The Vampire Origin Story
The Vampire Origin Story
Ambrogio was a young adventurer. Born and raised in
Italy, he had always longed to travel to Greece to have
his fortune told by the Oracle of Delphi. When he was an
adult, he got on a boat and sailed to the western edge of
Greece, near Astakos. He traveled east until he
eventually reached the city of Delphi.
Delphi was home to a great temple of Apollo the sun
god. It was also the home of the Pythia, better known as
the Oracles. The Pythia would sit in a chamber within
the temple and speak of prophecies, inspired by Apollo,
to those who came to seek the Oracle's wisdom.
When Ambrogio finally arrived at the temple, he went to
speak to the Pythia. The Pythia, whose words were
often cryptic, said only a few words: "The curse. The
moon. The blood will run."
He couldn't sleep that night. He stayed awake outside of
the temple, pondering the meaning of the Pythia's
words. As the sun rose in the morning he realized that
he had not slept. As he walked back toward the town he
saw a beautiful woman dressed in white robes walking to
the temple. He ran over to her and introduced himself.
name was Selene, and she was a maiden of the temple.
Her sister was the Oracle, and so Selene tended to the
temple and took care of her sister while in her entranced
For the next few days every morning Ambrogio met
Selene at dawn before she entered the temple. They
soon fell in love.
On his last day in Greece, Ambrogio asked Selene to
marry him and return with him to Italy. She agreed. He
said he would make the preparations then meet her at
dawn the next morning at their meeting spot outside the
Apollo, the sun god, had been watching. He himself had
taken a liking to the beautiful Selene and was enraged
that Ambrogio would come to his temple and take one of
his maidens away. At sunset that night, Apollo appeared
to Ambrogio and cursed him so that from that day forth
a mere touch of Apollo's sunlight would burn Ambrogio's
Ambrogio was distraught. He was set to leave with
Selene in the morning, but he would not be able to meet
her at sunrise as he promised because of the curse.
Having nowhere else to turn, he ran to a cave that led to
Hades for protection. Hades, god of the underworld,
listened to his tale and made him a deal - if he could steal
the silver bow of Artemis and bring it back, Hades would
grant him and Selene protection in the underworld. The
deal specified that Hades would give Ambrogio a magical
wooden bow and 11 arrows to hunt with. He was to
offer his hunting trophies to Artemis in order to gain her
favor and steal her silver bow. As collateral, Ambrogio
had to leave his soul in Hades until he returned with the
bow. Should he return without the silver bow, he would
have to live in Hades forever, never to return to Selene.
Having no other choice, Ambrogio agreed.
He had no way to contact Selene. He had parchments,
but no writing implement, so he took his bow and arrow
and killed a swan. Using its feather as a pen, and its
blood as the ink, he wrote her a note explaining that he
could not meet with her but would find a way for them
to be together. He left the note in their meeting place
and ran off to find a place to hide from the sunlight.
Naturally, Selene was devastated when she found the
note, but she kept working at the temple as she did not
want to anger Apollo any further. The next morning,
Selene went back to the meeting place, but once again
Ambrogio was not there. She saw another piece of
parchment with writing in blood on it. It was a love poem
Before morning for 44 days Ambrogio slew a swan and
used its blood to write Selene a love poem. After
draining the blood and taking a single feather he offered
the body of the swan as a tribute to Artemis, the goddess
of hunting and the moon, and also sister to Apollo. He
hoped that even if he could not steal her bow, she would
be honored by the tribute and would be able to convince
her brother Apollo to remove the curse.
On the 45th night, Ambrogio had only one arrow left. He
shot it at a swan and missed, the arrow sailing into the
distance. He had neither the blood to write Selene's
poem nor the swan to sacrifice to Artemis. He fell to the
ground and wept.
Seeing how good of a hunter and how dedicated of a
follower Ambrogio had been, Artemis came down to
him. He begged Artemis to let him borrow her bow and
an arrow so he could kill one last bird and leave one final
note to Selene.
Artemis took pity on him and agreed to let him borrow
her silver bow and an arrow. He took the bow, and in
desperation, ran to the cave that led to Hades. Artemis
realized what was happening and cast her own curse on
Ambrogio. The curse caused all silver burn his skin.
Ambrogio dropped the silver bow and fell to the ground
Artemis was furious at his deceit, but he begged her for
forgiveness. He explained the deal he was forced to
make with Hades, his curse by Apollo, and his love for
Selene. He apologized profusely and swore that he had
no other choice.
Artemis took pity on him again and decided to give him
one last chance. She offered to make him a great hunter,
almost as great as she was, with the speed and strength
of a god and fangs with which to drain the blood of the
beasts to write his poems. In exchange for this
immortality, he would have to agree to a deal. He and
Selene would have to escape Apollo's temple and
worship only Artemis forever. The catch was that
Artemis was a virgin goddess, and all of her followers
had to remain chaste and unmarried, so Ambrogio was
never allowed to touch Selene again. They could never
kiss, never touch, never have children.
Ambrogio agreed. At least this way he and Selene could
be together. He killed another swan and left Selene a
note telling her to meet him on a ship at the docks.
Before dawn the next morning, she saw the note and ran
away before Apollo could notice.
When Selene arrived at the dock she found Ambrogio's
ship and met him down in the hull. There was a wooden
coffin with a note on it, telling her to order the ship's
captain to set sail, and to open the coffin only after the
sun had set. She did as the note said, and after sunset
she opened the coffin to find Ambrogio alive and well.
The couple sailed to Ephesus, where they lived in a cave
during the day and worshiped Artemis at her grand
temple every night. They lived happily together for
many years, never touching, never kissing, never having
After a number of years, Ambrogio's immortality allowed
him to stay young, but Selene continued to age as a
mortal. She finally fell ill and was on her deathbed.
Ambrogio was distraught, knowing that he would not
join Selene in the afterlife because his soul still resided in
Hades. At night, he went into the woods and found a
white swan swimming alone in a small lake. He killed the
swan and offered it to Artemis, begging for her to make
Selene immortal so they could stay together forever.
Artemis appeared to him. Thankful for his years of
dedication and worship, she made him one last deal.
Artemis told Ambrogio that he could touch Selene just
once - to drink her blood. Doing so would kill her mortal
body, but from then on, her blood mixed with his could
create eternal life for any who drink of it. If he did this,
Artemis would see to it that they stayed together
Ambrogio wanted to refuse, but after telling Selene what
happened, Selene begged him to do it. After much
convincing, he bit her neck and took her blood into his
body. As he set her limp body down, Selene began to
radiate with light, and raise up to the sky. Ambrogio
watched as Selene's glowing spirit lifted to meet Artemis
at the moon. When she arrived, the moon lit up with a
Selene became the goddess of moonlight, and every
night she would reach down with her rays of light to the
earth and finally touch her beloved Ambrogio as well as
all of their children - the newly created vampires who
carried the blood of Ambrogio and Selene, together.