I'm told various potentates on this part of the globe have employed night-folk for centuries. The Byzantines, precursors of our magnificent Osmani Royal House, trained Circassian woman, infecting them with the vampiric burden via an old strain imported from far off Serendip, known to you as Ceylon or Sri Lanka. Female elferinas and vampirinas they were. Charged with protecting the coasts. For Serendip was a rich land, 'Womb of Emeralds,' they called it and the rudest concubine had nose rings of finest ivory and purest gold. Children of the streets used rubies as marbles. And banquets went on til the eldest guest died.
Sirens they were, haunting the coasts, luring sailors to their deaths upon the sands with keen, sharp kisses by the dark of the moon.... Now they bring us in from all over. I'm told there's even one from the New World, a royal, Aztec princling, purchased from the accursed Spaniards, for my masters have never forgiven them the Reconquista, nor the destruction of the overland trade from China on the Great Silk Road. Perhaps I'll kill his Excellency the Ambassador from Toledo? Who knows?
But til then, Peter has seen many things. They took us to the Bone Pits, huge 'dry wells' 'cross the Bosphorus, in a nearby arid zone of Anatolia. Perfectly round depressions, clean, crisp circles, thirty cubits (45 ft, 14m) across... gigantic, empty cylinders descending into the earth for perhaps two hundred cubits (300 ft.... I'm sure those adept at ratios can do the rest of the math). Precise in every way... smooth, stone facing down to the bottom. Some attribute them to the Hittites, or the Trojans. Others blame pagan, Olympian deities. For questions of faith, that third choice can only be whispered in this realm... and I suppose among the Spaniards too.
One night, a multitude was driven toward the edge. Four dozen war elephants, assisted by an equal number of Indian cavalry rhinoceroses, sent as a gift from our brother emperor to the east, The Great Mogul himself. It's rumored the Sultan originally desired ninety five Andaman Island archers. What for, in that time of nascent musketry I can't even begin to imagine. Perhaps he wanted a human game of draughts where the pieces killed each other instead of merely jumping?
But they pushed the people to the brink. Families they were from a rebellious province somewhere there abouts. And they cried and they begged and they shrieked. Those attempting to flee between the wall of huge, gray mammals were quickly apprehended ...the Jannasaries you know... and hurled in first. Then the avalanche of bodies began. How they grabbed and pinched and tore at each other. How they fought to grasp the edge. Lips rip off, you know. Ears do too. And an errant desperate hand grasping baggy Cappadocian trousers found horrified man parts instead.
Three hundred feet they fell, tumbling and spinning in the dark. Mothers reached for babies and lost them, only to find them again on the sharp, slate shards at the bottom. And they were the lucky ones, for subsequent waves found purchase on the bodies of the dead. Some died caught on the bones of the first ones, often protruding through the flesh. And skulls are very hard.
A few of the last ones to take the plunge lived... at least for a while. That's when they sent us in, the elferinos I mean, to finish them off. Just shoved us over and that was it. Some never knew they could fly, but they learned that night. We swooped down from above to kill the living..... and they welcomed it. But I kissed the babies first and cradled them, before rocking them to sleep.
'Evil' they may call me. But cruel I am not.
And please excuse my drifting from the past to present tense. But this still seems very real to me... Shhhh, (whispers) Boopsie's sleeping......
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