Remy Martin – A History
By: April Wahlin
Edited by: Talese Shertzer
My name is Remy Martin--yes, like the Cognac. However, this is not my given name. Once, long before America was discovered, my name was Romulus of Rome. It is strange to be over two thousand years old and have the love of your life compare you to “a lot of broken statues and gladiators.” I remind her that those to whom she so flippantly refers were new when I was born; she only laughs and returns to her video games. That is how it is in this day and age. So quick to forget the past.
I only wish I could forget it so easily.
I have many times witnessed first blood shed in war and been silent spectator to the rise and fall of nearly every great civilization in the world.
When I was known as Romulus, my Brother Remus and I founded the city of Rome. Our origin is complicated: filled with treachery, abandonment, victories, and revenge. With blood of the god Mars coursing in our veins and the nature of wolves, no one could defeat us. No one, that is, but our selves, thus, this tale is not of my birth, but of my death.
Once my brother and I built the magnificent megalopolis of Rome, I was elected King. Unfortunately, my brother was not pleased with the decision and began to grow distant. He spent his time building a wall around the city, claiming we were in need of fortification. Though the city was under no threat, he insisted on exerting endless hours and resources to his folly. Upon completion of the wall, I challenged his claims that no man could penetrate his barrier and survive. To my utter chagrin, my brother chose to prove the wall's effectiveness himself. As I and my court looked on, a newly determined Remus vaulted over the wall--the god Pluto claimed him before he set foot on the other side. My brother sacrificed himself so no army could overtake our city's wall and live.
My brother and I had overcome so many odds, we thought ourselves immortal. We had the strength and speed of the Gods, but as we came to find out, we lacked the Gods' everlasting ability to live.
I was left to rule the Empire alone, feeling the weight of my brother’s death profoundly. A short time later I formed a group of several men who would act as leaders to my regions and help me rule. However, I now knew that one day I too would die.
I could not have that.
In fear of my brother’s fate and the impending shuffling off of my own mortal coil, I set out to find the Gates of Tartarus. I intended to take up the matter with Pluto himself.
It took me years to find Pluto. When I did, he turned out to be one of the more reasonable Gods; he advised me to live my life and abandon my search for immortality. I have wished many a night I had heeded his words. When Pluto saw that I would not be swayed, he grudgingly suggested I pay a visit to Lilith, but to be wary of any gifts she may bestow upon me.
High in the mountains over Rome I found her, living alone in a lavish villa overlooking my metropolis. Lilith had a veil of long blond hair, cunning blue eyes, and a beauty beyond compare. How such a woman so close to my domain had escaped my attention, I did not know. When I asked for the secret of her immortality, she showed me an eternity of nights feeding off the life’s blood of my people. I was reluctant to accustom myself to a life of horror and regret. But alas, I was helpless before Lilith's beguiling beauty and sinister charm; she held a power over me I could not fight. In seeking her, I had traded my freedom for immortality.
I had wanted to live forever, but not like this.
I continued to rule over Rome for many decades, but as Lilith’s influence over me grew, so did her influence over Rome. Under her power, Rome transformed into a brutal, cutthroat society determined to conquer every land within its reach by any means necessary. She was power-hungry: demanding sanguine tribute from the people. If I did not concede she would descend upon the city and force me to help her bloody my fair streets. When she was not appeased, crimson cries of the proletariat and aristocracy alike echoed through the alleys. She orchestrated wars and drove me to dominate neighboring countries through terrible and atrocious means. The night we took Sabine was horrifying, one which will remain forever etched in my memory. The screams of the men and women haunt me to this day.
Rome could not survive in this manor. Crops dwindled along with the people. Mobs began to form. A civil war was on the horizon and I would not, could not, allow my beloved Rome to be torn asunder by her own citizenry. There, I made a desperate decision. One night, in the midst of a terrible thunderstorm, I left Rome. I slipped away from Lilith near dawn and began my long journey, hiding in caves during the day and traveling by night. When I could not find humans on which I might feed, I lived off what animals were near. Each moment was torment as I felt her calling to me, beacon me back to her.
I sought Pluto, begging to be released from my bond with Lilith. Unfortunately, I was beyond even his help. My only remaining option, he asserted, was to kill her; but in doing so, I would damage myself terribly. Our blood-bond was all encompassing; I would live, but my soul would be torn asunder. Pluto assured me I would one day heal, but not before the passing of centuries of loneliness, anger, and desolation. I heeded his warning, but knew I would rather live an eternity in pain than spend it enslaved by Lilith.
I made the long journey back to Rome with the secret to Lilith's demise.
Her wrath was terrible. As punishment, Lilith locked me away until my own hunger drove me mad. She then loosed me on my own army; I demolished an entire battalion before coming to my senses. I was sickened as I looked upon the horror I had wrought upon the people of Rome—my people. I had become a bane to the very home I had created, to the very city I sought to protect.
Lilith had to be stopped.
With loathing, I acted as Lilith's obedient slave until she was confident in the totality of my submission to her every whim. It was a long year of unspeakable torment to me, but my people were safe, and would be from her horrors forever. One morning while she slept, I forced myself awake, and snuck into her chambers. There, I cut off her head, burned the body, and carried her ashes to the temple of Pluto where I asked him for his acceptance of her infernal remains. As her ashes flew up onto the winds, I knew Pluto had heeded my pleas: Lilith was gone. In that moment I crumpled, feeling as though the heart had been ripped from my chest. It was torture beyond anything I had ever experienced. Yet, I was free from her control--I was a free Roman once again--and I still would have rid the world of her presence. Once I was able to, I returned home. There, I vowed never to make another of my kind.
Unfortunately, when I reached the city of Rome I found her so changed she was no longer mine. Now that I knew she was safe from Lilith, it was time for me to go my own way.I ceased to be Romulus of Rome. From then on, I had no name. I wandered the world a shred of my former self, in pain and utter devastation. True to Pluto's word, my torment lasted centuries.
Until, one day, when I felt as though I had nearly become accustomed to my suffering, the pain began to subside and I began to heal.
With no goal for the long life ahead of me, I settled in Europe in a land called “Britain,” before it acquired the “Great.” From there, I moved to France near a small commune, Point-Remy. I spent many years in this idyllic locale. As the people came to know me, they bestowed me with the name of their patron saint—Saint Remigius—and affectionately referred to me as “Remy.” The people and their saint reminded me of the home I once knew in Rome, before the death of my brother, where life was divine and we were loved by our people. I spent nearly a century there, and though I loved my home in France, eventually I had to leave.
I changed cities every few decades, continents on occasion. I even fought in wars when necessary. Mars still favored me in battle and I won every skirmish in which I participated.
When I eventually tired of the world and its politics, I settled in the New Americas where I sat back and watched as the human play unfolded around me. There I adopted the last name of Martin after the distiller of my favorite Cognac and Remy Martin was born.
Slowly but surely, supernatural beings settled in this new Land of Opportunity and wreaked much havoc, particularly throughout the American South. I helped the Order establish rules to keep more fearsome and stubborn supernaturals in line. The Order eventually discovered my history and began referring to me by my given name--Romulus existed once again. This time as an enforcer instead of king. My former name drove terror into the minds of those who knew my terrible deeds. However, to myself I remain Remy Martin, a solitary immortal who becomes Romulus only when needed.
In all this time, I had kept my vow never to make another.
That was, until Pluto, who is more popularly known by the name Hades, called upon me for a favor.
I have tried to relay this story to my love, but as such a young creature she, unfortunately, has the attention span of a gnat. One day she may listen and she may be frightened of my past. But ultimately, it makes little difference. We are who we are—we are bound to one another, and not even time can sever these bonds.