Prayer To The Vampire Mother

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Oh, Goddess of the Darkness

Mother to the immortal

Let me be reborn as your child

Let your light absorb my own

Allow me passage to the Darkness

As from your immortal womb

Into the arms of your children

To whom I will call brother

Oh, Moonlight

Let me be reborn as your child

Guide the Dark Ones to me

So I shall be born again

                                                            ~ Your Adoring Child Stranded In Daylight

 

 


 

 

The Tale of Ambrogio, The Undying

From the scriptures of Delphi

Translated from the Ancient Tongue into the Greek

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In the lands to the West, where the Ancient Etruscans once made for themselves a great civilisation, there was born a son of Italy named Ambrogio. As a lad, he became known for his bravery and intrepid ways. He took after his father and became a hunter of some note in his lands.

His pioneering ways and wanderlust only grew as he did and as he rose to handsome manhood the fences of his boundaries widened. Never taking to wife, he became an adventurer and came to see many lands and learn to speak many tongues. He became known to many villages and tribes as the ‘Bearer of Gifts’ for he always honoured a place by only entering into their lands by invitation and always repaying kindness with gifts of meat, bone, blood, and pelts. Some peoples thought of him as Pan, the Forest God, or some other entity of natural power for he gained friendship with the creatures of the land who were fellow hunters like himself, particularly the noble wolf.

Upon his many adventures, Ambrogio heard of an Oracle to the East across the sea in the lands of Great Greece who was said to be at the city of Delphi. She was renowned for her ability to see the future and to grant worthy supplicants knowledge of their futures. Her prophecies were always accurate, though, Ambrogio was warned, often cryptic in their meanings.

To Ambrogio, this seemed a great boon for the one thing he missed from his life was a true calling. His wanderings were largely without purpose and, though he ranged wide and far and enriched the lives of many peoples, he himself felt adrift. He needed to know if he had a destiny and how to follow it! He was also very lonely and longed for someone to be by his side.

By crooked paths, many dangers, and much hardship, Ambrogio at last arrived at Delphi and attended the temple there. He beseeched the great Pythian Oracle that he might know his destiny. She recognised Ambrogio’s trial at coming to Delphi as a sign of his worthiness to have his fortune read and so did seek the knowledge of the adventurer’s doom.

The Oracle looked with closed eyes into the sacred mists of Apollo’s Eye, a natural cauldron in the rock beneath where the Oracle’s throne was set, and did see Ambrogio’s future.

Snapping open her sacred eyes, with her countenance contorted in a look of horror, the Oracle prophesied Ambrogio’s fate. Writhing with her ringed hands at the sides of her veiled head in seeming pain The Oracle proclaimed:

The Curse! The Moon! THE BLOOD WILL RUN!

At the proclamation, the Oracle fell insensate and spoke no more leaving Ambrogio, stunned, confused, and horrified by what he had just heard.

“What could that mean? What horrors await me? Oh, but I should never have come here!” Ambrogio wept and left the temple and collapsed outside at the foot of the temple’s marble wall. There he stayed, entranced and frozen in fear, through the night and into the next morning.

He was startled by a shake unaware that daylight had come despite his not sleeping. When his tear salted eyes opened and found focus he saw a vision in white that stole his breath away! She stared down at him with compassion and intensity and her eyes were almost hypnotic in their bright green beauty. Her face was the colour of moonlight and her hair, tucked neatly behind her cowl, was raven black and silken straight.

“Dear man! Luckless you must have been in the night to have had to allay your weariness here. If shelter you needed, the temple would have provided! Such is the grace of Apollo, Lord of Sunlight and Revealer of all Truth!” Her musical voice did cause a shiver of joy to run down Ambrogio spine!

As straight and true as one of Ambrosio’s own arrows let go did Eros, God of Fatuous Love, find a mark in Ambrogio‘s heart that morning. Lovestruck, both woman and man were stricken together under the Pythian Temple of Delphi by Eros’ darts. He fell in love with her etherial beauty both of countenance and of kindly spirit. She fell in love with his neediness and seeming helplessness belying his certain rugged natural beauty and obvious strength of body.

“I am Ambrogio, seeker of the Oracle’s truth!” He offered.

“I am Selene, Priestess of Holy Apollo and keeper of the Oracle!” She replied.

Over the next few mornings Ambrogio would go forth and meet Selene in that same place in front of the temple.  On the last day he would have in Delphi, he met her and asked her to come away with him and to become his wife.

So in love was Selene that she thoughtlessly agreed to the proposal. Ambrogio made promise that he would meet her upon that morrow at dawn where then they would return to Italy and live there as husband and wife.

But, alas, Eros had been chastened by Apollo for his transgression of matching his Priestess to a foreign man.  Apollo had consecrated Selene to be for himself when her duties to the current Oracle could be discharged to one of lesser standing in his eyes.  Apollo grew very angry at Ambrogio for his presumption and, before the sun set on that very day, Apollo did appear to Ambrogio in awesome shining ferocity!

“Thou mortal darest to take my Holy Priestess consecrated unto me as your wife? You darest to take her away from me to the savage lands from which you were whelped?  I say thee nay, thou vagrant pretender!” The heat of Apollo’s anger struck Ambrogio and cast him down to his knees in quaking fear!

“Oh, Holy Power!  Had I known that she had been consecrated unto you only, I would not have fallen in love with Selene. But, alas, I am in love with her and will die inside if I cannot take her for my own!  I do dare thy wrath, Holy One! I have no choice! She must be mine or my life will become a living death without her!” Ambrogio’s spellbound heart spoke its truth which only incensed burning Apollo further.

“Then, as the ghosts of the dead must do, then so shall thee do!  Yay, I do cast thee out from my daylight!  From now until thy bitter death will thee know only darkness!  Thou shall not meet again with Selene for by thy own promise will all thy promises be unmade.  Thou will never again see another dawn and so thou shall not see this coming dawn besides!  To Selene thy vagabond ways will be proved out and her trust in thee will be broken and she shall return to my service and think no more of you!”  With that Apollo levied his curse upon the unhappy Ambrogio.

At the moment the curse was spoken the setting sun did burn and blind Ambrogio with searing agony!  From the light did he run to find shelter from it in the darkest cave he could find!  He left not the cave even when the cool of the night air soothed his burned skin.  To his surprise, he found he could see well in the deep darkness of the cave.  It was as if his vision cast light upon the shadows that he might see through them.

As his fortune would have it, Ambrogio had actually hidden in a sacred cave that was one of the gateways to the Underworld of Hades.  In the Darkness, Ambrogio bemoaned his terrible fate!  He would never see daylight again and, worse, he would never see Selene, his beloved, ever again!  His sobs echoed into the dark vastness and were heard by Hades.

Per his own devices, Hades had an idea of how to make use of Ambrogio’s plight to Hades’ advantage.  Hades longed for the Silver Moon Bow of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt and of the Crescent Moon.  It was a treasure he coveted and for his own stygian unknowable reasons.  Hades knew of Ambrogio’s exploits as a hunter of renown and figured that Artemis might be seduced to trust this mortal as she was partial to all hunters as she was their patroness.

Hades thus appeared before Ambrogio in a seeming guise less threatening than his usual form.  He offered the distraught Ambrogio a deal:

“Should thee go forth from here to the Moonlit Pools of Artemis and retrieve for me her Silver Bow then I shall give Selene and thee sanctuary in the Underworld.  Apollo dare not contest with me there!  She and thee will be left in peace. However, if thee fail me in this task then thy soul shall be forfeit and it shall remain with me and thou willst be forever separated from Selene in death. Hence, as collateral for our bargain I require thy soul remain with me in the Underworld until the task is done.”

To this, Ambrogio readily accepted and with great hope and joy!

“For thy task I award thee with this bow of wood complete with eleven arrows enchanted with my power.  Use the bow and arrows to collect trophies for Artemis that thou might win her favour and her trust.”  Hades gestured and a black wood bow carved like bones appeared before Ambrogio’s feet.  Along with the bow was a quiver of black wood arrows likewise carved to resemble black bones crowned with barbed obsidian arrow-heads and fletched with raven feathers.

In desperation to give word to Selene as to what had transpired, Ambrogio shot one of the arrows into a swan and made use of its blood and a quill from its wing to write a note telling of his fate and why he could not have met with her that coming dawn.

The next morning Selene found the note Ambrogio had left at the place of their first meeting.  Through tears of both relief and sadness she read the terrible doom inflicted upon her beloved by Apollo’s wrath.  Inwardly, Selene then became resentful of the god, but knew better than to break trust with him so she continued on with her duties as his Priestess. In his service, she silently hated the very god she was forced to serve and this enmity she would always keep with Apollo and his daylight.  The following morning Selene found yet another parchment from Ambrogio.  It was a love poem and, though Selene treasured it above all other things, she memorised it and burned the parchment to protect herself and Ambrogio from garnering Apollo’s further wrath.

For forty-four nights Ambrogio hunted swans, used their blood and quills to write to Selene and then made use of the swans’ bodies as a sacred offering to Artemis to complete his task of gaining her favour.  On the forty-fifth day, Ambrogio was down to his last enchanted arrow.  He used it but it betrayed him and missed and broke as the swan flew away.  Ambrogio, now bereft of any way of communicating with his beloved, fell into despair and wept bitterly.

Hearing his keening cries, Artemis, who had been won over by Ambrogio’s devotion and to the charm of his ardent love, came to him in comfort.  Moved to pity by his breaking heart, Artemis did lend to Ambrogio her own Silver Bow and one silver arrow to kill a swan to use its blood to write his Selene one last letter.

In necessary deceit, Ambrogio sneaked away on the false pretence that he was about finding a swan.  Instead, he made for the cave where he had met Hades before so that he could honour his deal with the Dark God.  But, Artemis, sensing something was amiss, tracked the errant hunter down and discovered his deception.

Enraged, Artemis took the form of a giant white wolf and pounced upon Ambrogio before he could get any further on his dark errand.  Artemis prepared to take out Ambrogio’s throat for his daring sacrilege, but relented as the despondent hunter begged her forgiveness and by telling to her the sorrowful reason for his deception.

Artemis did relent and returned to her radiant form as a goddess.  Moved, again, to pity and again moved by his devotion to Selene, Artemis sought to rectify her dark uncle’s cruel use of Ambrogio for his own ends.  She could not undo the pact he had foolishly made with Hades that he keep custody of Ambrosio’s soul, but she could make it so that Ambrosio could be with Selene in the living world by night.

There were conditions, however:

First, he and Selene would have to escape Apollo’s temple at Delphi and then devote themselves in worship only to Artemis herself.  By this pact, her brother’s jealousy could no longer harm them.  But, to be a devotee of Artemis, all her subjects must remain as she is: pure and virgin all of their lives.  Ambrogio and Selene must never take to bed together for all their lives if they were to keep within Artemis’ good graces.  They would never be able to have children together by natural means. Should they compromise this promise, Artemis’ grace would be lifted and Apollo would spend his wrath upon both Ambrogio and Selene.

Secondly, so that he might remain in the living world without his soul residing in his body, Ambrogio would need to accept the fate of immortality.  Since he was not a god he would have to maintain his immortal life by the power of the hunt.  He would have to partake of the life’s blood of living things to renew the immortality within him.  A quantity of this blood should be reserved so that enough remained to write letters to Selene to keep her from loneliness during daylight when Ambrogio could not be with her.

Thirdly, he must understand that it was not within Artemis’ power to undo a pact or a curse of another god or goddess.  Only the god or goddess themselves can lift a curse they have cast except under exceptional circumstances.  Ambrogio would remain forever gone from daylight for the power of Apollo’s sunlight would always destroy him.

Should Ambrogio agree to these conditions, Artemis would bestow upon him the powers to hunt to sustain himself.  She would grant him a portion of her power that he might have her strength, her speed, her keen senses, her agility, a measure of her consciousness that he might read minds, retractible fangs, and one of her powers as an extra ability to assist him in his hunts.  He would become the greatest of all huntsmen on the earth under her and be the apex predator of all nature.

Ambrogio, upon his knees in supplication and devoted gratitude, solemnly accepted Artemis’ conditions and blessings.

Before him Artemis called down from the stars beautiful Ganymede who brought with him the Sacred Chalice of the Gods from which he would draught for them the Nectar of the Gods.  Taking the Devine Chalice, Artemis opened a vein in her wrist and allowed a pool of her sacred blood to fill it.  She then took from her store the fruit of Ambrogio’s namesake: the Holy Ambrosia, the fruit of the Tree of Life and source for the immortality of the gods.  Into her blood she crushed and squeezed the fruit to make for Ambrogio the potion that would transform him forever more.

Taking the cup, Ambrogio drank Artemis’ potion and received her blessings.  Receiving into himself the goddess’ very essence, Ambrogio’s muscles became like iron with strength enough to run faster than the wind and strong enough to wrestle down any creature upon which he was required to feed. His reflective night-seeing eyes began to glow with an all penetrating sight that could pierce through shadows and flesh so that he might see the pulse of the Living Blood within those he must make his prey.  Within his mouth, sharp fangs dropped from his canines that were sharper than whetted daggers.  His mind expanded and he could sense the thoughts of mortal men nearby in the forest hunting boar in the night.

Finally, by some unconscious choice, Ambrogio selected one of Artemis’ powers that he had seen and experienced first hand.  By an act of imagination and will, Ambrogio transmogrified his flesh and bone into the form of a huge black wolf who’s eyes stared out into the darkness with the same glowing red penetrating light his human-like eyes had.  By another shift in his mind, Ambrogio then transformed into a huge black snake who’s fangs would fold and unfold within his deadly mouth.  Then again, by another change in mind, he transformed himself into a huge bat and by this change gained the ability to fly!  Finally, before returning to his preferred human form, he achieved his most powerful predator’s form.  With great effort, he was able to make of himself a fluid mist that could slide through any opening however small.  This effort, however, left Ambrogio drained as he had to make of himself a being of pure elemental energy, a state unnatural and unliving.

He found that this extra power he had been given by Artemis was her ability to change her form at will!  Only, in Ambrogio’s case, he would only be able to change into creatures adapted for survival at night or as an unliving aspect of the insidious darkness like mist or shadows.

Grateful of Artemis’ favours Ambrogio worshiped her and gave her great praise!  In an act of contrition he went to retrieve her Silver Moon Bow to return it to her hands.  Upon touching it, however, his hand was scalded by its touch and he held away his hand in pain!

“Alas, my blessings and graces aside, my dear Ambrogio, thou hast committed sacrilege against this holy object by attempting to steal it from me.  By this slight, silver casts its judgement upon thee.  From now on, until the end of time, silver will be thy bane!  Attempt not to touch it or the wounds it leaves, from this day forth, will never heal.” Artemis said sadly and took away the burn from Ambrogio’s smarting hand.

“Go thee now, hunt thy blood, write thy letter to Selene, and be gone by the morrow’s end.  I will attempt to distract my jealous brother that his wrath might be stayed.”  Artemis commanded and then left Ambrogio to his fate.

By virtue of his new powers and driven by a thirst he did not have before, Ambrogio killed another swan, drank from it the creature’s sweet life-blood, and reserved a portion for the blood with which to write.

He penned a letter to Selene and left it in their usual spot by the temple stair.  He instructed her to come to the docks and he would have a ship prepared for their departure.  She should come by evening as she would normally go home so as not to cause suspicion.  She would know Ambrogio’s ship by a freshly painted blue crescent moon on its prow.  After the sun sets, she could come down and find him in the hold in a casket sealed against the light of day meant for the burial of the dead.

Selene did as instructed and boarded the seemingly deserted ship.  She had cast off her white priestess’ linens and took on the clothes of a washer woman so that she would go unnoticed. When she arrived at the ship, dusk had come and the light of the sun was guttered.  She went down into the ship’s hold as Ambrogio instructed and found a simple wooden casket meant for a human body.  She opened it and Ambrogio arose fuller and more lifelike than ever!

“Oh, my beloved! How desirous you have become! How I long for your touch and for you to claim my virginity!” Selene, bewitched by Ambrogio’s unwitting seduction, made to kiss him, but he withdrew in horror! Selene was befuddled by this strange reaction since they had secretly kissed before and she longed to taste his lips again.

“Alas, my dearest love, I have made a pact with Artemis that we might escape Apollo’s wrath and so that I might remain in the living world with my soul separated from me. Immortality and power she has granted me, but only if I become her disciple. She is now my only Goddess and all of her disciples must be as she is . . . forever chaste.” Ambrogio said with sorrow but unwilling to cross the Goddess who had done so much for them so that he and Selene, at least, could be together in this world.

After a bit of weeping, Selene accepted this because she knew she could not long live without her beloved with her, even in chastity.  So they sailed from Delphi across the sea to Ephesus which was renowned for Artemis’ Temple, a wonder of the world.  In a cave, near the temple, they lived many long years. They served at Artemis’ temple and did her great veneration there. They never took each other by the flesh and honoured Artemis’ conditions.

As the years past, however, Selene grew old while Ambrogio kept his immortal youth.  Finally, Selene came to the natural end of her life and Ambrogio grieved for he knew he could never join her in the afterlife being that his soul was condemned to Hades.  Ambrogio, knowing nothing else he could do, went forth and hunted as he had never done before and brought back to Artemis’ Temple many trophies of his hunt including one white swan.

This act of devotion moved Artemis to attend Ambrogio once again.  She knew the time was coming when men would cease to worship her and that a new power was taking over the consciousness of men.  To ensure that she continued to have those that would remember her in their blood, he made Ambrogio one last deal.

“I will now allow thee to take Selene in body. Give to her this vial of the Nectar of the Gods. It shall restore her youth so that thou may take her to yourself. While thee take her, however, to make my blessing complete, thou must drain away her life’s blood until her body dies. I will then, by the power of the Nectar, raise her up again so that thee will forever be together even with thee here still in the living world as though dead. When all is done, and with the blood of Selene and thy blood intermingled, thou shallt have the power to create more like thyself by the bite of thy deadly kiss enriched by the Nectar thou shallt give to Selene. They will become my people! My creation and the holiness of the hunt will then never be forgotten even unto the end of time!” Artemis pronounced.

Ambrogio was unsure of this. Never had he taken a human life with his power before and certainly never, even as a passing thought, considered to take the life of his precious love! But, in faith of his Goddess’ word he told Selene of Artemis’ decree.

Selene not only agreed with Artemis’ deal, but begged Ambrogio to work the spell upon her! So,   Ambrogio gave to Selene the Nectar and its power restored her youth and she became greatly desirable to Ambrogio once again. Free to take each other, they did so passionately. Three times did they take each other and upon each time Ambrogio would gently bite and take some of Selene’s blood while he put into her his own essence. They created a circuit of giving and taking until, finally, Selene breathed her last.

Upon death her body glowed with a silver light and then her body dissolved into the shaft of the first moon beam.  When her light reached the moon its brightness became full and Selene’s light became the light of the night and her moon beams would be the touch Ambrogio would forever feel. Each touch would be like the first time making love to Selene and from then on Ambrogio and his children and his children’s children would look to the moon as their guiding light and ray of hope.

Selene became the Goddess of Moonlight and the Mother of the immortal Vampyre, the name of the new people of Artemis. Ambrogio became their Father and the Eldest. His essence flows through every vampire and his name is to always be revered by all who carry his blood within them.

From Ambrogio‘s blood, he once prophesied, a son will be reborn into Darkness by the circuit of  love that this child shall make with his sire. This circuit of love will be the mirror of Selene and Ambrogio’s love and this son will likewise, as his Night Mother did, become a light to guide the Vampyre into a new dawn. He will become the most powerful of all the Vampyre ever sired and he will have access to all the powers of Artemis, may Her Holy Name be forever remembered in Darkness.

To they who would hinder the coming of the Chosen, let the wrath of Apollo find them and fall upon them that they may be utterly destroyed by His burning daylight! They will have broken faith with their Goddess by offending her Anointed!  For them, let none of Her grace remain!

Let this curse stand against they who would cause the Chosen to suffer in any way!

So it is written, so shall it be done.

 

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Published September 13, 2019