|Having gone by the name of Lady Evangeline (her personal favorite of all of them), Countess Sigula was born in Hungary more than four hundred and fifty years ago.|
And she remembers: "I have two vampire valentines. Trufort, the one who sired me. And Louis, dear Louis, whom I embraced into vampire life.
"You wonder how I met Trufort and Louis. You are curious. I think it's curiosity which educates us, so I don't mind. But which question to answer first?
"Yes, Trufort. . ." She speaks softly.
"It was during the occasion of a birthday feast for the Emperor's eldest son. Midsummer. A lovely afternoon turned into an evening which promised to be fine, even with the appearance of a few clouds floating in. They didn't bring that humidity which precedes rain. Evening faded like the colors of soft ribbons into night. The clouds played tag with the moon and stars. A crescent moon, the kind Louis calls a scythe moon. The air was full of the scent of roses.
"The Emperor's eldest son wished to marry me, and he danced and danced and danced with me that day. He was a jealous man, almost infuriated even when I danced with my own brother. After being with my brother for a while, and drinking some wine and talking, Prince Janos sent a serf over to invite me to join him at the royal table. It was a command, of course, and I did not wish to obey. I could see, even in torchlight and all the way across the yard, that he had a stormy look on his face, and as if to answer, it poured rain all of a sudden. I used the crash of thunder, the screams of surprise and the crowd running for cover, to dash in any direction away from that table. . .
". . .to find myself, breathless, in a pavilion with flowering vines overgrowing the roof. As soon as I stopped inside my shelter, safe from the torrential rain (I was soaked), I sensed a presence. At first glance, nothing more than shadows seemed to be there. Then, lightning flashed. I saw his eyes and the thunder seemed to come from my heart, not the wild storm. . . then the rest of the man materialized around his beautiful stare. Of course I'd seen him before, during the party (who'd miss Trufort?) but had not actually spoken to him.
"And he spoke with his eyes, his kisses, his warm embrace. My whole soul sighed and trembled and I fall in love with him."
She smiles tenderly. "I can't say everything was as smooth as a rose petal. There were some thorns. You know, it seems to me that being embraced into darkness, much like suddenly being rich, brings out whatever was in your soul to begin with, enhancing it whether it's 'good' or 'bad'. I would shudder if Prince Janos had become a vampire. Now there was a jealous man. Oh, he could be charming. Until he thought someone else wanted his property, which he presumed included me. And Trufort did court me. Perhaps the Prince thought he should own me, but no one had yet formally spoken of betrothment and I hadn't been intimate with him -- thankfully. I know now that some of his 'ladies' died at his hand.
"Some people can't take no for an answer, like Prince Janos. I did not have any intention of marrying him. Even less so after I met Trufort. But my father disagreed with me once we received an official proposal. It was nothing more than selling me, but women had fewer choices back then. Until then, Trufort had visited openly. After, he started coming to me in the night. My dear brother actually agreed with me, looking at the personal side and not the political, monetary side.
"To make this long story short, my brother was assassinated one night and they said it was robbery. But Trufort told me that was wrong, and I believed what I had already felt in my heart: the Prince was responsible. He didn't have to kill my brother, who couldn't stop the marriage anyway. Trufort said that if I trusted him, I could be freed from this, have my revenge, and share life eternally with him. That's when I found out he was a vampire. He told me I would appear to be ill, growing weaker and weaker, until I died. So it happened like that, starting rather dramatically when I fainted right after my brother's burial. I did not leave my bed until I 'died'.
"You wonder if it hurt? Not really. Not after he stared at me with his eyes, charmed me first, then took his first blood from me. And when he took my last, took me to that moment of hovering between life and death, I recall his eyes the best. Yes, I was aware that my dying heart thudded less and less in my ears, but my grief still hurt more than anything else. And I took a few drops of blood from him, then more. . . Miraculous, like the sun coming up in heaven, awakening a pure world where nothing blocked the light of life. Maybe that was related to the white light some people talk about.
"And do you know what I did before we left? I revealed myself to Janos. I killed him, gave him great agony, more so when I kenned from his blood that he had indeed ordered my brother's murder. I must have scared some servants and soldiers to death when I fled the palace, dripping blood and screaming like a dozen banshees. Trufort waited for me and we flew away."
She stops her narrative. Interesting and slightly distressing, how the Countess can still feel the rage, the blood, hear her howls which had hurt her own ears, as if it occured merely one full moon ago and not in the mid 1500's.
"As for my other great love, Louis. . . Love is an amazing river, seeming to go dry for centuries then springing forth full-force at the most insignificant drop of moisture, perhaps a tear or even a sigh of true desire. . .
"But I ramble on too much. Why don't I let |Louis Dumond| tell you his story? I believe he's waiting for you."
She gives you one last smile, not unkind, yet you feel you have been dismissed. The message is in her eyes. She still seems comfortable on her settee, but the regal bearing learned centuries ago communicates you may go and you don't quite see how this communication works.
So let's not stay and find out if she'll bite you, should you linger too long.
|Vampires of the Eclipse|
||Mortal or Vampire? Choose the Path||||Soul Blood: Poem, Prose and Pictures||
|In a Welcoming Vein: Vampire Renaissance map|
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|The Entrance Gate|