• Talamasca •
aron Lightner is a psychic detective for the Talamasca Order. He marries into the Mayfair family of witches and plays a major role in bridging the Lives of the Mayfair Witches with the Vampire Chronicles. He appears in Merrick (2000) and Blackwood Farm (2002).
Born in 1921 in England, Aaron Lightner begins demonstrating remarkable psychic abilities at an early age with both telekinesis and telepathy. His English father and American mother grow so concerned that they introduce him to the Talamasca house. When he is between the ages of seven and twenty-two, the Talamasca teaches Aaron how to control his psychic powers for the purpose of good. At twenty-two, after graduating from Oxford University, Aaron is invited by the Talamasca to become a member of the Order. After a decade of service, Aaron finally becomes the department head of witch families. He reorganizes their files, supervises the chronicling of families of witches throughout history, and takes particular interest in the Mayfair family.
Aaron meets Beatrice Mayfair in New Orleans and Deirdre Mayfair in Texas, where he also sees Lasher, the evil spirit who has developed a plan to become incarnate as a Taltos through an incestuous breeding program of thirteen generations of Mayfair witches. Aaron discusses Lasher’s danger with Deirdre, but she desires to live a normal life, so she asks Aaron to keep the Mayfair emerald—the talisman that represents a covenant between Lasher and the witches in his plan for incarnation—but Aaron decides against it, fearing Lasher’s retribution. Aaron then travels back to New Orleans, where he meets with Carlotta and Cortland Mayfair to explain the Mayfair family’s history. Abhorring his interference, Carlotta issues a restraining order against him, and Cortland attempts to poison him. Surviving this attempt on his life, Aaron continues watching the Mayfair family from afar.
Aaron discovers Merrick Mayfair, a member of the Creole branch of the Mayfair family, who has been recently orphaned at a young age after her mother and sister are murdered. Because she is tremendously gifted with psychic abilities, Aaron introduces Merrick to David Talbot, Superior General of the Talamasca and Lestat’s eventual fledgling. David takes Merrick as his apprentice, while Aaron resumes his investigation into the Mayfair family.
Many years later, Aaron discovers that Deirdre gave birth to Rowan Mayfair, but Carlotta drugged Deirdre into a comatose state, kidnapped Rowan, and convinced Ellie Mayfair to adopt Rowan. Living in San Francisco, Ellie keeps Rowan ignorant of her family of witches, and Aaron keeps his distance from Rowan, believing that it would be best if she not be informed of the Mayfair family of witches. He becomes keenly fascinated by her love interest, Michael Curry, who also demonstrates remarkable psychic abilities. But upon an accidental encounter with Rowan, Aaron reconsiders his decision and offers her a chance to know her family’s history. When she refuses, he goes to Michael’s house to inquire about his interest in joining the Talamasca.
Meeting with Michael in New Orleans, Aaron informs him of Rowan’s history. When Aaron is almost killed in a car accident, he learns that Lasher’s plan to incarnate as a Taltos will culminate in Michael and Rowan’s imminent child. After discussing the dangerous nature of Lasher with Rowan, who is a highly gifted medical doctor and researcher, he learns that she is interested in studying Lasher and Taltos scientifically. He tries to warn her against this, but she ignores him. After Rowan and Michael marry, she becomes pregnant with a Taltos child. Lasher later fuses with her child and, because of the Taltos’ inhumanly rapid birth cycle, he is born and fully grown into a man in a very short period of time. Aaron gives Michael a medal of Saint Michael the Archangel to protect him against evil, and then he sends Michael to Rowan to stop Lasher. After a brief scuffle, Lasher nearly drowns Michael before running away with Rowan.
While the Mayfair family is searching for Rowan, Aaron uncovers a plot inside the Talamasca involving four members—Marklin George, Tommy Monohan, Stuart Gordon, and Anton Marcus, the superior general of the Talamasca who takes over for David after Lestat turns him into a vampire—all of whom are trying to help Lasher incarnate as a Taltos through another female Taltos named Tessa. Before Aaron can bring their treachery to light, Anton arranges for Aaron to be excommunicated from the Talamasca. With his assistant, Yuri Stefano, Aaron begins a private investigation into the Talamasca traitors. During that time, Rowan finally returns to the Mayfair family after escaping from Lasher, who has tortured and raped her. Aaron and Michael reunite to confront Lasher and kill him.
The chapter on Lasher closes when Aaron marries Beatrice Mayfair and continues his private investigation into the Talamasca traitors, but the traitors send an assassin, who kills Aaron by running him over with a car. Avenging Aaron’s death, Rowan, Michael, Yuri, and Joan Cross (the Talamasca Superior General who takes Marcus’s place) discover the identities of all four conspirators and execute each one.
For more perspectives on Aaron Lightner’s character, read the Alphabettery entries David Talbot, Merrick Mayfair, Talamasca Order, and Taltos.
• Mortal •
Agatha is Claudia’s mother. Little is known of her life. She dies of the plague when Claudia is five. She appears in Interview with the Vampire (1976) and Merrick (2000).
She is born in New Orleans in the late eighteenth century and gives birth to only one daughter, whose original name is lost in time. She raises her daughter for five years but falls victim to a plague ravaging New Orleans. Shortly after her daughter turns five years old, Agatha dies, not knowing whether her daughter will survive. Only days after her death, the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac happens into their house, drinks the daughter’s blood to the point of death, while the vampire Lestat takes the little girl, turns her into a vampire, and gives her the name Claudia. Agatha’s greatest legacy is as a vicious killer in the body of the five-year-old girl, who will eventually be burned to death for attempting to destroy her maker.
For more perspectives on Agatha’s character, read the Alphabettery sections Claudia, Lestat de Lioncourt, and Louis de Pointe du Lac.
• Vampire •
Akasha is the Queen of Egypt and becomes the first vampire when Amel’s spirit fuses with her blood. Her most famous fledglings are Enkil, Khayman, Rhoshamandes, Nebamun, and many thousands more. She turns statuelike after a few thousand years. Lestat awakens her in the twentieth century, but Mekare destroys her when Akasha seeks world domination. She appears in The Vampire Lestat (1985), The Queen of the Damned (1988), and Blood and Gold (2001).
Commonly known as the Queen of the Damned, Akasha is born more than four thousand years before the Common Era, in the city of Uruk, the most important city of its time in ancient Mesopotamia. A beautiful young woman even from an early age, she wins the favor of Enkil, King of Kemet—an empire that will come to be known as the Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt, otherwise referred to today as ancient Egypt. Becoming Enkil’s bride and queen nearly two thousand years before the building of the first Pyramids, the young Akasha rules over the world’s first civilization.
King Enkil supports the traditional Egyptian practice of cannibalizing the dead until Queen Akasha convinces him to change this policy to the agricultural practice of her own homeland. Cannibalism becomes illicit. Eventually the success of this initiative diminishes violence and increases peace, which consequently increases Queen Akasha’s popularity. Although savage cannibalism is nearly expunged, smaller rebellious groups that practice ritual cannibalism cause minor uprisings, but they are quickly crushed by Kemetian soldiers.
Fascinated by the supernatural, Akasha invites twin witches, Maharet and Mekare, to the royal court to commune with spirits. When the twins refuse, Akasha dispatches soldiers to the twins’ village to force them back to the palace. Upon arriving at the village, the soldiers witness Maharet and Mekare performing the ritual burial for their mother, which involves the unlawful cannibalistic consumption of the brain and heart. The soldiers slaughter every villager except for the twins.
Maharet and Mekare are brought back to the royal court, where Akasha coerces them into communing with spirits. Displeased with the spirits’ answers, Akasha imprisons Maharet and Mekare. Mekare summons the spirit of Amel, who attacks the Queen. Akasha orders her servant Khayman to rape Maharet and Mekare in the royal court before banishing the twin sisters from Kemet. The spirit of Amel avenges the twins by continuing to haunt Akasha, Enkil, and Khayman. Conspirators who still practice cannibalism in secret attempt to assassinate the King and Queen. The conspirators leave Akasha and Enkil mortally wounded. At the moment of Akasha’s death, Amel’s spirit joins with her soul to create the first vampire.
Akasha saves Enkil from death by turning him into a vampire. They soon discover the challenges of being a vampire, unable to either consume food or procreate. They will never age and never die, except by fire and sunlight. They also possess heightened sensitivity, superhuman strength, regeneration, and an insatiable bloodlust.
Although the King and Queen drink blood primarily from evildoers and enemies, Akasha and Enkil grow so disturbed by the insatiable power and pleasure of their bloodlust that they force Maharet and Mekare back to court to provide an explanation for their transformation. The twins have never encountered anything like this before. They suggest that, because the spirit of Amel is very large, they might dilute him and his influence if they make more vampires, which might also decrease their bloodlust. Akasha tests this by turning Khayman into a vampire against his will, yet this does nothing to diminish the bloodlust.
When Maharet suggests that the King and Queen should kill themselves in order to end this abominable union between flesh and spirit, Akasha orders that Maharet’s eyes be gouged out and Mekare’s tongue be severed. But before she loses her power of speech altogether, Mekare promises vengeance upon Akasha, which begins the Legend of the Twins. After mutilating the twins, Akasha sentences them to one day of torture before being burned at the stake as heretic witches. Later that night, Khayman rescues Maharet and Mekare by turning them both into vampires in an agreement to rise up against Akasha and Enkil. As they flee, they turn many mortals into vampires, in the hope of creating a vampire army, which becomes known as the First Brood. After a week of being pursued by Kemetian soldiers, Maharet and Mekare are captured, but Khayman escapes. Fearful of destroying the twins lest it should somehow hurt her, too, Akasha separates Maharet and Mekare by entombing them in stone coffins and setting them adrift in different oceans, Maharet towards the west and Mekare towards the east.
Akasha and Enkil reign as vampire gods for centuries, identifying themselves as gods, Isis and Osiris, to propagate their worship among mortals. They even set up their vampire fledglings as minor gods to be worshipped in far-off temples, such as Nebamun in the eastern lands and Teskhamen in the western countries. In time, a civil war occurs among the vampires, dividing them into two factions, the dark gods who are ruthlessly destructive and tyrannical and the benign gods who worship Akasha. The dark gods are worshipped by human slaves who bring them their victims. The more benign vampires mercifully kill their victims in religious practices.
Great vampire battles ensue. Akasha and Enkil are eventually captured and entombed within blocks of diorite and granite. Pinioned and immobile with only their heads and necks exposed, Akasha and Enkil drink from victims provided by their captors so that their captors can in turn drink from them. After many centuries in this imprisonment, Akasha and Enkil stop drinking blood entirely. Although the lack of blood robs them of immediate strength, the more they age, the stronger they become. They stop talking and moving. Their minds gain the ability to astral project, their bodies become like vacant marble statues, and their skin turns translucent white.
After many more centuries pass, no one remembers why Akasha and Enkil were imprisoned or who imprisoned them or why they can never be let out. And after even more centuries pass, fledglings discover one night that Akasha and Enkil have become so strong that they have broken free from their stone prisons and are lying naked on the floor, embracing each other. Understanding the great immensity of their power, their fledglings now erect them in beautiful sanctuaries, where Akasha and Enkil are worshipped in a blood god cult. Though unmoving, Akasha and Enkil demonstrate awareness, such as accepting evildoers as sacrificial offerings, drawing evil out of people, protecting their fledglings, and even giving droplets of blood to their worshipping subjects.
Many more centuries pass. Soon these religious beliefs begin to diminish. Akasha and Enkil continue to be cared for under the title “Those Who Must Be Kept” by their keeper, a vampire referred to as the Elder. Shortly after the outset of the Common Era, the Elder grows exhausted from his duties and loses faith in the blood god religion, so he takes Akasha and Enkil out of the shrine and leaves them by the Nile River, where they are exposed to the sun. In the Great Burning of 4 c.e., it is discovered here that Akasha and Enkil can no longer be damaged by fire or sunlight, only bronzed. Their fledglings suffer the damaging effects, however. Younger fledglings are incinerated completely, while older vampires are severely burned and weakened.
To unearth the fate of the Mother and the Father, Akasha’s former servant Teskhamen turns Marius de Romanus into a vampire. Marius travels to Egypt and finds the evil Elder caring for Those Who Must Be Kept, feigning his innocence. Marius attempts to outwit the Elder and steal Akasha and Enkil, but he needs Akasha’s assistance, who rises from her throne and crushes the Elder under her feet. Marius then becomes the keeper of Akasha and Enkil for the next two thousand years. He moves them to various locations, from Rome to Constantinople and even to a secret shrine hidden in the snowy Alps. Under Marius’s watch, Akasha’s old enemy Maharet learns of the Queen’s location. Maharet steals into the sanctuary and stabs Akasha in the heart, only to discover that if Akasha is killed, Maharet and all other vampires will be killed also.
In the 1800s, when Marius introduces Lestat to Those Who Must Be Kept, Lestat’s bravado so impresses Akasha that she allows him to drink from her while he gives her some of his own blood. This enrages Enkil, who rises from his throne and nearly kills Lestat. After helping Akasha save Lestat from Enkil’s rage, Marius takes Akasha and Enkil away from Lestat, to the Canadian north, where he gives them every modern refinement. Marius makes several attempts to awaken Akasha and Enkil, but it is not until 1985, when Akasha hears the rock music of the band the Vampire Lestat, that she finally truly awakens.
Copyright © 2018 by Becket. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.