A New Start

(This story is a work of fan-fiction, in progress, using characters from the South Korean epic “The Great Queen SeonDeok 선덕여왕.” No copyright infringement is intended. This story is merely the imaginings of, and for the entertainment of, the author.)

After an illustrious first life as esteemed general of the Hwarang, Royal Guard, and Sangdaedeung of Silla (a kingdom in what is now known as the Korean peninsula), Kim Alcheon led a fairly quiet life, so as not to attract attention. Now, after fourteen centuries of near seclusion, his kind finally had been revealed.
As expected, primary humans, as they liked to call themselves, did not accept the existence of vampires well. To evade the caustic, violent, and deadly reactions, many of his kind, including Alcheon himself, resettled on a newly terraformed Mars.
The sunlight on Mars was subdued and refracted differently than on Earth, so the need to hide during the day was much lessened. Vampires were still a relative minority among the settlers, so there were enough humans to provide the blood his kind needed to survive. It was a symbiotic relationship among vampires and humans that most Martian settlers accepted.
A time honored tradition, if it could be called that, also followed the settlers to Mars. An enterprising trade of human men and women existed, its sole purpose being to provide food for vampires; that food, of course, being human blood. They called themselves feeders. Some of these men and women were not only willing to offer their blood to their vampire customers, they were also willing to give their bodies.

Alcheon had, over his first few hundred years, forcibly taken blood from humans, using self-restraint to keep from killing them. His feeling of guilt was huge, but he did not know any other way to survive.
It was not lost on Alcheon the contradictory nature of his Buddhist faith and being a vampire. Years after being forcibly turned into a vampire, a Venerable told him that as long as his providers were voluntarily submitting and he did not kill them, the Buddhist edict of compassion for all sentient beings was still being honored.
As history flowed, he continued his periodic assaults for blood, well into the fourteenth century and the Joseon period.  Depressed and disgusted with himself, Alcheon finally decided he could no longer live his dark existence. To honorably end his life, he was ready to perform the Nangjang Resolution. It was time to meet the Buddha of the Hwarang, the Maitreya Buddha.
The following evening, he made up his face so that he would look beautiful for the Buddha, and went to a favorite large tree, kneeling on both knees before it. He thought of the first time he attempted to perform the Nangjang Resolution and how she, the future King of Silla, had interrupted him and challenged him to join in her cause. His life’s path had forever changed from that moment.
With his devotion to that beautiful King of Silla in his mind, he raised his dagger and thrust it…to have his wrist grabbed forcibly by two small hands. He looked up, dumbfounded that someone would actually interrupt him.
His redeemer looked to be a Kisaeng, an entertainer of the Joseon era, and she was very angry.
“Why?” she yelled. She didn’t let go of his hand and while Alcheon could have easily wrenched it away, he didn’t. He just looked at her, incredulously, and remained silent.
“Do you think you are living a cursed life?” she asked. “I do not believe you are.”
“How would you know about my life?” countered Alcheon. “I am cursed.”
“No,” she stated, very strongly. “You are not cursed. Most of your kind are, but not you.”
“My kind?” he questioned. He paused a few seconds. “You know of my kind?”
She laughed.
“Not only do I know of your kind, I serve them.” When she felt his muscles relax, she released her hands. He looked to the ground, not sure what he was going to do next.
This was the second time a woman had interrupted him during a Nangjang Resolution. He wasn’t sure if there was a meaning behind that or not.
She offered him a hand. “Come with me. I will show you a new way to survive and live for a future.”

At the Kisaeng house, she led Alcheon to a private room and helped him remove his makeup. As soon as his face was clean, another Kisaeng entered the room and sat next to him.
“Since you were turned, our watchers noted that you do not kill your prey,” stated his lady savior. “You have the self-restraint to take just enough to keep you alive. Your crime of forcing people to feed you is over.” She caressed his face.
Nodding over to the other Kisaeng in the room, she said, “This child’s name is Pi Deu. She will be your feeder, tonight. She is giving herself to you willingly, so there is no need for guilt.” She stood up to leave.
“May I ask a question of you, before you leave?” asked Alcheon. She nodded.
“What is your name?”
She smiled.
“I am called Mi Lae, beautiful man.” Still smiling, she left the room.
He stared at the door. His Buddha, and the Buddha of the Hwarang, was Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future. The definition of the name, Mi Lae, was the future. Shocked, he believed that Mi Lae was an incarnation of the Maitreya Buddha. He smiled, knowing he really had been beautiful for the Buddha.
He looked over at Pi Deu. She was patiently waiting for him, her gaze slightly downward with respect.
“Is it really true?” he asked. “You are willingly offering your blood?”
She looked at him with a most sincere face. “I am truly willing, Nauri. Please, take my blood.” She looked down, again, as if she were a little shy.
“And if it pleases you,” she continued, “I willingly offer my body.”
He moved closer to her and enveloped her in a gentle back hug.  Unlike most Kisaengs, her hair was simply braided to the back. It was the hair style of very young women, and not the elaborate coiffure of other Kisaengs. This tantalizingly bared her neck for him.
He took the time to breathe in her scent and feel the warmth of her body. It had been so long since he held a woman, romantically. He missed the intimacy. Even though he didn’t know this woman, physical contact with her felt wonderful.
As he softly kissed her neck repeatedly, she leaned into him, wanting him to hold her more tightly. She bent her head to one side to expose her neck for him, even more. As his kisses became stronger, his fangs extended and pierced her skin, deeply.  After a short gasp, she reached for the back of his head and pushed his fangs further into her neck. He let himself sink into the ecstasy of her surrender, He slowly drank from her until he heard her quietly say, “Nauri.”
As he slowly pulled his fangs out of her neck, she released her hold on him. Humbly, he whispered in her ear, “Thank you.”
For the rest of the night, he kept her in his back hug, enjoying her scent and warmth.

As time went by, he continued to use the services of Mi Lae’s Kisaeng house. Matrons, Kisaengs, and feeders would age and die, to be replaced by others. At the end of the Joseon period in 1897, he purchased the Kisaeng House, giving it the familiar name. To help the women of his kind, he brought men in as feeders. This strategy helped the Kisaeng House become very popular. He appointed new Matrons, as needed, leaving the management of his business to them.

Someone Familiar

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