This little vignette was written some time ago, in conjunction with a rather long story of mine which is no longer here on fanfic. I'm revising it so... it could be a while! Origins is based on the theory that Kindred evolved out of some sort of vengeful demon conceived out of incest. Only the mythology is presented, so there is no graphic stuff to worry about. This story also investigates the bonding which can take place between a Nosferatu and another individual, and the magic involved in it; however the subjects in this mythology aren't aware of it at the time. In essence, this is the story of the birth of the first Kindred.
By the light of one thick candle a man sat thinking. The room he was in lie inside the bowels of an enormous underground network of rock and earthen tunnels. San Francisco was affected this morning with a light mist. But the man underground only smelled the rain above. None touched him where he sat now.
The flame flickered and caused shadows to jump randomly around the room. Turning now to the table and the pen and paper in front of him, the green eyed Nosferatu considered his words carefully before writing. This task was one which brought such grief; he had tried to block it from his mind for weeks. But this desire to write persisted.
And so tonight, or this morning (judging by the craving for sleep he felt) Daedalus decided to relate a tale a handful of his Clan knew. Those who remembered it did so because Daedalus told them.
He told those others not because he witnessed the events, but because he was the last to have heard the tale from his own Elders. And, Nosferatu were the Keepers of Secrets and History for all Kindred.
His Elders of Childehood murdered, Daedalus had run for his life. Spared by what gods, he never knew. But the facts remained. The story had never been written down in modern times. And he was the one who knew it best. He picked up the pen and began to write.
The Story of Lilith
A note to all who will read this:
As the storyteller, I must briefly relate to you the story behind the story you are about to read. This tale was told to me by the man who adopted me as his own Childe. My adopted Sire and Broodmates were hunted by others of our kind from the north. This tale was the reason for these northern Kindred's attacks.
Religion, it seems, is every bit as dangerous to our species as it is to humans. The Kindred to the north were of the belief that Caine was our doomed and damned parent. My own people believed Lilith was our 'Eve.' Both groups passed this theology down to their Childer. What is religion anyway but myths and stories passed down through the generations to create a sense of belonging and continuity?
Both groups were fervent believers. While we were fanatics only amongst ourselves, these 'Cainites' were fanatics with a mission of destruction to all those who opposed them. And they threw the first fatal blow. We were content other Kindred did not share our views on the subject. And they didn't believe, even when they saw the evidence. Yes, there was quite a bit. I touched it myself, with my own hands. It was real. Carved graffiti on rocks, pictographs, drawings; they all told the story of a female Nosferatu gone wild and the man who was eventually to be her mate. It showed Lilith being the first. Her figure was always carved with a circle around her and her brood at her feet. Only at the end of the story does her mate join her in that circle.
The actual physical evidence is lost to my knowledge. During the savage murder of my Clanmates all I thought of was survival. And I am the only one who did, unless the others do not wish to be found. That is a possibility but a slim one. Even a handful of Methuselah I've run into have never heard a whisper of others of my age and region. The Mediterranean was burned out of all my kin. Those who believe in the story of Lilith are no more. The cult aspect of it in any case. It was a bloody one and I don't care to write about it even in a historical sense lest some bright member of our species gets the idea in their head to revive it. We have enough problems.
Besides, I am telling this story from memory to preserve it, not to reinstate a cult. So the details of that are not pertinent to the story. The story is itself. My Elders translated it in their own way.
Early in my life I did tell a handful of others this tale. They heard where I came from and were curious about the history. I do not believe any I ever told passed the story on. The mystery perplexed and frightened them. I tell this tale now for posterity's sake and history's own sake. And I will not answer any questions brought to me concerning it. Take it for what you will. This is the story of Lilith, word for word:
"In a time when humans were still wild, a young daughter came of age. Her father had five sons also by his wife and these sons tormented their sister mercilessly. The eldest son took her innocence just as she began to bloom into womanhood, his lust overrunning him. The father sensed his daughter's sudden fear about her brothers and quickly gave permission for his eldest son to be married. But as quickly as her brother was gone, the daughter felt the stir of life begin inside her. Her mother, fearful for her daughter's reputation, searched for a man her daughter could wed.
An old man was found in the village they lived and he had many sons from his previous young wife. This young wife died the year before and the old man needed another to care for his children. And so the old man and young girl were wed. The bride's mother thought surely all would end well.
But as the baby within her grew, this raped daughter began to change her ways. She grew hateful and spiteful toward her old husband when he touched her. He believed that after the baby was born she would smile on him. She was also mean to his sons and they feared her.
A daughter was born to her as the moon was round and full. This daughter growing inside was the source of anger she felt. As the baby left her body, the new mother thought surely now her life would be good.
A midwife held the newborn and then fell to the ground in a faint. The baby had bitten her, drawing blood and growing stronger. It was not human and instead a monster that drained dry both its own mother and the kind midwife who delivered her into the world.
The newborn grew to maturity during the hours before dawn. Dressing in the clothes of the dead midwife, this woman-child met her village people with the rising sun, greeting them hungry once more. But the sun's ray burned her young skin and the people screamed in fear of her.
She smelled their hot, fragrant blood and Frenzied in her anger and indignation. She saw at once that she did not belong among these people and she must find shadows to cool her skin. Killing several village men and then running into the dark forest, she tried to make sense of herself. For days she wandered. The daylight hours she spent buried beneath the soil and the night, stalking and feeding on the animals she hunted. Their thin blood did not satisfy her constant craving and she was soon tempted to raid the village.
As she walked toward the huts a young man surprised her. He was from the village of her birth, he told her, and he wanted to understand what she was. His lack of fear startled her and so she sat down with him to learn what they could from each other. She told him the story of her birth and that she knew of the evil coupling which created her. But she did not know what she was or why she needed different food than her mother. "I am like you," she told him. "We are kin. But my body is different. And I feel anger at my uncle-father."
"Your family is frightened of you but wish to know about you. Did your mother name you?" he asked.
She thought back to her memories inside the womb and decided that yes, she had been named. Lilith was what her mother called her as she patted and rubbed her own belly. And now she would hunt and feast on this eldest brother of her mother's.
"But you mustn't," he told her. "The entire village will hunt you in return."
Lilith dared him to make her change her mind. The man thought for a moment and considered her childish ways and hurt. Perhaps he could teach her beauty and kindness. "Do you know what death is?"
Lilith was confounded by the question. She hadn't thought of it before, even as she butchered the animals of the forest.
"My people believe that death is leaving behind all that you see around you. Loneliness, until your family joins you. If you killed your father, you would serve him with a harsher punishment than he deserves. That would be unkind of you."
"Why should I be kind to him," she responded. "I am stronger than he is. I am the huntress and he is weak and evil prey."
The two argued long into the night. Before the sun rose, Lilith told the man to take a message back to the village. "You haven't changed my mind, but made me angrier. Now I will not only kill my father, I will kill every first born son!"
He did take her message to his people and they began to sharpen their spears.
The next night Lilith crept invisibly into the village and feasted on two first born sons, leaving their bodies tucked into their bedding. Their mothers cried the next day and urged their husbands to do something. The entire village in turn pleaded with that one brave man among them, to go back to Lilith and show her what evil she was doing and what sadness she brought on them all. He did as they asked and went into the forest to find her.
He asked that they go to the nearby river to talk, saying there was a thing he wanted to show her. Once there, the young man cupped a small handful of sand and told her, "Taste it, Lilith. This soil feeds the plants for the animals we eat. We appreciate what it does for us." Perplexed by the request, he complied and tasted the soil. Lilith could sense the life within and the minerals of the earth.
Wading into the ocean-fed river he returned with an oyster. The pearl he found inside it turned to powder in Lilith's fingers as she squeezed it trying to discover what it was. Curious, she put the powder to her lips and tasted the salt of the ocean and all the things which lived in it. "Why do you ask me to do this? My hunger is of a different kind," she said to him.
"But you must see what all these things mean to us and the great beauty we will miss when we die; perhaps even when you die. In your revenge you would steal beauty from innocents. Why? When we can enjoy it all together?"
"I will kill my father tonight, Lilith told him angrily.
Desperate, and wanting to appeal to her heart if she had one, the man picked up a plain looking stone from the beach. "Open it," he said. "See what you would have missed had I not shown you."
Lilith's anger grew and she crushed the rock in her hand. Surprised at the pain she felt, she opened her fingers to reveal the glitter of sharp diamond. She licked the blood away and also tasted the shining substance. It tasted of earth but also something hot to the touch, like fire. The diamond cut her tongue as she licked it and she became enraged with blood lust.
Hungrily, she lunged at her teacher and fed from him. Impassioned by the feeling, he kissed Lilith as he lay dying. Her own blood on her lips with soil, diamond, and pearl; the man sucked it and asked for more. She bit her tongue and let him take what he wanted.
Lilith lay back on the beach under her when she heard his heart stop. Her teacher was dead and lonely now but she would kill her father tonight despite his wishes.
Suddenly she heard the man moan and wake up. As she watched he became like her. But his lust was not only for blood. Lilith let him mate with her and their souls became one before the moon rose again.
The next night Lilith murdered her father and one other eldest son in the village. Her mate cried and begged her not to kill any more but instead to only take a small amount of blood and let them live. She slapped him in her anger and immediately fell to her knees in shame. Her mate had been good to her and yet now she couldn't understand why she cared. She felt protective toward him and jealous at the thought of him leaving her alone or finding another to be with.
She relented and together they went to the village the following night. Lilith's blood lust was not sated as her mate pulled her off the first eldest son's throat. But he lived and slept peacefully until dawn. Her second prey did as well and then she hunted for her mate. Together they learned to save themselves from the never satisfied monster in their hearts, becoming takers but not murderers."
Daedalus put his pen down on the desk before picking it up again and adding:
"Who Lilith's mate was, we will never know. None of the artifacts mentioned him by name. He was only ever referred to as her teacher or her mate. Why this man was not frightened of her is another compelling mystery."
Now at last he was finished. It hadn't taken long to recount from memory but he was still quite tired. Undressing and pulling a blanket over his body, Daedalus relaxed and let the memories of centuries long gone wash over him objectively, trying to distance himself from the horror. With a sigh he realized that being objective about mass murder was still difficult, even after so many endless nights such as this one.