Myth of the Immortal Court — Vampire Verisimilitude

I came across this art for a Vampire MMO (read: video game) called Shadow’s Kiss, which admittedly sounds interesting. Believe me when I say Vampires should only meet on social media… because “reasons.” But this image makes me cringe — hear me out on this.

The crowned and corseted brunette with the opera gloves and thigh-highs; the blonde and blue-eyed blood doll worshiping at her feet desperate to be “kissed”; the goateed and coiffed confidant standing close — and all of them noticing you noticing them. Hell, event the gold and gem-encrusted skull throne is ridiculous. Image, image, image — no reasonably intelligent creature buys any of this, right? This is such a cliché and overdone idea that the subjects might as well be sparkling and swaying to looped trance music.

Why would anyone want to become any of these characters? How much court intrigue could justify it? Even “True Blood” character Eric Northman (read: still yummy) hated doing the whole bit at Fangtasia precisely because it’s ridiculous. And if you needed any fictional proof of vampire-court pointlessness, look no further than the ineffectiveness of Underworld. There’s no Italian Inquisitor Council and no secret cabal of hibernating immortals awakened whenever “Chuck the Vamp” steps out of line to deal with his Chuckiness.

I hope the game turns out to be cool, but let’s step into modern times and away from the Mushroom Ring Fairy Tale Demonic Vampire Court thing, okay?

Addendum: I should probably clarify my viewpoints. My father is a self-made man; he didn’t give me everything I wanted growing up and he worked hard so he could send me to college. He kept bettering himself even with setbacks, but while he was tough on me, he also had a few thoughts on “royalty.” I was three and had no memory of when Queen Elizabeth II visited America, but I do remember Princess Diana (no, not Wonder Woman) and her passing when I was almost nine.

Elizabeth served in the armed forces as a truck mechanic, and Diana wanted to be as far away from thrones and courts as she could get. I knew girls my age who wanted to be Disney princesses — and that’s okay — but I preferred a princess with quotes like, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Selfless and in service of others, not ruling over them and have them do for you.

While this Vampire Court image is a very pretty fantasy picture, nothing about it feels selfless or serving: it’s threatening. It looks like a gathering of wolves waiting for sheep to be served to them, and I cannot articulate just how much that pisses me off. How do I know? Look at the blue-eyed blood doll. If the courtesans were in any way benevolent, she wouldn’t be tethered to her mistress for snacking while looking wronged for it. They’re flaunting themselves and will likely be destroyed for it — not exactly the best way to plan for your immortality.

Trust me — I’m a Vampire.

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe. Be indomitable.
~ Janiss

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Relating to Kate Beckinsale’s Selene – Vampire Verisimilitude

It seems many of you are obsessed with Kate Beckinsale, specifically her Vampire character Selene from the action-horror film series Underworld. She’s a Death Dealer who fights in a war against Lycans (read: werewolves) but usually ends up fighting everyone — and for good reason: she’s been lied to for six centuries about who she is, never mind the pettiness between the factions and having to choose her allies carefully to protect herself and those she cares about.

Can I relate? Oh Lord yes. While I don’t have werewolves to deal with (thank God for small favors), it turns out Vampires are neither a freak of nature nor an accident in my circles. Our original creators, the Blood Workers, made us with purpose… and we’ve all been at odds ever since.

So, in relating to dear Selene…

udnerworldselenecryingSecrecy. Similar to Underworld, the other Vampires I deal with accept we don’t trust one another. Because Blood Workers have various individual powers they can choose to pass on or withhold, the skill set of individual Vampires can vary. Even exposure to a power can help one of my kind to develop it if given enough time, so if you’re going to destroy a fellow Vampire using “a cool new ability,” do it quickly before your opponent figures out how to use it against you. Selene is a master strategist at this; the longer we survive, the better we become.

Paranoia. It isn’t entirely our fault we freak one another out: we were made not to trust one another — even instinctively hate each other — so we would keep to our creator and trust them in all things. When the first makers were destroyed, Vampires fended for themselves due to the restrictions placed upon them. We were created to be the tribal figurehead: the warrior chieftain that others would look up to while heeding the advice of their “spiritual guide.” Paranoia may seem extreme until you realize everyone is out to get you, so we both understand this.

underworldselenevengeanceProtector. Of everything Selene does or can do, this is the one I relate to the most: she cares, often to the point of putting herself in personal danger to save someone else. Gaining her trust isn’t easy — she’s been screwed over too many times — but once earned, Selene will go the distance. I like to think of myself that way, but cross either of us and you should probably run.

Memory. Blood transference of memory — a part of a victim’s soul itself — is something which still gives me the willies. In Underworld, Vampires can’t keep secrets from one another because they can taste their memories through blood; in my experience, immortal blood is useless to another immortal (which is why we have to stay close to mortals), so the transference only works between Vampire and human. This feeds into the aforementioned secrecy and paranoia because we can still deceive one another, but keeping the memories of victims separated from your own is a chore, and cheating those boundaries doesn’t make it any easier.

underworldseleneblueeyesBrooding. After six centuries: really, Selene? I did the everything-is-dark thing for a while, but after a year and a half I just couldn’t. It wasn’t me and was never me. Since purging my sire’s willfulness from my head, his memories often merge into my own and I catch myself being more sarcastic than I used to be, but the whole silent brooding over the city at night? I can’t do it, especially here in the country where the tallest structure is a water tower (cue the “Animaniacs” theme song). But hey, I can scare the living hell out of people by popping out of the shadows at them; it’s become a bit of a game for me now.

Smart, beautiful, deadly and dedicated, I’d like to think if Selene were real, we could be friends. And those blue eyes when she vamps out? Total girl crush.

And yeah, I’ll see the new movie when it comes out. How’s that for meta: a Vampire who likes Vampire movies?

Take your power seriously. Keep each other safe.
~ Janiss

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