We started our evening by going to the hotel to check our mail. I received a reply from Gerardas, which said that he had knowledge of demons and will workers. That was a pleasant surprise. However, he told me he couldn’t share that knowledge for free even with a friend. Very well, I guess I’ll have to give something in return. I replied by asking what sort of payment was required, hoping it wouldn’t be something too problematic, like a ridiculously large amount of money, or some bizarre quest to the underworld…
The other thing on my to-do list for the night was sending a letter to my mom. Ever since I visited Felix’s place, I was thinking that I should give him something for his collection, but until yesterday I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile. I didn’t have any interesting stuff with me (unless you’re really into orthodontic equipment… or shovels. I think we have some shovels), but then I remembered Mark’s idea of giving the Latin book to Tamas and thought I could do the same for Felix. The first book that came to my mind, for some reason, was Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. It was probably because I’d seen a Virginia Woolf book on Felix’s shelf and Orlando was my favorite work of hers, so I thought it had a nice sentiment attached. I also asked for James Joyce’s Ulysses. I was almost through with Mark’s weird book and I didn’t want to be left bookless (yes, I am aware that bookless is not a real word).
It was finally the day of my trials, which would determine whether I was fit to join Ordo Dracul. I don’t like to admit it, but I was really nervous about the whole thing, so I was glad that Mark was going with me. On our way there, I kept thinking what those trials might be. It could be research, but it also could be something exasperating, like running the errands for the elder members for a month. Though I suspected that even if the latter wasn’t a part of the trials, I would probably have to do it anyway. This, however, didn’t diminish my resolve, as I was prepared (at least I thought I was) to do what was necessary to join. They have the resources for knowledge and self betterment that I seek and I have patience and scientific expertise to offer in return.
My thoughts were interrupted by Mark, and, I should say, by a really peculiar phrase. He looked at me and said: “You believe in God and you hate him.” Erm… Okay? I asked him what it was about and he looked a bit lost, even nervous (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mark nervous before). He explained that the Dragons believed in God and blamed him for the curse. Was Mark hinting at something? I was confused. Did he want me to lie to the elders and tell them I hated God as well? But they’re scholars, I thought, don’t they value truth and honesty? Mark told me I didn’t have to lie and that he only wanted me to know that as a fact. Well, anything can be useful, I guess.
When we reached the hotel, we went up to one of the rooms. It wasn’t the Victorian salon Cartwright invited us to, but it wasn’t too shabby either. The elders sat there, looking at me with inquiry in their eyes. There were three of them, but I only knew the Sheriff. Mark was asked to leave the room and I was asked to take a seat. They started asking me questions related to my wish to join their covenant, which was something I’d anticipated. I was confident in my answers until they asked me what research on our condition I had done so far, and I had nothing to present but my little “quest” for vampire origin stories. I felt a little embarrassed by it, but at the same time I realized that there wasn’t much I could’ve done. I didn’t have any resources to do any actual research (which is one of the reasons I’m joining Ordo in the first place). Moreover, what’s the point of doing research if you don’t familiarise yourself with any of the previous studies? Re-inventing the bicycle is unproductive at best.
What really got me stumped were the last two questions. First, they asked me why they should accept me. Although a reasonable thing to ask, objective self-evaluation is really difficult, although that’s probably the point. It is difficult enough to be a skill, and it might be something they value. The final question takes the gold, though. Although in retrospect it seems like a natural progression from a previous question, at that time it was completely unexpected. “Why shouldn’t we accept you?”, the Sheriff asked. I don’t know, I roll my eyes too often? And then I remembered what Mark had told me on our way to the hotel. Of course! I told them I was an atheist and therefore didn’t believe in God. That didn’t seem to elicit any reaction from the elders, so I guess it wasn’t a big deal.
They told me to wait outside for three minutes, so they could make a decision. I spoke briefly to Mark and soon after we both entered the room. They said I was accepted, and instructed Mark to familiarize me with the rules and regulations of the covenant (which he later did). Although I’m really grateful to Mark for all his help, I can’t help but wonder what he got out of all this.
Mark wanted to talk to Tamas, so I tagged along and we set off to search for him and Arshad. I wondered if they’d found a permanent residence by now, which would make it easier for us to find them. This time, though, we found Tamas talking to Rebeka, of all people. And that look on his face… He looked so annoyed, like we interrupted something… Was he going to feed on her? Rebeka looked just as surprised to see us. She introduced Tamas to us, but we told her we were already acquainted. Mark invited him to talk in private, leaving me with our dumbfounded friend. I know we didn’t really talk much, and I admit I didn’t like her at first, but over the time I’d gotten used to her bluntness and cocky attitude. Plus, she’s gotten a lot nicer recently. When I saw the look on Tamas’ face, I got worried about her. I know I probably shouldn’t have (she’s pretty strong and resourceful), but I couldn’t help it. I asked her what she was doing with him and she said they were just talking. In turn, she asked me where Mark and I knew him from. I admit I was really careless. I’m usually very cautious not to breach the masquerade, but somehow I assumed that Rebeka had already known Tamas was one of us (which now seems to contradict my suspicion of him wanting to bite her). On the other hand, maybe Rebeka should know who’s a vampire and who’s not. That way it will be easier for her to avoid becoming someone’s dinner…
Ever since my swim to Felix’s lair, I had been thinking about getting my watch fixed. A lot of time had passed, but I was busy with things, and when I wasn’t, I couldn’t bring myself to take any of the money from the bag without consulting Rhea first. And this I couldn’t do, because I was too embarrassed to tell her I ruined the watch she had given me. So the days went by, while I was contemplating whether taking a banknote from the bag would constitute as stealing or borrowing… Luckily the day had come when I finally made up my mind and decided to go with it. I even found a place where they fix watches, but the problem was that like most shops it closed before sundown. I asked Rebeka for help and she got the watch fixed the next evening. I really appreciate her help.
Tonight I got the books from mom, one of which I planned to give to Felix. I took Orlando and flipped it to the back cover to read the description. I don’t know why I did that – I’ve read the book many times; I guess it’s sort of a reflex of mine – whenever I get my hands on a book the first thing I do is check out what’s on the back. The blurb said it was “the longest and most charming love letter in literature”. It was, wasn’t it? Virginia Woolf was bisexual and she dedicated the book to her lover Vita Sackville-West. And then the symbolism struck me. Of all the books I have ever read I had to pick this one. It’s either a funny coincidence or my subconscious is working against me…
I went to see Felix and this time I found him by the river. I gave him the book and he seemed to like the gesture, although I don’t expect him to read it. We spent the rest of the evening talking, which lately has gotten easier to do.
One evening Rhea, Mark and I were walking down a street when we heard a gunshot. Well that can’t be good. We turned around a corner and saw Teodoras with a knife in his hand and Rosie with a gun standing of front of him. Barbara was also there, but she stood further away. And on top of that, there was a hole in Teodoras’ chest. This is definitely not good. There didn’t seem to be any people around, however it didn’t mean it was going to stay that way. We had to do something about it. We came out from the corner, however that didn’t stop the hostile situation. Are these two insane? For all they knew, we could’ve been a bunch of humans… Mark went towards Barbara (for some reason), and Rhea went to Teodoras and tried to calm him down. Meanwhile, I decided to use my powers of delusion on Rosie. I told her that she would burn for this (in all fairness, that wasn’t even a delusion – it was common sense…). By that time I saw Rhea grappling with Teodoras. I don’t know if my little “scare” worked on Rosie or not, but she ran toward them and helped Rhea subdue Teodoras. I tried using Nightmare on him, but it didn’t seem to work, so I joined the grapple party. After a while, Rhea managed to hold Teodoras down. He was already calm, so it was time to ask questions. Rhea asked Rosie what had happened and she replied, and I quote, that “the pagan scum didn’t know his place”. Greaaat, she’s a religious nutjob. No offence to Rhea, but I share my opinion on the Sanctified with Mark… I didn’t want to get into all that, so I just rolled my eyes. Rhea, on the other hand, took Rosie further away and gave her a lecture. Hopefully Rosie isn’t a complete psycho and doesn’t do something like this in the future.