Twelve leather-bound volumes were stacked neatly on the coffee table in the living room. They were each close to three inches thick and had the same two letters engraved on the front and spine, a capital R and capital H, in the kind of overly ornate font Alex forbade her students from using on their essays as it was hard to read after awhile. She hoped the whole book wasn’t written in the same.
“Are the others joining us?” Alex asked as she crossed the room to the off-white couch next to where Sage sat. “I’m just wondering about all the copies,” she clarified when she saw his look of confusion.
“Those aren’t copies. Those are the histories. All of them,” Sage explained with a chuckle.
“Right. I forgot you guys have been around awhile.” Sage raised a brow at the understatement. “I’m guessing ‘H’ is for histories; what’s the ‘R’ stand for?” she asked.
“Rectinatti. It’s the formal name of the coven,” he answered. It hadn’t occurred to Alex the coven would have a name, but then again, she knew there was at least one other coven, so it made sense they would have a way of referring to themselves.
“Old Latin, originally, from rectitudo or rectus. But, yeah, when our coven was in Italy during the Renaissance they decided to go a little nuts with the spellings and names. Their translations of documents have been questioned for centuries since, because they were more concerned with the flowery language than accuracy,” Sage vented. Alex tried to wrap her head around both the name and the apparent age of the books before her.
“In English it would mean right. Like righteousness or rectitude?” she asked eventually. Sage smiled. “You take Latin in high school?”
“A little. I’m a word geek—English teacher, remember. So what’s behind the name?”
Alex didn’t want to comment that to most humans it would seem a bit ridiculous, never mind a little pompous, for a group of creatures most would consider monsters to choose such a noble name. Sage plucked the thought from her head anyway.
“Most humans never get to know we exist outside of bad movies, never mind what we stand for. You will, if you can be patient and polite,” he answered. She rolled her eyes. The mind-reader lecturing her on the impoliteness of her private thoughts seemed a bit unfair, not to mention irritating.
-excerpt from Unforeseen, chapter 6
Rectinatti – The coven of vampires who believe in a balance of power between humans and vampires. They feed exclusively from other vampires and work to protect humans from becoming the prey of the Vengatti. They chose their name, which comes from rectitudo or rectus, because they believed their decision to protect humans to be the righteous choice, the choice aligned with their Creator’s intentions.
History: After the original coven of vampires split into two factions, the Vengatti and the Rectinatti, there was one Rectinatti coven residing in Italy. Most then moved to Ireland in the late 1500s to escape the Vengatti, who learned the locations of the Regan and first families through a traitor. The Vengatti, of course, followed them to Ireland, but in the 1840s when the famine began killing off the Vengatti food source (humans), they were forced to move again. The Rectinatti followed them to assure the safety of the humans in their new home, America. The majority of both covens settled in Bristol, Ma, although smaller groups formed their own covens in other areas of the US and Canada, currently Portland and Vancouver.
Facts: The coven is led by a Regan, a position passed on through bloodlines to the first-born male. The Regan is advised by the Council of Elders, a group consisting of the male head of each of the coven’s first families. The Regan and males of first families wear a ring of sapphire and silver to symbolize their status and their pure heritage.
It wasn’t enough to have backstory for my characters. In order to understand the deeper motivations of my characters, I had to explore the backstory of their species, most importantly how they came to be two covens at war. Italy seemed a romantic and tradition-rich place for the feud to begin, but as I was drafting some of book one from a dorm room in Galway, just hours from the birthplace of Stoker, I knew I had to add an Irish twist. Ireland’s history of famine and immigration to America, where many settled in small mill cities like my imagined Bristol, provided the perfect explanation for how the covens ended up where they now reside. And I can now use the excuse of “researching for my writing” to endlessly flip through my hundreds of pictures and daydream of returning!
Which do you enjoy most, reading or writing about places you’ve been or places you’ve never been?