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arsmagica:twilight-saga:lore:aelflaeds_diary

Diary of Aelflaed

It is the year of their lord, 1167. I am Aelflaed, world weary traveller finally come home to her birthland.

Though it is winter, it is good to be back in England once again. The cool winds and cold rain are much in preference to the blistering heat of the southern deserts. Even in my younger years I doubt I could have stood the brightness there. Hypatia is much more suited to such weather than I, though I fear she already hates the weather here.

Little has changed here since I left. A new King sits on the throne, but the people and places are much the same. It is strange, that I could never call the bright deserts of the Arabic lands home, that I always felt that I was but a visitor, merely passing through.

The place we now call home is a small keep standing lost and alone in the great forests of southern England. There is a small village nearby, but we believe that if we leave well alone, then they will do the same. We can hunt in lands far from here, where we shall not bother the locals. I've made the mistake of being lazy about such conventions only once, and I don't intend to repeat that mistake.

It would seem that the peasants here name this place after one they call Adamus. If you believed half the tales they tell, you would think Adamus was evil incarnate. The term they use is vampire, though that can mean so many things it is an almost meaningless label. He and his kind were accused with the deaths of several villagers in the local area, and they now hold a superstitious dread of this place. Such suits us well, though those we meet look on us with immediate suspicion. We must tread carefully here, and be doubly careful to only take what we need for sustenance and no more. Hypatia needs to be watched. She dislikes those that follow the Silent God, and not without reason! Her dislike may bring her to take maybe less care than she should.

Summer is always a problem, though at least we get some respite from the burning sun for much of the year. The nights are always too short, the days too long. I wish I had Hypatia's tolerance of His glare.

I have found some crypts beneath our tower which house the bodies of many men. One holds the sword Blodgewyrd, which I know belonged to one of my son's warriors. My memory is strange - I remember some things from long ago, such as the markings, the shape, of that sword, almost perfectly. But the name of the man who held it, or even his face, is forever gone.

I sense something else here in the Chapel, though I'm not sure what. It feels like the Goddess, though it is very faint, as if there was something here once which was holy, but has since been removed. A strange feeling for a place that should be a centre for the Dominion.

It is the middle of Autumn, and Godrun and Beorfloed have found a suitable place in Guildsford to which we could find refuge if things go against us here. Hypatia has instructed them to leave the inhabitants of that town untouched, for we must be able to take up residence there without suspicion.

Hypatia herself will be leaving soon for Ireland, to make contact with some old acquaintances of ours. Hopefully they will have some knowledge of the artifact which has been in our possession since Paris, carrying as it does the symbols of the Children of Dana. If the sorcerers of that Isle do not know, then there are few to whom we can turn.

The winter was a short one, and though it is barely spring, the peasants are preparing their fields for this year's crops. Such makes it easier for us, for there are many people about outside the villages, and individuals are easier to come by. I am glad that I only have need of drink barely more than once a week, else despite the freedom with which people walk about, it would become difficult to keep our feeding habits secret. It is easy to see why many of our Family prefer the bustle of large cities, such as Rome and Constantinople, for there are so many people there that none know what happens to their neighbours, and a night of carelessness can be easily hidden.

As I sit here at my window, the sight of the moonlight on the snow covered forest is enough to remind me of my early winters, when I was still mortal. The Family had not claimed me at that point, though my heredity had not been in question since before my birth. I sat then, as I sit now, watching men haul stones up into Peterborough for the monastery. Of course, it was daylight then, but the snow on the woods was the same as it is now, but shone with gold rather than silver. That was the day before my mother died, before I took to the streets for none gave me sanctuary fearing that I would be a curse to them. It was Malach who found me and took me in. He was not a man who could be trusted, but what choice did I have? He offered food and shelter, and brought me ever so carefully into the Family fold, from which I may never escape. Whether my new life is a curse, or some blessing, is difficult to say. My memory has faded so much over the centuries that I can recall little of my previous life. That which was before Malach, before the house on Watling Street. What I remember, I try to write here, to aid my future memory. But so far little more than glimpses of scenes, snatches of conversation, or even smells of my mother's cooking come to mind.

Then there's the blood and fear of the years following the invasions from the North Way. Those I remember well, though sometimes I wish I couldn't. Taking what I needed was harder then, for people were too scared to venture far from their homes, but everyone was mistrusted, and refugees on the road were a common sight, such that I was no more suspicious than any other soul.

Mary has taken a lover in one of the villages to the West. She does not know her true nature, though she has of course been feeding from her since winter. No one can fault her choice of mortals, and at least she doesn't run the risk of bearing a child. Until it would be old enough to be brought into our ways, it would be too much of a burden to care for.

We have persuaded some of the local villagers to begin construction of a small cottage down in the woods. It always helps to have other places to live, and these stone towers remind me too much of what I'd like to forget.

It is autumn, almost winter, and I guess 1170. Two villagers saw me last night with one of their friends. I was in the woods, far from their homes, so I know not what they were doing there. Hopefully they hadn't suspected already and were following, or if they were, that they hadn't taken the precaution of telling anyone else. As we embraced, and I started to take my share of his life blood, one was startled and made a sound, alerting me to their presence. Thankfully, I was not yet caught up in the rapture of feeding, and I was able to act, ripping out the throat of one before his startled body was able to act. The second ran, the only sensible action open to him admittedly, but no mortal can match the hunting prowess of one of my kind. It is long since I've hunted, too long possibly. The feel of the forest and wind rushing past me, the sound of his heart ahead of me brings such excitement I can recall little of what happened, except I must of caught him, for come morning I was curled up over his body, as much of his blood on my body as inside it. A most inefficient way to feed, but pleasurable beyond description.

We have heard nothing about the deaths of the villagers. Rumour says that they were slain by wolves. None then, suspect us.

The Covenant of Britdaeg has sent us a visitor this spring. Apparently they are somewhere to the north, though we have not heard of them before. They are part of the accursed Order, which causes almost as much trouble as the Church, except is harder to corrupt. His name is Galron, of the House of Tremere, and he wishes to stay and study with us for some time. We have agreed to let him stay here a while, after all he is quite handsome. My knowledge of the Order should help us in dealing with him if he becomes trouble, though I do not let on that I am anything much more than barely out of apprenticeship.

By the middle of summer, the cottage is finished, after some annoying delays. I have moved there for now.

Mary has finally moved out of the Tower, to live in Guildford with Rachael. Scandal is soon to start, if it hasn't already, but scandal of that sort is better than rumours of another.

It is true what they say, that once part of the Scarabae, you can never leave them. The keeps namesake, Adamus has returned, he claims just to see that we are treating his home well, but I guess it is really to remind us of the families ever present power over us all. Adamus is one of us, currently living just outside London with others of our kind. He plans to stay for a while, and 'talk of old times' he says. Though Galron now knows our nature, he knows nothing of the Family. So it shall remain. Adamus and I have enough magical knowledge to keep him from prying in on our conversations.

Adamus left yesterday, hoping to reach London before the first snows. He has taken Mary and Rachael with him.

Hypatia has returned from Ireland, with much knowledge about the rune inscribed skull we found. Galron has shown interest, but Hypatia has taken an instant dislike to him, and given the Skull's history, it may not be wise to let a member of the Order know much about it.

Barely a month has passed, and Hypatia and Galron had fallen out. He could have been dangerous, and seemed keen to cause trouble between us and the Quaesitors. I have moved back to the keep so that we are all together, in case other members of Britdaeg come looking for him. I have never tasted the blood of a magus before. Even now, two days hence, I can still taste him on my lips. It carries a vitality I have not tasted before. It could be almost addictive - I must be careful.

I believe the date is 14th March, 1174. Yesterday another magus came from the covenant, looking for Galron. He did not believe us when we said we knew not where he was. Knowing that he was Tremere, I insisted he must leave, or face Certamen. He chose the latter, and rather predictably lost. Even some of us Ex Miscellanea know the ways of the more political houses. He went back in shame, but undoubtedly he or his friends will return. Hypatia has sent word to London that we may acquire some assistance. None of us like to get involved with the family any more than necessary, but we may not have a choice.

Britdaeg has spent the last few months trying to stir up trouble, both with the Tribunal and by arranging some 'events' which were beginning to point fingers of accusation towards us. It seems that the families connections have been used again though, and last week the last magus of Britdaeg was fled the covenant, after the Church ordered their deaths, and the destruction of their properties for their crimes against god. It is nice to know that even the clergy can be bought.

This winter involved some difficult decisions. Several of the local peasantry we had been routinely been drinking from had fallen ill, most probably due to them sharing their life force with us. We made the decision to kill them, subtly, such that they would be found dead in their beds over the course of the winter. I would imagine those wives and husbands who awoke to find a dead partner in their arms were none too amused, but letting them grow weaker would simply drag suspicion out longer. We are finding new sources of blood.

Sometime last week, the vicar of Goodford passed away - from natural causes I should hasten to add. Today marked the arrival of a new priest, from London I believe, who is much younger and carries an aura of confidence and self-righteousness with him that we all find very worrying. Beorfloed says that he has been asking many questions of the villagers, and she already fears him.

Within a few months of his arrival, Father Cynric is starting to get too close to the truth. The people here idolise him, and there is an aura of the Dominion about the village that makes us all uncomfortable. We have taken to hunting further afield, to try and quieten suspicion. I'm somewhat surprised he hasn't come to see us, to enquire about our absence at his services. Maybe he already suspects us of being in league with his devil, and fears that talking to us may corrupt his soul. How can mortals produce such great achievements, and yet be so stupid and stuck into their own irrational beliefs? If he knew us, he would just see us as vampyre, as the offspring of Cain or somesuch nonsense. With souls we sold to dark powers and seeking to perform evil rituals to bring about the suffering of mortals.

We are not evil, no more so than a wolf or a lion. We feed off men, but only do so to survive. Cynric eats the flesh of creatures, after it has been slain in probably painful ways. We kill but rarely. When we take, we leave enough life behind to ensure recovery. We erase their memories of what occurred, such that they do not feel pain, or fear, either during the event or afterwards. We are what we are through fate, not choice. We do what we do to survive. Can that be considered evil? How can we possibly be in league with a devil we barely believe in, let alone follow.

Mortals though fear what they do not understand. Attack what they fear. Hypatia knows that only too well, her physical scars a constant reminder of what Archbishop Cyril's mob did to her in Alexandria.

Since Autumn when I last wrote, the people here about have begun to get restless. Last night, a group of half a dozen knights arrived at the Church of Goodsford. We can sense that the people are fearful, though it is mixed with other emotions which are difficult to make out. Tommorrow we shall decide whether to leave or try and stay. We may not have much time.

arsmagica/twilight-saga/lore/aelflaeds_diary.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/25 10:48 by sam