Loretta Fabron Onfoy explains the importance of knowing one's own weakness and overcoming our obsessions. She also tells a story which she was told in 1843 of the vampire Aodhan Fitzgerald, a pig farmer, who fell in love with another farmer, John Doyle to his own misfortune.
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Written and Performed by Elizabeth Guizzetti
Opening and Closing music: Loretta's Theme by Evan Witt.
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Vampires of PFC Episode 22: Conquering our obsessive natures
MUSIC: LORETTA'S THEME by Evan Witt
Recording by Loretta Fabron Onfoy, former lady of the Kingdom of France, current historian and librarian of the Paper Flower Consortium
Welcome back my beloved initiates and other listeners,
Tonight, I will discuss the first lesson I learned about being a vampire and Pascaline learned as a vampire which is eternity takes self-discipline and we cannot fixate upon anyone or anything. It is too easy for infatuation to become an obsession. A vampire who lives among humans must know restraint. We can not flit about from passion to passion.
Many myths and movies show the obsessive nature of vampires. One myth claims if you drop seeds or bread crumbs the vampire must clean it up. Once again, I am sure this myth came from a vampire who did not want mice in his house. Or if you untie knots or undo buckles, they must refasten them. Well, before we had zippers and velcro, we had knots and if knots were not tied clothing fell off, sails on ships collapsed. And buckles held everything from bags to saddles. So I’m sure some victim escaped a meticulous vampire. And these myths no doubt contain a hint of survivor bias.
I am not making a personal judgement about such things, this is just a general statement.
You must know your own weaknesses – even when they are something positive in your existence and ensure you keep it under control.
The ability to control one's emotional state and overcome one's weaknesses; including bloodlust is imperative. Because otherwise we are found out and hunted by people who might hurt us, both vampire hunters or religious zealots looking for someone to blame. Therefore, we must do what is right despite obstacles and temptations. Forgoing temptations is hard in the moment, but we must if we are to survive.
Humans who cannot learn to control their desires make terrible vampires and do not survive.
Those who would gorge themselves on blood each night kill too often and get caught – either by us or by the human law enforcement.
Those who would allow their lusts overtake them, change people outside the initiation program – then their bloodline must step in. As I said last year, Bill was dismembered and decapitated when he created Norma and attempted to change the others. There was no program, Pascaline created Madeleine back in 1686 as another line of defense for me. We were able to help Pascaline past her preoccupation, and sometimes I fear, perhaps, we might have helped, encouraged, Bill more, he might have been saved. Yes, even though our coven brother was a wicked, self-indulgent man, he was beloved by us.
Self-discipline can be developed through good habits.
Just as the athlete trains their muscles and becomes stronger, a person can train their limits and grow it into habits.
In eternity, there will be times when we all know it is better that we remove temptations from our view for a time. This may mean stepping or growing a sense of awareness.
Tonight, I will tell you a story which I heard when we passed through Wyoming as part of a wagon train by a proto-coven who made it clear we were to keep heading west as they did not want any trouble from the human populace and the vampire Aodhán (Aiden) Fitzgerald had recently brought tribulation to the community to his own misfortune.
I call this group a proto-coven because back in 1843, it was a family unit of three vampires. The family was headed by a former Catholic priest who had left Catholism after the reformation and his younger brother and his brother’s wife.
They left Europe to escape Ireland’s religious persecution and New York because of the persecution of the Irish. It was she who told me this story to hurry us along. As her brother-in-law the priest had no interest in growing his family, which was fine, because we were not stopping for longer than to water our oxen and horses and sheep.
Now Pascaline tells me this family merged with another family and started to take on nonfamily members and became a true coven sometime in the 1860s.
By all accounts Aiden Fitzgerald was a handsome vampire, changed at seventeen or perhaps eighteen with not a blemish upon him. He had smooth brown curls and hazel eyes and even though dead, he kept his ruddy complexion. He had angular jaw and chin. He had spent many hours out of doors and his body was covered with strong, brawny frame and broad shoulders.
However, he was the type of man trouble found. The coven knew he had run away from his dad. Then there was trouble with his school master. Then trouble from his progenitor after he became a vampire.
He came to America and first landed in New York. I am told there was some sort of trouble there. I don’t blame him for running, times were hard, discipline was harsh. He was still running when he came across a small house filled with a dead family.
Aiden was not sure if they died of cholera, but by the fact none were buried and they were all dead it seems likely. As cholera does not affect vampires, Aiden ate the bodies slowly. Draining putrid blood from their body. He buried the bones and organ meats.
Then he set up housekeeping in the cabin. As an Irishman, he explained to the neighbors he was the brother of the Fitzgerald clan. He took their name, so when people came to the house no one thought it odd.
Now the Wyoming proto-coven did reach out to him and asked if he wanted to join them, but Aiden wanted to try his luck pig farming as he felt he never had so much as he “inherited from the Fitzgeralds” and moreover, he could be his own man. Still, the vampires were friendly with Aiden. Aiden sold them pigs from time to time. And the men explained the best hunting spots for deer and elk.
He slowly integrated into the community. He attended church. He worked the farm and raised pigs and he became obsessed with a local farmer, John Doyle.By all accounts, Aiden and John’s relationship began innocently enough. Aiden helped with a barn raising. He ate dinner at the Doyle’s house. He sat with John Doyle’s family at church.
In this era of information, its hard to imagine John’s reaction, but a farmer of the time, he probably though nothing of the young man’s constant presence. After all, Aiden was an unmarried young man, polite, shy with the ladies and every human believed he had come from Ireland only to find his kinfolk dead and so he grew close to another family of Irish descent.
However, the proto coven saw Aiden’s growing excitement of John’s company. They warned Aiden about his fixation on the human, John Doyle, could only lead to heartbreak. Yet, all Aiden can think about it John. His emotional state vaulted between excitement, euphoria to anxiety and feelings of despair. He did not want to feed or sleep. Every time he saw John, his heart raced. He ached to be closer to him. Aiden was sure John felt that their emotions and dreams were entwined.
I cannot describe John and his family well as they were humans and the vampires just said they looked like humans of Irish descent.
To be clear, that is not a dig. The three vampires of the proto-coven were Irish. I think the family never looked at the Doyles, or any humans, much. After a few centuries, that’s easy to do.
John was a few years older, married with a baby , also called John, in the crib and his wife, Mary, was kindly. They were not wealthy, but prosperous enough to kept one servant and one farmhand and also hire more hands during the harvest. Their house was always warm and the food delicious. Mary seemed to have nothing to gripe about, or at least, she never did complain to her friends about Aiden. At least not until it was too late.
One evening, John and Aiden were smoking and drinking whiskey on Aiden’s porch when Aiden, overcome by his fascination, felt the urge to kiss the other man. He leaned in. John pushed him away.
Despondency filled his heart, Aiden had the urge to eat the other man, he did not. He did not want to lose his friend or run again.
Aiden claimed drunkenness and told John to leave. John, also a bit drunk, stumbled home to his own bed.
No one saw Aiden for a week. John assumed the younger man was embarrassed. He told no one of the kiss.
On a Saturday like many other Saturdays, Mary with Baby John on her hip, went to the market. She did not come home in the afternoon as planned. At first John was angry and thought she lost track of the time with other wives or perhaps her mother. As the sky darkened, John began to worry. He and the farmhand went looking for her. An apple seller remembered Mary talking to Aiden, but he thought nothing of it as I said Aiden was openly close with the Doyles and spoke to Mary all the time.
However, John was worried. The drunken kiss echoed in his brain. He wondered what that meant. Suddenly fearing Aiden gave him that drunken kiss because he had become obsessed with Mary, John sends the hand to Mary’s family home as she was a young woman with a father and several brothers.
However, John ran to Aiden’s house. Aiden had been waiting for him. John was let inside where Mary and the baby waited. At first, John was thrilled that his wife and child suffered no misuse. He runs to her. Then he realizes Mary was tied to a heavy wooden bench which was bolted to the floor.
Aiden barred John inside. He shoved a heavy wooden cupboard in front of the door.
John demanded that he and family are released. Aiden confessed all his thoughts and feelings. He was sure that John loves him back, but only stayed with Mary for Baby John’s sake or perhaps propriety. He understood that John must do his duty to his wife and child, but Aiden claimed he was willing to wait or perhaps share John.
No one speaks for a moment and Aiden was overjoyed and sure that the three of them can work it out as adults.
John’s face twisted into a sneer.
Aiden’s joy at being heard was turned into acid and in a moment of anger, he jumped onto John and ripped out his throat. Blood sprayed across the room and onto Mary and Baby John. John clasped his fingers to the wound, but blood keeps spilling. In thirty, seconds, perhaps less, John would die.
Still in love with his obsession, Aiden shared his blood.
John died, but also awoke hungry.
Watching this unfold, Mary struggled to get free, but she could not and with the terrible realization that she was tied to a bench in a room full of monsters, Mary did the only thing left to her. She put Baby John under the bench, hiding him from direct view, and prayed to the Blessed Virgin for protection for her babe. But if one of them had to die, Mary chose herself.
When John awoke, he set his eyes upon Mary and knew who Mary was only for a moment. Then she was no more than a sack of blood and meat with a beating heart that drew him to her.
Aiden whispered into John’s ear. “Kill her. Kill her and we will be together.”
John had no idea what Aiden was speaking of, he just hungered.
The men feasted on Mary, gorging themselves upon her while she screamed.
Now the Doyle’s farm hand had gotten to Mary’s family house and told them that Aiden had taken her. No one wanted to harm the good family’s reputation after all.
The farm hand, Mary’s father and brothers came to the cabin with guns. They heard Mary screaming from inside the house. The baby was crying. They pounded on the barred door. They threw a rock into the largest window to get inside.
Mary was nearly dead, bite marks were on her arms and legs. Ribbons of blood were running down her body.
Aiden spun on the men. Mary’s father shot him and at such close range, blew off a piece of his head.
Of course, Aiden was a vampire, so that did not matter. He charged them again.
One of the brothers, got some rope around him and hung him from the rafters. Aiden broke free, with an ox chain, they bound him and got him inside it.
The hand and Mary’s eldest brother beat John viciously. He did not fight back. Once there was distance between him and his wife, John realized what he had done. Worse, he knew he enjoyed the taste of human flesh.
He begged them to take the baby far, far away. He told them all that had occurred.
His father-in-law ordered his sons and the hand to get rid of these creatures like they did in the old country. He would ensure the child’s safety and be back as soon as he could—with oil.
Now vampires of Irish legend are treated a little different than the more common practices. John was given two stones and willingly climbed into the cupboard with Aiden. When the door open, Aiden tried to run, but John barreled him inside and pulled the door shut behind him. The men chained the cupboard from outside. And though rope does not do much, they tried rope too.
There was one more single gunshot which echoed through the night. That was to ensure Mary did not awake.
John felt the cupboard being moved. Aiden groaned and tried to blubber for his freedom.
Vampires from the protocoven came then. One being a pastor did a short service and assisted Mary’s brothers dig a large trench. He was also sure he heard a woman screaming – from far away – perhaps his mother? Perhaps Mary’s mother. He did not know.
He felt the heat as Mary’s brother lit the house on fire so the vampires had no sanctuary. Aiden grunted and struggled to get free but John held him in place shouting terrible curses and more logical words such as “We brought you into our home and this is how you repay us?” Then more curses.
Aiden tried to escape again as the cupboard was placed upside down into a great pit. The wood cracked and groaned, but Aiden could not move. John held him in place.
“We will die together, fiend.”
Done speaking, he placed a stone in his mouth and forced a stone into what was left of Aiden’s.
Upon the cupboard was placed many sticks and branches of yew wood taken from a small domesticated bush, but as there was not enough wood to grow a great fire, some wild sage was added. Oil was spread over Mary’s body, the makeshift coffin, and plants. As dawn broke, the men lit a great bon fire.
Crackling flames engulfed the box. The priest prayed over Aiden and John’s souls as it seemed the Christian thing to do. Mary’s youngest brother pissed on the cupboard until the priest told him to not do anything that would stop the cupboard from burning.
Now my dear beloveds, by the account, John and Aiden shrieked as their flesh smoked and popped and ultimately liquified. The men fed the fire through out the day but whatever the fire did not consume, the sun did until all that was left was ash.
Aiden’s only crime was letting his obsession getting the best of him and making a scene. If he had killed and eaten the Doyle’s quietly, the proto-coven might have hurried him west, but they would not have helped dispatch him. Even back then information and gossip could spread quickly through a town. That was why Final Death came for Aiden.
Aiden’s obsession meant that John, Mary’s family and the farm hand, at least, knew there were vampires.
If John had not gotten Mary’s family or the farm hand, perhaps both men might have escaped final death and run west. We cannot know John’s true emotions other than the ones he confessed to his father in law and the priestly brother.
And this is why a vampire must never become fixated upon a human.
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Question and Answer Time!
Lady Loretta, How do we know if we are self-disciplined enough to be a vampires? I don’t want to face a terrible death.
Dear initiate Jesse,
Well, the good news is that self-discipline can be learned.
I have spoken before that my sister was in mourning when she was transformed. She wished for vengeance, moreover she was obsessed with my safety. This was not a bad thing, I went to Versailles at seventeen and resided there until I was twenty-two. And as I have said there were dangers and distractions to me. Versailles was made to dazzle and confuse a person. Due to my musical talents and outer beauty, I was popular.
Jakub had taught Pascaline to use a dagger and a sword so she might defend herself and ultimately have her vengeance. I had only a passing interest in such things. After Charles was transformed, he taught both Jakub and Pascaline to shoot a musket, but what I never said is Jakub and Charles feared what they called Pascaline’s flightful nature. They really meant that she was a woman and they did not trust her in the sphere of men. Moreover, Jakub’s gendarme felt it was no place for her. She was then told she was a distraction to Charles’s men. She was sent back to the château. A modern woman cannot understand why Pascaline obeyed Jakub and Charles. So she watched the lessons from Agata’s gardens and followed along alone, no matter how cold the wind blew. She was there in the light of the day, practicing with salvaged or toy weapons.
My sister’s force of will won out the men’s reservations. Charles, his long years as a sergeant, was used to nurturing his men’s talents. Each night, when the village was quiet, Pascaline and Charles practiced together. This education and physical activity gave her something to focus on. And the physical distance was good for both of she and I. Truthfully, we did not like to be parted during those years. She and I wrote to each other and I saw her every few weeks and of course, she and Jakub were in Versailles in the summer, because King Louis the XIV had no love for his nobility. At Court, no one, except me knew that the beautiful Pascaline de Bankier had grown exceptionally strong. Moreover, her gifts were imperative to my success, but all that is a story for another time.
Wait Lady Loretta, you said self discipline can be learned, but according to your antidote, Lady Pascaline already had self-discipline. And certainly, as soldiers, Jakub and Charles did.
People will say people are self-disciplined or not, but the truth is most people have great control in some areas and limitations in others. Learning weaponry calmed Pascaline and gave her confidence. It was difficult both due to her lack of experience and social pressure, but she stuck with it. How did she get better? She chose to focus on our goals. She had a great mentor in Charles in regard to the fighting arts and he had a great mentor in Pascaline in regarding poetry – as he longed to tell me what was in his heart, but could not find the words. Saying he was a solider means nothing, he was taught to fight when he was a boy without choice in the matter. For that matter, so was Jakub.
And that why I wonder sometimes if, though William has evil tendencies both as a human and vampire, that we executed him too quickly…But that too is apprehensions to be spoke of another time.
Good night beloved initiates and sleep the sleep of the dead.
VO: If you have questions or comments for Lady Loretta, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Paper Flower Consortium Patreon. And check out upcoming topics there or at the website.
The Paper Flower Consortium Podcast was written and performed by Elizabeth Guizzetti. You can learn more about her books, including the books featuring vampires in the same universe, by going to www.Elizabethguizzetti.com.
The amazing intro and outro music was written by Evan Witt and you can learn more about his music at www.wittynotes.com.