Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Part the VIIIth - Prophecies

Excerpts from The Memoirs of Oktawjan Zagloba:

Chapter XXXVII
How I Revolutionized Western Civilization

…The next day, the King asked me to attend upon him once more. I met him in the small reception hall of the Archbishop's palace. He was in a much better humor this morning, having attended well upon my advice to be of good cheer and not to worry much over pagan rites like astrology. He stated to me that he had resolved upon a plan to correct the matters of which we had spoken the night before. He said he would tell me later since, as usual, he was most desirous to have my advice before adopting any policy.

Before I could counsel him, he asked me to attend upon him in the greeting of the Emperor. Leopold was returning to Vienna in the afternoon. The King, being fully aware of my fluency in German, Latin and other tongues as well as my courtly bearing and sagacious demeanor, wished to have me act as his intermediary in this matter.
Now I was loathe to disturb my studies for such formal courtesies since I was well advanced upon the development of my War Carriage Propelled Across the Field of Battle by the Entrapment of Water Vaporized into Steam Transferred into Rotary Motion by a Series of Articulated Wheels and Gears, having completed the design between the appetizer course and the fish course and a working model before the third dessert course. By the way, as an honor to our victory, I had found time to instruct the King's chef, a most unpleasant Frenchman, in the making of a soft pastry cake in the shape of our enemy's sign the Crescent. The Frenchman of course called it by that name in his own tongue which I grudgingly accepted.

Despite all these labors, I knew that the first meeting between our good king and the Emperor would be of great importance. It was said that Leopold was angry with King John for having ceremoniously entered Vienna without him. Of course this ignored the fact that Leopold had fled the city and had owed his nation and his crown to our king. Given the domestic opposition to King John, however, I could not allow the Emperor to humiliate our King. I knew therefore that I must be most circumspect.

The Emperor arrived upon the field of meeting a full half hour late, in a coach and four, attended by courtiers and priests. One of these, his confessor, was a Spanish Domican named Father Spinola. I noticed that the apprentice Cherrycoate noticeably quailed at the sight of the priest and I surmised that this officious prelate was the nightly inquisitor and vandalizer of good Persian china.

I was announced to the Emperor and proceeded to give a most eloquent and effusive greeting on behalf of the King and the free nobility of the Commonwealth. Despite my superlative rhetorical skills, the Emperor rudely cut off my discourse only twenty minutes into the start of it. He expressed a most grudging thanks to King John for his assistance to the Imperial armies which relieved Vienna. The emperor would have then ignored the rest of the King's party to address his own commanders. I politely inquired if the King might present his commanders to the emperor. To which he replied that an emperor would not be sullied by the greetings of a corporal's guard. I then inquired if the King might at least present his sons to the Emperor. To which he replied that, had they been princes of the blood, it would be one matter but King John was a king only through election by a drunken mob and Leopold was God's anointed emperor on this earth. Even though I softened the words of this reply to the King, lest he break with the emperor and thus bring calamity to Christendom, I perceived that the King was much upset.

The emperor then turned to his generals and called the Duke of Lorraine the great victor and savior of Europe. The Duke, who was a good man since he once allowed me to eat at his table, was embarrassed by such praises and indicated that the King was the true hero of the battle. The Emperor ignored this and continued greeting his officers. When he came to the dear Countess Georgina, he was shocked and asked what a woman was doing in arms. Before she could respond or Lorraine and I could express how courageously she behaved in battle, the emperor dismissed her from his service. He said, "It will not do to have a Countess of the Empire traipse after the army like a camp-follower, no matter how desperate you may be for a husband. No, woman, get you back to your spindles or to a nunnery."

He then turned to Colonel van der Snaecht, whose Walloons served foremost among the Imperial infantry. "You, Colonel, I have reports of. Lazy and shiftless and your men brigands and cowards. I have also heard that you have taken prisoner one of my chaplain's assistants. You shall release them immediately and I shall place you before a court-martial."

At this point I made a loud disturbance for I saw the murderous look in the Colonel's eyes. When Leopold looked away, I struck the pistol from the Colonel's hand since I had seen he had readied it to shoot the Emperor. Staremburg and the other Austrian officers quickly bundled him off. I noticed the Walloons were in disarray and readying themselves for violence when the guns which had been prepared for the salute went off prematurely. As I later discovered, the sorcerer Sandorius had noticed the Walloon's near mutiny and hastened to distract them.

At this great noise ended, Leopold remarked that even his men had become slovenly and ill disciplined in his absence, making such a grievous mistake in court etiquette. He turned contemptuously and returned to his carriage.

Before he could alight, however, Georgina and picked up fresh horse dropping in her gauntleted hand and flung it at the departing emperor's head. I quickly sent one of my Flying Gollums Fashioned Into the Semblence of a Pigeon over the carriage and indicated it to the enraged Emperor. He left then nearly in tears.

Fortunately I had made a complete record of this last event upon my Camera Obscura Rapida by Which Numerous Images May Be Made and Then Viewed Sequentially Counterfeiting Motion. A copy of which I presented to the King as a gift and later sold to all present at the meeting, making well over 20,000 zloties in gold for the Version Edited to the Director's Specification alone….

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

September the 15th, A.D. 1683

Up betimes and down to meet with King John who was on his way to greet the returning Emperor Leopold. In the Archbishop's fornicating foyer, we were formally presented, the great beefy bunion of a King not recognizing me, no doubt from a difficulty of having cognizance of any man under 30 stone.

The King is in a gracious good mood and does show much delight in Sandorius and his defense of the town. The king doth bestow upon my Master some gold and villages as well as the Order of Shitting Eagle or some such and calls him Pan Sandorius which is apparently the Polack word for Lord and Noble. Thus am I now prenticed to a great lord, and I reckon my pay and allowance shall be doubled now since this honor, although double of naught still shall be naught.

After much drinking and consuming of French biscuits called croissants, we must all go and greet the slack-jawed jackanape of an emperor. Much talk and disputation, especially from the great hearty windbag Ziglova. I was much bored by the whole of it with scarce a fine looking woman save Penruddick who was, to the disappointment of myself and all other men more modestly dressed now, the fine statuesque Georgina and Little Orphan Annie. With boredom and lack of requitement these three days or more, I did begin to undress them in my mind's eye, together with a fetching young nun I did spy glancing coyly at me. As the ceremony didst progress, one can but imagine what positions my fancy did place them all in with me.

Then to my horror, I spied that the Emperor's chaplain is none other than the malignant Dago wafer-tosser who had accosted me two nights previous. The nasty pumpion looked evilly my way for but a moment and I didst feel my sack like to retreat unto my belly. Then there is tumult and the greeting ends sooner with a great pigeon which did shat upon the emperor's head afore he clapped his hat back upon it.

This night there is much feasting and merriment in the Archbishop's palace at the emperor's expense. I try my wiles upon Georgina who is most morose, I learning that the carp-faced fewmet-splatter Leopold hath dismissed her from his service. I did console her much, knowing well that woman is most vulnerable to seduction when overwrought, sad or drunk. But she has none of it. And betimes, word comes that King John shall take up the services of the equine Countess as well as those of van der Kick and his Walloons.

Little Orphan Annie simply growled at me and took out a great bloodied dagger when I looked in her direction.

That great bilous-brained puttock, Radivue didst attempt to beg my pardon for accusing me with the pox but he grew confused and we came near to a duel afore I escaped his hamfisted attempt at friend. Thou shalt not get off that easy, Noble Prince, thinks I.

Soon I am to bed with the great man-volcano Ziglova in bed already, spewing forth gaseous expressions. Ere I fell to sleep however, I did perceive that a great wailing comes from the antechamber without, like unto the keening either of Scottish ghosts or Liverpudlian costermongers.

As I came to learn, these apparitions did appear in the hall where Georgina, Colonel vander Clump, Annie, Prince Radivue and several of the King's guard stay drinking. The guards proved quite overcome whilst the pimple-brained dullard Prince flung himself upon these formless apparitions. All this I spied from a crack in the door and knowing not how exorcise ghosts, nor costermongers either for that matter, I stayed in my chamber.

Twas then I perceived a commotion in my master's chambers. I looked out pon the balcony hardby and saw Sandorius over the edge and clinging to railing whilst fending a great evil-looking assailant whose great curved saber-teeth marked him as a vampiric parasite. As I later learned, Sandorius had become aware of two great bats flying to his balcony. As he looked on, they changed form into men and would have broken in upon him.

Now I have afore this seen many strange things and read of many more. Also, I knew well that the vampirism is endemic unto the lands of the East so I was not so discomfited by this sight as one would think. That knowledge, together with the fact that I was armed with a magic flaming charge in my pistol and stood behind the great snoring bulk of Ziglova, from whom the cannibalistic carnivores would no doubt be satiated long afore then turned to me, gave me courage.

I fired my pistol at this creature and the ball caught him high in the shoulder. A wondrous blue flame sprouted there and he flung Sandorius towards a partner who I had not seen earlier. This second creature takes Sandorius up by the throat and would have throttled him but for Sandorius pressing a great golden cross upon the creature's chest. The vampire staggered backwards. Behind me a great explosion is discharged and I turn to see Ziglova with smoke streaming from his many barreled musketoon. He has struck the second vampire and tore great holes into his belly. Sandorius attacks again and I fire again as does Ziglova. I later found that Ziglova had marked his bullets with cross-hatching which proved most efficacious against these devilspawn. About the same time, Jules and Jacques, who were standing guard in the courtyard below fire and with unexpected true aim strike one of the creatures. All told, we soon dispatch them both, with Ziglova cutting off there heads and placing great cloves of garlic in their mouths, the Polack earth-whale having huge amounts of provender about him at all times.

In the meantime, our companions contended with the spirits. They proved to be mere apparitions, for Little Orphan Annie approached them with a great silver cross taken down from the walls. The spirits fled easily at this.

Betimes however, a great glowing gate appearth in the hall and four great chitinous beasts appear. All lay to upon them, even Eduard and Georgina's hunting dog Schottzie. The creatures who are great-toothed-mouth-and-snake combined fling themselves upon our companions and a great tumult ensues. Sandorius, Ziglova and I enter the hall in the midst of this struggle. Sandorius rushes to the King's chamber whilst Ziglova and I ready to join the fight. Suddenly, there is a great shout to get down and shots are fired from behind. The king had sorted out his guards and these now discharged their great muskets at the creatures. These now are all fallen into dead steaming heaps. At this moment, the Archbishop with a host of the Walloons came forward.

The Archbishop appears so shocked by the sight of the dead creatures he forgets to swear. We must all needs be closeted with the King to speak of the Great Matter. And thus the Archbishop tells us of the Blood Countess who Penruddick and her man Sufi tells controls the Turk and seeks the same book which Sandorius seeks. She was Hungarian by birth, Erszbet Bathory, cousin to that Stefan Bathory who was elected King of Poland a century a fore. She did dabble in the black arts to maintain her youth and beauty, bathing and drinking the blood of virgins. By such magics and without the intercession of other vampires, she made herself into a vampire by her own will, a thing unheard of. She was thought to be merely another of the evil creature with which both the Church and Cabal are familiar. But the creatures who acted as her minions this night were not such as these but were qilpothic, coming from the remnants of the First, failed Creation. They were creatures of Daath, the Worm That Gnaws at the Tree of Life. So now she seeks the book on how to make the Tabula Primera and with it, she shall surrender the whole world and all Four Realms unto the Great Unmaking, the Outer Chaos, The Qilpoth.

At this the King speaks up and says to us with great spirit, "I see now the problem and my solution will work for this as well as for my own troubles.

"I know that this group, has been brought together by the Prime Mover, the Creator to halt the unmaking. They have been joined and parted, returned to each other on the field of battle. A field where Spirits of Water and Earth have clashed together with magic fire and air from the dying breath of thirty thousand men. If that not be a great Alchemie I know not. But I shall complete the alchemie, I charge you all to go as one into the lands of the Ruritsie to find the book of Dee, to stop the rendering of the Tabula Primera. Then when my message comes, when the final part of the experimentation has been rendered, then shall you destroy the Countess of Blood."

To which Sandorius inquires, "What shall be your message?"

"There shall be no mistaking it when it comes," was the King's only reply

There shall be no mistaking that I have fallen once more amongst madmen and will surely meet my death, thinks I. And so to bed.

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