Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bloodline - Chapter 2 - "Opie and I"

Opie and I

How I met Opie was he was in Boston searching for a group calling themselves "The Original Bloods". The year was 1995.

At first glance he didn't seem like much. 5'7'' or so with short curly hair, an off-white sweater and glasses he had to keep poking up the bridge of his nose and adjusting. I could tell right off that he must be a very young Vampire, judging by his more modern attire and haircut. Until recently specific hair cuts never were too important in judging what era a vampire was sired in but these days, human trends and fast changing fashion make it often possible to tell when a vampire is under 50 years old and also possible to tell what decade they were sired in by simple means like the way they wear their clothes or the way their hair is cut, sitting atop their head - unchangeable like a permanent icon of the life before their Siring. One of many curious by-products of the modern world for our kind. From the looks of him i guessed he had been sired in the 70's making him, at the time only in his mid-twenties (Vampires count their age from the date they were sired not the day they were born as a human.). A mere child! Probably barely out of his Siring Moons which typically last between 10 and 20 years. His sire, whoever he might be, must be about my age. I remember wondering for a moment if this young vampire who seemed oblivious to be wandering my streets, in my city had taken part in the ritual slaying of his own sire but it seemed so impossible. Opie looked to be so innocent and altogether more intelligent than the type to partake in such ancient barbarity.

I recall the moment I finally confronted him. I had been following him for three nights, trying to work out why he was in Boston and more importantly, when he was leaving but Opie had no idea i was watching him, until the moment I emerged before him as he turned onto a dark abandoned street on the outskirts of the city. It was obvious from his reaction to my appearance that he was somewhat surprised that there was another vampire here, never mind one that had been stalking him since his arrival.

"Funny," I spoke before he had a chance to. "Most Kindred just pass through here within a night or two. And those that don't make their intentions pretty clear to me almost immediately."

Though it may seem somewhat egotistical, I can be a daunting figure. Keeping to the shadows, wearing long dark coats - all the age-old tricks to making for a more mysterious presence. Nonetheless tricks that work, as is always apparent when I appear before a trembling victim, or in this case a young Kindred who I need to intimidate to get answers from.

Opie just stared nervously. I could tell he was considering running, but perhaps knew it would be futile.

"You're not here to hunt. I've only seen you feed once since you got here. And you don't seem to be nesting. You're too young to be thinking of Siring anyway, I would imagine. So what is it? Why are you searching the streets of Boston so adamantly every night yet only feeding when you absolutely must. What are you looking for?"

By this time I was right next to him and could feel his breathing - a compulsive nervous reaction many vampires don't lose from their human lives since we don't need to breathe except to be able to speak but a good indicator that my new acquaintance was feeling the pressure. Good.

"I... I might be looking for you.", he said.

"Me? I sincerely doubt you or anyone else is looking for me. Who do you think I am?"

"I'm to believe that there are a group called The Original Bloods living in Boston, are you not one of them?"

I couldn't help but laugh a little.

"The Original Bloods? No. Sorry, I'm not amongst them"

"But you know of them? Can you direct me to them?"

"Sure but I'm pretty sure you're going to be disappointed. What is it you expect to find?"

I could tell he wasn't even sure himself what he expected.

"I'm told that they are a group of Vampires who claim to be direct descendants from the original generation. Vampires..."

"Ok, stop there. The first thing you've got wrong is they aren't Vampires."

"Then what are they?"

"Humans. Nothing but a bunch of humans who watched The Lost Boys a few too many times and got carried away."

I remember hearing about these clowns a few years ago. For a little while I was concerned that some rogue gang might be about to come to town, guns a-blazing, blowing my cover and making me have to jump towns (again) to evade detection but it became quite apparent when I found the group and saw they were nothing more than a small gathering of human fanatics who were meeting once a week to brood about their own worthless existences while cutting lines up their arms, wearing dark make-up and playing games where they'd role-play that they were elves and wizards. To the outside world they would project the image that they were really vampires, feeding off each other and haunting the night streets of Boston and I found it vaguely amusing that their little game had managed to attract the attention of some far-off real Vampires.

How I got to know Opie is we went together so I could show him the Original Bloods.

It turned out that he wasn't, as I expected, some rigid stuck-in-the-mud who was going to be shattered by the discovery that the group was nothing but a bunch of goth wannabes. Truth be told, i was a little disappointed when he rather quickly began to find the whole thing funny. But only a little. Hearing him talk about how he was sent over as a missionary from The Church had reminded me of so many other 'Nod-Squadders' that had come through before him, all of whom I had quickly shooed or scared away - primarily to keep Boston for myself (Two vampires, even in a city as vast as Boston, are far more likely to be found before too long) but also because it was a lot of fun chasing Kindred out of town, either shattering their delusions or scaring them so much that they'd never ever want to return. But there was definitely something about Opie that was different. Sure, he believed in all that nonsense but he had already been on five missions since his Siring Moons were over and as far as I could tell most religious types only ever went on two or three in their entire lives. It was obvious that Opie had a sense of adventure, one that he unfortunately found he could fulfill only via a Church but one that nonetheless existed.

How I begun to stick around Opie was that his lust for adventure reminded me of some of the Vampires of my own time.

It had been decades since I had met a Vampire who didn't want to be secluded. Who didn't want to be living at the top of some abandoned cathedral, or deep in a sewer system, only emerging at night to feast on the towns-folk like an invisible boogieman. Who wasn't content with being alone. Most 20th Century vampires seemed to have acquired a boredom. A contentment. A sheer willingness to stay-put that really bugged me. Opie showed all the character of a Kindred who wanted to discover and who wanted to find out all there was to know. Sure, he misplaced it in a religious context but I could see through that into the part of Opie that would be seeking out all the wisdom of the world whether or not he believed in Seth and Caine. He might tell you the opposite about me, that he could perhaps see through my non-belief. But that's where we are now. If not agreeing with each other, at least accepting after a decade or so of debate that we can agree to disagree. In fact we can even enjoy it at times.

How I got to be standing in this Church in the highlands of Scotland with Opie is somewhat of a mystery to me.

I guess I joined the Church with Opie because I knew it might be the only way I could be amongst Vampires.

Maybe I realized that instead of chasing away every Vampire that passed through Boston in order to survive, I should instead seek out some way to live with others in a pack, like we used to before the comfort and freedom that the human Metropolises and large cities created.

It could have just been easier to join a Church who were willing to tell me where to go and why, rather than work it out for myself.

While it did annoy me, being read passages from the book of Nod and having to at least seem vaguely interested in the Church, I did enjoy the travel.

While the purpose of these trips was seeking out some religious artifact or other, or finding other Churches or cults that were long forgotten, my main purpose was to spend time with Opie and the other members of the Church on their 'off-times' and to enjoy the time spent looking aimlessly for things which 99% of the time turned out to not exist at all.


A literal figure. Almost every single thing we sought to discover or bring home turned out to be a rumor, a hoax or just a plain old-fashioned legend from the Vampire Mythos. And the few that were real were more than a little underwhelming.

The Vampire we had been told was a thousand years old named Tryvo, turned out to be real but he was a gibbering psychotic wreck. We couldn't figure out if he was speaking a language that existed never mind how old he was or even exactly who he was.

"The Great Chalice Of The True Blood"turned up okay, but it was in five pieces and we'll never know if it would completely restore a weakened vampire in it's original form but it definitely didn't work with super-glue.

So how I got to be waiting in line at Glasgow International for a flight to the Czech Republic with Opie to search for "The Cross Of Caine" is pretty much because I know we're not going to find anything.

But I've always wanted to see Prague.


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