What follows is the recovered account of one Yugov Lubavich, heir of the Gragonav fortune and yet an excellent case study concerning the ravages of anti-vampiric sentiment that swelled in the mid 1800's.
Recent science has finally put to rest the infamous "blood plague" theory of vampirism that incited widespread panic in non-vampire populations for centuries. Seen through this lens as parasitic and dangerous, individuals who were merely trying to survive were being cast out of nations and barred from pursuing normal lives on the basis of fear.
In examining these tragic histories we hope to avoid the repetition of our [[past]] mistakes and better remedy our sensibilities for the assured trials of empathy that are to face us in the coming years.The root of the problem is always
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the distrust of an [[other->past]], a scapegoat.Physician's Notes, pub. 1827. Royal Academy of Sciences.
Examination of cadaver yields little of concrete substance. By all measures available here I am convinced of an ordinary end to mortality. Markers typical of malnourishment and dehydration are clearly present. Elongation of incisors is curious but not unheard of within a certain subset of genetic histories.
To suggest that subject somehow contracted some nature of "blood plague" feels both preposterous by modern medicine and downright dangerous to public opinion. And yet I am bound by the royal gag order. I seek merely to inform and draw reasoned conclusions, but the powers that be demand that mountains are made of this molehill.
To whom all it may concern, we are demonizers here, make no mistake. It is never easier to set aside prejudice, to reach across the aisle.
But I fear the cost of failing to do so shall result in only more of this [[madness->The Widening Gap]], not less.
January 19th, 1843
We have voted. Those among us assess the risk of leaving to be too great. We would let the threat of nations rule our actions, squander our freedom to the whims of those who would see us in shackles.
The decision disgusts me.
Granted, their notions are not unfounded. I have seen what happens to those of us who would be so foolish to place our trust in the bonds of brotherhood, the decency of fellow men.
For we were never seen as men.
I hate to abandon those of us who choose to remain, but I do not hold faith in our ability to survive this winter here. I must think of my own.
My dearest Dahlia. How do I reach you? Should I insist your [[family]] will take us in if we could only cross the border? Or do I implore you to think of our little [[Lucian?]]January 19th,
We have voted to press on and seek passage through the mountains. The way is rough hewn in the blood of those who have come before us. Many have died on this path that we now cling to for life. The signs of their struggles are all around us, as clear as the days are long and the winter is harsh. To linger here is to invite certain death, in this inbetween place, this sliver of hositility bordered by two equally opposed impossibilities.
I am inclined to speak in poetics, but this is no place for the dressing of words. We press on.
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Today, we came to a [[fork]] in the road. None among us was certain of the correct [[path.]] <img src="https://glassfullofnothing.neocities.org/Dracula/a167202baad27282a9a1ff6803f44c1b.jpg" width="850" height="600" alt="Two foxes">
The Gragonav family
Do they know, I wonder? Have you told them?
Doubtless they will blame me, the outsider. Perhaps they are right. In truth there is so little to be understood regarding this affliction we now share.
It is no small font of agony to me, the fact that I may have doomed you with my love, cursed you to live out the same wretched life of a pariah that I must now walk.
Perhaps the humans are not entirely incorrect in their assumptions. Perhaps we are pox bringers.
Am I worth it, my darling Dahlia? If you could eradicate the past, what path would you choose now? Would you fester with my lot, as you do now? Would you snuff out the existence of our children as a price to remain a pureblooded mortal yourself?
Such thoughts [[drive]] me to madness.<img src="https://glassfullofnothing.neocities.org/Dracula/eade8fbf40effb00db3bf9fd4a3a56f6--antique-photos-old-photos.jpg" width="400" height="600" alt="Two foxes">
My darling boy. I look upon you and I am brought joy, a rare thing these days. How anyone could see you and think you a monster bewilders my faculties. The humans will seek any reason to distance us from themselves. To make us into a threat, an outside entity, something unnatural and craven.
How much simpler things would be if their eyes were as fine-tuned as ours, if they could only pierce the veil of flesh and find nothing but blood and viscera, the same as theirs, to see not hearts filled with malice but instead [[cages]] draped in longing.
In my dreams you are as fragile as glass, and to me there is no greater terror. I hope that you know that all I do, I do for you.
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For who could be scared of a [[child?->drive]]<img src="https://glassfullofnothing.neocities.org/Dracula/sdut-migration-spotlights-mexican-coyote-smugglers-2014jul20.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="Two foxes">
We made our choice.
Not much further along our caravan happened upon a man who calls himself an expert. In his care was a ragged band, much like ours. He claimed he could provide us passage into Transylvania, that his was the safest way. He was well-fed, and well-dressed, and thus a commanding presence amongst us.
We did not know if we should give him our [[trust]] or [[decline]] his instructions.January 22nd,
We have made a grave error. In choosing this path we have brought ourselves into the very maw of the beast. Here the patrols are thickest, the brambles dense and cloying at the body and mind. I know this because today we were put in shackles.
They tell us that they're helping us. That we are better off following their orders, these men who do not see themselves in us. That we will be better off at the mercy of their chains.
Time shall tell what I already know to be true.
The end.January 20th,
Dahlia would hear none of it. The risk is too great, she says. I see the wisdom in her worries, I do. But to sit idly on our hands and court ruin seems an equal folly.
I have told her I shall set out alone. She begs me to stay, but I cannot go down without a fight. I shall make the journey myself and send some money back for her and little Lucian.
Tomorrow I make for the [[mountains.]]<img src="https://glassfullofnothing.neocities.org/Dracula/01-border-wall.jpg" width="850" height="650" alt="Two foxes">
They call to mind the image of fangs. The irony is not lost on me, even now.
The ride has been harsh. The foothills crawl with [[armed forces]], men whose sole purpose is to root out would-be passengers like me. Men who would stamp me from the earth if they could, put me out like the sickly cigarette I have become.
My rations are thin, but hunger has become a dear friend these last few months. A begrudging companion I know through and through. I will survive.
I [[must.]]<img src="https://glassfullofnothing.neocities.org/Dracula/border-patrol-photo.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="Two foxes">
The Royal Dispatch, December 1st, 1842
COME AND SERVE THE CROWN!
DEFEND AGAINST THE UNDEAD SCOURGE!
PROTECT OUR WIVES, OUR CHILDREN!
MAINTAIN THE SANCTITY OF OUR GOD GIVEN LANDS!
[[HEROISM->must.]] IS ITS OWN REWARD!
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Today I came upon another traveller, the first in my journey. He looks even worse off than I am, if such a thing is possible. Emaciatied, half-deranged. I took pity upon him. We caught some stringy game and cobbled together the semblance of a stew. Seeming grateful, he departed.
I should [[press]] on, but I am so very tired. The flames are a comfort beneath the vacuum of stars that emerges overhead, a void that will suck out all hope from my veins should I [[linger]] too long beneath its black gaze.January 23rd,
I must be rid of this place, even this small comfort of a campsite. I cannot allow myself pleasantries in the face of what I am fighting for.
I left quickly, and it is good that I did. Over the next rise I stopped to survey my surroundings and saw a contingent of trackers in the distance behind me. I fear that my friend on the road was a turncoat after all.
No matter. Trust is such a brittle thing, and I would do well to rid myself of its intoxicating allure.
I can make now for the [[checkpoint]] or seek some [[hidden way]] that is further from the prying eyes of the people of Transylvania.January 23rd,
My carelessness has cost me.
The traveller was a mole. Not three hours later he returned, in the company of armed men.
I ride now to the seat of tyranny itself, the castle that spouts out the tales of such cruelty.
It is a curious thing, fear. The humans have grown so scared of us, goaded into believing that we will undo them. And yet they take no heed of the beast on their throne.
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Only time shall reveal the fate that [[awaits]] me.
The rumors are true, it would seem. Some naive shard of me had dared to think them of them as falsehoods. But upon arrival at this place I saw the proof for myself.
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They line the path to the castle. None were spared in the barbarism, so many of the victims not even of my own ilk. Humans and vampires alike. How fitting it is that the fist of panic crushes all of us equally. We all bleed the same when flogged by the double-edged whip of panic. None can be spared when mercy is naught but a fantasy.
I have travelled to the doorstep of my doom.
The end.<img src="https://glassfullofnothing.neocities.org/Dracula/07-border-wall.jpg" width="750" height="550" alt="Two foxes">
The rigid spine of empires bends doubly backwards to ward off my kind. The teeth of the maw are coiled steel, clasped firmly together in the protection against errant scraps like myself.
I am near delirium. My rations are spent, my body wracked with fatigue. I have no choice but to approach the podium and await the judgment that would be given to me. I would pray for deliverance, but I do not believe that God is particularly fixated upon our corner of Hell. Surely if he was there would be some semblance of humanity.
Some macabre delusion of justice.
If you are actually up there, deliver me unto my family. I would implore for their safety, even at the loss of my own.
The end.January 24th,
I am under no illusions concerning safe passage at the checkpoint, so I decided to head deeper into the mountains. The passageways give little aned take much. Even the creatures that prowl these rocky steppes are withered, feasting on what little scraps are given up in a wilderness as harsh as this. The hawk is the master of this place, encircling us all with an iron eye. He alone has a perch of advantage.
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I have come to a turning point. Beneath me is sprawled an expanse of Transylvanian countryside. The very pastoral of salvation if I've ever seen it.
I shall descend the slopes tonight, within cover of darkness. The question remains-do I seek the help of Dahlia's beloved [[family?]] Or do I set off in search of my own [[work?]]
January 26th, 1843
Arrival in Transylvania brings only dire news.
Forces have been cracking down across the city. I have only recently learned that my beloved Dahlia's family is just one home that has been subjected to such horrible treatment. I suspect that my involvement has played a part in their downfall. The love I hold so dearly for their daughter has brought them ruin.
I shall try to flee the forces that would pursue us here in this city. But I hold little hope. The eyes of the state are upon me wherever I turn, seeking me out, hoping to stamp me down into the pavement.
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The end.January 26th, 1843
It seems I am beset by dogged pursuers wherever I turn.
I have made it across the border and taken what work I can find only to be threatened by rumors of growing raids upon nearby places of business. The royal guards threaten vampires and humans alike, with little discrimination seemingly present in their cruelty. What they hope to achieve is beyond my rationale. I can only hope to hide and weather the storm of their fury, though the news of their far-reaching fear drums dread into the recesses of my soul. What will become of me if I try to stay and make a living for my family back home?
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The end.<img src="https://glassfullofnothing.neocities.org/Dracula/GettyImages-483354674-640x480.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="Two foxes">
It seems the depravity we have seen in men has no boundaries in our own kind. The man was an expert, indeed, and he used that expertise to sell us short. I wonder if the bulging sack of coins that the guardsmen offered him in return for his loyalty hangs heavier than the shadow on his heart.
I doubt it matters much to him.
We have decided to forego the assistance of this stranger. What is one more morsel of distrust in this inhospitable place? Surely we are playing by the rules of this landscape, the terms of engagement made clear by our predicament.
Lucian grows weaker by the day. The journey, the starvation, the uncertainty. It is a burden too great for the heartiest of men, let alone my darling boy. He is gripping to this world as hard as he can, but I fear the worst is yet to come.
Dahlia implores that we take him and diverge from the group. Their path is meandering. It is safer, to be sure. But time is now doubly of the essence if we are to save our second child from the fate of the first.
I do not know what to tell her. Whether it is better to [[leave]] or to [[stay->path.]], I cannot know.
We ran off in the night, just the three of us. Better not to trouble the others. May they find the peace they so deserve, and may they wish only the same for us.
Lucian's cough grows more dire. The blood at his lips is bubbling and black. Dahlia grows more desperate. She believes a checkpoint is our greatest chance of saving our child, that we must turn our faith to the men and their semblance of order and [[justice.->checkpoint]] We can only pray that those who would receive us will do so without prejudice.
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January 18th, 1843
It has been a harsh winter, a [[cruel]] season of misfortune to send off a previous year full of disappointments. The crops have all gone to chilled ash, the fields yield nothing but further voids. We are without sustenance here. The land yields nothing and takes so much. My youngest, Dimitri, passed not two weeks ago, blue tinging his fingertips. The humans think us immortal, and sometimes I wish it were so.
Tomorrow we will seek passage into Transylvania proper after two weeks of caravaning through the mountains. Our reputation precedes us, I understand.
The one called Dracula.
It is unfortunate, how the deeds of one seem to speak for the intents of us all. We seek only shelter and refuge from the elements, the basic tools to escape the hauntings of our past and start a new life. But even that, I fear, will be hard to come by.
They [[fear->The Widening Gap]] us, think us craven and depraved. Monsters, they call us. Were it only so simple. We have been branded as bringers of a blood plague and labelled as monstrosities to be feared. But this is not the case. The powers that be in the world seek to keep us sequestered for the personal gain of a few. We threaten the livelihood of those in power, the wealthy, the fattened, by our mere presence. Our existence encroaches upon the vaste livelihood that has been accrued by the wealthy. We are flies to their spoils, it would seem.
My people have but two choices remaining to us: either stay and [[starve]] or leave and try to seek [[passage]] into Transylvania.