Prince Lestat: The Vampire ChroniclesAnne Rice
ALSO BY ANNE RICE
The Wolves of Midwinter
Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story
The Wolf Gift
Of Love and Evil
Called Out of Darkness
Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt
Blood and Gold
Vittorio, the Vampire
The Vampire Armand
Servant of the Bones
Memnoch the Devil
The Tale of the Body Thief
The Witching Hour
The Queen of the Damned
The Vampire Lestat
Cry to Heaven
The Feast of All Saints
Interview with the Vampire
UNDER THE NAME ANNE RAMPLING
Exit to Eden
UNDER THE NAME A. N. ROQUELAURE
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK
PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF
Copyright © 2014 by Anne O’Brien Rice
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC, New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto, Penguin Random House companies.
Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to Alfred A. Knopf for permission to reprint an excerpt from “Sunday Morning” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens by Wallace Stevens, copyright © 1954 by Wallace Stevens, copyright renewed 1982 by Holly Stevens. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Rice, Anne, [date]
Prince Lestat / Anne Rice.
pages cm — (The vampire chronicles)
ISBN 978-0-307-96252-2 (hardcover) — ISBN 978-0-307-96253-9 (eBook) 1. Vampires—Fiction. I. Title.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Jacket design by Abby Weintraub
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
Stan Rice, Michele Rice, Christopher Rice
Karen O’Brien and Cynthia Rice Rogers
Eric Shaw Quinn
Suzanne Marie Scott Quiroz
The People of the Page
and to my muses,
Jon Bon Jovi
From my stone pillow I have dreamed dreams of the mortal world above. I have heard its voice, its new music, as lullabies as I lie in my grave. I have envisioned its fantastic discoveries, I have known its courage in the timeless sanctum of my thoughts. And though it shuts me out with its dazzling forms, I long for one with the strength to roam it fearlessly, to ride the Devil’s Road through its heart.
yet unnamed in
The Vampire Lestat
Old truths and ancient magic, revolution and invention, all conspire to distract us from the passion that in one way or another defeats us all.
And weary finally of this complexity, we dream of that long-ago time when we sat upon our mother’s knee and each kiss was the perfect consummation of desire. What can we do but reach for the embrace that must now contain both Heaven and Hell: our doom again and again and again.
in The Vampire Lestat
In the flesh all wisdom begins. Beware the thing that has no flesh. Beware the gods, beware the idea, beware the devil.
—Maharet to Jesse
in The Queen of the Damned
Other Books by This Author
THE VAMPIRE LESTAT
Fareed and Seth
Trouble in the Talamasca and in the Great Family
THE OPEN HIGHWAY THROUGH THE SAVAGE GARDEN
The Story of Rose
The Story of Antoine
Marius and the Flowers
The Story of Gregory
Everard de Landen
Gremt Stryker Knollys
The Jungles of the Amazon
Reunion on the Brazilian Shore
Rhoshamandes and Benedict
Be It Ever So Humble
Moment of Decision
Shall We Dance?
Sevraine and the Caves of Gold
Murder Most Foul
RAGNARÖK IN THE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
In the Topless Towers of Midtown
The Devil’s Gambit
Inheriting the Wind
In the Multitude of Counselors
He Who Cuts the Knot
The Garden of Love
Hostages to Fortune
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
THE PRINCIPALITY OF DARKNESS
The Prince’s Speech
Pomp and Circumstance
The Silence Heard Round the World
The People of the Moon and Stars
“Its Hour Come at Last”
Characters and Their Chronology
An Informal Guide to the Vampire Chronicles
In the beginning were the spirits. They were invisible beings, heard and seen only by the most powerful sorcerers or witches. Some were thought to be malevolent; some were praised as good. They could find lost objects, spy upon enemies, and now and then affect the weather.
Two great wi
tches, Mekare and Maharet, lived in a beautiful valley on the side of Mount Carmel, and they communed with the spirits. One of these spirits, the great and powerful Amel, could, in his mischief making, take blood from human beings. Tiny bits of blood entered the alchemical mystery of the spirit, though how no one knew. But Amel loved the witch Mekare and was ever eager to serve her. She saw him as no other witch ever had, and he loved her for it.
One day the troops of an enemy came—soldiers of the powerful Queen Akasha of Egypt. She wanted the witches; she wanted their knowledge, their secrets.
This wicked monarch destroyed the valley and the villages of Mekare and Maharet and brought the sisters by force to her own kingdom.
Amel, the furious familiar spirit of the witch Mekare, sought to punish the Queen.
When she lay dying, stabbed over and over by conspirators of her own court, this spirit Amel entered into her, fusing with her body and her blood and giving her a new and terrifying vitality.
This fusion caused a new entity to be born into the world: the vampire, the blood drinker.
From the blood of this great vampire queen, Akasha, all the other vampires of the whole world were born over the millennia. A blood exchange was the means of procreation.
To punish the twins who stood opposed to her and her new power, Akasha blinded Maharet and tore the tongue from Mekare. But before they could be executed, the steward of the Queen, Khayman, a newly made blood drinker himself, passed on to the twins the powerful Blood.
Khayman and the twins led a rebellion against Akasha, but they could not stop her cult of blood drinker gods. Eventually the twins were captured and separated—sent out as castaways—Maharet into the Red Sea and Mekare into the great ocean to the west.
Maharet soon found familiar shores and thrived, but Mekare, carried across the ocean to lands yet undiscovered and unnamed, vanished from history.
This was six thousand years ago.
The great Queen Akasha and her husband, King Enkil, went mute after two thousand years, maintained like statues in a shrine by elders and priests that believed Akasha contained the Sacred Core—and that if she should be destroyed, all the blood drinkers of the world would die with her.
But by the time of the Common Era, the story of the Blood Genesis was completely forgotten. Only a few elder immortals passed on the tale, though they did not believe it even as they told it. Yet blood gods, vampires dedicated to the old religion, still reigned in shrines throughout the world.
Imprisoned in hollowed-out trees or brick cells, these blood gods starved for blood until the holy feasts at which they were brought offerings: evildoers to judge and condemn and feast upon.
AT THE DAWN of the Common Era, an elder, a keeper of the Divine Parents, abandoned Akasha and Enkil in the desert for the sun to destroy them. All over the world young blood drinkers perished, burnt to death in their coffins, their shrines, or in their tracks as the sun shone on the Mother and Father. But the Mother and Father themselves were too strong to perish. And many of the very old ones survived as well, though badly burned and in pain.
A newly made blood drinker, a wise Roman scholar by the name of Marius, went down to Egypt to find the King and Queen and protect them so that no holocaust would ever again ravage the world of the Undead. And thereafter Marius made them his sacred responsibility. The legend of Marius and Those Who Must Be Kept endured for almost two millennia.
In the year 1985, the story of this Blood Genesis was told to all the world’s Undead. That the Queen lived, that she contained the Sacred Core, this was part of the story. It appeared in a book written by the Vampire Lestat, who also told the tale in song and dance in film and from the stage where he performed as a rock singer—calling the world to know and destroy his own kind.
Lestat’s voice waked the Queen from millennia of silence and slumber. She rose with a dream: that she would dominate the world of human beings through cruelty and slaughter and become for them the Queen of Heaven.
But the ancient twins came forward to stop Akasha. They too had heard Lestat’s songs. Maharet appealed to the Queen to stop her superstitious blood tyranny. And the long-lost Mekare, rising from the earth after untold aeons, decapitated the great Queen, and took the Sacred Core into herself as she devoured the dying Queen’s brain. Mekare, under the protection of her sister, became the new Queen of the Damned.
Lestat once again wrote the story. He had been there. He had seen the passing of the power with his own eyes. He gave his testimony to everyone. The mortal world took no notice of his “fictions,” but his tales shocked the Undead.
And so the story of origins and ancient battles, of vampire powers and vampire weaknesses, and wars for control of the Dark Blood became the common knowledge of the Undead tribe the world over. It became the property of old ones who’d been comatose for centuries in caves or graves, of young ones misbegotten in jungles or swamps or urban slums who had never dreamed of their antecedents. It became the property of wise and secretive survivors who had lived in isolation through the ages.
It became the legacy of all blood drinkers the world over to know they shared a common bond, a common history, a common root.
This is the tale of how that knowledge changed the tribe and its destiny forever.
When the Vampire Lestat wrote his books, he used any number of terms taught to him by the vampires he had encountered in his life. And those vampires who added to his work, offering their memoirs and their experiences in written form, added terms of their own, some much more ancient than those ever revealed to Lestat.
This is a list of those terms, which are now common amongst the Undead throughout the world.
The Blood—When the word is capitalized it refers to vampiric blood, passed on from master to fledgling through a deep and often dangerous exchange. “In the Blood” means that one is a vampire. The Vampire Lestat had over two hundred years “in the Blood” when he wrote his books. The great vampire Marius has over two thousand years in the Blood. And so forth and so on.
Blood Drinker—The most ancient term for vampire. This was Akasha’s simple term, which she later sought to supplant with the term “blood god” for those who followed her spiritual path and her religion.
Blood Wife or Blood Spouse—One’s vampire mate.
Children of the Millennia—Term for immortals who have lived more than a thousand years and most specifically for those who have survived more than two.
Children of the Night—Common term for all vampires, or all those in the Blood.
Children of Satan—Term for vampires of late antiquity and after who believed they were literally children of the Devil and serving God through serving Satan as they fed upon humankind. Their approach to life was penitential and puritanical. They denied themselves all pleasure except drinking blood and occasional Sabbats (large gatherings) at which they danced, and they lived underground, often in filthy and dismal catacombs and enclosures. The Children of Satan have not been seen nor heard of since the eighteenth century, and in all likelihood the cult has died out.
The Coven of the Articulate—A modern slang term popular among the Undead for the vampires whose stories appear in the Vampire Chronicles—particularly Louis, Lestat, Pandora, Marius, and Armand.
The Dark Gift—A term for the vampiric power. When a master bestows the Blood on a fledgling, that master is offering the Dark Gift.
The Dark Trick—Refers to the act of actually making the new vampire. To draw out the fledgling’s blood and to replace it with one’s own powerful Blood—is to work the Dark Trick.
The Devil’s Road—Medieval term among the vampires for the road each vampire takes through this world; a popular term of the Children of Satan who saw themselves as serving God through serving the Devil. To ride the Devil’s Road was to live one’s life as an immortal.
The First Brood—These are the vampires descended from Khayman who were in rebellion against Queen Akasha.
The Queens Blood—These
are the vampires made by Queen Akasha to follow her path in the Blood and fight the rebels of the First Brood.
The Sacred Core—This refers to the residing brain or governing life force of the spirit Amel, which is inside the body of the vampire Mekare. Before it was in Mekare it was in the vampire Akasha. It is believed that every vampire on the planet is connected to the Sacred Core by some sort of invisible web or network of tentacles. If the vampire containing the Sacred Core were to be destroyed, all the vampires of the planet would die.
The Fire Gift—This is the ability of older vampires to use their telekinetic power to burn matter. They can, through the power of their minds, burn wood, paper, or any flammable substance. And they can burn other vampires as well, igniting the Blood in their bodies and reducing them to cinders. Only older vampires possess this power, but no one can say when and how a vampire acquires it. A very young vampire made by an ancient one may immediately possess the power. A vampire must be able to see that which he or she wants to burn. In sum, no vampire can burn another if he cannot see that vampire, if he is not close enough to direct the power.
The Cloud Gift—This is the ability of older vampires to defy gravity, to rise up and move in the upper atmosphere and to cover long distances easily, traveling the winds unseen by those below. Again, no one can say when a vampire might acquire this power. The will to have it may work wonders. All truly ancient ones possess it whether they know it or not. Some vampires despise the power and never use it unless forced.
The Mind Gift—This is a loose and imprecise term which refers to the preternatural powers of the vampiric mind on many levels. Through the Mind Gift, a vampire might learn things from the world above even when he is sleeping in the earth below. And consciously using the Mind Gift, he might telepathically listen to the thoughts of mortals and immortals. He might use the Mind Gift to pick up images from others as well as words. He might use the Mind Gift to project images into the minds of others. And finally he might use the Mind Gift to telekinetically open a lock, push open a door, or stop the progress of an engine. Again, vampires develop the Mind Gift slowly over time, and only the most ancient can rape the minds of others for information they do not wish to give, or send a telekinetic blast to rupture the brain and blood cells of a human being or another vampire. A vampire can listen to many the world over, hearing and seeing what others hear. But to destroy telekinetically, he or she must be able to see the intended victim.