The Story of a Murderous Vampire (With Deep Pockets and A Conscience)

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Part One

by Robin Banks, robinbanks@disinfo.net

Once upon a time there was a vampire. He was born long ago in a time of darkness and misery. Like many famous vampires, he quickly established his own sort of kingdom -- a medieval fiefdom with servants who understood their master's true nature and obeyed him out of fear.

The people of the region were understandably upset about the presence of this vicious vampire in their midst. Innocent young townsfolk and farmers were often found tossed in filthy ditches, drained of their life's blood. On occasion a group of infuriated villagers would attack the vampire's castle despite the overwhelming odds, but they were always slain or enslaved by the vampire's many servants.

Over time, people grew used to the presence of the vampire. When discovering fresh victims they would still glare in the direction of the vampire's fortress, but they no longer felt the impulse to start lighting torches or whittling stakes from fallen branches. However, every thirty to fifty years, a generation would grow up ignoring their grandparents' warnings about the vampire. These new, skeptical generations were confident in their collective ability to vanquish the vampire, and yet they were always defeated in the end. Sometimes the vampire would slay them all outright; other times he would kidnap some of them and turn them into devoted servants, then use them to convince the others that the vampire wasn't so bad.

Soon these periodic rebellions began to tax the patience and pride of the vampire. Despite his vast wealth and his godlike power over the lives of others, he still believed in the possibility that one of these occasional revolts would eventually succeed -- because, unbeknownst to his vassals, many of these rebellions had come quite close to victory.

So the vampire decided to exercise his power in a few benevolent ways. With gold from his overflowing coffers, he designed and built hospitals for victims of vampirism. He ordered the construction of large adobe huts as a substitute for the filthy mud-and-twig hovels in which most of his vassals currently resided. He commanded his cooks to save the leftovers (which were normally discarded) to give away at regular feasts for the masses.

Despite these generous efforts, there was another uprising within forty years of the last one. In response, the vampire decided that he would only kill victims when absolutely necessary -- while draining only a pint or two of blood from servants and subjects who actually volunteered for the honor of feeding him.

As a result, the next generation of would-be rebels were met with great resistance from previous generations. Those who were faithful to the vampire argued that he provided a great deal for his subjects -- adobe huts, mass feasts, even hospitals. Not to mention the fact that the vampire now killed very few people, and besides, wasn't it an honor to provide nourishment for the master who smiled so benevolently upon his people?

"But he's a VAMPIRE," the angry young vampire hunters argued. "He drinks our blood! He still kills people, and his empire is built upon the wealth and blood of previous generations!"

"But he's a NICE vampire," the apologists countered. "Look at the hospitals he built! Look at our nice adobe huts! If you burn down his fortress and drive a stake through his heart, who will provide our medicine and housing? Who will throw feasts for us? It's awfully elitist for you to argue that we must kill the vampire, when there are so many people who need these hospitals, free food, and free adobe huts!"

The young vampire hunters scoffed at this logic. They thought it was clear that these 'gifts' were wholly fraudulent -- meant to conceal the vampire's own bloodthirsty nature by disguising him as a benevolent lord. And so, ignoring the increasingly agitated pleas of the vampire's followers, they stormed the gates of the castle.

Will the latest generation of vampire hunters succeed in their noble but desperate quest? Will the older villagers assist the young warriors, or work with the castle guards to betray and destroy the latest attempt at killing the vampire lord?

Answers to these questions and others coming soon in Part Two ... to be written in about ten or twenty years.

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