Mar 051998
 

Note: The following passage is for general consumption by all Childe with any ties to Camarilla structure or society. All other readers are at risk. You have been warned.

transcribed from Middle English by David Artman

You see, I was the greatest! Positively. No one could turn a phrase like the Great Gorbo. Back in those days, being a Fool was an honor, yes. Folks looked up to the court Fool. Dukes envied me my voice in the ear of the good Queen and manipulated the King to get rid of me. I was a noted advisor, yes. Sure I looked a little silly, made ribald jests, capered about during feasts. I did that racket, baby. But I was the right hand of the Queen (and stood in its stead some nights, I can tell you!).

What Queen, you ask? The only true Queen of that day, Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Castile and Spain. Who the hell you think? … Oh, I see. Yes, this was in 1492. So what?

Anyhow, she’d just sent -that’s Isabella, not my sister- had just sent that smarmy Portugese over the edge of the world— What? … My sister? Who brought her up? Is this my show or yours, baby? Don’t like to be called “baby,” huh, mook? Not “mook” either, huh, couchon?

No, it is not going to stop. Weather it, bubbie. Transcend it.

So, Isabella had sent that Portugese over the edge and was generally getting abuse from Ferdinand, her husband, because of the Inquisition and she’d appointed me to her court in Castile to keep me out of harm’s way. HA! That’s kind of funny, now that I hear it aloud. Don’t worry, you’ll understand the irony shortly. … Er, you’re rather tall, actually; perhaps you will understand before long, yes?

So, she sends me to Castile—lovely place, by the way, in the Southern Pyrenees, with tall, narrow towers, now torn to rubble from some Worldwide War that happened while I slept. Shame, really. It had some of the finest apple orchards in Spain, really about the only to be had until you reach Lyon. And clean! My word, neat as a pin.

So, there I was, in Castile, far north of the screams of Jews, but nearer to their cause that I could imagine at the time. See, I’d been sent to Castile because of my sympathies with Isabella’s Inquisition—but really my heart was with the dear Isabella, her faith be damned. Hey! That’s a pun, too. The old juice is coming back, slowly but surely. Huh? … Yeah, well, you try to be witty after sleeping for 400 years. No, not 500, 400; what, were you there? Yeah, I didn’t think so. … Damnation! You made me lose my place; where was I?

Right! I was sent to Castile to be sheltered from the jealousy of Ferdinand and the irritation of the Inquisition’s petitioners. Did you know that no fewer than half the petitioners to beg for their lives before Isabella appealed to ME as well? Minge, did Ferdinand get angry when they asked me for sympathy before him! Those idiots were invited to the Inquisition for the LOOONG haul, I can tell you, yes. Ferd didn’t like the Inquisition very much, but he liked being marginalized even less.

Now, I admit that I sometimes dallied in the lower dungeons, passing the time before or after a banquet discussing the anatomy of pain with the various workers down there. And those men loved their work, with the fervor of the righteous. You ever had a job you enjoyed, Chaucer? Not this one, eh?

But you’ll never guess who also was cloistered up in those drafty hills. … Yes, I know I said it was lovely; beauty on the eyes is not wool for your bollocks, sport.

So guess! Go on. Try. … Mmm, hmm. I thought as much. You think you know it all because you know a good way to phrase it all. By God, I am glad that my puppets were not such pains in the arse in court as you are in here! I’d never have finished a performance. Anyway, you give up yet?

No, no, no! Say “Uncle, I give up; I don’t know.” … Well done, but I didn’t say, “Simon says!” Go to the back of the line. Go on! I’m not going to let you cheat, you bastard. You blew it, you go back to the back of the line. That’s better.

… What?

… I am sorry, I can’t hear you very well from way over there. Come here, already; I said move to the back of the line, but you are the only one in line, pomegranate. That means you can come to the front. So come here.

Okay, okay. Simon says, “come here.” Yes, you are learning, yes.

Torquemada.

I’m sorry, what? Yes, THE Torquemada was in Castile, running the whole grand show from the sanctuary of the hills. And let me tell you, the man was a visionary. Folks today seem to think he was some kind of monster. Like us. But he was just a man trying to save the world. Well, his world. Er, well, the Catholic world. The Church was under duress at the time, you know. Protestants roamed the land like packs of wild dogs, spreading foolish dogma about “individual relationships with God.”

I can tell you this much: God’s far too busy to deal with anyone without an agent. You try handling 500 million call-ins a day. The Big Guy needs his space and time to think. Rabble-babble in his good ear is a real waste, yes.

Did I mention that Thomás was one of us? Well, I mean he was then, but I wasn’t. That is, Torquemada was a Childe of the Night. Er, is one. Well, maybe he’s dead now, I don’t know. I ran away from him when the trouble with the Camarilla started. Oh, I haven’t covered that yet? Well, hang on! Damnation, why do you persist in interrupting? It’s confusing me.

So, after Torquemada brought me across, I had very little time left to myself. Because he was my Sire, he was my Master; he had many things for me to learn and do in those early nights. But the timing must have been bad -bringing me over, that is. The heat was on us. When the shite hit the fan, he dragged me away from my now-belovéd Castile to some hole in Germany. He called it “hiding in plain sight,” though we were never really much in sight. Too much time with ceremonies and pagentry and the Church.

No, idiot! Not the Catholic Church. You try taking Communion after nightfall. Easy, huh? Try doing it for months without the priests noticing something strange. And I didn’t look so human in those days, no. I was a sickly-looking thing, lost 30 pounds in all the wrong places, pale as ale. Torquemada helped me along with that as well, teaching me how to push blood into my withered capillaries, stomach the strong German beer, swallow those spicy sausages without vomitting blood for hours.

You look queasy, son, you one of us, too? Mask slipping?

Okay, let me back up a bit, I was sent to Castile and I filled the days with riding, whoring, drinking, and minor dramas and jests around the banquet hall. When Isabella vacationed in her home castle, I enjoyed her company and love. All in all, it was an engaging lifestyle and one which I was prepared to pursue until my dotage. But then Thomás suggested a new path for me.

You realize that, when I say suggested, I mean just that. Suggestion. Mind manipulation. He twiddled my head and I woke up dead. Of course, my position with the Church was quite elevated. No longer one of the flock, I was now being groomed as a Bishop. I never knew that Thomás was a Cardinal until those early nights. Of course, he explained to me how he was with a secret sect of the Church and how no one was to know of my training, including the Church itself. In fact, he informed me that most of the powers in the local Church were unaware that he was of this secret sect and was watching them for Jewish sympathizers.

Yes, he had many lessons for me before he finally let me out to feed myself for the first time. I was to be his slave for 99 years. I would help him “cleanse the fold of lost causes”—his phrase for diablerie. I would promote the general welfare of the Church, to the exclusion of myself. I would worship my Sire as my Lord.

Then he started talking about Caine. He spelled it funny. … Yes, like you just did on your notepad. He started talking up that murderer as if he were the Messiah. Said we’d feed him upon his rebirth and other frightening things. See, I could live with there being mortal threat to my unlife only if I lost control of myself; that was okay and was a tradition in our Church. And it makes sense, you know? Culling the weak. But feeding some dark beast that claws its way out of millenial-old soil? Soiling it, as it were, with the blood of Able? No thanks, I’ll be walking from here, cabbie. See, that’s what I said to Thomás. As you might imagine, he did not much like that.

No, Thomás de Torquemada would brook no insurrection—”heresy,” he called it. I ran like hell for the high Alps near Alsace, his hounds hot on my heels.

Ever heard of the Wild Hunt? Hmm, well, count yourself lucky, squidly. I ran with the full fear of God, probably the closest to His Power I had ever been. And I was clever. I was able to dodge the Hunt for nearly 70 years.

… What? … Did I say 7 or 70? You tell me, I am just the talker here, you’re the writer. I am pretty sure it was 70. It was long enough to get control of my abilities. Do you know how hard it can be to find a Malkavian when he doesn’t want to be found? Hell, I spent 30 of those years in an asylum in London. Met some of the finest men and women I have ever know in that hole. Thank God they kept them so dingy and dark, I’d be sure-dead by now if not for the merciful darkness provided by my jailors. And their blood, of course. … The blood of the mad has a certain twing to it that reminds me too much of home.

Home? … Where’s that, you say? Why, merry old England, of course. Born 1463 to peasants. Left the 2 acre farm in Sussex for Spain when I was 12. Became a clown for the city of Madrid and worked hard at playing. I think it was a Duke who introduced me to the Court of Ferdinand in 1489. Isabella secured my commission, in part due to the eclesiastic bent of my humor. I don’t think she ever knew the bent of my humour, though. Certainly not after my death. I never saw her again after the Hunt was called.

You know that we all loved her, back then? She was a paragon. To press lips to her face was to kiss the Virgin. To be at her side was to be on the right hand of God. She was His Betrothed on earth, even as she was the belovéd mistress of Spain. I would never forget her as long as I live.

Which is to say that I started to forget her in the first days of my unlife and could not even conjure an image of her face once under the press of the Hunt. Did I tell you about the asylum? That’s when I learned that I could only survive on drunken blood. They gave very few members of that club alcohol, let me tell you. So I got to be close with the guards. I used to put on my old act for them—in English, of course—and one in particular became very close, enthralled with me, you might say. He kept me fed, to the dereliction of his own health, poor lad. I kind of missed him once I had gone. … Well, of course, I got away, dolt! I am here aren’t I?

It turned out that I had to escape, back into the Hunt, or risk my jailors discovering my true nature. I was living too long and too well in there. My “friend inside” left my cell conveniently open one evening and I stole out, into the bleeding dusk, back on the Devil’s Road.

I needed a pastime, but first I had to shake the Hunt. Then it hit me! Where better to avoid the Inquisition still cleansing the land than in the arms of Protestantism? I was a great Fool. I could be again, just not in the reach of the Church. That was about the time that King James Stuart had assumed the throne. I had been running for 70 years and had left my reputation in the dust, turned to dust, ashes to ashes, baby. But I was a great Fool.

I worked my way up over the next 20 years, careful to play my role well, to turn heads, to capture the ears of power and hold them in my sway. I worked at it with the fervor of the damned, and I, finally, found myself performing in a play for James himself. Some guy named Bill had written this little history about one of the Henrys and needed a stand-in for the guy who played Falstaff. That was all it took, cousin, yes. No one can belly-laugh like James Stuart, by the way. And such a drinker, fortunately for me! Yes, there were some nights, late in my tenure for the court of the King of England, when I supped on that royal, purple blood and knew the greatest ecstasy that our foul lot can encounter! A taste of POWER!

Of course, then I got caught.

No! Not by the Hunt. By some chambermaid, curse her eyes. Actually, they were pretty tasty, and I’d hate to curse a past dinner. But, yes, before I poked her, she pegged me; screetching through Buckingham about demons and vampires. Hey, she had it half right, who could blame her a bit of hyperbole? I, of course, made it out of the Palace, but I was hell-bent on getting revenge on the oafish cow who had cost me my job and standing. So I ate her eyes.

While her husband staked me through the heart. Unlife’s a bitch, yes?

They dumped me into the Thames, apparently thinking running water would hold me in my torpor. Actually, it was the stake that held me. Well, it didn’t actually hold me, because I drifted down the Thames to the Channel and out into the North Sea.

Did you know the mean annual temperature of the North Sea is 35 degrees? I didn’t either. Life is wierd. Or, rather, death is. And I thought I was quite dead. My only sorrow was that I did not just let the Hunt get me so that I could be rightfully destroyed by my Sire, returning his blood unto him.

Instead, I was a coral bed.

Yes, I was a coral bed. For 350 years. See, it takes about 50 years to establish a full-fledged bed, so I don’t count them. Oh! And now you see why I said 400! See? I told you everything would work out in the end. Thanks for the interview… and for your sacrifice.

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What? You aren’t here for my dinner as well? Just the story? You little shit! I should kill you. … Huh? How’d I awaken? Deus Mio, you are a bit dense, aren’t you?

Offshore oil drilling.

Offshore oil drilling churned me loose with enough blood from blended fish and crustaceans to snap me out of torpor. Maybe the stake had rotted by then and I just needed a cock’s crow. But it’s still been a tough few weeks dragging myself from the North Sea, south through England, and onto that terrifying device that carried me over the ocean to this New World.

I thought I’d start in Raleigh, since Sir Walter was such a funny-assed old fart in his dotage. I thought I’d see his burg.

January 9

Me-oh-my, the year’s unclear, but I know it’s day is late:
the sun is down, the moon’s come ’round, yet no dew’s on me pate.
My dawn is come, with setting sun; the city spreads it plate.
I must hie hence and find the Prince before it gets too late.

Ah, there’s the lad! Face like a shad. His bearing: calm repleat;
how sits that crown, above that frown? He must himself defeat.
I bow quite low, give pride a blow, and fold there at his feet.
I tell my life, my skill and strife, and check my jests are meet.

But laugh he can’t: the Ventrues pant, no Fool has court in here.
That Jonas chump shifts on his rump, and looks at me quite queer.
Does he know me? Or me, myself? I feel a twinge of fear;
but, no, he’s only tired of fun, and doesn’t want me near.

For a time, I sat, I watched the course, and no one paid me mind.
I watched a dog, a cat, a frog, a Nos come from behind.
I heard a fray, some Childe at play, and peeked in through a blind.
A battle thick, the Kine drop quick; I thought it quite a find.

So, looking neat, mostly like meat, I stepped into the pub.
And dodged a bolt, ignored some dolt, and skirted past the hub.
I pulled a draught, and kind of laughed: a Kine was gi’en the drub.
So soon it ended, the pub was mended, but herein lay the rub:

Who in hell told such violent soldiers as these where to find our ilk and, further, why by hell isn’t the culprit drawn on four stakes, slit from gorge to crotch, and feeding the injured at this very moment? Could so much have changed since last I lived in this dark world?

January 30

The Life of Riley, I tell you; The Life of Riley! They may not know how to run society, but minge, these Kine can throw a party, yes! I’ve not slept a wink all night these past weeks!

So I met this guy, golfer, a “duffer”, he says. I never much got into golf as a lad, though I’d know about it from its inception. Seems the Spanish thought it a fool’s game, being Scottish. Since I was a fool and Scot-Welsh, I figured I’d keep my head low, you know? Better than it being TOO low; in the dirt; under a skirt; no, I do not flirt.

“Lop off ‘is head, and toss ‘im in bed,”
“We married ‘im off to a shrew!”
“And don’na he clef, use narry a breath,”
“‘Cause SHE’ll tell ‘im what to do!”

HA HA! Heh, heh, heh… -sic- ‘Scuse me, bitte.

Great old drinking song! La Belle Primogené de la Toreadore put it to my mind. What a dear! I never knew many Orientals in my days in court, but I met a couple of withered ambassadors when Marco returned. Their language is as fluidly jangling as the Old Cant. I recall getting in a long debate about Being with one of them. Shame we weren’t speaking the same tongue; we might’ve made some headway.

Where was I? Oh, yes! The beauty! Oh, nevermind; she thinks I’m an idiot. When really I am a fool. Ah, well, she’ll see my worth soon enough. Soon enough.

Besides, she let herself be AUCTIONED! I couldn’t believe it! A Primogen! Leave it to Ventrues to come up with a charity auction which manages to objectify their peers! Disgusting. And they’d prolly call the tortures of the Inquisition disgusting, in spite of their holy goals. Fools. No, idiots.

But anyway, I fell in love with the golf thing. Nothing like it for concentration and frustration. Concentraton of frustration. Frustration of concentration. But I don’t ever have to pay greens fees, since I always tee off after midnight. Kind of handy, when you’re unemployed. Of course, my “duffer” buddy didn’t understand why I invited him to a midnight tee off. But he showed up. Shame, really, that he did. I got a bit peckish at the ninth, dontcha know. And he was having schnapps after each hole.

Lovely stuff, schnapps. Puts a tang on the tongue unlike any other liquor. I’ll have to find a biergarten in this burg. ‘Course, the stuff is like candy straight from the bottle, so I’ll stick to lager for the lips, yes.

Did I have a point to this? I am sure there was a point, it just won’t prick me again.

Oh! Right! There was very little in the way of events, these past weeks. I can’t find a court to fool; these common house managers, to whom I have petitioned for stage work, are more uppity than the Burghermeistergruppen; and my pro golf career is looking dubious. I can drive the buggery ball 400 yards when I’ve a mind to, but I can’t ever make a tournament tee time, due to obvious circumstances, you understand.

But I’m STILL looking, yes. Someone will give me shelter (or the gold for it) one day soon, I just know it. I believe, baby. And it’s not like I’ll starve in this Southern New World. Not with ‘Beam and Daniels’ more common than water.

February 6

Transcribed from an ‘audio taping’ of my morning babblings

Do not go gentle into that good night;Our age will burn in rage at close of day.

Rage, rage against the lying in the fight.

Twisted Methuselah’s, their bower come at last,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Dazzled Caitiff, soaring, boring, lower class,

They do not go gentle into that good night.

The mangy Garou, pet of Gaia (slutty lass)

Does not go gentle into that good night.

And you, My Sire — to bleed me, coming fast:

Do not expect still further flight,

Do not seek mercy in our timeworn fight,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

My, but that Mr. Thomas had a way with meter. And so I borrow Mister Thomas to speak to Master Thomás.

Do NOT expect fealty, if you still live. I know what your “Church” is now and how truly dastardly it is! I know you raised me well, and taught us our power; but your failure to bend me to your dark purpose is complete.

They say you are gone; so why do I shudder to wakefulness, clawing the sand that is my home, for now?

Anybody got a light? How about a drink?

What was I just saying? Was I talking in my sleep? Am I now? Am I awake yet?

Deus mio, I hope I haven’t been thinking out loud!

HEY! You! With that microphone! Was I talking out loud…? HEY! C’mere… dinner!

February 27

Oh, my deary-me, little Journal! I have had a stroke of genius! Shear GENIUS! I couldn’t wait until later tonight to tell you!

For weeks I have racked my brain to come up with the most clever prank I could imagine, something befitting my re-awakening and re-entry into society. I have know for some time that I want the jest to be aimed at the city’s best and brightest, the Camarilla Council.

And I HAVE IT!

It’s very simple, requires minimal support tools, and will really liven up the next Council meeting.

The salient “point” of the prank is a syringe, filled with what they call ‘endorphine’ in this Latin-loving modern world; we remember it as Blood Humour, my pretty little Journal. I know where to find vials of the stuff, just waiting to be shot into… Oh, I don’t know… maybe the Garou Representative to the Council?

Yes, loyal Journal, I will sneak into the Council meeting, watch for optimal timing (Comedy is all about timing; have I told you that lately, Journal?), then drive the point home!

TA – DA! Instant frenzy, ready while you wait!

It’s going to be smashing! LITERALLY!

I am off, now; going to work at the Starlight Lounge! Stage gig, vaudevile, Fridays and Saturdays, twice on Sunday. Then it’s off to the races – the weekly Gathering!

I’ll tell you all about it at dawn.

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and sounds described varyingly as “manical cackling”, “moaning wails”, and “muttering or gibbering”. Researchers are considering a number of causes for the rash of encounters: hallucinations, local college pranksters, and El Nino have all been proposed.—(see Feature: Spirit Science, A3)


Local Comic “Bombs” For Last Time

TRIANGLE CITY (AP) – The Triangle suffered a blow to its funnybone last night.

The up-and-coming stand-up comic Gorbo the Mad (Jim Carruthers) was tragically killed in a freakish fire at the notoriously-dangerous nightclub Dante’s Inferno.

Witnesses to the catastrophe, asking to remain anonymous, claimed to have seen two leather-clad men approach Gorbo while he was engaged in discussion with an associate. The sequence of events is unclear, but apparently the men were carrying some type of aerosol dispensers filled with a highly-combustible liquid, which they discharged onto Gorbo.

The happy Fool’s characteristic dangling cigarette ignited the substance, engulfing him in fire. The assailants escaped during the clamor to quench the persistent flames.

Police are investigating a possible connection between this attack and last week’s violence at Dante’s Inferno, but so far have no leads or suspects that they are willing to share. Nearby business owners have filed joint complaints against the nightclub with the Triangle Chamber of Commerce, fearing the possibility of damage to their establishments should the poor security and misadventure at the club persist. Lord Ashby, its owner and manager and man-about-town, was unavailable for comment.

—(see The Mourning Laughter, A7)


Historian Proves Merit Insufficient In Politics

TRIANGLE CITY (Local Press) – Noted art historian, philosopher, critic, and philanthropist Dr. George Kiel will be returning to his Triangle home this week after a disappointing bid for the N.C. Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate. Though he scored high marks with regional electors and won crushing victories in public debates, Dr. Kiel’s repeated cancellations of popular rallies and tardiness for dinner engagements shattered the febrile faith of his constituency. Instead, Representative Jesse Helms will again be straining the back of the Party Pachyderm as he rides it into the mud-slinging pits of the General Election. Though Dr. Kiel…

Last Updated on March 2, 1998

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