Saturday, 22 November 2008

Oh, my apologies.... I must have dozed off!

**Blinks sleepily seated in comfy chair beside roaring fire**

I have had a most relaxing couple of months.

Milady wasn't too pleased to have me based so far from the castle, and so I let my lease go at the house I was renting. Milady has provided me with a cottage in the Castle grounds, and I'm staggering distance from the jetty from which I can fish. I've been allowed a holiday from my normal duties, and have just been looking after the castle while Milady has seen to the establishment of several properties in various parts of the mainland. I've yet to visit the beach front property, but am looking forward to getting sand between my toes and going for a paddle.

My vacation came to an abrupt end on Wednesday though when Milady returned having received a message from Master Rafe. He announced that the sale on the Town House had been concluded and that the contents were to be cleared ready for the new owner to take possession as soon as possible. Alice was sent to fetch me.

The door to my cottage banged shut as Alice made her way inside. I opened one eye and saw her lovely face looking at me with a most excited expression. I knew something was out of the ordinary, as she would have usually amused herself with novel ways to get my attention.... cold tea and biscuit crumbs being utilised in various ways. I thought she was going to burst as she hopped from one foot to the other.

"Yes Alice?"


I winced at the volume of her voice, but couldn't help but smile at the delight evident upon her face. "Oh?" I replied.

"Mistress wants to see you." And she proceeded to 'shoo' me out of the chair and the warmth of the cottage into the hall of the castle.

Milady was sitting in one of the loveseats reading a sheath of papers. As I gazed upon her I was amazed at the change in her. Were it possible to believe, I'd say she was even more beautiful than when I'd last seen her. Her smile was dazzling, and in no time I was simpering like an idiot. Gosh, but I'd missed her.

Milady briefed me on the locations of the new properties and asked me to tour them and make sure that all was as it should be. But my first task was to clear the Town House in Southend. It seems that the new owner was establishing a Maid's School, and that Milady had agreed to be a patron. Now I could see why Alice was so excited.

I made my way to Southend and quickly ensured that everything was packed so as not to delay the new owner in any way. I then made my way back to the castle to put everything into storage. As I catalogued the items and stored them away I was glad to be working once again. Had I spent too much longer relaxing, I might have found it much too difficult to return to my duties once again.

I walked up from the vaults to the main hall, and found the sheath of papers Milady had been reading earlier. I picked them up and made my way to deposit them in the library. There were several details about the new school, and so I had a closer look. I was most impressed with the work involved, and decided that perhaps I should pay Miss Easterman a visit very soon.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

A Home of my own

Exciting news! Mayor Lindsay sent a telegram to advise me that one of the properties to which I'd taken a fancy has now come on the market. He sent me details of where to collect a key to view the house, and without hesitation I put on my coat and hat, grabbed the carpet bag and umbrella and made for the station.

I collected the key as instructed from the estate office by the railway station and walked to the house. I stood outside for a good few minutes taking in the ambience of the area. Rummaging in my carpet bag I suddenly realised I'd left my camera back at the Tower, so no pictures today.

Opening the front door I walked in to a lovely sitting room and smiled as I drew open the curtains and took in the view. Opposite the front door was a staircase to the upper level and beside that a door to the kitchen. I went through the kitchen door into a very nice kitchen/dining room. There was also a rear door to a very lovely garden completely fenced in. I smiled at the thought of being able to gossip with the neighbours over the garden fence on sunny days.

I came back into the house and made my way up the stairs. There was a large room at the top with a small balcony overlooking the garden and another room to the front of the house, making this a classic 'two up, two down'. I opened the balcony doors and stepped onto the small balcony and took in the view. The railway track ran across the rear of the terrace just behind the garden fence, but the thing that caught my eye was the sight of water glistening in the sunlight between the trees of the woodland on the other side of the tracks.

Securing the property behind me I left the house with a promise that I would return, and walked to the end of the terraced row. I then crossed the railway track and walked to the woodland. The glistening I had seen from the upper room was a beautiful fishing site. Opening my carpet bag I was delighted to see that I had my fishing rod and bait, and proceeded to have a very enjoyable time fishing from the little jetty. Listening to the birdsong and the sound of the train passing by made for a very relaxing time. I was soon joined by a 12 year old lad by the name of Harold who was a ward of the Mayor. We had a very nice conversation and he seemed most excited at the thought of another resident for the town.

After packing my equipment away, and bidding my new young friend farewell I made my way back to the Estate office by the railway station. I left the key with the clerk there and asked him to inform the Mayor that I would be delighted to take up residence in the house. He smiled and bade me a good day with the assurance that I would hear from the Mayor very shortly. I then made my way to Milady's bankers, 'Dawes, Tomes, Mousley, Grubb, Fidelity Fiduciary Bank' and was delighted to learn that Milady had not only instructed them to provide me with the necessary funds to take possession of the property, but also made a gift of a sum with which to furnish the house. I never fail to be amazed at the generosity of the Countess towards her staff, and bidding the young Mr Banks a cheery farewell planned a shopping expedition!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Dawn of a New Day

The Countess always left messages for distribution, as well as my instructions for the night, on her desk in the Library. When checking the other night, I found a green box together with a note from Milady. She had managed to obtain the Nightshade potion as mentioned previously. I read her note and found that the potion was only newly discovered, there had been no certain cure for vampirism that could be readily obtainable. There WERE cures out there, but these were very rare indeed, as evidenced by Dr Mason having none at hand at the time I was considering the change. Milady went on to explain that the reason I had been kept as Revenant was in order that I be able to be returned to my human state should I ever wish it. That process was far simpler, and when I inadvertantly became full Vampyre, was the reason for Milady's wrath... she felt that she had truly damned me at that point. Now that the cure was at hand, Milady wanted to make it available to me (I'd never have been able to afford to purchase it), and would stand by me, whatever my decision.
I had already made up my mind. Having corresponded with my dear friends Miss Jameson and Dr Mason, my thoughts had become clear.... I wanted to live out the rest of my days naturally. Although there are certainly fewer days ahead than there are behind, I wanted to be back in tune with the natural order of things.
Opening the box I retrieved the bottle of the stange green Nightshade potion, and made my way to the Turning room, the site of the Embrace when Milady or any in her family bestow the Dark Gift upon others.

It certainly felt strange entering the room knowing that I was about to undertake a reversal of the room's usual function.

I uncorked the bottle and the potion began to react in the air. Not wishing to waste any of the precious liquid I placed the bottle to my lips.....

... and drank the potion until the bottle was dry.

There seemed to be no signs of the potion having worked, but as I felt at the spot of a tickling sensation on my neck, I noticed that my bite marks had gone. I smiled widely, although it is difficult for people to ever notice this act as my moustache being of the 'soup strainer' style, it covers the act.

I made my way to the rooftop. The hour was late and I wished to witness the dawn of the new day, and the symbol of the dawn of a new life. Whereas I would have sensed Milady's approach before taking the potion, I was now quite deaf to her soft footed movements. She called my name, and removing my hat as she came toward me, I bent to greet her.

As I kissed her hand she smiled at me. "I am glad you did this Janus," she said. "I can rest easy knowing that your Requiem has a happy ending."

Milady drew me back to my feet, and then embraced me tightly. "What will you do?" She whispered.
"I serve you Milady, as always, to the end of my days."

I didn't need the supernatural powers of a vampire to know that her eyes had filled with tears. Bidding me a hasty good day, she went to her rest,

As I watched her leave the rooftop I noticed that the walls of the Tower were starting to illuminate, much more than my meagre candle could perform.

I turned to face the sun, and basked in its new born light. I'm not afraid to say, I wept more than a manly tear.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Change is in the air...

The Countess has been keeping herself quite busy lately, and not wishing to get under her feet, I've been spending my time just polishing items and generally keeping the place tidy.

A new mausoleum has been added to Milady's land at the rear of the Tower, and although very simple in its design, I find it pleasing to the eye. Alice was not so sure.....

"Ere, Mr Janus!" She said with a wide-eyed look on her face as she came scurrying into the Library.

I winked at the fish in the bowl on Milady's desk, gave the bowl a last wipe with the duster in my hand and then gave Alice my full attention. "Yes Alice, what seems to be troubling you?"


"You're being troubled by ghosts?"

"Nah! Not yet... but they'll soon be 'ere!"

I raised my eyebrows incredulously. "They sent a telegram announcing their imminent arrival?"

Alice blinked owlishly, "I dunno abaht that, but their 'ouse is finished out back." She looked over both her shoulders before continuing in a quieter voice. "Their graves will soon be there.. and where there's graves... there's ghosts!"

"Is that so Alice?" I copied her by looking over both my shoulders and continuing in a quite voice. "I'll you what Alice, I'll have a word with Milady and ask her to make sure that the ghosts leave you alone."

A look of delight spread across her face. "'Joo fink she'd do 'aht?"

I nodded and smiled at her and she visibly relaxed. "I'm sure she would. In fact, I'll go and see her now." I pocketed the duster and left Alice in the Library with her nose pressed up against the side of the fishbowl making strange fishlike actions with her mouth. As I was now on the other side of her heading towards the stairs, I could see her face magnified from the other side of the bowl, and it was all I could do not to laugh at this huge moonface peering cross-eyed with the opening and closing mouth. I don't do her justice here, for she's a pretty thing really.

I made my way out of the Hall entrance door, bowed to the statue of the Dark Lady and then walked around to the back of the Tower. Milady was just straightening a crest on the gate to the Mausoleum as I stopped and gave my little 'clear of the throat' noise that I do when wishing to get Milady's attention.

Milady turned around with a dazzling smile upon her face. "Hello Janus Dear. Does this look level to you?"

I can honestly say, I've never seen Milady smile as much as I have in the last two weeks, in spite of the troubling things that have been occurring. I looked at the crest, squinted one eye and nodded slowly. "Yes Milady, I think you have it there."

She gave it one final look, and then turned to face me. "Good. Yes Dear, what can I do for you?"

I looked around the small enclosure and noticed that there was indeed room for graves. I explained that Alice was concerned about ghosts and Milady asked me to assure Alice that they would not trouble her if they were to arrive. She then asked what I thought of the new construction. I told her that I liked it, but although I recognised one of the crests (the Ventrue Clan crest) I was not sure what the other signified. Milady explained that it was the symbol for 'The Circle of the Crone', a vampire covenant for pagan vampires. I had heard of it, as I'm familiar with all the covenants, but showed surprise as, of all the clans, it is believed that Ventrue is the one that would be least likely to be involved with that particular covenant. When I voiced this Milady laughed and said, "have you never wondered why we have a statue to the Dark Lady? Janus Dear, I'm Pagan."

I laughed and felt quite foolish and she chuckled as we made our way into the Mausoleum. It was very simple inside: there was a small altar with a flaming bowl placed centrally upon it immediately opposite the doorway; a regal looking coffin to the left; and a very delicate looking stained glass coffin to the right. Milady indicated the coffins and explained that the regal one was for guests, as she was making it a haven for those of our kind who needed a place to rest when far from their usual resting place. The glass one is for her and Miss Viviana. The light cast from the flaming bowl gave a warm look to the place, and I found it to be quite comforting.

Milady placed her hand upon my shoulder and guided me out of the Mausoleum. "Walk with me Janus Dear" she said as we left the building. I noticed the sad look upon her face that I had seen a couple of days ago and knew that I'd find out what had been on her mind. We walked down to the water's edge and looking out across the vast expanse of water Milady told me what it was. It seems that a potion had been discovered that could restore a vampire's humanity once again. Milady had the necessary contacts to obtain a supply when it was ready. She looked me in the eye and asked me straight out. "Janus, if I were to get this potion... would you wish to be human once again?"

Goodness, what a question......

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Let it snow.....

The Countess has taken up fishing. Milady and Miss Viviana are quite addicted to this fascinating past time. Milady even bought a fishing boat, and if they go to a location other than the Isle where the new clan's Chapter House is situated, then they look quite odd indeed fishing in their cloak and hood. The fishbowls in the Tower are quite pleasing though.

With Milady being otherwise distracted, she has allowed me to wander a bit more than is usual. Having been turfed out of my previous room, and there being no real room for me at the Tower to have my own area, I have been considering renting rooms elsewhere. Sunday saw me travelling back to the beautifully scenic Victoriana Square. I DO love this place, and was quite taken with some terraced houses on a previous visit. Unfortunately, the type of letting that I'm interested in is quite in demand. I was most pleased to see the Mayor though in the Lettings Office, and having explained my predicament to him, he has assured me that should anything suitable come up, he will be sure to telegram me. I would feel most at home here.

Mayor Lindsay also took the time out to educate me in one of the customs of his town. I was surprised to see snow on the ground and he explained that the citizens of the town celebrate a Mini Yule Festivity at this time in the year. It really was most welcome, and VERY picturesque. If you're a little fed up with the heat in your part of the world, it really makes for a very refreshing time to take a sleigh ride in the snow.

The following day while updating Milady with my previous day's travels I noticed a most enigmatic look upon her face. I joked with her that she must be thinking about 'the one that got away', and she smiled politely (as she does whenever I make a poor joke), but I caught a sad glint in her eye as she looked at me. As she wasn't forthcoming volunteering any further information, I decided it would be prudent to let the matter drop for the time being.... but I WILL find out what is on her mind, I'm sure of it.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Servants and Serving

Last night the Countess received a message from a friend about a sale that was taking place involving hairstyles. Milady had just put to port with Miss Viviana in an area they had been exploring, when she shared this information with her. Miss Viviana was 'off like a whippet', and Milady returned to the Tower to complete some work.

When Miss Viviana returned, a tall gentleman was with her carrying her boxes. She introduced him to Milady as SlippersFetcher Voom, a butler and personal valet by trade. Seems he is looking for a permanent post, and was hoping that Milady and Miss Viviana might be able to point him in the right direction. Miss Viviana had already briefed him as to my service and exploits, and it was agreed that his best step would be to get in touch with me.

I spent a VERY pleasant hour this afternoon in his company. We met up at one of Milady's town residences and compared notes and techniques. Slippers is very versatile in his service, and is ideally looking for a permanent position in an active household, preferably one that has activity during the daytime hours. Anyone interested in having their own butler, please get in touch with him.

I have to admit to feeling somewhat smug yesterday when I erected the new statue to the Dark Lady in the forecourt of the Tower. Milady was so pleased when I managed to find a replacement to the one that was taken from the land. I prepared a new stand and some burning bowls for it, and Milady made a new plaque.

A wonderful couple of days indeed.... the Dark Lady back in her rightful place.... a beautiful smile from Milady.... a new friend and fellow butler.... and a hug from Miss Viviana!! Unlife is good.... and I think I've grown a few inches in height too....

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Facts and Factions

It has been an eventful few days.

Clan wars have started in the Vampire community, with one very large clan dominating the upper echelons. A couple of the other larger (but not as large as the dominating one) clans are trying to merge in order to combat it, and ideas are being put forward to try and prevent the manipulation that is taking place.

The Countess was approached by both sides to try and garner her support, and Milady made it very clear to both that she was not going to get involved, other than to advise 'The Powers That Be' of possible solutions to the manipulation.

Due to forces at play within her own clan, Milady saw no alternative but to disolve the clan and to allow the two factions within it to strike out on their own. I'm not going to go into the details here, as I don't think that this is the place to do so, (politics, eh?) and should you be interested in any way, I know that Milady is happy to answer any questions that people have.

We were served notice to quit the Motherhouse by 5pm ..... the landlord decided not to wait and everything was turfed out at about 11:30am instead. I'm hoping that my books have not been damaged in the hurried packing... I still need to check the packing crates.

Milady has gone to a very old clan.... old and dusty, and quite dead. There were three remaining members, the leader and two minions, and all three of those were as dead as the clan. This was just what Milady wanted. She has no agenda, and has the peace and quiet to heal.

Many of Milady's childer have sent messages of support, and she has been most encouraged by those. She has sanctioned the use of the clan name to one of the factions, but did turn down the offer of the leadership role within it.

So, to all my brothers and sisters within the old clan, I wish you well, and hope that all will work out as you hope. Milady, Miss Viviana and I, are looking forward to a new future.