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This is my first fanon, so please have a little patience whilst I get to grips with the editor!
This is set in the Aridia neighbourhood.
My name is Dracula De Crypt, and this book is the history of my family. I intend it to be a record of how I climbed to glory on the shoulders of my father and grandfather, and a record of where my children are heading. Read on, and know the secrets of the most important family you will ever meet. For I am confident this family will last the ages; how can it be otherwise? At the third generation I have already reached the top of the pile at my coven, and I am confident my children will take our name on from strength to strength.
Do not expect this history to be written in blood - we are not the monsters of legend. Of course, we must feed, and the teams of Hunters and Baits keep our colonies supplied, but there is no death involved when we drink blood. The donors only give us a little of the precious liquid carried in thier veins before having their memories erased and a safe return to the streets. Some who know that we exist criticise us for this, say we need not feed at all. How ignorant they are! We take as little as we can, but we would die without it.
Death is inevitable. My grandparents are dead, one burned in the sun, the other withered away from old age. My uncle died as a teenager, before my parents were married. These are natural causes; I have never killed someone when feeding from them.
I apologize, I seem to have gone off-topic. I hope I will not do that very often, but I am old now, older than it is possible for you mortals to be, and even the immortal mind fades and becomes uncertain eventually. My story starts with the arrival of my grandparents in Aridia. They were poor, they were newly converted, and they were in love. How happy they must have been.
Chapter One: Humble Beginnings Edit
These are my grandparents, Angua and Vince De Crypt. In the early days of our dynasty few records were kept. I struggle to understand how one can leave their family, their home, and not even record the reason why. I do not expect I will ever understand - I have never lived the kind of life they lived, I have never experienced the poverty they accepted as normal. I hope I never will. I remember my grandfather telling me once, when I was a toddler all those centuries ago, that moving to Aridia was meant to be a 'fresh start' for them. Why did they need a fresh start? What were they running from?
Those were less enlightend times, people were not as accepting then as they are now. Even in Aridia, in my grandparent's time, vampires and werewolves were creatures to be feared. My children and I can proudly walk down any street without fear of being attacked, but back then our kind had to hide behind locked doors and could only socialise with fellow creatures of the night. Maybe Angua and Vince lived somewhere even worse before they moved to Aridia, and had to leave in a hurry when thier neighbourhood turned on them. That would certainly explain why there are no pictures of thier childhood homes.I don't even know who converted them to their supernatrual status. My grandmother was a werewolf; they age, of course, and during the day they look like anyone else. Maybe if she had fallen in love with someone else she could have lived privately and kept her secret to herself? Speculation is pointless. My grandfather was a vampire. You know, of course that we must sleep all day in a coffin, but you probably assume any coffin will do. In fact, our coffins are specially desgined to protect from the rays of sun. In primitive times they slept in normal coffins, and in an emergency even a cupboard will do. I have heard stories of vampires who survived the day covered only in a thin layer of dirt and gravel, because they could not seek proper shelter in time. The vampires did not survive unscathed, they were ill for many months. It is best to sleep in the cool, comfy embrance of a velvet lined coffin that has never been sullied by being buried in the dirt. The best coffins last decades, and when you finally enter the final sleep your coffin will be with then as well, as it is buried with you.
Of course, at the start of the story Vince is still alive, and his coffin still sat in the bedroom next to Angua's bed. Money was short and bills needed to be paid - Vince needed to get a job. It is often a struggle for vampires to find a job, simply because we cannot go out at night. If we are lucky we can get a job as a security guard, prehaps, but the pay is low and you cannot get promoted without being pushed into a day shift. Who wants to be a security guard forever? Luckily for Vince, the local Job Centre was little more understanding than most and he found a job in the local vampire coven.
Of course, no relationship is enitrely without trouble. My grandmother was desperate to have a child, but Vince was uncertain. The excuse he gave Angua was that he wanted to be in a more stable position, but in reality he was worried what the offspring of a vampire and a werewolf would be like. I think his worry was justified; at that time no such creature exisisted and thier understanding of genetics was less complete. We still have some way to go, of course, but we now know that if a Vampire or a Werewolf has a child it will be human. I am proof of that, as are my father and my children. We were all born human and were bitten as teenagers to become vampires, or werewolves. Of course, It is a well known fact that I am only half-human; my mother is an alien. That part of the story will be explained in more detail later.
I never met my grandmother, but by all accounts she was a strong willed woman. She knew how to get her way. I hope that trait has passed down through the generations, it would be no bad thing for my children to have a little of that iron will. With a little self-control we could keep the blood strong and pure, and my descendants could continue this book until it becomes a saga to last the ages.Of course all the sagas have companions to accompy the hero. Angua bit a local woman called Rose Dai - but don't fret! They soon became firm friends, so Rose must have asked to be bitten. As time passes I grow more confident in this opinion; the reactions of others I have bitten confirm this. I admit, in my youth, when I was overcome with the excitement of being freshly converted to the legion of darkness, to biting those who did not wish to be bitten. I thought they would also feel the joy I feel when they discovered what they had become, but instead they shunned me. They purchased medicine to become human again, or they worked to become prominent in the coven and tried to stop my ascent up the hierarchy. They failed, of course, but they caused me much trouble and I had to had to get some of them removed. Do not judge me for this - responsibilty and power and conscience are far more intertwined than you realise. I have had centuries to regret foolish actions, do not stand in front of me with your handful of decades and tell me I was wrong to act this way.
So this is how it began. My grandparents moved to Aridia, my grandfather got work in the local coven. My grandmother wanted a child, but my grandfather was afraid. Friends were made, and a fresh start was made.
Chapter Two: Vampires and Werewolves EditAs I said previously, Vince was afriad of what children they could have. He worried that a vampire-werewolf hybrid child would be a monster of sorts, and would be rejected by even the vampire and werewolf communities. His marriage to Angua was already making career progression more difficult for him.The various differences of opinion between vampires and werewolves is well-documented, but thier origin is not. It's not true that the bite of a werewolf is deadly to vampires, but certainly something in thier nature means that they rarely, if ever, get along.
Its often been remarked that putting a werewolf and a vampire alone in a room together is like putting oil on a fire. How, then, did my grandparents end up together? This is something else lost to those years without record, but I have a half-memory of when my grandfather told me the story. When they first met, Angua was not a werewolf, and Vince was not a vampire. They were university students, living in the same dormitory. They barely noticed each other for a long time, but one night Vince was the victim of a random attack from a vampire. He was left for dead on the street, and would have died then had Angua not found him and called for an ambulance. By the end of the semester, they were engaged. After they were married, Angua was visiting her friend late at night when she discovered that her friend was partway through transforming into a werewolf. Disorientated and confused, her friend attacked Angua and turned her into a werewolf. It seems thier love was strong enough to cross the antipathy between vampires and werewolves, and they stayed together.
It was in his very last days that Vince told me that story, and I wish I could remember it better but I was young and foolish. I thought he would be there to tell me the story again next week, next month. This is one of the few disadvantages of being a vampire. Sooner or later you will find you have a friend, a lover, a family member who is mortal. They will age and they will leave you. You try to forget, but after the while you make new friends, and they are aging also. You will outlive so many of the people you love, and people wonder why vampires are dark - but how could we be otherwise? You can see a family multiply before your eyes, you can watch look at a mighty oak and remember the sapling, but you can't stop grieving for those you have lost. If we felt nothing when our friends died, we would be monsters. I am many things, but I am not a monster.
Again I have digressed from the main storyline - forgive me.
Vince was frightend of having the child Angua was desperate for, but mother nature had other ideas. Angua fell pregnant multiple times, but each time the transformation from human to werewolf was too traumatic and she lost the child. Finally, with a lot of support from Vince and the local hospital, she managed to carry a pregnancy to term.
This pregnancy, of course, was my father, Vlad De Crypt. From the first moment they looked at my father, it was obvious he was no monster, neithier was he a vampire. In the evening, when he failed to transform, they discovered he was not a werewolf eithier. Vlad had his father's black hair and his mother's brown eyes.
I love the hope a new child represents, I love the moment when you first hold a child and look into its eyes, and see all the future, all the maybes and possibilities. This loud little armful of tears and smiles could be the next prime minister, or a surgeon, or a homemaker, you just don't know. It's been too long since I held a child, mine are all grown, and thier grandchildren too. I suppose I must have great-grandchildren out in the world somewhere, but they don't want to know me. Families look forward, to the future, and I am the past, a living fossil. My latest wife is gone and I sit here alone in my mansion with empty arms. Your children are your legacy, but that legacy will run on without you and leave you looking after it longingly.My grandparent's friendship group had expanded to include a good witch, a plantsim, and a human who was trying to get into the lifestyle. Angua persuaded Gretchen to share the secrets of magic with her and began to pursue the path of light. She wanted to be a good witch and break free of the sterotype for a vampire's wife.
Angua felt that vampires could be a force for good, and of course she was right. She realised we are not inherently evil, no more so than any other person.
Chapter Three: Births and Birthdays EditMy father had a happy, if unusual, childhood. He grew up used to the idea that a person might sleep all day, or turn into a wolf at night. His birthdays were frequented by supernatrual beings and he had few human friends. Indeed, my father struggled to fit amoung the daylight people and longed for the day when he could work in the coven like his father. It has been years beyond count since I have even pretended to be like those who live in the sunlight. We must all, as children, go to school, but for some of us it is merely an ordeal to live through until the glorious day when you first feel the sensation of running your tongue over fangs rather than ordinary incisors. I've have often commented on how unfair it is children cannot become vampires.
As a toddler my father kept a strange schedule. Angua, who didn't work, had got into the habit of sleeping partly during the day and partly during the night so that she could meet Vince when he left for and came home from work. Of course they wanted my father to spend as much time with Vince as he could, so Vlad was out to bed at odd hours of the day and night.
I remember a story my father told me once, of when he was a toddler and barely able to walk. I don't suppose he actually remembers the event himself, he must have been told the story by his parents. Angua was in the living room, studying and researching spells, and waiting for the sun to set. What an exciting time of day that must have been! I have known werewolves, but I have not lived with them. Imagine, for Vlad, what it must have been like - your father is about to come to life, and your mother is about to change into something more akin to an animal than a human. In this story Vlad took advantage of his mother's distraction to go find his father. As I said, the sun had not yet set, so VInce slept so deep it would have been nearly impossible to wake him, which explains how Vlad managed to get the coffin open without disturbing him. My father spoke of the incredible peace he saw on Vince's face, and the puzzling absence of any fear at seeing his father like this. Would you have been afraid? To find your father cold, silent, and being unable to rouse him? Nonetheless, a few minutes later when the sun set and Vince woke, he found his son curled up in his arms, sleeping the way any human toddler would.
My father was not an only child - for a short time, he had a brother, Damien. Damien was born only a couple days after Vlad started school, and he died only a couple of days before Vlad left for University. I wish I knew more of genetics, so I could explain why Damien grew up so quickly and Vlad was an ordinary human. The fact remains that Damien must of inherited something of the vampire or werewolf genes so that he was a teenager when he died, despite only being old enough to be a child. I am getting ahead of myself - Damien lived for many years, you need to hear a little of those first.Damien's black hair grew long and thick, and it seemed obvious to Angua he was destined to be a werewolf. Strangely, he had a slightly feminine look about him. By now Angua and Vince had more money, although not much, as Vince had worked his way up to be a hunter at the coven, and they managed to scrape together enough to send the boys to private school.
The Hunter's at the coven do have a certain mystique about them, and I am proud to say I was one for a short time. Indeed, everyone who has worked thier way into the government of the coven has spent some time as a Hunter. It takes a great deal of physical strength and I admire my grandfather for making a career out it. Admittedly he didnt have the talents to make it further up the hierarchy, but that is not his fault. Such people are born rather than made, and even for them it takes many years of hard work to suceed. Anyone who suceeds easily is only two short steps away from failure.
Look at them in the picture, so happy, so carefree. It will last a little longer, I suppose, they had many happy years. They have had happy years since. My uncle would have wanted them to be happy.
Chapter Four: Growing up EditI said previously that I never met my Uncle. His death was a tragic accident, and many mourned, for (unlike my father) Damien never struggled to fit in. His friendly personality charmed all that knew him. He wasn't as academically successful as my father, but was less withdrawn. If the teachers at school ever had a problem with him, it was because of his frequent truancy, but all he needed to do was flash that winning smile and he was back in thier good book. Many objected that he was bright enough to do better, if he would only attend classes, but thier objections fell on deaf ears.
Vlad was a talented musician, from an early age he could play any music he laid his hands on and wrote musi as easily as he breathed. Mostly he wanted to play the violin, and would spend hours every night producing gothic music that wound its way into a listeners mind and left a stain long after the piece had finished. He stayed up so long every night that he developed dark circles under his eyes, but when his teachers suggested he get an early night, he would just stare at them, silently, seriously, as if calculating the best place to strike.
As a child Vlad shocked people by how dark he could be, but as an adult he was much improved and easier to like. As he grew older, however, he let his music slip away from him and during my childhood I rarely heard him play and never saw him write. Instead, he spent most of his time perfecting his appearance. He became a vain man, and wore the best of what he afford, and a little of what he couldn't. If only he had continued with his music! I would have been proud to hear my father play at one of the coven's annual concerts.
Unlike Vlad, Damien spent little time on his appearance. he let his hair grow long and thick, almost like a wolf's pelt, and it hung about his shoulders with careless abandon. It's a mystery to me how such a person became even part-vampire. Vampire's are supposed to posess a certain grace and dignity, we do not run with the animals and we take pride in our appearance. Even when he was living in poverty my grandfather understood that much. It is possible for a werewolf to be well groomed, my grandmother in her later days are proof of that.
I never met her, of course, but I have seen photos. It saddens me, sometimes, to look at those photos and see a scene repeated throughout our kind; the eternally young holding hands with those who are young no longer. We do not age, even now I look the same as I did when I left university. We age inside, of course, where no-one can see, our personalities change with experiance and time, but those we love age outside, become weaker, until they fade away and leave us empty-handed.
Have you seen photos of my father as a teenager, as a university student, as an adult? I am proud of how he looked after his appearance. Most of it was in keeping with the style of the day, of course, but how handsome he looked, how dark, how vampiric! Maybe not the style I would have chosen, but I am not my father. If I was, there would hardly be any point in me exsisting at all! What kind of a world would you live in, if I were not there? It has been decades since the common people lived in fear of vampires, and we own much of the nieghbourhood, give many of you jobs.
When I was a young vampire, people were often surprised that I showed up on photos, but of that course that is just silliness. Of course we show up on photos; it is reflections we lack, not bodies. I love to have family photos, my wife and children by my side. One of my wives, I should say. I have had three wives, I have outlived them all, and some of my children as well. Unlike my namesake, I was not married to all three wives simultaneously, even I have to follow the laws on that matter. I am not THE Dracula, of course, the Dracula of legend used Dracula as a surname. I am merely Count Dracula De Crypt, I suppose my father found the name funny. You can hear more of my families later, I am meant to be talking about my father's childhood.
Sibling rivalary is a cross we must all bear. Are you surprised to hear me talk of siblings? I have suffered from sibling rivalry, as you will hear later, and I must admit I enjoyed it sometimes, especially when I was winning. I won the last fight it seems; for I am here, and my sibling is not. Human to the end, my sibling aged like everyone else. The sibling rivalry between Damien and Vlad was strong, strong as the rivalry between vampires and werewolves. I have no doubt they loved each other, but unlike my parents, thiers was not a love strong enough to cross the gulf between species. They both hoped the other would see the error of thier ways and convert.For so long it had been obvious that Vlad would be a vampire, it was all he talked of, all he dreamed of. By the same token it was obvious that Damien was destined to be a werewolf. Vlad had been planning to wait until he went to university to become a vampire, when it would be easier to fit in with his studies, and Damien was still young to survive the transformation. For over a year Vlad had been to trying to win the heart of a local university student, Vanessa Terrano, my mother. As I have mentioned before, as you can see in this picture, Vanessa is not human. Now, I suppose, I had better explain.
The Terrano household had three members, Stella, Nova and Vanessa. They were all aliens, but they came to Earth, and the town of Aridia, to study at our university, La Fiesta Tech. Nova and Vanessa were brother and sister; Nova was my uncle, my friend. Nova and Stella had been dating for many years, and when they came to Earth together, the three of them decided to share a surname. Vanessa was a very outgoing girl, well adjusted to Earth and more intrested in partying than studying. I am sorry to say her grades suffered because of this. Stella and Nova were quieter, more absorbed in thier subjects. Nova never fully adjusted to Earth, and could often be seen wearing strange outfits he thought were normal.Some disliked or mistrusted them because they weren't human, but to someone from a family like my father's, hanging around with aliens probably felt like a bit of light relief. With them Vlad was not expected to try to conform, nor did he want to. Inevitably, as is the way of such things, love blossomed between him and Vanessa. When she finally agreed to be his girlfriend, it seemed like things could next not get any better for Vlad. His parents were happy for him, and by all accounts Damien was grugdingly proud of his older brother, even if he wouldn't admit it.
The next day, Angua brought home a new friend to meet her family, and the group of supernatrual friends she had aquired over the years. If they had known what was ahead, would they have changed the path they were on? Maybe they would have thrown Calista Fuchs from their home, maybe they just wouldn't have converted her. Maybe, maybe, maybe. The world is full of What-ifs and Maybes. nb5
Chapter Five: Calista FuchsEdit
I've mentioned Calista Fuchs before, although not by name. She was part of my mother's friendship group - can you find the reference? It was around the time I discussed how my mother became a witch. Calista Fuchs was the human who was trying to get into the lifestyle my grandparents led, which is strange, as a lot of the people I know who are currently living the lifestyle would like to get out.Calista came to our house so that she could be present to witness the ceremony when Vince became a warlock. My father spoke of how moving it was, and I have been to these ceremonies for my friends and I agree. There is always a certain something in the air when you watch a person accept thier wand, it can bring tears to the eyes of someone as old as me. Or perhaps I am getting sentimental as well as forgetful in my old age.
Calista was exactly the kind of wannabe Vampire that I despise. She saw how goth's dressed and thought that's how we dress. Why do people always make this mistake? The only similarity between us and the goths is that we both dress in black. I admit, at one time, it was fashionable to dress in gothic clothes, or in angry, rebellious clothing, but to think of it now, we just looked like sullen teenagers who all try to express thier individuality in exactly the same way.
Nonetheless, my grandmother thought of her as a friend, and I had not be born yet, so Calista was welcomed into thier household with open arms. She even supported my father when, at the end of the ceremony, he announced that he was not going to study the path of light, like my father had, but instead was going to study the evil magics, as was expected of a vampire. I am grateful I live in a more enlightend time, when Vampires are viewed as neithier evil nor good, but people in thier own right, with thier own choices! I suppose it is true that if Vince has tried to be a good warlock he might have been punished by his superiors at work, but that would be allowed no longer.
What actually happened that evening is uncertain - there are so many conflicting accounts, no-one saw everything, and no-one saw what they thought they saw. This much is known;
- It was a week until Vlad went to University.
- It was two weeks since Damien had become a teenager, old enough to survive the change to a werewolf or vampire species
- After the ceremony, after Calista had defended Vince, she asked to talk to him quietly outside, where she begged him to bite her and turn her into a vampire. He agreed.
- Angua followed outside a few minutes later and thought she saw Vince attacking her friend. In her attempt to save Calista, she scratched her, infecting her with werewolf venom as well as vampire venom. It was after dark, of course, so Angua was in her werewolf form.
- Disorientated and in pain (one change is not easy or comfortable, two changes at the same time must be an ordeal) Calista ran inside to escape my grandparents. As she did so, Damien grabbed her arm to see if she was ok. Without thinking, Calista swatted him away, but her neatly trimmed nails had become ragged claws, and she scratched him as well.
- Calista ran out of the house and was not seen again for some days. Damien was quickly taken ill and had to go to bed. Damien had been infected as well, but it was not a large enough dose to change him instantly as Calista herself had not yet finished the change. He had picked up a little venom, and his body was slowly changing, cell by cell, but no-one yet knew if he would be a vampire or a werewolf.
My Uncle was ill in bed for three whole days. He got worse during the day, and better at night, and even as he slept in the daytime he tried to escape the sunlight shinging through gaps in the curtains. On the third day, for what must have seemed like hours beyond count, they weren't sure if Damien would even survive the change. Then his fever broke, and by sunset he was sitting up in bed and talking, running his tounge over freshly formed fangs and blinking red eyes. His reflection had dissapeared from mirrors, and it was apparent that Damien De Crypt was a vampire. Then sun set, and my grandmother left for her nightly change into her wolf form. Imagine her surprise, when she returned to Damien's room, to find he had done the same! This is the first recorded instance of someone becoming both a vampire and a werewolf. My grandmother had barely caught her breath when the doorbell rang. When she answered it, who should be there but Calista Fuchs! She, too, had become both a vampire and a werewolf, the first of thier kind.
This seems like a happy ending, but the chapter is not over yet. My father is about to go to University, and on this day, tradegy strikes, and strikes hard.
I said day, but night would be more accurate. Damien bit his brother a few nights later, and it turns out that vampire-werewolf hybrids can control what species they turn other sims into. My father became a vampire, not a werewolf or a vampire-werewolf cross. The next night Angua drove Vlad to university, which has always been very understanding when it comes to different species of students. My father was moving in with Vanessa, Nova and Stella. Angua and Vlad locked the house when they left, forgetting Damien was still outside in the garden. The plan was for Angua to get Vlad to uni, unpack his room before sunrise, and drive home during the day whilst Vlad slept in his coffin.
How terrible it must have been for Damien, to realise what had happened. To hear my grandfather call from the window as he went to bed, a warning that the sun would rise soon. To push his luck, to stay up longer than Vince, daring the sun to hurt him. To finally try and get in, only to find all the doors locked, that he was unable to get into the house, into safety. To call out, desperately, pointlessly, as his father slept the sleep of the undead, and couldn't be waken.
I have been out after daybreak only once, and then only for a few seconds. I still remember the terror I felt as I fled for shelter, I still remember how my back burned. I still have the scar.
Damien was outside for hours, and eventually he burned to death. Vince and Angua De Crypt buried my uncle in the garden. My father was heartbroken, of course, and I wish I had known him. He sounds like a good man. I have had an Uncle in Nova, of course, and an aunt in Stella. Neithier of them are vampires or werewolves, and they died long ago.
Chapter Six: University Edit
My father had an intresting time at university. Once he recovered from the death of his brother, he had to adjust to the fact that he was living in a dormitory with three aliens. Vlad had been dating Vanessa for some time, and of course he know Stella and Nova through Vanessa, but it was a very different experience to be living with them. Nova, for example. Until then my father viewed Nova as an oddity, a curiousity, but as Nova's flatmate my father was the focus of cruel remarks made by ignorant mortals. If only I had been there! I would have made them rue the day they spoke ill to a De Crypt. Our family is an honourable one, and even my Uncle was worth a hundred of those cretins when he was alive. It is not his fault he was born on another planet and did not understand our ever-changing fashions.
Of course I admit that my uncle was not a very logical being. In fact, he and his sister were something of an exception as I understand it. I have met aliens since then, and as a rule they tend to be black haired, very logical and mainly intrested in science. Stella, certainly, was a textbook alien, apart from her nose of course (but I was told that they had artifical noses added before they came to Aridia to make thier appearance seem less odd - another example of how the more unusual species of sim deform and degrade themselves to appeal to a strangers sense of what is normal, and by doing so remove a little more of the variety from this world) . My mother wouldn't know the difference between science and a recipe for iced buns, and as for Nova, well... he was very good at maths and he always got A's but as soon as he tried to talk to a person or choose an outfit he became as helpless as a kitten. Prehaps more so; I know some very streetwise kittens.
I say this to explain my uncle's appearence in the pictures above - this is how he dressed normally. I can understand that, on a university campus, the number of toga parties might confuse an alien visitor into thinking they are everyday dress, but I never fully understood how he could think that, for example, a gladiator outfit was normal. Not that I would reccomend that anyone conform to what people think is "normal". The wonderful thing about life is the variety of people you get. I know some families only know and interact with human sims, but personally I love the fact that everyone in my life is so varied. Vampires, Plantsims, Werewolves, Witches, Warlocks, Aliens, Robots, Zombies and various combinations of the above. How could I ever find people boring when I always have something new to see?
My father flourished at university. He studied political science, to help him advance in the coven, he was getting good grades, and he was dating one of the most beautiful women on campus (my wives had not yet been born, of course). My mother was having trouble maintaining her grades and had to repeat a semester in her freshman year, but eventually she managed to get through and began to get steady grades.
My aunt and uncle had a more difficult time at university, thier relationship began to struggle and for a long time noone was sure if they would make it. I wasn't there and out of common politeness I never asked them for details, but I believe it was something to do with Nova's inability to adapt to Earth. There was always a plan to return to thier home planet once they had finished university, but then my parents fell in love. For a long time my uncle insisted they would still be going home, and Vanessa would be coming with them. Of course my mother would hear none of it, she was determined to stay with Vlad, and Stella had fallen in love with Aridia generally. In the end Nova caved, of course, and decided to stay with his girlfriend and his little sister.
Chapter Seven: Postcards Edit
I have been writing this account for many months now, and as I do so I've been searching through photo albums for various pictures of my family to include. Whilst doing so, I found a series of postcards between my father and his mother during his time at university. I dont think anyone realised they were still around - maybe they had been lost.
Dear Vlad, It's such a shame you missed the wedding last week. You and Kazuo were such good friends at school. I've sent you this picture so you can see how pretty everyone looked - thats me in the blue dress. Rose is behind me, of course, you can tell by her hair, such a lovely shade of red. Did I mention that Kazuo's mother finally popped the question to Rose? It's about time, thier child is growing up so fast, you can see he's a toddler already! I still remember when you were a toddler. I'm surprised this child was human though - wasn't Kazuo's other brother a plantsim like her? Anyway, lots of love, Anuga x
Hi mum! Just letting you know we're all ok here. Not much is really happening here, we're all working hard. As you can see, Nova's dress sense hasn't improved, but his beard has. I loved your postcard - but wasn't that the maid behind you? Since when was she a werewolf? Or a witch? Give Kazuo my best. It's a shame he didn't come with me to university but to each thier own. Didn't I hear some rumours of a shotgun wedding last time I visited? Let me know! Vlad x
Dear Vlad, I simply don't know what you are talking about with this silly shotgun wedding idea! Maybe some people might have said the wedding was bit fast, but I don't think Mackenzie really is pregnant. Speaking of weddings, though, I met this lovely couple who got married, a Mr and Mrs Morrison. As for Kaylynn, she is indeed now both a werewolf and a witch, our little group of friends is expanding! Soon most of this neighbourhood will be a supernatrual being. I'm going on holiday soon, so you might be getting a few exotic postcards! Lots of Love, Angua x
Dear Mum, I hope you are having fun on your holiday! I think I remember you saying something about having a trip with the your friends last time I visited. I saw this bird today, I think I might buy one for us when we graduate. Are these constant postcards about weddings meant to be a hint? Well, with any luck, I might have something good to tell you soon. In the meantime, I need to work on my course, I am graduating soon. Love Vlad x
Dear Vlad, dont think I've forgotten about your graduation! I'm so proud you're going to get a degree in political science. What is this good news you're going to tell me? Don't tease me like that! Anyway, here is a picture of us on holiday. I was learning this fire dance, it's so much fun! You can see Kaylynn in the background making friends with the locals... we think there might be a bit of holiday romance blossoming! What about you and Vanessa? You don't talk much about how things are going between you two. Love Angua x
PS What hints? I havn't been hinting anything!
Mum, I have some great news! Stella and Nova are engaged! It was a bit unexpected for all of us, I don't think Nova planned it himself, but its all terribly romantic. At least Stella gets to keep her surname, I told you before how they all chose the same surname when they first came to Aridia. Vanessa is so happy that her best friend and brother are getting married. Anyway, I'm not telling you what I meant, you're just going to have to wait and see, be patient for a change! Love you! Vlad x
Oh Vlad, I'm so pleased for them! It's so nice to see a young couple who care enough about each other to make that big a commitment. But you still havn't told me what these so-called hints are that I'm meant to be dropping, or what this news is. This is a photo of us when we took a walk into the mountains. We found a mysterious hut with a Witch Doctor in, he was so friendly. I was able to fix a few appliances for him and he gave me this strange doll back, he said it was a voodoo doll. I wouldn't mind learning a bit more about that branch of magic. I could be a witch AND a witch doctor! Dont write again until after you graduate, concentrate on your exams. Love you! xx
I GRADUATED WITH HONOURS!! As did Nova and Stella. Vanessa graduated as well, as you can see in the picture, it was taken in the middle of our graduation party. I'll be back in the neighbourhood in a few days. I look forward to investigating this doll with you... I gotta go! I'm going out with Vanessa later and I've got to start packing my room.
Oh Vlad, I'm so proud of you. You're going to go so far in the coven, I called your father and he's proud of you as well. He's still away at this conference they sent him to, but he'll be back tomorrow. I hope you're having fun these last few days. We'll talk properly when you get back home - and don't think I've forgotten you're meant to be giving me some news! This is the last photo from our trip, we're coming soon the day after tomorrow. See you soon, love Angua xx
Fine, I guess I can tell you my news now - I proposed to Vanessa last night and she said yes! We'll get married in a few months time. I don't think a family is on the cards for a while yet, we need to concentrate on our careers, so don't start buying baby clothes just yet! We'll talk more when we both get back home. Love you, Vlad x
Chapter Eight: Babies and Weddings Edit
This next chapter should be a happy one, concerned with the events that people commonly remember as the happiest days of thier lives. Why do these events shine so brightly in people's memories? They were happy, for me, of course, but I have other happy days. I remember playing with my children on the beach, that was a happy day for me, but was it really any less happy than getting married to thier mother or seeing them be born?
As soon as he finished university, my father moved Angua, Vince and their dogs to a new mansion befitting the De Crypt name. It was decorated in a gothic, yet modern style that suits the vampires of today. The interior was mostly black and red, and along the walk to the front door were dragonsbreath candles. It was large enough to hold several generations of both sim and pets at one time, with room to spare.
These are pictures from my aunt and uncle's wedding. Stella Terrano and Nova Terrano got married at night so that the De Crypt family could visit. As you can see, my aunt was a beautiful woman. Im told it was a moving ceremony. Stella persuaded Nova to wear something a little less abnormal for thier wedding, it's probably one of the few times she succeeded at that. A few days after the wedding, my aunt discovered she was pregnant. Alien genetics is a strange and confusing business. I am half alien, but it only really shows in my eyes, which are human. That is a common combination - you hardly ever see half-alien sims with human skin and alien eyes. Why should that be? Surely eithier combination is equally likely? We may never know.
My aunt and Uncle had a baby girl, whom they named Astria Terrano. She had Stella's black hair and the typical alien solid black eyes. Astria is a full blooded alien. The same day they adopted a cat, to be a childhood friend for ther daughter. Vanessa, jealous of thier happiness, persuaded Vlad to move the date of the wedding forward. They planned a typical vampire wedding, in red and black. Since leaving university Vanessa had grown up into an elegant vampire-bride-to-be.
The wedding was a sucess, with many people from all species of sim attending the ceremony. My mother dropped her name, of course, and became Vanessa De Crypt. She had become good friends with my grandparents and I believe my grandmother in particular was thrilled that her son had finally got married, although, to her dissapointment, children were not immediatly forthcoming.
After the wedding, Angua began to have health troubles and was frequently ill. Age was finally catching up with her. Her family tried to help her, but my grandmother was more concerned about what would happen to her dogs. Together, everyone promised that as a family they would look after, train, and love the canines. Angua spent a lot of time fussing over her beloved pet dogs. She had bred her orignal two dogs, Leroy and Suzi, and had three puppies, now she gave up two of the puppies and bought a new dog as a partner to the remaining puppy, Cuddles. The new dog, Fred, was from an abusive home and was difficult to train.
Angua De Crypt stayed alive long enough to see Vanessa fall pregnant with my sister, but she did not live to see Maria be born. Still, I like to believe she died happy when she learned she would, indeed, have grandchildren. She was buried next to Damien in thier new home.
People are often surprised to hear I have an older sister. For some reason they always assume I am the oldest in my generation, or that I am an only child. Why should this be true? Maria De Crypt was not intrested in running the De Crypt empire, and it is not a burden that should be thrust on someone agaisnt thier will.
My sister and I have both inherited our mother's pale green skin, and we both had the human brown eyes our father used to before his vampirism turned them red. I inherited my grandfather's black hair, but Maria inherited our mother's red hair.
You can see here pictures of my family. In the top picture are my parents and my sister, the bottom picture is of my entire family.
I am often struck with a sense of nostalgia these days, as my end draws near I find myself increasingly concerned with remembering my beginnings, and this picture reminds me of the innocence of my youth, before my skin turned grey and my eyes turned red. In our beginnings, we can find clues to the true natures of our selves.
Personally, I'm often curious as to why my mother never became a vampire herself. She certainly dressed the part, but somehow she never made the change. However, you can see in the picture she is wearing the trademark hat of a Witch - before she died, Angua introduced my mother to the ways of the light. Vlad never learnt magic from Vince, although of course I myself am now an accomplished Warlock. Prehaps my mother was worried that vampirism would corrupt her dedication to the good magics, or prehaps she simply did not want to be immortal. Who can say?
Chapter Nine: My People Edit
Up until now I have talked almost exclusively about my own family - but we do not live in a bubble. We have friends, neighbours, families we know like our own. Prehaps if I filled in some of the blanks you could understand the background of our lives and the setting in which we perform our actions. There are two main divisions in the nieghbourhood - those who engage in the paranormal, embrace it, make it part of thier everyday lives, and those who are 'normal'. Normality is relative, of course, but this simple division influences who many of us are friends with, who we marry. It's not compulsory, of course, but if you never see a person you can never get to know them well enough to fall in love, and as a rule these two halves of the neighbourhood do not mix. At this time the nieghbourhood is not as well aligned as it is now, and a single generation can span many ages.. Nowadays each generation is the same age, purely by accident of course. No-one could control that many people that closely to bring this about - it must be coincidence.At this time, when I was still a baby, my fathers generation spanned children, teenagers and young adults. There was a young couple called Jennifer and Jack Morrison - you may remember them from my grandmother's postcards. They had twins, Eric and Elizabeth. Both of them married into the De Crypt or the Terrano family within a few generations, adn the Morrison surname is still present in our neighbourhood today.
Obviously there is Stella and Nova, with thier daughter Astria. The only other couple in my father's generation at this time was Mackenzie and Kazuo. They had recently left the neighbourhood, as they had both been gripped by a desire to learn more about the culture of Kazuo's family and decided to travel the world in order to find out more.At that time, Ellie Aridia, Sky Aridia, Fricorith Tricou, and Gvaudoin Tricou were all teenagers. Ellie and Sky Aridia are cousins, as was thier final cousin Marucs Aridia. The Aridia family was a family of rich busines owners all living together in one house. Ellie, Sky and Marcus recently lost thier grandfather Pepe, but still had thier parents. Sky, the eldest, had been adopted by Pettina (founder of Pettina's pets and Sky Arc Spire) as a baby. Ellie was an alien - her mother, Nerissa (founder of Nerissa's clothing) had been abducted by aliens and returned pregnant. Marcus, the youngest, was the son of Carlos and Alan Aridia (founders of Pizza hut and Doc Alans Hangout). At this time the neighbourhood had just discovered the technology to make on child from two sims of the same gender, and there were only two examples of this technology being used, Marcus being the first.
Fricorith and Gvaudoin Tricou were also cousins, they lived with thier parents and grandparents in the family house in the downtown area of Aridia. Theirs is an intresting family, actually. They died, once, and the family vanished from Aridia entirely, but a distant relative called The Grey Lady was ressurrected so she could bring her family back to life. The Grey Lady is something of a saint in Aridia - she died in a fire and now watches over all toddlers and babies from beyond the grve so they cannot die in a fire. Eithier the family or the house is cursed by fire as many of them seemed to have died that way. There was often debate as to wether the Tricou family count among the paranormal families, or if they are merely gothic. Certainly they have a close association with the paranormal, and Fricorith's mother Jennail is a vampire, but at that time the family was relativly normal.Kazuo had two half-brothers, Shui and Yoshi. Kazuo was the son of Moriko Sakurako and Rod Humble, but Rod abandoned Moriko after she followed him to Aridia and left her a single mother. A few years after, Moriko became a plantsim, and entered the paranormal side of the neighbourhood. Kazuo had no intrest in being part of a paranormal family himself, although at this time he had no children. This is part of the reason Kazuo and my father grew apart. His first half-brother, Shui Sakurako, was a plant baby, grown from a spore on Moriko's head. I always thought it sad that Plantbabies have such a short lfe - Moriko was not born a plantsim and so would live out her natrual lifespan, but Shui was never a child or a teenager and grew directly from a toddler to a teenager. To make up for this, Plantbabies inherit all thier parent's skills at the time of thier birth. Shui quickly outgrew his brother and was an adult whilst Kazuo was only just starting school, and eventually left to build his own house specially designed for plantsims. Kazuo's third half-brother was Yoshi Dai. Moriko began dating Rose Dai, the werewolf my father remembers as being a good friend of Angua during his childhood. Rose moved in and they had a child together. Eventually Rose and Moriko got engaged at Kazuo's wedding, but they never married themselves.
This is my neighbourhood, my home. These are the people I knew as well as I know myself, although they are all long gone now. Thier grandchildren and great-grandchildren play in the streets as I write this. By the time I'm old enough to remember any of these people they are all adults and have children of thier own. I remember the day I saw Astria hand Stella her grandchild, and the expression on Stella's face. I remember the day my sister gave up the De Crypt surname, and I remeber being friends with Kazuo's child just as Kazuo had once been friends with my father. These memories, as fragile and as beautiful as a crystal flower, define who a person is and how they will act next. If you do not know who I live with, how can you know why I act as I do?
Chapter Ten: Poetry Edit
I found some poetry my father wrote once. I think it was a few years after he became a vampire, at the end of his teenage years and the beginning of his college. Often the transformation is stressful and can leave the new vampie feeling depressed as he tries to adjust to his new life.
I have tried to arrange them into the order in which they were written, but they are undated.
I saw a butterfly yesterday
the last I ever saw
For I got my wish today
I'll live for evermore
Fangs bit into my mortal neck
and I grew my own
I'm prepared to pay my price
I'l gladly live alone
I do not fear you
I have faced you before
I looked you in the eyes
and I walked away
I gave you my life
there is nothing left for you to take
find me lacking
find me empty
for I am dead
the dead that walks
I do not fear you
I fear myself
I once refused your posioned chalice
I set it down, and did not drink
I danced in the sun and was full of joy
Your heart was black and fall of malice
You paused a while a began to think
You returned with an evil ploy
Instead of darkness you offered power
Instead of lonliness you offered immortality
Serpent child, you spoke with a voice of honey
I believed you
Now I dance in sun no more
Now my heart is bereft of joy
Serpent child, you lied to me
Serpent child, I've change my mind
But you are gone
We craved this life once
We craved this cold embrace
We did not see the dagger hidden
We ran towards that we should have fled
Regret, that burning icicle of shame,
A cage for our ever beating heart
Take away this gift, steal our immortality
We will thank you on bended knee
If you will not take it, then we will not give it
We will spare you from this fate
We will you save you from yourself
We deny you this life you crave
We deny you our cold embrace
Such a simple thing
Such a little thing
So small a cost
To be immortal
I was cheated
The price is immortality
To watch my granchildren grow old
Leaving me alone
This is the price I paid
To be bitten
An empty clatter, mocking me in my lonliness
as the coffin lid falls shut, my safety net, my prision cage,
trapping me for another day
I hearpeople pass by laughing, unaware, carefree
and an unbearable ache overwhelms me
sadness crashing down, crushing down, burying me alive
surely i cannot survive this? but i cannot die
my only wish to join the crowd
to be another forgotten face
but how could i leave this life behind?
to let the power slip through my grasp, to age,
to walk with death as my compainion
how do you bear it? tell me your secret
how can you laugh so freely when you know that in an eyeblink
you will be aged, crippled, dead
I will outlive the grandchildren of your grandchildren's grandchildren
but never will i laugh as carefree as you
with the sunlight on my skin
and freedom in my heart
My child, I hold you in my arms.
Your skin is rosy, your eyes so clear,
Your life is bubbling under your skin
as you chuckle,
and the sound warms my heart.
Never choose the life I chose,
for it is no life at all.
My skin is pale and cold,
my eyes stained red
my life drained away so death has nothing to take,
I envy you.
For I am death, walking, talking,
holding you in my arms,
one day I will come for you.
Fear me, fear my choice, even as I love you
I would rather you ran away.
My teeth are sharp
My eyes are red
You think I live
But I am dead
Feel my skin
So icy cold
See my youth
When I am old
You envy my
I envy you
Please pity me
A empty mirror
Reflects an empty soul
For I am broken
Whilst you are whole
I wonder if my father ever knew how much truth there are in these words? I have lived longer than any vampire I know, and it takes most vampries at least a century to come to the conclusion written out here. Was my father able to see further into the future than the average man and guessed what being a vampire would truly be like? Or was his just expressing standard teenage angst in vampire poetry? There are so many questions I wish I was able to ask him.
Chapter Eleven: My Childhood EditIts odd, the things you remember when you get old. I remember the first flake of snow I ever saw, landing on my upturned palm, melting almost instantly from my body warmth. I had only the briefest impression of its fragile beauty before the mere fact that I was alive destroyed its very exsistence. I remember looking at my grandfather, seeing the snowflakes settle on his skin. They did not melt - his cold vampric skin held no warmth. That was when I saw the truth - the death we undergo to become vampires preserves beauty, cold and lifeless and pure. Like that snowflake, we are not destroyed but rather protected from the ravages of time, and are left, unchanging as the world moves on around us. We are a statue to some long forgotten hero, standing silently in the crowds, admired for a moment then passed over in the busy and fretful bustlings that are your lives.
My grandfather is dead, and so is my father. Time takes us all eventually. We should live forever - but who would want to? I have outlived three wives, I have raised three families, I have outlived grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren, and few of my family that are alve today wish to know me. I am a relic. I am so far out of my time that I cannot adjust. I no longer know the appropiate way to talk, or act, it is all so different from when I was a child. I sit here in an empty mansion alone and unloved. Such is the fate of the immortal. Few vampires live to see their greatgrandchildren grow to be adults, they recognise that it is thier time and exit quietly. I suppose we do not live much longer than normal humans in that respect, but we keep our looks whilst our families wither. My second wife, Jennail, understood the quiet irony of that. Carina, on the other hand, was vain and foolish. If she had not had that accident I suppose she would have chosen to linger, like me, to proud to accept that death is inevitable to us as well as the common man.
I have wandered away from my topic again. I am meant to be talking about my childhood - I have not met Carina yet, nor Jennail. I am still a toddler, squalling and grabbing at snowflakes, wanting them to linger and furious that they would not. My mother puts me down in the snow and I totter unsteadily - I am just learning to walk this past week. Finally I cling to my grandfathers legs. He is a giant to my eyes, and lifts me up easily. I place my hand on his cheeks, seeing the difference between my green skin and his grey skin, looking into his red eyes and remembering that my own are brown. This is the man who taught me to talk, who held me after I fell off my tricycle and scraped my knee, who was sleeping in his coffin on my first day of school but gave me advice the night before on making friends, and promised to be there the next night to hear all about it.
I doubt it was any one thing that took Vince De Crypt from us. He had been suffering from a lung infection for a while, but he had seemed to be on the mend. I am told that he had been unhappy ever since my grandmother passed, although he kept it hidden from me. Prehaps you really can die from a broken heart - I have had 3, and each time I thought the pain would kill me, but I found a way out of my emotional chasm. Was Vince unable to find his way back to a happiness? Certainly the head injury from a fall that night contributed to his death, but I think a combination of all 3 factors made it so that Vince would slip away peacefully in his sleep.
I was the one that found him.
It had been my first day of school, and I couldn't wait to tell my grandfather all about it. I had waited anxiously in his room at sunset until the last flickers of sun drained from the sky, until I could hear my father stirring in the next room. I lifted up the lid of the coffin to wake him, but his grey lifeless skin had somehow become even more pale and drained, and his eyes were firmly shut. I touched his cheek, and it crumbled away like ash beneath my touch. I backed away then, trying to call for help, but no words came. Finally my mother came to find me, and took me away from that room, as if she could make me unsee what I knew was engraved on my memory.I suppose you're surprised that I havnt mentioned Maria much yet. Ah, Maria, with her halo of auburn hair. Everyone remarked on how pretty she was, how inteligent, how athletic. I suppose I was a little jealous at first, but I soon realised my sister and I were destined to walk very different paths in life. Maria could never have been a vampire, she did not have the right personality. She fitted right in with Jaspers crowd and was perfectly suited to being a suburban mum. She was happy, and who am I to begrudge her that? We got on very well, and rarely fought, but our intrests simply took us down very different paths. I suppose she took after our mother a lot, I sometimes wondered if Vanessa looked at Maria and saw the life she had intended to live. What a ridiculous notion! With our vast fortune and impressive pedigree, any girl would be lucky to marry into the De Crypt family! Whilst we were at school we rarely saw our father. During the night we were worn out and slept deeply whilst he awoke and lived his own, seperate life. It was only natural that we had a stronger relationsip to our mother. She was the one who we talked to and interacted with, who listened to us as we talked about the day, who served our dinner and took us out on nights. The older we grew, the later we could stay up and the more we could see of this mysterious stranger. For me the main obstacle to forming a proper relationship with my father was that he reminded so much of my grandfather, whom I still mourned. Eventually I began to see that as a good thing, and once more I was seduced byt the dark beauty of the vampric way of life. Slowly my sister and I turned into carbon copies of our parents. Maria was a bubbly, pretty girl with natrually pink cheeks and a sunny personality. She skipped along the sidewalks into the hearts of everyone she met. On the other hand, even I admit I was reserved and brooding. Like my father before me, I shrank back from the company of my peers and preferred to spend time among creatures of the night. Maria was very close to our cousins, Astria and Venus Terrano. I suppose our parents liked that, and of course Vanessa was still close to her brother Nova and to Stella. Likewise, Astria and Venus were virtually inseperable. Throughout thier childhood they looked very similar, although Astria were a couple of years elder, and they dressed in nearly identical outfits. Of course, the first thing anyone noticed about them was that Astria had the fine, silky hair of her mother but that Venus was permantly bald. Actually, it's not all that unusual, many aliens with little or no human ancestary are bald from birth, as Venus was. I remember one scientist remarking on that fact. He thought that the aliens who came to Aridia to live were in fact atypical of thier kind, having hair and human like noses, suggesting that they may be partly human themselves. Prehaps the result of an alien abduction where the child was kept, rather than returned to Aridia in the womb of the kidnapee... Stella, Nova and Vanessa could concieveably be part human without even knowing it, and returned to (one of) thier home planet out of an instinct buried deep in thier genetics. We may never know.
Astria and Venus did not feature largely in my life I'm afraid. I suppose I regret that. Prehaps I should have tried to get to know them a little better, as they were then not many in Aridia with alien ancestry. My mother, like my aunt and uncle, thought that I would be happier if I knew someone else "like me". I know now there will be never anyone else like me. I am unique. My heritage, exotic as it is, is only one piece in a puzzle, a puzzle that fits into a kaleidoscope, and is constantly shaken up with every new situation I encounter so that I can present a different face of myself to the world. I change; I adapt; I endure, in a way noone else ever has before. I searched for these qualities in my children, my beautiful children, but my essence, my gift, has not been passed onto them, and with me it is lost. I will not be here for much longer, and I have much left to tell.
Chapter Twelve: Alone Edit
Alone. A bit dramatic, but you must forgive an old man for being a little eccentric occasionally. I was not alone then, although I felt it. I am alone now, and I know it. Alone, in an empty mansion. I must have one of my grandchildren move in here, or have I already arranged that? I forget. It might not be a grandchild, I think they are all grown now with families of their own, it might be a great grandchild, I'm not sure. I know my wives loved them a lot. Carina, she was the first, with her blonde hair and her turquoise skin... then there was Jennail, her hair was a ribbon of darkness... oh, I am getting ahead of myself again. In my narrative, I am still a child.When I was a child I had a vision of what was to come. It was during the summer, nearing the end of a very warm day when I had drunk very little. Dehydrated and a little dizzy from heat exhaustion I crept into my father's room and looked in on him in his coffin. Often the contrast of the coldness of our skin against the warmth of the air can cause condensation to rise like smoke from our coffins, and as I watched over my father's body I breathed some of that smoky mist in. Instantly I fell to the floor, I am sure I made no sound but inside my head I was screaming louder than I ever thought possible, so great was the pain in my eyes. There was a flash, and I was shown a jumble of images, confusing and overwhelming. The first was if I was looking into a mirror, the one we had in the hall not 5 feet from where I lay. At the time I was too short to look into it properly without a stool but in the vision I stood on the floor and could look myself in the eye, for I was taller, and - older. Human still, young still, but clearly I was seeing myself as I would be in years to come. My face had hardened, and there was a dark glint in my eye. There was another flash, and now I looked down on children playing in the sun. I was on a balcony of sorts, just in the shade, but below me I could see my old classmates, grown older, having fun. Maria was down there with Astria and Venus. I turned away and walked deeper into the shadows, turning my back on the sun. Flash! I saw an angel, I thought, in a white dress with honey blonde hair, but she was a vampire, and it was night-time, and as she stood under an arch made of blood red flowers, her hand reached out to me. There was another flash, and I saw myself surrounded by laughing children. They were so beautiful, so healthy, and I felt warm inside, I loved these children I had not met, who were not born yet. Someone called my name, and I looked up in the eyes of the most beautiful woman I ever saw, with a waterfall of hair the colour of night, skin the colour of rainclouds, and eyes like bright red rubies. A final flash, and I saw myself at the head of the Vampire Council. I was the Grand High Vampire, even the Elders listened to me as I talked, and they nodded and went away to do my bidding. I was the most powerful Vampire in the world. I looked to my left and I saw a human woman standing there, tall and regal, with ebony skin, a queen in her own right, but so out of place at this parliament of the undead. We were alone together. I held my hand out to her, and she took it, bowing slightly. I led her away, and like everyone else, she followed me.
I suppose I was alone as a child, but it was of my own choosing, even if I did not realise it. My father could see what I was doing - he had done it himself. We wanted to be a vampire when we grew up, so we tried to seek out those who felt the same way and shunned those who were "normal" (such an vague and outdated word!), but as children we could not stay up late enough to meet with vampires,nor could we become vampires ourselves. We were stuck in a kind of twilight of our own making, we could not yet be creatures of the night, but we did not want to be creatures of the day.I became obsessed with chess, played for hours by myself.I encouraged my own children to laugh, and play, and make friends with those who lived in the sun. I convinced them to make the most of the time they had, for they would not have it again. I did too good a job. They learnt to enjoy the sun, and would not give it up for this life. I suppose I am glad I spared them this living agony, but who will take over my empire? Perhaps one of the children or grandchildren from my third wife, from Penthesilea, my Amazon queen, will listen to me. It has been too long for any of the families from my first two wives, they are all too old or too distant. If only Penthesilea was still here, she would know what to do. Why wouldn't she accept my gift? Why did she remain human, and grow old, and die?
I was always jealous of the ease with which Maria made friends. You could leave her with almost anyone, in almost any situation, and after 5 minutes they would be trading secrets as if they had known each other their entire lives. Of course, it didn't help that my mother preferred her. Oh, I know, she loved me too, but she would never admit that she could talk to Maria like she never could to me. They understood each other, whilst I was an outsider. So many hours I stood outside a room, listening to their easy laughter and inane chatter, only to hear it dry up and descend into an awkward silence when I finally had the courage to enter, to try to join in. In the end I stopped trying. I formed my own friendship group at school, those who were like me, wanted to be vampires, or werewolves, but couldn't because of their age. Arianne Tricou became a good friend of mine, In fact it was through her I met my second wife, Jennail. Jennail was the aunt of Arianne's mother Gvaudoin, also a vampire, and soon enough our families were firm friends. I'm surprised it hadn't happened sooner. With Arianne I felt accepted, almost normal. There was a time when I thought we could be more than friends. But that was a long time ago now.
So long ago. I stare at the photos and memories rise in my mind like a tide. The first time I picked them up I stared at Maria's face until I all but fell in and became part of the scene myself. I felt an icy chill on the back of my neck as snowflakes melted under my scarf and I heard Maria's laughter echo through the house, calling my name. A youthful grin on my face I turned and ran to the top of the stairs before I remembered - I buried Maria a long time ago. No snowflake had melted on my skin for centuries. Alone, surrounded by memories of a child's laughter, I wept.
Chapter Thirteen: Hiding in the Shadows Edit
Memories can ambush you at the most unexpected times. Yesterday I found a piece of chalk one of my grandchildren had left here, but rather than reminding me of my living family, I remembered Maria's teenage years. She had decided she would be an artist when she was older and threw herself into painting, sculpting, everything she could, the house was full of the smells of chalk and clay and paint. Her room was full with portraits of the family, of friends, and landscape after landscape, the view from her window, from our school, from the car window... I remembered one portrait in particular, done in chalk, of our pet Womrat, Midnight, pressing his paws agaisnt the plastic side of his cage, like he was trying to escape...
Escape. Its what we dream of, you know, those of us who choose this life. As children we dreamt of escape, of relief from that ever present, ever burning sun. Her scorching gaze warms and burns our skin, making us feel uncomfortable even when we are still human. We hide in the shadows, seeking relief in the cool accepting darkness for just a few more moments Or at least this is what we tell ourselves, but how much of it is true? I said before I wished I had spent more time in the sun before escaping into the night. After a while you forget which of them is the truth. Maybe they both are. We were human once, and to be human is to live in and through and with contradictions and never notice.
Hiding in the shadows, watching the other children play, wanting to be one of them, wanting to be normal and have friends, but at the same time wanting to be different, part of another world, where normal has no meaning. Contradictions.
I remember the first time I met Jennail Tricou, it was only a few days before my first birthday as a teenager. Arianne had been round and we talked presents and parties late into the night, until finally her great-aunt came to pick her up. Jennail was wearing a classic vampire dress in a rusty red, and had her hair sculpted into an elegant bun to reveal a long, graceful neck. She had mode only the slightest concession to the fashion of the time for tribal tattoos across the face of vampires, or those aspiring to be vampires. Few us actually got tattooed, of course, it was always makeup. When you live for as long as we do, permanent skin alterations seem less appealing. Arianne and I wore the same knot design across our nose and cheekbones (on that day, anyway), my mother wore something resembling a phoenix on her forehead, but Jennail's face was almost unadorned, except for the most elegant of faint swirls around her eyes. My father knew her from work, and when Vanessa said that her husband was a lucky, he quietly informed her that Kvornan died of old age before Maria was born, certainly before Arianne and I came into the world. For the first time I understood how long vampires live, how ageless they were. Kvornan and Jennail had married in their early twenties, the age Jennail still looked now a full decade after Kvornan had died an old man.
Jennail, Jennail, my lost love. Two families were enough for you, but if you had stayed, I would have made our family last forever. Why did she leave me? Was I not enough for her? Even when we were married, she always talked of him, her first love, and now I see he was her only love. She married me for my money, for the prestige it gave her at the coven, but I loved her! I thought children would soften her, make her love me, but she loved only them. There wasn't the room in her heart for another husband, Kvornan filled all of that space. So beautiful, so cold, I suppose she always saw me as that child. I was always so much younger than her.
I've digressed again, getting ahead of myself. As I said, it was my birthday party was a mild success, but here is a picture from later in the night, while my father played to us on the violin he had loved so much as a child. There I am, in my long black coat and newly grown sideburns. As you can see, the design of the makeup tattoo I wore changed quite frequently. I was so full of hope and excitement then. I wanted to become a vampire immediately, but my father made me wait until the day before I left for university. He was right, of course. You can complete university work online at night, but not schoolwork.
I haven't talked about my sister in a while, but her life was happy and, for the most part, unremarkable. Of course, Maria didn't always think clearly when it came to men, but no one is perfect. Maria was dating Eric Morrison, our neighbour. I must say I did approve of Eric, his family were from our social class, she could have been very happy with him. I wouldn't dream of making anyone marry for reasons other than love - but it's a shame she didn't love him. Maybe she did, for a time, but over the years I grew to think she only really loved Rodrigue, although they never married or had a proper relationship. Maria cheated on Eric with Rodrigue, and they were eventually caught. Not just by Eric - also by Lexi, Rodrigue's girlfriend at the time. Maria and Rodrigue decided they shouldn't be together for a while, but I think they wanted to be together after all the fuss died. If it wasn't for Jasper, coming between them, and then Rodrigue, coming between Maria and Jasper... Whereas Maria's mistake pushed her and Rodrigue apart, it brought Eric and Lexi together. They understood how each other felt, so they dated for a while, but that relationship ended as well, though on better terms. Eric married eventually, in fact his child married one of Maria's, I was there. I watched, hiding in the shadows, as the sun shone down on the rest of my family.
So many years I've spent hiding in the shadows, looking out on others playing, talking, living in the sun. Even before I was a vampire, I knew that life was not for me and I shunned almost automatically, but at the same time I craved it. I knew I did not belong there, I did not want the life that came with it, but even as the sun destroys us we still feel a strange longing to be touched by her burning beauty. So we push the boundaries of our confinement, stealing forbidden, dangerous moments in the dawn, risking our lives to try catch a glimpse of what we willing chose to leave behind. For a long time I had Arianne by my side as I hid, but like everyone else she is gone now. She came with me into my new life, but she did not linger as I have. No one lingers like I have, counting out the days of my life, hording them as if they were precious and not hollow and empty. When we were young, we dated for a time, and though we talked of ruling the vampire coven together we both knew we were fooling ourselves, we would not be together in the years to come. I gave Arianne away at her wedding, her father had died not long before, to a most respectable young man. Arianne was always very beautiful, her skin was golden with a permanent tan and the dark threads of her hair framed her face and set off her eyes. When her hair was longer it was light enough to float slightly around her, giving her an air of mystery, and when she had it cut short she looked proud and determined. I loved her, truly, I did, but eventually I realised she was not putting her whole self into the relationship, she was holding some part of herself back, intentionally or no. After I realised that it was a short step to recognising that I was doing the same, that neither of us could imagine spending our lives together. As kids, we had always assumed that we would be together when we grew up, but as it turned out fate had a different plan. For me, that plan came in three forms, the first of which was a turquoise goddess with sunshine curls showering her shoulders.... but that was later. At this point I thought the most beautiful sight in the world was the sight of her delicate fingers entwined through mine, the green glow of my skin illuminating the richness of hers .I was sad to see that richness fade under the cold light of night. A grey shadow passed over her skin as a blue one passed over mine, I have sometimes wondered if the ever youthful beauty of vampires is not outdone by the pure living vitality of human (or alien) beauty, fleeting though it be. At least our beauty endures, lasting the ages. Not very adaptable perhaps, but always there, never fading under wrinkles and the other scars time leaves on everyone who ages.
Chapter Fourteen: Coincidence EditThe trivial details of our teenage relationship are of little interest to most people, however important they seem at the time to the people involved. We think our current partner is the most important person in the whole world, and for a time they are, but reality pushes onwards and people grow apart. As adults we grow less and therefore grow apart less, but even so I know firsthand how easily a personality can change and the one you love turn into someone unrecognisable. Suffice to say , by the time we went to university, Arianne and I were no longer a couple. I had half-expected it by the end, by at the same time I was surprised and a little hurt when she broke up with me. Yet later, when I began dating Carina, she was upset that I moved on! I never understood that. We had applied for university accommodation when we were a couple, so we were housed together, and I was pleased to see many faces from the neighbourhood that I recognised. Venus, Elizabeth and Eric lived with me and Arianne, along with some new faces - Carina and Gabbro. Ah, Carina, her voice was soft like summer rain and her skin was the azure blue of a calm ocean. Carina was the one who turned Arianne and I into vampires, though Arianne was only grudgingly grateful. The most interesting item of gossip - to us, anyway - was when Eric Morrison began dating Prof. Lisa Nott. Many people suggested he did it for personal gain, to boost his grades, but those of us who knew him realised he truly loved her. Besides, if he did it for his grades, why didn't he get straight As? I suppose to some it would be an appealing tactic, to befriend or seduce a professor in order to do well, but luckily most of the professors are old men, well past their prime, so temptation is adverted. I suppose some professors do look a little wistfully at their students, but few students look that way back. And what of Maria, my poor misguided older sister? During university I began to worry for her. I have said before the to be a vampire is not always the same as being evil. I admit I dabbled in the dark arts for a while when I learnt a little magic from my mother, but I soon discarded the whole practice of magic as I found it distasteful. Maria, on the other hand, studied for a long time and became good at it. She took the path of light, at least in name, but for a long time I suspected her of using those spells for ill. but for a long time I suspected her of using those spells for ill. Maria was dating Jasper Smith, an easygoing, rather lazy alien. He was, like our cousins Astria and Venus, second-generation immigrants, his parents had come to SimNation, to a city called Strangetown I believe, and he had come to La Fiesta Tech to study. He loved Maria, but she betrayed him repeatedly and had affairs with Rodrigue behind his back, as they all lived in the same dormitory. He always forgave her suspiciously quickly, and one night I found out that Maria was earning a bit of fame by selling rather effective love potions to students. Was she using these love potions on Jasper? To my shame I never voiced my suspicions until it was too late, and they were married. We didn't speak often after that. At this time, however, we are all still at university and I am trying to persuade her to mend her ways and pick one boyfriend. Rodrigue often expressed his frustration at being her little secret, and threatend to leave her, but he never did (potions again?).
I suppose since I've already mentioned my cousins, it might be worth saying how they are doing. Astria was doing well at uni, she lived with Maria. Astria was dating Kenji Sakurako, a plantsim, and a child and grandchild of Plantsims. Kenji didn't like his limited life, growing up so quickly, knowing things he never learnt. His sister Kokoro loved it and was going to carry on their family's lifestyle, but Kenji was determined to leave and have his own children rather than grow Plantbabies. Kenji later married Astria, and they had a child - but for the life of me I can't remember the name of their child! I should do, that child married my own. One of the curses of old age I suppose. Kokoro did have her own Plantbaby, eventually. First she married a Servo and fell pregnant by it, producing a human child. No-one ever figured out how they managed that one. Venus lived with me, so you might hear a little more of her later, but for now suffice to say she began dating Elizabeth Morrison. I think by now everyone had pretty much met who they were going to marry, as Venus and Elizabeth went on to do. Certainly I decided very quickly to marry Carina, although of course at the time I thought it would be forever, not for only a human lifetime. I still don't understand how such a small accident can completely wipe out someone so full of life, so perfect. None of my wives stayed with me. Penthesilea wouldn't even give up her humanity for me, and as for Jennail... maybe, as I near the end, I will find that Death is merely a kind of rebirth, and in my next life I will find love that lasts, a wife that will not leave me. There was an important experience I should mention - though I haven't spoken of it to anyone. As a creature of the night it is very easy to find an interest in the stars and it became a habit of mine to stargaze from the roof of my dormitory. One night I was marvelling at the beauty of the universe when something happened that is so rare I should count myself a lucky man. I was abducted by aliens! The ship swooped down on me when my back was turned, the first I knew of it was when I was snatched from my chair and sucked up into the night sky before I could even call out. In my panic I lashed out at my invisible bonds and transformed into a bat, a talent of vampires. For a moment I almost escaped as the sudden change of shape confused their machine, but then the doors of the ship clanged in front of me and I was trapped. Hissing, I spun round to face my captors, and saw the last thing I expected. A human woman."Relax, we're not going to hurt you." She said, looking absolutely wretched. "You're too young for them to impregnate, we - they - just want information." Her beautiful face was twisted by sorrow, pain that have gone on for so long she could no longer imagine life without it. I couldn't help it - I wanted to help her. "Relax." She repeated. "We just want to talk." It turned out one of the ships officers had a daughter who wanted to go to university in SimNation, and they were looking for a suitable place to go, somewhere safe. So I talked. I talked about the various towns and cities across our land, some of them more accepting than others. I talked about the concrete forests of tower blocks in the cities, I talked about the gentle rolling green hills and the small towns nestled within. I talked about the quiet openness of our desert, where you can see all the way to the horizon, and beyond. I explained about towns consisting entirely of humans, pleasant but close minded and suspicious of strangers, especially those of different species. I spoke a little of Strangetown, half remembered facts Jasper had told me, how the alien population was growing there and people moved there to seek the paranormal, and I talked of Aridia, our growing town that had not yet become particularly well known in the public eye but was generally agreed to be the town where the paranormal was normal. I explained how vampires and werewolves lived in quiet harmony by staying out of each other's way, how aliens seemed tame compared to the evil witches and warlocks constantly battling the good, and the recent addition of two living statues had barely been an event to most people. Aridia was the most accepting, peaceful and welcoming town possible to anyone who was more than human.The aliens listened and took notes, then finally nodded and left me and this strange woman alone."You realise that he will probably send his daughter to your town now?" She said quietly. "You realise I am half-alien myself under this vampirism? Why would that bother me? My mother came to La Fiesta Tech along with her boyfriend and his sister, none of them left, they all live in Aridia. We have also have an alien werewolf. That's my parents generation, I have a sister who's also half alien, two alien cousins, my sister and I are both dating aliens... It's just another shade of skin colour and some funny eyes. Maybe a funny nose if you don't have much human in you." I leant forward slightly. "Speaking of being human... what are you doing here? Are you part alien but take after the human side of the family? We have some of those too." "No, I..." She looked a bit embarrassed. "I don't really remember. I used to live with my husband and our two children. Then... then I was here. I don't know why. I was talking to my neighbour, we were on his roof, there was a flash of light, and now I just want to get home. When I left my daughter was about to get married, her name is... Cathy? Cassie? I can't remember! I try to remember, I do, but every day more of it slips away and one day I wont remember my own family!" She began to sob and with a sinking feeling I realised she looked familiar. "How long have you been on here?" "I'm not sure. A long time. I think they are keeping me young, but why? I'm not sure anyway, I could be wrong, the days blur together a lot here, it could be only a few years, I certainly hope so. I want to go home to... Marty? I think it was Marty." I sat quietly for a while, digesting this. I was sure I knew who she was, she was famous for having vanished overnight and never being found. It was the way she dressed that convinced me, she reminded me of my mother, except she had been born into the kind of family that wore these clothes, whereas Vanessa had married into the kind of family. It showed in the way they acted. If she was who I thought she was... she had vanished years back, while I was still a toddler. For years campaigns went out on TV whilst her husband and children asked for her return. "Bella." I whispered. Her head snapped up and she stared at me wordlessly. "Get off this ship. It's been longer
than you think, but your family want you back. The first chance you get, jump ship, you'll find your way home, you're famous! Run, Bella..." At that moment the aliens returned and dragged us away from each other down opposite corridors. I called out her name and snatched at the walls, but I couldn't get a grip, and then suddenly I was falling, falling... the night rushed passed me and I yelled aloud and the road rushed up to meet me. A few months later I spotted her in the newspaper. It was only a face in the crowd, but it was her alright. She had escaped and ended up in Strangetown. I searched for articles about her being found and returned to her family, but there was none. Did she ever get home to her family? I thought of how she couldn't remeber her families name - she said that each day more of her memories vanished. Had it been too late? Had she escaped, only to realise she couldnt remember where her home was, who she was? I wondered for a while about talking to someone, but I never did. I suppose it's not really important now, both her and her family will have grown old, passed on, but it should be noted somewhere that Bella Goth did her best to return.
Chapter Fifteen: My first Love Edit
Again, forgive an old man his drama. I know Arianne was my first love, but they rarely last beyond the teenage years they started in. I am talking of my first adult love, a very different thing. Such joy, to find yourself seriously considering a future with a person in, rather than just idly daydreaming the senario. She was studying biology, wanting to understand more of the genetic basis for our vampirism, hoping understanding would bring acceptance. Her work was the key to why vampires, werewolves, aliens, witches, warlocks, Plantsims, and all other species can walk safely down the street without fear of retribution. What a wonderful time we live in! And yet it still cannot compare to when I first met Carina, the rosy glow with which I viewed the world left me fulfilled and content beyond all my previous imaginings. Each love is different, and with each you feel you have never loved anyone like this and never will again.
There was nothing I wanted more than to include Carina into my family, but sometimes I think she felt my family was larger than it really was. I drew this once for her - a family tree of the De Crypts. Reduced to paper, our family was rather small at that time and a lot simpler to understand. We were all still in university, so none of us had married yet, none of us had children. Maria had not married Jasper and had his child, or an affair and child by Rodrigue. Astria was not married to Kenji, and Venus was not married to Elizabeth. In Aridia there is no hard and fast rule for who takes whose name after marriage - both Astria and Venus kept thier names, as did I, but my sister became Maria Sim, and was much happier for it. She was not suited to the grand halls and lofty ideals of our family, and would have made a poor heir if she had chosen to accept it.
Carina's skin was a soft turquoise colour, yet was cold and hard like diamond. Her scarlet eyes could see right into your soul and find the best part of you. As vampires, our life can sour even the kindest heart, but with Carina nearby it was easier to remember who you really were, and what kind of person you wanted to be. Arianne never fully accepted Carina as a friend, and away from her influence she developed a seed of bitterness of her own.
I suppose I am a little harsh to the pair of them, my mother and my sister, for aspiring to a simple life. That is all anyone has any right to expect, but when you are offered the chance for more, when you are born into a greater life, with money to buy your every desire, to wish for something less, to turn your back on that lifestyle and settle for the suburbs - unthinkable! Our family worked hard to rise itself above the common man, even if Vince and Angua did not know that was what they were striving for, it is what we achieved! Our family has achieved greatness! Vanessa married into a better family than she had any right to hope for, to dream for, a little girl who actually found a Prince Charming, and yet she felt unfulfilled because we could afford the best without having to struggle for it. Maria was ashamed - ashamed! - to admit she came from a richer family and always associated with the lower classes when she knew that would only anger our father, and rightly so. The Tricou family would have been better friends for her, as they were always mine, or the Aridia's, our neighbourhood's founders, or the Morrison's. Our four families are the pinnacle of our neighbourhood, people look up to us and wish they were us. Every young lady or gentlemen hopes to catch the eye of someone from our families so they can marry up into a better lifestyle. I admit, sometimes true love will surpass class boundaries, but Maria could have brought Jasper here to live with us as Jasper De Crypt, elevating him above his peers and opening doors for him. I am proud to say I married according to my status in the community, first Carina, my cold beauty, taken before her time, then Penthesilea, warm and loving, human to the end, and finally Jennail, who couldn't find room in her heart for me but loved our children unconditionally. I loved them all, and they were all suitable for me. Why couldn't Maria find the same?
Maria loved Jasper, I suppose, in her own way. Certainly she married him - or was that for the child's sake? Her child... her children, I should say, she at least one affair that resulted in a baby. I regret not being closer to Maria, for being distant for so long. I judged her, and I found her lacking. In my narrative I have painted a darker picture of her than I should, she was a lovely girl and a lovelier adult, but she made some bad choices. For so many years we restricted ourselves to bland letters at the end of the year with updates on how our families lived. Carina always was disappointed that our children couldn't get to know theirs properly, couldn't be friends. Ours is a small neighbourhood, families are close and stay close. It is not often talked about, but some families are perhaps a little closer than they should be. Newlyweds often find that their parents and parent-in-laws are cousins, and I know of one family where a half-sister is also a niece. It isn't pleasant to talk about these things, I just wanted to emphasise how love doesn't care about boundaries, as long as you don't let it drag you down. Maria let her love drag her down to a lower standard of living. I am pleased that one of her children, (Rodrigue's, I believe), managed to marry back up again into the Morrison family. The other is happy, for which I am grateful.Whilst we were at university, my mother found herself unhappy. Vanessa realised she had a lot of time on her hands, and although she spent many hours a day caring for our pets, of which there were - and are - many, she still felt a certain purpose was lacking from her life. Her children were gone, and her career as a Professional Party Guest was beginning to lose its savour. In the end she did something incredibly risky, which angered my father and risked bringing the family down. Yet I find myself grudgingly impressed. Vanessa got herself a job as a games designer. Below her station, to be sure, but it made her happy, and she found she had an unusual skill for it. I am often told I put too much emphasis on the value of one's class and rank in society, but in a family such as ours, class and rank is everything. When you can buy everything but respect, respect becomes the only thing worth having. Dignity and poise are essential, but not to the point of stifling yourself. My mother found purpose through her new job, and that is no bad thing.
Throughout my life there was always a running joke that I am immortal even by vampire standards, especially I began to outlive even the elder of my brethren. It began in university when Carina and I were at a fair, and we visited a psychic as a joke. As soon as we walked in she looked at us with eyes and proclaimed "Never have I seen a more ill-matched couple, and yet you fit each other perfectly. Love will hold you together as long as you live, but one of you will not live to see your child reach the age you are now." Taking Carina's hand, she sighed softly and continued. "I am sorry, my dear, but take comfort in the knowledge that you will be happy until the end, and the end will be quick, and painless. And as for you, Dracula - " (we had not spoken yet, nor told her our names) "- you will live years beyond count. Father to many, husband to three, even death will not stop you living. Even your second wife's humanity will not stop you loving. The Amazon queen would not have been happy with life eternal. You will be happy, if you let yourself be, and forgive Jennail that she finds herself unable to love you. Remember: when you sleep the final sleep and awaken again, do not blame the one who woke you. She was motivated by love and means you no harm. You must flee her. When she sees you in the sunlight, you will both be cured inside, though the outside will remain unchanged. In your second life you will have a fourth wife, and you will live a happy, human life. You will live beyond death and be a better person for it. You will live longer than would be possible for anyone else. You are unique."Obviously the woman was mad, and we left as soon as we could to escape her unsettling prophecies. However, as my time draws near, I find myself returning to that memory and the strange riddles. She knew our names, she knew Carina would die before our eldest reached university, she knew Penthesilea would not become a vampire before I even met her. She knew Jennail would not love me when I still thought of Jennail as a distant acquaintance. She knew I would live a long time and have many children. What of the rest? When I sleep the final sleep and awaken again... even death will not stop me living... am I meant to rise from the dead? That is impossible, surely, even the most powerful witches and warlocks wouldn't dare attempt to bring someone back, and I can hardly manage it on my own! When she sees you in the sunlight, you will both be cured. Who is this woman who is supposed to bring me back, if that is indeed what the crazy old lady meant? Will I not come back as a vampire? I will be able to stand in the sunlight....
This is all fruitless speculation. The gypsy got lucky and guessed a few thing about my life, but coming back from the dead is next to impossible, and even if it wasn't, I know no one would perform such a thing! Besides that, after my resurrection I am meant to have a fourth wife and there is no one I would even consider for a fourth wife. Three wives has been plenty for one man. I have had a long life, and I am content'.
It is always hard to lose someone you love. I'm not just talking about lovers grown old, I have lost children. Some I have simply outlived, some were taken before their time. That was when things first began to go wrong for Jennail and me, when I first began to realise she did not care for me as I did for her. Most of my children grew to be adults, and most of those grew to be elders and passed away in their own time, but a few... when you have many children, not all of them can live long and productive lives. Some of our children lost their mother, Carina, with the birth of our youngest... if our eldest had not been a teenager and helped me care for the other I would not have been able to cope with that. My children lost Penthesilea, of course, but she lived a long life even as a human, our children were long grown by then. So much sadness, it always seems to be tied up in the happiness, as if you couldn't have one without the other. After Carina passed I remember holding our newborn and looking into those big round eyes, so deep and dark, yet somehow warm, just like Carina's. There was always that contrast, with Carina, the warmth of her personality and the cold of her skin, the light of her laughter and the dark of the night in which we surrounded ourselves. Before our eldest was born I remember looking at her as we sat by the fire, the firelight caressing her skin and making it glow and she rested her hands on her stomach, wanting to hold the baby before she could.
Chapter Sixteen: IntermissionEditI'm afraid I was unwell recently, as you can see in the articles above my family saved for me. I was pleased to see how much the town cared for my welfare, and surprised to see how much they cared for my book. I have become more determined than ever to finish this autobiography, but I'm afraid my memory is worse than before. I need to take a break for a few weeks to fully recover, but once I have I will complete this book once and for all! Dear Midnight was right - I'm not ready to go yet, I have unfinished business.
Time has passed, and passed again,
Many a baby has grown old,
Many a flower has withered and died.
Clocks march onwards, seconds blur by.
Tell me how important your mayfly life is!
You will be gone tomorrow.
I live in a world grown old.
I loved once, I lived once,
All things pass.
Even you, who stand there, full of purpose and ego,
Your life is your world and all you know.
I have known many lives.
Pass away, little mayfly, and no one will remember your name.
Carina, dearest, we DID walk into the night together and side by side, but we should have brought something to light our way. I lost hold of your hand in the darkness and you slipped away from me. Alone, I wandered, calling your name... It is hard to keep hold of someone in the dark, you can't see your way and they slip through your fingers. "Our love will be eternal", I never broke that promise, though we are not together to enjoy it. I will see you again soon, Carina, and walk at your side.
Chapter Seventeen: Funerals and TemptationsEdit
When my grandparents arrived in Aridia it was just starting to become known as a more accepting place. At that time most of SimNation avoided, shunned, or actively hunted down other species. In some regions there was even rumours of lynching's... just rumours, I am sure, I find it hard to believe one person can do that to another. Then again, most people did not think us as people, they thought of us as animals as best, abominations and monsters at worst. Things changed slowly. Over time more supernatural's were born, recruited or created, people grew up knowing them, being friends with them, loving them. With hindsight, it was the only realistic way of getting rid of prejudice - time.
By the time I came to university, Aridia and Strangetown were commonly acknowledged as the most diverse and accepting towns in SimNation, but Strangetown was leagues behind us. Still there was the odd person who couldn't accept that times had changed, but by then every other household contained a supernatural. Vampirism was seen as attractive and a route to immortality, being a werewolf was just a hobby for weekends. Plantsims were rarer as it required an extreme devotion to botany, but they look broadly similar to aliens, and the alien population nearly rivaled the human one! Most people dabbled in magic, but few had any real talent.
My point is, despite this, the HumansFirst Party wanted to get rid of all supernatural beings from Aridia. I found Rose's letter to the chronicle, reminding of a time during second year when this minority started a campaign to hunt us all down. I was fond of Rose, she had two children with quite a distance in age, so that her grandchildren by her first son, Diana and Danny, and her daughter Lexi were at university together. I was fond of that house, despite all the werewolves.
Don't get me wrong! I recognise werewolves as people - I just don't like them much. As long as they are generally law abiding and leave me alone, they can stay. Lexi, Diana, Danny, Toshiko, Ben, Baby Doll and Taro shared a university house, and Lexi, Diana, Danny and Ben were werewolves. Baby Doll was an alien. The political party of haters and expected Toshiko and Taro to hate all their housemates, their friends, who they ate breakfast with and shared a house with and lived their lives alongside of. How can you share that much of yourself with someone and hate them?
Several times that year HumansFirst members forced their way onto campus and attacked our houses. Not a single house was supernatural free, and not a single house was left unscathed. Once they shone UV lights through the windows of our house, and a beam caught Arianne on the arm, burning her as if it were sunlight. Several were prosecuted, but they weren't really banned until they took it a step too far, and a werewolf was killed."Someone must stop them, before someone gets hurt.
Cruel, painful, irony, that Rose's prediction came true and one of her own was taken. Diana was a rising star, she had many friends and her whole life ahead of her. She used to date Venus, but they broke up before university. She had been on her way to a date with a classmate when it happened. Some members of the HumansFirst party had been protesting outside the Supernatural and Extraterrestrial Society (SES) trying to recruit students and (thankfully) failing.
Several of them had been trained to recognise the subtle signs of a werewolf in human form - it's difficult to do unless you are a werewolf yourself or very familiar with them. They recognised Diana going by, the way she relied a little more on hearing or scent than the average person, the slight shamble resembling a wolf's lope, maybe something in her overall demeanour that suggested an element of fight-or-flight. Their frustration at being ignored and their anger at seeing a werewolf causally out in public boiled over and they attacked. Within minutes students were pulling them off her, but it was too late. Diana died from crush injuries a few minutes later and the HumansFirst party narrowly avoided being lynched themselves.
That was a dark day for our town, but it forced the government into action and the HumansFirst party was outlawed permanently. The cause of Diana's death was downplayed in National Media, but for some years immigration to Aridia was slow and reluctant. Since I made it to Grand High Vampire and earned the title of Count I have worked in conjunction with the government to make sure such a tragedy never happens again - and it never has.
Within a year all members of the HumansFirst party moved away, or were in jail. Danny, of course, was devastated, nearly leaving university altogether. I have lost a sister, but we were not close for most of our lives, nor were we twins, and she lived a long life. Diana was taken before her time and was one of the most important people in Danny's life. For a long time it was normal to find Ellie or Yoshi around the university, trying to capture back a little of their daughter's life, a little of Diana.If you knew Diana or Danny - of course you couldn't, you are far too young, I am the oldest person alive - but if you had, you would almost certainly have been surprised to know they were a quarter alien. It didn't show in their faces, but their mother was the result of an alien abduction. Sometimes they showed a way of thinking that was a little more logical, less emotional, than the average person... but by 'the average person' had lost all meaning and it could have just reflected a passion for science. You could know a person your whole life, and they could still surprise you. You could still surprise yourself.
There was a time when I thought it would never be possible to look twice at someone other than my azure angel, my Carina, but temptation is hard to resist when you are young. We were fighting at the time, not over anything important, and at the same time I became friends with Sally Go, an exchange student from Sim State university. She was human, with hair the colour of nutmeg and skin that was a pale gold but flushed rosy pink at the slightest provocation. She was warm and loving and always changing, her eyes reminded me of the ocean, or the sky, a different shade every day. When I first met her those eyes were bright blue, shining like a beacon of clarity. When I told her I wanted to be with Carina, that she should go back to Sim State, her eyes were a steely grey.She was like a breath of fresh air, blowing through my mind and stirring up thoughts I didn't know I had. Carina was beautiful, but static, and I had already got used to the idea that thing wouldn't change. I knew how Carina would look tomorrow, next week, in ten years, in a century... She was perfect, preserved in diamond, she would always be perfect. Sally wouldn't, and I valued my time with her all the more. She was interesting, different, and I looked forward to spending time with her. At that time, Carina represented arguments and fighting.
It wasn't a long affair, and I quickly realised I felt nothing more than a temporary infatuation. Carina was the one my heart belonged to. For a full month, however, I spent all my spare time with Sally thinking I owned the world. In the end Sally ended the relationship without meaning to. I had been troubled for a few days by thoughts of Carina, and Sally came up to me full of excitement and happiness. The sight of her lifted my spirits and chased my blues away for a moment. The happiness was short-lived, and quickly replaced by anger when Sally told me her news.
"I've found you a cure! You don't have to be a vampire anymore!" The very words made me feel sick to my stomach and I turned away to hide my revulsion.
"I don't need a cure - a vampire is who I am, who I always wanted to be."
"You can't be happy, in this undead half-life, its revolting! I will stay with you here, if you do this one small thing for me. I don't want to date a vampire, is that so hard to understand? The greater mystery is why you would choose to be this thing when you have a way out!"
"Don't say that. Being a vampire is not some disease I need to be cured of. I always knew I was destined to be a vampire, don't make me choose between this and you, Sally." Then the words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop them. "Carina never made me choose." I could almost hear the crash of a wall slamming down as Sally drew away from me. Her eyes clouded over into that angry metallic grey and all colour vanished from her cheeks."You're not with Carina anymore - you're with me. Unless you don't want to be? Choose, Dracula." With those words, Sally pushed a small vial into my hand. It lay there in my hand, smaller than it had any right to be. Surely something that would destroy my world should look more impressive. Inside was a grey-brown gel, and a single instruction on the label: SWALLOW. All I am, my entire identity, my career, my entire life, is based on being a vampire. Even then I knew that I couldn't do what I wanted in life if I wasn't a vampire. Besides that, to give up your vampirism is taboo, barely spoken of, a source of shame. I hurled that dreadful 'cure' away from me, flung it as far as I could. Sally's gasp reached my ears as the vial shattered and spilt its contents into a drain.
" I love Carina because she would never put me in that position. She understands that being a vampire is who I am, and she would never ask me to give that up." My words were cold to Sally. "Your placement here is finished tomorrow. I hope you have a good time at Sim State University."
Chapter Eighteen: HistoryEdit
Sometimes it is pleasant to look back on how far we have come in life. I have in front of me a selection of photos from what I have included in the book so far, from my grandparents arrival in Aridia to my second year of university. I am trying to imagine what life was like for my grandparents - but I cannot. I was born into a life of luxury, and it has only improved. Compared to my grandparents I have barely suffered any prejudice or discrimination, and after Diana's death such behaviour was both illegal and nonexistent.
I try to think of Aridia back then, and I imagine a wilder place. A more uncultured place. Desert, stretching from one horizon to the other and a cluster of houses, huddled. One dominant family, owning the village - the Aridia's. Isolated, this small town is closer and friendlier than it is now. Strangers arrive, some are welcomed, some are viewed with suspicion account of their species. Another family rises above the hordes, our dear friends the Tricou's, only to vanish again in a series of tragic accidents. Baked by the sun, the people of Aridia are tough and resourceful. They endure. The village grows, into a town, splitting into Aridia and Downtown Aridia.
My grandparents arrive in Aridia, fleeing a past they never fully disclosed. Seeking a more understanding place, they found a town only slightly safer than the rest of SimNation, and started a family. My grandmother became friends with a local woman, Moriko, who had been wronged by her boyfriend and abandoned with their baby shortly after arriving in Aridia. Before her very eyes my grandmother watched Moriko turn into the first plantsim of Aridia. Werewolves, vampires, and a single plantsim - yet Aridia was still the most diverse town in SimNation.
My father was born, my uncle was born. My uncle died. Damien is less than a ghost to me, barely a name on a piece of paper. I don't have a picture of him in front of me, not even my mother met him. Ah, my mother. As my father was growing up, a university was built less than a day's travel away, doubling the size of our town once more. With that university, came a greater variety of life. My father met and fell in love with an alien. Aridia already had one alien after Nerissa Aridia was abducted, and impregnated with Ellie, and three more joined La Fiesta Tech. The werewolf and vampire populations exploded.
Over the years, more supernatural species arrive in Aridia, but they struggle to find houses or jobs in this climate. No one buys the House of Fallen Trees, no matter how low the price, that was where the Tricou family lived and everyone knows that house is cursed. One day a woman wakes up there, devoid of memory or name, but everyone recognises her. The Grey Lady has returned! A local saint, The Grey Lady is believed to watch over toddlers and babies, to protect them from fire. She was also a distant ancestor of the Tricou family, and in time she resurrected them all, restoring her fallen family tree.
The Morrison family moved into the neighbourhood, their wealth catapulting them to the top of the social hierarchy almost immediately. My grandfather had worked hard and saved up a large sum of money, which my father invested in a few choice ventures. After a lucky break, the De Crypt family was suddenly a respectable family with a respectable wallet. Girls were chasing my father, but he had already fallen for the woman who loved him when he was poor. The Aridia family declined slightly, but the four leading families had been established.
Some families were larger than others, the Dai and Sakurako families in particular split into branches, spread their roots, and diversified. Both branches of the Dai family were werewolf-orientated at this time, though Lexi's child later renounced her werewolfism, ending the trend in that branch of the family. The branch of the Dai family leading out from Danny kept their werewolf tendencies and gained an inclination towards aliens. The Sakurako family split into a human, oriental branch and a plantsim branch. The Plantsim branch eventually changed their surname to suit their species, I believe they are now called the Summerblossoms.
My sister was born, and myself. Half alien, we were barely noticeable now in Aridia against the rainbow of skin colours and species. There were only really two species that provoked any curiosity in our generation - the living statues, and the Servo. Arianne Tricou and her cousin Mitchell Aridia both fell in love with some curious Sims that were somehow living rock. Obviously they didn't want endless tests performed on them, but it seemed to be genetic as they assured us their parents were statues too. They were named Gabbro and Scoria, after types of rock. The Servo was a most curious being. Shui Sakurako, a plantsim, was very interested in robotics and built a robot sim to look after his children when he was gone, Servo. However, when they turned Servo on, they found that Shui had accidently created an artificial person, with thoughts and feelings and a mind of his own.
Servo later went on to marry Kokoro, Shui's daughter. They had two children, Shui and Yuuki. Yuuki was grown from a spore on Kokoro's head, so technically was only Kokoro's child, but somehow they managed to have a baby that was both Kokoro's and Shui's. How did a robot and a plantsim manage to produce a human baby? They were as confused as we were.
The De Crypt family has gone on an amazing journey from rags to riches over three generations. By the time I inherited the estate it was nearly rivalling the Morrison's. Today the De Crypts are the largest, richest family in Aridia, closely followed by our sister household the Tricou. The Morrison's are as they ever were, but the Aridia's influence and wealth dwindles with time. I fear that if their bloodline dilutes much further they will not hold onto their position. The Aridia's were less keen on marrying within their social class, but as a result their money has been spread out to support too many marriages over too many generations. When my children marry into a richer family I know I will not need to spend much of the family income on supporting them.
Family is important. Keeping the bloodlines strong, keeping the family name respected. Love can conquer many things, but do not expect it to conquer all. Look after your children, honour your elders. This town has become a beacon of light and hope to all who feel marginalised and seek a place to fit in. Keep that beacon alight. I fear for my family. I have been running this estate for so long I do not think they can manage without me, but my time draws near, and so they must. History is important. Where we come from shapes who we can be, the past is not some story that means nothing to our sense of identity. What if my children do not pay attention to their past? What if they forget where they come from? Will they let my legacy fall into ruin?
Chapter Nineteen: BloodEdit
Blood is everything to old families. Marriages are considered carefully and suitors are weighed by the pedigree of their ancestors. I can spend hours at a time pouring over family trees, tracing back a persons lineage or projecting where it might continue. My family is relatively young - I am only the third recorded generation after all - but some families have pedigrees stretching back centuries. The Tricou family, for instance. A high and proud clan, they have always had a twist of something darker running through them, a touch of an ancient shadow making them more likely to stray towards the occult. Respected, but feared more than the other high families, when my family rose up the Tricou and De Crypt families naturally gravitated towards each other.
Of course, since their restoration, the Tricou family tree has become intimately interwoven with that of the Aridia's. Most of the Aridia and Tricou children are cousins or second cousins of each other. The Aridia family has been strengthened by this, but in recent years the families have tried to separate themselves again. Whilst we were at university the web was only just beginning to be woven. Two cousins from the Aridia family had each married a Tricou, and Tricou's were cousins to each other. I tried to draw a family tree, but as you can see it was already tangled and confusing. Rodrigue had been adopted by Arianne's great grandfather, who lived a very long time, and his second wife, but they died whilst Rodrigue was still a baby. Rodrigue has next to no relation to Arianne, but they share a name and childhood home.
It's always sad when a family falls from their own good name, but if every one of my children had stayed the house would be bursting at the seams and the neighborhood would be overrun with De Crypts. Our money would flow away and be lost. Initially I was upset my children didn't immediately follow in my footsteps, but I never dreamed I would have three families. It was always a comfort to know my children had families of their own, even if many of them did not take over my families estate. It is lucky, I suppose, I was able to continue with the running of the estate myself. If I had not been, one of my children may have grudgingly inherited the duties, but now that I am finally ready to step aside one of my children (or is it one of my grandchildren? curse my aging memory!) is willing and eager to inherit the estate, full of visions of relaxing on a solid gold bed and being able to afford staying at home all day, I suppose - but you have not met my young, dream addled, yet somehow business-smart heir yet.
I am ready to step aside, at last, because I finally came to a realization. Although I am soon to pass beyond this realm to where I can find my Carina once more, although my physical body is going to melt away into the ground and be lost, part of me shall continue to live and laugh and play in the streets. My children - my blood - carry a part of me always inside them. I live through them, in them, with them, and I can never die as long as my blood continues. Those who have children, and their children have children never truly die. We are the sum of our ancestors, which is why it is always so sad when a bloodline dies out. All those people - lost forever, those little parts of their forefathers finally flickering out. Of course, we are also more than the sum of our ancestors, more than our forefathers alone. Most of me will be lost, but I have been here a long time, it is time I moved on. You will see me occasionally as I look out from my children's eyes, a tiny red glimmer, a hint of shadow, watching and guiding.
Look into the moonlight
Look into the fire
Open your eyes and mind
Let go of disbelief
The other world is waiting to hear your voice
They miss you and will speak
If you can bear it
Once someone returned from the other world for a short time. The Grey Lady - a Tricou - but I think I have told you this story before. She died many centuries before, so long ago her original name was forgotten. Many believe she protects babies and toddlers from fire. When the Tricou's died out all those years ago, a great bloodline was lost. They were lost before my grandparents arrived in Aridia, and were restored during my fathers time. Arianne never knew The Grey Lady, she returned to the otherworld before we were born, but I have seen pictures. She had a mass of curly blonde hair reaching down to her elbows and dressed in loose swathes of cloth. Beautiful, in her own way, but I am told she was often tired and seemed worn out and faded somehow. Her reflection was fainter than other people's and doctors struggled to find her heartbeat. Her breath was cold and frosty and her grey-blue eyes looked beyond what most people could see into a realm most people had not yet visited. The call of her own blood was strong enough to pull her back from beyond the grave for a short time. I find that comforting somehow. She knew how to bring back her family, but with each family member a little more of her slipped away. One night there was a fire, and the flames burned away at her life force, until she simply faded away. By all accounts, she did not suffer, and in fact slept through the event.
I do not expect to return at all, but prehaps I might. It will be intresting to see how future generations turn out, to see the people I know now as children grown and successful. I would very much like to see if my likeness is reborn in ten generations time, in twenty, in fifty, but I do not have the energy to live that long, nor the ability to simply stand back and watch - I must lead for as long as I live. The family would benefit from a new leader - so I must pass on, to a new life.
Chapter Twenty: LettersEdit
I've been trying to piece together my sister's life, her loves and worries, the way she thought of me and of our family. As time passed we spoke less and less often to each other, and rarely in kindness. Recently I found a collection of letters between Maria and Rodrigue, Maria and myself, whilst Maria was visiting Simcity for a conference. I kept the letters Maria sent me, though her words often pained me, and by finding the ones Maria kept I was able to piece them together into a coherent conversation.
Maria, my love! Maria, please, I beg of you, whilst you are away, please consider what I said. I love you, and I know you love me. It is a mistake to marry Jasper Sim when you should marry me instead! Tell him, tell him you love me. He caught us together once before, I think he knows in his heart we never ended it, that you dont truly belong to him, you belong to me. Stop dragging it out, stop living a lie, marry me Maria! I love you, I implore you,if I ever meant anything to you, think about it - Rodrigue.
Rodrigue, you are only partially right. I do love you, but I love Jasper too. It is not as black and white as you think. You are only thinking of the now, whereas I am thinking of my entire life, of my whole future. My family always taught me that marriage is about more than love, that you should gain some benefit (usually money or a title or status), and my benefit from marrying Jasper is being able to escape my life and the future my family has planned for me. I don't want to marry some rich kid and inherit the family estate, spending my days in manors talking to boring princes and stuck up princesses. I could never have a real job or do anything fun - it would not be proper. My children would be raised by a stranger in a nanny's outfit. I don't want any of that, but if I married you, Rodrigue Tricou, we would be caught forever in the web of our families expectations. We would be so unhappy. I am not suited to the family I was born into and you would have been happier if you had been adopted by some middle-class family. If we had, maybe we could have been together, but in this life I think our current situation is all we can hope for. I need to escape my family, my social class, I need to marry down, to Jasper. I want to be a normal suburban mum on a 9 to 5 job and that will not happen if I marry you. It's more than that though - you have no ambition, Rodrigue. Jasper wants to do well with his life and strives to succeed, but you drift. You fell into university because I was going, and you have no plans for your future. Jasper and I will work together to be successful and teach our children to do the same. I love both of you, but my future is with Jasper. I can be happy in my life with Jasper. I am content with our current situation, but if you feel our relationship can no longer continue now I am engaged to Jasper then of course I will value our memories forever. I cant marry you Rodrigue, but I hope you will stay with me. All my love, Maria.
Maria, I'm sending back your lies. It's not your fault, you have been misled by your family, especially by your meddling brother. We CAN leave our families and live together in our own suburban home, like you want. You just need time to figure that out. I will never leave you. If all I can be right now is your secret boyfriend, then ok. If you marry Jasper, if you have his children, before you figure it out, then ok. I will always be there for you, two steps behind you, waiting for you to realize we are meant to be together, Maria, my love. I have in you, Maria, faith that one day you will leave him for me. We can have our perfect little ordinary suburban family, working ordinary jobs, caring for our children. It could happen, Maria, and I am waiting for you - Rodrigue.
Dracula, I'm in the big city! Simcity is amazing, so lively and busy. The smells here are amazing, the colors and the noise, this whole place is a wonderful, crashing, overwhelming assault on the senses. I couldn't stay here though, I think living here would be too much. I would drown in a fog of takeaway fumes. I'm so excited to be at this conference. Witches and wizards are here from all over Simnation to give lectures, I cant believe I was chosen to be spokesperson for the Aridia Witches' Coven! I know its a small group but I just didn't think I was important enough yet. Maybe if I just recruit a few more our coven could one day grow to rival yours! I can be Grand High Sorceress Maria Sim, Enchanter of Hearts, and you can be Count Dracula De Crypt, with a stare that makes mere mortals quake in their boots. I know you don't want me to discuss this though, you'd much rather hear about my engagement. You don't think Jasper Sim is right for me, you would much rather I married according to my station - Rodrigue Tricou, perhaps, or Eric Morrison. Or Mitchell Aridia, I haven't tried him yet. I have dated according to my station, it is not an experience I wish to make permanent. I will be happy with Jasper in my little home and you cant stop me. I am far too much like Mum, and you know she was never really suited to be a De Crypt. The only reason she isn't utterly miserable is because she loves Father so much. Besides, if you really believed all that rubbish about marrying correctly, you would still be with Arianne Tricou. Carina may act all high and mighty, but I often detect more than a hint of commoner about her. Think about it - Maria.
Maria, I am proud you are doing so well in you magical studies. Surely you must see that your De Crypt blood will always push you towards greatness? I know you have always felt a greater affinity for your Terrano blood, but you could be so much more than some common soccer mum if you only let yourself - and marry the right man. I am aware that you are still secretly dating Rodrigue Tricou, and of course I do not approve, but you always gravitate to him no matter who you are dating officially. You should marry him. You two are well suited for one another and would have beautiful children. You are of good blood and he was adopted into a well respected family, yet you both have a bit of deviance about you. If you really desired you could take a backseat on the social scene but do not deny your future children their birthright. You need never work, you would have everything provided for you, I would even run the estate if you wished. If you wont marry Rodrigue, Mitchell is taken and I think you have burned your bridges with Eric, but many women find a suitor abroad, some exotic lord from a faraway land. Carina is just such a suitor. Her family live elsewhere, and she has royal blood running through her veins, even if it is a little diluted of late. She will make a worthy wife, she knows how to behave according to her station. I pray that you discover how to do the same. I think the capacity is still within you, your De Crypt blood shows through more often than you think - especially when you talk to one of your own. Your mangled accent and turn of phrase that you use around Japser and his cronies does not sit comfortably in your mouth. Why don't you think about that? - Dracula
Dracula, I didn't mean to upset you about Carina, but I will not let you stop me from living my life. I want to marry Jasper, and everything you described about marrying the right kind of person sounds dreadful. I want to work, I want to talk as I like, and I want to interact with people I enjoy the company of, rather than stay hidden from people I don't. I don't think I have any De Crypt blood in me - and even if I did, why must greatness always wealth in your eyes? Why cant I achieve greatness by raising happy, well adjusted children, or by doing well in my career? I always envied our cousin's life and wish I had been born as Venus and Astria's sister. You can keep the estate, I don't ever intend to spend a night there again. If you wish to see me it will be on my terms - Yours, Maria.
The paper is thin and dry under my hands, crumbling into flakes if I hold it too tight. Reluctantly I put it down, resting my hands on my desk. The study is dark now, the only light pooling on my desk and dripping onto my chair. The fire died down as I wrote and the light drained away. I filled this room with momentos and objects to trigger memories for my autobiography but even my eyes cant pierce the murky gloom. Its an almost tangible darkness, as if I could reach out and watch my hand disapper into the dry fog of night. It's easy enough to chase away though, and through the window I can see the first uncertain tendrils of dawn light shivering on the horizon. I feel restless though, I dont want to confine myself to my coffin just yet.
We were such fools, my sister and I. She should have married better, but I could have handled the situation better. I can see her now, young and stubborn, glaring at me in anger... then old, finally forgiven me, and I had forgiven her. She was right, after all, she was not suited to our life, but she should have tried. Fulfilled her inborn obligation to her own blood. All those years missing in between, I barely knew what she looked like. I saw her children occasionally in the photos she sent me, and heard the rumours of course. That second child, bringing more shame to Jasper's household when it was already well known that his wife loved another. I felt sorry for Jasper - I never liked him, but he did nothing to deserve that treatment.
Chapter Twenty-One: Engaged for the first timeEdit
I still remember when I proposed to Carina. I found the most beautiful, expensive restaurant in Aridia. On one side, a balcony overlooked the street and we could look down on a festival, but our table was high enough that we weren't disturbed by the music and general noise. On the other we were seated next to a beautiful garden, cultivated and grown against all probability in the sky. It was a cold night, it's always cold at night in the desert, but as vampires we feel less of the cold than humans. Carina wore a beautiful black and red dress, and her hair flowed down her back like a rainbow made entirely of different shades of gold. I proposed during the dinner (I don't even remember what we ate that night) and she didn't even hesitate with her answer. We spent the night celebrating, wandering the festival, holding hands in our own happy world. We stood under an old oak tree and planned how to tell our parents, and in the depths of the desert night, when it was so cold even we vampires needed a coat and frost crackled in our hair, I serenaded her and told her I would always love her - and I always have.
I told Maria that Carina had royal blood in her veins, however diluted, and I spoke more truth than I knew. Carina was directly descended from an old royal family that had once ruled the majority of Simnation. After the monarchy gave way to a democracy, the bloodline began to diversify and weaken. Some branches were able to remain strong, like the famous Goth family, but Carina's family was not so lucky. In the last few generations their estate shrunk to the size where they could no longer support the entire family, and Carina's uncle inherited everything. Carina's mother married down into the general population and lost her proud, respected surname, but still harboured hopes that her daughter might somehow restore the family name.
Actually, our engagement and subsequent marriage did just that. The De Crypt family was well respected and a high family within Aridia, but admittedly not elsewhere. Likewise, the Smith family was known within their town for being related to royalty but even there it was known that they were no longer members of high society. Once Carina and I got engaged, her mother and uncle quickly spread the word that Carina had married a very respectable family with money both new and old in the most darling little town out in the desert. Likewise, people quickly heard that the De Crypt family was engaged to royalty, and that was enough to make our family well known throughout Simnation generally. When Carina and I got engaged, only two families were recognised as descendants of the royal family - all others had degenerated and diluted beyond recognition.
Maria's engagement was a less dignified affair. She proposed first, to Jasper, but he refused. He came to talk to me soon after, saying he couldn't handle her anymore and wanted to leave. Jasper told me he had tried to leave Maria before, but she had confused him with her words and served him drinks that tasted sour and left bitter aftertastes, until he couldn't remember his grievance or purpose. I knew then of Maria's practice and misuse of magic, but I had barely begun to suspect that she would use it on her boyfriend. For the first time, Jasper spoke in earnest to me and began to show any sign of admirable qualities. I had always thought of him as rather slow, and indeed he is, but occasionally he has flashes of clear sightedness. Unfortunately, Maria's continuing use of magic and potions on Jasper dulled his mind permanently before long, and I was unable to save him. I talked to Maria, trying to make her see sense, but all she knew was how to make Jasper forgive her for her affairs. I believe he never intended to stay with Maria after the repeated affairs, but she made him fall in love with her all over again. She must have done so again, because barely 24 hours after Jasper told me all this in earnest he changed his mind and proposed to her himself.