I didn’t create Cedarcrest Sanctum — another Vampire did that.
On the surface, it’s easy to assume, “Oh, she just wanted a stable of living donors to drink from whenever she wanted.” There’s some truth to that — a Vampire has to survive — but it was more. Louisa wasn’t only interested in her own survival; she wanted others to share in it and take a benefit for themselves. Our blood is sustaining to the living — what is best described as ghouling — meaning our residents live virtually pain and symptom free from any ailment at any age. It’s not a cure, only a suspension… but it must be maintained.
But that isn’t all that Cedarcrest is. The term “sanctum” is significant and intentional, no matter how archaic the word might sound. Sanctum has two definitions:
- a sacred place, especially a shrine within a temple or church.
- a private place from which most people are excluded.
I think she combined these ideas for Cedarcrest. While she certainly ruled the roost, I don’t think she saw herself as the high priest or queen of the damned; it was a place of refuge and safety — a sanctuary. Even under the guise of an elder care home, she actively sought her residents, scouring public records for the homeless and those in dire situations. Her days were long past acting the part of den mother to a sorority… something she actually did for a time after she was turned.
Our best evidence is her legacy: she wanted another Vampire, one she could trust, to carry on in her place. While she was done with the world, she didn’t consign her charges to a similar fate; there’s something noble in that.
Louisa’s long-term investments were transferred over to Cedarcrest as a trust and portfolio long before she left us; our continued charities and research branches are well-funded and self-reinvesting, but we can’t help everyone we want to. We operate without any outside funding but must maintain in-state oversight — it is a retirement home, after all. In spite of everything we do, this is still considered low-profile. Sometimes to help those in need, we have to do it under-the-table, anonymously, or even out-of-pocket.
We can really only maintain sixty residents, forty staff, and one immortal… by design. For people who don’t know about The Program (a clever nondescript name for our mutual mortal-immortal arrangement), we’re often asked why we draw no state or federal funding yet still provide no-cost boarding to our residents. Timothy told me the truth of it: even before Cedarcrest’s creation, Louisa was an outspoken advocate in caring for homeless elderly and funded other facilities to offset costs from her own personal fortune before forming the Cedarcrest Foundation of Appalachia (CFA).
Those who benefited didn’t feed her; she only ever met a handful of the ones she supported. It wasn’t about guilt or obligation; she did it because it was the right thing to do.
Paraphrasing: “But it’s your money, Louisa — why spend so much of it on them? You don’t even know them.” Is that really a question?
How do you explain to people it’s important to care about other people?
I almost made this mistake. I guess it must be something all new Vampires have to struggle with, wanting to continue old relationships and family ties but afraid you’ll hurt those you care about; it takes time, but it’s not impossible. Take care of your elders and spend time with them: parents, grandparent, and great grandparents. Listen to their stories and help them stay current.
You’ll miss them when they’re gone and regret if you failed to connect… and that’s forever when you’re an immortal.
Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe.