Saturday, November 26, 2011

Battle is joined

The Diary of Dr. Plummer, October 13th, 1748
I write these few lines now against the chance that I may not see the sun rise tomorrow. My young comrades and I now have no choice but to wait here in the monster’s lair until he returns sometime this night. Our campaign began well enough this morning. Following the plan agreed on last night we approached the first of the two cottages recently purchased by Krebs on behalf of his master. We entered openly as if we belonged there and, as Hector predicted, no one questioned our entry. Indeed, there were no townspeople on the streets at all. Over the last few days a sense of foreboding seems to have slowly come over our town. People seem to have caught the fear gripping nearby Ardoberg, but there is something else, too. I believe that they feel, without knowing why, that something evil, something unnatural, is afoot in our town.

Once inside the cottage we started looking for the coffin and for anything that might work to our advantage in the coming battle. Artorius’ tome suggested these satellite locations were simply bolt holes the vampire might avail himself of if something went wrong, but we didn’t know if the place might be occupied by his gypsy retainers or even poor Hannah who was now one of the undead. As it happened, we found a coffin in the basement, but nothing else. We set about rendering the coffin unusable by the vampire, according to the prescription in the book, by planting a portion of the sacred bread in the soil inside. We then went on to the second cottage and repeated the process without incident.

So far the campaign was proceeding according to plan, but now the atmosphere that had so oppressed the town seemed to take hold of Hector. His demeanor had grown more withdrawn as the day progressed. Our plan had called for us to return to my apartment and wait. By now the monster was aware that I knew what he was. He could not know of my young friends. My hope was he would come himself to dispose of me and we would be ready and waiting. We had rejected the plan of storming his house while it was defended by the gypsies but as we approached the intersection that led to my apartment and away from the monster’s lair Hector strode off the wrong way. We caught him up but he looked at me with barely suppressed rage and snarled “It dies today!”. I appealed to his friends but Agamemnon smiled, shrugged and said “Apparently, It dies today” and then they rushed off to join him.  I had no choice but to follow.

Hector, followed closely by the rest of the party, strode directly up to the front door of Lang’s house, drew his pistol and pounded on the door. Whatever Krebs was, he was no soldier. Without looking to see who was on the other side, he simply opened the door and Hector, without hesitation, shot him in the forehead.  The unprepared gypsies came tumbling out of a side room and were met with the ready blades of Hectors friends as they pressed into the foyer behind him. In less than a minute two of the gypsies lay dead on the floor and the other two ran out the back door. Whatever madness had seized Hector was offset by the arrogance or sloth of Krebs, who failed to keep a proper watch.
                      In a moment the defenders were overwhelmed
When I had recovered my composure I prepared my friends for the work before us. As it was now late afternoon there was an excellent chance that the vampire was resting in the house. His coffin, and perhaps another for Hannah, was most likely in the basement. At this time of day he was at his most vulnerable. Taking a pair of lanterns from the kitchen we quickly made our way into the basement. There we found two coffins, one a grand affair and the other a rough built box such as a common man might be buried in. We surrounded the fine coffin, myself with stake and mallet at the ready and the others with weapons drawn. Nestor opened the lid and I made to strike but the coffin was empty! We quickly searched the dark corners of the basement but found nothing. We then denied the monster sanctuary in the great coffin by placing a goodly portion of the sacred bread into the soil therein.

There remained the second coffin. This must be the resting place of the unfortunate Hannah. We surrounded it as we had the other and carefully opened the lid. I was sure she would be in the coffin, and I thought I was prepared. She opened her eyes and I froze. She was a beautiful young lady, unnaturally so now that I reflect on it, and she spoke with a voice like tinkling glass. “Oh, Hector, don’t let them hurt me!” Poor Hector was shaken to his core and turned to appeal to his friends. Agamemnon grasped him by his shoulders and looked into his eyes while Nestor shouted at me “Now, Doctor! Strike!”. In a moment the deed was done. While Agamemnon and Phoenix walked Hector toward the stairs Phoenix stayed behind and helped me to take off the head and place the sacred bread in the coffin.

Agamemnon found brandy for Hector and stayed with him to steady his nerves while the rest of us searched every corner of the house. The monster was certainly away working evil somewhere. The sun is going down and we are resolved to remain here and await his return.  

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