Welcome Perry Lake to my blog today. He is the author of Legend of Dracula.
It’s Halloween 2014; time to plunge into the dark world of the supernatural and the uncanny. And in the world of supernatural horror, two names stand out above all others: Frankenstein and Dracula. Knowing the subject of Dracula and vampires, from both literature and legend, as I do, Stormi has been kind enough to ask me to write a little something about the subject.
I’m the author of the LEGEND OF DRACULA trilogy, a series of books that explore the “life” of the King of the Vampires from his death in 1476 to his appearance in Bram Stoker’s famous Victorian novel.
In researching vampires, both in folklore and in literature, I’ve discovered that vampire lore spans the Old World from Asia to Europe and Africa. However, there are there are several kinds of vampires in various parts of the world, with interesting differences. This leads me to classify them in the following manner:
Eastern European vampires are shape-shifters, able to become a giant bat, a wolf, or a serpent. But not all of them are elegant nobles like Dracula or Carmilla.
The Strigoii of Romania are snarling, grasping fiends, usually of peasant stock, and flushed with the blood of their victims. Simularly, the ancient Maenads of Greece not only drank blood but also tore apart their male victims and devoured their flesh. The Draugir of Viking lore were also brutish hulks like many European vampires before Dracula. These pre-Dracula vampires seem more like the mindless, ravenous undead in all those Zombie Apocalypse movies.
India has two warring factions of vampires, one being the wraith-like Vetals (or Baitals, depending on the dialect). Vetals are much like Dracula’s bloodline, but they came into existence thousands of years earlier. They are also shapeshifters, taking on the form of terrifying nightbirds.
The other “race” are the horrific, blackened Rakhshasa, at least in my fiction. Technically, the Rakhshasa are considered demons, but reading Hindu, Jainist, and Buddhist folklore about them, they seem less like evil spirits and more like trolls or ogres that feast on human flesh and blood. For me, it was a small leap to turn them into the Undead, albeit, a race of the Undead with a difference: instead of beginning as mortal men and women who become infected and turned into vampires, they were goblins or orcs in life.
Normally, vampires can not infect Elves or goblins/orcs (orcs are corrupted Elves, according to the Silmarillion), but there is one race of vampires that can ONLY infect those of Elven or orcish blood. Those of orcish blood become Rakhshasas but beautiful Elven nymphs are turned into hideous hags.
The Kiang-Shi of China are blind, with faintly greenish skin, white hair, and long nails. Because of rigor mortis they walk stiffly, appearing to hop. Some of them have the ability to raise the dead. There’s some debate if the blindness is an “inherited” trait of the Kiang-Shi or if their king vampire blinds his progeny to keep them under his control. But their sense of hearing is heightened, allowing them to hunt by sound so you’d better hold your breath.
Another curiosity about the Kiang-Shi is that they do not drink blood! Instead, they draw off the Chi (also spelled Shi) or life-energy of their victims. Ultimately, this is what all vampires do, but the other races of vampires can only draw the Chi via the blood.
The Penanggalen of Southeast Asia and the islands are perhaps the strangest vampires of all—they appear as beautiful women by day but at night they separate their heads from their bodies, pulling their internal organs with them, flying out in search of victims! Penanggalen are almost always women, with only a few males recorded. Close cousins would be the lamia of Greek folklore who also practiced dissolution—they could pull their eyeballs from their head and leave them around to spy on people!
OK, that’s folklore. But in literature, vampires are handsome, seductive, and sharp dressers, right?
In my books, Dracula chooses only the finest, noblest, and most beautiful women as his spawn. They may not be evil to begin with, but it helps. As the act of exchanging blood and turning someone into a vampire is an intensely erotic act, Dracula only turns women. Therefore, all male vampires of his bloodline were turned by his various countesses.
As I work it, all the noble vampire counts and countesses are descended, directly or indirectly, from Dracula. These include Elizabeth Bathory, Azzo von Klatka, the Vermilion Phantom, Countess Sarah Kenyon, Carmilla, Sir Mortimer Varney, Lord Ruthven, Count Yorga, Poe’s Lenore, Prince Mamuwalde, Countess Dolingen, Baron Meinster, Count Orlok, Lemora, Barnabas Collins, Baron Latos, and even Rasputin.
Dracula’s greatest power is one that other bloodlines may not possess. He is able to dominate those he infects, using his powers to control them. He has complete control over his blood, and that blood flows through his spawn and within their brains. It is a rare vampire who can defy Dracula.
But that leaves the other vampires of literature: the Anne Rice, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Stephanie Myers crews; the undead of Forever Knight, Buffy, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries. These constitute yet another race of vampires, human in appearance and temperment, unable to take animal shape, and unable to revive if destroyed. Whereas Dracula and his spawn can walk by day (but without any vampiric powers), these television vampires are burned to a crisp by sunlight. And curiously, they seem to age, though only after thousands of years. Compared to other vampire races, they’re kinda wimpy. They seem to qualify as Moroii, Romanian for ‘living vampires’.
So those are the seven known races of vampires. At least in my fiction. Named for their progenitors, I call them the Sethian, Molochian, Yaman, Khaian, Atic, Zalmoxian, and Draculonian vampires. But where did the vampires Sethos, Melek, Yama, Khaia, Atys, and Dracula come from?
As I present it, each of them was infected by a single Blood Goddess. Cultures across the world speak of a Queen of the Night, mother to all manner of horrors. She is named Thuringwethil, Lilitru, Lilith, Mara, Kali, Cailleach, Hecate, and Strigoica. She commands them all and gives them the Undead their powers. It is she that all other vampires fear.
However, the vampire Zalmoxis was NOT turned by the Blood Goddess. He came about through another means and thus all those vampires on television shows and “Twilight” are so human and weak. The trade off is that they’re not required to obey her.
There you have it, my catalog of all the vampires in literature and folklore. Actually, my complete geneology runs something like 55 pages! And I’m still adding to it all the time!
Oh, I said the two biggest names in Halloween horror are Dracula and Frankenstein, right? Well, I hope to have my Frankenstein trilogy finished and available by Halloween of 2015. See you then!
I am the author of the LEGEND OF DRACULA trilogy, a series of books that explore the “life” of the King of the Vampires from his death in 1476 to his appearance in Bram Stoker’s famous Victorian novel. Each book is a novel-in-stories, and these stories are presented in chronological order, so much as is possible.
The first book, VAMPIRE WARS, focuses on Dracula’s bloody wars against other vampires (guys will like the action and intrigue). The next, BRIDES OF DRACULA, is about the many women he seduces over the centuries (the ladies will especially love this one). And the last one, DRACULA ARISEN, focuses on Dracula’s origin, his clashes with the Vordenburg clan, and leads up to—and beyond—Stoker’s novel (everyone will like this, but especially completists).
I am a lifelong devotee of world history, geography, and true tales of horror. Inspired by the works of Stoker, Sheridan LeFanu, Mary Shelley, HP Lovecraft, and countless other masters of supernatural horror, I bring considerable experience and authenticity to my tales of the weird and the uncanny.
I am currently working on a trilogy of Frankenstein stories, amongst other things.
I take these classic characters and go in new and exciting directions, while still respecting and preserving the original. When you read these books, I think you will agree.
The sun sat once more, a year to the night after Vlad and his entourage first came to the castle. That was the night the Blood Goddess proclaimed him the king of the Night. This then was the anniversary and, if his hunch was correct, the end of the truce imposed by the goddess.
He rose and quickly climbed to the battlements, followed by the others. There he found Burgos on the wall, watching.
Burgos shook his head, but kept watching. Vlad looked across the castle to Stang, on the other side. Stang also signaled all clear.
Faust and the women joined him, looking out into the growing darkness, seeing more than any mortal could in the growing darkness. After a few minutes, Gretchen looked bored.
Then something caught Faust’s attention. “Sire, I sense the nearby casting of a spell.”
“Necromancy?” Vlad asked.
“Not this time, I think, lord. More like… a summoning.”
“That is not to my liking, wizard.”
“Nor mine, lord.”
Almost at once, something huge flew overhead. Vlad transformed into a great bat and gave chase. After a moment, the Thing sped away, faster than he could follow.
He lit on the tower once more and resumed human form.
“I know not what it was, but I suspect it was sent as a spy. To arms!”
Armed with weapons from the armory, the Undead manned the towers of the castle, waiting. Faust clutched his battleaxe as though it might jump out of his gnarled hands. Gretchen held her unfamiliar spear at arm’s length. Jusztina was scarcely more familiar with the Venetian crossbow she held.
“There,” Vlad pronounced, nigh midnight, “upon the north ridge. They’ve come at us from across the mountains. Hold thy posts.”
Vlad’s undead minions looked north and saw a troop approach. Above them, three more flew in bat-form. Beyond, mounted on horses, sat a man and a woman but even for undead eyes they were too far away to discern their identities.
“Faust, Burgos! Watch the gatehouse! They will try to surround us.”
Almost on cue, Faust spied others, led by the vulgar Vardalekos, climbing through the trees.
“There’s too many!” Gretchen cried out.
“Hah!” laughed Vlad, “We’ll see.”
Overhead, three giant bats attacked Vlad and Faust. Vardalekos ordered a band of red-faced ruffians up the walls of the castle, each gripping a heavy knife between his fangs. Burgos and Stang fired their crossbows and hit two of the attackers. But then, not having time to reload, they drew their swords.
On the other side of the castle, Vlad sliced a giant bat in half. The other raked him with its claws and his cry indicated that he could still experience pain.
Gretchen did not care to find out for herself. It was all too chaotic for her. She leaped into the courtyard and ran for the drawbridge.
Another bat flew at Faust, who swung the heavy axe. He missed and toppled over the wall to the jagged rocks below.
Just before Gretchen reached the windlass to lower the drawbridge and make her escape, Jusztina dropped in front of her, aiming her crossbow at Gretchen’s heart.
“Thou shalt not open that gate!”
“Out of my way, you hussy! They already come over the walls!”
It was true. The undead attackers had breached the castle walls and one of them charged the women. Jusztina turned and fired her bolt into the undead heart of a sluggish bandit.
By then Gretchen was turning the windlass, opening the gates to what she feebly hoped was salvation. Jusztina, scimitar in hand, screamed in rage and leapt at Gretchen.
The gates opened and standing in the doorway was a bearded, red-faced brute of a man—Vardalekos himself. He bore a sword in each hand and a fanged grin at the sight of the two tussling beauties.
“I get the winner,” he said, his fanged smile widening.
The two brides of Vlad Draculea stared at the brutish thug for an instant. But then a rotting, shrieking corpse fell between them. Falling, it had been a bat, but upon landing it was a man, perhaps a Saracen. He decayed so fast it was hard to tell.
But it was time enough for Gretchen to break away from Jusztina. Jusztina, seeing Varadlekos as the greater threat, swung at him.
The Greek vampire lord dodged easily out of the way. Then, almost as effortlessly, he hewed her head from her shoulders.
“Vardalekos!” called out an undead Greek whore from outside, “Erlik flees! Nestus and the witch hold back! We are alone!”
Vardalekos heard. So did Vlad. Vlad transformed into a bat, clutched his saber in his claws and flew towards the open gate.
But Vardalekos had already retreated. A hundred yards later the few survivors joined him and his whore. They fled, having too few numbers to feel comfortable attacking Vlad alone.
Likewise, Vlad had too few to chase them down. Faust had climbed back inside; Stang and Burgos were unharmed. But Lady Jusztina Frunză had been destroyed.
It was the first time Vlad lost one of his ‘children’. He seethed.