Those who have known me long enough know that my experiences online pale in comparison to what I experience day to day living in “Gotham” and hobnobbing with the backwards and uncultured nitwits that make up the “vampire scene” here in New York City. While my run-ins with Discordants online are typically entertaining, when not irritating, some of the more negative personal, face-to-face experiences I’ve had to bear in Gotham truly shouldn’t be experienced by any young person today, in any subculture.
I know that the broader vampire subculture finds aspects of Vampyre culture such as Houses and Courts to be flippant or garish, but these institutions were born out of a need for family and companionship, particularly here in New York City, an ethnic conclave where many of us come from broken homes headed by single parents or similar traumatic circumstances and we search for surrogate family outside the home. I feel that the nature of Sanguine culture offers that surrogacy that so many of us needed, only for the concept itself to be perverted and manipulated by those with negative intentions, such as those I intend to describe here.
So, needless to say, here’s where things become a bit personal, and I’m going to try my damnedest not to dwell more than a few paragraphs on each topic. Yeah, good luck with that.
A bit of context—Back around the end of 2016, Alpha called in a favor from an old acquaintance, a rather bitter, misanthropic palm reader who had apparently done some literary work for him in the past. After she finished draining me of the little financial resources I had, I fled to Rhode Island, at the time believing I might fare better in a new locale and maybe even start fresh. The fact that I’m writing this right now proves things didn’t quite go to plan, but I hold no ill will towards the man. Even he said she was a wretch.
My brother, meanwhile, had introduced me to a local he thought might be a fit for me as a mentor. Looking back, though, it now seems more a poor attempt at matchmaker. Needless to say, I was then the Nadja and prospective “chylder”—some White Wolf® term taken to mean “progeny”—of the right hand to the King of Gotham and probably the sweetest poison I’d ever tasted.
(I usually refer to him as “Blues Clues” on social media, but that’s rather silly, so we’ll just refer to him in the third person.)
He started off nice—wonderful, in fact—putting me up in hotel rooms after I returned from Rhode Island destitute and penniless. When I found myself back in the shelters, he’d invite me to keep him company at work. This was the only romantic relationship to date where I possess photos of me and said partner together. Meanwhile, I was recovering from exposure and a failed suicide attempt, clearly mentally compromised and emotionally vulnerable, desperate for stability and somebody to lean on. Keep this dependency in mind.
After the Arcane Ramblings fiasco later in the year, where he didn’t take too kindly to my blasting his M:tG duel mates, I was released from under him, a move which splintered my heart into pieces and began a long, drawn-out, toxic game of back-and-forth that persisted for over a year. The honeymoon phase was clearly over—what was I worth to him? A few hours of rough fun and a pretty face to show off? Arm candy? Wasn’t I good enough? Where did we go wrong? I blamed myself for everything, even in spite of those close to him insisting otherwise. I lay awake some nights pondering whether or not I still love him, this toxic incubus in whose image I seem to be forged. I still don’t know for sure.
Looking back, however, I can’t say that he actually taught me anything, at least not directly. For the “right hand of the King,” he seemed evasive and even rude whenever I asked about history or magick. Mentioning Alpha’s name once even got me blocked. What I did receive from him, however, was at least the opportunity to make use of his vast library—he was in possession of a handful of very useful historical texts like the Vampyre Almanacs and the V compendium, among others. He also blessed me with my first Sanguine ankh, for which I will always remember him. What I am able to say is that he inspired within me my rather passionate—if overzealous—love for Sanguinarium history and culture, much to his annoyance.
Months passed, and our deadly dance seemed to end. My Sanguine ankh shattered during a freak accident, not even a few days after an ambitious amateur restoration. My devastation knew no bounds. I mourned inconsolably for a time before I contemplated my next move. Fixing the piece seemed impractical, as its constitutional makeup proved resistant to whatever cheap fixes I threw at it. I then happened across a small box that fit the broken blade perfectly, and thus was born my greatest, worst idea.
I had no desire to attend this… thing the Club Kids were throwing. I retain my respect for the dead, be they gaja, Vampyre or otherwise, but I knew no one and nothing and didn’t care for the atmosphere. I was anxious, confused, surrounded by judgemental strangers to whom my reputation had all but proceeded me. I purchased a drink to calm my nerves. Father Vincent himself was unable to attend, which really blew mine, as he would have been the one comforting, familiar face there. Quite noticeably, many community Elders opted not to attend, which I find rather interesting. The tributes themselves brought me to tears only due to my inebriation and the rather confused, discordant energy radiating in the crowd. It’s not as though I knew anyone they were speaking about, or cared—it seemed as though they were just celebrating the lives of a few recently deceased club personalities.
I did, however, feel the presence and energy of an Elder who recently passed, one of the few cats in this bullshit scene I actually respected, a man who watched over me, defended me and encouraged my work. I’d even heard his voice, unmistakably the “‘hood vamp champ.” I imagine the Club Kids and drunken parasites had no idea, but what else would be expected of those making up a movement that seems one giant, calcified pineal gland?
I digress. He must have seen me from a distance, as his eyes stared unsteadily ahead as he briskly marched past me, wool cape flapping behind him. My gaze, meanwhile, was at the floor, as I considered perhaps bailing out and saving my hide at the expense of being a coward carrying a box of broken silver-plated nickel. His House sister stood behind him, an individual I once thought I could trust. I’d later learned she was as much a serpent as, say, her husband, who was also present, but her presence then, at this time, encouraged me as I took my first shaky steps forward.
Words were exchanged—the drink in his hand was still full. It’s difficult for me to describe what it is to stand before someone five feet high yet tremble as though he were some towering hellbeast. Yet I pressed on, with tears in my eyes—here I was, finally making peace, perhaps for the last time?, burying this hatchet I’d sought to bury for so long. I might have finally regained my best friend, my lover, my muse. Without thinking, I embraced him, choking on my own emotions. He tensed up, but I didn’t care. I just needed to be in his arms, a greater dependency than I’d ever known. No drug or drink or rite or ritual trumped this moment.
He wasn’t dumb. He knew why I was there. He maintained his composure as long as he could bear, even as inwardly he fumed. I could have left right then and there. My mission was complete. But it was not to be, even as I walked off wiping away a trail of tears and inhaling the musk of dragon’s blood I’d missed with all my being.
Some time later, after a dozen and one memorials to people I never knew, he approached me—the glass he’d been nursing was noticeably empty. What followed was an attack on my mind and soul, acid dripping from his lips as the fruity ethanol scent battered me into masochistic submission. Once again, I was the devil, everything was my fault, what a failure I was, who would never amount to anything! How dare I think to approach him—even to touch him!—lowly, sycophantic worm that I am, at a time like this when the Club Kids come to mourn their fallen compatriots! I, the Ramkht radical, intentionally came to crash this event—oh, yes, I did!—to ruin the experience for him with my theatrics! Certainly, that was my intention, he insisted! He complained of wanting to rend me limb from limb with his bare hands, not that I would have resisted.
His words shot at me like the bullets of an automatic weapon, and I stood there, bleeding out, unable to form any dignified response. His House brother—an exiled, two-faced, reptilian parasite despised by the whole of Gotham and husband to the aforementioned sister—watched over the shameful display in encouragement, feeding deeply from my utter despair and his brother’s zealotry like a bloated leech. What happened next, I’m unsure. I don’t even remember the train ride home, or the events of the week that followed.
If I had any faith in Gotham left that night, by the morning, it was gone. His face and his scent still haunt my dreams to this day. I’m even scared to pass him on the street. According to insider sources, his House has always been little more than a collective of asarai who would stab him in the back if it served them, even while smiling to his face. When I belonged to him, pardon, when I was under him, I always hated them for that.
He now bears the exalted name of his Father, though its value remains undermined by his capricious and condescending nature. Here is a man who, like me, despises the very community he’s immersed in. So why take the title Elder? Why bother showing up at events? You’re a smart fellow, jaded and superficial as you are, it was you who first told me these fetishist mongrels were not worth wasting time on. What does being a Vampyre mean to you? Or is all this just a pageant to you?
P.S. I still love you, but I love me more. And one day, I’ll prove you wrong.
From Gotham to Babylon
With its ambivalent origins and culture drawn from history and folklore, Vampyre culture is a strange creature all unto itself. Here in Gotham, the culture has had a strong focus on S&M fetishism, both in its early days and the mess it is today, due to subcultural overlap between the vampire and fetish club scenes. So imagine, if you will, a man walking into a room and introducing a young woman as his “concubine in training.” If you were in Gotham around the turn of the century, this wouldn’t seem particularly out of place to you. But it’s a most curious thing when, as years pass, this “pet” amasses political power within the community and goes on to more or less destroy it.
First a “fae,” then a “vampire,” until some sociopolitical desire of hers was apparently denied and she set about adopting a more lupine persona—something else entirely, though I don’t care to speculate. Other, more blunt people might use the epithet bruja. I thought my reputation was bad, but my motivations are driven by a sort of Sanguine altruism, a society of Vampyres for others and myself, based on the traditions and virtues of the Sabretooth Clan while staying far removed from that sect’s commercialism and secular thought. If I ever felt the need to inspire a revolution, it would be to reinstate the cultural revival of the Sanguinarium, a community “for us, by us.” That is, for Vampyres.
It seems other revolutions were started for less noble reasons.
Understand that I have been exposed to a very generous set of circumstances where I was able to get to know many figures in this scene on a personal level. I once lived under the roof of one of the founding Elders of a prestigious House. My research notes accumulated over my years in the group home now reside with the King of Gotham himself. And we all know of the little tryst between his son and I. I think one can say you’ve gotten to know any person well enough under those circumstances and similar—like eating from one’s plate or perusing their libraries.
I remember sitting here, years ago, in this certain house, as my Adra slapped his Magic: the Gathering cards on the table, his narrow eyes focusing on his cards, one hand holding the deck and looking for all as much as a poker-faced gambler while he nursed a mimosa in his opposite hand. He looked as dreamy as ever. I was more distracted, however, by the books shelved all around me. It was interesting to me, then, to be in the den of “wolves,” back when I would just unquestionably accept one’s metaphysical identity even when my intuition suggested otherwise. These people are adults, mind you, who savagely make claim to and protect these identities. But why, then, did I only see fiction novels around, the works of Meyer, Rice, Hamilton and their ilk? On another shelf, White Wolf® game materials were prominently displayed, spines frayed and cracked. Without seeking to draw attention to myself, I scrutinized the contents of the many shelves around me. Not a single book of Lupa (A Field Guide to Otherkin), or Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan). None of the other publications traditionally associated with therioshamanism, like Frater D or Orion Scribner’s works. No Sabine Baring-Gould. No Brad Steiger or Bob Curran. Not even any of the old Sanguinarium texts. Just White Wolf® guidebooks—Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Changeling: the Dreaming. Near the door, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and the Vampire Chronicles.
Just what kind of sham was being played at here?
Then I began to pick up on the terminology. The woman called herself “Lupa,” allegedly meaning “mother” but actually translating to “she-wolf,” with an informal use as an epithet in Ancient Rome: “prostitute.” Her mate at the time was called “Ulfric,” an ambivalent term apparently translating to “wolf king” in Norse, seemingly gleaned from the Elder Scrolls franchise. In fact, the terms Lupa and Ulfric were both pilfered from Laurel K. Hamilton’s work. An event hosted later in the year, “Lupanar,” also stolen from the books, as well as a Black Veil-style document entitled “Scroll of the Wolf,” which I did have the opportunity to read personally. And the icing on the cake was the name of the path they created and professed to follow:—“Fera.”
I thought Vampyric gaja were bad, but holy sweat—they come in wolf.
Upon Closer Inspection
The problem with the melodramatic pseudo-politics of modern Gotham is that too much power is given to those who abuse it. Here, we are accustomed to rumors of, to give one example, people exchanging sexual favors for positions of power—false power in a fraudulent community, but power nevertheless—and it seems as though the ill-begotten power only ever finds itself being used for selfish means.
Take for instance how every anti-Sabretooth sellout here in Gotham (and abroad) is allied with the Unity Project, or Blood Nations. You can pick all the fleur-de-sangs out of a crowd these days without even straining your eyes. Now we already know that Unity, which is ultimately little more than a front to act out a decade-old grudge against the Alpha and his crew, builds itself by establishing their LARP courts in different cities around the nation, indifferent to whether or not there is already a council-type organization in that area, and heading them with “kings” and “queens.” (cough cough) NOLA. (cough)
Some time ago, this political farce we have called Haven (AKA “Gotham Town Hall”) temporarily rebranded itself as a resurrected “Court of Gotham,” because Unity and its puppets seem to enjoy manipulating D’Drennan’s legacy for their personal benefit. It was headed reluctantly by an Orion, but whispers of a coming coup and the blasphemous idea of even resurrecting a court that truly should have remained in the past destroyed this fraudulent institution, and it has become Haven once again.
With Unity’s puppets at the helm here in New York City, and a handful in New Jersey, who’s to say that this “Court of Gotham” was not intended to be headed by a new, reigning “king” and “queen,” as has been the case with Blood Nations in other territories?
While it may be just an idle theory still circulating from that time, it’s not as though anyone actually cares about, you know, the current king. Anyhow, it is his own “favorite,” styling herself as “Mother,” who has more or less taken over the entire society while all the other worthless, phony, sycophantic “Elders” simply allow it to happen. And if this is the future of Gotham, then Gotham truly is dead—a fallen kingdom, headed by role-playing Club Kids and an unquestionably loyal entourage of uncultured fetishists; truly the Sanguinarium’s “experiment that failed”; the utter shame and disgrace of the Legacy so difficult to face that even the Alpha himself seems to avoid New York like leprosy.
The End of an Era
I regret that for as in-depth I am able to prattle on about incidents or individuals, I have yet hesitated to supply the promised insight into my own life, outside of a few social media posts.
I think it’s important to understand where many of us come from, how we come upon the broader subculture and what we desire from it. Many were role-players who wanted to live the rest of their lives as a game, every power-play representing to them another fortunate roll of the dice. Many were club kids and fetishists who spent their entire youth in the nightclubs and, knowing nothing else, are loathe to leave them even as the costumes have rotted to pieces and so, too, have their bodies and minds. The end of the Sanguine era comes at their hands, as they seek to discover the secrets to immortality and transcendence under hot studio lights, through the burn of a whip or a shot of alcohol, against the natural order of things. It’s not the… “proper” way, nor is it respectable or admirable. Their secular, devil-may-care hedonism has aged these heathens in dog’s years, and the Legacy they leave behind is an empty, meaningless and hollow thing of no value.
I, however, stumbled upon this disgraceful hovel young, curious and in need of guidance, unable to remember my name or where I’d come from, or even what I’d become. The Awakening of any young Vampyre is traumatic, but it is truly a nightmare when you have no one around who understands, nay, nobody around at all. I came seeking for something more to life, only glimpses of which I was ever provided by my Adras and the Alpha himself, and when I’d finally discovered myself and what I was meant to be, I realized that the world was not a place for others like me. This community had shunned and belittled those who sought culture, passion and grace. They made the only beacon of civility out to be a depraved, thieving monster, and if you stood with him or anything he represented, you were an enemy and less than human. This community mocked and degraded everything beautiful and lovely and magickal and inspiring, made rite and ritual to be something demonic and even perverted the term “vampire” to represent a degenerate parasite that preyed upon the innocent.
That’s when my dream became to change the world, to inspire others and to find other true Vampyres out there, somewhere, who wanted to live in a world where all Vampyres could truly achieve their greatest potential. A Vampyre World.
So what of those like us who seek more to life than silly costumes, role-play courts and unrestrained blood fetishism? What ever happened to those who respect the virtues of Vampyrism as a path or a way of life instead of merely a “lifestyle?”
I remember attending 2018’s Endless Night Ball here in New York City—it was more beautiful than I’d imagined. The room was bathed in an eerie, red light, and I remember the voice crackling over the music through the loudspeakers:—“Please join hands to the person to your left, and to your right… Tonight we gather in darkness to celebrate the world’s greatest gathering of Vampyres…”
I had been present a little more than an hour, hoping that I knew someone who I could just cling to for the rest of the night in my crippling social anxiety. Now I was joining hands with utter strangers in a ritual gathering that defied my wildest expectations. We bowed our heads, and the energy coursing through the room seemed to tear at our hair and the costumes worn by the attendees. “We gather together to unify this glorious Halo… Envision Gotham rising again!” The choir music had turned aggressive, and the entire room seemed to recoil with an unnatural force. It was almost as though something was being purged from the entire City. Images flashed in my head of buildings reduced to rubble, like the eternal images of the fallen World Trade Center or some UPN monster flick—clouds of dust billowing, the sidewalk littered with bodies. The imagery of death was not merely the death of people, but the death of innocence, the death of hope for a brighter future.
“Hold this vision of the greatest Vampyre city in the world… Let things begin anew and the past disappear…” Four hooded figures stood in the center of the crowd, leading a chant of “Hail Gotham!” The entire room seemed to slip away at that moment; the red light cast on the walls seemed to melt into nothingness, and I swooned as the energy swelled within the room like a massive circuit. Letting things begin anew and having the past disappear, knowing what utter barbarity Gotham had become and knowing that it should disappear, and all those who turned our home into a cesspool of degeneracy—the heat of rage burst from my face like flames from a dragon’s mouth. Suddenly, images flashed in my mind of mighty skyscrapers bursting forth from the rubble and reaching for the night sky all around like the great spires of R’lyeh. Tears streaming down my face, I returned the call with all my might:—“ʜᴀɪʟ ɢᴏᴛʜᴀᴍ!”
Again, “ʜᴀɪʟ ɢᴏᴛʜᴀᴍ!”
The room erupted into howls like a forest of wolves, and I nearly collapsed from exertion. Behind me, a Sabretooth sister asked if I was alright. I was slightly embarrassed to make eye contact, my face moist and red. I was uneasy on my feet and there was nowhere for me to sit.
I did not wish to draw attention by squatting on the floor, so I made my way to the bar, my head in my hands in anguish. I’d just had the most wonderful experience of my life—yet I was in such indescribable pain and anguish because I knew I would never experience it again here within the confines of the Gotham asylum.
(Translation: Enlightened Peace & Harmony)
How do I conclude an entry like this? I struggle to find the words. My optimism, like my health, seems to continue to falter. I have been cheated and lied to by almost everyone I once trusted—Gotham will never pursue true Vampyrism, culture or virtue in this generation, not so long as these charlatans are running the show. I and others like me will continue to remain outcasts in a community where civility, beauty and ritual are anathema to everything the gaja regime stands for and represents. Cities like New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta, Richmond and Los Angeles will continue to fall to the horde of dishonorable vermin called Blood Nations, their false history and their false goddess. Indeed, it doesn’t seem like there’s any hope anywhere.
But yet I go on fighting. Even against all odds, something within me refuses to falter. So maybe I am fighting for something righteous. Maybe I am working for good. Gotham may have been seemingly destroyed in a day, but it certainly wasn’t built in one. Maybe there will come a time where true Sanguines will have to secede from the Gotham fetish scene regime and go their own way. I eagerly await for such a day to come.
A handful of us may find small—if temporary—comfort and solace within Sabretooth Alpha. On the other hand, perhaps I ought to just start a House and begin recruiting among those within whom I find potential. Gotham cares nothing for the younger generation, so it might be time for us to build something specifically for us.
I hope I’m not making it sound easy—in an era where self-absorbed trust fund babies and narcissistic porn stars advertise a Gothic, fiction-inspired role-play lifestyle where they entertain their blood fetish and pretend to be vampires for bargain bin tabloids, it shouldn’t be assumed that the older generation is the only one with a monopoly over fictitious role-playing identities. My generation has its fair share of delusional LARPers, particularly within the modern occult subculture—privileged spoiled brats decked out in crystals and pentacles prancing around claiming to be Wiccans or “white witches,” spreading about love and light at the expense of their mental health and our patience. On the flipside, there are those who outwardly affect the persona of a “Satanist” or “devil worshiper” who appropriate concepts from film and fiction—much as the gaja do—while dressing in absurd Goth-inspired costumes or violating themselves with garish tattoos in order to illicit a response from so-called “normal” people. I actually happen to know individuals who fit the mold of both of these examples; the latter used to stalk me and attempted to use my pre-amnesiac trauma against me in retaliation for an unrequited, closeted sexual desire.
It’s just that no matter how hopeless things seem
We all have to try our best to do what’s right for our people
For our Vampyre Tribe and our Sanguine Nation.
It’s a tough and rather unrewarding job, but someone must do it, and clearly no one in Gotham is interested. Blood Nations or UVOC aren’t going to do it; the former only seeks to make money off of riding Sabretooth’s coattails while simultaneously bashing their unacknowledged forefathers, and the latter only exists for the VC anti-intellectuals to complain on Facebook live streams about the struggles of being an etheric parasite. None of these contemporary vampire cults hold any interest in restoring Vampyre culture to its rightful place because there is no money or prestige to be gained from such an endeavor.
No one should have to endure what this disgrace of a community put so many of us through. I’ve been told stories I wanted to share here so badly, but those stories were not mine to tell—stories of the same betrayal, strife and drama I endured and lived to share today. Maybe, one day, those people will be ready to share their stories, and I invite them to use Vampyre Gnosis as their welcoming platform.
Anyhow, we’re already a quarter into 2019, however, and now I’m no longer alone—there are those, however few in number, who see the potential in this dream and we might all one day see it come to fruition. The dream is to inspire people with the history, the culture and the magick, to show others that being a Vampyre is to be true, honest and virtuous.
We want to show others that there are alternatives to the vampire “cults” that call themselves “Courts” and offer nothing but a cool kid’s table at which to sit and belittle those who don’t agree with you or choose to indulge in your vendetta against your fang-daddy.
We want to come together and show people the culture and beauty that was once the Current, the Living Essence of Vampyric culture, the Sanguinarium, to inspire all those Seekers and Sanguines of the world to appreciate their history and culture.
Every day, I receive messages through social media of those who have become inspired by the illustrious history of the Sanguinarium and the beautiful culture and philosophies of the Current. I am so grateful to be able to reach so many people around the world, from Azerbaijan to Japan and everywhere in between.
But while I may have a small network of associates who are dreaming for a better future, I am only but a young man myself. I can only do so much, so my focus for this working is primarily local. Who knows what, together, we could be capable of! My Sanguinarium library is inching closer to completion—One day, I hope to have my home open as a Haven to those who are truly of the Blood so they can come and learn their history from those who lived it. Somewhere down the line, maybe we’ll be able to put together study groups, host quabals and moots of our own, or go out to art galleries and museums. Maybe it starts with just a small clutch this year, just my Brothers and I, and next year we might have a House with membership in the dozens.
I certainly hope so, and I’ll be praying for it—I can only hope you’re all praying with me. Together, we can build a brighter future.
What better way to end this essay but on a positive note?
Eternally yours, in the Blood of the Current,
Published 02:45, 8 Apr, SY 23
Image credit: modified stock image
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