March 3, 2012 § 6 Comments
It was a surprisingly short drive from Arlanda to where we were going. After a mere 50 kilometers and a dash of more conversation we were entering a town. At first it seemed like we were heading into nothingness, surrounded by old and tall mountain trees that looked like over-fed and over-grown Christmas trees. However, as we entered more deeply into the town I could see this was no village.
We were in Uppsala. A town, which at the time I didn’t knew, was the old Viking capital of Sweden and the whole Scandinavia, back in the 1200 if I remember correctly. This holds no true relevance to the story.
We shortly stopped around the town and just… well, Regina seemed like a tourist. She seemed interested, she seemed amazed by the town. It held no special meaning to me, it was just a bigger version, more cleaner I could also say, of my hometown. Old buildings and the occasional cobblestone streets.
“Can I take photos?” I asked.
“Of what?” Regina quickly replied.
“Here, go stay in that bush. I’ll make a model out of you.” I said mockingly.
She laughed loudly and we thought nothing of it. We just kept walking and, what I didn’t knew about Uppsala, was the fact that it also held the biggest church in Scandinavia, and the oldest stone one in Sweden I think.
It was huge. Gigantic I tell you. I had never seen such a big church in my life. I have to correct myself, this was no church. This was a cathedral. And although I had seen the Milan Cathedral (in Italy) previously, somehow this church seemed taller, but not as wide as that one.
As we were walking past it and I was admiring because what else was there to do, Regina pulled me towards it and in no time we were headed towards the door. I didn’t really wanted to know what we were doing, but I was happy to see the inside. I was always a fan of old architecture, and although it seems something of a geek hobby, it wasn’t really a hobby. I just enjoyed watching beautiful things, is that a crime?
I understood why Regina dragged me around town all this time. She waited for the sun to go down, but I think she might have gotten tired of waiting because it was almost past 21:00 and the sun was still shining. I had learned on the spot that the sun in Sweden, during June, does not set until 23 and rises at 3 in the morning. And if you go ever more up north, the sun doesn’t set at all for a few days during summer! Go figure!
A vampire in Sweden! HA! That seemed hilarious. But then I remembered that there’s a winter too, and the same thing happens during the winter. Little to no sunshine. Aha…
In any case, we waited for it to at least dim, because it did. It was a in-between light, and we needed it. We were making a breaking and entering. Into a cathedral. Into the biggest cathedral in Scandinavia. Lord have mercy on my soul if you’re up there and real and watching what I’m doing now, I thought.
Well I have to tell you, that the door was… well, you couldn’t take it down even if you rammed a car in it. No.
Regina had a different technique however. She had a key! A key! I didn’t even want to know how and most importantly WHY would she be in the possession of a key from the front entrance into a world-renowned cathedral. But she was, and we were there. Well, at least no breaking in the “breaking and entering part.”
We went in like two mice, in broad daylight (well almost) with people around us and everything. I was actually amazed that nobody saw us going in. The cathedral was supposed to be closed I figured, by how tightly the door was locked.
In any case, as soon as we went inside I saw the beautiful inside of the church and my jaw dropped. It was out of this world. It really is something, you have to see it. We walked fast down the path leading to the altar and I thought we were going to say a prayer or something, but just in front of the altar, Regina turned a left and went behind it. The altar had some kind of a fake wall behind it and there was yet another room after that.
What I didn’t knew at that time was that the room hidden behind the altar – which by all means was open to the public all day long – was the most important one. Also, creepy wax model staring at you behind the altar. I do have a photo with that if you’re interested, which was taken sometime… later. During normal hours.
The walls around the room were literally taped with Latin texts, white or gold (can’t remember) on a blue background, that I can remember. And in the middle of the room, was the center-piece, of course.
I didn’t even need to ask – I figured it must be someone really important in that tomb, which was all marble and cast iron over it, and in the lid were sculpted three silhouettes. In the middle there was a man, with a crown on his head, probably a king I thought, and on each side he had a woman. Now that was a man who knew how to go into the afterlife.
I took the liberty of reading the texts and I quickly found out that there laid the most beloved (and apparently important) king that ruled over Sweden. Gustav Something. I kid, I kid. Gustav Vasa was his name.
There were little to no windows inside the actual church, which made it dark even with the dim light outside, but above us (well, not us, the tomb, because that was the important thing here apparently) there were nice, big windows which let the mild sun shine over the room. It made everything look even more golden that it already (physically) was.
“Tu esti barbatul asa ca hai pune cotu’ si ridica sau impinge cu mine.”
“Trebuie sa ridicam chestia asta, mormantu asta, sa-l dam la o parte.”
“Tu esti nebuna? Asta-i cel mai important rege al Suediei. Din principiu nu pot sa fac asa ceva, mi-e si rusine de mine daca fac asta.”
“Sa vezi ce rusine o sa-ti fie daca nu faci asta…”
“Rusine ca ai fost batut de o fata.”
“Mai poti sa ma ameninti mult? Daca vrei sa-l ridici, ridica-l singura.”
“Da’ nu pot SINGURA!”
“N-am mancat aproape nimic de cand mi-ai onorat inimia cu un dar, si sunt slabita.”
“Da’ daca nu vrei sa ma ajuti, atunci….”
That talk was in Romanian. I just felt the need to say it in Romanian first. However take notice, that although I write in English, the conversation was, most of the time, in Romanian. About half of the time I would say, and the other half in all kinds of languages which I was trying to understand, like Italian, French, Spanish, English and sometimes Russian, which I know nothing of.
But here is the actual talk for you.
“You’re the man so put a shoulder here and pull or push with me.” Regina said.
“Excuse me?” I replied.
“We need to lift this thing, this tomb, move it aside.” She explained.
“Are you crazy? This is the most important king of Sweden. Out of principle I can’t do a thing like that, and I would be ashamed of me if I did.” I said, trying to convince her to stop insisting. I didn’t want to see a corpse that laid there for hundreds of years.
“You’ll be ashamed alright if you don’t do this…” She said, trailing off and then quickly adding “Ashamed you’ve got beaten up by a girl.” I believed her. She was getting angry. Not angry that I didn’t want to lift it. I couldn’t even if I tried, but angry that I refused to cooperate, almost all the time, not just now.
“Aren’t you tired / Can you threaten me any longer? If you wanna lift it, lift it by yourself.” I said.
“But I can’t do it ALONE!” She shrieked at me.
We were arguing by now.
“I haven’t eaten anything since you honored my heart with a gift, and I’m weak.” She added.
“But if you won’t help me, then…” and she didn’t finish that sentence. Instead she pushed me with a hand towards a wall that it almost cracked behind me. She was in front of me, pushing me harder against the wall in a second afterwards.
She started kissing me.Nnot in a “I need love” way but in a “You’re getting it” way and I knew I was. I knew what was next. I could feel her fangs extending and grazing my tongue, which she bit also, just to toy with me.
And then I submitted, when she stopped kissing, I willingly turned my head and let her sink her teeth in it. No pain, nothing, that was good. She actually, against all her anger, made it a pleasant thing. I swear I could hear her thoughts, I could feel her emotions and I could see her, like she sees herself, in her mind. I don’t know how to explain. This thing formed such a strong connection every time, that you almost felt one and the same with her. I wondered if she felt the same. I wondered if she felt the same with everyone, not just me.
In any case, with a bit of practice, if indeed we felt the same, I was sure this was the key towards telepathy. Rhyme not intended. It was just that strong. I could feel her heart beat, in my mind. How is that possible? That doesn’t even make any sense!
She finished and didn’t even bother to heal me up. She just left me another nice puncture on my neck. Sweet. I wasn’t mad anyway, because what came next, shook my world again.
I swear to you, that tomb could not be lifted by a fork lift. It was massive, marble made, over half a ton. There is no way in hell ten people lift that. It didn’t make any difference if I helped or not. Physically. Well, I did, but not with my muscles.
She ran her fingers across the floor, at the edge of the tomb, trying to find a good spot to grab, and she found some kind of a ridge because in an instant I saw all her muscles tense like they were about to burst. Her face turned red – yes – it turned red like it does for me and you when trying to lift something heavy. She started shrieking and pulling hard on that. I literally thought she was either going to break her back or have a heart attack right there, but the tomb started moving. I couldn’t believe my eyes, she was lifting the damn thing, which was not only crazy heavy, but also untouched and unmoved for centuries. It was practically soldered to the ground from all those years standing there, but that didn’t stop her.
She lifted it about 10cm and then she started pushing it to the side. Then she let go of it, slowly, with no booms and poundings of the floor intended. As she laid it down, I circled around the other side and marveled at what was before my eyes. There were stairs beneath the tomb. Actual stairs, leading into pitch black.
She didn’t say a word, I didn’t say a word. We both knew where we were going and I didn’t have the guts to tell her I’m afraid of the dark. I just followed, and we descended beneath the old cathedral, through a narrow (very narrow, we were on our sides, advancing) tunnel, which was also dripping went and moist and just generally disgusting, and we kept going. I thanked all the saints that I knew and the ones I didn’t knew for not having claustrophobia, and continued going. Should I mention we had absolutely no lights and it was so dark you couldn’t see anything? NOTHING. Not even your finger in front of your eyes. Nothing. It was the darkest place I’ve ever been.
It was so dark that not even Regina could see. She made that abundantly clear several times when she asked me if I’m still there. And I can tell you, she wasn’t happy at all. She was not comfortable being blind after centuries of seeing perfectly. Not a bit. She was getting anxious, angry, frustrated and I truly hoped there’s no such thing as a claustrophobic vampire because that would not only be the most ironic, the most hilarious thing in the world, but also the most unsuitable for the time and place where we currently were.
I think we went through that tunnel at least a hundred meters until we reached (finally) a room. It wasn’t a big room, no. Just a simple two by two round room. Perfectly round I must say.
As we got to the room, she got a lighter and started setting things on fire. Torches. Four of them. It got bright and hot sooner than expected.
“You have light and didn’t say anything?” I asked frustrated towards her “secret.”
“I think you only have about five minutes of oxygen in here with all these torches.” She replied instead of an answer to my question. I was satisfied with it nonetheless.
“What is this place anyway?” I asked in an attempt to change the subject.
“This my dear, is my maker’s vault I believe.” She replied.
“So you’re not actually sure…” I said and waited for a reply, which came sooner than expected.
“Well, before going away, he told me that if I ever needed help, I should come here. I never did, until now, and so here we are.” She said.
“So what are we looking for then?” I said while trying to make heads and tails of the room. The walls were covered in holes, and each hole held either manuscripts, book, artifacts (jewelry), and all kinds of weird things, like dried herbs. I started poking around and kept trying to find something that was actually of a certain value to us, not money wise. But before I had the chance to come through as the victor, she replied to my last question.
“I believe… this is what we’re looking for.”
And sure enough, I stopped searching, because that caught my attention.
“Wait a second… don’t tell me he made the… this…” I said and trailed off looking confused.
“This doesn’t make any sense.” I added.
“Why is that thing here, why is it exactly like my necklace and why is Sigismund related to it – and WHY both of them are the same with Vlad’s seal, The Order of the Dragon?” I asked. Too many questions.
“I don’t know, but I believe this…” – and she ripped the necklace off my neck – “goes here.” She pushed the actual pendant in the middle of the ouroboros which had a perfectly carved inverted pentagram in the middle, just like my necklace. It clicked – it clicked! – right in.
Nothing magically started moving or opening, but instead the metal dragon ( the ouroboros ) jumped back by a few millimeters, we could see and hear it, and Regina rested her hand on it, looking at it confused, and then she tried pushing it back but that only made the pendant fall off from the spot.
She took it off the ground and pushed it back in, making the ouroboros once again jump out by a bit. She again looked at it and rested her hand on it but this time, instead of pushing, she grabbed it tightly and turned. And it started turning.
By god she looked like Sherlock Holmes. I was awed at how exciting this all felt, feeling giddy inside, but had to notice that the whole thing was nothing more than a lock, a clever, but primitive lock. What I did care about was, why the key to that lock, was being worn by me for all these years, with no clue of what’s dangling around my neck.
The head of the dragon turned exactly 180 degrees and then it clicked, but didn’t move. Regina stopped and then ran her fingers across the edge of what seemed a brick, and pulled.
The “brick” came off, rather hardly, but it did. I think it would have never been possible to take it out without breaking the whole damn wall around it, without the key that is.
Inside, there was one, very small and old book. No hardcover, just a bunch of pages wrapped in a thick leather hide – raw leather hide, untreated. It looked so fresh – and so raw – that I was surprised there wasn’t any fur on it still.
“This is it.” She said.
“Let’s go then because I think you were right about the air.” I replied.
“I was just joking, the tomb is still open…” She said.
“Or is it?” I said in an attempt to mock her too. Which worked, very much.
I think there was nothing more scary for Regina than being trapped in a lightless, soundless tomb. Nothing. I think that was also the reason she came back for me and released me from the crypt that first day also, besides the necklace. I really do.
You see, if someone would have been to actually close the tomb, I would have died in probably oh, about two days maximum, after I had run out of air completely. But her… well, she would have lasted much, much longer, even without air, she would have died slowly and painfully, and that was her curse. And her deepest fear. Being trapped.
A human – couldn’t be so scared – you’re not actually scared of being trapped, but you’re scared of death. She instead, was scared of not being able to die – SOON ENOUGH – for it to be acceptable.
I realized my mockery and its effect intended was more than I had planned for. I realized that when I found myself alone in the whole thing, because Regina rushed towards the entrance to the crypt, and when I say rushed, I mean she was there in under ten seconds, when previously it took us two minutes to reach the room.
She was yelling at me from the entrance to hurry up and stop being a “slowpoke”. Didn’t knew what a slowpoke was but I swear to god it pissed me off more than it should have. That, and the fact she didn’t at least have the common sense of leaving me the damn lighter. One crypt in my life was enough for me, seriously. This was just not funny anymore.
December 6, 2011 § 3 Comments
I’ll start by presenting to you some photos of the old town, just to get you accustomed with the surroundings:
Mind you, these are very old photos. The town today is much bigger, has around 35,000 people, is a modern town, in which you can find everything you would be able to find in any other European town… and much more.
A bit of history: Sighisoara is an old town, very old, it has only been mentioned historically, in writing, in findings of texts that dated the town back to around 1200 but the town existed long before that.
This whole area, Transylvania and what is the modern-day Romania has been inhabited by people and animals for a long, long time.
Romania, as a name for a country, is relatively new – but the area and the people who inhabit these lands – are as old as time.
You don’t have to believe me, see for yourself here. That is a BBC news article which presents a team of scientists who found the oldest human remains in Europe in a cave in modern-day Romania.
So you see, by definition – you’re all Romanian. Well, not culture wise, but blood wise, genetically, we’re all much closer related than you would think – I’m speaking here to those who consider themselves of European descent.
Vikings, Americans, French, Dutch, German and any other European descendants you can think of – you are all, at your core – Romanian. Like it or not, your ancestors are from the woods of Transylvania.
You would think: “Well if you put it that way, we’re all African.” – Well yes, and no. You see, after Africa, races separated and mutated. At a genetic level, these bones are the closest to the MODERN human being in Europe. In other words, if you go further back, it’s no longer regarded as Homo sapiens of Europe.
So yes, we are all African, but the white race, Europeans, they were first drawn to that particular place. Romania. That’s from where they started off in different directions.
But enough with the science lesson.
As I was saying, the land is inhabited since the dawn of our time, as a race. Bottom point: it’s really old. Rome is nothing compared to it. Rome and Athens were deserted places when these areas flourished with human life.
Sighisoara as a town may be dated to around 1200 but the area was inhabited way before that, for tens of thousands of years.
The town is the birth place of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, which by all means, was a real person, a ruler who apparently drank the blood of his enemies. Pretty straight forward if you ask me.
He was, historically attested in German books, as seen drinking the blood of his enemies (Turks who invaded Valahia, part of Romania) – let me ask you this: have you ever tried drinking blood? If you didn’t, then don’t. If you did, then you know that you can’t really drink more than 100ml before puking. The human digestive system is not equipped to digest blood – it is simply not digested, it’s like eating plastic, actually even worse. The enzymes you have in the stomach cannot break down the blood and you end up puking it. Even with training, it’s hard holding in more than 200mg before getting sick to your stomach.
Dracula however, apparently, had no problems chugging loads of blood, but he was not only a ruler. He was the most cruel ruler Romania has ever seen, he managed to turn back armies of over 20.000 people without even speaking to them. He was so cruel that the Turks, which were considered the most savage at the times by the Germans, actually refused to go to battle with him and stopped invading the country as long as he was alive.
Cool story right? Right.
Well let me tell you something more about Dracul, things you might or might not find in other books. And you’d better believe this, because it’s true. This is not fiction, not invented, not exaggerated. It’s actually common knowledge back home.
Dracula, for example, is a name which he took from his father, who was a member of the “Dragon” order, and at that time the Romanian language translated “dragon” into “drac”. As such, “dracu” means “the dragon”, we use the “the” as an “u” which we put at the end, and not as a word (“the”) in the beginning. In other words, “the” = “u” – as a termination, in the Romanian language. That’s why “drac” = dragon and “dracu” = the dragon.
The word “Dracula” is formed by that and by the “la” termination, which together with “u”, thus “ula” forms a modern termination, which is the same with “ulea” (added e). Last names ending in “ulea” were common and popular in those times. That’s how “Draculea” was born, and, after a while, as the Romanian language dropped the added e, the word Draculea also transformed into Dracula. It’s pretty simple. Drac equaled dragon and Dracula is just that, but with a termination used in last names.
Wanna know another interesting thing? Dracula was so cruel that nowadays, the word “drac” doesn’t mean dragon anymore, it literally means “devil”, and “Dracu” literally means “the devil”. There is NO OTHER Romanian word for the devil except “Dracu”. That’s how cruel he was. His name is now not only synonymous with “devil” but is actually the only way of saying “devil” in Romanian.
You could use “Satana” also, but that’s not Romanian.
And if you’re wondering so how are you calling “dragon” then, well, we adopted “dragon” also, so today a dragon is exactly how it is in the English language.
OK so far?
Good, more about Dracula in this post. Now back to the town.
If you read up until now, there’s a small chance that you’re interested in vampires and whatnot. Maybe you’ve read The Vampire Diaries, the book, which is utter bullshit, except one thing.
It speaks about some sort of lines of power which go under the town and apparently that’s the reason creatures gather there.
This is really interesting, and I wonder how did the author guessed or invented this, or why.
Why am I talking about these lines of power – whatever they are?
Well, old tales which you could only find in the town itself, from old people, and from some documents which got lost a couple of times but apparently you can now ask to read, those old tales tell of the town being built specifically there by orders of a demon. A myth say the people.
We’ve always considered these to be just that, tales – Demon? Ordering the building of a town? That is ridiculous. The demon is described as being a “black eyed child” – black eyed as in completely black, no white of the eye, no nothing, just pure blackness, which was the child of a local, procreated with by a Roman settler, the general.
That Roman settler built a fort there, named “Castrum Sex” in Latin that means “Fort Six”, he was the general of a Roman Legion which had settled in Romania after it was invaded by the Romans – this is historically attested. The Citadel of Sighisoara was built later on, centuries after, on and around the walls of an old Roman fort which still had the inscription visible, “Castrum Sex” or “Fort Six”. The tablet dated the fort back to being completed in the year 66 A.D.
This is rather interesting? How is this interesting? Well for one, it was the fort number 6, built in the year 66. And then again, Dracula, whose name means “The Devil” was born there.
You might think this is “stretching it” – which by all means, it might be – but it doesn’t change the facts. These are true, historically attested, in original paperwork, facts.
He was born there, his name does mean the devil, the fort was the sixth, and it was built in the year 66.
All this stretches over two millenia, and yes, it’s hard to comprehend – but the bottom point is – the myth lives on, the general built the fort because his child – made with a local girl – ordered it. The child had deep, black eyes, everybody feared him and he eventually vanished, but his father did do what he was told: he built the fort in a specific spot.
The same legend also talks about the spot as being the crossing point of different lines of power. Nobody really knows what kind of power that might be, but apparently the more lines of power cross, the stronger is the attraction of power-hungry creatures, and a gateway can be created (towards where?) in the center of the crossing.
That’s all about the town for today,
Go now and check for what I’ve said here online.
I found some of the things online, but then again I know them all by heart as well as you know the history of your own home town.
- Romania – country profile (rombizco.wordpress.com)
- Impressions Of Romania: From Transylvania To Bucharest (wanderingearl.com)
- Prince Charles To Be King Of Romania (merovee.wordpress.com)
- Tales From the Golden Age ~ (Romania, 2009) ~ Netflix (chazzw.wordpress.com)
- Amid myths, in search of Dracula’s real castle (sfgate.com)