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  It's been so long, I can't remember where I left off, so I will pretend that I left off here...

When we last left our intrepid undead, Clever Sister had disappeared, Prince Vampire was killing everybody and everyone who wasn't dead or absent had gone tearing off to Yorkshire because oh-crap-we-totally-left-undead-Young-Wife-locked-in-a-crypt-up-there-so-sorry. When Young Wife is lucid, she is none to pleased about her situation, luckily she isn't lucid all that often, so that's okay. Most of the time, she thinks that she is still alive, that is, when she isn't a ravening hell beast bent on sucking the blood of the living. Baronet has his hands full with her, that's for damn sure. In her hell beast state, she has turned him in a vampire but he is none too good at it. As they make their way, by night and in secret, back to London, she does the hunting and he feeds from her. Once in London, Baronet is certain that Clever Sister will know what to do. She always does.

Baronet and Young Wife are unaware that Clever Sister is now a vampire herself, and is locked up in Prince Vampire's bedroom because you don't get to be a vampire prince by letting clever people who happen to be really pissed off at you go running around, thwarting you all over the place. To all outward appearances, Clever Sister is very much subdued and un-thwarty, which really isn't a good sign. She is scheming and plotting like nobody's business. She has come to the conclusion that men are idiots, because if they weren't, Lawyer Friend would have deciphered all the really obvious clues she left behind and Prince Vampire would be dead...well, more dead. Clever Sister concludes that she is on her own. She is fairly sure that if Prince Vampire were planning to destroy her, he'd have done it by now. She is equally sure that, if she were capable of destroying herself for the sake of innocent humanity, she'd have done it by now. She could try to escape but she has no idea what she would do if she did. Your options are somewhat limited when you're the devil's undead. All she really need to do is slip away for long enough to bash Lawyer Friend and Baronet over the heads with a heavy stick until they get some sense knocked into them and slay the evildoer before it is too late... which, for Baronet, it already is.

Prince Vampire likes power, that much is obvious. From what little Clever Sister has learned by listening at the door, which she finds to be far more effective than screaming and pleading and making a scene, Prince Vampire is planing some sort of major takeover of something or other. Clever Sister knows that you don't have power unless you have money and plenty of it. You don't just sock the stuff away in a moldy basement either. You have to be like Young Wife's family with their businesses and investments. Clever Sister doesn't have that kind of money, but she does have an allowance that is just about due to be paid. Technically, she is no longer entitled to that money, because she is undead but, she reasons, if she's still walking and talking, who is to say that she isn't alive? Her solicitor is practically a criminal already, so it isn't as if he will ask difficult questions. She just needs to convince Prince Vampire to let her out to collect the allowance, then she can slip away somehow or other to find Lawyer Friend. She knows where he will be, because one of the clues she left him explicitly laid out where she would meet him and when. When it comes to scheming, Prince Vampire has nothing on Clever Sister.

You don't get to a vampire prince by not knowing when your unwilling new girlfriend is plotting against you. On the other hand, living as mortals, with all the benefits thereof is a lot more appealing than sqelching around in sewers or being dependent on a bunch of vampire-worshiping loonies which is what he has going on right now, and it's starting to grate on his nerves. Between the tricked out cow skull in the parlor room, the ridiculous looking robes and the chanting at all hours of the night and day, he's ready to put all his followers onto the menu. Clever Sister is patient, which is a good trait to have when you're plotting, and it's likely that she's come up with something pretty impressive. Luckily, Prince Vampire has an ace in the hole, because Baronet and Young Wife are holed up in his basement, unbeknownst to Clever Sister, two floors above them.

Young Wife is hardcore batshit crazy. Her maternal instincts have gone all wacko. She hunts toddlers. Under other circumstances, Prince Vampire would just kill her, but without her, Baronet won't survive and Prince Vampire needs Baronet in order to control Clever Sister, so there you are. So, what to do now? Clever Sister is shocked and horrified, but not for very long. When you have a lot of time on your hands for plotting, you tend to work through all the possible contingencies. No one has seen Baronet die, so from the world's point of view, he's alive. As for Young Wife, either they pretend she was buried and alive and it's a miracle or they hide her away. The only question is, will Young Wife stay hidden? Most of the time, she doesn't even know she's dead, so how can they convince her that she is not only undead but insane? For now, a miracle it will have to be. As for Lawyer Friend, Clever Sister will meet with him, not to betray Prince Vampire as she had intended but to warn him off. Lawyer Friend knows their secret and that means he's marked for death.

And so, Clever Sister slips away, just as she'd planned and she finds Lawyer Friend, just as she'd planned. It's all terribly tragic. She hasn't fed and doesn't dare touch him. He refuses to simply let her go. She pleads. He vows. It's all quite touching, muses Prince Vampire who has followed from a distance. It's also a trap, but the question is, a trap for who? Prince Vampire is here to kill Lawyer Friend. Lawyer Friend is armed and ready to kill Prince Vampire. Ultimately, Clever Sister manages to get between them and nobody kills anybody. Lawyer Friend comes away certain that Clever Sister is on his side. Prince Vampire comes away certain that Clever Sister is on his side. One of them is probably wrong, but it's impossible to know which one and Clever Sister isn't telling.

Prince Vampire and his recently created vampire family take over Baronet's house and property. He'll keep some of the cultist followers, but that cow skull thing has got to go. He has no interest in superstition and nonsense, because he has bigger fish to drain of their blood. He is not the only vampire in England, after all, and he isn't exactly flying under the radar of the ones in control. He's going to be a busy little bee.

In the meantime, the badass vampire ruler in England- in the movie version, he'd be played by Bill Nighy because Bill Nighy always plays those part, so let's call him "Nighypire", didn't get to be a badass by sitting around with his thumb up his butt when power mad vampires from out of the way, dumpy little provincial countries in the Carpathian mountains blow into town. His official Enforcers of the Rules have had their eye on that guy and his new little coven. But who know Prince Vampire's weaknesses and has a big enough grudge against Prince Vampire to devote years of his life to becoming part of a select organization of vampire enforcers just for the sake of getting a chance of kicking Prince Vampire's ass to kingdom come when he makes his move? Who oh who might up for that? Oh yeah, Lawyer Friend is so up for that. He still loves Clever Sister, although apparently he doesn't love her enough to forget her and move on like she asked him to but whatever, Lawyer Friend will be REVENGED on THAT JERK who RUINED HIS LIFE. From now on, Lawyer Friend is Tragic Avenger.

Will Nighypire's commendable Englishness be a match for Prince Vampire's ruthless ambition? Can Baronet keep Young Wife's wacked out Ophelia act from getting them both perished? Whose side is Clever Sister on already and will Tragic Avenger just get over it already? Stay tuned for more stupid, stupid vampires...

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Tytania Strange

April 2017

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