Tuesday, July 1

To understand the End one must go back to the Beginning

(Recovered from a fragment of a medieval manuscript in a collection of works considered too dangerous for distribution, purchased anonymously via AEtherBay 26 years after a mysterious fire destroyed the abbey rumoured to have housed just such a collection. This passage is all that is legible from beneath layers upon layers of very rude interweaving drawings in a mockery of Celtic design of humans and humanoids doing things best not described.)

The Myth of Bloodwing and Persephone

Hermes had negotiated with Hades on behalf of the Olympians for the partial freedom of Persephone. She would return to the surface world for half the year, but because she ate the blood-seeds from the fruit of the Garden of Hades, the hunger would drive her to return more surely than an army of demons would in pulling her back. No fruit of this kind had ever been seen in the world above.

Persephone bore two children by Hades, a son and a daughter. The firstborn was a pale son born in the darkness below, and thirsted for the blood-seeds. As he ate the seeds, small red wings began to grow from his back, the same color of the seeds. For this he was named Bloodwing. The daughter was born in the world above, and so beautiful was she that she shone as bright as the sun when she was born. For this she was named Lumina. As Persephone travelled back and forth with her children, Lumina would grow sick in the darkness and be well again when returned to the surface. Persephone and Bloodwing would stay above until Bloodwing was too weak to move, so sadly she would return with her children.

When Lumina reached her thirteenth year she begged of her father, "Even you cannot gaze at my light! My own father cannot look at me! I beg you let me stay in the world above, and you can keep your darkness!" Hades found wisdom in her words and agreed. Lumina never returned to Erebus again.

Bloodwing pleaded with Hades, "Father! Am I to only see my sister when I am too ill to play with her? I beg of you, may I take just one blood-seed with me that I may eat when I am weakest, so I may climb back to Erebus myself as a man? I grow bigger with each year, and I fear Mother may find me too heavy and drop me into the Styx!" Hades saw wisdom in his son's words, and allowed him one blood-seed for his journey above.

Bloodwing did not consume the blood-seed. Instead, he secretly planted it in the blood-drenched soil where men had died in battle. As autumn drew near and he grew weak, he begged his mother before he collapsed, "I have lost the seed! Please do not tell Hades!"

Bloodwing returned that year exhausted, carried on his mother's back. Persephone told Hades, "he tried so hard to journey down himself, but only made it half-way. He is still young. Next year he will be stronger."

In the years to follow, Bloodwing did eat the seeds Hades gave him. But he also tended to the sapling that grew on the battlefield where he had planted the seed. Disguised among mortals he would whisper to kings that that tree, that no living man had ever seen, was magical, and deceive them into waging war on that battlefield year after year just to claim the tree on that land as their own.

Soon Bloodwing grew strong enough that it was he who carried Persephone back down to the Underworld in his arms as he soared on crimson wings. Hades believed him loyal. He promised Bloodwing that one day, when he ruled his own kingdom, he would be accepted among the gods.

Finally the tree had borne its own fruit. Bloodwing had gathered the mightiest warriors who had survived the battles in his bloody garden. He gave each one a fruit and told them, "in being so mighty, you have been my gardeners. Now go and take these fruit and plant each and every seed, and be sure each seed is planted in bloody soil."

The warriors protested, "you would have us travel the world leaving a trail of blood behind us! What are we to gain by this?" The demon laughed.

"You each may eat one seed from the fruit I give you, and it shall make you strong, and unaging like me! But like the trees you will crave blood to live." And so they did, becoming what monsters that stalk the living as Afterhumans.*

One night, as Persephone was preparing to take the journey back to her cruel husband, the King of Erebus, Bloodwing presented her with a full pomegranate. She gasped in disbelief.

"How did you steal a whole fruit from your father without knowing, and keep it alive for so long?"

"I did no such thing! Do you remember the seed I told you I lost? I planted it, and now these fruit grow across this earth wherever the Apollo's chariot burns bright and the air is dry! We may feed on these to sustain us! We need never descend to Erebus again! We are free just like my sister Lumina!"

Over the centuries there were not enough Afterhumans to feed blood to all the trees, and they grew more selfish and saved the blood for themselves. The curse in the blood-seeds grew less potent until it was safe for any man to eat, and only stained one's clothes like blood. By then, Persephone and Bloodwing had outlasted the addiction to the fruit in the Garden of Hades.

When Hades discovered of Bloodwing's trick, he swore revenge. He sent heads of the Hydra to retrieve them... (End of fragment)

*An interpretation by a incompetent 13th century English monk of the Greek name for the demon, hman-aftera (blood + wing), which he mistakenly interpreted as revenant or undead. More savvy occultists refer to the progeny as the Hmanaftera Bloodline, but vampires of Cainite origin refuse to recognize them as "true" vampires and continue to refer to them disparagingly as Afterhumans.

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