Happy 2022! I’m back on my bullshit!
Seriously though, it’s good to be back. The mystery begins on page one. The clues are everywhere you look, and everyone is a suspect, so keep your eyes peeled. I hope you enjoy your fave BBD characters on a new adventure in an alternate universe (and I hope you like the new additions to the cast, too).
TW: Blood, gore, violence, and dysfunctional family stuff (this is the primary TW for the whole story, but I’ll also post for any chapter where it seems truly egregious)
Somewhere off the coast of Sulani, 1882…
Brindleton Bay, 1882
“Grandfather!” Samuel ran up the carriage turnaround. “Grandfather! It sank!”
He fell through the front door, shoving past the household staff.
“Sir,” the butler began, “Your grandfather asked that—”
Samuel kept running. “Grandfather, the ship! It—”
“Sank, yes, do be quiet, boy, and sit down.” Gunther Goth turned his attention back to the men gathered in the music room. Though he didn’t say it out loud, it was apparent to everyone that he believed his grandson was an idiot.
“You were describing the expedition,” one man prompted.
“Yes, yes.” Gunther cleared his throat, “As I was saying, we hired a crew of foreigners to bring our goods back to a business partner in Selvadorada. By grace, I was inspired to insure the ship.” He gave Samuel a solemn look that might have meant “let us reflect on our narrow escape from financial ruin,” or “keep your mouth shut, dimwit.”
“Well, it’s not a complete loss,” Mr. Bobridge said. He owned a salvage company that scoured the shorelines after a wreck. “My boys picked up an old trunk out of the wreckage in Sulani. You have a rare find on your hands. Inside was The Ultimate Vampire Tome. Are you familiar?”
“Not really,” Gunther replied, his Adam’s apple bobbing.
“The Ultimate Vampire Tome is a mythical work, part of Goodley Mather’s Encyclopedia Vampirica collection. A wise man, Mr. Mather. He used vampires as an allegory for the sins of sims.” Mr. Bobridge paused, stuffing another pastry tart into his mouth. “Our weaknesses, as it pertains to copulation and the intromittent apparatus, not to mention violence, are detailed quite thoroughly. He represents the path back to innate goodness in the recipe for the Ultimate Vampire Cure. In contrast, he expresses the path of further depravity via the directions for ascending to Grand Master Vampire.”
Mr. Bobridge continued to lecture, his knowledge cribbed from a recent talk at the Brindleton Men’s Club of Knowing and Knowledge. Neither Samuel nor Gunther were listening, and both wore pinched expressions.
Gunther recovered first. The men tarried while he extracted promises for delivery of the trunk and made vague noises about splitting proceeds should he sell the book.
Samuel, however, remained seated—eyes darting around, a series of odd noises coming from his throat.
As soon as the butler guided the men to their carriages, the younger Goth rounded on his grandfather. “With the payout from the policy coming, I think it only makes sense that Cordelia and I be allowed to marry.”
Gunther’s laugh was as cruel as it was loud. “Marry? You fool of a boy. That payout is hardly enough to undo your years of financial mismanagement.”
“I love her!”
“She is unsuitable.”
Cordelia bowed her head and clasped her hands together. She knew from experience that speaking would only make things worse.
“But we are going to the theater!” Samuel stamped his foot like a toddler who’d run out of patience.
Gunther’s lip curled, “Take your whore to see the show, and when you return, know that you will find a wife of suitable disposition with a dowry to match.”
“I don’t agree with this!” Samuel declared.
“You weren’t asked,” Gunther replied. He swept from the room, Samuel hot on his heels.
“But the book,” the younger Goth hissed, “The vampires will—”
“Nothing. They will do nothing. From here on out, we never heard of vampires, and we certainly never heard of any book.”