I don't know how to use this site yet so forgive me if this doesn't belong here. I'm just testing the site out. Thanks.
TRISTAN FROM SPARTA and a partial of TRISTAN THE VAMPIRE
(NOTE: Dorian and Regina complete the blood pact by the vampiric act of drinking Tristan's blood. These are Regina's experiences during the act....)
At first I saw nothing, and then a sudden and perpetual onslaught of complex memories inundated my brain, like several rolls of celluloid imposed upon each other, and I could not identify any specifics in content or people - only momentary glimpses into Tristan's past, from the instant he first became conscious up to approximately 16 years of age. At this particular time the images slowed, and I could form in my mind the vision of a fair youth at 16, with golden blonde hair and bright blue eyes, seated at a table inside a magnificent, regal estate with smooth walls carved from the finest marble. At his side and draped in a rich scarlet tunic an older gentleman with long brunette hair and a heavy brow now sat discussing Pythagoras, Ameinias and Heraclitus. On the page before the child were written these words:
Welcome, youth, who come attended by immortal charioteers and mares which bear you on your journey to our dwelling. For it is no evil fate that has set you to travel on this road, far from the beaten paths of men, but right and justice. It is meet that you learn all things - both the unshakable heart of well-rounded truth and the opinions of mortals in which there is not true belief. - Parmenides
The man went on to explain the meaning of these words, but as he did so he gazed approvingly at the boy's frame and at his countenance till the boy blushed out of pure modesty and shyness. It was then I guessed that the man was Tristan's erastes and realized by the opulence of the house and the fine red linen that Tristan had, as a catamite, studied at the behest of an ancient king, perhaps during the Grecian or Roman era, but only when I heard the name "Leonidas" did I realize the significance of his training.
The scene faded from my mind then, and I was cast suddenly into a blackness from which another series of images arose, but these were more like impressions, and I saw the youth enduring numerous lashes at the hands of his elders without succumbing to the pain or injury, and beheld visions of him procuring food at midnight from the stores of the camp, and defeating his peers in what appeared to be to-the-death challenge. In every endeavor he was successful, and grew stronger and wiser at the foot of his pederast, who was hand-picked by Leonidas himself and who himself had once been Leonidas' lover.
These soon passed and I was thrown into a second darkness before I met with yet another dream, this one of a lighter nature, or so I thought at first. Tristan had begun his education as a member of the Syssitia, and I felt rising within him a delight heretofore unrecognized, and understood that this period had been the happiest time of his mortal life not only because he was approved by his peers, but also because honored among them as their leader. I overheard voices then that paid homage to his performance during the Krypteia, and the number of rogue Helots he had slew, and The Paidonomos exhalted his physical prowess in both athletics and dancing, and in his perseverance during Diamastigosis. Tristan's ecstasy was unquenchable, and I felt him pause for a moment to relish the fraternal love he had once experienced by his peers, and then abruptly the scene ended, hurling me once again into night and an unfathomable despondency. This, I knew, belonged to my friend, and was the precedent to something even he was loathe to reveal, but at last I saw a flickering candle, and a kiss goodbye - the kiss of two lovers before one departs for war.
For two days Tristan and his band held with Leonidas against 500,000 strong Persians, but on the third day, betrayed by their own blood, the Spartans fell under King Xerxes men. Tristan remained fighting to the last, but was struck his final blow by a rain of arrows that blotted out the sun, whereupon he collapsed onto the heap of decaying bodies below him and commenced to pass out.
He did not die however, for the strike that landed him was not fatal, and he awoke in the dimness of the following night, alone amongst his slaughtered comrades and king. A full moon radiating its supernatural light cast shadows along the countryside, and he could see the faces and visages of his fallen friends, and the traces of body mounds off to both his right and left. The putrefying corpses had begun to let off their noxious gas too, so that Tristan resolved to kill himself rather than be left to suffer the intolerable grief of their decay. Feeling for a blade - or any object - by which he might meet death and die honorably amongst his fellow Greeks, he was disappointed to discover nothing beneath or beside him except rotting flesh on the frames of his familiars.
He was pondering the methods whereby he might end his life when movement off to the left startled him. Some figure, ominous and foreboding, was ravaging through the bodies like a hungry stray dog beneath a merchant's table. It did not struggle through the mortal heaps but appeared to glide over them effortlessly, like mists over the swamp waters. "Surely I am about to die," I heard Tristan think in his mind, "for I'm seeing phantoms."
Tristan was straining harder to identify the beast that now scoured through the wreckage when suddenly the creature looked over at him, then hastily appeared at his side.
"You are death?" Tristan inquired through hollow breaths. "You've missed one."
"Not death, friend," said the other, and much to Tristan's astonishment, the figure removed his hood, revealing the fresh face of a young man approximately his own age. "I am life, if you would have it."
Tristan spat on the ground. "What life is left when all I love his dead? There is no honor in it. For the love of Sparta or whatever your native land, kill me now. Let me die honorably."
"Is death more honorable than revenge, then? Would you kill yourself when you could see Xerxes murdered?"
Tristan raised an eyebrow at the youth. "How is this possible? Who are you?"
"My name isn't important. Suffice it to say I have a vendetta to settle with the Persian empire, and would like nothing more than one of your caliber to handle this business for me. You're an aristocrat, strong, clever and cunning. I've heard of you - yes - Tristan of Sparta, the Celt adopted by Leonidas for his fair complexion and raised under the strictest, harshest conditions. Not by birth but by effort were you forged and fashioned into a renowned warrior and now, hero. Would you fight for your birthright, or would you surrender to death so easily? Isn't retribution a settling a differences, a King for a King, hmm?"
Tristan rolled over to stare at the hill of death he knew entombed his King. "What must I do?" he answered at last.
"You must be reborn," the other hissed. "Allow me to kiss your hand and give you new life."
Returning to his original resting place, Tristan offered up his hand to the stranger, whereupon the stranger seized it and, placing Tristan's wrist in his mouth, proceeded to bite down. I felt Tristan loose consciousness under the vampire's strength, and then everything went black.
"Tristan?"I hollered into empty space, a question that was soon answered.
"There is more."
Another impression emerged, and I saw an old man wrapped in bloody Persian sheets and lying on his bed with multiple stab wounds in his back, and I saw another figure, this one hidden beneath a black coat, conceal a bloody dagger within its folds and disappear into the shadows.
CHAPTER XIV - TRISTAN THE VAMPIRE
With the death of Xerxes Tristan's reverie morphed into a rapid succession of dream-shapes that seemed to depict specific instances in time rather than independent episodes . I saw the rise and fall of dictatorships, the assassinations of key political figures - most notably the murderers of those who slew Julius - the civil wars with Gauls and Visigoths, and realized Tristan had defected to Italy after the fall of Sparta and the rise of the Roman empire.
Soon the hallucinations began to slow, however, and finally came to rest on a particular vision that still haunts me to this day. The sun had just set, and off on a hill - a far distance for mortal eyes but still apparent to the vampire - 3 crosses protruded from the ground, their trunks still bathed in the dried blood of the victims.
With vampiric speed and agility Tristan glided along undetected in the marketplace towards the location of one he had targeted for his wrath, and soon stood face-to-face with the accused, staring at him malevolently with his bright blue eyes. I realized too, that the stare was intentional, and was the debilitating gaze of a vampire exercising all his considerable influence over the human will. The creature looked horrified and rightfully so, and struggled to resist the overwhelming impression being wrought upon his consciousness, the notion of the dastardly deed he should commit as a consequence of his unpardonable sin. Clenching his fist he fought with all his might to be released from it, but the force of the vampire was too strong for him, and he relinquished himself at last and turned himself over to do the vampire's bidding. Finding a tree in an orchard, he wrapped a rope around a branch and hung himself, though not out of shame as some have attributed to him, but out of base weakness of character, and the strength of a single, determined vampire.
After the individual had expired, Tristan consumed him, and I saw an upshot of the traitor's memories - faded and blurred as they were with the remnants of time and second-hand knowledge - but when we returned to Tristan's mind, we no longer stood by the corpse, but by a hillside sepulture in the hours of early morn. The sun had not yet risen, and in the pale moonlight the tremulous trees cast deep shades that danced and swayed like Druids in the throes of a Bacchanalian ecstasy. Across the path two figures lay asleep upon a rock of considerable size, but otherwise the landscape was completely desolate of human life.
Tristan walked through the foliage with all the art and cunning of his Spartan training and of his years spent perfecting his skill as a new creature of the second birth. No heart beat within his chest, no heart to palpitate with anxiety or freeze with fear. So taciturn were his motions that he drifted invisible beside the guards and walked undetected amongst the sleeping animals in their homes. In fact, he successfully encircled the tomb nine times , but on his tenth round he abruptly paused, for there in his path stood a figure staring at him with doleful brown eyes and pallid skin. The two stared at one another for some time before Tristan finally spoke.
"No heart beats within you. You can't be human," he whispered softly. "But you're not like me."
"No I am not," the other replied softly.
"Then you are the one I'm searching for. Is it true what they say - what you say - that there is but one God?"
The other gazed mournfully at Tristan. "I am engaged and can't give you the answers you seek for yourself, but if you continue to search and don't surrender to the powers and principalities that even now fight to control you, you will find them."
The man vanished into thin air then, and Tristan's mind fell dark once more. Another series of memories soon streamed into my brain but these were implanted into my consciousness like programs to be run at a later hour, and while I grasped their substance and could retrieve their content, the ceaseless activity prevented me from doing either so that I was compelled to absorb without prejudice all that he had seen and known through centuries, even millennia.
At last his consciousness came to rest on an ancient field densely populated with overgrowth, a scene that at once appeared vaguely familiar, though despite my best efforts, I could not place it within the mnemonic spectrum bequeathed to me by my friend. I recognized Tristan's frame, which was bent respectfully towards some stone, and noted with relative astonishment its location adjacent to crumbling fragments that must have been at one point a wall. Beside this relic and scattered on the ground lay remnants of archaic warfare - eroded rocks that evidentially were once arrowheads, small shards of metal broken off from unidentifiable objects - and it dawned on me that I was viewing the sight where the Battle of Thermopylae occurred well over a millennium ago. That knowledge coupled with the moonless night and the whispering trees garrulous from moist, warm wind left me reverently silent, and in my awe and perhaps because of the darkness I did not notice the blade Tristan held against his neck, nor the strange silhouette of another who stood still only a few feet behind him….until he spoke.
"Ready to quit already?" he asked, and I realized when Tristan did not move that somehow my friend had already sensed the other's presence. "What, did you run out of politicians to consume?"
My beloved revealed to me the other's face then, and I recognized it as belonging to the one he had met on that battlefield so many decades before. He stepped forth from his furtive position to stand beside Tristan.
"It's a hopeless cause. I kill one dictator and another arises in his place; meanwhile a tyrant is born in some distant land. I have labored to bring justice to the corrupt and power-drunk, and striven to restore honor and rectitude to the state, but the nation I once loved is no more, and the empire I so despised has died. All this time my efforts have been in vain - I have failed miserably to do anything but murder the guiltiest of all parties. Years ago I should have met my ending on this battlefield beside my king, or at least in the bedroom of a slain Persian ruler. Then I would have passed away nobly into death."
"So, you've had an epiphany of sorts, and now know that humanity is wicked and undeserving of a benefactor such as yourself," the gentleman reflected earnestly.
"I would hardly call myself humanity's benefactor but yes, I realize the world is beyond my ability to change and I can't alter the course of history in any truly significant way. If anything, I enable the imbalance of power by constantly tipping the scales."
"Well," said the other, who by now I had identified as being of Greek descent with his thick, black hair and brooding hazel eyes, "if you cannot aid the human race, perhaps you would consider helping your own."
When Tristan looked up at him inquisitively, the stranger continued. "It was not mere coincidence that I stumbled upon you lying on your deathbed. When you were just a boy I selected you as a potential candidate for my service, but your status in society and your reputation prevented me from initiating contact. Imagine my surprise -- and pleasure -- when I discovered you alive on that battlefield. It was as if the gods had turned you over to me personally. Deceased, you could be of some assistance, and you have to this day."
"This is the second time we've met; how could I have possibly helped you at all?" my friend protested, and I felt his confusion grow with every word the other spoke.
"All those assassinations you have wrought over the years - heralding death to so many despite the fortress of protection surrounding each one, and never so much as once being caught in the process. Who, in history, would have guessed that Hitler's suicide was at your command, or that Ivan IV was slowly poisoned to death, or that Edward II died from injury sustained by a hot iron inserted into his…"
"Well it was fitting he should die that way, since he favored love over his country," Tristan interrupted.
"Exactly! Now you are thinking like a Spartan. For the love of state, Tristan, for the love of the empire! Modern men have lost sight of the virtue of government and become ensnared by the trivialities of materialism and greed, but I offer you allegiance with a kingdom built on the strength of its members, all who have pledged their devotion to their leadership first rather than to themselves."
For a moment Tristan wavered, grappling with the dubious choice presented by his maker, and then a peace descended upon him like a rush of rain. "I'll join you, but first tell me how I helped you by murdering those you named."
The elder Greek smirked. "Those were missions, friend, to develop your skills, all of which you have mastered too well. Commit yourself to my employment now, and I will make you a god, so that men tremble when they hear your name - Hezbollah!"
Abruptly the panorama ended and another period of gloomy silence ensued, though without the accompanying whirl of inexhaustible material thrust securely into my brain. I sensed my friend was searching for something - snapshots or ideas rather than elaborate recollections of a regrettable past, and then these ghastly images emerged along with a growing terror in me.
I saw Tristan bathed in a pool of the stranger's blood from which came shrill shrieks and woeful lamentations of stolen souls seized before their time, and I saw him boiled alive in that very same liquid, then thrust into a furnace for a hot fire to seal his scalding wounds. At last, I saw him shoved into a dungeon of bright, indirect sunlight and starved for three days, at which point two live children were thrown to him, but he did not touch the food, for he seemed to know that to do so would display a weakness. Finally he was retrieved and brought in before the council, where he was found acceptable as an elite operative, then trained and educated in history, warfare and culture by the ancient Greek himself.
(end of partial)