There are times when we all come together to honor those who rise to the top and make us proud through their dedication and courage.
Last night we had such a time to honor my brother Maxwell and four of his companions. They spend their lives protecting us from Vampire Hunter, Rogue Vampire and others who would harm those we care about and our society. In turn, every once in a while they are honored.
The Medal of the Black Wings is one of the highest honors a Vampire can get from the High Circle. My mother received it long ago and was asked to speak a few words about honor and courage.
But as we sat in the great hall filled with elegantly dressed Vampires (about 200 of us) including many of the most illustrious and important of our kind, my mind was on a thousand different things. I’m a mom. I can’t help it.
The day before I’d be summoned by my brother Val to come out to the farm where the Elders Tellias and Eleora live. They’re ancient isolated and overlooked Vampires, but with a great history.
“Nobody will want to bother with us. Nobody remembers I’d started out my career in the Roman army. They thought I was a mystic. God knows, I wasn’t about to tell them I’m a Vampire. I’m not wearing my old medals. I’m only going to support Max.” Tellias stood firm pushing his pale hair out of his face. “They’ll all fawn over us because we’re so old but they won’t ever come to visit or even return our calls.”
“You’re wrong,” I said. But I was only half way right.
“They think I’m silly,” said Eleora.
“You are silly. I love your silly,” said Tellias giving her a kiss on the forehead.
“Everyone loves your silly Eleora. They love your silly and your smile and everything about you,” I told her.
She rolled her eyes at me. That was a first.
It seemed to take forever but we got them packed and ready. The formal black suit and dress, his medals and ribbons, her black shoes with the silk bows.
Of course when I arrived home my own family (husband and kids) were not ready. Sigh.
We finally made it to the ceremony. My mother had the honor of placing the ribbon with the medal over Max’s neck. I had to admit that I wiped a tear from my eye.
I was so proud of him.
Max’s friend Mehitabel was an award recipient for her courage and cunning. She was beautiful in the candle lit hall, wearing a stunning black gown with the red sash. I wondered if Max even noticed or cared, or if she did. Her small group of friends who come just for her sat on the opposite side of the aisle as we did. I’d only met her twice but I liked her. I liked all of those being honored.
It was a good thing that so many turned out. Ceremony and acknowledgment is a good thing, especially when it is for the right reason. When one works hard and does the right thing over and over it should be recognized. In our world there are so few opportunities to recognize our efforts in a meaningful way.
At the end there was a surprise. Tellias was asked to come up so he could be thanked for his many years of service and acknowledged for his service, a service that went back to ancient Roman times. He took it all with grace and dignity as the oldest and most decorated Vampire in the room. I was so proud. I do love that old Vampire.
As the night passed we danced and visited and laughed as only Vampires can laugh. We celebrated our community and our determination to be a community in a world that dosen’t always make sense for us.
I watched as Max talked to Mehitabel, a girl who would have at one time loved him forever, but before she could tell him he rejected her. He told her he wanted her but could never love her. And now they stood quietly talking and looking at their medals as others congratulated them. She turned away to another Vampire who danced with her all night. I didn’t ask or make comments to anyone about it.
My parents walked arm in arm and practically held court as Vampire elite. Five centuries and five children they’re still in love.
I’m such a romantic. It always comes back to that.
The night passed by with celebration. When the sun came up most everyone had gone I looked for Tellias and Eleora. They’d done well and reconnected with many old friends. They were honored for their accomplishments and contributions to our community.
I went to the doorway and saw them in the morning light in the moment of a kiss. It was one of those kisses that lasts through the ages, of pure love. It was a love that had lasted 2,000 years.
I know, I know I’d planned on writing about tradition and ceremony and all of that, but I got side tracked and ran out of time. I must spend time with my own dear husband and wrap up the day. School is tomorrow (even for Modern Vampire kids).
Love like all things we do takes work, but over the years our efforts are rewarded.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman