In the previous section we met Sandman, the immediate source of my information, wer-child and one time lover of Saragossa, the ultimate source of my information.

Saragossa Jon deBaker
Jon deBaker in Maresias - my photo 2004
Jon deBaker (the name I use for him in the book Saragossa - The Vampire Legacy)
Born in the 1950s (Taurus), he was a doctoral student in biology in Denver at the time he was kidnapped, tortured and infected with Weprabies by Dracula. He was the last person ever turned vampire by Dracula (and the only one since Laszlo), and it was never the Dark One's intention to keep Jon alive long enough to begin the transformation to wer-bat. The intention was only to create a mind-link powerful enough to allow Dracula to force Jon's compliance in the project of infecting a shark with rabies. This step was necessitated because of Jon's unthinkable resistance to the leverage of torture that Dracula and his henchwoman, Lorrigan, had already applied.

Jon was rescued by Saragossa and Sandman from Lorrigan, who in the process was decapitated. The grotesque damage done to Jon was slowly healed by Saragossa, who recognized in Jon the same Sentience that had set Saragossa off from most of humanity, as well as the dark soul of the dragon that Saragossa had searched for all his life. Saragossa and Jon became lovers and have continued the project of guarding humanity and shepherding it towards godhood. Jon figures large in the book Saragossa.

Though Jon's mother, Shirin, was a skillful sculptress and musician, Jon has no gifts in the arts (except writing) – he cannot sing or draw – but he is not without his talents. Before his 'sanctification' (the word Dracula used to mean being turned into wer), he was a superb martial artist, especially in kung-fu, judo and aikido. But as he learned when Dracula first attacked him, these things mean nothing against a foe indifferent to your worst blow and able to move faster than you can re-focus your eye. Contrary to what the movies imply, vampires do not know karate – their speed and strength make martial finesse superfluous. Jon and Saragossa (who lived for decades in the Orient) are exceptions in this.

At the time of this writing, Jon looks like a very handsome twenty-eight year old, but has a somber aura that makes him seem much older, and he seldom laughs. I have met him a few times and admire him greatly, but he is not an easy person to call 'friend'. I have a picture of him and one of Saragossa from the mid-eighties when they made themselves look like brothers and sometimes dressed identically. (It was a phase.) I don't (yet) have permission to put those photos on this site, although both Jon and Saragossa have abandoned the looks in those photos in keeping with the theme of a different appearance every twenty or twenty-five years. Even within the twenty year period, they intentionally age themselves. But even so, there are people who would recognize them from such a recent past. Saragossa was even hesitant to let me use his photo from the 1940s.

Here are the other main members of Saragossa's family, none of whom are (or were at the time of the book) vampires (although Max was and is a werewolf).

Saragossa Laura
Laura - artwork by Oleg Danilevski 2004
Laura and Rafael carry much of the movement of the book, having been involved from start to end during that time period, and offer a glimpse of how, at least to Laura, the world of 'wer' and magic might look from the point of view of an inhabitant of what I call the 9-to-5 world.

This painting is of a photo of Laura I took at my house before the 'boys-night-out' trip (as she called it) in 2004, when Piper, Jon, Saragossa and I took a visit to Brazil to do some wer-jaguar hunting (in their case), or to hunt some serious fun and relaxation (in my case). She and Rafael, and the rest of us, went for out dinner and took in a cello concert in Denver. Laura and Niniane are the mystic ladies of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, above Boulder. Laura once described herself as having hard eyes. Not any more - she is the most relaxing and nurturing person I have ever met.

Saragossa Niniane
Niniane - artwork by Oleg Danilevski 2003
This artwork of Niniane was done by Danilevski in 2003, and is his most recent addition to the Saragossa Family Portraits, (Rafael so dubbed them). Niniane's look is more witchy than Miss America beauty pageant. In person there is a seductiveness that is tangible enough to make gynophiles lose their self-possession. It is something in the way she moves, her facial expressions, her confidence. Personally, I find witchy much more interesting than beautiful – which isn't to imply she's not gorgeous, just that the impression of magic overwhelms all other impressions.

Saragossa Max
Max - photo by Niniane circa 2002
Max and Niniane have been together forever and make a stunning couple. For years Max was unable to control his werewolf characteristics, and his natural rugged handsomeness was twisted into an alarming appearance. This photo is relatively recent (long after Piper helped Max learn the control necessary to keep the wolf in check). It was taken in the Colorado Rockies, in Saragossa's mountain home where Max and Niniane live (and where everybody in the family hangs out much of the time, when they are not in Europe or traveling).

 

Saragossa Rafael
Rafael in my house - my photo 2004

Rafael is an angelic being and Laura calls him 'my archangel', after his namesake. He was not always so (I am told), but it is the only way I have known him. I am sure the photo does not begin to do him justice (another one of my misbegotten efforts, taken at my house when I had the folks at hand – this was the day after our night out on the town) – he is stunningly beautiful when seen up close in real life. His beauty is only enhanced by that fact that he truly loves everyone and everything. He and Laura and Piper have been a threesome since 1976, and I have never seen three people in more perfect harmony. Rafael is an accomplished mind reader, which makes it all the more incredible that he loves humanity. Nobody's mind bears the level of scrutiny he is capable of, without disclosing some alarming ugliness. He takes that along with the good and says, 'anyway, it is all temporary – just steps along our path to becoming gods.' In some ways he is Jon's polar opposite. Jon is the Dark Angel; Rafael is the Angel Radiant. I love them both – achingly so – but on down days, Rafael is the right counterbalance.

Shirin is Jon's mother. At her request, there is no photo or artwork of her in these pages. I have met her and report that she is a major presence, a charismatic force with an iron will. Saragossa wanted her to participate in the family, but, for reasons having to do with the suffering Jon went through and the changes that effected in him, she shows up seldom and remains somewhat aloof.

Saragossa Chris
Chris
Chris - I agonized over including this photo. Chris was Jon's boyfriend during the first half of 1976. He was murdered by Dracula in July of that year, and it seemed a bit presumptuous to include this picture taken by Jon. But Chris is not now survived by any close family – both his parents have passed away – and Jon asked me to include Chris's likeness as a tribute and a memorial, so in memoriam, it is respectfully presented.

 

Saragossa Chris
Jerrus - artwork by Oleg Danilevski
Jerrus as he looked around 1970 (description by Piper, artwork by Danilevski) - the time setting for the first scenes in the book. The hooded eyes and placid face were cultivated by Jerrus to mask emotions and deceive adversaries. Jerrus was a truly intelligent and noble man. He worked in the New Orleans police system for years, while serving as an invaluable source of information for Piper – without knowing anything about Piper except that he was powerful, mysterious and seemed to work against some formless evil. Jerrus lived long enough to see a resolution to Piper's efforts, and to finally learn the true story about Dracula's efforts in America.

Carter - No artwork and not a close member of the family. He was an FBI bio-hazards expert who handled the situation in Denver when Berkheimer's lab was vandalized and dangerous bio-agents disappeared. He worked for Saragossa for many years, but never had the close relationship that Jerrus and Piper had towards the end of Jerrus's life. He and Jerrus discovered each other during a joint investigation and were able to deduce that they worked for the same 'secret organization'. Later they maintained a correspondence. Mentioned here only because he appears in the book.

This is the end of the 'history' section of this website. Next is presented information about wer-animals in general, from vampires to wer-jaguars.