Eric became lost in his thoughts and the memories of his life played through his mind. He could look around this Castle and see bits of his past wherever he glanced. It was filled with artifacts that reached all the way back to the very beginnings of his life and that of his people, most of whom were so long dead that their names were not just forgotten but ceased to exist anywhere but in his memories, and a few remaining souls such as Svein. Some of them had been of vampyre bloodlines, and even they had gone to their peace, where ever that may be. Others were of Fairie and Witchly blood, and many were humans. They were all mixed together in the connection they held to each other, the bonds they had formed over centuries of fighting for survival, struggling to do more than just exist. All of those distant memories, they were his family, his clan.
When he looked back on his history, he could put certain parts of it into perspective and be at peace with a choice if need be, not to be Vampyre. It was not that he did not value or respect this part of his bloodline or lineage, because he did hold great pride in it. But, when it came down to it and he weighed all of his allegiances and loyalties on the balance, He felt his allegiance to this land and all of those who made up his clan, those who fought so desperately to survive and defend this place and this ancient culture. It was not about being a Vampyre, it was about being a just and honourable man, about being a Scotsman, about being a member of this Clan. Being a Vampyre was secondary to that other feeling. Now, it was beginning to feel as though being a Vampyre was an ever long chronic ailment or condition which he had to contend with. He knew that others would curse him and accuse him of betraying his bloodlines but he did not see it that way. Yes, he had lived as a Vampyre for these many centuries, but there was always that one important factor that so many overlooked when considering the Vampyre bloodlines…
There were two ways of having the Vampyre bloodlines. A fact that most people, including Vampyres seemed to forget now days because of the rarity of the one way, was that Vampyres were and could still be of true and pure Vampyre bloodlines. Yes, it was exceedingly rare anymore to find those few true bloodlines intact and producing heirs, but they did still exist. One of them was Adrian DeWare, though he had married a witch so their bloodline was no longer pure Vampyre, but they were proof that natural born Vampyres did still survive and could continue to survive. The other, far more common way of being Vampyre was, of course being turned or transformed through the blood sharing process. It was more or less like being adopted by the Vampyre Clan and had been going on for so long that it became accepted as a natural order and well accepted way of increasing and continuing their bloodlines when their population had reached a critical low point so many eons ago.
It was thought by most researchers that some of the genetic anomalies and defects within the vampyre blood, along with their difficulties in reproducing naturally were a direct result of those times when there were so few of them that they had increasingly intermarried within their immediate families thereby increasing the genetic defects. It happened in many species and races and the only way to enhance the chances of survival were to broaden the gene pools by mating outside one’s close bloodlines. This was one reason that there strict and well enforced societal rules on Vampyres not mating with those they created by transformation. Those who one transformed carried the same blood and were considered immediate family. When Eric had turned Brennie, he had made sure she understood this completely, though he knew that while she understood it, she did not necessarily accept it.
Eric thought about these differences in the Vamyre culture often. It was one reason that he could be at some ease with giving up this life. He was not a true and pure Vampyre. Had he been born of Vampyre blood, he would not even think of this changing as a choice. Indeed, as much of the research was proving, it was not a choice for a true and pure born Vampyre. The only ones for whom the process was in any successful were those of mixed blood or those who had been transformed. The latest research had determined that even after being long transformed, traces of one’s original DNA and genetic markers were still buried within the cell structure. The same held true for a mixed blood Vampyre such as John Deppley and his sister, Melly- who was suffering from some of those long dormant and ancient genetic mutations and might never be able to function within any normal society. Her greatest hope at the moment was in the experimental change but her parents were reluctant to use her as they said, for a guinea pig in these experiments.
Eric shook his head and sighed sadly in some frustrated anger over that. No, they would not subject her to the experimental treatment, but they would allow her to be locked away like some caged animal… where was the purpose in that. He thought about that, and thought about his old friend Adrian with whom he had parted ways with some many centuries ago due to their differences of opinion on such things and thier inability to overcome each of their own stubborn insistance on being right in their beliefs.
The thoughts of Adrian took him back, all of the way back to his earliest years of coming to this isle, to even before this Castle existed as much more than earthen shelter at the edge of the sea. A time even before Arthur and his legend had been created and set forth for people to follow.
Eric let his mind wander back to that first, earliest memory he had of his childhood. He could still feel the ocean churning around him, smell the salt sea air. He could still look up from the bottom of that long boat where he huddled under the weight of furs to keep him warm and dry and see his Father’s laughing face peering down at him, teasing him that it was not so good for a future Lord of the Seas to suffer from such bouts of sea ailment. It was his first long voyage upon the open seas and he had suffered miserably from it much to the dismay of his entire family. His Mother had admonished her husband to stop with his teasing and let him alone. She had knelt next to him, rubbed his back and forced him to sip some vile brew which she said would settle the rolling of his belly. He had been so shamed by his reactions to the sea that he huddled even deeper under the furs so as not to be seen or heard wretching his guts out. Even worse, he remembered of that time, was that he who was suppose to be such a fine strong and well grown boy of six years old… had wet himself in his misery. He curled deeper and prayed that his leggings would dry by the time he must leave the protection of those furs!
Luckily the Gods had been with him that day. His Mother’s nasty brew had worked some magic on his ailing stomach, and bless her memory, he still drank the disgusting concoction to this day to get through time on the sea. His leggings had dried, though he still smelled of piss… he loudly blamed the furs and insisted in his small but prideful voice that the tanners had done a piss poor job on that batch of reeking furs! His Father had chuckled loudly and swung him in the air, perched him on a shoulder and shared the glorius view of the ocean with it’s never ending vastness until where it touched the sky and they seemed to run together as one with barely the thinnest line separating them.
They had sailed for weeks in that boat on a voyage to some distant place that his Father had chosen to start a new life for them all. Out of the longest, darkest and coldest of climates to a place where his Father said there was land for all and magic in the very soil of the place. Young Eric had found his sea legs as his Father put it and if he ever surmised that it was only because of the daily dose of tea his wife forced down the boy, he never mentioned it. He was a proud sea going warrior king and Eric was his oldest son, the one who should be his heir to the land and the seas he claimed.
Eric had to laugh at the irony and the contradiction of his life even at that early age. Born to a family of fierce Nordic sea going warriors and adventurers, he loved the sea as much as any of them but suffered from sea sickness! He still remembered the first time he had taken Judith out sailing. Before their trip he had filled a thermos with that foul tea. She had gagged at the stench of it and he thought she was going to throw up right there in front of him. She grabbed the thermos and shrieked, “What in God’s name is this stuff? Is it some secret fish lure or something?”
He didn’t say anything in response, just screwed the lid on tight and packed it with their lunch. She balked at that and threw it out of the basket. “What ever that is, it is not riding with my food!” She gave him a disgusted look and added, “I don’t care what it’s for, it’s certainly not compatible with food!”
Eric had shrugged and stuck it in his back pack saying it needed to be in close proximity once they got on the boat. She just gave him one of her annoyed looks and waved her hands at him, “Fine, just keep it away from me…” Then she had a sudden thought, “Wait, is there something wrong with the engines on this boat, is that stuff something you use to clean the engines. Because I am warning you, I am not getting in a boat with any old motor that needs constant maintenance.” She went on muttering about her Dad’s habit of taking them out on the lake then spending half the time out there trying to keep the motor running.
By then, he wasn’t sure if the whole boat trip was such a great idea after all and he snapped at Judith, “What the Blazes are you going on about, it’s a brand new boat with excellent engines. Why the Bloody Hell would I pour this down the engines? No wonder your Dad’s motors died if that’s what he did to them.”
Ohhh it had turned out to be just one of thier usual disjointed arguements and they both gave up on trying to understand each other for the time it took to get to the boat and start their trip. As soon as they left land, Eric had quickly reached for the thermos and downed the entire contents. Judith stared at him in shock. “What on earth is that? Some sort of Vampyre booze?”
Eric groaned as the contents hit his stomach and finally admitted, “No, I wished to Gods it was. It happens to be my Mother’s remedy for as she once put it, the worst sight of sea ails that she ever witnessed.”
Judith had looked at him in puzzlement and then commented, “Well, if that’s the case, why in the world did you suggest this trip?” She glowered at him and continued, “Why didn’t you just come right out and admit it to me in the first place instead of picking an arguement and hoping I might decide to back out of this at the last minute!” Now she was really annoyed and wouldn’t give him a chance to explain. “Of all the stupid, idiotic things you’ve done, this has to rank right up there in the top!”
He finally raised a hand to her lips. “Are you finished yet? Yes, you are. Now, if you will let me get a word or two in before you go on and completely ruing the evening for both of us… I’ll have you know that I love the water, it just does not love me back in return. Hmmm it often reminds me of you.” He reached over to silence her with a kiss, at which she retreated, wrinkling her nose and waving a hand between them.
She sighed and her response was, “Ummm no, I don’t think so… Do you have any idea how bad your breath smells? I don’t want to imagine what you taste like, probably even worse than after you’ve drank that Gods awful Blood Ale that Brennie’s so proud of brewing!” She laughed and started digging in her bag for something. Suddenly she pulled out a small bottle of mouth wash. “Before you get any closer, Please… please use this. Then maybe we can regroup and enjoy our evening.”