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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

AtoZ Day 19: S is for Stake, Shtriga, Sundown - The Vampire In Retreat

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Stake

So possibly the most famous method of disposing of a vampire is a stake through the heart.

Most people think this is how Dracula was killed in the book, but actually he was killed with a knife. It was Lucy who was staked, then decapitated and even then, just to make sure they put garlic in her mouth. Not a dignified way to end up really.

Ever since, however, all the best vampires end up with stakes through their heart: David from the Lost Boys (okay so it was an antler, but same idea), Kurt Barlow from Salem's Lot, Helen Kent from Dracula: Prince of Darkness, just about all of them from from Dusk Till Dawn.

What is the most dramatic death by stake you have read or seen?

Creature Feature:

Shtriga


Today we dip into Albanian folklore for our creature of the day. The Shtriga is a vampiric witch which, according to Wikipedia sucks the blood of infants at night and then turns into a flying insect.

Unnatural World also adds that part of her legend is that she sucks the living essence or spirtus vitae out of people at night.

By day she appears human, most often an old woman and The Demonical says that this is when she can be killed. She can be trapped in a building using a cross of pig bones after which she can be killed quite easily.

Movie Recommendation:

Title: Sundown - The Vampire In Retreat
Rating: 15
Summary: Vampires have taken over a small American town where they seek to live in peace under the watch of Count Mardulak. They have a plant which manufactures fake blood, only there is a problem with production so they bring in the inventor and his family to fix it. However, all is not peaceful among the vampire ranks and there are those who wish to go back to killing. Add in a Van Helsing and things are going to get ugly.
Why you should watch this: It's hilarious and has Bruce Campell and David Carradine, do I need to say anything else? Honestly, it's a great entertaining movie.

What's At Stake 
(#19 in The Diverse Life of Ianthe Jawara, Vampire)
by Natasha Duncan-Drake


Philips entered the hallway just as Ianthe was storming up the stairs.

"Is there something wrong, Madam?" the man asked.

"This," she all but hissed and threw the destroyed rose branch at the butler.

It wasn't fair to take it out on him and she did deliberately miss him, but she had to let the anger out somehow. Afraid of what she might do she turned and continued upwards to her rooms. She needed to think and to plan.

As she threw open the door to her section of the upstairs it only latterly registered that the door had not been completely closed. Fear tried to spark again, but she was far too furious. However, that didn't stop Lilith. The hellhound puppy shot past her as she froze just inside the doorway. She could actually feel Lilith feeding off her anger and as she watched the puppy became anything but.

Cute, if somewhat fantastical looking puppy became a huge, demonic dog, but Lilith didn't stop there; there was more to come. Shock almost curbed some of Ianthe's rage, but it was something of a feedback loop and Lilith's determination and protective instincts came back to her, bolstering her righteous anger. Lilith grew more until she was one hundred percent bigger yet again. Spines erupted from her back in a long sharp row and black scales flowed across her flanks and down her legs to form armour. When Ianthe stepped up beside her hell hound she could also see long, sabre like canines jutting out of Lilith's top jaw.

"Find it," was all she said, putting any questions about Lilith's abilities to the back of her mind.

There was no hesitation as Lilith immediately jumped forward, through the bedroom door.

Ianthe was not expecting a yelp to follow. It was the unmistakable sound of pain and she didn't even think about it, she used every ounce of speed she had and rushed into the next room. Lilith was standing her ground, glaring around the room, snarling, but Ianthe's eyes were immediately drawn to the large wooden stake sticking out of Lilith's left side.

Every fight response Ianthe had fired and her humanity dropped away completely. She was all vampire as she glared around the room. Anything remotely dangerous would have found itself shredded before it could attack, but there was nothing there. What she did see was a mechanism and it had clearly been attached to the door as a release. Lilith had fired a trap meant for Ianthe.

"What in hell's name is going on here?"

She span on the spot and almost launched at Alex. It was only the maker bond that curbed her actions and she had to take a deep breath to centre herself.

"Someone got in here," she all but accused even though she knew it wasn't Alex's fault.

Lilith growled in agreement. Alex's eyes grew in shock as he looked at the hellhound, but at that moment Ianthe didn't really care.

"The priest was here," she declared.

She knew if she let herself think too hard the fear would come back. She did not want that. This was no time for human sentiment; she needed to act. The priest had stepped over a line that no vampire would allow, no matter how forgiving, and he was going to pay. Before any worry could touch her, she turned, pulled the stake out of Lilith's side and threw it across the room. In the next second she ripped a hole in her left palm with talons on her right and thrust it against the wound.

Vampire power met demon power in a heady mix. It sent shots of ice up her arm, but she could feel the wound closing under her hand. It was the work of moments.

"Someone betrayed us," she said, wiping her hand on her dress without thought as she turned back to her maker; "I am going to find out who."

"Wait," Alex said, but Ianthe wasn't interested.

She swept past her maker and Philips who was in the outer room and headed straight for the stairs. This could not be allowed to stand.

~~*~~
A few of us discovered that we all had supernatural themes for the AtoZ so we got together and did a mini list. If you also have a supernatural theme (ghosts, monsters, witches, spells etc), please feel free to add yourself to the list.

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38 comments:

  1. I like the name Shtriga, is just rolls out of my tongue as something dark and disgusting.
    Liked the snippet as well and have to say, I'm quite pleased that Lilith is fine. Hell hound here or there!
    Andrea

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    1. Thank you :) It is a good word isn't it.

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  2. Stake is something I've considered in my stories. I decided that only silver through the heard will work. The except is Taxus baccata, also known as European Yew, or the original Yew. The wood from this tree does appear to kill vampires, I haven't yet decided why. I'm guessing it may disrupt their magic.

    While it wasn't a death scene, my favorite staking was in the first Blade when he used stakes through Quinns shoulders to immobilize him, then set him on fire.

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    1. I don't think stakes kill Ianthe and friends either; it's just another message, or misinformation :). Yew is a good wood to choose since it is usually grown in churchyards.

      Blade was nicely vicious :).

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  3. I've seen a few variations on stakes for vampires. One it didn't kill the vampire, just paralyzed them.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

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    1. Yes, I seem to remember they used it that way in Whitewolf RPGs and called it torpor.

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  4. Ahh I've never seen Sundown - The Vampire In Retreat! I'm so gonna have to watch that one. Sounds like a hoot :)

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    1. It is a lot of fun - hilarious in places and yet still a little bit dark in others.

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  5. The stake through the heart is one way, but my favorite way is when a vampire gets left out in the sun. (The Twilight books obviously don't apply here.)

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    1. I liked a scene like that from Kindred, where they kind of staked a vampire on a roof and left him to burst into flames as the sun got to him.

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  6. The Shtriga sounds really interesting in a creepy sort of way. It's the first time I've heard of anyone turning into an insect. As for most dramatic staking, I'd say that goes to True Blood, where staked vampires explode into a font of blood and goo. A bit over the top, really, but certainly dramatic. :P

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    1. I don't remember seeing a staking when I watched True Blood, might be worth looking again just for that. Not as neat as the bursting into a lot of dust like on Buffy then :).

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  7. Stakes are an excellent means to kill vampires!

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    1. Sometimes, but I've always thought needing to hit the heart is a bit of a problem :)

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  8. I think the best stake scene in a movie is in the modern Salem's Lot where you see all the souls he's taken back into history.
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

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    1. Oh yes, I forgot about that one - that's really good :)

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  9. There are so many stakes through the heart that I'm not sure which one to chose for you. I know the one in Salem's Lot is high ranking on my list. Liked the creature of today. Unique way to kill it.

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    1. I re-watched the one in Salem's Lot yesterday for nostalgic reasons :).

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  10. The Shtriga sounds fascinating - and creepy, of course. :) I wonder why a cross of pig bones and not other kinds of bones?

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    1. Maybe it was a common animal, or associated with witchcraft? None of my sources mentioned why.

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  11. I'm all about the traditional stake killings for vampires. I think these new vamp stories where stakes don't kill them is a little strange.

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    1. :D Some like traditional, some like flame throwers ;)

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  12. Some parts of Hungary also know the striga (Slavic influence, most likely). We use it as a word for witch. In fact, we had a king in the 12th century, who declared in law that witches don't exist. Sounds very progressive, but the more plausible explanation in probably that many people whispered he was a witch's changeling, since he had all kinds of disabilities.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

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    1. Most interesting, thank you . Isn't it funny how many rules come about because of self interest :).

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  13. I have to admit that I've never read Dracula, but I have to say . . . Poor Lucy! Why didn't Dracula get a death like that?

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  14. Hi Tasha .. when I read about Alfege, who was Archbishop of Canterbury a thousand years ago, being killed by the Vikings with ox-bones that slightly paled me .. the thought of it ... but he was finally killed kindly! but one of his former Christian converts struck him through the heart to finish him off ..

    Shtriga sounds an interesting character to draw upon - and clever to have in a story - but I'd rather not come across one ...

    Honestly I don't dream too much tonight!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. I've not heard of Alfege, sounds like a good story, I should go and look him up.
      I think I'd rather not meet a Shtriga either :).

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  15. Tasha...you have a vampirepedia in the form of tashathinkings.blogspot.co.uk :)
    I keep recalling vampire movies whenever I visit your blog!!

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    1. Always glad to jog memories :) vampire movies are always worth remembering, well most of them :) Thanks for dropping by.

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  16. The Shtriga would be a good way to scare naughty children. Or am I the naughty one for thinking that! ;)
    Stakes, hmm? I like mine rare to medium, well done just doesn't cut it. But seriously, a stake through the heart? Great for the old black & whites, but nowadays it needs a little more pep in the tale. For me anyway.
    And why did I mumble aloud "oh no" when Lilith yelped in pain. Is that a little sick to care about a hell hound. Oh well, I'm a sucker for sad dog tales. :)

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    1. LOL - we're all a little naughty ;)
      No, you should care about Lilith, it's not her fault she's partly demonic ;).

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  17. I totally saw Sundown and forgot about it until this post. Oh man, that was a great movie.

    Ooh! We're getting down to it. I'm excited for the showdown. You know, I wait to come to your blog last so I can savor each excerpt. Loving them!

    True Heroes from A to Z

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    1. It's so much fun isn't it :).
      Thank you so much, I'm very pleased you're enjoying the story.

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  18. I must see Sundown!! I'm a big Bruce Campbell fan.

    And look out priest! Ianthe's on the warpath!

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    1. You must then, it's a great film and he is as good as always :)
      Ianthe is in a very bad mood ;)

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  19. I loved Sundown. Stakes are good, but there is something sizzling about vampires being left out to die in the sun - sunburn. Love the thought of their skin changing colours as they cook in the heat. The story is really heating up too. http://www.writer-way.blogspot.com

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    1. It's such a brilliant movie :) so funny.
      You've got a little bit of an evil streak under that bright smile don't you ;)

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