Thursday, November 24, 2011

What have we gotten ourselves into?

Journal of Phoenix, October 12th 1748
Well, that’s it then. We are in league with a madman. Agamemnon agrees with me but Nestor, the would be Papist priest, accepts the doctor’s wild story and poor Hector, shaken by Hannah’s death, continues to insist her murderer transformed himself into a large wolf before his eyes when he pursued him on the road that night.

After dinner the doctor (an excellent cook, by the way) gathered us in the sitting room and placed a musty old book on the table. He told us that the man Lang is, without a doubt, a vampire! Nestor is a brave man and my sworn comrade but he is from Holstein, and a Catholic to boot so, of course, he had no trouble accepting the doctor’s fairytale. When Agamemnon suggested that vampires were created by mothers to frighten naughty children Nestor was offended and assured him that such creatures had been known to plague certain districts in Holstein within living memory. The doctor, referring to the book, then proceeded to educate us on the ways of a vampire, his strengths and weaknesses, and how we might go about destroying him.

According to our host the vampire possesses great physical strength. It can transform itself into many forms; a large wolf, or bat, or even a cloud of mist. The monster has these powers only between the hours of dusk and dawn. In the light of day the vampire is much like any other man, and so can be killed more easily. For that reason a vampire will often rest during daylight hours and hunt at night. If it rests in it’s native soil the monster’s powers are renewed that much more efficiently. Apparently,  to destroy the thing, one must drive a wooden stake through it’s heart and cut off it’s head. The vampire, quoth our good doctor, feeds on human blood. If he takes blood from a victim without killing then the victim will recover. Sometimes a vampire will take a mate by draining so much blood that the victim dies. That victim will then rise as a vampire bound to the one who inflicted the fatal wound.

The doctor believes that poor Hannah has become a vampire, and the bride of Lang. At this, Hector was furious and swore a terrible vengeance on the monster. As Agamemnon, Nestor, Hector and I took an oath when first we met to share everything, we now stood and swore together to kill Lang, be he monster or man.  Hector was for storming Lang’s house this very night but the doctor persuaded us that only a careful plan would ensure success against such an evil power.
The four young men swear an oath to destroy the monster
Furnishings by Mike
The doctor proceeded to lay out his plan. The man Krebs is, the doctor believes, not a vampire but rather his human slave. According to the book it is common for a vampire to keep a human in thrall to guard him during daylight hours and carry out any necessary interactions with humans. The doctor says the vampires greatest guarantee of security is that civilized people in the modern world don’t believe vampires exist. Then there is the matter of the gypsies. They live outside the pale of law and society and have been known, according to Nestor, to serve creatures like Lang for gold. Krebs has four of them living in Lang’s house.

Rather than strike directly at the vampire’s lair, Doctor Plummer proposes to first raid two other houses in the town. One was purchased by Krebs several days ago and a second this very day. In both cases the gypsies were seen moving a coffin into the house. The doctor believes these are alternate resting places for the monster and he believes we need to deprive it of those sanctuaries. We discussed waiting until dark to break into those properties by stealth but Hector suggested the safest way to break into an empty house is to enter by the front door in broad daylight as if one belonged there. He assures us he can disable a door lock as quickly as if he had a key. I wonder how he knows such things?
                                              Krebs and the gypsies hide another coffin
Finally, the doctor opened a chest and laid out the arsenal he had been amassing for the coming battle. Of course, we all had our own swords. In addition to these he issued each of us a pistol, a blossom of garlic, two wooden stakes and a wooden cross. He also showed us a small silver box that contained a quantity of the sacred bread used by Catholics in their services. This last was provided by Captain Boehm, who obtained it from the pastor of the only Catholic church in Ardoberg.  

So! Tonight we sleep and take it in turns to watch and tomorrow let this strange business begin.   


  1. Nice series of posts with little posed vignettes
    Much is at stake !

    -- Allan

  2. Enthralling indeed, and an accurate description of 'canonical' Gothic vampires (neither in Carmilla nor in Dracula are they killed by sunlight, they simply dislike it) -I have some doubts about garlic, but the good doctor based his preparations on whatever he found in relevant traditions, to play it safe. No flask of Holy Water?

    Not to worry the bold party more, but who said a vampire had to be monogamous? Do the 'brides' gain special abilities in addition to being junior, inexperienced, green vampires?

    And what if the other coffins were already *occupied*?
    Btw, the 'wolf pack' social structure of the vampires in "30 days of night" is a *great idea* -not only essential to the precise plot, but from a general pov- and quite logical if you have such predators hunting collectively, as a 'canid' group rather than as a 'felid' tiger-like individual.

    In this report from Ardoberg concerns us in that the vampire can turn into a giant wolf, because in our 'local tradition' (a setting vow favored even by romantic teenagers!) vampires and werewolves are hereditary enemies. Then we know that a 'super-vampires ' can turn into something looking like a monstrous giant dog / wolf.

    And then, where is Elsy van Helsing? :)
    [reportedly 'Buffy' is an English diminutive of Elizabeth, as Elsa & German; as for the family name, I like syntheses & prefer to have not too many characters, and then preferably female :)].
    {Too bad this one is 12in. high! Now, she lacks a pistol and has *2* sword hilts: silly!}

    Looking eagerly forward to be regaled by the next installment!

  3. Gary, you really should give a 'label' ('Pulp'? 'Lacepulp'?) to this series of posts, and the few previous ones dealing with (suspected?) werewolves!
    The Occult, Underground History of Ardoberg-Holstein deserves a 'tag' of itself!


  4. Included a link to Ardoberg-Holstein in a post on TMP.

  5. Re: Lang's monogamy, there are still a couple of installments to go. Rumor around the watercooler is he is seeing other corpses on the side.