I had a refuge in the north of Italy. Please ask me not its exact location, for the descendants of my familiars then still inhabit the place and shun such notoriety. It was actually a castillo, a house built in the waning years of the fourteenth century. The medieval mind set was beginning to lose hold among the higher levels of society, thus the structure was as much palazzo as fortress. We had glass in the windows and an interior room for bathing. There were marble hearths and polished, stone floors warmed by Persian carpets. Some such residences still used rushes... but not mine. And the dogs about the place where greyhounds or whippets, no gross mastiffs or rough coated wolfhounds. Indeed, we had four designated 'shit boys,' whose job it was to whisk away errant turds and mop up, or scrub out the pee. Don't ask me their names. No one ever bothered with names. We yelled - 'Shit boy!'... and one was there. Most times even that was unnecessary, for they hovered behind the dogs like acolytes and they did their job very well.
I went abroad in daylight then too. Of course it was an illusion accomplished via a double. They found him among a group of mummers performing at a fair. Money changed hands and he was mine. We dressed him like me... exercised him till he had my form.. styled his hair like my long, dark wavy locks and that was it... Being a mummer, he learned my speech patterns very quickly. His cooperation was assured via tiny but regular infusions of my blood. Not enough to make him as I, but enough to keep him in a state of permanent enchantment. No one suspected a thing. Granted, attendants followed him everywhere, though considering the rough nature of the times, bodyguards were a regular accessory. All the best people had them. His carried small vials of my blood, lest he was killed, or struck dead before the eyes of others. They knew how to quickly revive him and carry him to safety. Thus I appeared to attend daylight masses and hunt with the other young bloods. Was I the first vampire to create a daylight double? No, of course not. Though I share more night-folk truths than most.
Do you know why I haven't communicated in anything like a regular basis recently? I am plagued by doubt. The current political atmosphere depresses me. I mean the things you mortals (or the less enlightened ones) grapple with! Look, let me ask you a question. What STOPS you from living as conservative a life as you please?... The government is in no way bound to force others along the same path. I can see demanding a fiscally careful regime. Fine, do that... But all the rest? Don't compel society to sanction your biases. Forget this reborn Bonfire of The Vanities so many lust after. These things never end well. So I sit in my chair every night silently absorbing vintage films and rehabbed lofts... when I'm not out patrolling the midnight streets, that is. I 'cull' my monthly blighted soul and play with Sylvia and Aura in their long forgotten realm under the city. A vampire abides.
But I meant to share my most favored years in Italy with you. Permit me to regain my composure. (bows his head and squeezes the bridge of his nose)..... (sniffs).... I kept a pleasure barge on the river... and when we were sufficiently downstream, beyond the town, my liveried oarsmen would dowse the torches so I might enjoy myself in total darkness. Please know that by the standards of the time, my 'subjects' were far from abused. Each went home with a polished opal or two, plus my sincerest compliments.
Vampire 'personalities' change over the years.... and that identity beckons me.... boy, does it ever.... (cue the recorders and lutes... as he grins mischievously and offers a curt, little salute toward the camera)
The naughty Jonathon is back.....
< more tomorrow... I promise>
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there was supposed to be an atmospheric video of Renaissance music at the top of all this but somehow it got dropped... sorry.