Another Kinmate lost to the Beast. Another friend who is now insane and was eaten by the Darkness Within. Even one is far too many, and more is a true tragedy. This makes three that I have known and counted as close friends who fell off that razor-thin path that we walk between sanity and madness as vampires.
Sioned (not his real name, of course) awakened at around the same time I did, and has always been considered a Mradu. He is a warrior of both the mind and body. In many ways, I learned a great deal of what mental discipline was necessary to be a vampire and a warrior from him. We have been friends for a decade, survived an insane overlord who thought himself the incarnation of a deity together, weathered the storms caused by Kyle Hubert’s murder of a scientist and various lovers and political situations. His beauty and grace is that of both a warrior and a vampire elder who feeds regularly and well, and his shields and skills at various vampiric abilities are more than average.
It shames me to say that I had little to no warning that there was trouble coming. He mentioned that an ex-girlfriend was causing him to behave irrationally, and that I should try and keep him away from her. He wanted me to ban her from the club. I could obviously not do that to a customer over a simple disagreement nor take sides in such a quarrel, so I told him it was impossible. He said he understood, and dropped the subject.
Two months later, I was walking through the smaller side of the club and felt something “snap” near me. I turned around to see Sioned being restrained by four guards and still trying to attack someone else. There was nothing human or sane within his eyes, and I could see his Beast staring back at me. The other person was dragged out and Sioned was pulled into the office since he was bleeding. I took a look at his hand and saw what looked like a bite down to the bone on two of his fingers. I insisted on bandaging the injury, and I admit to using Command to make the other bouncers listen to me and allow me to work. I also vouched for his behavior while I worked on him, since I could tell he was not violent at that moment. Still, psychologically he had obviously snapped inside and was far past being sane. He did not babble or froth at the mouth, but the look in his eyes was completely blank of all but agony.
I sat him down and treated his finger with rubbing alchohol and iodine while listening to him make suicidal and homicidal comments. I learned that his bloodbonded ex-girlfriend had brought some work friend and was apparently making Sioned jealous.. He actually warned them that his self control was about to snap and got ready to leave. Well, it snapped totally on his way out and he attacked his ex’s friend with his fists and teeth. He said that the wound on his hand was where the man had bitten Sioned to try and get him to let go. Someone else said it was from Sioned’s own jewelry, but it certainly looked like a bite. Obviously tetanus and severe muscle damage, if not worse were likely if he did not go to a hospital.
I tried to get him to promise me he would get professional treatment for his wounds and seek counseling. He cried on my lap about how his life was over, he had nothing to live for, and would kill his ex for hurting him, and her friend as well. I tried to talk to him, calm him down and continued to insis t that he needed medical treatment. Ransim, her husband and my GM helped me and tried as well to bring some sanity back to him, but none of us are psychologists or truly equipped to deal with such emergencies. The GM also helped us try to talk sense into Sioned, but he would have none of it. He vacilliated between crying hysterically and calm, cold and seemingly sober threats to kill himself, his ex and her companion.
Finally, we could not keep him there any longer. He signed a form releasing us from responsibility for his injury during one of his sober periods, upon which I noted his injuries and that we had advised seeking counseling and medical attention. We also tried to get him to allow us to call an ambulance for him, but he repeatedly refused. What could we do? Despite my terrible feeling about allowing him to leave, we had to do so. He walked out into the sub-freezing temperature with the same emotionless and blank look in his eyes, and without seeming to feel the cold.
I must stress agin that in all the ten years I had ever seen him and been friends with him, he had always maintained perfect control. He never threatened anyone, he never bragged of his nature, he remained calm even in ugly situations and was a rock for his friends to support themselves with. Of all the vampires I know, he was the last one I would have expected to lose his shit so thoroughly. Well, lose it he did, and I found out that it got worse after he left.
As he had threatened, he went to his ex’s apartment and broke down her door. He then assaulted her and her friend mate using his teeth and fingernails and a katana. I think he attempted to kill them, but they fought him off and managed to get him to leave, just as the police arrived. He is now on the run, with a warrant for his arrest for breaking and entering, assault and probably attempted murder.
Now I can hear you all scoffing at me. “He was a looney. I would never do something like that.” BULLSHIT. Any vampire is capable of that and worse if we ever allow ourselves to give into our Beast or become to hungry or overemotional. When we awaken, that possibility, though we do not like to admit it, becomes present and more likely than if we were still mundane. Whatever else vampirism may be, it is a condition that affects the mind, often to our detriment. We can never allow ourselves the luxury of losing our tempers completely that mundanes have, or even letting our self control slip for an instant. Each of us is a potential killer, a possible multiple personality disorder, a potential socaiopath or a possible sufferer of Dissociative Disorder. Each of us is also potentially delusional and egomaniacal. However, we don’t have to be these things.
Mundanes too are often on the edge, especially those who work severely stressful jobs. It is all to easy for a mortician or police officer to turn off their emotions permanently, and no longer see people as people, but instead as things. It’s hard for any of us, human or vampire to walk that fragile bridge between sanity and madness. More so for us vampires, as most of us only have eachother to fall back on. Waht psychiatrist would give us honest and unbiased council if we admitted our blood addiction or psychic abilities? We’d be in a straightjacket before we could even figure out how to pronounce the drugs we were given.
It’s so easy to give in and allow the Beast to take over, and it feels good, satisfying, strong. But each time you give in, it stains your soul a little and makes it easier and more seductive next time. This is not fair to us or those around us, but it is life. The psychic and physical abilities we have don’t seem like much of a tradeoff for the terible, constant struggle between us and our Hunger, which is the center and heart of the Beast. At the core of what makes us a vampire is the need to feed. It is savage, seductive, uncomplicated and pervasive of all that we do and think. Feeding is for many of us equivalent to the pleasure we get from sex, though it is not sexual in nature. Confusing as hell for mundanes, I know, but there it is. But the dark side of feeding is the intensity of the urge. The tendency to salivate when seeing bleeding wounds, the smell of blood in the air, the awareness of other peiople’s heartbeats. How many of you vampires have fantasized about how EASY it would be to grab that sweet smelling person next to you and rip their throat open, feeling thier blood spurt down your throat and coat your skin?
Hungry now, aren’t you, with that savage edge of the Beast pushing up under your consciousness? Fight it! The idea here is to show that we are ALL capable of violence and savagery. What makes us intelligent and sane beings is that we DO fight it, rather than letting it dominate us. We accept the existence of our Beasts and the dark side of the soul, excersize them in ways that do NOT endanger us or those around us and come out as better people for what we learn in the process of our struggle.
It is a struggle,and a HARD one. We must guard our thoughts constantly, be ever vigilant and learn how to handle our instincts. At the same time, the Beast is a part of us, and we must find ways to honor that part of us and accept it as a side of our souls. Examples of that are fetish and S&M activities, or pathworking and meditations on the nature of the darker gods. Few modern magical traditions truly walk the middle Path between shadow and light. Most magic is either almost pure Light side with it’s horror at dark magic and violence, or Satanic with it’s seeming reveling only in death, decay and pain, and it’s disdain for positive or healing magics. Obviously these are vast generalizations only, and there are quite a few traditions that are not so extreme. But how many walk the middle path and TRULY accept both?
Sioned was a victim of his Beast and the lack of a truly vampiric tradition that accepts both the Light and Dark side. The Ordo Strigoi Vii claims to have created such a tradition, but I will withold judgement until I read their book, which they seem rather uninterested in actually getting to me. I have been waiting two months now, and finally found out that I will have to reorder. The only other book which I consider likely to honor this dichotomy is the soon-to-be-released Vampyre Codex by Michelle Belanger. Her original Vampyre Codex is on my site as one of the few documents I have ever read that came close to healing this breach.
For all my lecturing and fuming, really there is no simple solution I can give you to dealing with the monster within us all. I can only tell you to try and maintain balance in your lives and actions, and to honor all parts of yourself, no matter how ugly you may find them. Lilith grant you find victory in this battle and learn from it what it truly is to be a vampire. Each and every one of us is made up of an inseperable combination of human, angel and demon. Each of us must wrestle their own conscience and choose our own way in the end, and all of us maust eventually face the dark side of what we have become. I wish that there was some simple, easy way I could tell you to learn to accept that we all have what the Egyptians called the Khaibit, and Jung the Shadow self. While our vampiric and human friends and allies may provide a shoulder to cry on and our faith may help us find peace and solace, in the end, with all real challenges in life, this one must be faced by each of us alone.
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