The Church Of Nod
Another bloody church service.
Once a month at midnight, the same old shit. We all gather together to hear some self-righteous preacher ramble on and on about the glory days. About the good times, long gone by.
"Seth was among the most powerful of all Vampires, whose very presence was told to shake the world of anyone blessed enough to be amongst his kin."
"When the Vampires were at their peak, they had nothing to fear from humans. Nowhere was needed for them to hide, for mankind knew not of our weaknesses. Knew not of our fears."
Every single month, without fail it's exactly the same speech, reworded in the right places to keep the drones interested. The Church Of Nod, as they've come to be called. Last century they were "The Sires Of Nod", before that "The Church Of Seth", then "The Kindred of Seth" but not before a brief period of just being called "The Kindred" - God love the 19th century for trying to keep things simple. "The Army of Caine" was allegedly a more archaic form. Lord only knows the countless other factions, splits and name changes that have come across over the centuries. Even from country to country you'll find what amounts to exactly the same Cult under a completely different name. However any of the various different names I've known have basically amounted to exactly the same thing:
Basically we're told, rigorously and constantly, that after Cain was expelled from Eden (Yes, we're talking human mythology here too) he was also expelled from mankind and, long story short, became the first vampire. He founded the city of Nod and set about trying to corrupt the human race. The story goes that he was able to turn humans into his slaves but they were essentially nothing but mindless zombies, until he turned a farmer by the name of Seth who became just as powerful, if not more-so than Cain himself. Eventually Seth's son, Enod slew Cain using a silver sword he had crafted to kill his own father with. Seth kills Enod. Seth goes on to sire all living vampires. Blah blah blah. It's basically the same as the stuff we were brainwashed with as humans except now it has a vampiric edge to keep us hooked! Sons of Gods dying for the good of 'vampire-kind', fathers killing sons and sons killing Gods. It's the same old shit but with a blood-thirsty sprinkling! It's all supposedly written in what they call "The Book Of Nod", but I don't give that any more credence than I do any other religious doctrine.
What pisses me off more than attending this facade is that it's so bloody depressing. I mean, at least human religion has heaven, Easter Baskets and shaking hands with a wizard in the sky when you finally croak to look forward to. The Church Of Nod is all about looking back. Claiming how great we were. What sort of focus is that?
Not to mention illogical. Are vampires the only creatures on Earth who are greater, more powerful, more efficient the more ancient they are? Whatever happened to Evolution? Even if you believe in a God or Gods it seems like some kind of sick joke that, if our sires are to be believed, that every new generation of vampires is to be born weaker and weaker than the last.
Needless to say, I could go on. I'm here standing next to my much more faithful (it wouldn't take much) long-time friend Opie with whom I've shared many a believer vs non-believer debate. He's probably the main reason I'm here but not the only one. I know it seems strange that I should be standing here listening to this preacher month after month if I don't believe a word of it, certainly it isn't some Vampiric rite that must be fulfilled in fact, I'd say most of our kind these days don't hold a light to any of this nonsense but frankly the one thing they have right here is that every now and then Vampires should meet each other. By nature, we're a very, very isolated breed. I don't just mean we don't like to hang out at wine parties hob-nobbing amongst like-minded individuals or hanging out in bars socializing with everyone we can. No. I mean the very nature of our being means that nine out of ten vampires won't see another vampire in their life-time after their 'Siring Moons', basically the 'training period' we all go through with whichever vampire 'turned' us, are over.
Indeed, around about me just now stand just sixteen of us including the preacher, which by human standards even in my time - never mind the gloriously overpopulated world of today - was hardly enough to be called company but to any vampire on Earth this is a rather crowded church service.
While I've been thinking to myself once again about the true pointlessness of the religious aspect of this meeting I know Opie at least is genuinely standing there with at least a relatively firm belief in what's being said.
"If we're just creatures of blood and tissue like any other, then why can we live forever, unlike anything else on the planet?", he'd argue
Truth is, and I've at least gotten him to acknowledge this, I'm not sure if we do live forever. I personally don't know any Vampire over the age of two hundred. I myself, am a "mere" one hundred and fifteen years old but am considered to be almost senior in Vampire terms. Though I've never known a Vampire to keel over from old age, and rarely have I seen a disease that affects us never mind kills us, the truth is there's only so long you can go on before being mauled by a passing train, falling from a tall enough cliff or, oops!, stepping outside at noon because your clock stopped in the middle of the night. The further truth is, it isn't nearly as hard to kill a vampire as either human-fiction or Vampire-religion would have us all believe. Sure, we can take a beating, a few bullets and blows to the head or the occasional stabbing but I've seen as many of my fellows killed off just by sheer force as I have by 'traditional' methods like prolonged exposure to sunlight or silver weaponry. Worse still is the archaic 'ritual' that a lot of sired vampires go through by killing the Vampire who sired them on their one hundredth year. I say 'ritual' because mostly I just think it's performed because the young Kindred (the name of the new, younger, Vampire - also a term Vampires use to refer to one another. Similar to humans calling each other 'comrade' or 'brother') gets so sick and tired of the Sire (The elder vampire who gave new life to a new Vampire - a term of respect) that they just use this all-but-abandoned practice as an excuse to off him. From a religious perspective, the Kindred who slays his Sire is blessing them both to "become 'one' with Cain and aiding the rise of Nod by strengthening his everlasting power". Amen.
"But we're supernatural compared to humans. We have powers beyond scientific reason!", he's argue some more
Not true. And a common misconception, left over in the Vampire Mythos from a time in which we couldn't possibly understand how our bodies work. The limited scientific works of our kind (We're not as into sitting around poking at animals, and mixing up random chemicals we find as humans seem to be) have revealed to us that our bodies go through a dramatic but scientific change when we're sired. We develop a body that processes blood extremely quickly, can't develop it's own and as such is sensitive to sunlight. We're stronger, mainly because our muscles are re-developed to strengthen with increased blood flow with a little push, we can force ourselves to be quite powerful, especially if we've just fed.
"We have clear unscientific weaknesses though, unique to our kind! Surely there isn't a science for them?", he'd press on.
"Mysteries" like our apparent allergy to silver are intriguing but I figure it's a simple genetic flaw... passed down from Sire to Kindred over the many centuries. Many would point out "our" aversion to crucifixes as proof of a supernatural being within us but the fact that I'm standing in a church with a gigantic Jesus Christ leering down at me from his very own personal crucifix, left-over from long ago when humans used this place, is proof enough that any Vampire who is averted and even repelled by the site of a cross (And it happens, I've seen it in plenty of our kind - even some in this room who would convince themselves that the only reason they don't recoil in fear in this room is the overwhelming strength of Cain and Nod. Whatever.) is doing so purely out of psychological instinct.
It's not all anger and arguments between Opie and I though. Much as I enjoy the occasional religious debate, I far more frequently just enjoy company. Opie and I, like relative few of our kind, enjoy spending nights in the human cities. After this ceremony is over, our plan is... or rather 'was'... to head to Edinburgh, one of our favorite cities, for the month.
I say "was", though because as I contemplate this, the preacher has wrapped up his little Fairy Tale speech and is walking over to us with his ever pompus, "have I got the little task for you!" look in his eyes and is probably going to send us on one of his little religious 'missions' that he knows Opie enjoys so very much...
"Ah, Opie! Jerome! Have I got the..."