The Promise

https://i.quotev.com/img/q/u/18/7/2/5uv3saoja6.jpg

Fanfiction and Commentary by Ashleigh Carter. Based on the cult Anime series Blood-C created by CLAMP.

Prologue

“I am sorry my love. But I can no longer keep my promise to you. Humans have become creatures of a despicable nature; I no longer feel pity or compassion towards them. I must find a way to break my contract…forgive me, Azami…

The Old Ones. Ancient monsters of unknown origin whose main form of sustenance is human flesh. So great is their strength, humanity stood no chance against them. Out of desperation, the humans sought to try to commune with the elders in order to come up with some sort of compromise which would cause the least amount of life lost. This led to the creation of the covenant – the Shrovetide. This agreement meant that the old ones could continue to feed on humans however they would be restricted to a specified time and place.

The old ones fear me; the one that feeds on their kind. The product of a union between an old one and a human. The humans have come to call me, a vampire…

Location: Kyoto City, Japan Year: 1860 Edo Period

Chapter 1 – Fated Meeting

Loneliness. It’s all I’ve ever known. That, and hunger; a hunger that I can’t control. I’m certain my eyes are glowing crimson red; pupils in slits, revealing to anyone that might see, that I am anything but human, despite my appearance.

Earlier in the day, I had caught the most delectable scent that I had ever smelled in my long life. That’s how I found myself stalking my prey through a dark, deserted street this night. How can a human smell so good? Instinct is taking over, I must control myself; I am not an animal, not like the rest of my kind who devour their prey on sight, without even being hungry. Animals. So hungry…

Zeroing in on my meal of the night, I lunge at the human preparing to sink my teeth into their neck severing their carotid artery; that’s when I feel the pain. I’ve been electrocuted, falling to the ground with a thud. Confusion hits me.

“what…happened?”

I look up and standing over me is the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Her eyes glaring at me, not an ounce of fear, her eyes were like a stormy sea; long dark locks of hair in a wave down her back, skin like porcelain. So strong and yet, beneath it all, a soul so pure…

I was broken out of my daze by a hand coming across my face hard.

“what happened?! You tried to kill me is what happened! Who do you think you are?!”

“I was hungry, you are human, aren’t you?” I say standing up, hmm this girl is taller than me…

“you’re one of them, aren’t you?” to my surprise she does not look at me with disgust or hatred as other humans do. Instead she holds out her hand, I look and she’s handing me a blood bag. I look up at her in confusion.

“I know it’s not as good as the real thing, but it should help; here take it” she says sympathetically placing the bag in my hand I had not realized was outstretched.

I am speechless, I stare back and forth between her and the blood bag a few times before she gives me a slight smile and nods. I place the bag to my lips and the blood pours down my throat, moaning a little; she was right, it was not as good as the real thing but, damn it was GOOD.

“better?” she asked

“much. Thank you…?”

“Azami. my name is Azami. and you are welcome… And what should I call you?”

No one’s ever asked my name before, let alone used it…this human is peculiar

“my name is Saya.”

She smiles again and I can’t help but smile back. What is wrong with me? the strange, beautiful human turns and begins walking away from me. it’s then i notice the sword sheathed on her side. a samurai? she turns her head to look at me once again. “well? you coming or what?”

“why should i trust you, human?”

“was my giving you my blood not enough to convince you?”

that was her blood? why would this human do this? she turns back and continues walking away down the path. i sigh. fine; i’ll play, but only because i want to know what this humans game is. not because her hair smells like jasmine…ugh. i catch up to her quickly and we walk in silence for what seems like an eternity. i don’t realise i have not taken my eyes off of her, she smirks, flipping her hair back over her shoulder. “you must have questions. you’ve been staring at me for the last ten minutes.”

i quickly turn my head away. am i blushing? slowly i turn to look at her again, she’s looking at me curiously; her eyes sparkle in the moonlight.

clearing my throat “so where are we going anyway?”…

“you rely too much on your baser instincts, you let the animal side control you. i want to teach you, there’s more to you than that. i’ve decided, i’m going to teach you the ways of my clan. control. technique. humanity..”

“why?….why would you do this for someone like me? you don’t even know me; i just tried to eat you.”

“i know. there was just something in your eyes that made me want to help you.”

she held her sincerity and compassion on her sleeve; that sort of person could get themselves killed..no longer in a haze of hunger i’m able to think clearly. i make a decision that will protect this human no matter what; especially from myself.

Chapter Two – Love gained and lost

6 Months Later…..

The clash of metal can be heard throughout the compound as we bring our swords together, grunting in effort. We’ve been at this swordplay for little over an hour now and though I was only slightly tired, I could tell Azami was exhausted, she won’t last much longer. “getting tired? Ready to give up?” I tease her. “not even close.” She grins lunging forward with her sword, I have the advantage when it comes to speed and so I easily dodge her attack, swinging my sword knocking hers out of her hand pointing my sword to her throat in victory, I smile “I win”. Lowering my sword dropping it to the ground with a clang, and walking off to grab my towel.

“you’re really fast; I don’t think I have any more to teach you. The student has surpassed the master” she giggles and takes a drink of water from the fountain. The sight mesmerises me, her laugh is like bells, the most beautiful sound. “ready to hit the baths?” she breaks me out of my thoughts. I’m always losing focus around her.

“yeah, sure, let’s go” we head off to the bathhouse, which houses a large natural hot spring. Stripping down I lower myself into the water wincing with slight pain from the earlier training session. I can’t help the moan I let out when my body sinks into the healing waters; I love baths, I can feel myself slightly dozing off when I feel soft fingers on my face brushing my unruly hair out of my face then tracing my jaw. I open my eyes only to find Azami’s looking intently at me, reaching up to cup her face in my hand gently. “you’re so beautiful” she whispers as if to herself. I am overwhelmed by a feeling unfamiliar to me; slowly leaning in closer to her til our foreheads and lips are brushing against each other, she takes the last few centimetres and her soft lips are against mine in the softest of kisses; I kiss her back deepening our embrace. I am home.

i wake up in agony; i had forgotten to eat yesterday, mentally slapping myself, soo hungry…that’s when that familiar scent hits my nose, i turn to the person sleeping next to me; last night had been perfect, and now i was struggling to remember anything but how delicious she smells..no i can’t do this, please don’t make me. i lean in closer, the animal inside is taking over, my nose up against her throat i take a deep inhale, teeth now bared. closer i can feel my sharp canine teeth begin to pierce my prays flesh. “NO!!” i scream, launching myself backwards with such strength i hit my head against the wall behind me. this comotion finally awakens Azami who sits up frantically looking around until she spots me, up against the wall now with my head in my hands, shaking. she rushes over to me. “Saya?! are you ok? what happened?”

Tears begin streaming uncontrollably down my cheeks, i take her hand in mine and place it over the small puncture wound on her neck, letting go of her; i have no right to touch her. confused she looks at her fingers now with blood on them gasping. “Saya…”

“i’m so sorry! i never wanted to hurt you! i couldn’t control it, i so sorry!” i cry, shrinking into myself; she’ll never forgive me..

“but you did control yourself Saya”. she lifts my face up with her gentle loving hands to look at her; she wipes away my tears with her thumb. “you stopped yourself and i’m so proud of you, it’s only a little cut, see.” she leans in cautiously softly kissing me, looking me in the eye she smiles that smile i love.

“i…i love you Azami”

“i love you too Saya, soo much” she takes me into a deep embrace then gets up taking me with her, my hand in hers “now, how about we go get you something to eat?”

after we had eaten, i turn to Azami, taking her hand in mine. “Azami…i never want to hurt you…i need to protect you, even if its from me.”

“what are you saying Saya?”

“i will make a contract with you that can never be broken; a promise, that i can never again kill a human.”

“but, Saya; are you sure? how will you live without eating humans?”

“i will hunt old ones instead.”

“alright Saya; if this is what you want”

“i want to keep you safe. you are all that matters to me in this world Azami.”

And so the pact was written. i could no longer harm humans, nor consume their flesh. and so i became the feared one amongst the old ones; the one who kills and consumes her own kind in order to live; and more importantly, to protect the woman i love.

Weeks later….

i was walking home from gathering ingrediants to cook Azami our anniversary dinner tonight, all her favorite foods, i smile to myself thinking about what we might do after dinner..thats when i heard it; the crash from a building nearby and a blood curdling scream. i recognised the voice “Azami!” i sprinted in the direction of the scream, spilling the food on the ground. i turn the corner and the sight before me is monstrous. a bat shaped humanoid old one had crashed through the dojo by our home and had found her. i was too late; the old one had torn her in pieces before it looked up at me, dropping her leg in the process. all i saw was red, a wretched cry screamed it’s way from my throat as i ran at the monster who had taken my love from me. tearing into it with my bare hands, even using my teeth, i tear out its jugular killing it instantly, now covered in blood i fall to the ground next to what remains of Azami; the tears are a river from my eyes “no no no please no” i cry but it’s too late, there’s nothing i can do. her beautiful eyes are closed as if she were sleeping i smooth her hair out of her untouched face. the rain has now begun to pelt onto us. i gather her body into my arms cradling her to my chest. “NO!!!” my scream of agonized grief fills the night air. I am alone.

Commentary

I decided to write a prequel to the cult Anime Series created by CLAMP. Blood-C. the tale of how Saya became under a contract with someone to not be able to eat humans has never been revealed and so I took the opportunity to write my own spin on what could have happened.

The story starts off with Saya at a future time, thinking back on the past and how she is now trying to break her “curse” so that she can eat humans again as she hates humans. She then explains her world and her role in it.

The story begins with Saya meeting her girlfriend Azami. a Japanese Edo Period Samurai who takes Saya in and teaches her how to fight and Saya gains some humanity and the two end up falling in love.

Saya out of the need to protect Azami from her; makes a contract that binds Saya to not be able to harm humans.

The fateful night comes when Saya stumbles upon the massacre of her beloved and is enraged sparking a century long killing spree up until she is caught and experimented on in the Anime.

The Anime uses elements from H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu Mythos and so I attempted to use these elements within my fanfiction.

Q.4. Racism in The Blue Lotus

What issues do his albums raise in terms of representation of ‘race’, and particularly ethnic and cultural stereotyping?

https://res.cloudinary.com/teepublic/image/private/s--6I9YiAbP--/t_Preview/b_rgb:ef4a81,c_limit,f_jpg,h_630,q_90,w_630/v1538133230/production/designs/3226826_0.jpg

According to online sources; in the 20th century, George Herge, the Author of the Tintin comic book series (though a much loved, popular story), was also one of the most controversial comic book writers of his time. Herge held an overtly conservative ideology of life and so his writing tended to be influenced by this. the first issue of Tintin had a multitude of promotion and advocacy for anti-communism and conservative beliefs.

several of the Tintin comics, show awful stereotypes and dipictions of different races. though he disregarded all of these claims of his comics containing overt racism stating that it was “just a joke”, that it was not meant to be serious.

Wilcox and Lavery (2002) identify 9 defining characteristics of ‘quality TV’ – can you apply any of these to other television series that you have viewed recently? Are there any other characteristics that you could add to their list?

A tv series is given the tag “cult” by media and network execs when a show is seen to be either ‘edgy’ or ‘offbeat; when they appeal to nostalgia or is considered emblematic of a particular subculture. According to these criteria, almost any television series can be described as cult. Whether a show is a ‘quality’ show is a different question as to whether a person ‘likes’ a show

The nine qualities that make up “quality” tv are as follows:

1) Is the show historical, displaying or becoming part of the national culture?

2) Is the show well written, well acted, and so on?

3) Does the show display high production standards?

4) Is the show popular and/or durable?

5) Does the show appeal to a diverse range of audiences?

6) Does the show educate the audience in some way?

7) Does the show feature a technological edge?

8) Does the show represent minorities, human rights, and other social elements?

9) Does the show serve a specific market niche?

as a television show grows it’s fanbase grows with it. through the use of social media and fans artistic personal approaches to the show; the initial idea of the show itself changes to accomidate this. Joss Whedon began his idea of Buffy the vampire slayer as a reverse horror basically turning gender sterotypes in horror on its head so that instead of the damsel in distress, Buffy is in the “traditioanlly Male” role of the strong hero of the story. though apparently the name “buffy” actually means a lightweight girl; keeping her somewhat in a stereotypical role as a woman. Buffy is a stereotype in other ways however. though she fights against typical gender roles; when she fights she is wearing clothing made to show her figure and she has blond hair.

Reference:

Cult Television.  Sara Gwenllian-Jones. 2004  Book Published by: University of Minnesota Press

http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/blogs/on-the-box/5562830/What-makes-a-quality-television-show

https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4914230-dt-content-rid-10157823_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Wilcox%20and%20Lavery%202002.pdf

3. Carroll (2003) and King (2010) discuss how the “monster” is really a defining feature of a horror story. Using references, explain in your own words how a monster in horror differentiates from monsters in other popular genres.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR39U67TZ81zG9VYaNtyBKdmn35nHbEJDvImrQYwVmxCJ-6jAp4
Jekyll and Hyde

Carrol (2003) believes that the ‘monster’ in horror films are meant to create a relationship between the characters on screen and the audience viewing the film; causing the audience to essentially become connected to the emotional responses of the characters, feeling what they are feeling n response to the ‘monster’ causing similar reactions to the ‘monster’ but not the same reaction. for example the audience could feel nausia, become repulsed, frightened; but not be displaying the same behaivour of the character who may be screaming hysterically and running away. the audience is aware of the fact that the situation in the film is fiction and it is real for the characters on screen. we feel reactions to the characters situation that they are not themselves able to feel in their present state for example when we feel suspensful and on the edge of our seats while the hero of the film is in a fight for their life; the hero is not feeling the emotions of the audience, they would be in a suspenseful situation having feelings of fear, courage, etc. therefore Carrol states that we have a reaction to the situation but not the exact same as the characters.

” If Aristotle is right about catharsis, for example, the emotional state of the audience does not double that of King Oedipus at the end of the play of the same name. Nor are we jealous, when Othello is. Also, when a comic character takes a pratfall, he hardly feels joyous, though we do. And though we feel suspense when the hero rushes to save the heroine tied to the railroad tracks he cannot afford to indulge such an emotion.” (Carrol, 2003).

Image result for dracula
Dracula

whenever we hear the word monster, many archetypes come to mind. the most famous of which being the Romanian Vampire king, Count Dracula. My research has shown that Bram Stoker based his Dracula on a real life Count in history; a man who had a real taste for human blood. Vlad the impaler who was born in the region of Romania now known as Transylvania in 1431 A.D. there was a legend about Vlad III that was spread around years after his death that he invited a group of people to a feast at his home and then had them impaled and then dined on his dinner with their bodies scattered around him. Stephen King writes about how he used parts of his favorite scenes in Bram Skoker’s Dracula to write parts of his books.

Week 10 Alternate History and Science Fiction – Doppelgängers

Question 6: What other TV shows or movies can you think of which have sinister doubles in them and which of the above category do you think they belong to?

Elena Gilbert and Katerina Petrova (Katherine Pierce)
“The Vampire Diaries”

When the subject of Doppelgangers came up in the lecture this week, my mind immediately went to the popular cult vampire television series, The Vampire Diaries. Main Protagonist Elena Gilbert finds out she was adopted and in the process finds out that her boyfriend is a 170 year old vampire who was turned by his ex girlfriend; Katherine Pierce, who also happens to be Elena’s Doppelganger. Elena comes from the Petrova bloodline which started with the progenitor Amara. the Doppelganger is a special kind of Human being in the “magical” world after the Mikalson clan uses the blood of Tatia (another petrova doppelganger) to seal Klaus Mikalson’s Warewolf gene. he then goes on a mission to find the next Doppelganger to sacrifice them ion order to break his “curse”.

Katherine is very jealous of Elena and tries to steal her life at any chance she gets and often attempts to kill Elena. they compete for the affections of the character “stefan” until Elena falls in love with Stefan’s older brother Damon who was also in love with Katherine in the past and now due to Katherine’s abuse and manipulation of him, hates her with a passion. Katherine still tries to destroy elena and damon’s relationship .

Because they are technically related, Katherine is Elena’s distant ancestor. Katherine fits into the Biological Doppelganger category. she constantly tries to harm her doppelganger Elena making her a very sinister Doppelganger. in the end she was destroyed by her own ambition.

Commander Shepard and the Clone Shepard
“Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC”

Not a film or Television show. but in the Game Mass Effect; Bioware intergrated into their final DLC a ‘boss’ battle with a Double or Doppelganger of the Main Protagonist Commander Shepard. fans of the series are aware that when shepard died at the beginning of Mass Effect 2; cerberes worked on the Lazaras project to bring shepard back to life. what was kept secret until this moment was that cerberes created a clone of Shepard “just in case” the commander needed an extra limb etc. the clone should never have been awakened however a rouge cerberes agent woke the clone and manipulated her into evil in order to destroy the real commander shepard and take her place following cerberes commands. just like Katherine (above) the Shepard clone is technically a biological doppelganger. after she is defeated by the real Shepard and her crew, she does not see any pupose in her life and so commits suicide.

Week 2 – Horror – Question 1: Reyes (2014), describes Body Horror as being a “fictional representation of the body exceeding itself or falling apart, either opening up or being altered past the point where it would be recognised by normative understandings of human corporeality.” How do The Void and Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth make use of this definition to explore themes of the unknown?

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

 “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

– H.P. Lovecraft

What is Cosmicism?

Lovecraft’s stories held a belief in hopelessness; that humanity is insignificant and powerless in the huge unknown universe, you can beat the evil entity only temporarily, it will eventually return and humanity will be extinguished (how depressing lol); his philosophy stated that there is no god or divine entity, however there are creatures of unknowable power who can pass as gods out there in intergalactic existence.

Cosmic horror is meant to feed on humanities natural fear of the unknown, especially the dread and loneliness some people feel about what could be out in the far reaches of the cosmos.

Though I do not feel any fear of the galaxy, only awe, and perhaps loneliness; but I love space, I often wonder what it would be like to live amongst the stars. And so cosmic horror does not so much scare me, but it does disturb me.

My impressions of Shadow over Innsmouth were that of disinterest due to Lovecraft’s tendency to go in to too much detail and long winded explanations which take him far too  long to get to the point. I found myself getting bored before I even got to the “actual Story”. I was saying to myself “just get to the point already” and “what does this thing he is writing such a long paragraph about have to do with the story”. My point being he just rambles a lot in his writing it seems. This does not deter from my enjoying his mythos and ideas of cosmic horror and the fear of the unknown which is prevalent in all humanity.

 

As the quotation by Reyes (2014) states; the description of body horror was prevalent in The Void film which we watched in class last week; the doctor in the film has found this unknown entity that he has created some sort of cult to worship and conduct harrowing experiments on poor human victims, in his mission of sorts to cheat death and bring his daughter back from the dead; only to turn them and himself in to inhuman creatures; their body’s being morphed and torn to shreds by the ‘entity’ tentacles petruding from their mouthes for example. The film challenged humanity’s ideas of mortality; I left the film thinking their must have been, though we never saw the true form of the evil behind the doctor’s actions. It must be some ancient far superior alien civilisation coming to attack the lesser species of humanity. The message should be that Humans should never play with the natural order of things; never bring the dead back to life because you have no idea what you could be bringing back.

The shadow over Innsmouth centres around the “fish People” and so Lovecraft describes human bodies that have obvious fish like features which goes against what people see as how a human should look. he describes how these suposed humans have no hair, are grey in color, have flat noses, and wrinkled apearing skin on their neck which came across as an obvious indicator of ‘gills’.

these stories show the idea of the human body being pushed past its limits, ending in something that cant be recognised as human by other fellow humans anymore.

References:

Lovecraft H.P. (1936). Shadow Over Innsmouth.