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Cautionary Tales of the Macabre: Count Reynold D'Aubigne (Vamp Count background)
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Old 06 Sep 2008, 08:21   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Cautionary Tales of the Macabre: Count Reynold D'Aubigne (Vamp Count background)

(explanation, skip if uninterested)

So as I said in another thread made before this, I've decided to start a Vampire Count army, representing the forces of a petty kingdom in the land of the Border Princes. I've started thinking about some stories to go with the background of this army, which is heavily themed, and here is one such story.
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Cautionary Tales of the Macabre
Chapter 7: Count Reynold D'Aubigne


Twelve tickety tocks from ten rickety rocks
Call in your daughters by the tick of your clock
Eight blackest blights, six darkest nights
Tuck your babes in and guard them tight
Four flashes of lightning, two blood red wings
Count Reynold’s in town this evening


-- an appropriated nursery rhyme common in Northern Tilea


Background:

The actual blood relation between Count Reynold D'Aubigne and the Marquis D'Aubigne is tenuous at best. If we employ such standards which Reynold uses to claim the old Marquis as "uncle", we can make a similar claim that over a quarter of the Border Princes can also call the Marquis "uncle". In all likelihood the old Marquis merely gave his so called nephew a title so as to dispatch this mishapen and vile, yet capable warrior to the furthest reaches of his lands and never see him again.

Reynold's holdings, Qiharao has become a place of evil to match that of Sylvania itself. Sitting on the edges of Harbinnia, this mountainous county guards the northern approaches of the kingdom from all manners of raiders and bandits. Indeed the southern fertile parts of Qiharao would be quite pleasant were not for the depravations of Reynold himself. Reynold was one of the earlier nobles of Harbinnia to be sired by Aurelie Camomescro, the first corruptor and progenitor of the Vampirical D'Aubigne line. Perhaps Camomescro wanted an immortal garrison to guard Harbinnia's north, or perhaps she merely needed to amuse herself by seeing how far the perversions of the already unhinged Reynold will go.

If the latter were her goal she has succeeded beyond anybody's wildest dreams. Upon gaining his powers the Count's first act on the return to his castle in Qiharao and slaughter almost his entire household. "The weeping night", the locals called it. There were no winds or rain or storm, such that the sickening cries of anguish from the castle were clearly heard in all the villages below. The count was disrobed, hair fallen out in his gleeful madness. He used no sword or axe, merely his hands to choke, his nails to tear and his teeth to lacerate, he relished the intimate feel of death upon his skin. As if drawn by his dark will the tribes of inbred cannibals north of the castle began to patrol the surrounding hills and cliffs, rounding up escaping servants and maids from the castle and herding them back to the Count's embrace.

In the years following Reynold's descent into villainy became all the more notorious. The count, from all descriptions, had turned into a creature hideous and inhumane beyond conciliation.

"She lies in my bed chambers, my dear cous, how many will lay upon her in turn I wonder? One troupe? One tribe? One county? The girl will become a woman, then a corpse"

--Reynold's message to Baron Bernard D'Aubigne after the kidnapping of his daughter

Aided by the tribes of cannibalistic ghouls and creatures of the night he had gathered, he waged his wars against both rivalling nobles in the kingdom and his own people. Folks in the kingdom has cynically labelled all his doings a grand "Festivale of the Night". It's true that a certain eldritch intelligence and depravity remains about him so that he was always creative and sadistically poetic about his deeds of infamy. He takes great care in lacing his actions with theatrics and flair. In no case was this more exemplified than his toyings with the ill-fated Baron Bernard D'Aubigne, who was eventually driven insane, and for his troubles, Reynold annexed the lands of his mad cousin.

"Count Reynold is not a villain of the ordinary magnitude; he does not derive enjoyment from only acts of sadism, but also from the anguish and fears of those related to his victims. It seems the Count has taken to his days conjuring ever more creative and complex tragedies for his own enjoyment, I hope for your sake my dear Marquise, you realize what an abomination you have brought to this world"

--- Words from the death bed of Physician Jacques De Mousillon to the Marquise Aurelie Camomescro


A Case Study: The Black Wedding

A particularly well recorded case of Reynold's degenerancy is The Black Wedding. Tales has it that Reynold once sought the favour of a travelling mystic. When she rejected his advances, he had her burnt at the stake for witchcraft. In her death throes she cursed impotency upon him. Her curse seems to have held true all these years, both in his life and in his undeath, yet what was simply an insane obsession in life had turned into a morbid hobby in death, as Reynold is determined to prove the mystic wrong.

The nursery rhyme presented at the beginning of this chapter is infact merely an appropriation of the original dark verse, whose very subject was these black weddings, said to be part of a tome written by Reynold's most beloved sister Audrey (Whom it is said he spared his initial slaughter and kept in incestuous and torturous captivity for two decades to record the festivities of his private castle before casting her into the villages below to pass on this tome before she expired.)

Whilst I have not been able to find the complete poem, as Qiharao is not a land anybody can pass into, there is at least this later verse following the verse above:

"Lassies don’t be afraid, when you’re taken for a ride
Ghoulies won’t dare touch the Count’s pretty brides
Laddies kiss your sweethearts goodbye, they might see you in hell
Heaven knows who’ll survive this wedding carnivale"


It is impossible to tell how much of these writings are fact and how much are literary dressings. The "ten rickety rocks" would refer to the ten crude and tall black watchtowers which guards the southern borders of Qiharao, to stop locals from escaping to Harbinnia. These towers are plainly visible from the countryside around Harbinnia, a monument to some primordial evil, constructed by the ancestor worshipping ghouls. Locals can also attest that the bells on these towers did indeed, on several occasions in the last few decades, ring twelve times, following a period of six or so nights where the entire land is obscured by a dense black cloud.

What "eight blackest blights" refers to is unclear, and it's highly unlikely the count would somehow ensure there are "four flashes of lightning" before he descends upon the town. (or his carraige, the verses are unclear). As Camomescro had no visible talents in the severed strain of Vampiric arts, it is also highly unlikely that Reynold would manifest "two blood red wings". However, it would be impossible for anybody living outside of Qiharao to deny these happenings.

As for what happens to the inhabitants of the village Reynold chose to hold his Black Wedding, I do not know. Audrey's tome, if indeed it exists as the tales say, might shed more light onto this subject. But here I'd like to remind you, dear readers, that Audrey was kept in a state of feverish madness for twenty years and nobody could say with even a slight degree of certainty that what she describes happened at all. We will shed more light on the Count's doings and character in later chapters, but for now I'd advise we best not muse on these questions without answers.
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Old 06 Sep 2008, 12:02   #2 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Cautionary Tales of the Macabre: Count Reynold D'Aubigne (Vamp Count background)

Nice poem! ;D

Seems a rather interesting idea! I like it!
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