Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Blood Countess

Few women in history ever inspired quite as much sheer terror as Erzebet Bathori, the so-called Blood Countess of the Carpathians  (7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614). 
Keep in mind the history of the Wold Newton Universe varies from our own.  Evidence against the Erzebet in this timeline remains suspect to say the least.  Achieved through torture by those who stood to profit from her disgrace, this "evidence" consisted of hearsay at best with all witnesses conveniently slaughtered.
However, the WNU version of this person proved much worse than even the wildest tales of her accusers.

Brian Lumley's novel Necroscope IV: Deadspeak revealed a hitherto-unsuspected aspect of Erzebet's story.  In the 12th century a vampire made himself a stronghold in Hungary.  This creature, Faethor Ferezcny, came not from this world nor that one but a weird alternate Earth known as Starside.  Vampires there are called Wamphyrie and a tenacious type they are.  Yet withing this world, hugely outnumbered by a people uncowed by their rule, the Wamphyrie nature changed, become more subtle and hidden over time.  "Anonymity equal Longevity" became their byword.  But it didn't always word, for Faethor's touch conveyed something of his evil and his lusts even when he didn't intend it.  So when he dallied with a noblewoman by the name of Elspa Bathori, some taint went into the flesh and manifested in later generations.  Indeed, Faethor claimed to have later 'married' his great-great granddaughter--the very Erzebet who more than any other made that name infamous!  Such actually might account for much, not least the fact that Erzebet Bathori proved such an unusual vampire when the time came.

As far as anyone can tell, she seemed to have been diabolically cruel even in life, and grew only moreso after her husband "died" (or faked his death).  She'd found that bathing in blood had a regenerative effect upon her flesh--surely a sign of the Wamphyrie taint.  The motion picture Immoral Tales was a perfect example of how she pursued fresh blood in this way.  So too did the motion picture Countess Dracula. Yet the closest to conveying the true depths to which the Countess sank was Night of the Werewolf which chronicled some of this woman's effort to stave off time.  In truth, the efficacy of blood began to fade and so she made a pact with the forces of darkness, the details of which remain somewhat obscure.  From various account, including the motion picture Blood Scarab it seems clear she allowed herself to be bitten by either Dracula-Prime or (more likely) one of his early soul-clones--this despite her own preference for the touch of women rather than men.  One possibility is Dracula-Matthias with whom her name has been sometimes coupled.  But the bite, coupled with her own magic and the Wamphyrie taint in her blood, insured that in the event of her death she could rise as a full-fledged nosferatu.  Meanwhile, still breathing, she managed to enslave a male of the cursed Daninsky family line, a man doomed to become a werewolf.  Yet she was caught in the end, sealed in her tomb in the prescribed manner by the Inquisition.

And yet, she escaped.  Preparing the way, she left behind clues for future demonic occultists as well as a medallion that could be used to resurrect her (much as the soul-clone Denrom did).  Exactly when this happened is a matter of conjecture, but during the occult craze in the late Victorian or perhaps as late as the 1920s seems likely.  She was nearly destroyed at this time, at the fangs and claws of a Daninsky werewolf but now she demonstrated a power only seen in the most powerful of vampires -- she transferred her essence into another body.  And it was in the form, traveling amid Europe during the tumultuous twentieth century she sought to hone her powers, increase her body's natural strength to be the equal of what she felt it should be.  After all, she had to flee the sun.  She lacked the ability to change her shape.  Were it not for her sorcerous abilities to take over a different body the Countess would have perished in the 1970s, when a car accident resulted in an accidental staking!  These events can be seen chronicled in the film Daughters of Darkness.  Fortunately for her, a young and strong victim proved available and nearby.  And in this new, more vigorous form the Countess' exploits included her decadent seduction/serial killing as seen in the 2004 film Eternal.  However, having been nearly destroyed so many times, the Blood Countess was on the lookout for finding a way to transcend the limitations of her vampire state.

Which brings us to the aforementioned film Blood Scarab, which chronicles the Blood Countess' arrival in Los Angeles circa 2008 and taking over a castle from her "husband" Dracula (actually Dracula-Lykos).  She then scoured occult tomes for an immunity to sunlight, finding it at last in a possible pact with an Egyptian Deity.  Things did not go as planned, for said Deity believed Erzebet meant to betray the pact and so infused a living mummy to put an end to the perfidious noblewoman.  In fact a member of the Renfield family would seem to have arranged this confrontation, which (seemingly) resulted in yet another death for the infamous Blood Countess.

But recall, she has died before.  It seems wildly unlikely this resourceful creature could be so easily dispatched, especially since she had so recently entranced/turned a tiny harem of young women--any one of whom might have served as a Host.

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