The Vampire Armand
(formerly known as Amadeo)
Armand has a beautifully young, boy-like appearance; long, curly auburn hair and dark brown eyes. His features are at times compared to those of Cupid or a Botticelli angel.
He was a vampire created in the late 15th century in Venice, Italy. He was born with the name Andrei in the former Kievan Rus to an acclaimed hunter, Ivan. He showed great artistic skill from a young age, so the monks in the Orthodox Church employed him in painting their religious icons. They were so impressed with Armand's work that they told him that he possessed an unearthly gift, a Gift from God. Over time, tension between Ivan and the monks increased. The last straw was when the monks wanted to bury Armand alive in an underground tomb to paint icons until he starved to death. Infuriated, Armand's father told him to paint an icon for Prince Michael, the ruler of their province, and place it in a tree on the plains so that the Prince would know where his brother was. On the way there, the party was attacked and Armand was captured as a slave. He was taken by ship to Constantinople to be sold in the slave markets. During this time, Armand suffered an acute memory loss due to the immense emotional and physical trauma he went through, and forgot anything about himself or his native land.
A fifteen hundred year old Roman vampire Marius, a painter, bought him and took him to his household to raise him. Over the next two or three years, Marius and Armand had a close, sexual relationship.
When Armand was 16-17 years old, he engaged in a sword duel with an English lord, Lord Harlech, who was obsessed with him after spending three days and nights with Armand. Armand was stabbed by Lord Harlech's sword and nearly died of poison in the wound. To save him, Marius gave him the "Dark Gift": he made his young apprentice a vampire. The two lived in happiness for a short while until a Satanic cult of vampires, led by the vampire Santino whom Marius had scorned many years ago, raided Marius' palazzo and kidnapped Armand. Armand was forced to join the cult but while he performed all the rituals asked of him, he never truly accepted their teachings.
"You going to break down my door again?"
"Never," I whispered.
"You going to defy me in any way in particular?"
"Never in any way ever."
"I love you."
"But I do," I said sniffling.
"Master, master, master, I love you."
"Yes, well, that's not so unusual," he whispered. He didn't stop his kissing. He lapped at the blood. I writhed under the weight of his hand on my backside. "But the question is, Amadeo, why do I love you? Why? Why did I have to go into that stinking brothel and look upon you? I am strong by nature... whatever my nature..."
He greedily kissed a large bruise on my thigh. I could feel his sucking at it, and then the tongue lapping it, eating the blood, and then his blood coming down into it. The pleasure sent shock after shock through me. I saw nothing, though I thought that my eyes were now open. I struggled to make certain that my eyes were open, but nothing came visible, only a golden haze.
"I love you, I do love you," he said. "And why? Quick-witted, yes, beautiful, yes, and inside you, the burnt-up relics of a saint!"
Excerpts © Anne Rice, The Vampire Armand