Glenn James continues his exploration of the civilisation of the great Vampire Royal Houses from his Skaler work, in recounting a curious legend which might sound, in places, oddly familiar…
“There is an inexhaustible fund of lore surrounding the history of the great Born Vampire families, especially those of Pylegrey, deep under the Black Mountains in Wales. Of course, the ones which fascinate scholars most surround the shadowed Gosmanger Clan, the most ancient of all the Children of Pylegrey, those who found Lucifer himself when he fell to earth. And of all of these, one of the most popular is a cautionary tale about the earliest sons of the house, Pathvaliant the Skychaser. Pathvaliant’s tale dates from the days before the Deluge, a few thousand years after the fall of the Sun of the Moring, before the great families withdrew to their labyrinthine dark cities below the earth…. “
Lift up your eyes, lift up your eyes my Children of the Dusk, and look upon the face of the Queen of the Moon, and know her visage. Know her face in your mind and let not her beauty slip into your heart, for it will fasten a knot there no cunning or artifice can undo. See her on her cusp of ice, brushing her long flaxen hair forever in the eternal night, idly watching the busy Earth caught in the jaws of ancient Father Id, as he flies forever in his dwindling voyage around the sun.
Let not that Lunar light and beauty, that false pale reflection of the sun slip into your heart; for she will pull you into the sky like a giddy moth and you will be lost to the wastes of night forever.
Remember Pathvaliant, remember and fear! Never was there a greater or more fearless son of Gosmanger, as great Pathvaliant the Skychaser! Even before the gaudy sun had dipped his head below the parapet of the waking world, and Father Id had furled his mighty wing across the globe for night, Pathvaliant would nightly have flung himself aloft and seduced the winds.
He did not walk the night, he bathed in it. He did not embrace the skies, he made love to them. Pathvaliant, the most cunning and adventurous flyer ever to step lightly off the Earth! Already he had connived his way around the currents of the world, knowing each different wind, and his place above the lonely soil, by the caress and seductive embrace of the winds. For Pathvaliant had seduced the daughter of the great Stormpiper, and she had taught him the ways of her craft. He navigated the skies like a pilot of the raging seas, and from his lineage, children of the House of Gosmanger can charm and call the storms at will like a loving dog.
All the daughters of the Stormpiper were in love with him, and great were the tempests when they fought for his favours! But he stood aloof, for Pathvaliant had seen one greater than all the rest put together.
He had ascended higher above the world than any great vampire since Father Id himself, chasing high into the upper latitudes, until at infinite risk of seeing the Sun coming up around the rim of the earth itself. And the Stormpipers chased after him, whipping the wolves of tempest high through the chasing fields of clouds to catch him and charm him. But one night, when teasing them so, Pathvaliant caught fatal sight of the moon herself. And so he was lost.
It was a clear night, and sitting on the windowsill of her crescent, Pathvaliant saw her in all her fatal white skinned beauty, her form like sculpted snow, and his heart flew out clean through the night towards her like a longing bird.
He burned with an unholy lust for the Queen of the Moon, and knew he had to have her. Scheming and raging, Pathvaliant came back to earth, and in his insatiable lust sucked the sheer life out of hundreds of men and beasts, packing his body with such explosive force that his wings that night, when he took to the skies, were a league across in width. He set out for the moon. They say that he ascended so high that he even saw the face of great Id himself, the primeval father of all vampires, beating his endless wings slowly in the night as he slumbers with the earth in his jaws…..
But the moon, that Deceiver of the Night, had taken his heart without a fight, and Pathvaliant went to his death. He flew on without realising the impossible distance he had to cover, stretching and grasping for his goal, his sole thought being to touch the fair skin and reach the neck of the lady of the moon, to banquet on her blood. Some say he almost reached his goal, when… Ice began to form quickly on those great impossible wings, until, before he realised it, his whole body began to freeze over with the utter chill and bitter frost of the interwordly wastes. Then… Pathvaliant was falling.
The Daughter of the great Stormpiper flew up to him as fast as she could, and she collided with his tumbling form with so great an impact that ice crystals fell all over the world, the first snow ever known to fall from our skies. The two fell into a rolling tumble, unstoppable at their great speed, and they orbit the world forever, a great star with a long hairy blazing tail.
Now whenever it snows or a comet is seen in the sky, Children of the Born take heed, and turn their eyes from the moon, for they remember her temptation, and the burning roll of Pathvaliant and the Stormpiper….
“… This oral epic is usually ascribed to Spoonhank of Gloucester, the greatest of the writers of the Heroic Age, and Pathvaliant’s story is known to Children of Pylegrey everywhere. To what extent they take the story seriously it isn’t exactly clear, and any human writer will see here a vampire equivalent of the tale of Icarus. It is unique in featuring the lunar disc rather than the Sun, but what vampire in their right mind would be flying towards the sun anyway…..” (Translation by Eustace Moon, 1958.)
© By Glenn James 2012