Author: yours truly, ExMaverick aka Jess
Title: Ancient Wounds
Summary: Prequel to my vampire fic Deepest Shadow. Ville recounts the events of his mortal life growing up in the poverty of 20th century Finland, wrought with grief, sex, romance, passion and abuse leading into his birth to darkness.
His lengthy tales are imparted to the sleepy mind of his young lover, but only in the seclusion of his own darkest thoughts does he begin to relive the greatest obsessions and deepest hurts rooted in his bygone and decadent time.
Pairing: Vam,Ville/Jonne, Ville/OC (in parts)
Previous Parts 1,2,3,4,5i,5ii,6,7,8,9i,9ii,10i,10ii,10iii
White maiden with the russet hair,
Whose garments, through their holes, declare
That poverty is part of you,
And beauty too.
To me, a sorry bard and mean,
Your youthful beauty, frail and lean,
With summer freckles here and there,
Is sweet and fair.
Your sabots tread the roads of chance,
And not one queen of old romance
Carried her velvet shoes and lace
With half your grace.
In place of tatters far too short
Let the proud garments worn at Court
Fall down with rustling fold and pleat
About your feet;
In place of stockings, worn and old,
Let a keen dagger all of gold
Gleam in your garter for the eyes
Of roués wise;
Let ribbons carelessly untied
Reveal to us the radiant pride
Of your white bosom purer far
Than any star;
Let your white arms uncovered shine,
Polished and smooth and half divine;
And let your elfish fingers chase
With riotous grace
The purest pearls that softly glow,
The sweetest sonnets of Belleau,
Offered by gallants ere they fight
For your delight;
And many fawning rhymers who
Inscribe their first thin book to you
Will contemplate upon the stair
Your slipper fair;
And many a page who plays at cards,
And many lords and many bards,
Will watch your going forth, and burn
For your return;
And you will count before your glass
More kisses than the lily has;
And more than one Valois will sigh
When you pass by.
But meanwhile you are on the tramp,
Begging your living in the damp,
Wandering mean streets and alley's o'er,
From door to door;
And shilling bangles in a shop
Cause you with eager eyes to stop,
And I, alas, have not a soul
To give to you.
Then go, with no more ornament,
Pearl, diamond, or subtle scent,
Than your own fragile naked grace
And lovely face.
-Charles Baudelaire, To A Brown Beggar Maid
She had danced after all, although solely with me for the majority of the hours before first light. Her petite frame supported on my arm I lead her through a round to waltz, joining the other pairs congregating on the vast floor of the entertaining hall, the intricately woven silk parlour screens having been pulled back to connect the otherwise isolated rooms into an endless sea of glossed hardwood floor and embellished ceiling.
Jesse had taken her hand, having sobered substantially, and to my delight so too had Lydia, the two girls arm in arm with the sprite of sisterhood about their giggling and twirling skirts. Much to my expectance she had refused the inquests of the young boys wishing for their turn about the floor with her, spurning the rich from the meagre and handsome to the downright plain. My heart was heavy on account, but in the superficial sense one experiences when there are blessedly little other occurrences of any importance or merit to plague your mind. I was very much thankful that she was a maiden of substance as well as virtue, comforted in the knowledge that she would never give frivolously that which had been taken from her against her will.
But ultimately the festivities grew to a close, relations departed, wine bottles emptied and hosts to bed. I alone carried the fast asleep Suvi to her chambers, smiling to myself that the wine and music had gotten the best of her, a woman she may be, I thought, but a small woman all the same. With that done and Lydia and Jesse retired to sleep off the excitement, I too receded to the quiet of my room to await the sun, crawling under the bed frame and into the nest of quilts I had so carefully prepared myself. That day I dreamt of the taste of wine, the spicy aroma of it, seeing a glass in my very own hands which in prayer poured across my awaiting tongue quickly became the sacramental blood of Christ cleansing my soul of my killings, my disputed sins. It began to claw at me, I killed to survive…was I no better than an animal? If so, where is the shame in that? Was I a part of nature of apart from it, a creature with requirements or a man with demonic vices? The dream answered nothing, merely echoing images of the sweet blood of life in frosted crystal upon a virgin white tablecloth.
These dreams would revisit me for many day-sleeps to come, haunting me with their sacred and erotic subversions that rocked the very basis of my self-understanding, raising more uncertainties than they answered. I began to slip into a state of spiritual stagnancy, of feeling neither a desire for redemption nor damnation, but a simple craving for peace on either count.
This was also not best assisted by the fact that having had my half finished collection ‘Flowers of Evil In Bloom’ torn from my writing desk (courtesy of my slightly insensitive, all be it very well meaning younger brother) and thrust into the hands of Jarno and fellow publishers of their firm. While initially optimistic about the venture, the papers had been handed over the day after the wedding celebrations and now a month onward no word of progress had been heard, what’s more the search for a separate residency for myself and my ward had failed to come to any fruition even though it was now well into the cold October.
Shrinking away from this depression I focussed all my attention upon my young female charge, taking her out almost every night to throw money upon her every whim (money which came from the pockets of those who fell to my grasp in the icy shadows of the Helsinki streets). Jade, gold, sapphires and diamonds, none were beyond her desire, and though she would cling to my arm and mew me not to spend a coin on her she would find herself dripping in precious stones that rested on her breast from lacy chains or glittering upon the lobes of her ears. Clothes too I found a great occupation of time, purchasing ladies’ skirted suits, lace gowns and ornate silk slippers accented with buckles of pale gold. Even her hair, her tight dark ringlets were perfumed with saffron and pinned back with a ivory slide carved into delicate forest scenes, or when it took my fancy threaded with pearls. It was no secret that I adored her, no secret that I treated her like a tiny queen to distract myself from the world around me and the insatiable blood hunger that shook my flesh with a resolve seemingly without hindrance.
One such night so gripped and torn by the pangs of bloodlust was I that I found myself in the back alleys seeking sport of the prostitutes therein. Dressed in a fine spotless black suit I wandered, hoping to entice a thief or a street worker to my embrace. I had learnt that hunger and lust with The Blood were intrinsically linked and yet incredibly different to one another with a need to be satisfied often apart from one another. A quick crushing swipe could bring death and hunger would be satisfied, but lust commanded such fine clothes and that I play with them so cruelly in order to quicken me in a manner which was passionately erotic yet never truly sexual.
That such night commanded the fulfilment of the latter, where behind an urban whorehouse I spotted the devilish figure of a young street boy. I plied him with coin and fleeting kisses, promising him carnal delights as he grew drunk on the wine his brothel supplied. He spoke of how I was paying more than his worth, how he was sickly and work was hard to come by. But I tuned him out for the most part, my mind was else where.
In my anguish I was far too well aware why I had chosen him, for there were so many others I had come upon first in far more exotic hues. He looked like him. He looked like all of them. But how could that be? I saw Dyre in his hands and Emmanuel in his tired eyes, even Elias upon his pale skin. I was intoxicated, I was going mad. Suddenly the kisses and the faux-kindness faded away and somewhere back in the alley I lost control and fell upon him as if I meant to destroy him. He screamed for help but no one would come for him, we both knew that well enough. I shivered as the last of his ribs cracked in my wanton arms as if they were sweet-nothings, felt myself moan as I took his flesh in my mouth and draw his life into me. I became an animal, consuming him as if I meant to eat his very flesh, I began to weep through it, seeing all those I had loved before and imagining them in my embrace as if I sought to devour their hearts and bodies that we could never be apart. I was dizzy, entranced.
When I came to I was standing in the alley soaked in his blood like a butcher, the rancid taste of his skin on my tongue mingling with the salt of my tears. His remains were a disgusting thing to behold, I shan’t describe them because I do not dare. How I returned home undiscovered or reported I shall never know nor really remember.
I burnt my suit. It was the best option at hand. I dressed in silence and made my way to the adjoining study in the same manner. I felt very sick, truly very sick. It must have been flesh I tastedI thought. I felt woozy and somewhat drunk, eyes flickering about the dim room erratically. I found the fire alight, and curled up in the folds of a soft throw, Suvi reading by it.
“It’s late,” she said, not looking up from what I only presumed to be another Baudelaire “nearly the first hour of the new day. Where have you been?”
I walked sluggishly to join her, slumping to sit upon the carpet besides her. “Here and there, my ebony beauty” I replied wearily. She wore an ivory nightdress, laced at the sleeves and breast and her hair loose about her eyes as she read. I noticed the jade and gold about her throat glittering in the fire.
He voice was delicately hushed, though whether for the sleeping members of the house or for my benefit I do not know.
“You are troubled Ville,” she whispered “you know that I have noticed”
The room became suddenly so much more tense about itself, and I swallowed hard before reply.
“Do not think on it, it is nothing to worry about” I sighed, hand moving to rest upon one delicate exposed foot hanging from the armchair tenderly “I am old, you are not. Care for yourself, my young love, my Queen of Afric”
He put her book down to look upon me, though my eyes were at the ground. The room was hazy, I dropped my head back to lean against the velvet of the upholstery drunkenly.
“Then it is you that I should care for,” She said meekly “for it is you who are my love, Ville”
I laughed stupidly to myself, nicking my tongue upon my teeth and causing myself to bleed just a little, before sighing raggedly-
“Do not waste such love on me, my dear. I am a beastly thing”
There came but a whisper in reply “Then bring me the beast for the night”
My mind swam, I felt her full exotic lips lean down to kiss mine and felt her hands through my dark hair, I felt the rising illness within. I felt myself push her off, perhaps a slight to forcefully, and found her at my feet, wrists captured in my hands.
“ I cannot” I wept.
She too, began to tear.
“And I, for all my wishing, cannot make you, my Lord”