He was dressed in red velvet and splendidly tall. His blond hair was parted in the middle in a saintly fashion and combed richly down to his shoulders where it broke over his cloak in lustrous curls. He had a smooth forehead without a line to it, and high straight golden eyebrows dark enough to give his face a clear, determined look. His lashes curled like dark golden threads from his eyelids. And when he smiled, his lips were flushed suddenly with a pale immediate color that made their full careful shape all the more visible.
He came up the steps to be near me, but kept a polite distance. He has always been the gentleman, even before there was such a word. In ancient Rome, they must have had a term for such a person, infallibly good mannered, and considerate as a point of honor, and wholly successful at common courtesy to rich and poor alike. This was Marius, and had always been Marius, insofar as I could know.
He let his snow white hand rest on the dull satiny banister. He wore a long shapeless cloak of gray velvet, once perfectly extravagant, now downplayed with wear and rain, and his yellow hair was long like Lestat's hair, full of random light and unruly in the damp, and even studded with drops of dew from outside, the same dew clinging to his golden eyebrows and darkening his long curling eyelashes around large cobalt-blue eyes.
There was something altogether more Nordic and icy about him than there was about Lestat, whose hair tended to be more golden, for all its luminous highlights, and whose eyes were forever prismatic, drinking up colors around him, becoming even more gorgeous violet with the slightest provocation from the worshipful outside world.
In Marius, I saw the sunny skies of Italy, eyes of steady radiance which rejected any outside color, perfect portals to his own constant soul.
Now let me describe for the most virginal readers my Master, Marius, as he is now. So much time divides us now that it is like a glacier between us, and we stare at each other across the glowing whiteness of the impassable waste, able only to speak in lulled and polite voices, so mannerly, the young creature I appear to be, too sweet-faced for casual belief, and he, ever the worldly sophisticate, the scholar of the moment, the philosopher of the century, ethicist of the millennium, historian for all time.
He walks tall as he always did, imperial still in his subdued twentieth-century fashion, carving his coats out of the old velvet that they may give some faint clue of the magnificence that was once his nightly dress. On occasions now he clips the long flowing yellow hair, which he wore so proudly in old Venice. He is ever quick of wit and tongue and eager for reasonable solutions, possessed of infinite patience and unquenchable curiosity and a refusal to give up on the fate of himself, or of us, or of the world. No knowledge can defeat him; tempered by fire and time, he is too strong for the horrors of technology or the spells of science. Neither microscopes nor computers shake his faith in the infinite, though his once solemn charge- Those Who Must Be Kept, who held such promise of redemptive meaning- have long been toppled from their archaic thrones.
At last, it lifted its arms to enfold me and the face I saw was beyond the realm of possibility. What one of us could have such a face? What did we know of patience, of seeming goodness, of compassion? No, it wasn't one of us. It couldn't have been. And yet it was. Preternatural flesh and blood like mine. Iridescent eyes, gathering the light from all directions, tiny eyelashes like strokes of gold from the finest pen. [...] A man in the prime of his life at the moment of the immortal gift. And the square face, with its slightly hollowed cheeks, its long full mouth, stamped with terrifying gentleness and peace.
He was wearing the long red velvet cloak he had worn in Cairo, and his full white blond hair was blown back by the wind. His eyes were fixed on the pass before us, the dangerous rocks that protruded from the shallow water, his left hand gripping the rail of the little deck.
I felt an overwhelming attraction to him, and the sense of peace in me expanded.
There was no forbidding grandeur to his face or stance, no loftiness that might have humbled me and made me afraid. There was only a quiet nobility about him, his eyes rather wide as they looked forward, the mouth suggesting a disposition of exceptional gentleness as before.
Too smooth the face, yes. It had the sheen of scar tissue, it was so smooth, and it might have startled, even frightened, in a dark street. It gave off a faint light. But the expression was too warm, too human in its goodness to do anything but invite.
Armand might have looked like a god out of Caravaggio, Gabrielle a marble archangel at the threshold of a church.
But this figure before me was one of an immortal man.
I knew all of the men but one, and this one was fair-haired and blue-eyed, and very tall, and he turned, during the conversation- which was all whispers and nods- and winked at me.
This was Marius, with skin slightly tanned from his travels and a flashing beauty in his eyes. He had three names like everyone else. But again, I will not disclose the name of his family. But I knew it. I knew he was sort of the "bad boy" in an intellectual way, the "poet" and the "loafer." What nobody had told me was that he was beautiful. [...] Marius had his hair short then, clipped military-Roman-style with a few modest curls on his forehead; his hair was long when he was later made a vampire, and he wears it long now, but then it was the typical boring Roman military cut. But it was blond and full of sunlight in the atrium, and he seemed the brightest and most impressive man I'd ever laid eyes on. He was full of kindness when he looked at me.
Marius, the Roman, Patrician by birth, scholar by choice.
He was a tall fair creature whose yellow hair was almost white. He had hard blue eyes, and a delicate face, covered with a thin layer of blood and ash to make him look more human to the mortal eye. He wore a bright-red cloak with a hood, thrown back from his head, and his hair was finely combed and long. He looked most handsome to Thorne, and well mannered, and rather like a creature of books than a man of the sword. He had large hands but they were slender and the fingers were fine.
His naked chest was without hair. He was pale as all old blood drinkers are pale. And his body was strong and naturally beautiful. He'd been taken in the prime of his life, that was plain. But his true age, either in mortal life long ago, or in blood drinker time now? Thorne could not guess it.
Why don't you want me? What can I do to make you want me? You're very beautiful with your light yellow hair. You look like a god, really, tall as you are and with your blue eyes. Even she [Eudoxia] thought you were beautiful. She told me you were. I was never allowed to see you. But she told me that you were like the North men. She described you as you walked about in your red robes-.
To Eudoxia it was a mystery- until you came to Constantinople, and she saw you, Marius, the Roman, in your brilliant red robes, moving through the square at evening, pale as marble, yet with all the conviction of a mortal man.
Your Master's vain works are all burnt; nothing but ashes remain now of his paintings. God forgive him, that he used his sublime powers not in the service of God but in the service of the World, the Flesh and the Devil, yes, I say the Devil, though the Devil is our standard bearer, for the Evil One is proud of us and satisfied with our pain; but Marius served the Devil with no regard to the wishes of God, and the mercies granted us by God, that rather than burn in the flames of Hell, we rule in the shadows of the Earth.
But he was of a pagan time, obdurate and angry, and refusing ever the grace of God.
[H]e was centuries old, your Maker, nobody even tells of a time when there wasn't Marius, the lone wolf, who abides no one in his territory, Marius, the destroyer of the young.