I spent some time in Old Muscovy centuries ago. Western Europeans thought it quite exotic and dark.... like a cold, heavy, brutal answer to Cathay. I went with a group of traders. They were interested in furs. I was fleeing from a clan of Noxious Vampires that for some reason saw me as their enemy. Noxious Vampires kill indiscriminately. Noble Vampires do not. A wealthy 'familiar' (mortal who helps night-folk) descended from an old wool trade family, not yet true aristocracy, but definitely listed among the gentry (actually just as good) supplied me with a commodious chest, usually filled with porcelain and crockery, but easily long enough for me to lie down... And that was it. I was off, deep in the hold of something little better than Cristobal Colon's tiny caravels. Perhaps a bit stouter and a few cubits longer, a little more architecture above deck... but seaworthy??? Maybe by the standards of the time, though not by today's. I had a bottle, sealed with a cork... a rather large bottle, a Jeroboam... but I can't remember if we used that term back then. I'm sure we had another name for it. Please understand it's difficult for me to remember all this. Now I speak English, American Philadelphia English. Then I spoke a form of 'Old Castilian.' More a type of altered Vahmperigo, a night-folk dialect that melts Castilian, Catalan and an Italian Piedmontese patois of the alpine regions of Savoy. You see, 'vampires' due to our ability to sublimate, can fly through the night like magic. What do I mean 'like magic?' It IS magic. In one evening I'd cover the distance from the Castilian - Valencia border to Barcelona and on to Turin or maybe even Genoa... all Romance idioms, yet with differences of cadence, accent and music. Night-folk must fit in, so we adapt. Excuse my digression. Where was I? Ah, yes... deep in the bowels of that ship, locked in a long casket-like crate with a large bottle of what you might call a weak vodka. Vampires can ingest clear or almost clear fluids. It's how we fool people, sipping cups of weak, steaming tea in coffee houses... eating broth at dinner, or the like. Mortals are so easy. I'd take a mouthful now and then to put me into a trance-like sleep. True sleep, or our version of it, finds us only during daylight. Even in this crate, down in the darkness, my essence knew day from night. The weak intoxicant helped endure the dark time.
We'd stop at a few ports along the North Sea and Bering Sea coasts. A little trading here. A little trading there. French crockery was big in Muscovy. German clocks, salt cured English mutton... transistor radios.... ha ha ha ha ha... No, I joke. We had no transistor radios. We had nothing! Sanitary napkins were still far off in the future. Toothbrushes, or some primitive form of them, were a rare, exotic commodity. If I had to endure 'life' during those benighted centuries without vampire magic I'd have thrown myself into Stromboli's hellish maw ages ago.
You see, London was a most comfortable place. The houses, at least those of quality folk were beginning to inch their was up from total shit stained squalor to a state of quasi civilization... more queasy that quasi, but you know what I mean. The damp stone interior walls were sheathed in brown, somber paneling . Rude collections of dull, grey pewter ware lined shelves. The furniture was straight out of a Game of Thrones prop barn. Rich folk kept angry little New World monkeys (brought over by Spain) dressed as courtiers, on gold chains. For some reason they were all named Rodrigo or Miguelito and bit everyone's fingers, when they were not masturbating... Arcane fraternal associations were all the rage... alchemy, tinged with imported schools of Persian sorcery, Indian sorcery and whatever they could get from Tibet tantalized every jumped up minor noble's son with visions of sex, power and influence. I tutored them sometimes when it suited me. Did they know I was night-folk? No, of course not. Protestants were still burned for God's sake! Can you imagine what they'd have done to me?! I'll tell you what they'd have done to me. Welded into one of those narrow, almost form fitting leaden coffins. Night-folk cannot sublimate through lead, you know. Then hauled out to sea on an old cobb, miles and miles from land and tossed overboard into the cold, dark depths. There are night-folk languishing on the abysmal plain as we speak. Some for centuries. Can you imagine? Still sentient, locked in vampire dreams more or less... forever. It's not the blood that keeps us alive. Some spiritual force does that. It's our job to cull the wicked. If we stop doing that, if we stop on our own, we slowly whither away... But if we're prevented from doing that, we endure, waiting for a freedom that might never come.
Some night-folk manage to defy the laws. They break away. They kill the innocent. In truth they'll kill anyone... widows... children... orphans... They keep them in caves deep underground... breeding them and breeding them in total darkness till the light is just a myth... naked and huddled like mole rats. I attempted to destroy such a coven and now they seek my 'death'... Thus my hasty departure.... a centuries old soul in a rather alluring eighteen year old body, off to bide my time among that brutal realm in the frozen East.... Do you think I'll look good in sable?
Come back tomorrow. I'm in a rather communicative mood and ready to share more...
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