the most horrible screams your ears can hear, into “I’m not playing anymore” and with that, things got rough.
The proverbial shit had finally hit the fan.
She stopped from moving, instantly, and her head was tilted down. I could see her shaking and growling and Viktoria was making her move toward her but when Regina tilted her head back up as if she knew what was moving and where and then, when Viktoria saw her eyes, she stopped also.
Such expression and such roar cannot be explained. I cannot put it in words and no movie can even begin to describe it. It was human, there was no extra anything, don’t get pictures. But that particular expression, that look – that is something which does not exist on this planet or occur naturally. You cannot have such a terrifying expression.
Her eyes were now almost completely red, the blackness in them was oh, just a thin line, when just mere seconds ago, all they were was black with the distinctive reddish tint. It had switched almost instantaneously and that face and the roar scared and shook even Viktoria from the roots. I knew Viktoria had never seen that before, or maybe she did, but not aimed towards her.
Once again I remembered, in a flash, about the question I had posted earlier:What horrible and terrifying event took place, long before even history began, to the human race? What event had such the power as to imprint, biologically, a primal fear in the human mind, a fear of long, elongated and pale faces with sunken, black eyes and razor-sharp teeth? What happened back at the dawn of the human kind?
I could only respond in a single way: this happened. You cannot continue seeing a human or a vampire again after such a thing.
The whole thing lasted a mere three or four seconds, but it will remain in my mind forever. If there was, at a time, a drawing of the devil or anything more scarier than that, a photo, an artwork, that shook you from your core, then take that drawing and think about it, amplify that fear by as much as you can, and try to feel what I felt. Seeing the devil himself standing in front of you would NOT inspire so much fear.
To explain this better: horrible creatures, ghosts, or demons – of children, have always terrified me more than pictures or drawings of the devil, or creatures in the movies that were adults. For some reason, children did this to me. Regina was no child, but she was the definition of rage and madness in that very second. Nobody could control such a thing.
I think I painted a very, very good picture of that.
Viktoria seeing that, stood back and yelled from the top of her lungs “My Que..” and she didn’t finish it. Regina was not playing anymore. The time for formalities and sorrows was now OVER for her.
With an ease of grabbing some inert object in front of you, Regina took her by the throat and literally ripped Viktoria’s hand out from the shoulder with one quick motion. The very same hand that was the first to plunge towards Regina.
Switching hands, she grabbed the neck with the other hand, the right one, and with her left hand started pulling on Viktoria’s other arm, her right one. But she was not just doing it to the arm, she was pushing the head upwards too. She was dismembering Viktoria like a puppet in front of my eyes. She was literally killing her there and then. Viktoria couldn’t even make a sound anymore, no plea for mercy was going to come out from her mouth. Her eyes either, they were closed shut. Welded in place, and would have stayed that way for eternity, if not for one thing.
I… I went once again full stupid, blank minded, nothing in it. I just didn’t care anymore, I didn’t care if touching evil itself will bring death to me, or will destroy evil itself. I just didn’t. I couldn’t stand seeing this, I just… didn’t think anymore. I saw Regina’s knife behind her, I saw her left hand up in the air trying to rip Viktoria’s arm out, and I was close.
I stabbed Regina in the heart.