August 30th, 2007, 9:37 pm
Voyages with Vampires
by Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin (3rd class), Honourary Member of the Dark Force Defence League and five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award
The new BESTSELLER!
”A classic for our times … Lockhart’s sense of adventure, his unquavering bravery and his ability to find humour in even the most deadly of situations make this his best read yet” – The Daily Prophet Literary Supplement
”The master of derring-do has done it again – Voyages with Vampires will leave you breathless” – Joanne Rowling, Witch Weekly
”It made me feel all wobbly” – Gladys Gudgeon
Now Available at CoS!
Fan mail for Mr. Lockhart should be sent to this address (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=111601) (Marriage proposals welcome).
September 2nd, 2007, 12:10 pm
1.5% of the profits raised by this book will be sent to Second Bite, the rehabilitation programme for vampires.
* * *
I, Gilderoy Lockhart, verify that all the events herein described are nothing less than entirely true. Where appropriate, the names of actual persons or places depicted have been changed so as to protect their identities.
I am very proud to support the fine work of Second Bite. For further information about this foundation, contact them directly – mention my name in any correspondence to receive a free ‘Fangs For The Memories, Gilderoy!’ t-shirt!*
* * *
Voyages with Vampires
It was the summer of 1992, when, fresh from my adventures in Ougadogou, I returned to London for a brief sojourn. My respite, I fear, was short-lived. I had scarcely had time to shake the last of the palm leaves from my suitcase and clean the worst of the bloodstains from my robes when I received a letter, written in a desperate hand, from the mayor of Oojikavik, a small town in the very heart of Transylvania.
My dear Mr. Lockhart,—
- it ran -
— we have heard tell of your exploits, which are now famous even here in our humble town of Oojikavik. Your bravery, your calm in the face of danger and, of course, your winning smile are all legend here.
Now, Mr. Lockhart, we beseech you – nay, implore you – to come to our aid. Our town has these past two years played host to a fearsome band of renegade vampires from the mountains. Five of our country’s finest vampire hunters have been killed in their valiant attempts to capture them. Now we turn to you on bended knee, to beg your assistance in this matter. Mr. Lockhart, you are our only hope. Please send word as soon as you can of the expected date of your arrival.
We eagerly await your reply,
Dmitri Usgavoy, Mayor of Oojikavik
I realised in an instant that the needs of these poor, beleaguered people were far greater than my own. I cancelled my arranged dinner with the Minister of Magic, which we had intended to use to discuss improvements to goblin rights, and instead spent the evening deep in study of vampirism, attempting to prepare myself mentally for the great task that lay ahead.
I had only encountered a vampire once before, in the winter of 1978. That time, it had only been my quick thinking and, I confess, more than a sprinkling of good luck, which had saved me from becoming yet another statistic. I thought back to that night, to the daring moonlight dash across rooftops, the flash of teeth, the swish of eveningwear, the near misses and my eventual entrapment of the murderous vampire at the third hole of a crazy-golf course, and vowed that I would not be found so unprepared this time.
As dawn broke the next morning, I finished my reply to the Mayor of Oojikavik, my candle all but burnt out, my eyes as heavy as my heart as I thought of the plight of the unfortunate Transylvanians, and sent it immediately. Extinguishing the light, I stumbled into my bed, and tried to gather my strength for the coming journey.
(It was the summer of 1992, and Gilderoy Lockhart, fresh from his disastrous stint as the face of Professor Hedge’s Miracle Hair-Gro Tonic and penniless after losing all of his money on a misplaced bet on the outcome of the Annual Gobstones Championship, arrived in London with a bag containing one relatively clean set of robes and a tube of toothpaste, intending to lie low for a while, until his creditors stopped sending trolls to repossess his belongings.
Pulling his hat down lower over his eyes and hunching his shoulders to make himself appear small and inconspicuous, he attracted more stares than he would have done if he had simply dispensed with it completely. Lockhart, of course, didn’t notice, because the wide brim of his pointed hat impeded his vision somewhat. After a couple of false starts, he made it into one of the less reputable pubs in Diagon Alley, frequented by people whose shady histories could fill volumes. And there he remained for three days, occasionally being bought drinks by those drunk enough to take pity on him, until he saw the grubby advert pinned to the door of the men’s toilet.
BAG CARRIER AND GENERAL RUNABOUT REQUIRED FOR EXTREMELY DANGEROUS EXPEDITION TO TRANSYLVANIA. MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE IN THE HANDLING OF VAMPIRES. MUST PROVIDE OWN NET. MUST PLACE VERY LOW VALUE ON OWN LIFE. CONTACT PROFESSOR DMITRI USGAVOY FOR DETAILS.
Transylvania, thought Lockhart to himself in a hazy sort of way after managing to focus for long enough to read the advert. Transylvania was a very long way away. Far enough away, perhaps, to escape his creditors. True, he knew nothing whatsoever about vampires, had never even met one, unless you counted the waiter who had chased Lockhart halfway across London and onto a crazy-golf course when he had tried to leave the restaurant without paying the bill. Lockhart had finally given him the slip by pinning the back of the waiter’s tuxedo to the arms of a miniature windmill on the third hole and running away. Surely there was very little else one needed to know about vampires – the only possible drawback was that these vampires would speak Romanian, which might make outwitting them trickier. He didn’t have a net, but he was bound to be able to make up for what he lacked in mesh with charm. And he would have to place a very low value on his life indeed to remain in London, anywhere in England, with troll patrols ready to claim limbs in lieu of the money he owed. By comparison, vampire hunting in Transylvania sounded a doddle.
He scrawled a brief CV on the back of a cigarette packet, elaborating on his experience with the vampiric waiter rather more than was necessary, and fell asleep half an hour later with his head in an ashtray.)
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Fan mail, feedback, marriage proposals and autograph requests (please send S.A.E) should be sent to this address (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=111601).
September 7th, 2007, 3:24 pm
The Minister of Magic himself paid for a first class ticket on a boat for the first leg of my journey to Transylvania, ignoring my insistence that I was perfectly happy to Apparate. And so I set out from Dover, enjoying what would be the last luxuries for a long time. Once in Oojikavik, I would be living amongst the people: their ways would be mine.
As England became a faint smudge on the horizon, I settled down once more to my studies. I had found a particularly fine, though extremely old, volume on the habits of the Transylvanian vampires. These are the oldest known tribe of vampires in the world, and fiercely proud of this fact. Once the scourge of the country and the terror of young maidens, they are now all but completely integrated into everyday society. Renegade factions, however, keen to uphold the ways of old, remain, and it was such a faction terrorising Oojikavik. I resolved that on my return, I would chronicle my experiences, both as a warning and a helpful guide to other would-be vampire hunters.
The first day of my journey passed fairly uneventfully, and, save for whipping up restorative potions for the various members of crew and other passengers suffering from seasickness, I had little to do. That evening, I advised a particularly talented young cabaret singer on the pitfalls of fame. He has since gone on to global recognition and fortune, and still communicates with me regularly for advice.
The next day, however, a violent storm at sea rather broke the peace of this idyllic journey. Clinging grimly to the handrail on deck as I made my way back to my cabin from a conversation with the captain of the ship, who had never experienced such terrible conditions before and was desperate for my opinion on how best to ride out the storm, I was very nearly thrown off balance as the boat gave a sudden lurch. It was at that moment that I heard a series of distressing sounds: a cry, a high-pitched scream, and a splash barely audible above the pounding of the rain and the roar of the wind. I staggered across the deck, and quickly identified their source: a woman stood, leaning over the edge of the ship – her young son had been flung overboard. He was even now a mere speck in the waves, thrashing about for dear life. A more rational man would have taken a moment consider his own safety. I hope I can never be accused of being such a man. Fortunately, I had on my person a large quantity of stout rope, which I had been showing to the captain as an example of the kind he should use to lash down the cargo in the ship’s hold. I tied one end of the rope to the handrail, the other end tightly about my waist, and without even stopping to remove my cloak, I plunged into the sea. Never once was I daunted by the size of those waves: I struck out towards the young boy, who was by now entirely submerged. Diving, I grabbed him and pulled him back above the surface of the water, and pulled him back to the ship. I heard above me the rescue party who had finally arrived on the scene erupt into cheers. Hauling the boy back up onto the deck and performing a restorative charm, I was thanked profusely by his mother. Shaking off her thanks, I hastened back to my cabin, dried off my soaking robes, poured myself a mug of hot cocoa, and, at last, cocooned myself under my bedcovers.
(Having failed his Apparition test, Gilderoy Lockhart was forced to make his own way to Transylvania. Unfortunately, Professor Usgavoy had refused to pay Lockhart up front for the job, making affording any kind of transport extremely difficult. Sheer luck would have it that the Sea Nymph, a cruise liner that had seen better days, was looking for a minor celebrity to sing cabaret in its bar. As the former face of Professor Hedge’s Miracle Hair-Gro Tonic, Lockhart was snapped up for the job, narrowly beating a former contestant on the Wizarding Wireless Network’s second-most-listened to game show to the position.
Once on board, Lockhart realised he had made a terrible mistake. His cabin, essentially a corner of the hold with a curtain around it, was not built for comfort, and the rocking of the boat made him feel seasick. He somehow managed to make it through his set on the first evening, crooning to classics such as “No Potion in the World (Could Cure Me of You)” and “Just What the Healer Ordered” with considerably less enthusiasm than he would usually. However, he had to bolt out of the bar halfway through “M-A-G-I-C (Is How I Spell Your Name)” on the second evening, when the weather worsened and the ship’s motion became more irregular. Stumbling out onto the deck, he leant over the rail to bid farewell to his lunch.
Unfortunately, at that precise moment the ship lurched sharply to one side, tipping Lockhart head over heels into the water…)
* * *
For fan mail, feedback and hair-care tips, please write to this address (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=111601)
September 13th, 2007, 3:02 pm
I arrived in Oojikavik a few days later, the remainder of my journey passing without incident. However, as seems to be my peculiar habit, it did not take long before my specialist talents were called upon.
The town square was quiet, eerily so. Houses and shops had been boarded up, and those that were still occupied were hidden behind shutters. Crucifixes and garlic hung from every available space. The focal point of the square, a large bronze statue of a mayor long forgotten, was likewise devoid of life, for no birds chose to roost there.
A shriek pierced the silence of the square: a young man, shabbily dressed in torn and dirty robes, ran towards me and grabbed me with shaking hands by the front of my own robes. I was obviously taken aback, but managed to regain enough composure to enquire exactly what he hoped to achieve through such behaviour. The young man, however, seemed only able to gibber incoherent nonsense. Whatever he was trying to tell me, I sensed it must be of great import: he shook me fiercely, and his eyes bored into mine with an expression of pleading.
‘Don’t touch him!’ I heard a voice cry. Another young man, carrying a large stick but apparently reluctant to come any closer, was standing across the square from us. Fortunately, I had taken the time on the journey over from England to teach myself some basic Transylvanian.
‘Why ever not?’ I asked, with some surprise.
‘He is cursed! The vampires cursed him! If you touch him, you will be cursed too!’
‘Nonsense,’ I scoffed. ‘You will observe that I am standing in extremely close proximity to this young man, and there is nothing wrong with my health at all. However…’ I looked closely at the young man, who had fallen silent, staring at me with an awed expression.
‘You are right,’ I said, straightening up. ‘This unfortunate young man has been cursed—‘
‘—but not by a vampire. This is a particularly nasty example of a Babbling Curse. Fortunately, with the right incantation, it is easily lifted…’
It was but the work of a moment to lift the curse, and I suddenly found myself being pulled into a tight hug.
‘Thank you! Thank you so much!’ sobbed the man. I heard his companion’s stick clatter to the ground in surprise. ‘I knew you would be able to help me, Mr. Lockhart!’
‘You know my name?’ I asked, pleasantly surprised.
‘Of course! Your adventures are legend here … when I heard that you had agreed to our town, I knew that I must meet you! Mr. Lockhart, how can I ever thank you?’
‘Your happiness is the best kind of thanks I could hope for,’ I said, humbled.
‘You must be exhausted from your journey – Mr. Usgavoy has reserved for you the best room in our inn. Follow me … they will be so happy to find that you have finally arrived!’
(Gilderoy Lockhart arrived in Udjikavik three weeks late, tired, smelling of something indistinguishable but extremely repugnant, and having lost both his spare set of robes and the map Professor Usgavoy had given him. Speaking not a single word of Romanian, he was reduced to playing a bizarre game of charades with the locals, who became convinced that he was under a particularly vicious Babbling Curse and decided it was best just to leave him to his own devices. Utterly lost, Lockhart curled up on a bench in the town square and fell asleep. In the morning, he found that someone had run off with his toothpaste.)
* * *
A/N: unfortunately, dear readers, there may be a large gap in between this and the next update - I have been called away to advise at the next Dark Forces Defence League meeting, being held in Darkest Peru. But fear not - I shall return with the continuation of this, my greatest adventure, at the earliest possible opportunity.
In the meantime, of course, fan mail and feedback (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=111601) can still be sent, and will be dealt with by my able assistant Fran, who will be very happy to keep you up to date with the goings-on in my life.
with warmest wishes,
Gilderoy Lockhart xx
A/N: might be a bit of a delay for the next update ... I start university this Saturday, so as you can appreciate I'm going to be pretty busy! :D I will of course do my very best to update as much as possible, though :)
love Slythy xx
September 20th, 2007, 7:10 pm
After feasting on the most extraordinary breakfast at the inn the following morning, I was taken to the house of the mayor. The locals accompanied me on this short walk, singing songs and showering me with petals in a sort of impromptu parade as they did so. The mayor, Dmitri Usgavoy, proved a most genial fellow: welcoming me into his home as though I were an old friend and inviting me to sit down. From beyond the windows of his house, I could still hear the cheers of the crowd.
‘To your health, Mr. Lockhart,’ he smiled, raising his goblet and inclining his head in my direction. I did likewise, and took a sip of an exceptional vintage elf-made wine.
‘There is a terrible shadow across this land, Mr. Lockhart,’ Usgavoy continued, leaning forward and fixing me with an expression of such seriousness that I realised immediately what a great strain he had been living under. ‘And I fear that you may be our last hope.’ I placed my goblet to one side.
‘In that case, then,’ I said. ‘I shall need to be in full possession of the facts, Mr. Usgavoy.’ The mayor nodded sadly and gazed out of the window. When at last he spoke, his voice was heavy.
‘Oojikavik has lived alongside the vampires for many centuries now. Until two years ago, the relationship was, on the whole, peaceful…’
‘What could have happened to cause such a terrible rift?’ I interrupted.
‘The vampires are out of my jurisdiction,’ explained the mayor. ‘Within their clan, they submit to the rule of one of their own kind, known traditionally as the Count. Two years ago, there was a … coup. The then Count, von Roth, a moderate, modern-minded leader who wanted nothing more than the peaceful co-existence of our societies, was overthrown. He was replaced by Blutzauger. Far more savage and brutal than his predecessor ever was, the first thing he did was to declare a return to traditional values for the vampires. They would no longer live off the cattle we raised for them. They wanted, instead…’
‘… Human blood,’ I finished gravely. Usgavoy nodded, apparently unable to speak. ‘And this is when the attacks began?’
‘Indeed. All of those within the clan who refused were … disposed of, I believe. The vampires who are left are entirely in the control of Count Blutzauger. These last two years, a stream of would-be vampire slayers have attempted to end the siege … not one of them lives today, Mr. Lockhart.’
I stood up, suddenly overwhelmed with the importance and enormity of my task. Leaning against the mantelpiece, I stared into the empty grate, my mind already turning over plan after plan. It was apparent to me that, if I were to succeed where so many before me had failed, I had only one choice. I had to defeat Count Blutzauger.
‘If you wish to leave, Mr. Lockhart—‘
‘Leave?’ I cried. ‘Never! No, Mr. Usgavoy … I think it’s time I met our neighbours.’
(Lockhart stumbled – quite literally – across Professor Usgavoy’s camp in the forests on the outskirts of Udjikavik by accident. He was chased out of the town’s only inn by the angry innkeeper, the angry innkeeper’s wife, their daughter, their daughter’s husband and their daughter’s husband’s thuggish friend for trying to get away without paying for a packet of peanuts. Accompanied by this bizarre parade, he crashed through the trees and landed flat on his face in front of Professor Usgavoy himself, who, upon realising the identity of this speedy visitor, was singularly unimpressed. After placating the locals with an assurance that Lockhart would be the cause of no further trouble, Usgavoy hauled him to his feet and cast a critical eye over his new employee, and was less than charmed by Lockhart’s attempt at a charming smile.
‘You are late,’ said Usgavoy at last.
‘Really? Goodness,’ said Lockhart, deciding instead to try the ‘blustering fool’ card.
‘Three weeks late.’
‘Ah. Yes, well—‘
‘You had best get started. The camp toilets need cleaning. Off you go.’
Half an hour later, armed with a flowery apron and several bottles of cheap household cleaning potions, Lockhart was to be found industriously scrubbing the bowl of one of the camp’s toilets, watched at a safe distance by one of Usgavoy’s assistants.
‘So what exactly are we doing here?’ asked Lockhart irritably.
‘Tracking the habits of the local vampires. Professor Usgavoy wants to write a book about them. You missed a bit.’
‘When do we get to do some vampire hunting, then?’ asked Lockhart, scrubbing more savagely.
‘Hunting?’ laughed the assistant. ‘We’re not here to hunt them! Professor Usgavoy has the full co-operation of the vampire community. There’s been no trouble with the vampires here for … oh, decades. So long as no one annoys them…‘ – Lockhart felt that he looked rather too pointedly at him at this point – ‘… it should be a piece of cake.’
Lockhart squeezed out another liberal dose of Mrs. Scower’s Magical Mess Remover, and remembered glumly that he had turned down an offer to be the face of their new advertising campaign.)
* * *
Fan mail and feedback (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=111601) should be sent to the usual address :)
October 24th, 2007, 3:46 pm
Have just realised a huge chunk of the update I have just posted is missing ... have duly deleted it and will update again later! Sorry...
October 24th, 2007, 5:19 pm
A note from Gilderoy:
Ladies and gentlemen, loyal readers all, many apologies for the delay in posting this update. Regretfully, commitments in other areas of my work made it almost impossible to write. But fear not! my Muse has returned, and is duly working overtime to make up for my absence.
A note from Slythy
Sorry that it's taken so long to post (and sorry for my earlier confusion ^^ - that's what happens when I try to post having had 3 hours sleep ... since Monday :shrug:) - this one's extra long to make up for it :) I'm all settled in at uni now though, so (hopefully) updates should be a bit more regular again now. :)
Many thanks to Nana for beta-ing this for me!
On with the update...
* * *
I spent the rest of the day in preparation. My plan was foolhardy, perhaps, and certainly risky, but I knew that if I were to back down now, to leave these poor villagers to their plight, then I would never be able to look myself in the eye in the mirror again.
Sunset began to fall on Oojikavik, blood red and menacing. The villagers set about their nightly task of nailing closed the shutters on their windows, and fastening doors with anything from huge wooden bolts and heavy iron locks to piles of furniture. Fresh garlands of garlic were strung up; crucifixes were polished.
No such talismans did I carry that evening. As the sun began its gradual descent over the rooftops of the village, I, with only a cloak thrown about my robes for warmth and my wand for protection, climbed to the top of the bronze statue in the town square, and there awaited nightfall.
When I had announced my plan to the astounded townspeople that morning, that of offering myself as human bait in order to entice the vampires down from the mountains, a murmur of horror had rippled through the crowd. That I, seemingly the last hope of Oojikavik, was willing to throw my life away and fall victim to the vampires as countless others had before me, was disastrous to their ears.
‘Please!’ I cried above the hubbub. ‘This is the only way, my friends … if I am to strike any fear at all into the cold, undead hearts of these – these monstrosities, then I have to show them that I mean business!’
‘But – Mr. Lockhart!’ one of the villagers almost sobbed. ‘No one can survive the vampires’ attacks! No one!’
‘Mr. Lockhart can.’ A different voice, calmer than the rest, called out from the back of the group. The crowd parted slightly, and there, gazing up at me in a kind of quiet awe, was the young man I had released from the Babbling Curse. ‘I believe in you, Mr. Lockhart.’
And so, with just those simple words of support as my comfort, I clung to the top of the statue. The last few shutters banged shut, and all was still.
The sun set. The darkness that followed was so sudden, so oppressive, that had it not been for the moon, hanging like a silver orb in the sky, I would have been convinced that I had lost the power of sight. A chilly wind rose up, catching the edge of my cloak and making it ripple and snap like a flag. As my hands grew ever more weary and my face grew numb with the cold, I wondered whether I was wasting my time.
And then a cloud passed over the moon.
I had barely time to draw my wand as the air filled with hundreds, maybe thousands, of bats, the town square echoing with the sound of their shrieks and the leathery scratching of their wings. As though caught in a wind they rose in a column together, whirling around and around eachother: and then, as suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone. Hanging in the air in their place, his cloak spread out like wings either side of him, was a creature not so different from you and I in likeness and form, but lacking even a vestige of that which makes us human.
The vampire’s cruel eyes fixed on mine, and his teeth glinted in the darkness as he opened his mouth in what I can only describe as a smile.
‘The famous Mr. Lockhart,’ he hissed, inflecting the word ‘famous’ in a way I did not like one bit.
‘Charmed to make your acquaintance,’ I replied, for I have never been the sort of man to be uncivil without due reason. ‘But I am afraid you have one-up on me, sir - you know my name, but who am I addressing?’
‘My name is unimportant,’ sneered the vampire.
‘Oh? And why is that?’ I asked.
‘Because, Mr. Lockhart, you will not be alive long enough to use it.’
‘I see,’ I said, gripping my wand. ‘I am afraid, my mysterious friend, that I shall have to disagree with you on that point.’
The town square lit up in a blaze of red as I sent a well-aimed Stunning spell into the vampire’s chest: but instead of crumpling and falling to the ground, as I had expected, he shook it off as easily as if it were an irritant fly. His laughter sent chills through my very bones.
‘Foolish, Mr. Lockhart. Very foolish. You did not seriously think that you could defeat me so simply?’
‘I must confess that up until that point, yes, I did,’ I replied, attempting to keep him talking while I weighed up my few remaining options. To kill the vampire outright was, of course, a last resort: I had no intention of doing that until I was certain that there could be no salvation for him.
‘Foolish,’ repeated the vampire with scorn. ‘And, like the others, so arrogant … now, Mr. Lockhart, like them you shall understand why your kind will always be second to vampires.’
Without warning he dove at me, his mouth open wide now, ready to end this with a bite: with reflexes honed by years of adventure I grabbed the monster by his waistcoat, and together we tumbled to the ground, my wand falling out of my hands and clattering somewhere on the cobbles below.
I landed awkwardly, but staggered to my feet, the very breath knocked out of me. I looked around wildly, my head bursting and my vision blurring with the pain, but could see no sign of the vampire: the villain had disappeared.
‘Looking for something, Mr. Lockhart?’
I spun to find him standing directly behind me, apparently entirely unharmed by our fall, and holding my wand in his hand. He looked at it quizzically, studying it in the moonlight.
‘So simple…’ he murmured. I lunged at him, attempting to wrest it from his grip, but as suddenly as he had appeared, he disappeared again, and I found myself stumbling through empty air.
A quiet cracking noise, carrying easily across the silent square, reached my ears. I turned again, and the sight made my blood run cold.
‘Oops,’ smiled the vampire, holding in each hand one half of my snapped wand. He tossed them aside, and advanced on me, his mouth curling into that same cold smile.
‘And now … it is just you and I, Mr. Lockhart.’
The next few seconds passed for me as though they had been stretched out and slowed down. I saw the vampire leave the ground; saw his cloak billow out behind him as he soared towards me, arm outstretched; I saw once again the flash of those teeth: but in a moment of clarity I knew exactly what it was I had to do. As the beast closed on me, I spun around, grabbing a handful of the garlic strung up around the doorway of the shop behind me. He was almost upon me, but I sidestepped, jamming the bulb into his mouth.
The vampire’s eyes opened wide in horror: his arms flailed and he lost control, slamming into the wall of the shop. It was his turn now to stagger back upright from the cobbles, and he stumbled towards me again, scrabbling desperately at thin air as I stepped back. His roar of anger was so muffled by the vegetable that it came out as little more than a yelp. He threw his arms out wide: there was a sound akin to a crack of thunder, and I covered my head to protect myself as thousands of bats flew straight at me. They rose into the air, dispersing in the night sky.
What happened next I know not. Exhausted by my efforts, and bruised and battered from the fight, I collapsed and fell to the ground.
(After a day spent scrubbing the camp latrines, Lockhart decided to run the risk of being remembered and stomped over to the town inn. Through some inventive use of sign language, he managed to order a Firewhiskey at the bar, and then wove his way through the heaving tavern, glass in hand, trying to find an empty seat. He was so intent on not spilling his drink that he did not notice the very tall man until he had walked straight into him.
‘Look what you’ve done!’ snarled the man in Romanian, spinning round to face him. Lockhart didn’t have to be able to speak the language to understand that he was very angry about the fact that he had spilt his drink all over his jacket. He backed away, stammering useless apologies, but the man followed him out into the street, shouting incoherently at him. Now that they were out in the light, Lockhart could see why he was angry: it was a very nice jacket … come to think of it, it was a tailcoat. And … good grief, why was the man wearing a cravat and waistcoat in a place like this?
Blanching, Lockhart looked up into the face of his aggressor and noticed for the first time what shiny, white, pointed teeth he had.
Dropping any pretence of dignity, Lockhart turned and bolted, the vampire in hot pursuit. A group of locals stood around and watched idly as he scrambled for a foothold on the statue in the town square, clambering desperately to the top. Back on the ground, the vampire – and, to Lockhart’s great consternation, the gathered villagers – roared with laughter. After a while, their amusement seemed to die down and, bored of the entertainment, they headed back into the pub, chuckling amongst themselves, the vampire turning to shake his fist at Lockhart in mock menace as he did so.
Lockhart was too scared to come back down until the following morning.)
* * *
Fan mail and feedback, (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=111601) the staple diet of Muses, is always greatly appreciated :)