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.