Read Cognata: A Vampire Romance Online

Authors: Jedaiah Ramnarine

Tags: #Fantasy

Cognata: A Vampire Romance (13 page)

BOOK: Cognata: A Vampire Romance
6.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

The Strigoy, on the other hand were, perhaps, the polar opposite. I could not find much of these creatures. They were almost as rare as The Hunters, a clan I had only met one member of: Sergio, who might've even been the very last of that bloodline.

The Strigoy's bloodline had devolved... greatly. They were not beautiful to the human eye anymore. They were highly aggressive nocturnal monsters. I stumbled onto a pack during my travels to the African jungles. I can only recall pity. They engaged me as if I were nothing more than fragile prey, some piece of meat and they were like a rabid pack of wolves; hungry and desperate to feed. Their features were skinny, their skin had lost its natural color long ago and beyond that, they were hairless, hunched-back lepers who no longer had the ability to even communicate in a recognizable language. Only passed down dialects, clicks and vocal frequencies to mirror the once proud heritage of my fallen kind. I remember the stale, rotten stench they carried. I wanted to die.

There was no communication with them. I had to flee the moment I found them. The irony was that I was warned. Sergio told me there would be no reason,
no chance
. And yet I could not accept that. They were of my kin. I wanted to try to connect with them. I wanted to make peace, reintroduce them into at least our nightwalker society. In the end, there was no diplomacy. They became an example for the rest of us -
what not to become
. A nod to Aristide, when one drinks out of depravity, they take on the scars of the blood they sucked.

They become the pain. They become death.

Last were the Ibis tribes who were, as the Halonics call them, 'Snowdrinkers'. They resided in the far North, where the snow came with its eerie wind as harsh as flying daggers out to drain you to your very knees. Yet the Ibis were unbothered by the cold. In fact, they thrived off of it. They were mostly humanoid, with stocky, Nordic features and they were not as concerned with beauty as the Agnates, though they were not necessarily hideous either. Their emphasis was pointed toward a natural disposition. The evolutionary effects of the bitter cold after eons upon eons had worn itself on their faces indelibly.

Despite the hellishly cold welcome from the uncaring elements of the northern world, the Ibis were not hostile but they also were not friendly. A neutral type. They kept completely to themselves and they found their peace in doing so. I had much respect for that and they tolerated me long enough to teach me the wisdom of the ancients passed down in their own history. They were not entirely aware of how far the Halonic influence extended and still, no matter how much I tried to convince them to reunite with our kin, my pleas fell on deaf ears.

Simply put, they were pacifists by choice.

Their bloodthirst was well under control. They did not feed much on humans, only in rare circumstances, should the odd one wander into their lands. They feasted on the animals that roamed those parts. These were peculiar blood drinkers safe to say at the very least. I understood the need for balance and of course, that was the way they found their restraint in their dark gifts. Effective, no doubt, but in the end - it was not for me. I may not have been the typical nightwalker to feast, pillage and rape at will but the taste of blood,
human blood
... was too much to deny.

None of the clans truly identified who I really was. There were some subtle hints, here and there - though nothing that actually made an impact on their individual communities and their leaderships. However, there were the few that eyed me in their own divergence.

And not for idealistic purposes. They were interested in me, Alexia,
not Halona
. Lured by my unconscious spell, intoxicated and bound by my beauty, and I will confess, I was not modest. I enjoyed every moment of it, especially when I was lusted for by both man and woman, human or nightwalker, depraved or insane, royal and fallen alike. I did have my share of fun, toying with those creatures, as I had grown more confident in myself and where I stood in this shadowy world.

It was with that self-assurance, I knew I was ready to return to The Halonic Society.

And so I did. One fateful day, I gave myself up. There was no resistance, no battle or struggle - I waltzed in the very gates of the Cognati Citadel in Moldavia, during the early modern times of the then growing Romania in the 1600s. The Nightwalker's Fortress laid silently away from civilization, near some desolate hilltops, and it stood taller than a castle - carrying a creamy, almost bronze complexion from the deterioration over the countless centuries it endured. There were pillars around the fortress that were so high, you'd tilt your head back trying to find out if they actually reached all the way to the sky. Vines ran amuck across the citadel but they were carefully groomed and only added to the stupendous beauty of the ancient structure.

Even then, I knew - past all the masks, all the smiles and the welcomes, I was bound to be a prisoner. Their holy symbol came back to them after all. All the nonsensical prophecies, all the delusions of the savior? I had to deal with them all. A strange peace resonated in me. At that time, I did not have much care for humans. My intention was the unification of the clans. I thought to myself back then,
perhaps I could bring order, perhaps I could be the puppet that tugged her own strings.

Woe to the conquered. I was wrong.

Greeted by fangs and wonder, mystery, love and hate - the nightwalkers came to me one by one, surrounding me as they wondered among themselves,
is she the one?
I had hundreds of eyes gawking at me, filtered with whatever fantasy they'd construed from the broken relics of our shattered history. Eventually, it would've come to this. Sooner or later, I needed to face my people, and this was the task I chose to endure. No one else brought me there but me. It was my destiny, carved by my own hands - not the fables of hopeful legends.

"Alexia... " The voice of my enemy called from the steps of the citadel as he looked over to me vicariously. It was none other than Caelinus, and I was certain then that he'd been feeling victorious. Each step he took closer to me, the rest of my kindred backed away to surround me, paying the mischievous brat prince the attention he subtly craved as he drew nearer.

"My, my, how you've changed." He came face to face with me, staring me down, letting me know he's the one that really runs the show. I stayed quiet. Caelinus had grown immensely in power since our last encounter, and not only on a political scale. Rumors back then were circulating that he'd become one of the most prominent users in our dark gifts. There was also his influence, which extended past our kind. He had the support of humans as well.

"You are so quiet. Have you nothing to say to the brothers and sisters you left behind?"

His eyes fluttered with a hidden snarl. The casual boyish charm he'd use to sway the masses would not work on me. By all means, Caelinus was a perfect male creature. He had the looks, the body and a tongue that could soothe even the vilest monsters. The game began. I could not brute my way into the ranks of the Halonic Society. I was to become a puppet and that role; I knew how to play.

I thought well how to respond to his sarcasm, "I left no one behind. I ventured forth into this world to find more of our kind." That was when the confidence brewed in me, and I fearlessly faced the rest of the nightwalkers around me. "And they have taught me well, lessons that would prove useful to our invigoration."

"You speak as if we are fallen." Caelinus objected.

"No." A humble smile came over me. "We are vulnerable."

"And what is it you have to offer that we don't?"

This was my chance. I did not back down from his challenge. I embraced it. It was with an effortless grace; I gave my hand to Caelinus, making sure the rest were watching carefully. I offered him my palm, indicating him to drink. His eyes flashed to my open hand, catching the play I was making - then he smiled and with faded breath, his fangs extended and his teeth sunk into my wrist. A soft moan escaped my lips when I felt him drawing on my blood. The longer a blood drinker endured her curse, the more she became secretly infatuated with it.

Caelinus began drawing deeper and deeper into me. The more he pulled, the lighter I became. It wasn't a stature I could maintain in forever. He was draining me dry. His expression grew blank as my memories began flooding his conceited mind. I knew he couldn't resist me, as vain and arrogant as he was, Caelinus craved me. At last, when the balance between pleasure and discomfort pinpointed to the latter, he sheathed his fangs and held my hand to his lips, gently petting it with soft kisses of allure.

"Brethren... " He softly said before raising his tone a notch. "Our Lady of the Night has returned."

And so, the praise began - acceptance was at hand. Halona returned to the Cognati. A day that would go down in history.

A day that I will always remember as the time I sold my soul to redeem it. The paradox would later tear me apart. Yes, I was accepted into the society. Honored among their ranks, but my life would become a duality. To the outsider or even the casual nightwalker, I had the life of royalty. They made me into something godlike. An icon to worship. A messiah to behold. A hope for the fools to look up and shout
'save me'.

In reality, I was far from holy. I hated every moment of it, though there were times I purposely indulged in the splendor for my own vain tastes. If I wanted wine, seed or a nights lay, I could have it all - whenever, however, whoever. I was Halona Reborn. The common Cognati had best know their place when they approached me. That was exactly how Caelinus wanted it, so I played the role perfectly, giving into whatever the image of the great, holy Halona demanded.

If I had to appear before council duty, I was there. If I had to be the pure-hearted, dark queen to encourage the slipping faith of a ragged blood drinker, I was there. If I had to amass the kindred and give an uplifting speech, or attend a council meeting here and there - talk of how we would lie to the humans, keep them under control and dazzle them in fantasies so far from reality, it's almost amusing to write about the subject.

'Vampire',
we originally coined the term in the late 1600s.

Humans didn't come up with the fairy tale. We did. We engineered it. We sprouted the lies, the deceit and the untruth to keep the wheel turning. Keep man hidden in fear of the dark, while we ruled in the shadows, taking anything our black hearts desired. Indeed, it was us, all along from the very beginning of modern civilization. The ones who influenced the pathetic, the weak and the narrow-minded to believe in these dark, mysterious beasts who came out at night to feast on their blood.

Oh the tales.

Some of them, I had the pleasure of stirring up myself. To see it continuing in the modern day is both amusing and horribly sad. None of us thought such simplicities would work for countless eons. We anticipated humans would find their way to the truth sooner or later. See, there is no demon, no devil, no vampire or creature that stalks you while you sleep or even a savior coming from the clouds to whisk you to paradise. Oh no, the truth was far worse. It was all us.

We are your demons.

We are the horrors of your dreams.

Your inability to question authority?

We are the ones who keep it that way.

And we were once human too.

This is what allowed us to begin taking over the world. Bit by bit, as our influence grew and as humans remained fearful of what they did not know, we had the luxury of expanding our reach.

And did you think it was only Cognati who stayed in our retreats? Don't be so simple.

How could I forget the human servants - the ghouls, as we aptly labeled the wretched mongrels? Not every human can become a vampire. Most die from The Exchange, but then there's an in between. Certain humans were fed droplets of select vampires' blood. Once a human was exposed to a Cognati's blood without having their own drawn from them and exchanged, they became a 'ghoul'. Obsessed with and eternally bound to the will of the nightwalker who fed them. They were obedient slaves, and it was impossible for them to live without us. They would die of their addiction. Their bloodthirst was greater than ours.

For a while it was an enjoyable life, seeing how much power I could wield, and yet I still remained detached. I became the very thing I always hated - an icon. A false messiah. A product of a lie meant to enforce control not only to our kind, but to the whole world at large. Some humans didn't even recognize me as a vampiress. They thought of me as a Queen of a thriving nation they had never heard of. From there, it was easy to spin the lies. In truth, I was a queen alright. The puppet queen of the shadows.

Caelinus was proud. He had every tool at his disposal and a whole nation of shadow walkers under his command. This was the breaking point. The crux that would alter my life, forever. As he grew restless in his quest for domination, I grew tired of playing the games. I became less inclined to entertain the petty nonsense because I really had no real say in how things went. Subtle influences, sure - but I had no control over the Order. If I suggested anything uncommon to Cognati practices, I went unheard. My voice became silent and soon, I would have no tongue at all. That was when I thought of Aristide and just how ungrateful I'd been.

I understand now, my love.

I really do.

My rebellion became more noticeable as the 1800s drew near. From my sarcastic remarks on council matters to my banal expressions against our growing political ideals - I, Alexia; Halona Reborn, as I was called, became restless, bored and utterly frustrated. I thought of Aristide often, especially on his exile. A deepened sense of wanderlust enticed my restive mind, wondering if somehow, I could get away from the hellish shackles of this outrageous hypocrisy.

How deluded of me to think I could've aided my kin to our former glory. They were no better than the humans they controlled. Like the priests and prime ministers, presidents and world leaders who care nothing for their own people - my Cognati brethren were no different. Aristide was right. Our bloodthirst was replaced by a far more sinister hunger - greed. Men wanted more, no matter what the cost and they'd stop at nothing to get it.

BOOK: Cognata: A Vampire Romance
6.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The River of Dancing Gods by Jack L. Chalker
The Eleventh Commandment by Lutishia Lovely
Farewell to Cedar Key by Terri DuLong
Vengeance Child by Simon Clark
Libby on Wednesday by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Summer Winds by Andrews & Austin, Austin
The Maze of the Enchanter by Clark Ashton Smith
Feisty by Mackenzie McKade