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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

austrianemporer

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I have my credentials. I have served a number of years with the imperial legions. When Konstantinos rebelled all those years ago, I was the one who defeated him. I was the one who put down Markos Angelos's many rebellions and have been hunting him down for the last several years. I organized the secret police and made it into an instrument of justice, placing safeguards on it to prevent its abuse and corruption into a weapon of tyranny. Torture would be used as a propaganda tool by our enemies whom you say are all barbarians. They would claim that "why does the Armaments Minister claim that Rome is the center of civilization when it treats its own people in barbaric ways?" How would you respond to that? And our current interrogation methods are effective enough. Every single suspect we have interrogated, including servants of Markos Angelos, have cooperated with us and have been providing valuable information on rebel activities.

Do you have anything to say to our non-Greek senators in attendance, to remind them of what happened when Konstantinos stormed into this palace during his rebellion and shot the Hispanian senator Theodosio in cold blood? When he ordered the purging of all non-Greeks to "make Rome great again?" What say you to them, whose families were gunned down by Konstantinos's mobs and soldiers ruthlessly? What say you to the non-Greek but Roman citizens who through Romanitas have been loyal citizens of the Empire and have never harbored thoughts of treason? Answer me!
Bah! All you know are aristocratic notions of morality, class, and more! You put down a few rebellions? How many troops did you have? 60,000 against 3,000 rebels? Anyways, that is just tactical experience. Maybe we should make you a colonel and send you to the border with Germany! Secret police? Do not forget the instrumental role of the former Empress Veronica and the Senate in the formation of the secret police! Why should we make torture known to the world? Do we publicize our military and industrial secrets? Why would we publicize our use of torture? Our enemies are barbarians, they themselves use torture! They would appear hypocritical to accuse us of torture, they would not dare to do that. I do not say we ought to oppress minorities. Many are criminals but some, I agree, are good people. We should treat them as valuable members of this Empire, but not as valuable as the great Greek citizens that are the core of this glorious empire. Theodosio is more Greek than Hispanian! He is a good citizen of the empire! Purging all non- Greeks is a mistake as is his reactionary, aristocratic policies. Konstantinos should be tortured and hanged for his crimes! However, someone is unable to successfully shake him off. I will not name names but everyone knows who it is!

Do you forget when the Germanic tribes sacked Rome? Do you forget when the tribes in Scotland attacked Britannia and looted their way through it? Do you know what people from non- Roman countries are bringing in when they come here?

We will never forget nor forgive!
 
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BBBD316

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My fellow Senators I request a leave of absence, my old bones grow tired and it is time another take my place.

I will return to my governors residence and consult the people.

- Former Senator Gray
 
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zenphoenix

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((Private))

Dr. Stavridis's Diary
It was just a quarter before twelve o'clock when we got into the churchyard over the low wall. The night was dark with occasional gleams of moonlight between the dents of the heavy clouds that scudded across the sky. We all kept somehow close together, with Von Habsburg slightly in front as he led the way. When we had come close to the tomb I looked well at Michael, for I feared the proximity to a place laden with so sorrowful a memory would upset him, but he bore himself well. I took it that the very mystery of the proceeding was in some way a counteractant to his grief. The Professor unlocked the door, and seeing a natural hesitation amongst us for various reasons, solved the difficulty by entering first himself. The rest of us followed, and he closed the door. He then lit a dark lantern and pointed to a coffin. Michael stepped forward hesitatingly. Von Habsburg said to me, "You were with me here yesterday. Was the body of Frau Loukia in that coffin?"
"It was."
The Professor turned to the rest saying, "You hear, and yet there is no one who does not believe with me.'
He took his screwdriver and again took off the lid of the coffin. Michael looked on, very pale but silent. When the lid was removed he stepped forward. He evidently did not know that there was a leaden coffin, or at any rate, had not thought of it. When he saw the rent in the lead, the blood rushed to his face for an instant, but as quickly fell away again, so that he remained of a ghastly whiteness. He was still silent. Von Habsburg forced back the leaden flange, and we all looked in and recoiled.
The coffin was empty!
For several minutes no one spoke a word. The silence was broken by Markos Quintus, "Professor, I answered for you. Your word is all I want. I wouldn't ask such a thing ordinarily, I wouldn't so dishonor you as to imply a doubt, but this is a mystery that goes beyond any honor or dishonor. Is this your doing?"
"I swear to you by all that I hold sacred that I have not removed or touched her. What happened was this. Two nights ago my friend Stavridis and I came here, with good purpose, believe me. I opened that coffin, which was then sealed up, and we found it as now, empty. We then waited, and saw something white come through the trees. The next day we came here in daytime and she lay there. Did she not, friend John?
"Yes."
"That night we were just in time. One more so small child was missing, and we find it, thank God, unharmed amongst the graves. Yesterday I came here before sundown, for at sundown the Un-Dead can move. I waited here all night till the sun rose, but I saw nothing. It was most probable that it was because I had laid over the clamps of those doors garlic, which the Un-Dead cannot bear, and other things which they shun. Last night there was no exodus, so tonight before the sundown I took away my garlic and other things. And so it is we find this coffin empty. But bear with me. So far there is much that is strange. Wait you with me outside, unseen and unheard, and things much stranger are yet to be. So," here he shut the dark slide of his lantern, "now to the outside." He opened the door, and we filed out, he coming last and locking the door behind him.
Von Habsburg took from his bag a mass of what looked like thin, wafer-like biscuit, which was carefully rolled up in a white napkin. Next he took out a double handful of some whitish stuff, like dough or putty. He crumbled the wafer up fine and worked it into the mass between his hands. This he then took, and rolling it into thin strips, began to lay them into the crevices between the door and its setting in the tomb. I was somewhat puzzled at this, and being close, asked him what it was that he was doing. Arthur and Quincey drew near also, as they too were curious.
He answered, "I am closing the tomb so that the Un-Dead may not enter."
"And is that stuff you have there going to do it?"
"It Is."
"What is that which you are using?" This time the question was by Michael. Von Habsburg reverently lifted his hat as he answered.
"The Host. I brought it from Vienna."
It was an answer that appalled the most sceptical of us, and we felt individually that in the presence of such earnest purpose as the Professor's, a purpose which could thus use the to him most sacred of things, it was impossible to distrust. In respectful silence we took the places assigned to us close round the tomb, but hidden from the sight of any one approaching. I pitied the others, especially Michael. I had myself been apprenticed by my former visits to this watching horror, and yet I, who had up to an hour ago repudiated the proofs, felt my heart sink within me. Never did tombs look so ghastly white. Never did cypress, or yew, or juniper so seem the embodiment of funeral gloom. Never did tree or grass wave or rustle so ominously. Never did bough creak so mysteriously, and never did the far-away howling of dogs send such a woeful presage through the night.
There was a long spell of silence, big, aching, void, and then from the Professor a keen "S-s-s-s!" He pointed, and far down the avenue of yews we saw a white figure advance, a dim white figure, which held something dark at its breast. The figure stopped, and at the moment a ray of moonlight fell upon the masses of driving clouds, and showed in startling prominence a dark-haired woman, dressed in the cerements of the grave. We could not see the face, for it was bent down over what we saw to be a fair-haired child. There was a pause and a sharp little cry, such as a child gives in sleep, or a dog as it lies before the fire and dreams. We were starting forward, but the Professor's warning hand, seen by us as he stood behind a yew tree, kept us back. And then as we looked the white figure moved forwards again. It was now near enough for us to see clearly, and the moonlight still held. My own heart grew cold as ice, and I could hear the gasp of Arthur, as we recognized the features of Lucy Westenra. Lucy Westenra, but yet how changed. The sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness.
Van Helsing stepped out, and obedient to his gesture, we all advanced too. The four of us ranged in a line before the door of the tomb. Van Helsing raised his lantern and drew the slide. By the concentrated light that fell on Lucy's face we could see that the lips were crimson with fresh blood, and that the stream had trickled over her chin and stained the purity of her lawn death robe.
We shuddered with horror. I could see by the tremulous light that even Von Habsburg's iron nerve had failed. Michael was next to me, and if I had not seized his arm and held him up, he would have fallen.
When Loukia, I call the thing that was before us Loukia because it bore her shape, saw us she drew back with an angry snarl, such as a cat gives when taken unawares, then her eyes ranged over us. Loukia's eyes in form and color, but Lucy's eyes unclean and full of hell fire, instead of the pure, gentle orbs we knew. At that moment the remnant of my love passed into hate and loathing. Had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight. As she looked, her eyes blazed with unholy light, and the face became wreathed with a voluptuous smile. Oh, God, how it made me shudder to see it! With a careless motion, she flung to the ground, callous as a devil, the child that up to now she had clutched strenuously to her breast, growling over it as a dog growls over a bone. The child gave a sharp cry, and lay there moaning. There was a cold-bloodedness in the act which wrung a groan from Michael. When she advanced to him with outstretched arms and a wanton smile he fell back and hid his face in his hands.
She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said, "Come to me, Michael. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!"
There was something diabolically sweet in her tones, something of the tinkling of glass when struck, which rang through the brains even of us who heard the words addressed to another.
As for Michael, he seemed under a spell, moving his hands from his face, he opened wide his arms. She was leaping for them, when Von Habsburg sprang forward and held between them his little golden crucifix. She recoiled from it, and, with a suddenly distorted face, full of rage, dashed past him as if to enter the tomb.
When within a foot or two of the door, however, she stopped, as if arrested by some irresistible force. Then she turned, and her face was shown in the clear burst of moonlight and by the lamp, which had now no quiver from Von Habsburg's nerves. Never did I see such baffled malice on a face, and never, I trust, shall such ever be seen again by mortal eyes. The beautiful color became livid, the eyes seemed to throw out sparks of hell fire, the brows were wrinkled as though the folds of flesh were the coils of Medusa's snakes, and the lovely, blood-stained mouth grew to an open square, as in the passion masks of the Hellenes and Japanese. If ever a face meant death, if looks could kill, we saw it at that moment.
And so for full half a minute, which seemed an eternity, she remained between the lifted crucifix and the sacred closing of her means of entry.
Von Habsburg broke the silence by asking Michael, "Answer me, oh my friend! Am I to proceed in my work?"
"Do as you will, friend. Do as you will. There can be no horror like this ever any more." And he groaned in spirit.
Quintus and I simultaneously moved towards him, and took his arms. We could hear the click of the closing lantern as Von Habsburg held it down. Coming close to the tomb, he began to remove from the chinks some of the sacred emblem which he had placed there. We all looked on with horrified amazement as we saw, when he stood back, the woman, with a corporeal body as real at that moment as our own, pass through the interstice where scarce a knife blade could have gone. We all felt a glad sense of relief when we saw the Professor calmly restoring the strings of putty to the edges of the door.
When this was done, he lifted the child and said, "Come now, my friends. We can do no more till tomorrow. There is a funeral at noon, so here we shall all come before long after that. The friends of the dead will all be gone by two, and when the sexton locks the gate we shall remain. Then there is more to do, but not like this of tonight. As for this little one, he is not much harmed, and by tomorrow night he shall be well. We shall leave him where the police will find him, as on the other night, and then to home."
Coming close to Michael, he said, "My friend Michael, you have had a sore trial, but after, when you look back, you will see how it was necessary. You are now in the bitter waters, my child. By this time tomorrow you will, please God, have passed them, and have drunk of the sweet waters. So do not mourn over-much. Till then I shall not ask you to forgive me."
Michael and Quintus came home with me, and we tried to cheer each other on the way. We had left behind the child in safety, and were tired. So we all slept with more or less reality of sleep.

29 September, night.

A little before twelve o'clock we three, Michael, Markos Quintus, and myself, called for the Professor. It was odd to notice that by common consent we had all put on black clothes. Of course, Michael wore black, for he was in deep mourning, but the rest of us wore it by instinct. We got to the graveyard by half-past one, and strolled about, keeping out of official observation, so that when the gravediggers had completed their task and the sexton under the belief that every one had gone, had locked the gate, we had the place all to ourselves. Von Habsburg, instead of his little black bag, had with him a long leather one, something like a tzykanion bag. It was manifestly of fair weight.
When we were alone and had heard the last of the footsteps die out up the road, we silently, and as if by ordered intention, followed the Professor to the tomb. He unlocked the door, and we entered, closing it behind us. Then he took from his bag the lantern, which he lit, and also two wax candles, which, when lighted, he stuck by melting their own ends, on other coffins, so that they might give light sufficient to work by. When he again lifted the lid off Loukia's coffin we all looked, Michael trembling like an aspen, and saw that the corpse lay there in all its death beauty. But there was no love in my own heart, nothing but loathing for the foul Thing which had taken Loukia's shape without her soul. I could see even Michael's face grow hard as he looked. Presently he said to Von Habsburg, "Is this really Loukia's body, or only a demon in her shape?"
"It is her body, and yet not it. But wait a while, and you shall see her as she was, and is."
When all was ready, Von Habsburg said, "Before we do anything, let me tell you this. It is out of the lore and experience of the ancients and of all those who have studied the powers of the Un-Dead. When they become such, there comes with the change the curse of immortality. They cannot die, but must go on age after age adding new victims and multiplying the evils of the world. For all that die from the preying of the Un-dead become themselves Un-dead, and prey on their kind. And so the circle goes on ever widening, like as the ripples from a stone thrown in the water. Friend Michael, if you had met that kiss which you know of before poor Loukia die, or again, last night when you open your arms to her, you would in time, when you had died, have become nosferatu, as they call it in Carpathia and the Slavic lands, and would for all time make more of those Un-Deads that so have filled us with horror. The career of this so unhappy dear lady is but just begun. Those children whose blood she sucked are not as yet so much the worse, but if she lives on, Un-Dead, more and more they lose their blood and by her power over them they come to her, and so she draw their blood with that so wicked mouth. But if she die in truth, then all cease. The tiny wounds of the throats disappear, and they go back to their play unknowing ever of what has been. But of the most blessed of all, when this now Un-Dead be made to rest as true dead, then the soul of the poor lady whom we love shall again be free. Instead of working wickedness by night and growing more debased in the assimilating of it by day, she shall take her place with the other Angels. So that, my friend, it will be a blessed hand for her that shall strike the blow that sets her free. To this I am willing, but is there none amongst us who has a better right? Will it be no joy to think of hereafter in the silence of the night when sleep is not, `It was my hand that sent her to the stars. It was the hand of him that loved her best, the hand that of all she would herself have chosen, had it been to her to choose?' Tell me if there be such a one amongst us?"
We all looked at Michael. He saw too, what we all did, the infinite kindness which suggested that his should be the hand which would restore Loukia to us as a holy, and not an unholy, memory. He stepped forward and said bravely, though his hand trembled, and his face was as pale as snow, "My true friend, from the bottom of my broken heart I thank you. Tell me what I am to do, and I shall not falter!"
Von Habsburg laid a hand on his shoulder, and said, "Brave lad! A moment's courage, and it is done. This stake must be driven through her. It well be a fearful ordeal, be not deceived in that, but it will be only a short time, and you will then rejoice more than your pain was great. From this grim tomb you will emerge as though you tread on air. But you must not falter when once you have begun. Only think that we, your true friends, are round you, and that we pray for you all the time."
"Go on," said Michael hoarsely. "Tell me what I am to do."
"Take this stake in your left hand, ready to place to the point over the heart, and the hammer in your right. Then when we begin our prayer for the dead, I shall read him, I have here the book, and the others shall follow, strike in God's name, that so all may be well with the dead that we love and that the Un-Dead pass away." Michael took the stake and the hammer, and when once his mind was set on action his hands never trembled nor even quivered. Von Habsburg opened his missal and began to read, and Quintus and I followed as well as we could.
Michael placed the point over the heart, and as I looked I could see its dint in the white flesh. Then he struck with all his might.
The thing in the coffin writhed, and a hideous, bloodcurdling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions. The sharp white champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with a crimson foam. But Michael never faltered. He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercybearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it. His face was set, and high duty seemed to shine through it. The sight of it gave us courage so that our voices seemed to ring through the little vault.
And then the writhing and quivering of the body became less, and the teeth seemed to champ, and the face to quiver. Finally it lay still. The terrible task was over.
The hammer fell from Michael's hand. He reeled and would have fallen had we not caught him. The great drops of sweat sprang from his forehead, and his breath came in broken gasps. It had indeed been an awful strain on him, and had he not been forced to his task by more than human considerations he could never have gone through with it. For a few minutes we were so taken up with him that we did not look towards the coffin. When we did, however, a murmur of startled surprise ran from one to the other of us. We gazed so eagerly that Michael rose, for he had been seated on the ground, and came and looked too, and then a glad strange light broke over his face and dispelled altogether the gloom of horror that lay upon it.
There, in the coffin lay no longer the foul Thing that we had so dreaded and grown to hate that the work of her destruction was yielded as a privilege to the one best entitled to it, but Loukia as we had seen her in life, with her face of unequalled sweetness and purity. True that there were there, as we had seen them in life, the traces of care and pain and waste. But these were all dear to us, for they marked her truth to what we knew. One and all we felt that the holy calm that lay like sunshine over the wasted face and form was only an earthly token and symbol of the calm that was to reign for ever.
Von Habsburg came and laid his hand on Michael's shoulder, and said to him, "And now, Arthur my friend, dear lad, am I not forgiven?"
The reaction of the terrible strain came as he took the old man's hand in his, and raising it to his lips, pressed it, and said, "Forgiven! God bless you that you have given my dear one her soul again, and me peace." He put his hands on the Professor's shoulder, and laying his head on his breast, cried for a while silently, whilst we stood unmoving.
When he raised his head Von Habsburg said to him, "And now, my child, you may kiss her. Kiss her dead lips if you will, as she would have you to, if for her to choose. For she is not a grinning devil now, not any more a foul Thing for all eternity. No longer she is the devil's Un-Dead. She is God's true dead, whose soul is with Him!"
Michael bent and kissed her, and then we sent him and Quintus out of the tomb. The Professor and I sawed the top off the stake, leaving the point of it in the body. Then we cut off the head and filled the mouth with garlic. We soldered up the leaden coffin, screwed on the coffin lid, and gathering up our belongings, came away. When the Professor locked the door he gave the key to Michael.
Outside the air was sweet, the sun shone, and the birds sang, and it seemed as if all nature were tuned to a different pitch. There was gladness and mirth and peace everywhere, for we were at rest ourselves on one account, and we were glad, though it was with a tempered joy.
Before we moved away Von Habsburg said, "Now, my friends, one step of our work is done, one the most harrowing to ourselves. But there remains a greater task, to find out the author of all this our sorrow and to stamp him out. I have clues which we can follow, but it is a long task, and a difficult one, and there is danger in it, and pain. Shall you not all help me? We have learned to believe, all of us, is it not so? And since so, do we not see our duty? Yes! And do we not promise to go on to the bitter end?"
Each in turn, we took his hand, and the promise was made. Then said the Professor as we moved off, "Two nights hence you shall meet with me and dine together at seven of the clock with friend John. I shall entreat two others, two that you know not as yet, and I shall be ready to all our work show and our plans unfold. Friend John, you come with me home, for I have much to consult you about, and you can help me. Tonight I leave for Vienna, but shall return tomorrow night. And then begins our great quest. But first I shall have much to say, so that you may know what to do and to dread. Then our promise shall be made to each other anew. For there is a terrible task before us, and once our feet are on the ploughshare we must not draw back."

Dr. Stavridis's Diary
When we arrived at the Macedonia Hotel, Von Habsburg found a telegram waiting for him.
"Am coming up by train. Ioannes at [REDACTED]. Important news. Mara Dalassenos."
The Professor was delighted. "Ah, that wonderful Madam Mara," he said, "pearl among women! She arrive, but I cannot stay. She must go to your house, friend John. You must meet her at the station. Telegraph her en route so that she may be prepared."
When the wire was dispatched he had a cup of tea. Over it he told me of a diary kept by Ioannes Dalassenos when abroad, and gave me a typewritten copy of it, as also of Mrs. Dalassenos diary at [REDACTED]. "Take these," he said, "and study them well. When I have returned you will be master of all the facts, and we can then better enter on our inquisition. Keep them safe, for there is in them much of treasure. You will need all your faith, even you who have had such an experience as that of today. What is here told," he laid his hand heavily and gravely on the packet of papers as he spoke, "may be the beginning of the end to you and me and many another, or it may sound the knell of the Un-Dead who walk the earth. Read all, I pray you, with the open mind, and if you can add in any way to the story here told do so, for it is all important. You have kept a diary of all these so strange things, is it not so? Yes! Then we shall go through all these together when we meet." He then made ready for his departure and shortly drove off to Thessaloniki Street. I took my way to Hippodrome District, where I arrived about fifteen minutes before the train came in.
The crowd melted away, after the bustling fashion common to arrival platforms, and I was beginning to feel uneasy, lest I might miss my guest, when a sweet-faced, dainty looking girl stepped up to me, and after a quick glance said, "Dr. Stavridis, is it not?"
"And you are Mrs. Dalassenos!" I answered at once, whereupon she held out her hand.
"I knew you from the description of poor dear Loukia, but. . ." She stopped suddenly, and a quick blush overspread her face.
The blush that rose to my own cheeks somehow set us both at ease, for it was a tacit answer to her own. I got her luggage, which included a typewriter, and we took the Underground to Sophia Street, after I had sent a wire to my housekeeper to have a sitting room and a bedroom prepared at once for Mrs. Dalassenos.
In due time we arrived. She knew, of course, that the place was a lunatic asylum, but I could see that she was unable to repress a shudder when we entered.
She told me that, if she might, she would come presently to my study, as she had much to say. So here I am finishing my entry in my phonograph diary whilst I await her. As yet I have not had the chance of looking at the papers which Von Habsburg left with me, though they lie open before me. I must get her interested in something, so that I may have an opportunity of reading them. She does not know how precious time is, or what a task we have in hand. I must be careful not to frighten her. Here she is!

Mara Dalassenos's Journal[edit]
29 September.

After I had tidied myself, I went down to Dr. Stavridis's study. At the door I paused a moment, for I thought I heard him talking with some one. As, however, he had pressed me to be quick, I knocked at the door, and on his calling out, "Come in," I entered.
To my intense surprise, there was no one with him. He was quite alone, and on the table opposite him was what I knew at once from the description to be a phonograph. I had never seen one, and was much interested.
"I hope I did not keep you waiting," I said, "but I stayed at the door as I heard you talking, and thought there was someone with you."
"Oh," he replied with a smile, "I was only entering my diary."
"Your diary?" I asked him in surprise.
"Yes," he answered. "I keep it in this." As he spoke he laid his hand on the phonograph. I felt quite excited over it, and blurted out, "Why, this beats even shorthand! May I hear it say something?"
"Certainly," he replied with alacrity, and stood up to put it in train for speaking. Then he paused, and a troubled look overspread his face.
"The fact is," he began awkwardly. "I only keep my diary in it, and as it is entirely, almost entirely, about my cases it may be awkward, that is, I mean . . ." He stopped, and I tried to help him out of his embarrassment.
"You helped to attend dear Loukia at the end. Let me hear how she died, for all that I know of her, I shall be very grateful. She was very, very dear to me."
To my surprise, he answered, with a horrorstruck look in his face, "Tell you of her death? Not for the wide world!"
"Why not?" I asked, for some grave, terrible feeling was coming over me.
Again he paused, and I could see that he was trying to invent an excuse. At length, he stammered out, "You see, I do not know how to pick out any particular part of the diary."
Even while he was speaking an idea dawned upon him, and he said with unconscious simplicity, in a different voice, and with the naivete of a child, "that's quite true, upon my honor. Honest Cherokee!"
I could not but smile, at which he grimaced. "I gave myself away that time!" he said. "But do you know that, although I have kept the diary for months past, it never once struck me how I was going to find any particular part of it in case I wanted to look it up?"
By this time my mind was made up that the diary of a doctor who attended Loukia might have something to add to the sum of our knowledge of that terrible Being, and I said boldly, "Then, Dr. Stavridis, you had better let me copy it out for you on my typewriter."
He grew to a positively deathly pallor as he said, "No! No! No! For all the world. I wouldn't let you know that terrible story.!"
Then it was terrible. My intuition was right! For a moment, I thought, and as my eyes ranged the room, unconsciously looking for something or some opportunity to aid me, they lit on a great batch of typewriting on the table. His eyes caught the look in mine, and without his thinking, followed their direction. As they saw the parcel he realized my meaning.
"You do not know me," I said. "When you have read those papers, my own diary and my husband's also, which I have typed, you will know me better. I have not faltered in giving every thought of my own heart in this cause. But, of course, you do not know me, yet, and I must not expect you to trust me so far."
He is certainly a man of noble nature. Poor dear Loukia was right about him. He stood up and opened a large drawer, in which were arranged in order a number of hollow cylinders of metal covered with dark wax, and said,
"You are quite right. I did not trust you because I did not know you. But I know you now, and let me say that I should have known you long ago. I know that Loukia told you of me. She told me of you too. May I make the only atonement in my power? Take the cylinders and hear them. The first half-dozen of them are personal to me, and they will not horrify you. Then you will know me better. Dinner will by then be ready. In the meantime I shall read over some of these documents, and shall be better able to understand certain things."
He carried the phonograph himself up to my sitting room and adjusted it for me. Now I shall learn something pleasant, I am sure. For it will tell me the other side of a true love episode of which I know one side already.

Dr. Stavridis's Diary[edit]
29 September.

I was so absorbed in that wonderful diary of Ioannes Dalassenos and that other of his wife that I let the time run on without thinking. Mrs. Dalassenos was not down when the maid came to announce dinner, so I said, "She is possibly tired. Let dinner wait an hour," and I went on with my work. I had just finished Mrs. Dalassenos's diary, when she came in. She looked sweetly pretty, but very sad, and her eyes were flushed with crying. This somehow moved me much. Of late I have had cause for tears, God knows! But the relief of them was denied me, and now the sight of those sweet eyes, brightened by recent tears, went straight to my heart. So I said as gently as I could, "I greatly fear I have distressed you."
"Oh, no, not distressed me," she replied. "But I have been more touched than I can say by your grief. That is a wonderful machine, but it is cruelly true. It told me, in its very tones, the anguish of your heart. It was like a soul crying out to Almighty God. No one must hear them spoken ever again! See, I have tried to be useful. I have copied out the words on my typewriter, and none other need now hear your heart beat, as I did."
"No one need ever know, shall ever know," I said in a low voice. She laid her hand on mine and said very gravely, "Ah, but they must!"
"Must! but why?" I asked.
"Because it is a part of the terrible story, a part of poor Loukia's death and all that led to it. Because in the struggle which we have before us to rid the earth of this terrible monster we must have all the knowledge and all the help which we can get. I think that the cylinders which you gave me contained more than you intended me to know. But I can see that there are in your record many lights to this dark mystery. You will let me help, will you not? I know all up to a certain point, and I see already, though your diary only took me to 7 September, how poor Loukia was beset, and how her terrible doom was being wrought out. Ioannes and I have been working day and night since Professor Von Habsburg saw us. He is gone to [REDACTED] to get more information, and he will be here tomorrow to help us. We need have no secrets amongst us. Working together and with absolute trust, we can surely be stronger than if some of us were in the dark."
She looked at me so appealingly, and at the same time manifested such courage and resolution in her bearing, that I gave in at once to her wishes. "You shall," I said, "do as you like in the matter. God forgive me if I do wrong! There are terrible things yet to learn of. But if you have so far traveled on the road to poor Loukia's death, you will not be content, I know, to remain in the dark. Nay, the end, the very end, may give you a gleam of peace. Come, there is dinner. We must keep one another strong for what is before us. We have a cruel and dreadful task. When you have eaten you shall learn the rest, and I shall answer any questions you ask, if there be anything which you do not understand, though it was apparent to us who were present."

Mara Dalassenos's Journal[edit]
29 September.

After dinner I came with Dr. Stavridis to his study. He brought back the phonograph from my room, and I took a chair, and arranged the phonograph so that I could touch it without getting up, and showed me how to stop it in case I should want to pause. Then he very thoughtfully took a chair, with his back to me, so that I might be as free as possible, and began to read. I put the forked metal to my ears and listened.
When the terrible story of Loukia's death, and all that followed, was done, I lay back in my chair powerless. Fortunately I am not of a fainting disposition. When Dr. Stavridis saw me he jumped up with a horrified exclamation, and hurriedly taking a case bottle from the cupboard, gave me some brandy, which in a few minutes somewhat restored me. My brain was all in a whirl, and only that there came through all the multitude of horrors, the holy ray of light that my dear Loukia was at last at peace, I do not think I could have borne it without making a scene. It is all so wild and mysterious, and strange that if I had not known Ioannes experience in Transylvania I could not have believed. As it was, I didn't know what to believe, and so got out of my difficulty by attending to something else. I took the cover off my typewriter, and said to Dr. Stavridis,
"Let me write this all out now. We must be ready for Dr. Von Habsburg when he comes. I have sent a telegram to Ioannes to come on here when he arrives in Constantinople from Athens. In this matter dates are everything, and I think that if we get all of our material ready, and have every item put in chronological order, we shall have done much.
"You tell me that Senator Doukas and Mr. Quintus are coming too. Let us be able to tell them when they come."
He accordingly set the phonograph at a slow pace, and I began to typewrite from the beginning of the seventeenth cylinder. I used manifold, and so took three copies of the diary, just as I had done with the rest. It was late when I got through, but Dr. Stavridis went about his work of going his round of the patients. When he had finished he came back and sat near me, reading, so that I did not feel too lonely whilst I worked. How good and thoughtful he is. The world seems full of good men, even if there are monsters in it.
Before I left him I remembered what Ioannes put in his diary of the Professor's perturbation at reading something in an evening paper at the station at Nicaea, so, seeing that Dr. Stavrids keeps his newspapers, I borrowed the files of `The Blachernae Gazette' and `The Adrianopolis Gazette' and took them to my room. I remember how much the `Daily News' and `The Athens Gazette', of which I had made cuttings, had helped us to understand the terrible events at [REDACTED] when Count Dracula landed, so I shall look through the evening papers since then, and perhaps I shall get some new light. I am not sleepy, and the work will help to keep me quiet.

Dr. Stavridis's Diary[edit]
30 September.

Mr. Dalassenos arrived at nine o'clock. He got his wife's wire just before starting. He is uncommonly clever, if one can judge from his face, and full of energy. If this journal be true, and judging by one's own wonderful experiences, it must be, he is also a man of great nerve. That going down to the vault a second time was a remarkable piece of daring. After reading his account of it I was prepared to meet a good specimen of manhood, but hardly the quiet, business-like gentleman who came here today.
LATER.--After lunch Dalassenos and his wife went back to their own room, and as I passed a while ago I heard the click of the typewriter. They are hard at it. Mrs. Dalassenos says that they are knitting together in chronological order every scrap of evidence they have. Dalassenos has got the letters between the consignee of the boxes at strategic points in Constantinople and the carriers in the capital who took charge of them. He is now reading his wife's transcript of my diary. I wonder what they make out of it. Here it is . . .
Strange that it never struck me that the very next house might be the Count's hiding place! Goodness knows that we had enough clues from the conduct of the patient Renato! The bundle of letters relating to the purchase of the house were with the transcript. Oh, if we had only had them earlier we might have saved poor Loukia! Stop! That way madness lies! Dalassenos has gone back, and is again collecting material. He says that by dinner time they will be able to show a whole connected narrative. He thinks that in the meantime I should see Renato, as hitherto he has been a sort of index to the coming and going of the Count. I hardly see this yet, but when I get at the dates I suppose I shall. What a good thing that Mrs. Dalassenos put my cylinders into type! We never could have found the dates otherwise.
I found Renato sitting placidly in his room with his hands folded, smiling benignly. At the moment he seemed as sane as any one I ever saw. I sat down and talked with him on a lot of subjects, all of which he treated naturally. He then, of his own accord, spoke of going home, a subject he has never mentioned to my knowledge during his sojourn here. In fact, he spoke quite confidently of getting his discharge at once. I believe that, had I not had the chat with Dalassenos and read the letters and the dates of his outbursts, I should have been prepared to sign for him after a brief time of observation. As it is, I am darkly suspicious. All those outbreaks were in some way linked with the proximity of the Count. What then does this absolute content mean? Can it be that his instinct is satisfied as to the vampire's ultimate triumph? Stay. He is himself zoophagous, and in his wild ravings outside the chapel door of the deserted house he always spoke of `master'. This all seems confirmation of our idea. However, after a while I came away. My friend is just a little too sane at present to make it safe to probe him too deep with questions. He might begin to think, and then . . . So I came away. I mistrust these quiet moods of of his, so I have given the attendant a hint to look closely after him, and to have a strait waistcoat ready in case of need.

Ioannes Dalassenos Journal[edit]
29 September, in train to Constantinople.

When I received General Melissenos's courteous message that he would give me any information in his power I thought it best to go down to Athens and make, on the spot, such inquiries as I wanted. It was now my object to trace that horrid cargo of the Count's to its place in Constantinople. Later, we may be able to deal with it. Melissenos junior, a nice lad, met me at the station, and brought me to his father's house, where they had decided that I must spend the night. They are hospitable, with true Greek hospitality, give a guest everything and leave him to do as he likes. They all knew that I was busy, and that my stay was short, and Mr. Melissenos had ready in his office all the papers concerning the consignment of boxes; the government's cooperating with us in the Army so far. It gave me almost a turn to see again one of the letters which I had seen on the Count's table before I knew of his diabolical plans; it all fit into place now! How did Michael, as Minister of Security, miss this? Everything had been carefully thought out, and done systematically and with precision. He seemed to have been prepared for every obstacle which might be placed by accident in the way of his intentions being carried out. To use an Oceanism, he had `taken no chances', and the absolute accuracy with which his instructions were fulfilled was simply the logical result of his care. I saw the invoice, and took note of it.`Fifty cases of common earth, to be used for experimental purposes'. Also the copy of the letter to Cyrillos Petros, and their reply. Of both these I got copies. This was all the information Mr. Melissenos could give me, so I went down to the port and saw the coastguards, the Customs Officers and the harbor master, who kindly put me in communication with the men who had actually received the boxes. Their tally was exact with the list, and they had nothing to add to the simple description `fifty cases of common earth', except that the boxes were `main and mortal heavy', and that shifting them was dry work. One of them added that it was hard lines that there wasn't any gentleman `such like as like yourself, squire', to show some sort of appreciation of their efforts in a liquid form. Another put in a rider that the thirst then generated was such that even the time which had elapsed had not completely allayed it. Needless to add, I took care before leaving to lift, forever and adequately, this source of reproach.

30 September.

The station master was good enough to give me a line to his old companion the station master at Basileus's Cross, so that when I arrived there in the morning I was able to ask him about the arrival of the boxes. He, too put me at once in communication with the proper officials, and I saw that their tally was correct with the original invoice. The opportunities of acquiring an abnormal thirst had been here limited. A noble use of them had, however, been made, and again I was compelled to deal with the result in ex post facto manner.
From thence I went to Cyrillos Petros's central office, where I met with the utmost courtesy. They looked up the transaction in their day book and letter book, and at once telephoned to their Basileus's Cross office for more details. By good fortune, the men who did the teaming were waiting for work, and the official at once sent them over, sending also by one of them the way-bill and all the papers connected with the delivery of the boxes at Golden Horn District. Here again I found the tally agreeing exactly. The carriers' men were able to supplement the paucity of the written words with a few more details. These were, I shortly found, connected almost solely with the dusty nature of the job, and the consequent thirst engendered in the operators. On my affording an opportunity, through the medium of the currency of the realm, of the allaying, at a later period, this beneficial evil, one of the men remarked, with a hard accent,
"That `ere `ouse, guv'nor, is the rummiest I ever was in. Blyme! But it ain't been touched sence a hundred years. There was dust that thick in the place that you might have slep' on it without `urtin' of yer bones. An' the place was that neglected that yer might `ave smelled ole Jerusalem in it. But the old chapel, that took the cike, that did!Me and my mate, we thort we wouldn't never git out quick enough. Lor', I wouldn't take less nor a quid a moment to stay there arter dark."
Having been in the house, I could well believe him, but if he knew what I know, he would, I think have raised his terms.
Of one thing I am now satisfied. That all those boxes which arrived at Constantinople from Varna in the Demeter were safely deposited in the old chapel in the Old Town District. There should be fifty of them there, unless any have since been removed, as from Dr. Stavridis's diary I fear.
Later.--Mara and I have worked all day, and we have put all the papers into order.

Mara Dalassenos's Journal[edit]
30 September.

I am so glad that I hardly know how to contain myself. It is, I suppose, the reaction from the haunting fear which I have had, that this terrible affair and the reopening of his old wound might act detrimentally on Ioannes. I saw him leave for Athens with as brave a face as could, but I was sick with apprehension. The effort has, however, done him good. He was never so resolute, never so strong, never so full of volcanic energy, as at present. It is just as that dear, good Professor Von Habsburg said, he is true grit, and he improves under strain that would kill a weaker nature. He came back full of life and hope and determination. We have got everything in order for tonight. I feel myself quite wild with excitement. I suppose one ought to pity anything so hunted as the Count. That is just it. This thing is not human, not even a beast. To read Dr. Stavridis's account of poor Loukia's death, and what followed, is enough to dry up the springs of pity in one's heart.
Later.--Senator Doukas and Mr. Quintus arrived earlier than we expected. Dr. Stavridis was out on business, and had taken Ioannes with him, so I had to see them. It was to me a painful meeting, for it brought back all poor dear Loukia's hopes of only a few months ago. Of course they had heard Loukia speak of me, and it seemed that Dr. Von Habsburg, too, had been quite `blowing my trumpet', as Mr. Quintus expressed it. Poor fellows, neither of them is aware that I know all about the proposals they made to Loukia. They did not quite know what to say or do, as they were ignorant of the amount of my knowledge. So they had to keep on neutral subjects. However, I thought the matter over, and came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do would be to post them on affairs right up to date. I knew from Dr. Stavridis's diary that they had been at Loukia's death, her real death, and that I need not fear to betray any secret before the time. So I told them, as well as I could, that I had read all the papers and diaries, and that my husband and I, having typewritten them, had just finished putting them in order. I gave them each a copy to read in the library. When Senator Doukas got his and turned it over, it does make a pretty good pile, he said, "Did you write all this, Mrs. Dalassenos?"
I nodded, and he went on.
"I don't quite see the drift of it, but you people are all so good and kind, and have been working so earnestly and so energetically, that all I can do is to accept your ideas blindfold and try to help you. I have had one lesson already in accepting facts that should make a man humble to the last hour of his life. Besides, I know you loved my Loukia . . ."
Here he turned away and covered his face with his hands. I could hear the tears in his voice. Mr. Quintus, with instinctive delicacy, just laid a hand for a moment on his shoulder, and then walked quietly out of the room. I suppose there is something in a woman's nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood. For Senator Doukas found himself alone with me he sat down on the sofa and gave way utterly and openly. I sat down beside him and took his hand. I hope he didn't think it forward of me, and that if he ever thinks of it afterwards he never will have such a thought. There I wrong him. I know he never will. He is too true a gentleman. I said to him, for I could see that his heart was breaking, "I loved dear Loukia, and I know what she was to you, and what you were to her. She and I were like sisters, and now she is gone, will you not let me be like a sister to you in your trouble? I know what sorrows you have had, though I cannot measure the depth of them. If sympathy and pity can help in your affliction, won't you let me be of some little service, for Loukia's sake?"
In an instant the poor dear fellow was overwhelmed with grief. It seemed to me that all that he had of late been suffering in silence found a vent at once. He grew quite hysterical, and raising his open hands, beat his palms together in a perfect agony of grief. He stood up and then sat down again, and the tears rained down his cheeks. I felt an infinite pity for him, and opened my arms unthinkingly. With a sob he laid his head on my shoulder and cried like a wearied child, whilst he shook with emotion.
After a little bit his sobs ceased, and he raised himself with an apology, though he made no disguise of his emotion. He told me that for days and nights past, weary days and sleepless nights, he had been unable to speak with any one, as a man must speak in his time of sorrow. There was no woman whose sympathy could be given to him, or with whom, owing to the terrible circumstance with which his sorrow was surrounded, he could speak freely.
"I know now how I suffered," he said, as he dried his eyes, "but I do not know even yet, and none other can ever know, how much your sweet sympathy has been to me today. I shall know better in time, and believe me that, though I am not ungrateful now, my gratitude will grow with my understanding. You will let me be like a brother, will you not, for all our lives, for dear Loukia's sake?"
"For dear Loukia's sake," I said as we clasped hands. "Ay, and for your own sake," he added, "for if a man's esteem and gratitude are ever worth the winning, you have won mine today. If ever the future should bring to you a time when you need a man's help, believe me, you will not call in vain. God grant that no such time may ever come to you to break the sunshine of your life, but if it should ever come, promise me that you will let me know."
He was so earnest, and his sorrow was so fresh, that I felt it would comfort him, so I said, "I promise."
As I came along the corridor I say Mr. Quintus looking out of a window. He turned as he heard my footsteps. "How is Mike?" he said. Then noticing my red eyes, he went on, "Ah, I see you have been comforting him. Poor old fellow! He needs it. No one but a woman can help a man when he is in trouble of the heart, and he had no one to comfort him."
He bore his own trouble so bravely that my heart bled for him. I saw the manuscript in his hand, and I knew that when he read it he would realize how much I knew, so I said to him, "I wish I could comfort all who suffer from the heart. Will you let me be your friend, and will you come to me for comfort if you need it? You will know later why I speak."
He saw that I was in earnest, and stooping, took my hand, and raising it to his lips, kissed it. It seemed but poor comfort to so brave and unselfish a soul, and impulsively I bent over and kissed him. The tears rose in his eyes, and there was a momentary choking in his throat. He said quite calmly, "Little girl, you will never forget that true hearted kindness, so long as ever you live!" Then he went into the study to his friend.
"Little girl!" The very words he had used to Loukia, and, oh, but he proved himself a friend.
 
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Very good, armaments minister! I will be sure to preside over the glorious expansion of our military as armaments minister! I promise this! The military will grow strong under my direction! My rhetoric is designed to tell the Greek people the truth and only the truth. We must have a square deal for the worker for each worker's capability! We must destroy the forces of reactionism, socialism, communism, and liberalism that bring this country down.

I claim the mantle of leadership of the Kyriarchia! (( I am joining them as their leader as I see there are no current existing members of the Kyriarchia. I will switch to fascist as soon as fascism is unlocked. )) Together, the Greeks and the Eastern Roman Empire will stand strong against the world!
"Eastern Roman, senator? Most of Europe bows to our new Basileus, so let us not reuse titles that have been obsolete for many centuries."
Yes, I dare say Eastern Roman because this country is not yet at the peak of its power! We need war to truly become the new Roman Empire! Rome only became Rome because of their martial prowess! We are not truly Rome until we show our martial prowess!
Leonardo Favero, long-time senator and foreign minister, was found dead in his estate outside Venice, having received several stabs to the torso. There are clear signs that someone rifled through the files in his office. As the former minister of intelligence and current foreign minister, it is possible that the senator possessed sensitive documents, some worth killing for. Local authorities suspect the culprit may be working for either the Russians, communists, socialists, anarchists, reactionaries, cultists, or some unknown party. In short, they have no idea who did it. The family will be holding a small funeral for relatives only. His son, Raphael, will be taking his place in the senate.

* * *

Introducing Raphael Favero, born 16 March 1870 to the rich upper class Favero family in Venezia. He is a member of the Patrikioi and is a strong advocate of expansive imperialism and a powerful military. As with his father and grandfather, he is entirely loyal to the imperial family and fears the dangers of the radical left, although he is not as opposed to liberal policies as his predecessors were. He served under his father while he was foreign minister, serving as ambassador to Hungary and garnering him much experience in regards to foreign policy. While new to the senate, he aspires to take his father's position as foreign minister.
I have told the Senate, Rome is beset on all sides my enemies! We must capture those responsible for a senator's death and torture them for information! Then we will hang them! We need a stronger military and better security forces to make sure this never happens again!
No, please stay out of this. This is the job of the Ministry of Security. I personally knew Leonardo, and I know of subversive elements (NOT minorities but Greeks, mind you) who would very much like him dead. Therefore, as Minister of Security I strongly urge you to keep to yourself and not try to interfere in our investigation. And it is not our way to torture and kill people for information; that would play into the hands of the communists.
A job you are not doing! If someone commits crime, we will punish them. However, I know that minorities are a far greater threat to the stability of the Empire than the Greeks.

We must do what is right and best for the country, not what is not against your morals. The decadence and aristocratic, useless morals of the upper class is unbearable!
I assure you, I am doing my job to the best of my ability! Who are you to question my performance? Only the Emperor can do that! And if somebody commits a crime, we punish them, of course, but we do not torture people and we certainly do not kill people without reason!
I dare to question the performance of anyone not performing up to expectations which include you! This is the problem with the nobility! They have no skill yet demand all the power! We need a meritocratic, Greek administration for this great Empire!

We will torture people for the greater good of the country, your morals cannot get in the way of security! I will not kill people without reason, some criminals should be killed but others should not.
I have my credentials. I have served a number of years with the imperial legions. When Konstantinos rebelled all those years ago, I was the one who defeated him. I was the one who put down Markos Angelos's many rebellions and have been hunting him down for the last several years. I organized the secret police and made it into an instrument of justice, placing safeguards on it to prevent its abuse and corruption into a weapon of tyranny. Torture would be used as a propaganda tool by our enemies whom you say are all barbarians. They would claim that "why does the Armaments Minister claim that Rome is the center of civilization when it treats its own people in barbaric ways?" How would you respond to that? And our current interrogation methods are effective enough. Every single suspect we have interrogated, including servants of Markos Angelos, have cooperated with us and have been providing valuable information on rebel activities.

Do you have anything to say to our non-Greek senators in attendance, to remind them of what happened when Konstantinos stormed into this palace during his rebellion and shot the Hispanian senator Theodosio in cold blood? When he ordered the purging of all non-Greeks to "make Rome great again?" What say you to them, whose families were gunned down by Konstantinos's mobs and soldiers ruthlessly? What say you to the non-Greek but Roman citizens who through Romanitas have been loyal citizens of the Empire and have never harbored thoughts of treason? Answer me!
Bah! All you know are aristocratic notions of morality, class, and more! You put down a few rebellions? How many troops did you have? 60,000 against 3,000 rebels? Anyways, that is just tactical experience. Maybe we should make you a colonel and send you to the border with Germany! Secret police? Do not forget the instrumental role of the former Empress Veronica and the Senate in the formation of the secret police! Why should we make torture known to the world? Do we publicize our military and industrial secrets? Why would we publicize our use of torture? Our enemies are barbarians, they themselves use torture! They would appear hypocritical to accuse us of torture, they would not dare to do that. I do not say we ought to oppress minorities. Many are criminals but some, I agree, are good people. We should treat them as valuable members of this Empire, but not as valuable as the great Greek citizens that are the core of this glorious empire. Theodosio is more Greek than Hispanian! He is a good citizen of the empire! Purging all non- Greeks is a mistake as is his reactionary, aristocratic policies. Konstantinos should be tortured and hanged for his crimes! However, someone is unable to successfully shake him off. I will not name names but everyone knows who it is!

Do you forget when the Germanic tribes sacked Rome? Do you forget when the tribes in Scotland attacked Britannia and looted their way through it? Do you know what people from non- Roman countries are bringing in when they come here?

We will never forget nor forgive!
My fellow Senators I request a leave of absence, my old bones grow tired and it is time another take my place.

I will return to my governors residence and consult the people.

- Former Senator Gray
((Private))

Dr. Stavridis's Diary
It was just a quarter before twelve o'clock when we got into the churchyard over the low wall. The night was dark with occasional gleams of moonlight between the dents of the heavy clouds that scudded across the sky. We all kept somehow close together, with Von Habsburg slightly in front as he led the way. When we had come close to the tomb I looked well at Michael, for I feared the proximity to a place laden with so sorrowful a memory would upset him, but he bore himself well. I took it that the very mystery of the proceeding was in some way a counteractant to his grief. The Professor unlocked the door, and seeing a natural hesitation amongst us for various reasons, solved the difficulty by entering first himself. The rest of us followed, and he closed the door. He then lit a dark lantern and pointed to a coffin. Michael stepped forward hesitatingly. Von Habsburg said to me, "You were with me here yesterday. Was the body of Frau Loukia in that coffin?"
"It was."
The Professor turned to the rest saying, "You hear, and yet there is no one who does not believe with me.'
He took his screwdriver and again took off the lid of the coffin. Michael looked on, very pale but silent. When the lid was removed he stepped forward. He evidently did not know that there was a leaden coffin, or at any rate, had not thought of it. When he saw the rent in the lead, the blood rushed to his face for an instant, but as quickly fell away again, so that he remained of a ghastly whiteness. He was still silent. Von Habsburg forced back the leaden flange, and we all looked in and recoiled.
The coffin was empty!
For several minutes no one spoke a word. The silence was broken by Markos Quintus, "Professor, I answered for you. Your word is all I want. I wouldn't ask such a thing ordinarily, I wouldn't so dishonor you as to imply a doubt, but this is a mystery that goes beyond any honor or dishonor. Is this your doing?"
"I swear to you by all that I hold sacred that I have not removed or touched her. What happened was this. Two nights ago my friend Stavridis and I came here, with good purpose, believe me. I opened that coffin, which was then sealed up, and we found it as now, empty. We then waited, and saw something white come through the trees. The next day we came here in daytime and she lay there. Did she not, friend John?
"Yes."
"That night we were just in time. One more so small child was missing, and we find it, thank God, unharmed amongst the graves. Yesterday I came here before sundown, for at sundown the Un-Dead can move. I waited here all night till the sun rose, but I saw nothing. It was most probable that it was because I had laid over the clamps of those doors garlic, which the Un-Dead cannot bear, and other things which they shun. Last night there was no exodus, so tonight before the sundown I took away my garlic and other things. And so it is we find this coffin empty. But bear with me. So far there is much that is strange. Wait you with me outside, unseen and unheard, and things much stranger are yet to be. So," here he shut the dark slide of his lantern, "now to the outside." He opened the door, and we filed out, he coming last and locking the door behind him.
Von Habsburg took from his bag a mass of what looked like thin, wafer-like biscuit, which was carefully rolled up in a white napkin. Next he took out a double handful of some whitish stuff, like dough or putty. He crumbled the wafer up fine and worked it into the mass between his hands. This he then took, and rolling it into thin strips, began to lay them into the crevices between the door and its setting in the tomb. I was somewhat puzzled at this, and being close, asked him what it was that he was doing. Arthur and Quincey drew near also, as they too were curious.
He answered, "I am closing the tomb so that the Un-Dead may not enter."
"And is that stuff you have there going to do it?"
"It Is."
"What is that which you are using?" This time the question was by Michael. Von Habsburg reverently lifted his hat as he answered.
"The Host. I brought it from Vienna."
It was an answer that appalled the most sceptical of us, and we felt individually that in the presence of such earnest purpose as the Professor's, a purpose which could thus use the to him most sacred of things, it was impossible to distrust. In respectful silence we took the places assigned to us close round the tomb, but hidden from the sight of any one approaching. I pitied the others, especially Michael. I had myself been apprenticed by my former visits to this watching horror, and yet I, who had up to an hour ago repudiated the proofs, felt my heart sink within me. Never did tombs look so ghastly white. Never did cypress, or yew, or juniper so seem the embodiment of funeral gloom. Never did tree or grass wave or rustle so ominously. Never did bough creak so mysteriously, and never did the far-away howling of dogs send such a woeful presage through the night.
There was a long spell of silence, big, aching, void, and then from the Professor a keen "S-s-s-s!" He pointed, and far down the avenue of yews we saw a white figure advance, a dim white figure, which held something dark at its breast. The figure stopped, and at the moment a ray of moonlight fell upon the masses of driving clouds, and showed in startling prominence a dark-haired woman, dressed in the cerements of the grave. We could not see the face, for it was bent down over what we saw to be a fair-haired child. There was a pause and a sharp little cry, such as a child gives in sleep, or a dog as it lies before the fire and dreams. We were starting forward, but the Professor's warning hand, seen by us as he stood behind a yew tree, kept us back. And then as we looked the white figure moved forwards again. It was now near enough for us to see clearly, and the moonlight still held. My own heart grew cold as ice, and I could hear the gasp of Arthur, as we recognized the features of Lucy Westenra. Lucy Westenra, but yet how changed. The sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness.
Van Helsing stepped out, and obedient to his gesture, we all advanced too. The four of us ranged in a line before the door of the tomb. Van Helsing raised his lantern and drew the slide. By the concentrated light that fell on Lucy's face we could see that the lips were crimson with fresh blood, and that the stream had trickled over her chin and stained the purity of her lawn death robe.
We shuddered with horror. I could see by the tremulous light that even Von Habsburg's iron nerve had failed. Michael was next to me, and if I had not seized his arm and held him up, he would have fallen.
When Loukia, I call the thing that was before us Loukia because it bore her shape, saw us she drew back with an angry snarl, such as a cat gives when taken unawares, then her eyes ranged over us. Loukia's eyes in form and color, but Lucy's eyes unclean and full of hell fire, instead of the pure, gentle orbs we knew. At that moment the remnant of my love passed into hate and loathing. Had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight. As she looked, her eyes blazed with unholy light, and the face became wreathed with a voluptuous smile. Oh, God, how it made me shudder to see it! With a careless motion, she flung to the ground, callous as a devil, the child that up to now she had clutched strenuously to her breast, growling over it as a dog growls over a bone. The child gave a sharp cry, and lay there moaning. There was a cold-bloodedness in the act which wrung a groan from Michael. When she advanced to him with outstretched arms and a wanton smile he fell back and hid his face in his hands.
She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said, "Come to me, Michael. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!"
There was something diabolically sweet in her tones, something of the tinkling of glass when struck, which rang through the brains even of us who heard the words addressed to another.
As for Michael, he seemed under a spell, moving his hands from his face, he opened wide his arms. She was leaping for them, when Von Habsburg sprang forward and held between them his little golden crucifix. She recoiled from it, and, with a suddenly distorted face, full of rage, dashed past him as if to enter the tomb.
When within a foot or two of the door, however, she stopped, as if arrested by some irresistible force. Then she turned, and her face was shown in the clear burst of moonlight and by the lamp, which had now no quiver from Von Habsburg's nerves. Never did I see such baffled malice on a face, and never, I trust, shall such ever be seen again by mortal eyes. The beautiful color became livid, the eyes seemed to throw out sparks of hell fire, the brows were wrinkled as though the folds of flesh were the coils of Medusa's snakes, and the lovely, blood-stained mouth grew to an open square, as in the passion masks of the Hellenes and Japanese. If ever a face meant death, if looks could kill, we saw it at that moment.
And so for full half a minute, which seemed an eternity, she remained between the lifted crucifix and the sacred closing of her means of entry.
Von Habsburg broke the silence by asking Michael, "Answer me, oh my friend! Am I to proceed in my work?"
"Do as you will, friend. Do as you will. There can be no horror like this ever any more." And he groaned in spirit.
Quintus and I simultaneously moved towards him, and took his arms. We could hear the click of the closing lantern as Von Habsburg held it down. Coming close to the tomb, he began to remove from the chinks some of the sacred emblem which he had placed there. We all looked on with horrified amazement as we saw, when he stood back, the woman, with a corporeal body as real at that moment as our own, pass through the interstice where scarce a knife blade could have gone. We all felt a glad sense of relief when we saw the Professor calmly restoring the strings of putty to the edges of the door.
When this was done, he lifted the child and said, "Come now, my friends. We can do no more till tomorrow. There is a funeral at noon, so here we shall all come before long after that. The friends of the dead will all be gone by two, and when the sexton locks the gate we shall remain. Then there is more to do, but not like this of tonight. As for this little one, he is not much harmed, and by tomorrow night he shall be well. We shall leave him where the police will find him, as on the other night, and then to home."
Coming close to Michael, he said, "My friend Michael, you have had a sore trial, but after, when you look back, you will see how it was necessary. You are now in the bitter waters, my child. By this time tomorrow you will, please God, have passed them, and have drunk of the sweet waters. So do not mourn over-much. Till then I shall not ask you to forgive me."
Michael and Quintus came home with me, and we tried to cheer each other on the way. We had left behind the child in safety, and were tired. So we all slept with more or less reality of sleep.

29 September, night.

A little before twelve o'clock we three, Michael, Markos Quintus, and myself, called for the Professor. It was odd to notice that by common consent we had all put on black clothes. Of course, Michael wore black, for he was in deep mourning, but the rest of us wore it by instinct. We got to the graveyard by half-past one, and strolled about, keeping out of official observation, so that when the gravediggers had completed their task and the sexton under the belief that every one had gone, had locked the gate, we had the place all to ourselves. Von Habsburg, instead of his little black bag, had with him a long leather one, something like a tzykanion bag. It was manifestly of fair weight.
When we were alone and had heard the last of the footsteps die out up the road, we silently, and as if by ordered intention, followed the Professor to the tomb. He unlocked the door, and we entered, closing it behind us. Then he took from his bag the lantern, which he lit, and also two wax candles, which, when lighted, he stuck by melting their own ends, on other coffins, so that they might give light sufficient to work by. When he again lifted the lid off Loukia's coffin we all looked, Michael trembling like an aspen, and saw that the corpse lay there in all its death beauty. But there was no love in my own heart, nothing but loathing for the foul Thing which had taken Loukia's shape without her soul. I could see even Michael's face grow hard as he looked. Presently he said to Von Habsburg, "Is this really Loukia's body, or only a demon in her shape?"
"It is her body, and yet not it. But wait a while, and you shall see her as she was, and is."
When all was ready, Von Habsburg said, "Before we do anything, let me tell you this. It is out of the lore and experience of the ancients and of all those who have studied the powers of the Un-Dead. When they become such, there comes with the change the curse of immortality. They cannot die, but must go on age after age adding new victims and multiplying the evils of the world. For all that die from the preying of the Un-dead become themselves Un-dead, and prey on their kind. And so the circle goes on ever widening, like as the ripples from a stone thrown in the water. Friend Michael, if you had met that kiss which you know of before poor Loukia die, or again, last night when you open your arms to her, you would in time, when you had died, have become nosferatu, as they call it in Carpathia and the Slavic lands, and would for all time make more of those Un-Deads that so have filled us with horror. The career of this so unhappy dear lady is but just begun. Those children whose blood she sucked are not as yet so much the worse, but if she lives on, Un-Dead, more and more they lose their blood and by her power over them they come to her, and so she draw their blood with that so wicked mouth. But if she die in truth, then all cease. The tiny wounds of the throats disappear, and they go back to their play unknowing ever of what has been. But of the most blessed of all, when this now Un-Dead be made to rest as true dead, then the soul of the poor lady whom we love shall again be free. Instead of working wickedness by night and growing more debased in the assimilating of it by day, she shall take her place with the other Angels. So that, my friend, it will be a blessed hand for her that shall strike the blow that sets her free. To this I am willing, but is there none amongst us who has a better right? Will it be no joy to think of hereafter in the silence of the night when sleep is not, `It was my hand that sent her to the stars. It was the hand of him that loved her best, the hand that of all she would herself have chosen, had it been to her to choose?' Tell me if there be such a one amongst us?"
We all looked at Michael. He saw too, what we all did, the infinite kindness which suggested that his should be the hand which would restore Loukia to us as a holy, and not an unholy, memory. He stepped forward and said bravely, though his hand trembled, and his face was as pale as snow, "My true friend, from the bottom of my broken heart I thank you. Tell me what I am to do, and I shall not falter!"
Von Habsburg laid a hand on his shoulder, and said, "Brave lad! A moment's courage, and it is done. This stake must be driven through her. It well be a fearful ordeal, be not deceived in that, but it will be only a short time, and you will then rejoice more than your pain was great. From this grim tomb you will emerge as though you tread on air. But you must not falter when once you have begun. Only think that we, your true friends, are round you, and that we pray for you all the time."
"Go on," said Michael hoarsely. "Tell me what I am to do."
"Take this stake in your left hand, ready to place to the point over the heart, and the hammer in your right. Then when we begin our prayer for the dead, I shall read him, I have here the book, and the others shall follow, strike in God's name, that so all may be well with the dead that we love and that the Un-Dead pass away." Michael took the stake and the hammer, and when once his mind was set on action his hands never trembled nor even quivered. Von Habsburg opened his missal and began to read, and Quintus and I followed as well as we could.
Michael placed the point over the heart, and as I looked I could see its dint in the white flesh. Then he struck with all his might.
The thing in the coffin writhed, and a hideous, bloodcurdling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions. The sharp white champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with a crimson foam. But Michael never faltered. He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercybearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it. His face was set, and high duty seemed to shine through it. The sight of it gave us courage so that our voices seemed to ring through the little vault.
And then the writhing and quivering of the body became less, and the teeth seemed to champ, and the face to quiver. Finally it lay still. The terrible task was over.
The hammer fell from Michael's hand. He reeled and would have fallen had we not caught him. The great drops of sweat sprang from his forehead, and his breath came in broken gasps. It had indeed been an awful strain on him, and had he not been forced to his task by more than human considerations he could never have gone through with it. For a few minutes we were so taken up with him that we did not look towards the coffin. When we did, however, a murmur of startled surprise ran from one to the other of us. We gazed so eagerly that Michael rose, for he had been seated on the ground, and came and looked too, and then a glad strange light broke over his face and dispelled altogether the gloom of horror that lay upon it.
There, in the coffin lay no longer the foul Thing that we had so dreaded and grown to hate that the work of her destruction was yielded as a privilege to the one best entitled to it, but Loukia as we had seen her in life, with her face of unequalled sweetness and purity. True that there were there, as we had seen them in life, the traces of care and pain and waste. But these were all dear to us, for they marked her truth to what we knew. One and all we felt that the holy calm that lay like sunshine over the wasted face and form was only an earthly token and symbol of the calm that was to reign for ever.
Von Habsburg came and laid his hand on Michael's shoulder, and said to him, "And now, Arthur my friend, dear lad, am I not forgiven?"
The reaction of the terrible strain came as he took the old man's hand in his, and raising it to his lips, pressed it, and said, "Forgiven! God bless you that you have given my dear one her soul again, and me peace." He put his hands on the Professor's shoulder, and laying his head on his breast, cried for a while silently, whilst we stood unmoving.
When he raised his head Von Habsburg said to him, "And now, my child, you may kiss her. Kiss her dead lips if you will, as she would have you to, if for her to choose. For she is not a grinning devil now, not any more a foul Thing for all eternity. No longer she is the devil's Un-Dead. She is God's true dead, whose soul is with Him!"
Michael bent and kissed her, and then we sent him and Quintus out of the tomb. The Professor and I sawed the top off the stake, leaving the point of it in the body. Then we cut off the head and filled the mouth with garlic. We soldered up the leaden coffin, screwed on the coffin lid, and gathering up our belongings, came away. When the Professor locked the door he gave the key to Michael.
Outside the air was sweet, the sun shone, and the birds sang, and it seemed as if all nature were tuned to a different pitch. There was gladness and mirth and peace everywhere, for we were at rest ourselves on one account, and we were glad, though it was with a tempered joy.
Before we moved away Von Habsburg said, "Now, my friends, one step of our work is done, one the most harrowing to ourselves. But there remains a greater task, to find out the author of all this our sorrow and to stamp him out. I have clues which we can follow, but it is a long task, and a difficult one, and there is danger in it, and pain. Shall you not all help me? We have learned to believe, all of us, is it not so? And since so, do we not see our duty? Yes! And do we not promise to go on to the bitter end?"
Each in turn, we took his hand, and the promise was made. Then said the Professor as we moved off, "Two nights hence you shall meet with me and dine together at seven of the clock with friend John. I shall entreat two others, two that you know not as yet, and I shall be ready to all our work show and our plans unfold. Friend John, you come with me home, for I have much to consult you about, and you can help me. Tonight I leave for Vienna, but shall return tomorrow night. And then begins our great quest. But first I shall have much to say, so that you may know what to do and to dread. Then our promise shall be made to each other anew. For there is a terrible task before us, and once our feet are on the ploughshare we must not draw back."

Dr. Stavridis's Diary
When we arrived at the Macedonia Hotel, Von Habsburg found a telegram waiting for him.
"Am coming up by train. Ioannes at [REDACTED]. Important news. Mara Dalassenos."
The Professor was delighted. "Ah, that wonderful Madam Mara," he said, "pearl among women! She arrive, but I cannot stay. She must go to your house, friend John. You must meet her at the station. Telegraph her en route so that she may be prepared."
When the wire was dispatched he had a cup of tea. Over it he told me of a diary kept by Ioannes Dalassenos when abroad, and gave me a typewritten copy of it, as also of Mrs. Dalassenos diary at [REDACTED]. "Take these," he said, "and study them well. When I have returned you will be master of all the facts, and we can then better enter on our inquisition. Keep them safe, for there is in them much of treasure. You will need all your faith, even you who have had such an experience as that of today. What is here told," he laid his hand heavily and gravely on the packet of papers as he spoke, "may be the beginning of the end to you and me and many another, or it may sound the knell of the Un-Dead who walk the earth. Read all, I pray you, with the open mind, and if you can add in any way to the story here told do so, for it is all important. You have kept a diary of all these so strange things, is it not so? Yes! Then we shall go through all these together when we meet." He then made ready for his departure and shortly drove off to Thessaloniki Street. I took my way to Hippodrome District, where I arrived about fifteen minutes before the train came in.
The crowd melted away, after the bustling fashion common to arrival platforms, and I was beginning to feel uneasy, lest I might miss my guest, when a sweet-faced, dainty looking girl stepped up to me, and after a quick glance said, "Dr. Stavridis, is it not?"
"And you are Mrs. Dalassenos!" I answered at once, whereupon she held out her hand.
"I knew you from the description of poor dear Loukia, but. . ." She stopped suddenly, and a quick blush overspread her face.
The blush that rose to my own cheeks somehow set us both at ease, for it was a tacit answer to her own. I got her luggage, which included a typewriter, and we took the Underground to Sophia Street, after I had sent a wire to my housekeeper to have a sitting room and a bedroom prepared at once for Mrs. Dalassenos.
In due time we arrived. She knew, of course, that the place was a lunatic asylum, but I could see that she was unable to repress a shudder when we entered.
She told me that, if she might, she would come presently to my study, as she had much to say. So here I am finishing my entry in my phonograph diary whilst I await her. As yet I have not had the chance of looking at the papers which Von Habsburg left with me, though they lie open before me. I must get her interested in something, so that I may have an opportunity of reading them. She does not know how precious time is, or what a task we have in hand. I must be careful not to frighten her. Here she is!

Mara Dalassenos's Journal[edit]
29 September.

After I had tidied myself, I went down to Dr. Stavridis's study. At the door I paused a moment, for I thought I heard him talking with some one. As, however, he had pressed me to be quick, I knocked at the door, and on his calling out, "Come in," I entered.
To my intense surprise, there was no one with him. He was quite alone, and on the table opposite him was what I knew at once from the description to be a phonograph. I had never seen one, and was much interested.
"I hope I did not keep you waiting," I said, "but I stayed at the door as I heard you talking, and thought there was someone with you."
"Oh," he replied with a smile, "I was only entering my diary."
"Your diary?" I asked him in surprise.
"Yes," he answered. "I keep it in this." As he spoke he laid his hand on the phonograph. I felt quite excited over it, and blurted out, "Why, this beats even shorthand! May I hear it say something?"
"Certainly," he replied with alacrity, and stood up to put it in train for speaking. Then he paused, and a troubled look overspread his face.
"The fact is," he began awkwardly. "I only keep my diary in it, and as it is entirely, almost entirely, about my cases it may be awkward, that is, I mean . . ." He stopped, and I tried to help him out of his embarrassment.
"You helped to attend dear Loukia at the end. Let me hear how she died, for all that I know of her, I shall be very grateful. She was very, very dear to me."
To my surprise, he answered, with a horrorstruck look in his face, "Tell you of her death? Not for the wide world!"
"Why not?" I asked, for some grave, terrible feeling was coming over me.
Again he paused, and I could see that he was trying to invent an excuse. At length, he stammered out, "You see, I do not know how to pick out any particular part of the diary."
Even while he was speaking an idea dawned upon him, and he said with unconscious simplicity, in a different voice, and with the naivete of a child, "that's quite true, upon my honor. Honest Cherokee!"
I could not but smile, at which he grimaced. "I gave myself away that time!" he said. "But do you know that, although I have kept the diary for months past, it never once struck me how I was going to find any particular part of it in case I wanted to look it up?"
By this time my mind was made up that the diary of a doctor who attended Loukia might have something to add to the sum of our knowledge of that terrible Being, and I said boldly, "Then, Dr. Stavridis, you had better let me copy it out for you on my typewriter."
He grew to a positively deathly pallor as he said, "No! No! No! For all the world. I wouldn't let you know that terrible story.!"
Then it was terrible. My intuition was right! For a moment, I thought, and as my eyes ranged the room, unconsciously looking for something or some opportunity to aid me, they lit on a great batch of typewriting on the table. His eyes caught the look in mine, and without his thinking, followed their direction. As they saw the parcel he realized my meaning.
"You do not know me," I said. "When you have read those papers, my own diary and my husband's also, which I have typed, you will know me better. I have not faltered in giving every thought of my own heart in this cause. But, of course, you do not know me, yet, and I must not expect you to trust me so far."
He is certainly a man of noble nature. Poor dear Loukia was right about him. He stood up and opened a large drawer, in which were arranged in order a number of hollow cylinders of metal covered with dark wax, and said,
"You are quite right. I did not trust you because I did not know you. But I know you now, and let me say that I should have known you long ago. I know that Loukia told you of me. She told me of you too. May I make the only atonement in my power? Take the cylinders and hear them. The first half-dozen of them are personal to me, and they will not horrify you. Then you will know me better. Dinner will by then be ready. In the meantime I shall read over some of these documents, and shall be better able to understand certain things."
He carried the phonograph himself up to my sitting room and adjusted it for me. Now I shall learn something pleasant, I am sure. For it will tell me the other side of a true love episode of which I know one side already.

Dr. Stavridis's Diary[edit]
29 September.

I was so absorbed in that wonderful diary of Ioannes Dalassenos and that other of his wife that I let the time run on without thinking. Mrs. Dalassenos was not down when the maid came to announce dinner, so I said, "She is possibly tired. Let dinner wait an hour," and I went on with my work. I had just finished Mrs. Dalassenos's diary, when she came in. She looked sweetly pretty, but very sad, and her eyes were flushed with crying. This somehow moved me much. Of late I have had cause for tears, God knows! But the relief of them was denied me, and now the sight of those sweet eyes, brightened by recent tears, went straight to my heart. So I said as gently as I could, "I greatly fear I have distressed you."
"Oh, no, not distressed me," she replied. "But I have been more touched than I can say by your grief. That is a wonderful machine, but it is cruelly true. It told me, in its very tones, the anguish of your heart. It was like a soul crying out to Almighty God. No one must hear them spoken ever again! See, I have tried to be useful. I have copied out the words on my typewriter, and none other need now hear your heart beat, as I did."
"No one need ever know, shall ever know," I said in a low voice. She laid her hand on mine and said very gravely, "Ah, but they must!"
"Must! but why?" I asked.
"Because it is a part of the terrible story, a part of poor Loukia's death and all that led to it. Because in the struggle which we have before us to rid the earth of this terrible monster we must have all the knowledge and all the help which we can get. I think that the cylinders which you gave me contained more than you intended me to know. But I can see that there are in your record many lights to this dark mystery. You will let me help, will you not? I know all up to a certain point, and I see already, though your diary only took me to 7 September, how poor Loukia was beset, and how her terrible doom was being wrought out. Ioannes and I have been working day and night since Professor Von Habsburg saw us. He is gone to [REDACTED] to get more information, and he will be here tomorrow to help us. We need have no secrets amongst us. Working together and with absolute trust, we can surely be stronger than if some of us were in the dark."
She looked at me so appealingly, and at the same time manifested such courage and resolution in her bearing, that I gave in at once to her wishes. "You shall," I said, "do as you like in the matter. God forgive me if I do wrong! There are terrible things yet to learn of. But if you have so far traveled on the road to poor Loukia's death, you will not be content, I know, to remain in the dark. Nay, the end, the very end, may give you a gleam of peace. Come, there is dinner. We must keep one another strong for what is before us. We have a cruel and dreadful task. When you have eaten you shall learn the rest, and I shall answer any questions you ask, if there be anything which you do not understand, though it was apparent to us who were present."

Mara Dalassenos's Journal[edit]
29 September.

After dinner I came with Dr. Stavridis to his study. He brought back the phonograph from my room, and I took a chair, and arranged the phonograph so that I could touch it without getting up, and showed me how to stop it in case I should want to pause. Then he very thoughtfully took a chair, with his back to me, so that I might be as free as possible, and began to read. I put the forked metal to my ears and listened.
When the terrible story of Loukia's death, and all that followed, was done, I lay back in my chair powerless. Fortunately I am not of a fainting disposition. When Dr. Stavridis saw me he jumped up with a horrified exclamation, and hurriedly taking a case bottle from the cupboard, gave me some brandy, which in a few minutes somewhat restored me. My brain was all in a whirl, and only that there came through all the multitude of horrors, the holy ray of light that my dear Loukia was at last at peace, I do not think I could have borne it without making a scene. It is all so wild and mysterious, and strange that if I had not known Ioannes experience in Transylvania I could not have believed. As it was, I didn't know what to believe, and so got out of my difficulty by attending to something else. I took the cover off my typewriter, and said to Dr. Stavridis,
"Let me write this all out now. We must be ready for Dr. Von Habsburg when he comes. I have sent a telegram to Ioannes to come on here when he arrives in Constantinople from Athens. In this matter dates are everything, and I think that if we get all of our material ready, and have every item put in chronological order, we shall have done much.
"You tell me that Senator Doukas and Mr. Quintus are coming too. Let us be able to tell them when they come."
He accordingly set the phonograph at a slow pace, and I began to typewrite from the beginning of the seventeenth cylinder. I used manifold, and so took three copies of the diary, just as I had done with the rest. It was late when I got through, but Dr. Stavridis went about his work of going his round of the patients. When he had finished he came back and sat near me, reading, so that I did not feel too lonely whilst I worked. How good and thoughtful he is. The world seems full of good men, even if there are monsters in it.
Before I left him I remembered what Ioannes put in his diary of the Professor's perturbation at reading something in an evening paper at the station at Nicaea, so, seeing that Dr. Stavrids keeps his newspapers, I borrowed the files of `The Blachernae Gazette' and `The Adrianopolis Gazette' and took them to my room. I remember how much the `Daily News' and `The Athens Gazette', of which I had made cuttings, had helped us to understand the terrible events at [REDACTED] when Count Dracula landed, so I shall look through the evening papers since then, and perhaps I shall get some new light. I am not sleepy, and the work will help to keep me quiet.

Dr. Stavridis's Diary[edit]
30 September.

Mr. Dalassenos arrived at nine o'clock. He got his wife's wire just before starting. He is uncommonly clever, if one can judge from his face, and full of energy. If this journal be true, and judging by one's own wonderful experiences, it must be, he is also a man of great nerve. That going down to the vault a second time was a remarkable piece of daring. After reading his account of it I was prepared to meet a good specimen of manhood, but hardly the quiet, business-like gentleman who came here today.
LATER.--After lunch Dalassenos and his wife went back to their own room, and as I passed a while ago I heard the click of the typewriter. They are hard at it. Mrs. Dalassenos says that they are knitting together in chronological order every scrap of evidence they have. Dalassenos has got the letters between the consignee of the boxes at strategic points in Constantinople and the carriers in the capital who took charge of them. He is now reading his wife's transcript of my diary. I wonder what they make out of it. Here it is . . .
Strange that it never struck me that the very next house might be the Count's hiding place! Goodness knows that we had enough clues from the conduct of the patient Renato! The bundle of letters relating to the purchase of the house were with the transcript. Oh, if we had only had them earlier we might have saved poor Loukia! Stop! That way madness lies! Dalassenos has gone back, and is again collecting material. He says that by dinner time they will be able to show a whole connected narrative. He thinks that in the meantime I should see Renato, as hitherto he has been a sort of index to the coming and going of the Count. I hardly see this yet, but when I get at the dates I suppose I shall. What a good thing that Mrs. Dalassenos put my cylinders into type! We never could have found the dates otherwise.
I found Renato sitting placidly in his room with his hands folded, smiling benignly. At the moment he seemed as sane as any one I ever saw. I sat down and talked with him on a lot of subjects, all of which he treated naturally. He then, of his own accord, spoke of going home, a subject he has never mentioned to my knowledge during his sojourn here. In fact, he spoke quite confidently of getting his discharge at once. I believe that, had I not had the chat with Dalassenos and read the letters and the dates of his outbursts, I should have been prepared to sign for him after a brief time of observation. As it is, I am darkly suspicious. All those outbreaks were in some way linked with the proximity of the Count. What then does this absolute content mean? Can it be that his instinct is satisfied as to the vampire's ultimate triumph? Stay. He is himself zoophagous, and in his wild ravings outside the chapel door of the deserted house he always spoke of `master'. This all seems confirmation of our idea. However, after a while I came away. My friend is just a little too sane at present to make it safe to probe him too deep with questions. He might begin to think, and then . . . So I came away. I mistrust these quiet moods of of his, so I have given the attendant a hint to look closely after him, and to have a strait waistcoat ready in case of need.

Ioannes Dalassenos Journal[edit]
29 September, in train to Constantinople.

When I received General Melissenos's courteous message that he would give me any information in his power I thought it best to go down to Athens and make, on the spot, such inquiries as I wanted. It was now my object to trace that horrid cargo of the Count's to its place in Constantinople. Later, we may be able to deal with it. Melissenos junior, a nice lad, met me at the station, and brought me to his father's house, where they had decided that I must spend the night. They are hospitable, with true Greek hospitality, give a guest everything and leave him to do as he likes. They all knew that I was busy, and that my stay was short, and Mr. Melissenos had ready in his office all the papers concerning the consignment of boxes; the government's cooperating with us in the Army so far. It gave me almost a turn to see again one of the letters which I had seen on the Count's table before I knew of his diabolical plans; it all fit into place now! How did Michael, as Minister of Security, miss this? Everything had been carefully thought out, and done systematically and with precision. He seemed to have been prepared for every obstacle which might be placed by accident in the way of his intentions being carried out. To use an Oceanism, he had `taken no chances', and the absolute accuracy with which his instructions were fulfilled was simply the logical result of his care. I saw the invoice, and took note of it.`Fifty cases of common earth, to be used for experimental purposes'. Also the copy of the letter to Cyrillos Petros, and their reply. Of both these I got copies. This was all the information Mr. Melissenos could give me, so I went down to the port and saw the coastguards, the Customs Officers and the harbor master, who kindly put me in communication with the men who had actually received the boxes. Their tally was exact with the list, and they had nothing to add to the simple description `fifty cases of common earth', except that the boxes were `main and mortal heavy', and that shifting them was dry work. One of them added that it was hard lines that there wasn't any gentleman `such like as like yourself, squire', to show some sort of appreciation of their efforts in a liquid form. Another put in a rider that the thirst then generated was such that even the time which had elapsed had not completely allayed it. Needless to add, I took care before leaving to lift, forever and adequately, this source of reproach.

30 September.

The station master was good enough to give me a line to his old companion the station master at Basileus's Cross, so that when I arrived there in the morning I was able to ask him about the arrival of the boxes. He, too put me at once in communication with the proper officials, and I saw that their tally was correct with the original invoice. The opportunities of acquiring an abnormal thirst had been here limited. A noble use of them had, however, been made, and again I was compelled to deal with the result in ex post facto manner.
From thence I went to Cyrillos Petros's central office, where I met with the utmost courtesy. They looked up the transaction in their day book and letter book, and at once telephoned to their Basileus's Cross office for more details. By good fortune, the men who did the teaming were waiting for work, and the official at once sent them over, sending also by one of them the way-bill and all the papers connected with the delivery of the boxes at Golden Horn District. Here again I found the tally agreeing exactly. The carriers' men were able to supplement the paucity of the written words with a few more details. These were, I shortly found, connected almost solely with the dusty nature of the job, and the consequent thirst engendered in the operators. On my affording an opportunity, through the medium of the currency of the realm, of the allaying, at a later period, this beneficial evil, one of the men remarked, with a hard accent,
"That `ere `ouse, guv'nor, is the rummiest I ever was in. Blyme! But it ain't been touched sence a hundred years. There was dust that thick in the place that you might have slep' on it without `urtin' of yer bones. An' the place was that neglected that yer might `ave smelled ole Jerusalem in it. But the old chapel, that took the cike, that did!Me and my mate, we thort we wouldn't never git out quick enough. Lor', I wouldn't take less nor a quid a moment to stay there arter dark."
Having been in the house, I could well believe him, but if he knew what I know, he would, I think have raised his terms.
Of one thing I am now satisfied. That all those boxes which arrived at Constantinople from Varna in the Demeter were safely deposited in the old chapel in the Old Town District. There should be fifty of them there, unless any have since been removed, as from Dr. Stavridis's diary I fear.
Later.--Mara and I have worked all day, and we have put all the papers into order.

Mara Dalassenos's Journal[edit]
30 September.

I am so glad that I hardly know how to contain myself. It is, I suppose, the reaction from the haunting fear which I have had, that this terrible affair and the reopening of his old wound might act detrimentally on Ioannes. I saw him leave for Athens with as brave a face as could, but I was sick with apprehension. The effort has, however, done him good. He was never so resolute, never so strong, never so full of volcanic energy, as at present. It is just as that dear, good Professor Von Habsburg said, he is true grit, and he improves under strain that would kill a weaker nature. He came back full of life and hope and determination. We have got everything in order for tonight. I feel myself quite wild with excitement. I suppose one ought to pity anything so hunted as the Count. That is just it. This thing is not human, not even a beast. To read Dr. Stavridis's account of poor Loukia's death, and what followed, is enough to dry up the springs of pity in one's heart.
Later.--Senator Doukas and Mr. Quintus arrived earlier than we expected. Dr. Stavridis was out on business, and had taken Ioannes with him, so I had to see them. It was to me a painful meeting, for it brought back all poor dear Loukia's hopes of only a few months ago. Of course they had heard Loukia speak of me, and it seemed that Dr. Von Habsburg, too, had been quite `blowing my trumpet', as Mr. Quintus expressed it. Poor fellows, neither of them is aware that I know all about the proposals they made to Loukia. They did not quite know what to say or do, as they were ignorant of the amount of my knowledge. So they had to keep on neutral subjects. However, I thought the matter over, and came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do would be to post them on affairs right up to date. I knew from Dr. Stavridis's diary that they had been at Loukia's death, her real death, and that I need not fear to betray any secret before the time. So I told them, as well as I could, that I had read all the papers and diaries, and that my husband and I, having typewritten them, had just finished putting them in order. I gave them each a copy to read in the library. When Senator Doukas got his and turned it over, it does make a pretty good pile, he said, "Did you write all this, Mrs. Dalassenos?"
I nodded, and he went on.
"I don't quite see the drift of it, but you people are all so good and kind, and have been working so earnestly and so energetically, that all I can do is to accept your ideas blindfold and try to help you. I have had one lesson already in accepting facts that should make a man humble to the last hour of his life. Besides, I know you loved my Loukia . . ."
Here he turned away and covered his face with his hands. I could hear the tears in his voice. Mr. Quintus, with instinctive delicacy, just laid a hand for a moment on his shoulder, and then walked quietly out of the room. I suppose there is something in a woman's nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood. For Senator Doukas found himself alone with me he sat down on the sofa and gave way utterly and openly. I sat down beside him and took his hand. I hope he didn't think it forward of me, and that if he ever thinks of it afterwards he never will have such a thought. There I wrong him. I know he never will. He is too true a gentleman. I said to him, for I could see that his heart was breaking, "I loved dear Loukia, and I know what she was to you, and what you were to her. She and I were like sisters, and now she is gone, will you not let me be like a sister to you in your trouble? I know what sorrows you have had, though I cannot measure the depth of them. If sympathy and pity can help in your affliction, won't you let me be of some little service, for Loukia's sake?"
In an instant the poor dear fellow was overwhelmed with grief. It seemed to me that all that he had of late been suffering in silence found a vent at once. He grew quite hysterical, and raising his open hands, beat his palms together in a perfect agony of grief. He stood up and then sat down again, and the tears rained down his cheeks. I felt an infinite pity for him, and opened my arms unthinkingly. With a sob he laid his head on my shoulder and cried like a wearied child, whilst he shook with emotion.
After a little bit his sobs ceased, and he raised himself with an apology, though he made no disguise of his emotion. He told me that for days and nights past, weary days and sleepless nights, he had been unable to speak with any one, as a man must speak in his time of sorrow. There was no woman whose sympathy could be given to him, or with whom, owing to the terrible circumstance with which his sorrow was surrounded, he could speak freely.
"I know now how I suffered," he said, as he dried his eyes, "but I do not know even yet, and none other can ever know, how much your sweet sympathy has been to me today. I shall know better in time, and believe me that, though I am not ungrateful now, my gratitude will grow with my understanding. You will let me be like a brother, will you not, for all our lives, for dear Loukia's sake?"
"For dear Loukia's sake," I said as we clasped hands. "Ay, and for your own sake," he added, "for if a man's esteem and gratitude are ever worth the winning, you have won mine today. If ever the future should bring to you a time when you need a man's help, believe me, you will not call in vain. God grant that no such time may ever come to you to break the sunshine of your life, but if it should ever come, promise me that you will let me know."
He was so earnest, and his sorrow was so fresh, that I felt it would comfort him, so I said, "I promise."
As I came along the corridor I say Mr. Quintus looking out of a window. He turned as he heard my footsteps. "How is Mike?" he said. Then noticing my red eyes, he went on, "Ah, I see you have been comforting him. Poor old fellow! He needs it. No one but a woman can help a man when he is in trouble of the heart, and he had no one to comfort him."
He bore his own trouble so bravely that my heart bled for him. I saw the manuscript in his hand, and I knew that when he read it he would realize how much I knew, so I said to him, "I wish I could comfort all who suffer from the heart. Will you let me be your friend, and will you come to me for comfort if you need it? You will know later why I speak."
He saw that I was in earnest, and stooping, took my hand, and raising it to his lips, kissed it. It seemed but poor comfort to so brave and unselfish a soul, and impulsively I bent over and kissed him. The tears rose in his eyes, and there was a momentary choking in his throat. He said quite calmly, "Little girl, you will never forget that true hearted kindness, so long as ever you live!" Then he went into the study to his friend.
"Little girl!" The very words he had used to Loukia, and, oh, but he proved himself a friend.
 

Idhrendur

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Senators,

Your presence is requested for a State of the Empire address on January 1st, 1906. It will be held in the main Senate hall in the Grand Palace.

The archivists consider the following newspapers to be of historical significance.





And the Senate’s world map is being updated.
 

Idhrendur

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(( Here are events everyone would already know about. I'll PM ministers to tell them things they would know in addition to these.

  • Another Olympics happened, with more victorious athletes of ours
  • There was a minor war with Iraq over some Pacific islands. We won.
  • Government-run trade unions now exist
  • In November of 1903, something similar to the USS Maine incident (but with the SS Constantinople) happened, leading us into a war with England, Castile, Adal, and Biru. The war goes poorly at first, but is turning in our favor by the time of this update
  • There was a severe Jacobin revolt in July 1904
  • There was a major Reactionary revolt in September 1904
  • There was an Australian Nationalist revolution in October 1904
  • National radio networks began being created in the very beginning of 1905
  • Fascism unlocked at the start of August 1905
  • All rebellions have been defeated but the Australian one. All that remains of it is reclaiming captured provinces.
))
 

Arakhor

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((What's that yellowish blob around Libya and why don't we own it?))
 
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The capital has been so much quieter as of late. This Catman seems to have the underworld on the run. We should try to enlist his services.

The world continues to think it can defy the Roman Empire, but yet again they shall be shown that nothing can occur without our consent.

These radios are absolutely fascinating. To think that someone's voice can be recorded and then projected all across the empire. How baffling.

- Senator Raphael Favero
 
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Idhrendur

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(( That's a lake.

Also, I've updated the character page and the list of political parties.
And for any who are interested in using the General Staff/Battle Plan mechanics (or just poking at the game yourself), the latest save is here. ))
 

zenphoenix

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Mount Pelee erupts and there's been an earthquake in Messina...I pray for the lives of those affected by these calamities.

Interesting, this "Catman" guy. He is a vigilante, but he seems to be working quite well in assisting the Secret Police and the normal police forces. He would make a fine addition to the Ministry of Security, should he choose to join us.

How dare they sink the Constantinople! The English and Spaniards and their allies are fools to mess with the might of the Empire!

I hope all of you are well after the Konstantinian and Jacobin revolts of the past few years. There have also been a few small Jacobin and communist rebellions in 1903, but the Ministry of Security made sure they didn't get anywhere.

Radio...this sounds interesting, like flying machines.

~Senator Michael Doukas
 
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austrianemporer

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We must have the third way! I transfer my allegiance to the Varangian Guard and alliance my leadership of this glorious party! We shall make Rome strong and great!
((Note that I differ with the official party position on some issues))

As Armaments Minister, I have announced the modernization of the army to bolt action rifles and I am also directing artillery reforms.

I will seek to build a small tanks corps in the near future to help us in future wars against the barbarians that reside outside our borders.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos
 
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zenphoenix

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We must have the third way! I transfer my allegiance to the Varangian Guard and alliance my leadership of this glorious party! We shall make Rome strong and great!
((Note that I differ with the official party position on some issues))

As Armaments Minister, I have announced the modernization of the army to bolt action rifles and I am also directing artillery reforms.

I will seek to build a small tanks corps in the near future to help us in future wars against the barbarians that reside outside our borders.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos
((Wait, have tanks been invented yet?))
 
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Idhrendur

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(( If anyone would know, it'd be the Armaments Minister, wouldn't it? :D
))
 
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austrianemporer

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((Wait, have tanks been invented yet?))
((Of course, I invented them myself :p. Back to the future now!))
(( If anyone would know, it'd be the Armaments Minister, wouldn't it? :D
))
((Yes... I might keep this tank brigade secret and uh, restore order in Constantinople...))
 

zenphoenix

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((Of course, I invented them myself :p. Back to the future now!))

((Yes... I might keep this tank brigade secret and uh, restore order in Constantinople...))
((This definitely doesn't need an investigation by the secret police!))
 

Arakhor

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Idhrendur

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((I meant why don't we own that large yellow part of North Africa where Libya is today. :) ))
(( As far as I can tell, Libya is completely Roman on my map above. Did you mean Liberia? If so, in order there is:
Scottish Sengal
A large swath of English Africa
In the midst of that, a tiny Castillian colony
More Scottish Africa
A German colony in Sekondi
An English colony in Cape Coast
A Danish colony in Accra ))
 

zenphoenix

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(( As far as I can tell, Libya is completely Roman on my map above. Did you mean Liberia? If so, in order there is:
Scottish Sengal
A large swath of English Africa
In the midst of that, a tiny Castillian colony
More Scottish Africa
A German colony in Sekondi
An English colony in Cape Coast
A Danish colony in Accra ))
((I think he means the Mediterranean Sea.:p))
 

BBBD316

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Senators,


My I present myself after Aiden Gray returned to his Senatorial seat in Brittany, citizens of the region where allowed to vote as to their choice of candidate. The first true free general election in the Empire. After a long process and with my great predecessor helping me on the campaign I was victorious and now report to the Emperor for service.


I am Alan Gael, I follow the political beliefs of equality and workers rights. It grieves me that the stench of the third way has polluted the Senate. Aiden warned me of Senators Doukas and Favero, but a new snake has appeared to take up this flag.


I put myself at the Emperor beck and call.


- Senator Gael
 
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