The year is 1996. The city: New York.
Two young Vampyres meet up in the back of Vault nightclub—675 Hudson Street. Beneath the strobing lights, they sat: the blonde in the cowboy hat is a “fangsmith,” an amateur dental technician who produces Hollywood-grade acrylic fangs for the community of night creatures coalescing in Gotham’s underground. The man with the darker hair and silver-capped tooth is older, a lover of all things dark and the expression of the Beast within, symbolized by the prominent dragon tattoo on the side of his head—both sides shaved—and the cat-o’-nine-tails dangling from his waist.
Picture it… the Sanguine Patriarchs… In the dark, an alliance is made: more than just the Clan. It is the birth of the Vampyre World…
The dream was like Aaron Boone’s, a vision of building Midian on Earth, here in New York where the Nightbreed walked amongst humanity. The labarum of this vision: a bladed, looped cross of silver—the Coven ankh, or, officially, the Sabretooth ankh. It took less than four years and the City was theirs, their beloved Gotham Halo. The Great Work was a massive success. As the years passed, and the great Family grew larger and ever larger. Groups would branch off, the House Orion, the Legion of Panthion, the House Sabretooth MacPhee, the Clan Hidden Shadows, the House Omega—more than one could count, yet still of the same Blood. New York City was the Rome of the Vampyres, our glorious Nightside kingdom, and the nation became the Sanguinarium, the guild of the Blood.
But like all the great kingdoms of the world, strife and petty feuds came to tear our empire asunder. Even as greater milestones were reached, there were still those to drag us down. The un-Awakened human horde came with their cameras and journalists, and with them came the opportunity to share this jewel of the Nightside with the world. Instead, ongoing wars for power and pride waged on. The final chord was struck when Saint P. Nathan D’Drennan, Master Metal Manipulator and creator of the symbol of our unity, took his own life, Valentine’s Day 2005. This great loss dealt a blow from which the community would never recover. The Sanguine Patriarchs, the Almighty Fathers, ceased to work together—A betrayal? Some say so, but hell… I wasn’t there.
The almighty Vampyre Nation would crumble to dust, and our Family split into two factions—two Bloodlines born from the same fount but who would never again know unity. The Alpha strain would go on to—as many detractors have described it—‘‘bastardize’’ the very culture it played a part in creating, indiscriminately ‘‘prostituting’’ sanitized ‘‘bootlegs’’ of Sanguinarium culture and traditions to outsiders, vampire fetishists, role-players and Hot Topic mall goths the world over. Their words, not mine. The Omega strain simply slipped into the shadows. The original, unaltered culture, traditions and history were lost. The Halo remains in shambles to this very day.
Meanwhile, to the outside world, the heyday of the Sanguine Era was labeled as simply a fad perpetuated by washed-up goths and blood fetishists. Patronizing minstrel shows were put on every Halloween in media and in print. Even during other times of the year, articles abound in online tabloids of depraved, sickly blood fetishists masquerading as “real life vampires.” Just in the last five years alone, televised and online media has been inundated with a freakshow display of sexually depraved thrill-seekers in print and on video, from a former prostitute-turned-blood fetishist extracting blood from her husband’s genitals to a deranged gang of S&M vampire role-players in Texas masquerading as a “Court.” A now-deleted documentary chronicled the exploits of a cult of underage devil-worshiping emo trailer trash incising themselves with dull utility knives (Update: [link]), and more recently a British tabloid has shone the spotlight on two fanatical vampire fetish groups, one in the United States led by a True Blood cosplayer and a retired cam-whore, and the other a cult of Gothic Satanists from Romania.
With this kind of representation, it is no secret that Vampyre heritage and culture would also generally be in shambles. Within the shadow of Gotham Halo—the community that bore Vampyre culture, which now barely clings to life—mostly useless “Elders” squabble among themselves over meaningless and trivial matters while our King watches from the shadows, distant, jaded and taciturn. Many individuals and Houses have abandoned the community entirely and many Clans and bloodlines dissolved or broke apart. Rogue Houses crop up almost every month now, unscrupulous S&M cults led by predatory fetishists or gangs of jean-sagging teenagers basing their role-play identity off of the latest celluloid disgrace defecated by the Hollywood dream machine.
It has been twenty-three years since the Sanguine Era began.
There are no more throngs of adoring humans with cameras eager for a glimpse into the Vampyre World. There is no more progression. There is no more history or culture. There is no more pride. There is just sickness, depravity and shame. Like the smoldering remains of Dresden or Nagasaki at the end of the Axis War, Gotham is a veritable graveyard, a depressing testament to what once was. This, my brothers and sisters, is our inheritance. This is our future.
Permit me to list the things we have lost in these two decades. We lost a rich and beautiful culture—our culture—which imbued us Vampyres with a regional or even “nationalist” pride, a culture which promoted honor, loyalty, love, respect, ideals and tradition. We lost our great and inspirational heritage—books lost or destroyed, testimonies silenced, loose lips sealed and history revised and manipulated by dishonorable pirates. We lost the essence of what truly united us in the Blood, the tribal spiritual essence that made us Sanguines.
This is the story of the greatest Vampyre tribe known to history. But is this truly the end? It shall not be—not if we can help it.
Before the days when greed, avarice, lust and betrayal tore our great Family asunder, there was the Blood, and there will always be the Blood. Beyond all of our love and hatred, our covetousness and our selflessness, our highs and our lows, there is the Blood. And it is in that Blood that we are truly a Tribe, that we are a Family, that we are a Nation—The Sanguine children of Gotham Halo and the whole world. We are Strigoi Vii!
“Porque lo llevó en la sangre, por herencia de mis padres…”
Image credit: Sadanobu Kanō (1597—1693)
Excerpt from “Bloodlines: A Manifesto for the New Sanguine Generation,”
Own writing, S.Y. 23. All rights reserved.
Updated 1 Feb 2019, 3:20