Dearest Pellicio

Three years ago, I traveled briefly to visit an old and revered Great-Uncle, who lived in Florida. He's the typical Yankee who moved south for his health, and lives like an expatriate in a foreign country.

During my visit we discussed family history, and Uncle Ted, who was always a bit of a geneologist, began to tell me all about our family tree on my mother's mother's side, full of welsh blood with (quite unbeknownst to me) some aristocratic English mixed in, including some of the explorers who traveled the far east more than a century ago.

Also to my surprise, Ted didn't just have modern, printed records, he had original manuscripts: Organized books of family history, flowering correspondences between lieutenants serving in India and their lovesick brides awaiting their word in Kent and Dover, and brisque telegrams announcing recent family additions.

At the end of the visit, he sent me packing with a box of older manuscripts, things that he had laughingly told me were of no use to him, because they were only ancillary documents he'd collected while searching out things about our family, and he couldn't override his historian's instinct to destroy them.

I was fascinated by them, despite no real training of depth in history, I leafed carefully through musty volumes of battle logs from world war I, news clippings from the gold rush, and other such treasures. While flipping idly through a rather dull treatise on the principles of modern man, a packet of letters slid from between two pages that appeared bound carefully along their edges with a dark brown seal, almost like glue or dried honey. Apparently the entire book had been used as a storage space, and these two sealed together pages merely as the way of holding the books real purpose.

I have typed up the first letter but am not quite sure what to make of it. Perhaps my readership has a better idea than I. In a neat, block print on the back of the envelope was written "NOVEMBER 1873".

Dearest Pellicio,           September 3rd, 1873,

I know you probably do not know me, yet I must presume that even now you are searching eagerly for some knowledge of me and the reasons for our encounter. I must admit with some chagrin that during my long journey to India I forgot entirely for more than a month that I had met you that night before my train departed for the coast. Thus I apologize that the letter that would have soothed your fears is so late in coming.

Still, the process is not yet fresh upon you (it takes more than a full revolution of the cycle of the moons for the blood to begin to turn with the venom of my--excuse me, our--kind) and so you have not yet begun to suffer any of the effects that later you will recognize merely as inconvenient modifications to your schedule and habits.

No doubt you have read this far with some confusion, because you are wondering about my choice of names for you. Of course, I know your real name to be Johnathan Tindale, and that your friends call you Tanner. Moreover I know that you are the son of a longshoreman from Dublin, and you moved to England to seek out a little a little adventure at a young age. Bravo for you!

Overmore I know of a single, fleeting encounter between you and a cloaked stranger that occurred on the docks in London more than a month and a half before this was penned. Do not fear that your dark secret shame has been discovered by a third party--I was the stranger. I realize that you have probably attempted to block the incident from your mind, having been raised in a good Catholic home. I assume you have heard rumours of evil and perverted men that engage in sexual acts with one another, "tainting the will of God" and other such religious nay-saying. Don't fret! What you experienced in the mouth of that alleyway was not a sexual encounter. It was the first step of what is called--in the ancient tongue that I will one day teach you--Ifké Giröshke. Loosely translated: "The Sacred Turning".

You were not assaulted, rather, you were 'kissed'. Not the Pax, the holy kiss of peace with which you are familiar, certainly, something different. But not a sexual kiss either. Rather think of it as the kiss one brother in a monastery might bestow upon a new acolyte, to welcome him into the fold.

I admit that I was somewhat forgetful that evening because circumstances (including my travel arrangements and the celebrations in which I had engaged previous to my departure) clouded my judgment and made me impulsive, and you did look so very young and energetic and promising. I knew you would make a fine addition to our order, which is why I was so hasty and inconsiderate as to begin the process without first even giving you my name.

Now, allow me to explain.

I am one of the order of Sangue Amantes. We are an ancient line stretching out of the early history of Portugal. We are a wandering, nomadic people, yet each of us has three gifts which are fuelled by our thirst. My encounter with you has presented you with that thirst: the appreciation for the smell and taste of human blood in very small quantities. Of all the various houses and races, Sangue Amantes has the least desire for blood, and rarely will you find yourself with an overwhelming need to drink the sweet elixir of your fellow man.

The first gift will begin to come upon you as your blood turns--sometime in the next 6 months, if my calculations are correct--and will give you an fresh outlook on life. Truly you are about to embark on a great and marvelous voyage. I'll explain in more detail about that gift in my next letter.

I know that you are still in shock at receiving this letter, and I do not expect for you to fully appreciate the opportunity that has been laid before you. Let me say this: If you have no interest in the three gifts, merely resist the new thirst within you for an additional half year, and you will find it that it lessens. After a few additional years, all will return to normal.

One word of warning: I recommend that you take up a position on a sailing ship or in a mine during those months. Any exposure to a young and vulnerable female of your own age would likely present too easy an opportunity for you.

Another letter will arrive within a month of this one, I hope, with further instructions. You are about to embark on a glorious new education.

Warmest regards and well wishes,
- Alexandre Viajante

Friday, May 13, 2005


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