Monday, November 15, 2010
Gifts of Blood
Like many other types of vampires, the Varkela have extraordinary sexual prowess. They possess the ability to "bewitch" women with the hypnotic song they use to calm patients during healing. Vaylance's roguish brother sometimes uses this power on women as well as horses, although his natural charm is usually enough to seduce human females. In "Leechcraft," my favorite of these tales, Vaylance "dreamwalks" across time to late twentieth-century America in search of a desperately needed cure for an illness that baffles him. He has no need to "bewitch" Myrna, a modern woman who helps him with his mission, because she is immediately and freely attracted to him when they meet in the hospital where she works. He shares visions with her and tries to teach her to dreamwalk. As often portrayed in fiction, vampiric telepathy or empathy bridges the gulfs between sexes, races, and species in a mode and with a completeness impossible (so far as we know) in real life, and this is the case in "Leechcraft." Myrna finds Vaylance to be "the most sensitive lover she had ever known." Sharing his blood with her, he tells her, "Our souls have touched" and sees in her "the wolvish soul" that "may be befriended, never tamed."
Petrey's death put an untimely end to this series, which deserves to be much better known. It's unfortunate that she never wrote a full-length novel about the Varkela.
Margaret L. Carter