Catfished, goodbye.

I’ve always thought that people who fall for Nigerian scams and catfishes largely have themselves to blame for being so naive and trusting; I may have to revise that view.

A few days back I had an argument with someone I thought was a close friend whose erratic behaviour was largely caused by her going through a really hard time. The debate ended with her blocking me on all accessible media, which of course made me quite sad. Tonight I found out that she has been making the rounds of our mutual acquaintances and friends, telling them that I spread vicious rumours about them. Of course none of them were willing to provide screenshots or logs.

A while back, this friend was going through financial trouble and lost internet access when her laptop fried. A number of people, myself included, got involved in a fundraiser affair to buy her a new computer. Every other day or so, we’d get updates from her real life neighbour about how she was doing, reports that were inevitably bleak.

A mutual friend pointed out to me that she had pulled something similar on that friend a few years back. Friend had done a little research and discovered that most of this person’s facebook friends and strong supporters have strangely empty walls and stock photo avatars. In other words, this woman doesn’t just make up fictional people in a roleplaying environment, she makes up fictional people to cheer her on in the real world as well.

You guessed it. Fictional neighbour is one of the people she made up, which means that she had people send her money for a new laptop and paying for her internet access while she was perfectly able to get online. That’s where things move from sad and lonely person with problems and into criminal territory. If there was the slightest chance of police in her country doing a thing about it, I would contact them. Unfortunately, her country is nipping at Nigeria’s heels when it comes to scam infamy, and we’re not talking millions of dollars here.

I am done with DiscworldMUD, of course. This person not only permeates the roleplaying community there, she bloody well is most of it, using at least three separate accounts with multiple characters on each to simulate a group of people. There are sweet and good people playing that game, but I will never be able to look at a new roleplayer face again and not ask myself, is this another of her many faces?

TL;DR — people suck, and people who lie and scam you out of time and money suck even more.

This site will stay online for a bit so that people can grab any logs relevant to them. Do it soon, though, because I see no point in continuing to host.

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Holister’s Get Mudding! Song

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New Holister newbie video out

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Snow Problem

The land is lit up by the eerie light of the full moon.
A tiny garden, surrounded by a high wooden fence. Neat beds of herbs have been carefully laid out, with not a stray weed or blade of grass to be seen. A short path winds around the herb beds, and the whole garden gives off an air of orderliness despite the chaos of nature. A stone bench is nestled between two of the herb beds.
It is a very cold spring prime’s night with almost no wind and many puffy clouds.
There is one obvious exit: east.
Miss Georgina de Vitis is sitting here.

Miss Georgina de Vitis is sitting quietly, a book on her lap, her hand on the page. From her expression, the page may not have turned for an hour or more, her gaze resting on one of the plants, purely by default. Her thoughts are clearly not that happy ones, but she is pensive rather than sad. The outfit is neat but hints of work shine through, a waistcoat holding her shirt tighter, her skirt actually a pair of culottes. Her hair is a plait.

Raleigh Montague gazes out of his office window; full moon tonight, which means it’s the perfect time to gather some aconite from the garden for a poison he’s been meaning to brew. He heads out of his office, avoids bumping into people he knows, and arrives in the garden precisely three minutes later, drawing a small silver-tipped knife out from a wrist sheath as he does. He stops, surprised to see someone else in the garden, and then recognises the occupant. “Miss de Vitis. Good evening.”

Miss Georgina de Vitis startles, apparently oblivious to her surroundings, and she jumps to her feet, the book falling to the ground. “Raleigh!” Then she blushes, bending to pick up the book, a moment to compose herself before she tries again, “Doctor Montague.” She pauses, adding quietly, calmly, “I do apologise for the other day. I am not usually so emotional.” A frank and forthright comment, her lips tightening.

Raleigh Montague sheathes the little knife again; aconite gathering can wait. He pauses for a second before coming towards the bench where she is sitting. “That is quite alright. I knew you were upset, but before I could ascertain the cause, or even offer comfort, you had walked away.”

Miss Georgina de Vitis folds the book in her arms, hugging it almost, and gives him a brief smile. “Forgive me, I was … it was rather a terrible week.” An understatement, but she shakes her head, dismissing the week that was. “I had underestimated how much difficulty I would have listening to harsh words, despite their actions last week.”

Raleigh Montague sits on the edge of the bench in silent companionship for a moment. “I am sorry you interpreted the words as harsh, but I am sure you can see how from our point of view we are not fond of your former guild for many reasons. Their attempt on your life whilst you were within the safety of your own guild is only one more reason, one more treachery, in a long line of treacheries.” He is silent a moment. “Georgina, you must understand that whilst you may have friends in the Mano Rossa – and I myself do – that we cannot speak of them with warmth or understanding. I cannot either, despite my friendship with one of their own, who happens, as things stand, to be one of their administration team.”

“I was hoping that it would remain private, that incident.” The quiet reply comes with a glance away, before Miss Georgina de Vitis joins him on the bench, curling her arms around the book. “I understand, believe me I do. There is a large difference in my feelings and my mind in this, and it makes me… uncomfortable to be emotional on this issue.” She glances at him, a look through her lashes, “I… do apologise for that.”

Raleigh Montague frowns slightly. “Incidents like that must be reported if we are to protect our own.” He gazes at her. “You were lucky, but consider that another might not be.”

“Lucky, yes. I reported it, Raleigh, I just had not …” Miss Georgina de Vitis closes her eyes for a moment before continuing, “Considered that it would become something to confront me in my conversations, you see. It is so obvious that it would but oddly,I thought I could pretend otherwise.” She shakes her head, “What nonsense, naive of me.”

Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “I know I was not present during the interaction, but I doubt that it was intended as a confrontation or a personal slight. In fact, I would be very surprised, considering who the other party was, if that was the case.” He brushes an invisible speck off his coat. “I am sorry it has been a rough week for you. I wanted to inquire after you many times, but your exit felt a little final, and I – have had some surprises of my own to contend with.”

“I doubt it was, Raleigh, he meant no offense. Merely a sore spot at a moment when I could not quite handle that.” Miss Georgina de Vitis speaks in a matter of fact way though, and her eyes narrow, her gaze landing on him, studying him, “Is it something I can help with? I am sorry to hear it…” Her voice softens, her forehead creasing.

Raleigh Montague frowns at the softly falling snow. “I fear the weather appears to have taken a turn for the worse.” He glances at her, his eyes amused now. “I do not think so, although I appreciate the inquiry.”

“I rather enjoy snow. We rarely see it in Genua.” Miss Georgina de Vitis replies quietly, and she returns that glance with a steady look, “Ah the mysterious Raleigh.” She is almost teasing him, a small smile on her lips, “Well then, should you need it, or perhaps an ear, …” She lifts her shoulders, a small gesture. (Georgina)

Raleigh Montague laughs, as he glances at the snow again. “Would you like my coat?”

Miss Georgina de Vitis tilts her head back, closing her eyes for a moment, letting the snow fall on her face with evident pleasure. Then she turns towards him, giving him a smile, “It is colder than you would imagine, looking at it. Please.” The snow has settled on her lashes, somehow darkening them.

Raleigh Montague slips out of his fine woollen dark red overcoat, the only concession to colour in his wardrobe, and hands it over; it is surprisingly light. He glances at her face, and gently flicks a tiny snow flake off the tip of her nose with a touch that is barely there. “Snow problem”, he quips, his eyes amused.

Miss Georgina de Vitis hugs it around herself, her gaze on his face, before his flick of her nose brings a laugh to her, one that reaches her eyes. “Raleigh, I…” She hesitates, her face uncertain for an instant, “I missed you this week.” She speaks the words softly, “I nearly came to visit but I felt, the way I left… It was perhaps not right.”

Raleigh Montague points out that she did storm out after using a very formal method of addressing him. “I am never sure when that happens whether people have retreated to formality, in which case did the interim period of better acquaintance ever happen, or whether it is a passing fancy. In any case, I always leave it up to the other person to resolve. I only resolve situations in which I was the instigator.”

“I did, which I do regret.” Miss Georgina de Vitis lifts her hands, lifting the collar on his coat around her neck, slanting him a look, “If I could take those moments back, I would.” The soft words come with a smile that is more rueful than happy, and she shakes her head, “I hope though that it is resolved, with my apology, and contrition?”

Raleigh Montague responds by taking her free hand to hold in his own. “Indeed. There is no need to mention this any further. Let us be silent on the subject, and talk of better things.” He frowns slightly. “Your hands are cold.” He takes her book out of her other hand, setting it on the bench, and rubs her hands gently between his own.

Miss Georgina de Vitis gives him a smile, one that warms her eyes, and her fingers squeeze his. “It is snowing, you know.” She is teasing him, her eyes filling with mischief, and her gaze studies his face. “Are you sure you won’t share your bad week with me?” The question is soft, her concern sliding into her face.

Raleigh Montague’s own fingers squeeze her hands back in response. He chuckles. “It isn’t a bad week, per se. Merely a rather challenging one.” He gazes thoughtfully at her. “I suppose I should tell you, since it is highly likely that you will meet her in the guild, although I haven’t run into her yet. My former – that is, a lady I was once involved with, is back in town, and we didn’t exactly part on the best of terms.” He considers this before thoughtfully saying, “Actually, I’m not entirely sure that we parted at all.” He laughs. “It isn’t how it sounds; we weren’t involved when she left. However, she does have this surprising habit of leaving – and reappearing – rather suddenly.”

Miss Georgina de Vitis is smiling at his chuckle, but it fades a little, her forehead creasing as he speaks. She listens, her teeth catching on her lower ilp, her eyes darkening with concern. “Are you alright?” Her concern is obvious, the focus of it the man in front of her. “Will it be awkward for you? Is there anything I can do?” Her fingers tighten, just for a moment, on his, her gaze anxiously fixed on his face.

Raleigh Montague nods. “I am well, thank you. I hope to run into her soon, as a matter of fact, and am quite likely to, if she is back to stay.” He squeezes her hands again. “In any case, if you do hear anything about me and Lady Aell von Glitz, then you know it is indeed the truth, and we were involved once.”

Miss Georgina de Vitis nods slowly, her forehead creasing before she shakes her head slightly, a tiny movement, “The obvious question, I suppose, is how it changes this, us. It must, of course… ” She trails off, giving him a questioning look, her eyes thoughtful.

Raleigh Montague quietly says, “I will not deny that I cared about her, and that I did mourn her loss in as much as you can mourn the loss of someone with whom you have had a very tumultuous relationship.” He gazes at her face. “I am not accustomed to telling the lies that some men tell, merely to secure the affections of a young lady using false pretences. This much you know.”

Raleigh Montague quietly says: I like to think that Aell’s return will leave me unaffected, if not in entirety, then at least for the most part.

Miss Georgina de Vitis returns that gaze, hers steady, and she nods slightly, “I think I prefer truth, Raleigh, and I would think less of you had you not cared for someone with whom you were involved.” Her voice is soft and she shakes her head, “And us then, unaffected?” There is an uncertainty, her eyebrows drawing together in query.

Raleigh Montague lifts her hands up to kiss them. “Unaffected.”

Miss Georgina de Vitis blushes, slanting him a look through her lashes, “That is good…” Her voice is softer, and then her eyes widening a little, “I have a little other thing to tell you, so that you too do not hear something in rumour.”

Raleigh Montague glances at her face, his eyes amused. “If you also have a former lover descending on you this week, then it is surely the gods having a laugh at our expense.”

Miss Georgina de Vitis giggles, her amusement showing, “No, oh no, well, I hope not. If he is, it would be less than friendly. But I have moved to share Kurzik’s apartment, he kindly offered me a room.”

Raleigh Montague chuckles. “Ah, I see. I confess, I do not know him beyond the superficial nod in the hallways.” He smiles. “I take it you are happy there?”

“He has been very kind. We were old friends in Genua, and now… I have his kitchen.” Miss Georgina de Vitis shoots him a look full of laughter. (Georgina)

Raleigh Montague laughs. “Should hunger pangs strike, you will not be far away from a snack, at least.”

Miss Georgina de Vitis laughs, shaking her head, reaching out to brush the snow from his sleeves. “You are getting cold.” Her voice is soft though.

Raleigh Montague shakes his head, dislodging a few snow flakes, and shaking his plait at the same time. “Spring snow. Enjoy it. This is the prettiest this city ever gets, unless it is blanketed by the thicker snows of winter.”

“It does make it a little prettier, I admit.” Her eyes are laughing up at him, and Miss Georgina de Vitis brushes the pad of her thumb over his hand, glancing down to consider their clasped hands.

Raleigh Montague gently unclasps his hands from hers and lifts her face up to his by lifting her chin. “Very pretty indeed.” He’s probably not talking about the snow.

Miss Georgina de Vitis smiles up at him, and whispers her reply, “The view is wonderful..” She leans in a little, sliding a hand to his chest, her eyes warm.

Raleigh Montague forgets where he is for a moment as he bends to gently – but very thoroughly – kiss the lady.

Miss Georgina de Vitis returns the kiss, her fingers sliding up to his throat, her fingertips brushing his jawline. Her eyes close, the snow melting on their faces.

Raleigh Montague breaks free at least, rubbing his forehead against hers. “Dear me. What a sight for Miss Smith-Rhodes if she were to come in here, or indeed, for a truant student.” A finger twirls an errant curl around itself, a gentle caress.

Miss Georgina de Vitis lets out a breathy giggle, slanting him a look through her lashes and she cups his cheek with her hand, her fingers cold. The sound of the door opening and closing makes her sit back, just a tiny amount, reluctantly. “Or any of the staff…”

Raleigh Montague laughs. “Or any of the staff.” He moves to get to his feet, glancing down at her. “Do you yearn to return to your kitchen, wench, or could you stand to spend the night with me tonight?”

Miss Georgina de Vitis rises to her feet, her hands rising to tuck his coat around her face, “I believe I can bear to leave it for a little time. Although sometime, you should come and see the cosiness I have there…” Her smile at him is warm, teasing him.

Raleigh Montague chuckles as he leads the way out of the snow-filled garden. “I believe I can safely promise you that.”

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A home to share?

Georgina is quietly packing her belongings into a box. Her dress is demure enough, her hair tied up into a knot at the nape of her neck.

Kurzik De’Vardis walks into the library with a casual stride, almost a saunter, but stops at the entrance as he sees Georgina, and leans against the left side of the door frame. He raises an eyebrow slightly as he notices what she’s doing and then glances around to make sure that nobody else is around before saying in a loud voice, “Leaving so soon?” as he turns his gaze back to Georgina, a slight smile on his lips but concern in his eyes.

She looks up, startled at the voice, her eyes widening for an instant before she smiles. “Well, I thought it might be wise, and Riannon has returned so I can hand the library back.” Georgina de Vitis’s voice is quiet, the Genuan accent escaping. “Forgive me for leaving so abruptly the other day.” (Georgina)

Kurzik De’Vardis shrugs slightly, an odd half shrug with his left shoulder still against the door frame, “No need to apologise. Perhaps it is me who should be doing that, in any case. You seemed far more offended by the conversation than I had intended.” He walks casually over to the desk as he speaks, stopping and glancing down into the box, “Make sure you borrow a few of the good ones before you leave. Hat knows what will happen to them otherwise.”

“It has been a difficult time, I admit and I had hoped to keep some events to myself.” Her voice is steady, calm almost, and she glances at the box. It mostly holds her own books, and her notepads, her observations and her own work. Georgina de Vitis shakes her head, giving him a smile, “These are people I am still fond of, and it is difficult to hear such opinions of them in front of me. I preferred to leave than cause troubles.” (Georgina)

Kurzik De’Vardis shrugs again, looking away as he says, “The Mano Rossa have not done much to endear themselves to our guild in recent times. I personally find it easier to make light of it than face what it might mean that members of our sister guild acts as they do. But I will keep such thoughts and opinions to myself, in future.” He looks back, meeting Georgina’s eye, the characteristic smile replaced by a small, thoughtful frown as he looks at her.

“I understand, I do. An attempt on my own life barely endears them to me, but..” She lifts her shoulders, a gesture that speaks for itself. Georgina de Vitis tilts her head, giving him a small smile that doesn’t quite make her eyes, “But as you see, I felt it best to draw back a little. I fear I have made a fool of myself and… well, my landlady needed her room also and thus the time is auspicious.” (Georgina)

Kurzik De’Vardis raises an eyebrow at the last comment, “You’re leaving because your landlady needed a room? Well, it’s lucky for you that I know a place where you might be able to stay. Although, I’m not sure you’ll like the company you’d have to keep. Best to check it out yourself, anyway. Come on.” Without waiting for a response, he picks the box up off the desk, turns and begins walking out the door.

Georgina de Vitis looks startled as he picks up her box and begins to leave. For a second, she stands still, and then she shakes her head, following him quickly, her steps fast to catch up. “Kurzik, I am not certain that this.. I mean, I am uncertain as to my welcome in this Guild.” She hesitates, adding quietly, “I don’t know if I feel I wish to stay.”

Kurzik De’Vardis glances sideways at Georgina, continuing to walk and not slowing in the slightest, “Nonsense. Just because the school still claims to be elite and we receive most of the children of the upper crust to study here, doesn’t mean there isn’t somewhere for you to fit in. And if anyone says differently, they may just find an F in my class.” He grins at her as he walks out the gate and begins leading the way through the city.

The teasing does soften the tension in her face, and she shakes her head, “You are very difficult to deny, Kurzik, you do tend to … make me smile at the very least.” She follows him, keeping pace beside him, her face thoughtful. “I detest fuss and drama, you see, and I fear I erred rather close to it, and that is so unutterably…embarrassing.” Georgina de Vitis blushes slightly. (Georgina)

Kurzik De’Vardis grins wider and raises his left hand to point at Georgina, the box held under hid right arm, “There, see? You say you don’t fit in here, but that is a decidedly Ankh-ish attitude. Keep that up, and you might just fit in here better than I do. I swear half the traditionalists think I’m too low-brow for the school.” He shrugs his shoulders, shifting the box slightly as he does so, “But what can they do? Can’t be rid of the new professor, can they?”

His jokes, his teasing, is softening the deep freeze she had been in, the carefully contained emotions, and a smile begins to emerge despite herself. “I do hope not. Having seen it so far, I think I would prefer to remain un-Ankh-ish, and be myself.” Georgina de Vitis shakes her head, almost bemused by him, “I think you are charming and educated, but I am not certain why you are doing this… or even where we are going.” (Georgina)

Kurzik De’Vardis gestures vaguely up ahead, where along the street can be seen the signs of Cheesmonger Yard, “Over there. And it’s good you don’t want to be Ankh-ish, because none of them would be seen dead living on this side of the city. Which is a shame, because some of them might look kind of good that way…” He sighs loudly, obviously faked and over the top, “As for charming and educated, that may be, but lower house or not, someone of my heritage should not act the way I do. Smiling is practically a crime, to some.”

He has definitely been amusing, and Georgina de Vitis laughs, a soft sound, and her eyebrows arch upwards. “I prefer this side of town, it has flavour, and you know where not to stand.” She steps neatly around a puddle of some substance, carefully avoiding it. “I prefer those that can smile also. I am a little tired of pretending to be what I am not.” (Georgina)

Kurzik De’Vardis wrinkles his nose slightly, and sticks out his tongue in a weird gesture, as if trying to taste the air, “Yes, if only the flavour were more pleasant. This is akin to one of Dibbler’s sausages, I fear.” He shudders slightly, and turns abruptly into the garden out front of one of the plain looking flats on Cheesemonger Yard, “Well, here we are. Don’t let the exterior fool you, the inside is much less pleasant!” He grins and walks to the door, pausing for a moment before opening it and stepping inside.

Georgina de Vitis trails him, her expression amused but a little perplexed, her eyebrows lifted in question. “This is where you live? You know, it is not where I imagined you.” She steps through the door behind him, pausing in the doorway to look around, her gaze taking in every single thing. “I should ask what you have in mind, perhaps?”

Kurzik De’Vardis closes the door, then turns to look at Georgina his lips pursed and a thoughtful frown creasing his forehead. After a moment he chuckles softly and the smile returns as normal, “I apologise, for a moment I was going to make a very tasteless joke there, but I’m far too refined to lower myself to such levels.” He sniffs pointedly, lifting his nose in the air as he strides across the room and opens the door in the northwest corner, revealing an unfurnished room, “I think it used to be a kitchen, but well, without a stove I’m sure it could serve just as well as a second bedroom.”

Georgina de Vitis Her eyebrows fly up, but she laughs, following him with evident amusement, “You are… offering to rent a room to me?” Her eyebrows arch up for an instant before she turns, studying the room, “If I take your kitchen, surely you will have nowhere to cook?” The quiet comment is soft as she weighs things up, considering his offer thoroughly. “But I find myself in a situation where your cooking is less important, I suspect, and I thank you and accept.”

Kurzik De’Vardis looks at her with a slightly confused frown, “Cooking? Isn’t that for the common-folk?” He arches an eyebrow, a slight twinkle of amusement visible before the smile slowly returns, “I’ve honestly never found much time for cooking, anyway. When I was young, we had a cook. Then I joined the guild, so ate what passes for food in the cafeteria. Now I’m an adult and I find I’m far too busy to cook for myself. So a bedroom it is.”

She sits down on the sofa, staring up at him for a long moment and then laughs, her head shaking. “Oh Kurzik. I… ” She covers her mouth, trying to smother a giggle, closing her eyes for the moment. “Well, then, I suspect I should buy a bed at the very least…” She trails off, looking up at him, her expression bemused. “Why does it matter to you that I stay or go?”

Kurzik De’Vardis shrugs slightly, turning his head to look into the room he’s offered Georgina and staring for a long moment as if seeing something there that nobody else does. The silence drags out and eventually he speaks softly without turning his head, “I love my place in the guild, with the loss of my family they filled that void. But if we can drive away someone like you, then are we any better than those we judge a below us, those we deem miscreants for the way they attack our members? We need to be better than them. Better than we are. And keeping a friend here seems like a good way to start.”

Georgina de Vitis waits for him to speak, her hands clasping in front of her, on her bent knees. Her face becomes serious as the silence goes longer, and then he speaks, and she stares up at him, blinking for a moment. “That is… ” She, the wordsmith, the bibliophile, seems to lack words to reply. She rises to her feet slowly, her fingers clasping before her, “Someone like me… And I am grateful that you describe me as a friend.”

Kurzik De’Vardis glances at Georgina and smiles, bending to place the box he still carries just inside the empty room, before standing back up and turning to face her, “What else would I consider you? The one bright light our of my journey to Genua, someone who always seems to have a laugh readily at hand. Why, you even make jokes all the time, such that I can barely keep up. How could I not want to be your friend?”

The smiles Georgina de Vitis gives him in reply is watery, her eyes suddenly bright with tears. “Oh I am sorry, I detest …” She turns away quickly, drawing a handkerchief from her pocket, lifting to dabbing her face. “You are my very good friend, Kur, and I am so grateful.” She turns back, giving him a smile, her eyes a little pink. “I believe I shall need to buy furniture. Thank you so much, Kur, I will stay. Perhaps things will become less fraught…” (Georgina)

Kurzik De’Vardis smiles wider, and reaches out to give Georgina a friendly hug, “When life has been hard on me, I remember something. One of the few things my mother ever told me that I actually remember. Life never gives us more than we can handle. Now, I’m not entirely sure what she meant by that, but I choose to believe that if like seems hard, or fraught, or anything, it is simply because we are stronger than we yet realise.”

Georgina de Vitis returns the hug, a tight moment where she hides her face. Then she smiles in reply, her eyes warming, “I like the sound of her. This is merely a graduation of sorts.” She sighs, rubbing her fingers over her forehead, adding softly, “I will go shopping now, and get back here to unpack. I must pick up my bag from my lodgings also…”

Kurzik De’Vardis smiles at Georgina and nods his head slightly, moving over to one of the armchairs and lounging in it, one leg up over the arm in a very undignified fashion, “Of course. Unfortunately I don’t have more furniture for you, but I’m sure you can make it look homely in no time. Oh, and before I forget.” He reaches a hand under his cloak and comes out with a small key in his hand, “Probably useful in case I’m not around later. Picking the lock is probably not wise.”

Georgina de Vitis laughs, shaking her head, her face softened, some of the worry faded from it. “It will take me no time at all, believe me.” She reaches out, taking the key from him, and then bends forward to press a kiss against his cheek. “Thank you, Kur.” Then she turns, walking for the door, heading to find herself some furniture.

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It was…

You open the south door.
The Modern Language and Music classroom of the Assassins’ Guild. Rows of desks are set up, facing the blackboard, while posters and plaques adorn the walls. A piano sits opposite the blackboard and other musical instruments are displayed on shelves.
There is one obvious exit: north.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley and Kompt de Yoyo is standing here.
You close the north door.
You temporarily stop trying to be inconspicuous while the south door opens, and closes behind you.
You continue sneaking.

You come out of your hiding place.
Showing no real skill, you play a few clashing bars on the piano.
You hit the keys of the piano at random, creating a horrible noise.
Showing no real skill, you play a few clashing bars on the piano.
Showing no real skill, you play a few clashing bars on the piano.
Showing no real skill, you play a few clashing bars on the piano.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley grimaces at you.

You say: BOOYAH

You search for a suitable spot and hide.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks: That… was an assault upon my inner peace, wasn’t it?

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Pond Scum!

This is a large commercial property. The ceiling is open wood beams, the floor is covered with an intricate pattern in antique oak parquet and the other surfaces are papered with powder blue marbled wallpaper on which is a gold stencil of a beautiful fleur de lys. Standing against the north wall is a deluxe shop counter over which hangs a blackboard. Around the deluxe shop counter are two large black wardrobes. Imposing against the west wall is a rich old sofa opposite which squats a carved camphor mahogany chest. Near the first carved camphor mahogany chest is another carved camphor mahogany chest. Hiding in the southeast corner is a glass-topped oak desk around which are a massive ebony bookcase and a black wicker chair. Behind you the south door leads to Filigree Street between two shops.

There is one obvious exit: backward.

Alaia opens the south door.

Alaia arrives from behind you.

Alaia closes the south door.

Alaia gives two almost rotten sausages-in-buns to Daimon.

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: EAT.

Daimon say in Morporkian: … Ew.

Daimon disposes of them in the wastebin.

Daimon drops two almost rotten sausages-in-buns.

Daimon asks Alaia in Morporkian: Honestly, how long did you keep those in a warm place?

Alaia snorts. “Boring. At least you can appreciate my thoughtful gift.”

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: I didn’t. I found it in a drain on my way here.

Daimon asks in Morporkian: Custom made to disgust, I assume?

Alaia sweetly says to you in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Just like you.

You say to Alaia in Morporkian: I’m glad to feel so appreciated.

You say in Morporkian: Slam your skinny, lopsided butt down and have some coffee, it’s cold outside.

Alaia says to you in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Yeah yeah yeah. It is cold.

Alaia sits on the glass-topped oak desk.

Daimon gives a mug of Quirmian espresso to Alaia.

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Thanks.

Daimon says in Morporkian: There, now thaw out.

Alaia warms her hands on the mug. “What’re you doing?”

Daimon says in Morporkian: Just going over the ledgers, making sure everything adds up right and every supplier’s getting his money.

Daimon says to Alaia in Morporkian: Her Pozness is good with numbers but she ain’t got nothing on me.

Alaia laughs as she sips some of the strong coffee. “Well you’ve got a high opinion of yourself.”

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Nothing changes.

Daimon says to Alaia in Morporkian: Know your vampire lore, chick. We’re good with numbers.

Alaia asks Daimon in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Again with the chick? What did I tell you about that?

Daimon says to Alaia in Morporkian: Something I ain’t gonna bother to remember as long as you bring me rotten sausages.

Alaia snorts into her coffee and manages to roll her eyes at the same time.

Daimon looks amused. Hey, maybe he was bored.

Alaia looks at the stencil on the powder blue walls. “So how is Ari?”

Daimon begins to roll a cigarette. “Same as usual, not sitting down for long, being a great mum, and leaving dirty china everywhere. Good thing she’s got me to clean up after her, eh?”

Alaia giggles at you.

Daimon says in Morporkian: Vampires, also good for cleaning.

Alaia frowns. “Well can you make sure she’s not doing too much? You know how she gets.”

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: I miss Daina so much.

Daimon lights the cigarette with a spark from his thumb. “Then come visit her?”

Alaia mumbles. “Dunno, I always fight with you and I think it bothers Ari.”

Daimon says in Morporkian: Well, we’re not fighting right now, are we? Besides, it ain’t the kid’s fault that you hate me.

Alaia finishes her coffee. “Obviously not, I helped raise her when you weren’t around.”

Alaia sticks a tongue tip out at Daimon.

Daimon amusedly says to Alaia in Morporkian: You know what I gotta say about that.

Alaia says to Daimon in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Not to me you don’t.

Daimon grins lopsidedly, amused.

Alaia bristles slightly.

Daimon asks Alaia in Morporkian: So have you begun believin’ that I’m sticking around yet?

Alaia morosely says to Daimon in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Dunno maybe. I’ll tell you when you’ve been back a year.

Daimon says in Morporkian: Fair enough.

Daimon says in Morporkian: Only one hunter as I know of around at the moment and she don’t care enough about me to actually try to kill me.

Alaia interestedly asks in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Who?

Daimon says to Alaia in Morporkian: Her name’s Aell von Glitz and she’s bad news.

Alaia waves a hand dismissively. “Oh yeah, I heard about her from Ari.”

Daimon looks up at her, surprised. “Oh? Only thought they met a few times when Aell thought she needed rescuing from me.”

Alaia looks surprised herself. “No they were friends once. After you left.”

Alaia asks in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Guess what they bonded about?

Alaia snorts.

Daimon blows a smoke ring. “Aell and Ari friends. I’m amazed Ari even were willing to talk to me when I came back.”

Alaia crosses her legs daintily under her skirt. “Yeah well Ari’s stubborn enough to do whatever she wants.”

Daimon says in Morporkian: And Aell really hates vampires. Mind, she’s kinda got reason to.

Alaia giggles.

Daimon says to Alaia in Morporkian: Like, vampires took over her home town and she had to take it back.

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Obviously. Everybody who is not a vampire who ever met vampires hates vampires.

Daimon asks in Morporkian: Ari too, right?

Alaia says to you in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: That’s cause you’re hateful.

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Well not Ari.

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Dunno why.

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: She’s sweet.

Alaia says to Daimon in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Too sweet for you.

Daimon amusedly says in Morporkian: Most folks don’t hate us. Most folks don’t care all that much, really.

Alaia wrinkles her nose at Daimon . “Hmpf.”

Daimon says to Alaia in Morporkian: But yeah. Ari’s sweet.

Alaia puts the mug of Quirmian espresso on the glass-topped oak desk.

Daimon says in Morporkian: Still think you should visit more often, though. Ain’t Ari and the chickadee’s fault that you think I’m pond scum.

Alaia says in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Thanks for the coffee. I got to go now though.

Daimon says to Alaia in Morporkian: Have a nice day, chickie.

Alaia says to you in Morporkian with a Morporkian accent: Well, tell her I miss her anyway, and yeah I’ll visit soon.

Daimon says in Morporkian: Yeah, can do.

Alaia gets off the glass-topped oak desk and stands up.

Alaia opens the south door.

Alaia leaves backward.

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Women! Students! Parents!

The student mess hall, where students of the Assassins’ Guild come to sate their hunger and thirst. Rows and rows of scarred wooden tables line the room, with wooden benches placed along them and a large bin in the corner serves as a handy place to put discarded plates and bowls once they are empty, or at least finished with. A large menu is on one wall, detailing the menu of the day, but from the looks of the students leaving the room, it leaves a lot to be desired.

There are three obvious exits: north, east and west.

Doctor Raleigh Montague sits on a bench.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely asks: You were involved, at a time, with the Duchess Glitz, aye?

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks amused as he signals for a coffee. “You know I was.”

Andrew d’Ackerley say: She’s back in the city, apparently.

Doctor Raleigh Montague pauses in the act of folding his cloak; an infinitely tiny pause, but one all the same. “I see.”

Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “I suppose the question is, do you want to track her down, or avoid her? Let me know which so I can be of assistance, old boy.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague taps long fingers on the table surface as his coffee arrives. He looks thoughtful. “I hardly know myself, in truth.” He glances at you. “Is that an acceptable response for now until I have had the time to think it through?”

Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: Of course it is. I have had my heart torn out and run through a wrencher a few times myself.

Doctor Raleigh Montague adds one tiny teaspoon of sugar to his coffee and stirs it thoughtfully and noiselessly. He grins a little wryly. “I’m not easily – I don’t – that is, I don’t fall in love.” He barely notices a greeting from a passing Widow. “But you know my history with Aell, and how far back it goes. She’s – yeah. I can’t explain it.”

Andrew d’Ackerley nods and pours himself tea. “I know. Hell, I never thought I’d fall again. Fortunately my wife is very patient. And very persistent.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “You know, this is Aell through and through. The moment I move on, she arrives.”

Andrew d’Ackerley simply say: Yes, it is. She is a manipulative shrew.

Doctor Raleigh Montague taps his fingers on the table again. “Hm, this is definitely a turn up for the books, as they say.

You emote: Andrew d’Ackerley offers a small laugh. “It is. It apparently upset my wife’s pet vampire enough that he actually complained at -me- about it.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague raises an eyebrow. “Heavens, I forgot Daimon. I had better check in with him later. He is not – best pleased – with Aell. In fact, I suspect that friendship might be over.”

Andrew d’Ackerley lights a cigarette. “It certainly sounded that way to me. I actually dislike him less now. He’s always shown that smiling, easy going mask to me.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague finishes his coffee. When he speaks, his voice is dry. “He’s a little like us in that regard, d’Ackerley. Too much to hide, too dangerous to reveal.”

Andrew d’Ackerley goodnaturedly says: Mm-hmm. I’d probably like him just fine if he had a pulse.

Doctor Raleigh Montague amusedly says to him: Speciesist.

Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: I never denied it. I do not like immortal creatures.

Doctor Raleigh Montague points out that the option is open to you as he gets his cigarette case out.

Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Me, become undead?

Andrew d’Ackerley looks mildly horrified.

Doctor Raleigh Montague lights his cigarette. “I can see the advertisements now. “Join us. You too can taste immortality. All it takes is a little – bite.””

Andrew d’Ackerley asks: A nip of the future?

Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs as he leans back into the corner, and smokes his cigarette. “If you like. And consider, this would be your ultimate revenge on Ankhian society. A vampire Earl.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: Your wife might divorce you, though.

Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: That joke was played centuries ago when we got vampire lawyers.

Doctor Raleigh Montague waves a hand. “Vampire lawyers are so passe. Vampire earls now, that’s where it’s at.”

You say: Only if you join me as a vampire king.

Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs quietly. “Considering my particular history with the creatures, I must ask you to excuse me.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: And coming from a long lineage of werewolves, I shall plead the same, even if there hasn’t been an actual werewolf in the family since my great-grand uncle.

Doctor Raleigh Montague grins as he waves back to a group of his students. “Ah, very well, in that case.”

Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Oh, by the way, old bird, you dodged a bullet. You remember that whiny student?

Andrew d’Ackerley asks: The one neither of us wanted?

Doctor Raleigh Montague casts his mind back. “Ah yes, I do recall that particular one.”

Andrew d’Ackerley contentedly says: Well, she ended up in Scorpion House.

Andrew d’Ackerley adds, with obvious amusement, “She spent two hours whining about it yesterday. Thinks that the guilds are all females and it is very boring.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “Rumatha will have his hands full. Mind you, I don’t understand. She wants – more boys?”

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: We have plenty.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: According to her, there are very few male assassins.

Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs. “Tell her to visit the boys dormitories at night, or indeed, wait in the corridors when the boys are heading to the baths.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague gestures around the hall. “And I suppose these lads are not lad enough eh?”

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks amused. “Ah, students. What will we be without them?”

Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Happy?

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: Aye, vastly.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: But alas, not very busy.

Andrew d’Ackerley sips his tea.

Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: If you want my advice, though, don’t let Aell draw you in again.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: if she was ever serious, let her come to you this time.

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks thoughtfully at the glowing end of his cigarette. “If she were to come to me, I do not know how I would react.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague quietly says: And that is not a good position to be in, I admit.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Better than on your knees or heart broken.

Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs. “I have never been either.”

Andrew d’Ackerley softly asks: Women. Quite the headache, and yet we can’t quite get on without them, can we?

Doctor Raleigh Montague chuckles as he finishes his cigarette. “Can’t live with them, can’t inhume them.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: At least I have a brother who dutifully bred.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says to you: This brother of yours seems to be nothing but dreary duty.

You quietly say: He is where he wants to be. Doing what he and the family always wanted him to do. He is the Earl in everything but name.

Doctor Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “I don’t dismiss him; it’s just that from everything I hear you say about him he sounds like an older brother, not the youngest.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: He was supposed to replace me. Mother brought him up to be the earl. I kind of feel sorry for him at times.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: So many expectations.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: It does seem a waste of a life.

Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: Two lives. I was supposed to die to make room for him, after all. It’s always been between us… Why we’ve never been close, I suppose.

Doctor Raleigh Montague stretches his long legs under the table to get as comfortable as he can. “Your parents clearly have a lot to answer for. My own childhood was – idyllic.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: Apart from the permanent contract on my head, of course.

Andrew d’Ackerley quietly asks Doctor Raleigh Montague: Each our reasons to be less than cheerful children, aye?

Doctor Raleigh Montague says to you: My parents kept the truth of who we were from us until I turned thirteen.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: A wise decision.

Doctor Raleigh Montague hesitates. “According to Uberwaldean custom, a boy who turns thirteen becomes a man. So then, of course, I was told the truth.”

Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “I believe I was told on the day I was entered into the guild. In a fashion. I overheard my mother tell my father that it was a waste of money.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague raises an eyebrow. “I am pleased you proved her wrong, old boy.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: You have a nice stubborn streak in you.

Andrew d’Ackerley laughs softly. “I have that from my father who drank and whored himself to death with the explicit purpose of angering his wife.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs. “A valuable keepsake.” He shakes his head. “I have a class to get to soon.” He glances over at you. “I appreciate the heads up.”

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Friends of Yours?

This is a large commercial property. The ceiling is open wood beams, the floor is covered with an intricate pattern in antique oak parquet and the other surfaces are papered with powder blue marbled wallpaper on which is a gold stencil of a beautiful fleur de lys. Hanging on the north wall is a blackboard below which stands a deluxe shop counter. Around the deluxe shop counter are two large black wardrobes. Squatting against the east wall is a carved camphor mahogany chest opposite which imposes a rich old sofa. Near the first carved camphor mahogany chest is another carved camphor mahogany chest. Hiding in the southeast corner is a glass-topped oak desk around which are a massive ebony bookcase and a black wicker chair. Behind you the south door leads to Filigree Street between two shops.
There is one obvious exit: backward.
Daimon is sitting at the glass-topped oak desk.

Delia waltzes in to the shop and removes her coat near the door, carefully shaking off the wet onto the mat. She spent too much time on shift yesterday mopping up the floor after customers to make that kind of mess herself! She looks up to see who’s working today and and sees a striking fellow she hasn’t met before. “Oh! Hello!” she greets him brightly.

Daimon looks up from his book. “Ello.”

Delia flounces over to the employees only room and hangs up her coat on an empty hook and then peeks in her cubby to see if there are any messages or notes for her. She slides a torn-out sheet of paper out, reads it and giggles before tucking it in to her pocket. “I haven’t met you before! Seeing as you’re sitting at the desk, you’re either a really forward customer or you work here.”

Daimon holds up his coffee mug. “I’m the guy as writes scrolls at night, yeah.”

Delia beams at you, “Oh! I guess I didn’t realize. Makes sense as Lady d’Ackerley has such a busy life that she wouldn’t do it herself.” She bounces over lightly on her toes and holds out a hand good-naturedly, “I’m Delia!”

Daimon offers a strong, chilly handshake. “Daimon. Don’t think Her Pozness does scrolls at all, she’s got folks for that.”

Delia says innocently, “Goodness but your hand is cold! Need a refresh on that coffee to warm you up?”

Daimon looks at his mug. “Sure?”

Mistress Charite Mistblade opens the south door. She browses through the inventory.
Mistress Charite Mistblade peers at Daimon.

Delia takes the mug and bounces over to refresh the contents from the steaming coffee pot then puts the kettle on to warm up water for her own tea. “There you go!” she says as she hands the mug back to Daimon.

Mistress Charite Mistblade asks Daimon with an Ephebian accent: You are the vampire from the Drum, right?
Daimon accepts it. “Thanks, chick. Can’t get too hot or too strong, that stuff.”

Daimon blinks. “Vampire from the Drum sounds like I work there.”

Delia blinks at the word “Vampire” that the customer has used and blushes a little realizing that must be why his hand was so cold. She hopes she didn’t make a faux pas by mentioning it.

Mistress Charite Mistblade chuckles.

Daimon says to Mistress Charite Mistblade with an Uberwaldean accent: Oh yeah. You were with the gang that danced on tables and showed boobs for beer, I remember now.

Mistress Charite Mistblade scoffs. “I certainly was not showing my boobs.”

Daimon goodnaturedly says with an Uberwaldean accent: I wouldn’t know, I never pay attention to that sort of thing.

Delia wonders at another man who doesn’t pay attention to boobs and wonders if his interests swing the other way. “I used to hang out in the Drum when I first got here. I found a back room people weren’t in all the time and would sit and read.”

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Don’t much care for the place. They got a scene and no one to perform on it. Gone there some four or five times, three times people were having sex in the room. Not my kind of place.

Delia blinks “Sex in public? Wow…um..thank goodness I never saw that! Zale and I found a coffee shop that I liked better anyway and I haven’t been back since. Much *cleaner* and one can actually use the facilities there without fear of catching something fatal.”

Daimon nods. “Probably safer, too.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade says with an Ephebian accent: Oh my! I have not seen that kind of thing there, but some of the regulars…well I can’t say it surprised me too much.

Daimon asks with an Uberwaldean accent: Used to be private rooms up top. I used to go there back then because the couples would go up there, you know?

Mistress Charite Mistblade turns to Delia, “Where is the coffee shop, if you do not mind sharing? I have been looking for a nice place to sit and relax.”

Delia suddenly realizes the kettle has been whistling for awhile and goes over to pour it into the teapot and adds in some lavender chamomile leaves. She takes a moment to appreciate Lady d’Ackerley’s tea assortment she provides for the employees before calling over her shoulder, “Starbanks, it’s up on the east side of God’s Collar. Jack’s a nice sort and while he doesn’t have any pastries, he doesn’t mind if you bring in your own.”

Daimon sips his mug. “Fat Sally’s is all right too.”

Delia asks Mistress Charite Mistblade: May I offer you some tea or coffee?
Delia asks Daimon: Where is Fat Sally’s?

Mistress Charite Mistblade says to you with an Ephebian accent: Oh, why yes, I would love some tea.

Daimon says to you with an Uberwaldean accent: Just across the river north, on Squeezebelly Alley.

Mistress Charite Mistblade remembers why she came in here in the first place and begins to browse the inventory.

Delia bustles about getting down a tray and setting two cups and their saucers on it. She grabs a plate and some biscuits from the tin and adds it along with the teapot before carrying the whole thing over to the sofa. “Oh? I’ll have to wander in there and check it out.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade looks at the knife sheaths and says to herself, “I need something to hold that new knife…”

Mistress Charite Mistblade asks you with an Ephebian accent: How much is this leather thigh sheath?

With her head low, Lady Aell von Glitz enters the store and heads straight for the counter. Her skin looks darker than usual; still pale, but less-so than normal. It’s probably a testament to how long she’s been out of the business that Lady Aell von Glitz doesn’t immediately noticed Daimon but, after she’s made a few menial purchases, she turns to exit and spots him at the desk.

Delia pours the tea through the strainer into the teacups. “I don’t recall. Daimon?” She notes the newcomer but since she seems of the sort who prefers to not be hassled, decides to let Daimon greet her.

Daimon looks over his shoulder at Delia. “No idea. I copy scrolls. I know all about scrolls.”

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Should be a price tag though.

Lady Aell von Glitz’s eyes flicker between him and the other women and her mouth can’t help but twitch, as if threatening to form into a smile.

Lady Aell von Glitz says to Daimon with an Uberwaldean accent: Some things never change. I thought you’d have got bored of scribing after all these years.

Daimon quietly says to Lady Aell von Glitz with an Uberwaldean accent: Gotta make the rent somehow.

Delia rolls her eyes and walks over to the counter to open the door and check the price tag. “Fifty dollars looks like. If you’re looking for something more discreet, I would highly recommend this!” She pulls out a lacy black garter from the case to offer for inspection.

Lady Aell von Glitz’s mouth actually does manage a smile this time, and she looks between the two women there again. “Friends of yours?”

Daimon keeps his lavender gaze on the paper on the desk in front of him. “A co-worker and a customer.”

Lady Aell von Glitz offers both of the women a smile, as she isn’t sure which one Daimon meant to be the co-worker. “A pleasure,” she says simply, giving both of the women a once-over with her eyes.

Mistress Charite Mistblade smirks as she inspects the garter. “Very Lady Dangerous. It is just a knife for cutting up apples, of course.”

Delia looks up to the other customer, “Hello! I’m not officially on shift but Daimon there seems to be a bit lazy at the moment,” here she pauses to stick her tongue out at him, “so let me know if I can show you anything! I’m Delia.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade smiles warmly at the other customer, and gives her a respectful curtsey. “Wotcher.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade hands the the garter back to Delia. “Maybe some other time.”

Daimon warily asks Lady Aell von Glitz with an Uberwaldean accent: Why are you here?

“Lady Aell von Glitz”, and she inclines her head slightly to the one who introduced herself as Delia. “I didn’t even know that you worked here,” she now says in response to Daimon. “I can go, if you’d like.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade exchanges an “oh, history here” glance with Delia.

Delia nods and replaces the garter back in the case. “Tea is ready by the way!” she says to the lady in front of her before turning to the one by the desk, “Lady Glitz, may I interest you in a cup of chamomile lavender tea or perhaps some of that coffee Daimon is injecting?”

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Her Pozness hates blood on the carpet, that’s all.

Lady Aell von Glitz looks almost amused at that. She assumes, from the way that the co-worker addressed her, that the woman knows who she is. Still, she looks at Daimon before she accepts any offer. “Unless someone is paying me, I don’t intend to spill any blood. Tea, on the other hand..” She looks again to Delia with a smile. “That would be lovely, thank you.”

Daimon hitches a shoulder lightly. “Well, that’s an improvement. Last we… taked… you were going to kill us all.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade raises an eyebrow and begins to think it is time to go.

Lady Aell von Glitz says to Daimon with an Uberwaldean accent: Which is why I’ve been away for a while. Finding my zen. Inner peace, and all that.

Delia can’t help but raise her eyebrows at that revelation as she turns to retrieve an additional cup and saucer. She has no idea who this Lady Glitz is but sounds like one she might want to keep an eye on.

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: If that means you’re not going to draw a weapon and throw yourself at me, good for us both.

Lady Aell von Glitz slips away any weapons she had concealed about her hands before holding them both up. “Nothing.”

Lady Aell von Glitz sits at the deluxe shop counter.

Daimon asks Lady Aell von Glitz with an Uberwaldean accent: Good. So how’s home?

Delia walks back to the sofa and pours tea into the new cup before picking up one of the already filled ones. She bounces over (softly, so as to not spill the tea) to hand one to each woman before plopping enthusiastically onto the sofa and taking her own cup. “Biscuits too, if you’d like!”

Lady Aell von Glitz makes herself comfortable before adding, “Besides, Miss Darcy would probably not like that very much.” She lifts a shoulder slightly at Daimon’s question. “Not a clue. I told you, I went away to relax. A holiday.” She then accepts the cup from Delia with a thankful smile.

Mistress Charite Mistblade sighs at not finding anything in the shop that meets both requirements of something she wants and something she can afford. She is about to turn to leave when she is handed the cup of tea she had forgotten she’d agreed to. “Thank you.”

Daimon upends his coffee mug. “No more vampire hunting business, then?”

Mistress Charite Mistblade turns to tea-bringer, and smiles. “I love your hair.”

Lady Aell von Glitz shakes her head from side to side, sending her shoulder-length hair dancing for a brief moment. “No. I guess some things _can_ change.”

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Pity.

Delia pretends to not pay attention to the conversation between the two while grabbing a biscuit off the tray and nibbling lightly, all the while tucking away every piece of information. She beams at the stranger, “Thank you!”

Lady Aell von Glitz cocks an eyebrow. “Something I should know?” She takes a sip of her tea before turning again to Delia. “This is wonderful, thank you.”

Daimon shrugs. “Vampiress beat up my girlfriend.”

Delia winces slightly at that revelation. Assassin with schooled expressions she is not! She takes a long sip of her tea, “You’re welcome! It’s a particular favourite of mine for late nights.”

Daimon sips an ounce of Klatchian coffee from the mug of Klatchian coffee.

Lady Aell von Glitz had, until now, been radiating calmness and was not her usual, tightly-wound self. She tenses at Daimon’s statement, however — her smile turning instantly to a frown. “Anyone you know? It’s not…” She trails off, leaving the suggestion lingering in the air.

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Name’s Dabria. She’s got a cohort of pretty boys, the works.

Mistress Charite Mistblade shifts uncomfortably on her feet and sips her tea. “This is delicious!” she says to colourful-haired girl.

Lady Aell von Glitz nods slowly. She’d been thinking of that other vampire – Diadamia or whatever her name had been – who had been a whole heap of nasty. “Dabria. From back home?”

Daimon simply says with an Uberwaldean accent: Like always.

Lady Aell von Glitz coldly says with an Uberwaldean accent: You know how to pick them.

Lady Aell von Glitz takes another sip of her tea, her once relaxed brow now tight in thought.

Delia lifts the plate off the tray to distract the customer from the slightly uncomfortable conversation. “Biscuit? They’re a sweet honey graham, so lovely at this time of night.”

Daimon begins to roll a cheap cigarette. “I’m a shop clerk. I mind my own business. Unfortunately, other people’s business seems to mind me.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade politely ignores the other two, and takes a biscuit from the tray. “Thank you. My name is Charite. What is yours?”

Lady Aell von Glitz is not so self-absorbed to not notice that this is making the other two women somewhat uncomfortable, so she tries to relax a bit. She even manages a slight laugh at Daimon’s comment, regardless of how hollow it sounds. “He was always good at playing innocent.”

Daimon shrugs at that and lights his cigarette with a spark that springs magically from his thumb.

Delia sighs with a mock pout, “Alas, I don’t play at it. I’m still learning all the time about how things work in this city!”

Lady Aell von Glitz’s thoughts are still with the vampire but, she has been trying to relax for so long, so she decides to pursue the new conversation instead. “You’re new here? How long ago did you leave Genua?”

Lady Aell von Glitz guiltily says to you with an Uberwaldean accent: I noticed the accent.

Daimon picks up his pen and begins to write again, well aware that he’s a dampener on the mood.

Lady Aell von Glitz keeps her artificial smile plastered on her face while she talks to Daimon’s co-worker, though her eyes do flicker to him every so often.

Delia replies, “Oh..I arrived just as the leaves were about to turn, so…a few months? I spent the first many weeks pretty intensively in Temple at my studies though and have only just now started getting out and about.” She refills her teacup upon finding it empty and adds, the Genuan drawl in her voice coming through a bit strongly, “Back home, there..ah..isn’t as much subtletly unless you run in the royal circles.”

Delia holds up the teapot to Charite, “Lovely to meet you! I’m Delia, fancy a refill?”

Mistress Charite Mistblade says to you with an Ephebian accent: Thank you, I have enough for now.

Lady Aell von Glitz can’t help but smile at the girl’s peculiar way of speaking. “I quite like Genua. Lots of shops. Everything is very…” She waves a hand around, trying to think of the right word. “Quaint. You’re a priestess, then, as well as a shop assistant?”

Her eyes turn a brighter sparkly blue, the gold flecks shining through at talk of home. “Oh the shopping there is so lovely! The men, too!” she admits with a giggle. “Yes. Turns out the god-bothering business doesn’t pay the rent although we do get nice gifts from the fishermen at time to time so we eat pretty well.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade asks you with an Ephebian accent: Who are you a priestess of?

Lady Aell von Glitz says with an Uberwaldean accent: I was a follower of Gufnork, once, but it seems I’m Hattian now. I think it fits better, anyway. I tend to turn up at unexpected times.

Daimon fills his coffee mug from the pot.
Daimon mutters something about ain’t that the truth under his breath.

Lady Aell von Glitz doesn’t hear the words but the sentiment is obvious all the same. She smirks at the vampire.

Delia realizes Charite asked her a question, “FISH!! Kind of the family thing. My dad’s side is a long line of fishermen.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade says with an Ephebian accent: Hat is quite an amusing god. I know witches are supposed to renounce gods and all that, but honestly I find them quite interesting.

Daimon finishes copying a scroll and folds it neatly into a small packet.

Mistress Charite Mistblade asks you with an Ephebian accent: Oh! I have a friend who is a Fish priest! You can breathe underwater then?

Lady Aell von Glitz says to Mistress Charite Mistblade with an Uberwaldean accent: You don’t look like any of the witches I’ve ever met befo

Delia could breathe underwater before she became a priest but keeps that oddity a secret. “Oh yes! And sprout fins! Although then I can’t wear all my lovely shoes. Speaking of, that is a darling pair you have there.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade chuckles at the other customer. “I know. I just cannot get into their drab attire. Granny is always cross with me about not wearing a hat.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade says to you with an Ephebian accent: Thank you! I got them in my hometown of Ephebe.

Daimon murmurs to the paper on the desk, “Witches oughta wear hats. At least that way a guy can see them coming.”

Lady Aell von Glitz manages a small smile. “I was always under the impression that 90% of being a witch was making sure people knew you were a witch. Sort of like being Ankhian, really.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade smiles. “Well, you are quite right there. It is all rather new to me, I admit. I am quite new to the area myself.”

Delia replaces her empty tea cup on the tray and curls her legs up on the couch, spreading her silver skirt over them to retain modesty and a bit of warmth. The tea has done its job of calming her down a bit. She’s always rather keyed up after evening vespers.

Lady Aell von Glitz folds one leg over the other as she reclines slightly and turns to Daimon. “If she should wear a hat then maybe you should wear a ribbon. That way people will know you’re coming.” She’s teasing, of course, to get a reaction.

Daimon quietly says with an Uberwaldean accent: I’m not a member of the League and you know it.

Delia inquires of Charite, “Oh! When did you arrive?”

Lady Aell von Glitz lifts her shoulders in a shrug, turning her attention back to her tea. Despite all her calming exercise, nothing _really_ puts her in a good mood like winding up a vampire… even one she doesn’t hate.

Mistress Charite Mistblade sips her tea and responds to Delia, “Only about a month and a half ago. It was a horrible shock, coming to Ankh-Morpork from Ephebe. It is so cold and dirty here. And that thing they call a river…”

Lady Aell von Glitz says to Mistress Charite Mistblade with an Uberwaldean accent: Your Morporkian is rather good for an Ephebian who’s only been here two months.

Daimon writes neatly on a packet, no doubt listing the scrolls contained within. His handwriting is gothic and detailed.

Delia peers at Daimon curiously, not having picked up on the fact it’s a touchy subject, “What’s the League?”

Daimon quietly says with an Uberwaldean accent: League of Temperance. An Uberwaldean vampire’s organisation. They wear black ribbons.

Delia says to Daimon: Oh! That’s what those little ribbons mean that I’ve seen from time to time.

Lady Aell von Glitz says to you with an Uberwaldean accent: They’re the bloodsuckers that promise not to drink blood. Daimon isn’t fond.

Delia asks, “I’m sorry, I really know extremely little about vampires. I’m much more familiar with zombies. Don’t you need blood to survive?”

Mistress Charite Mistblade says to Lady Aell von Glitz with an Ephebian accent: Thank you. I have worked very hard at it, standing around listening to people talk in the Drum or Plaza.

Lady Aell von Glitz mumbles something about the vampire doth protest too much under her breath.

Daimon seems intent on not taking the bait. He simply keeps working on copying scrolls, slowly and fastidiously.

Lady Aell von Glitz says to you with an Uberwaldean accent: It’s not a necessity. More like an addiction. They can live without it.

Mistress Charite Mistblade says with an Ephebian accent: “Interesting. I have never seen a vampire in Ephebe.”

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: There’s a few.
Delia says: I’ve never been to Ephebe but would like to some day. I hear their water is so very pretty.

“Mostly the sun just snaps them up like that.” Lady Aell von Glitz clicks her fingers on the last word.

Mistress Charite Mistblade says to you with an Ephebian accent: I have not been back in a while. I was thinking it would be lovely to go and soak up the sun and sit by the sea for awhile. All this cold, dark weather is starting to get to me.

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Not a place for Aell, then.

Her eyes glitter brightly again, like they do whenever she’s excited by something. “Oh! That’s a LOVELY idea, that is!” Delia says to Charite. “I rather feel as though I’m shriveling up, like a fish on the bottom of the boat, without any proper swimming. I mean, I *walked* on the Ankh the other day before I realized I had reached the end of the path.”

Lady Aell von Glitz’s lips curl slightly. “I just got back from Klatch, actually. They have something there called “Yoga” that’s quite relaxing.” She holds up her slightly-tanned (for her) arms, as if to prove her point.

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: If you say so.

Mistress Charite Mistblade shudders at the idea of walking on the Ankh.

Delia giggles, “Yo-Guh? Is that some kind of cultured milk drink?”

Lady Aell von Glitz smirks at Daimon again before looking back to Delia. “No, it’s… breathing and stretching, to relax yourself.”

Lady Aell von Glitz leans forward, placing her empty cup down with the rest of them. She cranes her neck slightly, so she can spy on whatever it is that Daimon’s writing. “Miss Darcy is well, I assume, apart from the assault?”

Lady Aell von Glitz thinks for a moment. “Or is it Mrs Vlozy now?”

Daimon appears to be copying a magical scroll in neat, gothic letters. “She’s okay. So’s the kid. For now, anyway.”

Daimon says to Lady Aell von Glitz with an Uberwaldean accent: We’re not married.

Delia suddenly recalls something that happened yesterday. “Oh! Daimon, since you write the scrolls then, I feel I should apologise to you. The stock was low and I went to move a packet and *poof* little minnows were darting about in the air for a bit.” She giggles as she remembers trying to catch one or two in her confusion.

Daimon looks momentarily surprised. “I don’t write -all- the scrolls. Never seen one turn into minnows, either.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade sips the last of her tea and sets her cup down on the tray. “Thank you for the tea,” she says to Delia.

Delias says to Charite: Any time! In the mid-mornings, I usually drink this amazing lavender coconut rooibis if you ever pop in then.

Mistress Charite Mistblade says to you with an Ephebian accent: Ooo…that sounds lovely. I suppose I should be off, important witch business, you know. Maybe I will run into you at the coffee shop sometime. We can talk about absconding to someplace warm and sunny.

Delia says to Mistress Charite Mistblade: Sounds nice! Hope to meet you again.

Mistress Charite Mistblade turns to the other female customer. “I am sorry, I did not get your name. Mine is Charite.”

Lady Aell von Glitz looks away from her distraction. “Aell von Glitz,” she says, managing a brief smile.

Mistress Charite Mistblade smiles. “Nice to meet you.” She turns to Daimon and smiles as well. “Nice to run into you again.”

Daimon raises a raven eyebrow. “I’d say the same but I try not to lie.”

Mistress Charite Mistblade leaves the shop.

Lady Aell von Glitz rolls her eyes at the vampire. “Do you always have to be so solemn? We get it, you’re undead, but you don’t have to kill the mood too.”

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Coming from the chick who usually looks me up to try to stake me, that’s pretty rich.

Lady Aell von Glitz asks Daimon with an Uberwaldean accent: That’s an exaggeration. When was the last time I tried to dust you?

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Last time we met.

Lady Aell von Glitz frowns. “I think I only threatened to.”

Daimon says to Lady Aell von Glitz with an Uberwaldean accent: No. You just have shitty aim.

Lady Aell von Glitz lifts her shoulders in a shrug and looks completely unabashed. “I was going through some stuff.”

Delia blinks sleepily and uncurls from the couch before leaning down to pick up the tea tray. She wanders off to wash up the dishes in the back room.

Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Good for you. I tend to be in a good enough mood around people who aren’t looking for an excuse to kill me.

Lady Aell von Glitz spreads her hands again, to show that they’re empty. “I’m not trying to kill you now, am I?”
Daimon asks Lady Aell von Glitz with an Uberwaldean accent: Do you want a prize for not breaking the law, then?

Lady Aell von Glitz hesitates slightly on the word “kill”, as if she was going to say something else instead.

Lady Aell von Glitz slowly says with an Uberwaldean accent: No… but you could stop acting as if that’s what I’m here for.
Daimon says with an Uberwaldean accent: Sure. Convince me that it isn’t.

Daimon pauses long enough in his display of antiquated penmanship to light a cigarette with a spark from his thumb.

Delia carefully dries and puts away the teacups and saucers before replacing the uneaten biscuits back in the tin. She nabs her coat from the hook and walks back slowly as she shrugs in to it. She covers a yawn before saying, “Mmm..I ought to be getting home. I just didn’t want to go into the flat and possibly wake up Zale while I was still so hyper.”

Lady Aell von Glitz sighs and sits up straight. She takes her right hand and places it on her heart, and holds the other up right, parallel to her body. “I, Aell von Glitz, Duchess of Glitz and Member of the Conlegium Sicariourm, swear on my honour both as the ward of Glitz and an Assassin that I have no intentions to alter your form in any way, be it dust or no.” She lowers her hand and smirks. “Is that good enough?”

“Thank you for the tea,” Lady Aell von Glitz adds to Delia, after her speech. (Aell)

Daimon says to you with an Uberwaldean accent: You don’t need to leave. I will be leaving shortly.

Daimon says in Morporkian: I’d rather not.

Delia taps at the face of her watch, “I have an early morning Djelian lesson.” She stifles another yawn before replying to Lady Glitz, “You’re welcome! Nice to meet you!” She pauses at the door, “See you around, Daimon. Maybe one of these days you can teach me how to handle your scrolls a little more properly so I don’t waste your work.” Delia exits out into the sleet.

Lady Aell von Glitz rolls her eyes and stands too. She looks marginally more annoyed than before. “If you wanted me to leave you could have just said.” She turns to the door, trying her best not to storm towards it. “Good evening.”

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Selfish Little Bastards!

The Modern Language and Music classroom of the Assassins’ Guild. Rows of desks are set up, facing the blackboard, while posters and plaques adorn the walls. A piano sits opposite the blackboard and other musical instruments are displayed on shelves.

There is one obvious exit: north.

Diana opens the north door.

Diana arrives from the north.

Diana closes the north door.

Diana shuts the door quietly and looks into the room.

Andrew d’Ackerley looks up and nods politely.

Diana looks a little out of place as she consults a piece of paper with a frown. She nods back at the occupant of the room and at the regal lecturer before looking back at the door.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: Can we help you, miss? You look a little lost.

Diana jumps slightly at being spoken to but smiles and shows you a piece of paper. “I’m looking for my aunt. I think she’s a nurse here in this guild. Her name’s Gladys Smithson.”

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Diana: Ah, yes. You’ll likely find her in one of the classrooms, if not in her office. Don’t worry wandering around, you’ll be told if you’re straying into a closed off area.

Diana can’t hide the relief that leaps into her eyes. “Thank you. Uhm. There are very few signs, so it’s hard to tell where I’m allowed. But it’s good to know I’ll be warned.” She puts the paper in her skirt pocket. “I don’t suppose you know where her office is?”

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: It’s on this floor or the one above, I believe. You’ll forgive me, I haven’t actually gone there in years… Been a long time since I was a boy with scraped knees, haha.

Andrew d’Ackerley looks a bit embarrassed.

Diana looks like she’s trying not to laugh, as it’s clearly hard to imagine certain people were once children. She smiles, and looks raptly at the boards instead, despite not understanding a word on them, hoping she won’t giggle. “Oh don’t worry. I’ll look around.”

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Diana: Please do call out if you get so lost that we should send a rescue group, miss.

Diana leaps out of her skin, almost, as the sound of an explosion makes the ground shake.

Andrew d’Ackerley sayz: … That would be the Alchemist’s Guild. Again.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: They do that a lot, I fear.

Diana trembles slightly. “I live in the Ramtops and we don’t hear things like that. At all. If ever. Ever.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Diana: Goodness, yes. That must be quite the cultural shock for you.

Andrew d’Ackerley helpfully asks: At least we have no wolves in the streets?

Diana looks at Andrew with relief that someone understands. “Oh I don’t mind the wolves and they don’t mind me. I live in the woods all year long except in the winter, and then I have lodgings in Lancre itself. But you see, my uncle died. My dad’s and Gladys’ brother. So of course I came to tell her about it because – well – it’s a long story.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Oh my. I am sorry for your loss, miss. I must admit that personally, I find wolves a little troubling.

Diana says to Andrew with a Lancrastian accent: Thank you for your sympathy.

The Kompt de Yoyo smiles at Diana.

Diana thinks about this. “Why? You know they don’t bother you if you don’t bother them.”

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Diana: Ah, we have a bit of a family tradition where I was born… And you don’t want to know about that, you’re looking for Nurse Gladys. Sorry, I do tend to ramble.

Diana smiles. “Well, thank you for pointing me to her office anyway.” She waves and leaves but returns in a few minutes. “Is it okay if I wait here? She’s seeing to some student in the dormitories.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Goodness, yes, do pull up a chair. This is the most quiet classroom on the guild campus, that’s why I tend to spend time here. No students.

Andrew d’Ackerley says ‘students’ in a tone that clearly references sticky little boys.

Diana perches on one of the chairs and looks interestedly at the piano. “Thank you. I didn’t want to sit in her office by myself.”

Andrew d’Ackerley catches the look. “Do you play? Feel free. My collegue here may even praise you.”

Diana looks nervous. “I do like music, a lot, but I never learned to play any instrument.” She reaches out tentatively.

Showing no real skill, Diana plays a few clashing bars on the piano.

Diana retreats to her chair.

Andrew d’Ackerley gently says: Everyone has to start somewhere, miss. I’ve yet to meet anyone who was born playing the bagpipes.

Diana laughs and nods. “Yes, the Lancre Bagpipes are a great instrument, so mournful. It’s tradition to play it at weddings and deaths, so we hear it often enough in the mountains.” She nods at the piano. “Do you play?”

Andrew d’Ackerley gently says: Some. Not enough to call myself skilled. I did try my luck with a bagpipe once, though. My manservant thought I was skinning a cat.

The Kompt de Yoyo says: I had a flute once, it would fire poison darts when I played the funeral march. Ahh, those were the days.

Diana laughs, hiding her chuckle behind the back of her hand as she does. “I suppose it would be rude to ask you to play something for me?”

Diana looks a bit afraid of the Kompt’s flute.

Andrew d’Ackerley pauses a moment, then walks over to sit down at the piano. “I can certainly try. If nothing else, our good Kompt here gets a laugh.”

A sad yet beautiful melody comes from the piano as Andrew d’Ackerley skilfully moves his fingers across the keys.

Andrew d’Ackerley asks: … Did you just have this thing retuned, old boy?

Diana listens appreciatively to the beautiful melody. “You’re really good.”

Andrew d’Ackerley shakes his head lightly. “You’re a grateful audience, miss. Most connoisseurs are not quite so kind.”

Diana smiles. “Well, I really did like it.” She sighs and folds her hands in her lap. “What were you telling me earlier about wolves? A tradition?” She stops. “I am sorry if it is private of course.”

Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles and half-turns on the bench to face her. “Not at all. It’s just a family tradition. A holding pen, a nice, comfortable one, for a wolf in every basement of every house my family resides in.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Books, brandy, fire, nice basket.

Diana wrinkles her forehead trying to understand. “Either you like to keep wolves as pets or – I’m sorry. You don’t seem like a wer- I – uh, hm. Hm. Nice weather we’re having.”

Andrew d’Ackerley laughs softly and shakes his head. “I am not a werewolf. I do have some distant ancestors who were, though.”

Diana chuckles and looks slightly relieved that you didn’t take offence. She crosses one leg over the other and smooths her rather ordinary wool skirt down. “I think it’s always so difficult to assume things about people, sometimes you’re so wrong as to really hurt someone or upset them.”

Diana says with a Lancrastian accent: And that would be awful in my opinion.

You politely say: That is a wise policy. I try to be objective myself, but I do find it difficult to share a space with… some types. The undead make my hackles rise, even if there hasn’t been anyone in the family with hackles for at least two hundred years.

Diana nods looking suddenly tired. “I feel the same way about hunters. Especially the ones who hunt for sport. And as for anybody who sets traps or snares, I’d gladly trap or snare them in their own traps.”

Andrew d’Ackerley taps a long finger against his lips. “Ah. Yes. Some of my peers fancy the fox hunt. I always thought it quite barbaric myself.”

Diana rolls her eyes. “Yes it’s so noble I suppose to chase a terrified frightened wounded animal with packs of dogs until it’s too tired to run and then have it torn apart limb from limb.”

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: I am not a huntsman myself. Never quite fancied the physical sports all that much.

Diana says with a Lancrastian accent: For that I am glad then, because I couldn’t stand to be around one who did.

The Kompt de Yoyo smiles indolently.

Andrew d’Ackerley softly says: I assure you, miss, the most savage thing that I give chase to, is the sugar bowl.

Diana giggles, unable to stop herself from giggling this time. “Does it put up much of a fight?”

Andrew d’Ackerley ominously says: Sometimes, the cream pitcher helps it.

Diana laughs and shakes her head. “Oh my.”

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Diana: I imagine that the hunters of the Ramtops do not agree with you much, though.

Diana says to Andrew with a Lancrastian accent: I think you could say I am disliked. I am a member of the Hunters in the Ramtops. But there’s a misconception about us. People think we organise hunts. It’s far from the truth. We love animals. In fact I am an animal doctor. I don’t hunt at all but colleagues do, but only for food.

Diana says with a Lancrastian accent: Never for sport.

Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: Aye, I know that vermine fur is very popular here.

Diana sighs. “I’m sure it is.”

Diana gets a rabbit fur coat from a pocket in a large backpack.

Diana offers to show the rabbit fur coat to you.

This rabbit fur coat will keep you warm and, although it is not as expensive as mink or vermine, would look good on anyone.

The rabbit fur coat has two side pockets.

It is in excellent condition.

Diana says with a Lancrastian accent: I made that, but only from the fur of rabbits who died from natural causes.

Diana puts the rabbit fur coat in a pocket in the large backpack.

Andrew d’Ackerley asks: I’ve never much cared for furs myself. There is something tacky about wearing the pelt of an animal just like that, don’t you think?

Diana nods. “I do yes. I brought that for Gladys. I always tell people that animal fur only looks nice on one thing: the animal itself.”

Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: The selfish little bastards who refuse to let go of their fur. I heard vermines called that, once.

Diana shakes her head. “It’s disgusting, and you know they fight so hard to live. People are evil, the human race is evil.”

Diana pauses. “Maybe I’m getting carried away again.”

Diana apologetically says with a Lancrastian accent: I do that sometimes.

Andrew d’Ackerley tilts his head slightly. “I will agree with you when a great many people are concerned, though.”

Diana nods, looking at you. “Then I am glad you see it from my point of view, at least a little bit.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Diana: I am a politician, young miss. I see the worst of mankind regularly. That’s why I retired from politics, as a matter of fact.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: Those who dislike vampires have yet to meet lawyers.

Diana looks a little surprised to be called ‘young miss’ before remembering that she does look a fair bit younger than her 25 years. She raises an eyebrow. “Oh yes. I have no head for politics myself. Or laywers.”

Diana simply says with a Lancrastian accent: Away from humans is the best place for me to be, in the woods.

Diana says with a Lancrastian accent: Winters are torture, because I have to live in the town.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: Ah, yes. Gets too cold out there, does it? I can only imagine. My health is not quite up for braving Ramtops winters.

Diana looks at the gentleman who does look a bit on the frail side. “Yes. I mean, it’s cold for us, local Lancrastians, so that means it’s really cold. I am always surprised when people visit us in the summer from other places and complain of the cold.”

Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles and nods. “Of course this city’s summer climate is nothing to rejoice about, either. Very hot and soggy. Very smelly, too.”

Diana feelingly says with a Lancrastian accent: Yes, it is rather smelly already and it’s only just come spring.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Diana: I fear that our ancestors thought that sewers were quite the waste of perfectly good limestone when there is a river running through the city, aye.

Diana winces. “Uh. Yes.”

Andrew d’Ackerley smiles and runs his fingers along the piano keys absentmindedly, creating a little scale. “The city must be such a shock to foreigners. All those… non-humans we have, too.”

Diana turns around briefly to look at the boards on the wall before turning back to you. She smiles. “Funnily enough that’s not too shocking for me anyway, as we have dwarves and trolls a-plenty in the Ramtops. Many vampires also pass through the Ramtops, presumably on their way here. We don’t meet them often but we hear stories of people losing livestock or even some people who accidentally run into them. So far there have been no accidents or attacks. I guess vampires who come here are the reformed ones.”

Andrew d’Ackerley sofly says: … Most are, yes. I would never take anything for granted until I saw a black ribbon, though.

Diana nods. “They look so human for the most part don’t they? It’s what fools people I guess. I don’t have anything against them but I don’t really want to meet one in the woods.”

Andrew d’Ackerley smiles slightly. “You are very tolerant, miss. Personally, I prefer to keep my distance to the undead and the lycanthropes. The goblins fascinate me in a fashion, but I never quite did find much to talk to trolls about.”

Diana smiles. “Trolls are much cleverer back home. It’s colder there. They’re smart you know. Most of them are very family-oriented. They’re hard workers too.”

Andrew d’Ackerley nods goodnaturedly. “This much I know. Did you know that Ankh-Morpork has the largest populations of trolls and dwarfs anywhere on the Disc?”

Diana laughs and shakes her head. “Nanny Ogg – she’s the one whose son rents a room to me in the winter – told me about that and I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know why they come here but then again, I suppose I understand it. This is a city that they can be themselves in.”

Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “Yes. That’s what the vampires say too. Well, the one my wife employs does, anyway. My lawyer mostly talks about old debts and contracts.”

Diana nods again, listening intently and laughs. “Seems normal for a lawyer.” She considers thoughtfully. “It’s funny but this city is somewhere I could never be myself in, or even happy. Everybody is different.”

Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: My lawyer is a vampire. Most of the successful ones are.

Diana quietly says with a Lancrastian accent: Gracious goodness me.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Diana: That’s Ankh-Morpork for you. Everyone can find a place of their own. It is… very strange, sometimes.

Diana says to you with a Lancrastian accent: Strange, but also a bit magical, I think.

Andrew d’Ackerley nods with a small smile. “I am… not entirely in agreement with this open door policy, but I will agree that on the whole, we’re probably better off for it.”

Andrew d’Ackerley taps his lip again. “In theory, at least. In practicality, I find that it is curious to see the city slowly become so… mixed that humans eventually are becoming a minority.”

Diana laughs. “If everything comes in waves then perhaps it is time for us to become a minority.”

Diana says with a Lancrastian accent: We have dominated the world for so long.

Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles softly. “Well, that is hard to argue with. Every dog his day, and all, surely every dog must have his night as well.”

Diana chuckles back at you. She looks up as a student knocks on the door and informs her that her aunt is in her office now and will see her. She gets to her feet. “It was nice to meet you and I did enjoy our little chat. Thank you for being so kind. It was nice to see a friendly face and have a friendly conversation.” She smiles.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Diana: Welcome, once again, to Ankh-Morpork. Do have a nice day.

Diana turns to leave before looking back at you. “I’m so sorry. I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Diana Smithson.”

Andrew d’Ackerley stands and offers a small, courtly bow. “Andrew d’Ackerley at your service, miss.”

Diana curtseys gracefully and laughs. “Pleased to meet you even if we do appear to have done things back to front.” She smiles and turns to leave.

Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: Good day.

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