The End of an Era

This posting is an interview with a vampire/lycan from the now defunct “Atrum Infero” clan, the clan’s former blood merchant and “dark keeper” known as StarLord Scribe. We wanted to share some earlier information about the clan’s beginnings, stuff that hadn’t been documented, but may be useful for historical reference, or for those considering starting their own clan, perhaps some pitfalls to avoid.
Atrum Infero will long be remembered, mentioned in whispers, murmured from the sleeping mouths of those who continue her dark dreams.

Q: You were with Satoria from the beginning, can you tell us about the early days?

A: Yes, I’d like to say Atrum Infero had humble beginnings, but really, this was once a great clan of hundreds of vampires and thousands of souls within the virtual world of Second Life. The group was started as an offshoot group within Crimson Republic, ruled by a queen named “Jadebelgie” 

Q: So it was in effect, a clan within a clan?

A: Satoria Exonar’s initial goals were to focus on RolePlay as the key element of vampirism, and stray away from the importance of statuses and the accrual of mass members to build ranking. There were like-minded people wishing to experience more roleplay beyond what was happening within CR, and our Queen Jade was supportive of the RP group existing within the larger family.

Q: How did it become its own separate group then?

A: There were several events that happened around the same time, which prompted Satoria to break away from the main clan and start off her own new group. One factor was tensions within the main group. At the time, CR was very wild, dark, and highly competitive. A lot of vampires would do sneaky things to each other, stealing souls, blood, and minions from each other. One could see a lot of drama occurring on a regular basis, and you often hear these biker-clad vamps calling each other “hun” or “dear” in the group or voice chat, this was always used in a derogatory sense and preceded a slurry of accusation flying. I don’t know if this still goes on today or not, I was banned from the clan lands since I was a devoted minion of Satoria and hence chose to leave CR when she did.

Another of the clan’s queens (“Inferno”, who was never part of Atrum Infero, yet knew all of the parties involved) had recently spun-off her own group (Phoenix Tears of Blood Clan) because of the same stuff happening to her and her minions. Inferno was a very successful huntress, but wasn’t quite the court favorite for reasons unknown to me. I suggested queen Jade bring her on equal footing with some of the other royalty, but she didn’t want to be part of that since it would make her look as if she played favorites, a bit of a catch 22 I guess, but that’s beyond me. Inferno also liked the idea of RP but didn’t want to be party to Satoria’s group, since she was already a queen herself, and knew that with tensions mounting, thought that this may be a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen”, so bowed-out of invitations and branched off to start her own clan while the dust settled.

Anyway, Satoria got caught up in much of this drama, in fact at times I think she enjoyed it. However, about the same time she also had a SL romance go horribly wrong. One of her minions (whom I only knew of 3rd-party, named “Minotaur” something) had asked her to give up a large number of souls and minions to help him raise up his ranking, and she complied because of (so stated) being in love with him. Though I don’t know all the details, I do know that one day he just up and left, taking all the collected souls and minions with him, so it looks as if he was just using her. I think that experience was the proverbial nail in the coffin (so to speak!), and being quite embarrassed about it she just wanted a new start.

So, Atrum Infero was born out of this, and continued to exist for several years before eventually puttering out and fading away.

Q: You mention romance and drama, are those normally part of bloodlines?

A: I should mention that through the course of the game a lot of dark things and trickery have been used on people to seduce them into playing, giving up their soul, blood, and coercing people to do things they wouldn’t have otherwise done. There’s a lot of mind-fucking and evil manipulation by slimey sick people that goes on, in this and other sensual/mature-themed games. Someone could likely write MORE books about it, and yes indeed bloodlines has been known to create drama in both the virtual and real world.

Vampires are often portrayed as seducers, or people who use tricks of seduction and coercion, or guilt, to gain and retain new victims, and though it isn’t officially stated in the game guide, bloodlines is filled with lots of vampires, lycans, and humans trying to swoon people into their clutches. Satoria always said she didn’t resort to seduction or sex, and it’s true I have never had pixelsex with her, though I know she was actively cybering with other people in SL, over public and private IM, and that she also corresponded offline with several of her minions.

It may be “just a computer game” but remember we’re not talking about fighting with computer-controlled bots, this MMORPG game is played by human-controlled avatars with real people behind them. The actions you consent to do or choose not to do could have real-life consequences, if they somehow directly or indirectly involve other people. Imagine the real-life implications of giving your heart and soul to another person is, that is essentially the whole minion/liege relationship, at times looked at like BDSM master/slave unions, adept and protege, etc., so if this was the REAL LIFE (RL) it wouldn’t be something undertaken lightly, of course it’s a GAME, a FANTASY, but it does make some people pause with their own convictions. Bloodlines in SL is a very dark and sexually driven game. Just hang out in the bloodlines-friendly areas and clan groups for any length of time and then tell me if you don’t agree with much of this. Hell, SL itself can largely be thought of as a world for shopping, gambling, and pixel sex, with the occasional legit education and communities thrown in. Sorry, off on a tangent.

Q: Yes, you seem to be hung-up on that sort of thing and just need to chill, don’t take things so seriously. Back to our story though, when Atrum Infero started, was playing bloodlines any different?

A: Oh yes, as was Second Life. This was before windlight and viewer enhancements, there weren’t age restrictions on sims, no viewer 2 or any of that. SL in general was highly unstable, which made it a challenge to do any sort of long roleplay. If you look at the avatars of bloodlines staff and some of the earlier objects created, like the blood spike, soul reaper, and blood tanks (if you can find them), you can gather they were made before more complex builds and textures were around. Mars and Lyle sure pushed the limits with what could be done though, they did good in that sense.

Also, the rules of the game weren’t so elaborately defined by Liquid Designs. Back then, the formal idea of human blood dolls, lycans, and war weren’t officially parts of the game, and you could only use the electrum potion once in your virtual lifetime. New avatars could be bitten on day 0, and lots of things about the game were very different, for example bloodlines counted every soul and minion including blood dolls and inactive players, so there was no distinction between them. Things changed drastically once they updated the ranking system! Most of the RP and rules we followed were stuff that was never written into the instructions or guides, yet it was common knowledge to the royalties and higher ups, so we all passed around notecards about how stuff worked, both technically in the game and some of the more obscure inner-circle things that goes on, something we’ve always referred to as “the code”. I could guess that 2% of people that play bloodlines know anything about this stuff.

Q: I see. So Satoria was the main queen of Atrum Infero. Were there others, like a King or royalty who left the larger clan or joined to start the new one with her?

A: Satoria was one of the high queens of the CR clan. When Atrum Infero formed, she didn’t even have a name for the group yet. It was basically just her and a few hand-picked minions, blood dolls, and those who had good RP skills or something to contribute. One of her original minions, “Aaron” (who is now a SL musician) was there and had his own sim with a castle and a few RP areas on it, this is where half of the stuff happened. He came up with the name “Paradise Lost” which eventually became its own clan. Satoria didn’t like the name because the name had a confusing reference, and she didn’t like the idea of people having to explain if it harkened to the poem, play, movie, or other modern references, and so she chose Atrum Infero (which loosely translates to “dark reunion” from the Latin), yet eventually the friction got the best of them and they parted ways.

It must be hard for vampires in power to stick with a king or queen over them, I’ve hopped clans a bit myself because of tensions, and I saw several people in CR sprout off their own clans, that must have been hard for Jade to deal with, yet their group still stays in some of the higher rankings so they must be doing something right.

Satoria had similar issues with high ranking people in her group. If you look back through her history and follow the bloodline of people whom she attacked and vice versa, you may be able to build a picture of how many empires she helped form. So to answer her question, yes, there were others who helped build Atrum Infero, but the trend seems to be to leave a clan and start your own once you reach a certain level of minions. Satoria used to joke about her status as a Queen being lost so many times and would often wear leg braces or odd avatar bits to show that she’s been broken yet again.

Q: What about the Tusk sim? Wasn’t that the home of Atrum Infero?

A: Yes. I’m not sure how it came to be that, but I remember Satoria first saying she met someone who had this awesome and magickal place which was dark themed and that they would welcome using it for the clan activities. It wasn’t always filled with Atrum Infero artworks, and the castle wasn’t always the seat of many clan-specific RPs or parties, but eventually Amby allowed the creation of the grand lodge, the blood circle, turning cave, and other areas that we would use for clan activities. This became more so the clan home when others (“Dregg”, “druid”, “DrAlban”, etc.) left to make their own clans, so we didn’t have competing regions that others might flock to. Originally, we couldn’t even make landmarks of Tusk and it was all very clandestine which added to the mystery. She had other places like Templum Ex Obscurum that she did RP at but alas all those sims are gone now too.

Tusk was a very special place, probably one of the most significant builds SL ever had on a database. It had a great shopping area and the landscape was well suited for all kinds of RP by various groups including fae, vamps, furry, gor, goth, demons, tiny, etc. Amby’s castle was this massive and incredible build that took up half the sim. It was so big in fact that you couldn’t take a picture of it even if you used Ultra mode in your viewer, it was just too big and tall to be captured in one snapshot.

After awhile though, the stores were closed up, home rentals ceased (Tusk Myst was part of it for awhile, and had parcels or per-prim rentals) and traffic dwindled since so many people had gone off to other clans or left SL entirely. Once Satoria grabbed her stuff and decided to suddenly poof from SL, I think the end was inevitable for Atrum Infero, and when Amberly pulled the plug, that may have helped to do us in. There were others who had smaller parcels of land devoted to the clan, but not much came about from that.

Q: Didn’t Satoria leave a successor?

A: She did, she empowered “RoxHardcore” as the clan’s Queen, however entrusted her liege to “Leitha” — one of Dregg’s minions. So there was lots of confusion with her sudden departure. Some went to clans with familiar people in them, others went to new clans, and some (like me) just left that part of the game entirely and returned to the generic “Curse” clan that every new player starts with. Atrum’s SL group membership has dwindled to about 150 people, and no longer are there listings of her queens and kings at the website, no, the minions and lieges have all but disbanded, so Atrum is no more.

Q: So the clan is pretty much dead then, what of this blog website and SL groups that still exist?

A: To be honest, I’m not in the SL groups anymore, even though I was one of the moderators before. When Satoria left, it didn’t take me long to bow out afterwards. My blood dolls left the groups too, so who knows what state those are in. For the blog, I think this site has a lot of good information, and since it is one of those free google blogger accounts, it wouldn’t hurt to leave it around for those who stumble upon it. Ultimately though, that’s up to Mythian Bailey, who originally started the site with Satoria.

Q: Anything else?

A: Yes, I’ve copied the contents of the old blogger blog to my website, you’ll find the articles regarding Atrum Infero buried in my random SL posts along with other Bloodlines related stuff, though of course now most of it is quite dated. Goes to show the shelf-life and longevity of the game I suppose.

Q: I enjoyed our chat, thanks for the insights.

A: Thanks for your time. This is “The Dark Keeper” of Atrum Infero signing off.

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