Saturday, December 17 1205 Anno Domini
I am very suspicious of William, the Cappadocian in my cellar. My wife seems to find him funny, rather like a lap dog with several amusing tricks, but I maintain that he is up to something. His "zombu" servitors treat me politely, if monosyllabically, but their master is constantly staring at me with a combination of curiosity and childish dislike. Someone has let on to him about my unusual age and accomplishment, and I fear he would like to take me apart in the name of Cainite science. As for the dislike, I cannot say from whence that comes. Certainly I have not ordered him and his unwholesome corpse attendants to quit my cellar, much though I desire it. I am watching him. I will treat him courteously for Elena's sake, but
Why is someone knocking on my door? I had best see what they want.
Thursday, December 15 1205 Anno Domini
A strange vampire has moved into the wine cellar, apparently at my wife's invitation. He looks like a monk and smells like a heap of plague victims. Tonight I hope to hear the full story from my wife as to who he is and how he came to be moving my wine around (Not, I suppose, that she needs to justify anything to me about her Cainite affairs, but still). The unflappable Agnes tells me the servants are nearly hysterical with fear and claim that dead things shamble about down there, and that a corpse-like hand delivered the Tuscan 1200 vintage she requested for my dinner. All of them are, of course, welcome to come to me and quit their position, and may they have luck finding new work in plague-ravaged Venice.
More importantly, I visited Bernardo today and put forth my propostion. I explained the unique position I was in with the Sea Witch, and suggested that we not waste the opportunity to move some merchandise. Bernardo smiled (truly, a horrifying sight- the old sailor has a face that could curdle milk and not more than half his teeth) and agreed, assuring me that he could gather a crew very quickly. He also added that he could make a few modifications to the ship, which would enable him to carry a very valuable cargo to Constantinople. He did not tell me what it might be, only that it was not illegal and had a high profit margin, as his principle employer (whoever that is) had offered him a substantial sum if he could get it out of the city. I will recieve, in payment for use of the ship, 100 ducats (half his promised pay) and 60% of the profit from the venture. A hard bargin, but fair. Bernardo has never lost a ship as long as I've known him, which is quite a long time. I intend to move all the good wool cloth left in the warehouses, and load the rest with wine. Constantinople has a good market for dye and medicinal plants this time of year, unless trade has been very badly disrupted indeed.
All right, it is evening. I will go to the basement myself and see what lurks there.
Tuesday, December 13 1205 Anno Domini
Definitely not a fortnight I will remember with favor in my later years. I have recovered fairly well, I think, from my run-in with those damnable sorcerers, though the image of my own blood swirling through the air into the mouth of a laughing magician may haunt me for sometime. Elena assures me that the villains were defeated soundly after I fell. She admonished me to rest, but I soon became restless cooped up in the house, and anyway there was work to be done. I visited old Luco, the harbor master, and after a glass of rather bad wine and a heartfelt thanks that our families were as yet unmarked by plague, I brought up the Sea Witch. Luco is an old friend- he told me the ship was for sale, but with the harbor closed and in the midst of the stormy season, his prospects for sale were few. He did let on, however, that Giovanni had offered him a fair price for the vessel. It seemed odd, but everyone knows the Giovannis are ambitious and eager to expand their fleet. I let on that I had heard rumors of the ship- how it had been found with all aboard in the final agonizing throes of the plague or already putrid with decay, how it had brought this terrible plague from the east in the grain from its hold, and that word was spreading about the Devil's Ship and its terrible curse. I also hinted that the Giovanni would certainly hear this soon, and even they would agree that the ship and all its contents should have been burned in the first place. Even the Giovanni reputation, I assured him, could not ignore such horrors, and the possibility of cargo loss. Luco stammered, and blustered, but I kept at him, until he at last asked me to purchase the ship as a favor, and burn it somewhere else, quietly. The sum I paid for it was a pittance, less than the lumber alone was worth, and now I possess the dubious honor of owning a cursed ship, and Luco's assurance that, should the Sea Witch try to leave the harbor, none of his men would stop her. In the end, he thanked me and blessed me as a fine Christian friend.
I have no doubt that everyone of the Giovanni knew of the ship's unwholesome reputation- they have Cainites among the family, I have heard, and practice loathsome magic- no doubt they will be furious to find I have acquired her.
I have returned rather late to find no one about, and even this exertion has tired me, so I think I will go to sleep until Elena returns.
Lady Elena has asked me, as a close personal friend, to determine the cause of her ghoul's strange illness and to find a remedy! No one has trusted poor William so since the death of my unfortunate sire! I intend to repay her confidence well.
Hmmm. Where to start? I don't believe Lady Elena realizes that I have rarely worked with a living subject, or at least I have rarely worked with the goal of keeping one alive. All of this would be so much simpler if I could make a simple Y-incision and pry open the ribs, maybe study tissue samples from various organs. However, my lady was quite clear that the desired result was a living ghoul. Curse the dratted fragility of mortal flesh! However, all this accomplishes nothing. I must start somewhere; and it would perhaps not be a great plan to keep the ghoul in my workroom for over long. The draft and ill humors cannot be good for his condition. Perhaps I will begin with a physical exam?
Subject is male. Apparent age in early thirties; actual age undeterminable due to ghoulish state. Shows signs of long-term thralldom (slight reddish hue to mucus membranes, saliva, unnatural firmness of skin, etc). Age may have been arrested over a century ago.
Subject is in excellent physical condition. Hair, skin, musculature, teeth, and eyes are well developed and appear healthy. A small amount of excess flesh detectable only on belly and thighs, probably due to rich diet.
Subject shows no sign of serious physical injury. No large cuts, burns, abrasions, or broken bones are apparent; no sign of internal bleeding. The subject's neck, face, and chest show small lacerations and faint bruising consistant with being slapped and scratched by a woman's hands, and perhaps being grabbed or lifted by the neck.
Subject's pulse is slow, faint, and arrythmic. Breathing is also slow and shallow. All voluntary and involuntary phsiological responses are either retarded or wholly absent. Subject's skin is pale and cool to the touch, but shows some lividity around the eyes and lips. Subject shows no sign of consciousness and does not respond to basic physical stimuli (sound of name, minor pinching or poking). Report from domitor indicates that he showed no response to feeding, normally a very strong stimulus, except that he did swallow the blood.
Blood sample demonstrates noticable but non-lethal anemia, consistant with report of recent major blood loss. Some vampiric blood was extractable, and appears to be mostly of Lasombra origin. Blood also has a dull and bitter taste, but the contaminate could not be readily identified.
In short, he was poisoned with something, but I don't know what. Exactly what I knew at the start of this evening. This would go so much faster if I only had a piece of liver or kidney to work with. All right. The night is still fairly young. I will now move on to the wine and the vial from his captor.
After all the unplesantness with the stinking Prince, I am pleased to move into such quiet and comfortable quarters. The zombu seem to frighten Lady Elena's servants, but I am sure they will soon see that they are very useful and pose no threat, so long as the older ones are kept far away from soup kettles. Perhaps they are bothered that the corpses are from plague victims? Perhaps that was insensitive of me. I was simply using what was available. The only drawback to the new arrangement is the lack of a decent nearby cemetery or proper catacomb. Procuring materials will now be a bit squiffier and require far more stealth. The abbot at my monastery will, I'm sure, continue to save the unclaimed paupers and foreigners for me.
It seems that Lady Elena's beloved ghoul husband has gone missing, stolen rather brazenly by an old rival of hers! Lady Elena is very put out about it, of course, but my unbeating heart holds a small hope that he will not be recovered. Perhaps she will realize she can be happy here...in her basement..with me...oh, that is patently ridiculous. I will do my best to help retrieve the hapless Julian, though he does not know my envy. Certainly that will make Elena more pleased with me in the long term, anyway. Get it together, William.
Ah, Diary, what a fun night it has been! I accompanied Ladies Elena, Amir, and Rhonwyn and M. Pierre to the home of the stinking Prince's stinking spoiled favorite child, which Caius' pet Gangrel were patrolling. I offered to create a distraction, seeing a wonderful oportunity to prove my worth on the field of battle, though admittedly a rather small one. As my comrades crept closer to the house, I sent some clever homunculi to bedevil them, grabbing them in places never intended for dismembered limbs. I watched with terrible merriment as they cursed and growled and nearly took their own hands off trying to get free of my pets, but it seemed it was not distraction enough. Something they did must have roused guards within the house, for more Gangrel came out on the lawn. I was terrified that my friends would be discovered, so I made a quick decision. You will never guess what did then, Diary- I flung bones at them! I had several cleverly secreted about my person for later perusal, and I flund them with great accuracy at the onrushing feral vampires, yelling "Here Doggy! Have a bone!" and other such inspired insults, but then I realized the Gangrel had spotted me, so I ran! They all ran after me, and I led them a merry chase around the city by night. I came upon offal and such from some rather old unburied corpses and had even more fun flinging that them. All in all, more fun than I've had in several centuries.
Anyway, Lady Elena has brought home her ghoul, but he seems to have been poisoned. She has asked me for a favor! I must get to work right away to discover his ailment and bring him around, and perhaps earn her favor! Such a night as this does not come around more than once a century!
I really thought for a bit last night that I would finally make my last journey beyond the Shroud! The dreadful prince sent his lupine ruffians to tear me from my important work, and he accused me of treachery, and said I had created the plague and set it loose on his city. I protested, as you might imagine, though of course it was really a bit flattering and I was sure that he was just a bit rough in his request for help but he said I had to die! for my crimes, even after I protested that I simply couldn't create an infectious disease of such wonderful lethality. I suspect one of my clan really did design the plague, as Nature's diseases generally leave more survivors, and they cannot infect Cainites. I would hate to speculate about the hand behind this, but perhaps even the great Lamia herself could have created it? It is sad to see the suffering of the poor kine, but I try to ease their passage by assuring them that their death will forward my great Science. I am sure this brings them at least some comfort, but the prince intended I should die by fire? How could I properly appreciate the great experiment of death during such a demise? What use would it be?
But obviously I have not met Final Death, gentle Diary. Ms. Elena came to my rescue, most valiantly, proving the prince a fool. I owe her and her friends a great service, as they were the only vampires in Venice who would stand for poor William and defend him from the prince's stupidity. Ms. Elena is a lovely vampire, to be sure, and I shall serve her faithfully. She makes me sorry that I neglected living women when I still had a pulse to quicken. She has offered me the protection of her shared haven- surely a sign of favor? But I will not jump to conclusions. She favors her still-living husband. Perhaps I will give her a gift? Or I shall cure the plague! Surely that would be impressive and useful. Anyway, must get on with the packing, can't leave the glassware to the zombu.
blood pool: full (good), ships gained: 1 (v. good), allies saved: 1 (excellent), "incidents": 1(fuck).
Got up, found Julian in bed. Woke him and learned that he acquired the "Sea Witch" for me. Had him translate Tremere scrolls (unsurprisingly Tremere woman is unwilling). Most useful information. Good man. Am off to gather any available last-minute support and retrieve poor William from stupid pig of a prince and most distasteful bonfire.
Speech at palace a complete success. Well done, Elena. Owe Marius, but not much. Will repay him with bits of info from Tremere scrolls and have good laugh at stupid prince with him later tonight. Must deal with clingy Cappadocian first. Need a way to watch/protect him without incurring further physical demonstrations of affection and thanks.
Odd. Amir's doing much better. Well, simplifies my unlife, so I'm glad.
Bollocks. Cappadocians are setting up mini-haven in empty room behind wine cellar in basement. Didn't really need small panic room, anyway. Though I swear, if I smell dead/rotting flesh, there'll be big trouble for those little necrophiles. Suppose having them safely out of my way is worth intrustion, though. Good vampires in general, Cappadocians. Very useful. Anyhow, off to Marius' for aforementioned business and levity.
Ssss. Returned home to find Pierre, Rhonwyn, and ghoul missing, but stray kindred still in their respective rooms. Missing ghoul VERY distressing. Anna's chanting v. creepy as don't know German, but she doesn't seem to be at fault regarding Julian's disappearance. Am willing to bet, though, that she's responsible for Rhonwyn and Pierre being absent. Can't be too put out by that though, as would do same thing myself were I her.
Where IS Julian?
Ssss. Have just noticed that my bleeding herd has been tampered with. Am back off to Marius' for some further tampering with butler. Hmm. Have been annoying Marius and Anna. Must knock it off after this last errand.
A shiny new space for Vampire journals. You know what to do.