Death of a Vampyre

  It was many years ago, so many that I almost forget all the details now. I was just a young boy when my grandfather told me the true story, not the one you hear old women mutter in circles of gossip.
  It began in the Carpathian Mountains, west of the ruins of Malthazar. Our family had made a name for themselves during the crusades and were rightly bestowed both land and title by the ruling prince. The house of Murony prospered for a many generations until the darkness came. Plague, the most barbaric affliction known to man, or so was thought at the time. Who could know what evil could remotely pale its carnage. Even Satan himself could not devise a more twisted chain of events and yet it happened.
  Plague was uncompromising, young, old, commoner and yes nobility as well. So it was with our ancestor who died a horrible death amid the greatest storm of the century. He was only 32, the Viscount of a simple farming community, yet the plague grasped him so strenuously that he succumbed in just a day. His young wife crushed with bereavement. Normally the body would have been burned but she would hear none of it. The townspeople owing allegiance to the family for all the years of patronage the family had given followed her wishes explicitly. The finest handcrafted coffin of solid oak was prepared for the viscount's final rest. Arrangements were set, a plot of ground was prepared within the castle walls and the burial proceeded despite the worsening weather.

vanessa

During the service the storm turned violent. Savage rains fell and lightning scored the earth. The priest, in the middle of the service, not wanting to stop, was struck with a savage blast of deadly lightning. The crowd panicked and scattered leaving only the Viscountess Vanessa Murony by her dead husband's grave. Lightning coursed throughout the grounds and countryside but never did she leave his side. It was later said that her blind will against the wrath of God was the cause of the trouble to come.
  

 The next morning the servants begged her to come inside the house but she dismissed them. Parishioners carried the remains of the priest to the church. The next morning came with the same summary dismissal. On the third day, they found her barely conscious and insanely muttering guttural tones. They carried her to the house to care for her.  The gravesite was left unattended, the service never finished, the ground unconsecrated. Mud from the rains, mixed freely with the blood of the dead priest, filled the grave.

That very night saw a new type of plague beset the region, a plague that would curse our family name forever. Night fell swiftly, silently as a predator stalking it's prey. The storms had left the night air with a chill. As the moon rose, shadows danced with life. For Vanessa, the night was just a continuation of the torment she felt, the heartbreak, the loss of her soul mate, lover and friend. She was lost in despair, lost in an expanse of emptiness. She thought that she too should die but then a change came over her. She felt the touch of a gentle hand on her shoulder, a touch she had felt so many times before. When she turned, there standing beside her bed was her husband, no longer dead. Was his death just a fearful dream or was this a waking nightmare. For a moment, she thought she had gone crazy. Then he spoke and calmed her fears. In her heartfelt joy, she pulled him closer to her, kissing him. Joy turned to passion as he began kissing her lips, her cheek, and her neck. There was a warmth in her embrace, and a reddening warmth on his lips. He pulled away as he tasted the blood. Passion may diminish memory but repulsion returns it with a torrent of emotion.
  "Strigoi, Strigoi, vampyre," he cried, "how could this happen." It took just a moment for Vanessa to realize what had happened. With tears in her eyes, she pulled him close to her, turning her head readily exposing her neck. What did it matter as long as they were together. At first the insatiable urge for blood beckoned him on but a flash of love in her eyes made him pull away and disappear into a mist.
  That very night the killings began. The first, a young maiden, was on her way home after finishing chores at the church. The next night, a night watchman, and then a maid returning from a barn, each drained of blood.
  On the third night, the viscount reappeared in the castle; Vanessa seemed to know of his approach and waited silently in her bedchamber. As the mist materialized into human form, Vanessa saw the features not of her beloved, but a tormented creature longing for peace. She cradled him in her arms, neither speaking for a first few minutes. Finally, he spoke in soft tones, subdued to the manner of his birth.
  "Vanessa, my love, my life, you must save me from this existence, I am an abomination in the eyes of God. I must find peace in death as was meant to be." She nodded, stroking his hair, tears in her eyes. He continued, "You know I am always yours, forever. You know what must be done." He kissed her gently on the cheek then disappeared. Two more deaths were recorded that night.
  Vanessa knew what must be done. She sent her footman to town for the undertakers. That very night they exhumed her late husband's casket and placed it in the lower vault that once served as munitions storage for the castle. The undertakers were paid very well and given explicit instructions to find a clergyman and bring him to the house the following night to consecrate the burial ground.
  Vanessa knew that her husband would return to his coffin. She placed candles around the coffin and waited. An hour before daybreak, he appeared, the blood still wet on his lips and chin. He stared lovingly at Vanessa for a moment then reposed himself within the coffin. She bent over the coffin and kissed him lightly on the forehead. "My love, my life, forever." She picked up a mallet and wooden stake and drove the stake deep through his heart. His soul now free, departed his lifeless body as a whispering mist, "My love, my life, forever on."
Love in its purest form will sacrifice all.

There were two more murders that night. Two more bodies drained of blood.

Vanessa dismissed the staff, only a young maiden, newly hired remained in the household. The estate was sold to Vanessa's cousin, Countess Karnstein. Wherever Vanessa and her handmaiden travelled, death followed, forever on.

(Original Artwork, "Death of a Vampyre" is used with permission of the artist, Dorian Cleavenger)
Original story, "Death of a Vampyre" is used with permission of the author, M.J. Heckel