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Old September 20th, 2007, 8:10 pm
true_heir_of_slyth  Female.gif true_heir_of_slyth is offline
Sixth Year
Join Date: 27th May 2003
Location: Gazing on a Waterloo sunset
Age: 32
Posts: 1,301
Re: Voyages With Vampires: The New Bestseller by Gilderoy Lockhart


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.)

* * *

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The New Bestseller - Available Now at Flourish and Blotts!
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One of the COS Authorteers - Barbara Kennedy, emikkime, Guardian Angel, Miri, thethirdman, leenielou, Kate Johnson, Prosperine, Lady DeMimsy and Amina, along with Potter_fan, Jessie and Captain Pookers.
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