Thursday 24 April 2014

AtoZ Day 21: U is for Underground, Uruku/Utukku, Ultraviolet

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Vampire are creatures of darkness, so what better place to hide than underground. In John Carpenter's Vampires they literally bury themselves if they see fit; in Nightlife there are catacombs; in Vampires Les Muertos an underground lair; in Fright Night 2 a blood pool in the depth of a castle's underbelly.

Caves are dank and dark and the earth easily prevents the glare of the sun so underground is perfect for the living dead.

Underground can also refer to something that is hidden from the general population, for example the 'underground' parties held by the vampires in Blade. Underground is hidden; underground is out of sight of those who could do harm; underground is safe.

If you had to have an underground lair, where would you want it to be? I think I'd go for a basement complex under a castle.

Creature Feature:


Now this legend is a really old one from ancient Mesopotamia. The Uruku's name mean 'vampire that attacks man' and it is all trouble.

According to Vampires Around the World even just looking into its eyes can cause a human to be injured. The Encylopedia of Vampire Mythology adds that one of these creatures is created when a person interferes with someone else's burial rites. It is said to be similar in appearance to another creature the Ekimmu and is demonic and phantom like.

Movie TV Recommendation:

Title: Ultraviolet (1998)
Rating: n/a
Summary: Michael is a cop and joins an elite team of government vampire hunters when, after his best friend Jack vanishes, he is thrust in the world of the leeches. He joins Dr Angela Marsh, Vaughan Rice and Father Pearse Harman in the fight against these adaptable beings.
Why you should watch this: It's a very different take on vampires. They have many of the normal traits, but they are shown as adapted to modern living and integrating with society. They don't convert people by force all the time, instead simply using persuasion. The rules for the vampires and their history is very interesting and this is a great mini-series. It also has Jack Davenport and Idris Elba so win/win.

Old Fashioned 
(#21 in The Diverse Life of Ianthe Jawara, Vampire)
by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Ianthe did not finish with Ren until a little before dawn, at which point she let the weasel run. She wasn't interested in him as she pulled out her phone.

"Alex," she said as soon as he answered her call, "it was Ren; he sold information to the priest. I know everything he gave away."

"Good," Alex replied, "I'm proud of you."

It still came as a shock to hear praise from her maker.

"I am having the house secured," Alex continued; "it will be done by tomorrow night, but for today we have been invited to stay with Mila. When should we expect you?"

"Twenty minutes," she replied, not bothering to question it.

Krige showed her into the same room she had been in before as soon as she arrived. Alex was sitting primly on the chaise, a glass of familiar red liquid in his hand, while Mila walked around the room.

"Ianthe, My Dear," Mila greeted immediately and came over and hugged her, "you must be very upset."

"I'm furious," she replied; talking with Ren had done nothing to calm her down.

"And you have every right to be," Mila said, patting her gently on the arm.

It could have been patronising, but Mila seemed perfectly genuine; her ancient eyes showing nothing but sympathy.

"My house is your house for as long as you need it," Mila went on.

That almost shocked her out of her anger, because vampires were usually very territorial creatures. Mila had just given them permission to use her home as if they actually lived there rather than simply being guests. It was so odd that Ianthe looked to Alex just to check she was reading the situation correctly. Her maker simply nodded minutely in confirmation.

"Thank you," she said, "I'm very grateful."

"Come and sit down," Mila offered, "and tell us all you have found out."

In moments Ianthe found herself in a comfortable chair, Lilith at her feet, with her own glass of blood, at which point she began to talk. She told Alex and Mila everything Ren had told her and exactly what information Ren had sold to the priest. Throughout the whole thing Alex simply sat there looking stoic. He nodded in all the right places, but it looked as if the whole situation had affected her maker far more than Ianthe would have suspected.

"Ren will be dealt with," Mila said simply once Ianthe had finished and Ianthe really didn't feel like asking how, "he is a danger to the community. As for this priest, his apprehension and punishment are yours by right as the injured parties."

The way Mila looked at Alex made Ianthe wonder what the two had been talking about while she was busy. Alex simply nodded.

"Of course," Alex replied, but he didn't sound over enthusiastic.

Vampires were, by nature, predators; an opportunity to hunt should not have been met with what looked like reluctance.

"Are you alright?" Ianthe asked, for once slightly worried about Alex rather than simply annoyed with him.

"I am fine," Alex said, looking her right in the eye and making her doubt what she had just seen, "but I do not wish to become too involved. If I allow my blood to rise I will steal the hunt and this should be yours."

Ianthe realised that being shocked by her maker was distressingly becoming a habit. The last thing she ever wanted to do was start not hating him; it would be far too complicated.

"Thank you," she replied, even though she wasn't sure she wouldn't mind Alex taking over.

"Good," Mila said, "then that is settled for tonight, now I will show you to your rooms. Dawn is already here and we must all be well rested to face what is to come."

"That would be welcome, Mila, thank you," Alex said, standing in one graceful motion.

Ianthe had no choice but to go along with it. If truth be told, she was beginning to feel the strain.

Mila, however, did not lead them upstairs; she led them to a large oak door that soon revealed steps going downwards.

"I know I'm old fashioned," Mila said as she led them into the dimly lit interior, "but I come from a time when windows didn't exist and blackout curtains just weren't viable. I always feel more comfortable sleeping underground."

The stairway was a dressed stone spiral going down, with a beautifully carved, wooden handrail and Ianthe had no idea what to expect at the bottom. When they stepped out into a long, high ceilinged, flagged stone hallway with ornate little gargoyles every few feet she was impressed. It appeared there was a whole other level of Mila's home that was completely invisible from outside.

"Alex, Darling, you're in here," Mila said, pushing open double doors to the left. "This suite has the best bathroom and I know how you are about preparing to sleep."

Ianthe almost smiled.

"Thank you," Alex replied and walked in.

"If you need anything, just ring for Krige," Mila told him. "And, Ianthe, My Dear and your darling Lilith, this way, the bathroom may not be as big in the second suite, but the bed is very luxurious."

Before they reached the second set of double doors, Alex was already closing his.

"Good day," was his final communication.

"Sleep well, Darling," Mila said and linked her arm with Ianthe's before pushing open one of the new doors with her other hand.

It was a very beautiful room, all reds, blacks and cream with the most enormous bed Ianthe had ever seen. It looked as if it could sleep seven, let alone her and Lilith.

"Thank you," she said, doing her best to show her appreciation, but she couldn't help fidgeting just a little.

She was tired, but there was an itch under her skin that she hadn't had a chance to scratch because of everything that had happened. Mila's incubus blood had not helped at all.

When Mila did not reply she turned her head and found the older vampire was looking at her with one eyebrow raised slightly. She wasn't sure what the expression meant.

"Of course," Mila said before she could ask anything, "that is a very big empty bed. It would be terribly inhospitable of me to make you feel lonely."

Ianthe knew what she thought Mila was saying, but she was pretty sure she had to be reading the situation incorrectly.

"I have an even bigger bed that is very comfortable," Mila added.

There had been too much going on and was still going on in Ianthe's head to play games.

"Are you propositioning me?" she asked, because blunt seemed the best way to go.

Mila smiled brightly.

"Oh, yes," Mila replied, "are you interested? You seem to need a little distraction."

Ianthe considered the question for all of ten seconds.

"It really is a very big, very empty bed," she said as if still thinking about it, "and it would be rude of me to snub your hospitality when you offer your own company so selflessly."

Mila giggled.

"I like you, Ianthe," Mila said, "I like you a lot. Modern vampires are so stuffy. Come on, Lilith, sweetie, me and your mummy are going next door where I'm sure Krige has some lovely dead things for you to enjoy while we're busy."

There was so much to think about, but Ianthe let herself go with the flow. After the night she had had she needed a break and Mila was the perfect, willing solution.

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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  1. My one story I had the vampires having to go underground during the day, and they literally just dug into the ground. Left my main character very dirty at times. LOL

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

    1. I imagine there might be a bug in clothes problem as well at time *shudder* :)

  2. Hmm, for an underground lair I'd want some catacombs beneath a castle or cathedral or something. Or maybe an elaborate cave off in the mountains somewhere, and the nearby village folk could make up stories about me and how the mountain is cursed. Would be good times.

    1. Good ideas all - underground lairs should be extensive :)

  3. One of those eco houses built to appear underground and hidden in the landscape. Or a warm yet cool cave behind a waterfall.

    1. There is an eco house near here that I have always wanted to see inside of :).

  4. If I had an underground lair, I think I'd want something equivalent to the bat cave, all mod cons and a nice mansion above as well :)

  5. If I had to have an underground lair, an adapted basement under a castle also sounds good to me. Definitely not one of those mouldy, dusty castles that look like they smell bad (like old decayed blood).

    When you mentioned Ultraviolet, I thought you were going to talk about the Milla Jovovich. I've watched it so many times and could watch it again given the opportunity. I'll look up the series you mention though... see if I might enjoy it.

    1. Castles should look classical, but have all the mod cons hidden away ;)

      While I enjoy the Milla Jovovich Ultraviolet, I had to talk about the TV show instead because I think it's brilliant. Thanks for visiting.

  6. I'd have to say my would be underground would be adapting an area of the house, where below the basement floor. Now if you've ever watched the TV show Moonlight he uses what appears to be a glass freezer (not sure if it is, but that's what it reminds me of) always thought it was unique and different

    1. I have seen that show - I loved it, was most annoyed when they cancelled it! The freezer was an interesting touch, but I always wanted to know why :).

  7. I'm glad lanthe is going with the flow. Things have been stressful for her. Why not have some fun with Mila. But...I wonder what Alex will say. LOL!

  8. Underground reminds me of the House of Night series where the vampires hide in a basement to stay away from the light because it's deadly.

    1. Not read that series, sounds like the traditional vampire way :)

  9. I love the idea of vampires living in catacombs, it seems a fitting place for them.

  10. In my book, vampires had their own "world" that adapted to their way of life, but I love the idea of vampires living underground.

    A creature that can cause injury with eye contact? Well now, that's new to me! I like it! I think I'll have to use that idea. ;)

    1. Vampires living underground reminds me of the Morlocs from the Time Machine :).

      Eye contact alone is scary and very dangerous, just like Medusa.

  11. Very nice!
    Last year I used the Utukku as demons. The myths of that time had a ton of demons and vampires.

    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

    1. Thank you. It seems to have been a scary time for the supernatural :)

  12. If I were a vampire who'd been around forever, I would totally have an underground home. Talk about awesome!

    True Heroes from A to Z

    1. It would be so much fun I think - and if you're a vampire you don't have to worry about all the lighting being like daylight :)

  13. An underground home sounds nice. Bite a good interior decorator and get the classic gothic/contemporay look., whatever your taste. I didn't expect the twist ending with Mila. Michelle

  14. The whole underground, catacombs thing is super creepy. I love it. Vampires should always exist in catacombs.

    1. Every catacomb should have a vampire to help with the ambience :)

  15. Nothing big and fancy for me, I like small with plenty of creature comforts. So maybe a two up, two down with an adapted basement with a purpose built study to house all the books I would read.
    Naughty Ianthe, but then why not, she deserves a few moments (or hours) of pleasure. ;)

    1. Simple tastes, but with all the nice things you need - books, books are definitely important :).

  16. I think my place of choice is a condemned building. Not to be alone, but to have parties. Need lots of space for that.

  17. I watched ultraviolet. I liked it. The blonde woman (can't remember her name) plays in pride and prejudice with Colin firth.

    Those ururku sound horrible.


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