Články & Eseje
Postava: Rachel Scrymgeour (Vampire: The Masquerade; ENG)Příprava pro tisk (tisknuto 3024x)
As an introverted young girl, she find her own way how to carve a niche for herself in the society of teenagers by making her wardrobe a little on the goth side and making any of her artistic endaevors dark, disturbing, or outright shocking, mixing the elements sadomasochistic eroticism, torture and suffering in various dystopic settings. Which was kind of weird actually, because she came from almost a model family and had little liking for any such imagery. It just somehow came easier to her to depict her nightmares. Even the therapist she was made to visit several times due to some concerns of her teachers didn't find anything particulary wrong with her and claimed it to be just some sort of coping mechanism based on capturing one's sub-conscious fears by giving them a tangible form and thus gaining power over them. Eventually the teachers gave up and just started to grade her assignments while trying not to read them too much.
As time went by, she decided to pursue her artistic tendencies, ultimately settling on clay sculpting, which eventually lead to her being a little famous, having multiple of her pieces displayed in galleries and expositions. And, just like in her school years, the reason for so much attention was her peculiar style, that didn't change much, only became more refined. Her clay sculptures resembled nightmares that climbed out of the depths of Silent Hill, creations of torn skin, warped flesh and twisted bones, oftentimes portraying multiple unnaturaly merged bodies and other disturbing imagery. Through her numerous sculptures, there was a repeating motive of two distinct types beings:
First, there were the "tormented souls", those that inspired fear through a morbid compassion of sorts and could all be recognised as something that used to be a human. From their expressions and postures it was always clear they represent the embodiment of suffering, with horrendous variety of bodyparts either missing, or, in most cases, in surplus, oftentimes portrayed in the bonds of barbed wire or spiked chains, impaled or stabbed with all sorts of objects.
Then there were the tormentors, who were of course fearsome just by the acts they seemed to be commiting, but oftentimes they would strike fear and insane fascination into the hearts of the gallery visitors just by themselves. Although they actually resembled humans quite a lot, they featured numerous characteristics, that, while being quite subtle in several cases, gave the whole being an incredibly alien and incomprehensible feeling.
Numerous onlookers agreed (each in their own words) on the fact that the strangely beautiful, serene and nearly human faces of those otherworldly creatures were the most disturbing part of the sculpture - as if the very mind of the sculptor herself decided to deny the very existence of their real faces in self-preservation, replacing them with disturbingly mis-matching, yet somehow organically integrated masks.
"Choosing a Face" - A tormentor depicted in front an organic table with numerous heads *growing* out of the surface, shown in the middle of the act of removing a face from one of the heads and putting in on the featurless spot where it's own face should be.
"The Chain of Torment" - Shows a chain made of human bodies with their feet chained to their hands behind their back, held by a giant tentaclish appendage and suspended into a large star-shaped mouth of many teeth, connected to the tentacle.
"The Pool of Rebirth" - Shows a tormentor in several stages of stepping into and exiting a pool filled with various body parts, having changed appearance in the process.
"The Arms of Horror" - This particular piece was created as an extension of her hobby of covering some parts of her body with a layer of clay and then reshaping it according to her hellish fantasies. It allows the onlooker to become a part of the sculpture by putting their arms into the glove-like holes in appendages that would otherwise be a part of a tormentor or the tormented. The few who tried it said that seeing the sculpture from either perspective, combined with the illusion of actually being the one who torments / is tormented, makes up for a very powerful, albeit unsettling, experience.
It would came as no surprise that aside of mortal critics and visitors of those galleries where her pieces were exhibited, numerous kindred also became interested in her work. Some Toreadors viewed it as appealing to their artistic sense. Some Malkavians thought "Finally, an artist who understands what it's like to be inside my head!". And the occasional Tzimisce was returning home mumbling "Why Haven't I thought of this?".
Eventually, the one to make the first move was a certain Toreador going by the name of Zachary Chanter, a man with a troubled history. Long before he met Laura, he used to be such a loyal Camarilla boy, but over the years he grew lonely and wanted a childe for himself. He worked diligently, gaining favors all over the place, then he was finally granted the right to sire and picked the perfect artist he would like to spend his unlife with... But when it came to the embrace itself, a tragedy happened. The blood didn't have any effect on the childe, so instead of a companion, Zachary created a cold bloodless corpse. He tried again and again, always with the same result... until the rumours of his infertility reached the ears of the Prince. He was banned from ever attempting to sire again, for nothing but mortals who died under mysterious blood-related and masquerade-violating circumstances seemed to come out of it.
Heart-broken, he tried to cope with the verdict for some time, but eventually he decided to rebel against it. He joined the Sabbat where he wouldn't be chained by the traditions anymore, thus being able to freely pursue his dream. He was deeply convinced that if he tried hard enough and if he was patient enough, eventually some mortal would react to his vitae and transform into his long-awaited companion. But for many years of standing above the freshly-filled graves of new possible shovel-headed admissions into the Sabbat, he was only met with disappointment, for the ground above his potential childe never moved to reveal a being struggling for life.
With every failure, it became increasingly difficult and painful to try again, but when he saw the sculptures of Laura Castles, he found himself entranced by her twisted visions of unreality, and couldn't resist the urge to make her his, for he would never forgive himself if he passed the chance of this particular person being compatible with him. He sought a moment of opportunity and dominated her into coming to a graveyard where the Sabbat were to embrace their new group of recruits, and when the time came, he did the same thing he did so many times before...
For many hours he awaited by the grave, shedding tears of sadness and frustration, but it seemed that, once again, his blood was proven not to contain even the slightest hint of life... Not even the consolations of his fellow Tzimisce potential sire, who apparently suffered the same fate with his childe buried right next to Laura, seemed to alleviate his depression. Eventually, they both gave up and left together...
When Laura woke up underground, enclosed in a box of damp cardboard, her whole world seemed to be filled with one urge only - to satiate the intensive hunger she felt. The horrific visions brought forth by the embrace didn't help much, but they weren't so different from what was on her mind on regular basis. She started to franticaly scratch and claw on the cardboard, tearing it up, plunging her fingers into the ground beyond, digging blindly in the dirrection she followed by some weird instinct. Unlike most of those in that situation however, the thing she found herself digging towards wasn't the surface and a welcoming hit in the face with a shovel, for her fingers struck the sruface of *another* cardboard box. The rustling noises coming from within agitated the beast within her to the point where it was impossible to control. Laura ripped apart the feeble barrier separating her from the unsuspecting being inside, who was still struggling with the transformation, and instinctively buried her fangs deep into the nearest artery, swallowing every drop that came out of the wound, all the way until the source dried out completely... With the beast temporarily satisfied, she curled up in the confined space cuddling with the corpse beside her, and temporarily gave in to the nightmares still raging in her mind, ultimately floating out of consciousness for some time...
When she came to her senses again, her thoughts were a bit clearer, so the shock from finding herself underground, pressed to a decaying body, hit her like a speeding train. In a sudden hysterical fit, she gave her all to dig her way out, this time finally in the upward direction. The ground, bursting into chunks of grass on a place where it wasn't expected to do so anymore, caught the grave-watching ghoul almost off-guard, but he managed to reach the spot and knock Laura unconscious with a mighty swing of his shovel, backed up by all the potence he could call upon, before she got away. Seeing as she dug from the grave that was supposed to contain the childe of some Tzimisce guy named Christian Reinhardt, he called upon him, announcing that his childe apparently just took longer to wake up than usual...
Reinhardt was quite surprised to see that the vampire presented to him wasn't the childe he chose for himself, but still found himself intrigued by the circumstances of her delayed "arrival", so he didn't say anything. By possessing a nearby rodent, he investigated the case, and what he found made him like that newborn vampire even more. It struck perfectly with his idea of "survival of the fittest", and since by diablerizing his progeny, the girl also recieved the Tzimisce taint, making her physically able to develop vicissitude, he decided to make use of it, claiming her as her own...
What followed was some time of Laura living with Reinhardt as his blood-bound assistant, fanatical admirer, lover, shapeable fleshy toy, and a bottomless source of inspiration, as Laura's artistic tendencies didn't subside. He found himself admiring her work, even recreating some of her sculptures in flesh, and taking perverse satisfaction in bending her into actually using the living victims he provided instead of clay to sculpt any of her new pieces, while occasionally making some alterations to her body, to better go with his tentacle fetish, which meant tentaclish hair, an extendable tongue that she could satisfy herself - if she wanted - without bending her spine, and a long tail.
Then, one day, Reinhardt had to attend a large Sabbat meeting, and he took Laura along. The meeting itself went well and the plans to end the lives of many Camarilla dogs were put into motion, but an unexpected person encountered Laura in the crowd. Zachary, the one who actually sired her, recognised her despite the alterations to her appearance and made a huge scene, begging Reinhardt to give her to him, as she was what he awaited for so long, but Reinhardt just proclaimed him to be a pathetic worm and refused to do so. Furious, Zachary challenged Reinhardt to a duel over Laura's ownership, and due to many onlookers, it didn't take long for the fight to begin. A fight in which Zachary didn't only lose Laura, but also all of his blood, and his life with it... All the time, Laura couldn't help but feel confused, vaguely feeling the man should mean something to her, but ultimately only thinking of him as of the weirdo that kept calling her by name, even though she didn't remember ever seeing him before...
Ironically, it didn't take long after that for Laura's relatively peaceful and art-filled life with Reinhardt to end. Her Tzimisce sire couldn't help but to have certain expectations from the vampire that held the blood meant for his intended progeny, and at one point, it just wasn't enough that she was able to shape flesh and bones alike. He disliked how pathetic she seemed by the side of other Tzimisce, oftentimes younger than herself, all lined up for battle in their zulo forms, so he became to push her into reaching that stage too, yet she seemed unable to do so. His methods became more and more extreme, making her undergo physical torture and numerous states of frenzy, he experimented with her blood-bond, but all his efforts ended up being in vain. Ultimately, he gave up. He lost all interest in her, assigned her to some random pack and found himself some other childe with more potential... Even as she saw her master with the other subject he found himself liking, there were no feelings of jealousy in her. She still loved her master, for the blood bond was still strong. And it was under those feelings, that she - still believing every word her master ever said to her - went with her new pack for the vaulderie.
It was right at the moment when she first tasted the mingled blood of her pack-mates, infused with mystical blood-bond breaking powers, when the speeding train of shocking realisations hit her the second time in her life. Suddenly, she saw all that happened to her in a new perspective, which made her, for a moment, feel completely dead inside. With that, a huge wave of disgust towards everything her master represented rised within her. She remembered who she was, she remembered what she heard about the man her master defeated in the duel, all sort of feelings and repressed memories started fitting together, giving her a clear picture of what she has to do...
She decided with unshakeable certainty that she has to leave Sabbat... Luckily for her, an opportunity soon presented itself when her pack of expendable existences got annihilated in a large-scale Camarilla retaliation. Seizing that opportunity, she escaped into the night, stripping herself of her flesh-crafted appearance, and, once again, assuming the shape of a mortal, although she couldn't completely erase the marks left on her, leaving her with a tongue she could lick the tip of her nose with, and a long thin mouse-like tail that would keep regrowing slowly, no matter how many times she would fleshcraft or cut it away.
Presenting herself as Rachel Scrymgeour the Toreador, she approached the Camarilla authorities, presented them with her case of a disillusioned fledgeling who just found everything she was lead to believe was a lie, willing to accept any treatment and any conditions, as long as she is allowed to live for herself, free of the sick ideology and practices of Sabbat, and Tzimisce in particular. It just so happened that the figures of authority were in an extremely good mood and therefore momentarily inclined to be merciful...
Thus she began the slow and painful process of integrating herself into the Camarilla-governed environments. She didn't return to either her original possessions or to her original form of art, being reminded of her despised foster sire by her former works. Although she more or less kept using the same imagery, the nature of it radically changed. Suddenly the Tormentors weren't the god-like alien beings, who could do anything they please. The sculptures became the embodiment of the struggle of the tormented souls against their tormentors. They weren't the pitiful existences by Laura Castles, they became beings of steel hearts, grasping onto the bodies of the monsters, pulling them down by the sheer mass of their disfigured bodies and ripping them apart with anything they had left, including the spiked chains and barbed wires they were bound with. The change was so extreme that nobody would recognise it as the work of the same author. Rachel herself explained her work by saying that she witnessed the abominations of Laura Castles, and claimed that such perverse display of hopelessness serves nothing but speeding up the decline of the degenerated artistic society, deciding she would battle that notion with her own art...
Like that, she was able to make a living for herself... It still wasn't easy living with the stigma of being a Sabbat defector and she found herself being hindered by vampiric bureaucracy on numerous occasions, and the feeling of living on the edge, where making just one wrong step would unleash a bloodhunt on her sorry ass, wasn't too good either... But it still was better than nothing.
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