Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Martine’

Note: This is the foreword of a novel I am halfway

through. It is the tale of a 1200 year old vampire who

is weary of his long “life” and who is in the

midst of an endless, fruitless search for

unrequited love. One. True.  Reciprocal. Love.

Priscilla is his objet du désir.

The Story….

     Priscilla. What can I say about my precious Priscilla? Perhaps, the loveliest creature I have ever laid my world-weary, cynical and hungry eyes upon. Words cannot describe the vision of purity and innocence that is my dear, sweet Priscilla. Mere words really do fail to capture the quite unearthly combination of wholesome goodness, soul-searing sensuality and incandescent beauty that reside so seamlessly in the sweet girl. How can it be that one so pure and beautiful can strike such terror and hopelessness in one such as I, the utter quintessence of evil. That the grotesqueness inherent in such a pathetic state would enslave my every thought and action whenever I contemplated my difficult, desperate relationship with the beauteous Priscilla was a sick, cruel jest of the first order. It was beyond jest…beyond cruelty and despair. Simply…it was wrenching beyond my experience in a career long on rapacious hunger and evil-doing, and even longer in years.

I am Renaud D’Avignon. A name few know, or admit to knowing, in this most soulless of worlds. And those that do know, never, ever utter it in the dark of night. They fear to whisper it even among the cognoscenti. For they truly understand. The night is mine. It is my fortress of fear…the bloody palette upon which I sketch my greatest horrors. When you enter my dark realm, you become fodder to my feast. Innocent or no…lamb or lion…saint or sinner…merciful or malefactor…if you dare to challenge me in my deadly arena you cannot win. Your blood will be my blood and you will be in thrall to me for a thousand lifetimes of pain, suffering and soul-crushing, eternal loneliness.

I am Renaud D’Avignon. The greatest vampire that has yet been!

The latest and longest in a lineage that harkens back to ancient Babylonia and the great god, Baal! My forebears have encompassed every facet of the human condition and every walk of life from high priestess to atheist…from the blood of kings to the lowliest, meanest commoners. I, myself, was a gifted, if under-appreciated, poorly compensated court musician in the employ of the mercurial, magnificent Charlemagne the Great, perhaps the greatest sovereign the French (or the Franks, as they were then regarded) have ever known. Perhaps, I will write more of that time in my life at a later date.

Certainly, my curious relationship with Roland, Charlemagne’s closest friend and greatest warrior, bears telling. It is with an amusement that borders on the perverse, that as the centuries tolled their inevitable way across history, I have come to regard the so-called epic poem, “The Song of Roland”, a paean to Roland’s heroic death in service to his irascible king, as beyond myth. It is, in fact, a bald-faced lie perpetrated and promoted by Charlemagne himself in an effort to paint his friend in a light better suited to his heroic, selfless reputation as a warrior and paragon of virtue, and which stands, unopposed, unaltered, to this day, some thirteen hundred years later.

I digress. My verbosity is a condition wrought of centuries upon centuries of an amalgam of experiences and relationships that feed me, endlessly, at the trough of human despair, and, ultimately, humanity’s greatest strength and weakness…it’s own mortality.

I first came upon the wondrous Priscilla in my then 20th century guise as a wealthy arts dilettante masquerading as a theater and dance critic for a prestigious, albeit relatively enigmatic fine arts publication that catered to a very select, very elite reader base. It was select and elite for a very good reason. I had founded the magazine, surreptitiously, under the aegis of one of my chief minions, Senora Agustína de Melian, to serve a narrow clientele….my fellow fraternity, if you will, of vampires, the world round. We utilize every known modern media technique and nascent technology to outreach our brothers and sisters wherever they may pursue their “true work”. Of course, like me, they also work at maintaining a cover occupation that masks their true pursuits and hungers.

To wit: my little magazine, ‘Artiste’. The concept was simple…effective, yet, rife with meaning and double entendre for those truly “in the know”.

Señora de Melian was a living throwback to the Old World aristocrat reminiscent of the arrogant Spanish mold indigenous to the era of the Spain of Queen Isabéla and the Inquisition. Quite a feat when you consider she was a peasant Curandéra, if somewhat cunning and gifted, from the mountainous Mexican state of San Luís Potosí when I enlisted her in the “cause”. She is a relative newcomer to my merry band of miscreants, having been with me only since Emiliano Zapáta was wreaking his revolutionary havoc in the North Central of Mexico, barely more than a hundred years ago. Agustína has become, however, a trusted and talented associate. The Señora is less rapacious than usual, of my kind, and quite able to operate in the light of day. I had not made her fully mine. Consequently, she functioned then, as she functions still, as my publisher figurehead and runs a tight, if somewhat unprofitable ship.

Money is hardly an issue, however. When one has lived as long as I have, one encounters myriad opportunities to create large fortunes many times over. Only I know how truly wealthy I am. I assure you that my accumulated riches would beggar even the Sultan of Brunei and his ilk or the common billions of Bill Gates (a most detestable and déclassé individual). But it is not money and its’ endless aggregation for which I lived so long, in a manner of speaking, and yet strive so mightily. It isn’t to slake my unholy thirsts or even to add to my unwieldy and growing “family”. Rather, with a single-mindedness associated only with the fanatic and perhaps the sociopathic, I pursue a goal destined only to endlessly tantalize me with its’ agonizing nearness and possibility of fulfillment…the quest for, and attainment of, reciprocal love. True love.

Chapter One

Los Angeles – 1996

Los Angeles…City of Angels. If you could but hear, I would be grunting in disdain. Hardly elegant, then again…little about this city aspires to the pursuit of true elegance. In Los Angeles, in this year, or any year, one would be hard-pressed to find a name less befitting a city where resided more pampered, physically obsessed, pompous Philistines per square mile than any other place on the planet. Angelic it most certainly is not. Quite to the contrary! Los Angeles is a veritable cesspool of man’s immorality towards men…and women. A haven like no other in this country for those looking to feed their innermost craven desires and rampant, unconscionable ambition with little fear of reprisal from legions of like-minded people, save perhaps the center of governance in Washington D.C.

Actually, for those reasons and more, I quite enjoy my sojourns in Tinseltown. In point of fact, and for many years now, L.A. has been my primary hunting ground. I own quite a lovely little secluded ranch tucked away in the Santa Monica mountains overlooking Malibu. Not a working ranch, mind you, but a gentleman’s ranch replete with horses, a modest stable, a riding ring and a tractor. All very rustic, I assure you.

I have long been an expert horseman dating from my days as a personage in Charlemagnes’ traveling court. When the great king was on campaign, he, of necessity, and like his fellow contemporary warrior brethren, friend and foe alike (as well as the odd Pope), dragged around an unwieldy throng that included family members, court personages and gadabouts, royal hostages, functionaries, merchants, tradesmen, soldiers’ families (licit and illicit), harlots, opportunists of every stripe and persuasion, hangers-on, and the like. Armies of the period were in actuality mobile cities, with all the attendant baggage, therein. One rode on horses, or one walked. Alas, walking hundreds of miles per week amongst the unwashed rabble appealed to me not at all, so I sought redress of this problem.

Most people, soldiers and civilians alike, were of the lower caste and therefore had no access to, or sufficient means of acquiring and caring for horses as a vehicle for transport. I was fortunate in that I had cultivated a friendship with the aforementioned Roland. His patronage, as my friend, assured me of proper equine transport in a tight market. With the horse came a handler cum page assigned to me by Roland, himself. The man, whose name I have forgotten these long years hence, was instrumental instructing me in the proper care, handling and riding of a horse. I may have forgotten his name, but not the service I rendered him in gratitude for his exemplary tutoring in the care of horses. I did not infect him and make him mine. Though I was sorely tempted to do so, prompted not only by his beauty and extraordinary physique, but as the usual punishment pursuant to someone with a penchant for raping little boys whenever he happened upon them in the course of the confusion and aftermath of a bloody and victorious battle. That happened often, considering Charlemagnes’ own love of warfare and his nearly unmatched record of victories.

Ah…forgive me. I digress, yet again. It’s such a distressing habit.

I, and Señora de Melian had decided to move our base of operations in the late Eighties from Mexico City to the United States, where I had lived since the days of Pancho Vílla and Zapáta. The only question was where we might move.

During my incessant travels over the centuries I resided, for a time, on nearly every continent, mastered a cornucopia of languages…both living and now dead…engaged in an endless variety of occupations, and, as I stated previously, had accumulated great wealth. My options were nearly limitless, based on my personal needs and desires.

I had, of course, in the past journeyed to Los Angeles dating from its humble beginnings as a Spanish then Mexican military outpost by the Pacific. I found I quite enjoyed the climate and the bracing Santa Ana breezes that blew over the California coastline much of the year. It was so much more invigorating then the fetid, dank, oppressive humidity that often blanketed Mexico City, a city built on massive tracts of marshland ringed by mountains. However, Ciudád de Los Ángeles was a village in that era not the cosmopolitan city it is today. Hence, I could not operate with near impunity in so modestly populated an area. There was too great a chance of being found out for the vampire I am. My hungers would, and have depopulated many small, rural, out-of-the-way villages and hamlets over my career. By the time I had tired of living in Mexico City, Los Angeles had become a world-class metropolis, with matching area size and population. Altogether, perfect for my needs.