News & Interviews
Ask the Author
Kindle Notes & Highlights
News & Interviews
Ask the Author
Debby Feo's Vampires
Showing 1-2 of 2
post a comment »
(last edited May 02, 2018 07:46AM)
May 01, 2018 11:44AM
WARNING: There is a spoiler in this story, if you haven't read Book #1 ("Vow of Blood") and Book #2 ("Here Be Vampires")
THE WIVES OF QUINTUS DOMITIUS CINNA, VAMPIRE
After Rusalia, who was my grandson Searlas' mother, and before Quintus' current wife Naomi, my adopted son Quintus has had three wives. All of Quintus' wives, so far, have been Human. I do not know if this was by Quintus' design, or just an accident of fate? I do know that Quintus has been reluctant to sire any more children. Quintus worries that his offspring, particularly a son, might carry on the Curse of Vampirism that is in our family. (Quintus and I share a great grandfather). Searlas is Quintus' only child, so far.
Quintus married his first wife, Rusalia, in Rome, in 84 A.D. Rusalia had just turned 20 years old, and Quintus was 24, when they got married. The birth of my grandson came later that year.
Rusalia married Quintus against her mother's wishes. Rusalia's mother had literally thrown Rusalia out of her domus (home), when the mother found out that she had been lied to about Quintus' real name. Rusalia had nowhere else to go, so she moved into the 3rd floor of my insula (much to Quintus' delight). It was not long before Quintus and Rusalia were engaged to be married. In the absence of Rusalia's mother, I made sure that Rusalia had the wedding of her dreams - no expense was spared.
As a wedding present, I gave the newlyweds the top two floors of my Roman insula. Since Quintus was legally my heir (well, as legal as a document involving vampires could be), the couple would never have to worry about money again, because of all my wise investments.
Quintus and Rusalia lived a long and joyful life together. Rusalia died of old age, at 65 years old, in her own bed. Quintus, Searlas, and I were by her side when she breathed her last.
Quintus' son, after moving to Eireland, went by the first name of Searlas, with various surnames, as time passed. Searlas' birth name was Gaius Domitius Cinna, aka "Little Gaius". He was much loved by his parents and by me, Gaius Domitius Tubero, his grandfather.
Searlas took after his mother Rusalia in being kind and generous. Even as a child, he gave away most of his toys - which his father and I kept buying for him. (I believe that Quintus and I had more fun buying the toys than Searlas had playing with them, with the exception of a few favorite toys.)
Searlas would often bring "Poveretti" (poor) children (whom he had spotted in the neighborhood around my insula) home for food, new clothing, and usually a few coins from either his father or me (depending on whom was up and about). Word got around, and Rusalia was kept happily busy - cooking and making up "gift" bags.
(Rusalia did stop helping others for a brief time, after one particularly horrific Roman fire; as hungry mobs had started surrounding our insula. I had to hire some freed gladiators to act as security guards.)
Quintus married his second wife, Helena, in 329 A.D. She was unable to conceive a child, which was probably just as well, since Quintus continued to not want to potentially pass on the Curse of Vampirism to any children. Helena (named after the mother of Constantine the Great) died of old age, as had her predecessor Rusalia.
Several years before Quintus married Helena, in 324 A.D., Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium, which he renamed Nova Roma. The Emperor was the driving force behind making the new capital four times larger than it had been.
Quintus met Helena during a combination business and visitor's trip to Nova Roma (later known as Constantinople). Quintus' friend Aulus, a lemure, who also happened to be a chariot driver, invited Quintus to stay at his home, near the newly renovated Hippodrome. Aulus not only wanted Quintus to see him race, he also wanted Quintus to see the bronze statue of Aulus that had been placed, alongside the track, in the Hippodrome. The bronzed Aulus stood amongst the other famous bronzed charioteers and horses.
Centuries before, Aulus had lived with Quintus and me, in Roma, for a short time, before Aulus went to live with a group of fellow lemures (including his future wife), who had taken up residence near where they had died, following an eruption of Vesuvio, in 79 A.D., in Ercolano (Herculaneum).
In the Hippodrome, while Quintus was watching Aulus during a chariot race, Helena and her family sat down next to him. The group started conversing, in between races.
Upon hearing that Helena's father was a big fan of Aulus, Quintus offered to introduce the family to Aulus. After meeting Aulus, invitations to dine were exchanged between Helena's family, Quintus, and Aulus. The group began to spend much time together, with Quintus joining the rest, in the evenings and into the night. Quintus claimed to be a “Night Owl”, as he liked to sleep into late afternoon.
Almost immediately, both Quintus and Helena realized that they had fallen in love. They began to talk about spending their lives together.
Before Quintus asked for Helena's hand in marriage, he told her that he was a vampire. Although he no longer took blood from Humans, Quintus did need the blood of animals, in order to survive. Quintus also explained to Helena that he was reluctant to sire more children, as he would feel quite guilty to “sentence” anyone to a life as dangerous and potentially heartbreaking as being a vampire entailed. Fortunately, Helena had not been looking forward to being a mother, which was why she had not married when she was much younger, although she had had various suitors. Quintus told me that he had breathed a sigh of relief, upon hearing this.
Helena did insist that she be able to tell her parents that Quintus was a vampire, especially because they already had complimentary views of Quintus. Helena's mother and father had both told Helena that they thought Quintus would be a good marriage match for Helena.
Helena's parents greeted the news about Quintus being a vampire with equanimity. The marriage took place at a small chapel in the City. I attended the ceremony; and I paid for the couple's honeymoon trip to Grecia.
The years passed happily for the couple. Because Helena was an only child, she and Quintus temporarily moved into Helena's parents’ domus to take care of them, as the parents got older and feebler. Helena and Quintus lived in the domus off and on, until both parents had passed on.
Age eventually started slowing Helena down, but she did not want to be turned into a vampire by Quintus.
"I'm tired," she stated, "and I would like to see my parents again."
Not surprisingly, Quintus also met his 3rd wife in Constantinople, since Quintus usually enjoyed spending time there. Constantinople was a big, bustling, wealthy city - a center of both land and sea trade; not to mention that it was the capital of the Roman Empire. The City offered Quintus the opportunity of many a varied discussion, in scores of different languages, but chiefly Greek and Latin. Quintus had grown up learning both Greek and Latin. In addition, he possessed the ability to easily learn the basics of other languages (which was very useful to a frequent traveler, such as Quintus). Whenever Quintus would come up against a subject that he had little knowledge of, he would often make use of the City’s libraries. Constantinople also had many centers for higher learning, including the Imperial University.
(I also benefitted from Quintus' stays in Constantinople. Several times I asked Quintus to help me with one of my numerous research projects, using the papyrus scrolls and parchments stored in the various libraries, within the City's multiple walls.)
Gabriela, whom Quintus married in 532 A.D. (which was a leap year), was Quintus' third wife. (Neither Quintus nor Gabriela believed in superstitions about anno bisesto. Also, Quintus proposed, not Gabriela.)
Quintus and Gabriela had to briefly postpone their planned wedding (which was to take place in The Church of St. Laurentius), during the Ides of January, because of the Nika Revolt (named for the rallying cry of "Nika", which means "Conquer"). This infamous uprising resulted in the deaths of at least 30,000 people - rioters were slaughtered while still in the Hippodrome! A large portion of the City was also burned and/or left in ruins.
What started as a series of small protests against the Emperor Justinian morphed into a major revolt against him, most likely fanned on by disgruntled senators, who felt Justinian was leeching their political powers, not to mention the anger caused by the increase in taxes, to pay for the war with Persia. The Poveretti of Constantinople, and its surrounding area, were also not happy about losing some of their free food and entertainment.
Since political discussions happened often in the large Hippodrome, in between chariot races, it was no surprise that the Nika Revolt began there. People felt more secure voicing their discontent when they were in the midst of a crowd, and less likely to be singled out and penalized. This particular sharing of views turned into a massive riot, which spilled out of the Hippodrome into the streets nearby.
Unexpectedly, the two, main, rival sports/political demes (factions): the Blues (Venetoi - previously supported by and supportive of Justinian) joined forces with their rivals the Greens (Prasinoi) in making various demands on the Emperor. The protest started with the crowd demanding mercy for the two charioteers (blamed for deaths that occurred after a previous chariot race), not yet hung, who had been sentenced to death. As more and more people became involved, more grievances were aired. Eventually, there were even calls for the replacement of Emperor Justinian himself!
As rioters lost their lives, Emperor Justinian was safely watching what was going on from his palace, located right next to the Hippodrome, and connected by a stairway. It took over a week for the Revolt to be totally quelled. In the beginning, the Emperor's efforts to calm the mob and regain control just seemed to "fan the flames".
Fortunately, no one that we knew had been in the Hippodrome at that time. Quintus remarked that the Riot could have been even worse, given that the Hippodrome held about 100,000 spectators!
Despite being married for decades, Quintus and Gabriela had no children together. Gabriela, although she still remained legally married to Quintus, eventually decided that she wanted to live on her own. When she married Quintus, she was quite a bit older, physically, but not chronologically, than Quintus. Gabriela eventually realized that she was too set in her ways to "bend" to anyone else's schedule. Quintus, being a vampire, could only adjust his active hours to a certain degree; which bothered Gabriela more and more as the years passed. Eventually, Gabriela left Constantinople, and went to live permanently in another one of Quintus' villas.
Quintus took this opportunity of being "single" again to make several long voyages. He has never liked staying in one place "too long". Quintus also did not like to impose on others' hospitality, so he had bought various homes thru-out Europe, where he kept clothes, stored bloodwine, and took his time "digesting" the viewpoints of the famous personages he made a point to talk to over the centuries, such as: Francis of Assisi, Benedict of Nursia, and Pope Gregory II - to name just a few.
Gabriela also died of old age. Quintus, although he could have legally, for multiple reasons, ended the marriage, never did. He made sure that Gabriela never wanted for anything, even though she was quite adept at spending his money.
May 01, 2018 11:45AM
About two centuries after Gabriela died, in 750 A.D., Quintus married his 4th wife, Cilla. Oddly enough, Quintus met Cilla just after an earthquake hit Constantinople and the surrounding countryside. (The City of Constantinople is no stranger to earthquakes.) City walls and many buildings were destroyed. Quintus rode into Constantinople to see if anything was left of the villa that he still owned. He spotted a young lady sitting on a block of concrete, by the side of the road. She looked as if she was in shock. Quintus sent me a letter describing what happened:
Quintus was worried about the young lady, and stopped to see if he could offer any assistance.
"Signorina, are you in good health? Do you need a ride anywhere?"
"They are all dead."
"Who is dead?" Quintus asked.
"My family, my whole family! They were flattened by the wall of our house falling down. I am the only one left alive. I had gone out to get some well water, when the ground began to shake. I made it back to the doorway. I was about to go in to try to save my parents; but my mother told me to grab the baby, in a crib by the porta d'ingresso (front door) and run. But the Earthquake had not yet released all of its wrath - everything began to shake, even more violently, and the roof caved in! I could not reach the baby...I could not...I could not save the baby! I turned around and ran in fear...away from my family...They are dead!"
The young lady looked up at Quintus, with her face reddened from crying, "You must believe me to be So cruel, running away... but I heard them dying - horrific screams...and I could not breathe with all the dust!"
Quintus, who had dismounted from his horse and tied the horse to a nearby shrub, slowly approached the girl.
"What is your name? Was that your domicile over there? Would you like me to check on your family? I am strong enough to lift the rubble."
"My name is Cilla. I am all alone now. My family is dead."
"Stay here. Keep an eye on my horse. I will be back soon."
Although Quintus did not have any hope for Cilla's family, he did a thorough search for any life. Cilla was indeed correct - her family, including the baby, no longer walked among the living. Quintus grabbed a cloak he found, in the rubble, and went back to Cilla. He gently placed the robe around her.
"Cilla, you cannot stay here, come with me. You need warmth, something hot to drink, and food. We can come back here tomorrow to salvage anything you would like to keep. I will make sure your family receives proper burial rites, I promise you this."
"No, I have to stay here, with my family," Cilla insisted.
"I am quite sure your family would rather that you be safe and warm," Quintus said, with much conviction. "We must seek shelter. If my villa is still standing, we can spend the night there."
It took some coaxing, but eventually Quintus convinced Cilla to go with him. Fortunately, the villa had only suffered minor damage. Quintus started a fire in the fireplace of one of his guest rooms, after leading Cilla up there; and then went to make her something to eat, from the Human food he had stored in the pantry. After getting Cilla to eat some soup he had made, and to drink some sweet fruit juice, Quintus told Cilla that she should be able to find something to wear to sleep in, in one of the baskets of clean clothes, stored in the guest room, which he had meant to distribute to the poor. (Because of the earthquake, the clothes would soon be much appreciated.)
Eventually, Quintus and Cilla did go back to her family's house, but only after her family members had been properly buried, at Quintus' expense. Cilla gathered up a few things that she wanted to keep, and told Quintus to do as he wanted with the rest. Quintus took her back to his villa. After Cilla was settled back in the guest room, Quintus rented a horse and cart from one of his neighbors. After loading the cart with most of the baskets of clothes, excepting the ones that fit Cilla, Quintus arranged for the neighbor and his sons to go to Cilla's family's house. The men gathered up all that could be salvaged, and then everything in the cart was delivered to some caring ladies, who had organized a donation center nearby.
Cilla continued to live in the guest room of the villa Quintus had rented, until Quintus informed her that she was welcome to stay in the villa, but that He needed to attend to some business in Roma.
"May I come with you?" Cilla asked. "I want to leave this place."
Quintus, although a bit shocked, agreed to take her with him.
I was not surprised to receive the letter saying that they had married, shortly after returning to Italy. Quintus seemed to be happiest being married. I do not know why centuries needed to go by between each of his marriages?
It was in Italy that Cilla died, of another round of the terrible Plague that left painful buboes all over the victims' bodies and blackened extremities. Quintus had thought that the Plague had already done Its worst during the nine years it had been ravaging Europe; but the Plague claimed Cilla as yet another victim.
Quintus later told me that he had offered to change Cilla into a vampire. (As always he had informed Cilla, before they got married, the truth about what he was.) Cilla refused his offer. Although she could love a vampire, Cilla could not stand the thought of being one.
Being heartbroken that he was going to lose yet another wife, Quintus considered changing her into a vampire anyway, especially after she had lost consciousness; but being the honorable being that he was, he resisted the temptation.
Quintus is much braver than me. I cannot bear the thought of losing someone I have given my heart to. I would probably Not have been as honorable.
back to top
post a comment »
Add a reference:
Search for a book to add a reference
Debby Feo's Vampires
Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.