The Vampire’s Myth is a story arc that I feel very sentimental writing about. When I first began reading Purgatori I wanted to start from the beginning. I read her previous appearances and then I greedily read through these 3 issues. The arc was all I had hoped it to be for her first solo series and it quickly became one of my favorites. Jim Balent’s art really brought Purgatori’s story to life and I love his depiction of all the characters involved. The Vampire’s Myth really digs into CHAOS!’s horror roots and is always refreshing to go back to. This raw depiction contains a quality of Purgatori that is lost in her later series. It is with great pleasure that I blog today about the origins of my favorite blood goddess.
Purgatori: The Vampire’s Myth #1 (August 1996)
In Chaos Quarterly #1, Purgatori realizes that she needs more than mortal blood to satiate her thirsts, she decides to search for ancient blood. This leads her to board a ship heading to Alexandria, once aboard she mercilessly slays all the crewmembers one by one. To her dismay, the blood leaves her unsatisfied, the eternal thirst of the common vampire plagues her. She craves blood with power, that of which her ancient immortal enemies possess.
The ship crashes, leaving an explosion in its wake. Purgatori is reminded of Hell, comforted by the flames roaring out from below. She outwardly expresses how it is good to be back home but acknowledges that she did not wish to return and only did so to regain some of her power. Purgatori opens the veil of silence and contacts Kabala telepathically, calling her a “witless shapeshifter.”
Kabala has the throats of two of her tribesmen slit above her, she relishes the blood as it pours down on her nude form. Suddenly she hears the message from Purgatori and sends out a warning to Jade, letting her know that Purgatori is back. They hope to learn why, Purgatori, their maker, has condemned them to this endless existence. Once they find out the truth they intend to make her suffer for it.
Purgatori walks the streets and takes in all the changes, yet the bazaar, amongst other surroundings, strikes up painful memories of her lover. She begins to smell clouds laced with blood and the streets begin to change. Jade watches Purgatori as she begins to enter into her shadow-realm. Suddenly everything looks different and Purgatori is appalled with whats happened. All around are Chinese motifs and a reaper is approaching asking her to surrender. She is insulted by the request and attacks the reaper who begins to question Purgatori.
Jade breaks through the disguise, angrily spewing about how she never wanted eternal life and how it caused her families’ honor. Purgatori calls her ungrateful and refuses to tell her anything. Jade’s shadow dragons bind her wrists and ankles, Purgatori is depleted and did not expect an attack so soon. Jade expected the resistance and continues with her plan, she reaches her long fingers toward Purgatori and places one on her temple, invading her mind.
Suddenly Purgatori envisions her former life as the slave Sakkara, helping to build a tomb for a Queen obsessed with immortality.
An old man comes to her one night and offers her a way to gain immortality herself but she is spotted by the Queen soon after and is taken away.
Sakkara is introduced to the Queen’s harem, and they prepare her for the Queen.
Sakkara sleeps with the Queen who later gives her a ring to symbolize their marriage. The rest of the harem is jealous of the Queen’s favoritism but that matters little.
The Queen falls under desperate times, her subjects are revolting against her. She agrees to marriage with the General who in turn orders the harem killed, Sakkara barely escapes with her life jumping out of a window.
Purgatori is upset that Jade is forcing these images and so she forces a memory of her own, that of Lucifer. Jade is shocked to learn that the father of lies exists, Purgatori takes advantage and attacks Jade, leaving her blinded with a blood veil. She drinks most of Jade’s blood and the illusions disappear.
Suddenly she is at her wife’s tomb when a creature appears behind her.
Purgatori: The Vampire’s Myth #2 (October, 1996)
There is nothing Purgatori wouldn’t do to regain power, even if it means stealing the blood of her blood daughters. Rath, her ancient maker, has appeared behind her, she quickly throws him into a statue of Queen Ostraca. Purgatori attempts to flee but Rath grabs hold of her, he drains her blood and heals himself in the process. He is disappointed in his child but has not come to fight, he wonders what she has done the last 4000 years and is curious of her usefulness. Kabala charges an attack but Rath carries Purgatori’s unconscious body through a portal.
Kabala scolds Jade for her failure. Jade reveals that she cannot locate Purgatori, as she is off Earth.
Purgatori is strung up on a cross made of human bones, Rath is upset that he cannot read her mind on account that she has encased her heart with Jade’s blood.
Sakkara remembers her escape as a slave, she finds the now dying old man who tells her where to find eternal life.
She climbs the highest peak all the while being chased by Egyptian guardsmen.
She perseveres and finds Rath who asks her why she deserves eternal life. She replies that Kings and Queens do not really live but that she knows life, the value of all the doubt, pain, tragedies, and triumphs. Rath asks for the truth and Sakkara reveals that she wants revenge and that she will pay any price for immortality. Rath believes he has found the perfect weapon, perfect and deserving, to tear down the façade of civilization and bring about man’s true nature to be wild and free.
Rath asks if Sakkara would trade one form of slavery for another and she agrees, he bites into her breast. He notes that she is willing to embrace death and that passionate rage will forever be her trademark.
Rath notices something primal in her blood, but proceeds to slit his throat for her to drink out of. Sakkara overindulges herself to the point that Rath throws her off, he realizes in that instant that she has the blood of fallen angels within her.
Sakkara finds herself in a pit with snakes but they are the least of her worry, she screams out as her body changes form. Rath informs Sakkara that the blood of her ancestors, the fallen angels, mixed with his ancient blood has made her a unique creature unlike any other.
Sakkara satiates her bloodlust by slaughtering the guardsmen. Rath shields her from the sunset and promises to teach her in preparation of the Queen’s wedding.
It is the Queen’s wedding night and we see Kabala and her husband thanking the Queen for her knowledge of herbal remedies, which has helped them conceive a child.
Sakkara feeds off of Rath, he informs her to drain her victims completely or risk turning them. He advises her to treat vampirism as a gift, and cautions her that newborns must be fed constantly otherwise they turn immortal but ravenous and insane. Sakkara goes off and watches the peasants from above, she craves the Queen as much as they do.
In the present, Rath approaches Purgatori and decides that she should accept him as her Master. Purgatori refuses and Rath leaves with his Celtic blood brothers to travel through the Nexus back to the Invisible Village.
Rath has guided Purgatori’s foes to her and they appear before her in anticipation.
Purgatori: The Vampire’s Myth #3 (December, 1996)
Jade does not care for Purgatori to die, Kabala on the other hand plans to feed her heart to her pets after learning the truth. Kabala’s tiger-women bite the depleted Purgatori down by her wrists and ankles.
It is Ostraca and Ramses wedding night again, Ostraca does not marry for love but for protection. Jade and her father, Kabala and her husband of Kush the African Nation, attend the wedding. Sakkara attacks the guests, among them Jade and Kabala.
Sakkara holds up the Queen and General for the peasants to see, sensing liberation riots begin to plague Alexandria.
She takes them to the Queen’s burial tomb where she turns them both into newborn vampires and traps them in the tomb. Sakkara watches on as days pass and the chaos continues, finally the Queen’s loyalists come and open her tomb. Inside they find insane and demented looking creatures that once were the Queen and the General.
Rath returns to Sakkara, he is pleased with her and rewards her with the prospect of following his every command. She refuses, once again he is pleased with her and hopes they meet again someday.
In the present, Kabala is furious upon finding out that they were mistakes, created in a moment of impulse and passion. She recalls how her husband was stoned to death upon finding her feeding on calves, how she was cast into the jungle until her bloodlust forced her to kill everyone she knew. Kabala orders Purgatori to beg for her life but she refuses and attacks her to the point where she scratches off a chunk of Purgatori’s face.
Purgatori still refuses to beg when Kabala sends tigers to tear her apart. Suddenly Rath appears and saves her, he wanted to find out if she was still the defiant creature from all those years ago. He deems her useful, with few limitations, and feeds her his blood. A samurai attacks Rath from behind, slicing through his body, but this just angers the ancient.
Purgatori is replenished and calls out to her blood daughters in vengeance. She attacks Kabala first, looking into her mind to find out her deepest fear.
Purgatori laughs when she finds out that Kabala never wanted the baby that Purgatori was responsible for killing. Kabala whimpers about how the baby never truly died.
Purgatori drains the fearful Kabala, she grabs Kabala’s heart but realizes that she would rather die. She leaves Kabala begging her not to go, Purgatori realizes that maybe she does owe Kabala. The sun rises and Kabala is burned to death.
Purgatori has accomplished her mission, she now possess the ancient blood of Rath, Kabala, and Jade. She realizes that she has mellowed we age, as she allowed her blood daughter what she truly desired, death.
Rath orders Purgatori to come with him for there is much to learn. She spits in his face, claiming that no one possess her as she flies away.