I do not even know where I am. Deep woods. I see deep woods. The trees are majestic columns that kiss the stars. And I sit on a carpet of cool moss. My heart races and my face burns from the sublimation. There's friction when we pass through the ether. Every atomic particle leaves its mark.
A visitor came to see me... a friend from the early days. Edmund of Colechester, he was called and a 'vampire' as am I. I knew him amd he was my friend. We had so much in common...He, the indulged, though unacknowledged son of a bishop and I the spoiled scion of a Sephardic, Granadan aristocrat. Innocents of 'the night' we were, snatched from mortality by cold, hard hands. I met him in an inn along some pilgrimage trail soon after my transformation. He was new to the night too. We sat in a corner by the hearth, trying to be invisible. How scared he was... a russet haired 'vampire' in a monk's robe. And the cloth reeked from scent. New 'night-folk' often do that in an effort to obfuscate the supposed 'vampire' stench. But the truth is we don't smell. Maybe noxious vampires who frequent graveyards and live as ghouls acquire a disgusting bouquet of sorts, but higher types do not. Edmund did not know that.
I said a few words in Vahmperigo, my Mediterranean Vampire dialect. And then, seeing as he was English, added some in Vahmpergahn, the tongue of Northern Night-Folk. He feigned ignorance, but he knew. I could tell he knew.
Then I smiled, so that he could see my teeth, my fangs. Night-folk can do that discretely... a fast glimpse and that's it. He saw. I leveled my eyes right at him and nodded. He did the same. We couldn't drink the grog. They had ale and dark beers and mead. Distilled spirits were rare. Arab lands had them, but not Europe. There was wine. They had that. But wine was a woman's drink. Men might have some with a meal and we weren't eating. I tipped my head toward the door and got up. Edmund followed me . We left the hot smoky white washed room and stepped out onto a twisting, muddy 'lane.' Oh, one other thing. Please don't think the smoke came from tobacco. That was still a MesoAmerican affectation, four hundred years away from our world.
Everyone had cloaks. Everyone had hoods and they used them. People abroad after dark stayed hidden. We did too. Those with means traveled in snug, sedan chairs borne by strapping henchmen. Torch bearers led the way. Scared, nervous lantern boys came up the rear. Many killed simply for sport. You can't imagine how dark it was. Public illumination did not exist. People slept at night. That was it. Cats snarled. Rats scurried. Dogs growled. Various types of insects feasted. Life, for all save the most vicious, amoral, violent ant brutal ...and I'm talking about the warlord aristocracy... was crap. Maybe some monks and nuns escaped it and, oddly enough, Jews, forced into flood prone ghettos, due to their scrupulous food and bathing laws, escaped some of it too. But for the rest, the only escape was sex, or hut brewed intoxicants. Life meant nothing.
Excuse my digression. But Edmund left us tonight. He diffused, sublimating out in all directions til there was nothing discernable left. Night-folk do that sometimes. I don't know if their soul stays with the nebulous particles, or passes on into THE WORLD TO COME.
Just know that we became friends on that long ago night. I had someone to talk to... my first night-folk companion. This was after perhaps a century or more of solitary wandering. Oh, I had conversations...midnight visitations with learned clerics .... privy talks with busy rulers.... dream time with poor, hopeless children. Most all children were poor and hopeless then. Talent meant nothing, except maybe talent for killing. Boys so blessed might become knights.... Blood was everything... and not just blood... 'legitimate' blood.
I told Edmund tales of Old El Andalus and he schooled me in the creation of illuminated texts... Not texts as you know them. Back then, they were books. That's how I learned how to illustrate my Journal. You've heard us reference that. Oh, I knew the necessary calligraphy from my mortal school days, beit safer (book house, school) and all. We started publicly funded education at three. But living imagery, other than plants was denied us. Not in antiquity and not in all places, though then, in Spain, it was.
Did we hunt together?... Never... That's not what we shared and I want him back.
A 'vampire' went into the dark tonight... or the light... depending how it plays out...and I will say prayers for him.
The nights are already longer... Not by much... perhaps ten to twenty minutes, depending on the clarity of the sundown sky. But it's a start and I am glad.
'Noble' vampires live as kings, or ay least have the potential to do so. And I've known many over the centuries... a heavy hearted array, all lined up in a dim silent row.
Edmund... he was the first...
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