Whitby Vandals

Whitby Vandals 24: A story of two Arthurs

Darcy gets an unexpected package in the mail and when she opens it she is awed at the beautiful book inside. A note, written in the most graceful and floral handwriting she has ever seen, states it to be a wedding gift, but thecard is not signed.

Looking at the spine she sees that the title is “Cu privire la arta povestirii pentru dampiri”, and while she has no idea what it actually says the fact that one of the words clearly means Dhampir is enough for her to get intrigued

Given that it looks close enough to French for her to suspect Latin she bustles downstairs to Arthur’s lab and knocks with the sweetest of trills asking him for a favour. Handing him the book and asking him to translate for her pretty please he takes it and after sniffing out if it is magical tells her that it says something about Storytelling for Dhampirs

With big excited eyes Darcy sits down next to him and tries her luck on the strange language on the first page

Just as she reads the first sentence Arthur’s magic sense suddenly goes off and he slams the book shut but not in time as he feels himself blacking out

When he awakes his first thought is about how cold it is, which makes a lot more sense as he opens his eyes to a snow clad mountain forest

Darcy is right next to him, unfazed by the cold, but equally surprised

After a quick glance around they spot a tiny cabin and when they try to get there they find the snow is hip deep, prompting Darcy to fly them over

The cabin is well stocked with all kinds of things they need for survival, but not much more.
Darcy brings some firewood in while Arthur starts a fire to warm himself, relieved that his magic still works

Darcy is fussing over Arthur being cold, rubbing his shoulders and fumbling her way through making tea for him

Wrapped in a bear pelt he decides it is a good idea to investigate the surroundings and with another round of awkward shuffling and mumbling the two of them get over him cuddling into her fur on her back before she takes off

Arthur can definitely smell that the area is magical, although the smell is too faint to make it easy for him to pinpoint what it is, he can determine that it is not an illusion but not much more

Trying to fly towards the next valley at some point Arthur notices a tingling magical feeling and he wonders if that piece of forest doesn’t look a bit too familiar, when Darcy flies up as high as she dares with him they notice that the hut is now off to the distance in front of them, instead of behind them

With Arthur getting cold again they return to the cabin to plan further

Back in the castle meanwhile it is time for afternoon tea and Michael knocks on Darcy’s door but does not get any answer

Getting into the room he finds it empty

Transforming into Pretty he starts running through the house checking all rooms they regularly use, when he does not find Arthur either he begins to panic

John is sticking his head out a door as Pretty is racing past, asking what is going on

Pretty nearly tackles him over and demands to know where Arthur and Darcy are, John tries to defend himself that he isn’t stalking Darcy but the last place he saw Arthur was on the way down to the lab

Pretty is running down there, with John in pursuit at this point and can clearly pick up on Darcy’s scent leading from the door to Arthur’s study

Noticing a book lying on the table that Darcy touched and her scent not going anywhere after that he asks John what the title of the book is but to not touch it

John takes a look and blushes slightly: “Um, I’m not sure I should be looking at this if it belongs to Arthur. I cannot figure out the language but it says “Povesti erotice de aventura”

Michael instantly knows that this cannot be Arthur’s book and that something is up with it so he rushes out and catches a rabbit

Forcing the rabbit to touch first the book directly, and then after having opened it with a long stick, the pages he waits to see if anything happens but all the bunny does is trying to wriggle out of his grasp

Deciding that the book is probably at least safe to touch the bunny gets demoted to dinner and Michael and John debate what to do

John wonders if Lionel might know what is going on given that fey know so much

Michael marches to the Nexus and calls for Lionel who steps out from behind a tree asking what trouble they have gotten themselves into now and seems surprised when he hears it’s Darcy and Arthur who are missing together

On the way to the lab Michael explains what he found out so far and Lionel non-chalantly picks up the book, astounded and incredulous why humans would have this as it is a lost chronicle about a fey kingdom

And why would Darcy come to Arthur instead of him for help reading it? Oh wait, it’s Darcy, she has some strange hang-up about seeing me again, doesn’t she?

Flipping through the book Lionel notices that the cover and the content do not seem to belong together

Between their collective confusion about the book Lionel notices that they seem to be talking about different books

Handing the book to Michael, Lionel walks out the door before coming back and looking at the book again: AHA!

Michael is starting to be annoyed at being out of the loop but grumblingly hands the book to John when Lionel tells him to before dragging him out of the room and checking the time on a pocket watch before calling into the room: John, what does it say now?

To John’s astonishment, the book cover appears empty now and Lionel finally tells Michael what he is thinking: The book is showing things to us that make us more likely to read it

He says that this is clearly not his type of magic but he will ask around with some of his more distant cousins, John should see if the language could maybe tell them more because this is not Latin

John rushes to the library while Michael decides it’s time to wake up Lucy

Hammering at her door and saying he needs her help because Darcy and Arthur are missing he gets surprised by Seward (in pajamas and clearly freshly awoken) slamming his door open and inquiring what he just said

Seward marshes past Michael into Lucy’s room and not 15 minutes later both of them join John and Michael in the library study

Lucy sits down next to Michael and calmingly takes his hand asking him to tell her what is going on, Michael tells her and asks her what she sees in the book

She reads the title and smirks that she might not know the language but she’d know the word erotica in any language

Seward has gone pale and when he grabs the book from her he goes fully white: This is Romanian… this could mean…

He cannot bring himself to finish the sentence with all its implications but immediately goes to work on trying to translate the book wringing his hands in clear concern

Michael is forced to simply pace up and down the room

Meanwhile in a snowy forest Darcy and Arthur have noticed that the sun seems to be behaving strangely, moving quicker than it should but seemingly not setting at all

Arthur is searching the cabin for any more clues and finds a bible in the nightstand, in the same language as the book, and when looking under the bed he discovers something that he has to assume is a vampire hunter kit

Darcy is curious but unimpressed, although she is clearly disgusted by the thought of the vials containing explosives and acid to harm vampires

Arthur tries to figure out the notes that are in the box and deciphers that they probably are notes and theories on vampire weaknesses and powers

Figuring that the language is Romanian Darcy suddenly perks up wondering if this might have anything to do with her family, well, not really family

Arthur hasn’t actually read up on anything and doesn’t know what she means so Darcy tells him that Romania is the place where, well, the person who made Lucy a vampire came from, and he happens to be vampire high royalty

When Arthur asks her if that makes her a vampire princess she is way too gleeful about the thought but also really concerned because the vampire hunter kit could imply that they are in real trouble and she really wants to get out of the place before well, um, before she runs into trouble

It takes Arthur a tad to actually figure out that she means her getting hungry because she doesn’t really want to talk about it, thinking he’ll be frightened and disgusted again with her

The two are adorably awkward through the conversation only to shove the topic off again

They decide to reinvestigate the barrier, maybe flying is setting it off specifically

Darcy offers to carry him as a wolf and when he tries to bundle up in enough blankets even she has to admit that he won’t be able to hold on like that

He has the idea to make himself a poncho from the blankets but Darcy reminds him that that means his head is exposed

With a sigh she rips her skirt off and fashions it into a headscarf for him, both of them agreeing to ignore the fact that she is in her underwear in front of him

When she turns wolf and he gets on she bristles her fur up for him and he does find that she is so soft and warm to the touch

When they arrive at the point where they can feel something they stop and Arthur tries to poke the barrier but there isn’t really anything to feel

Darcy notices that there is something distinctively off about the forest though, it does look like the same forest, but not the same stretch

To find out more Arthur first sets a small bush and then a tree on fire

Darcy flies up and tells him that she can smoke directly behind them in a straight line

They decide that it is worth splitting up for her to investigate what happens if she approaches the fire

After about half an hour Arthur sees a bat swoop down on the other side of the barrier from him and Darcy stares right back at him despite having moved in the opposite direction

Given that it begins to be cold for Arthur again they return to the cabin

They wonder if maybe the barrier is specific to vampires so that maybe if he tried alone he could break through, when he said he can’t leave her alone she shocks him by saying that would be good, better she be alone in there than hurting him

But when she realizes that he might be stranded alone in the mountains she does agree not to let him try

Arthur notices that he is actually really hungry and tired, so they make dinner and Darcy says she’ll keep watch on the roof because she cannot actually sleep

Arthur asks if maybe digging to the ground would help and she shakes her head given that it would need to be British earth and they both doubt that

During the night Darcy keeps coming back into the cabin to restock the fire and to tug any parts of Arthur back under the heavy covers, at one point gently petting his hair before reassuming her position on the roof

The next morning arrives quicker than she thought but Arthur does feel as if he slept a whole night

Meanwhile, in the castle, Michael has been pacing for hours and Seward is getting more and more agitated about the book

The high strung nerves come to a clash when Seward accuses Michael of not having his wife under enough supervision, and he thought he could trust him on that when he allowed the marriage

Michael has to severely keep himself under control to only hiss back at Seward about him not telling him what Darcy can and cannot do, especially because in contrast to Seward he wasn’t even in the house when this happened, and also Darcy has Arthur with her

Seward is only digging himself in deeper by saying that a friend is one thing but a father or husband would be better

Luckily Lucy sweeps back into the room just in time to keep the two from going at each other’s throats and asks what they have found out

Seward sighs and says that either his translation is seriously off, apologizing that his Romanian never was the best, or that the first few pages make little grammatical sense

The later parts seem to be descriptions of people, likely vampires, and especially the last sentences are peculiar

Michael asks him to get to the last pages and check if those happen to be about Darcy and Arthur

Seward glances over the page and shakes his head, no, it is about some vampire and the last sentence makes him think the book belongs to some vampire hunters because it states the vampire’s name and says bound, staked, with a cross on his chest

Seward seems relieved that this probably didn’t come from who he at first feared but at the same time, there are vampire hunters after his daughter

Lucy looks at him and says: To catch a vampire hunter, who is it best to ask? – You cannot be serious? – We are not getting anywhere here and Darcy could be in real danger right now, this is our daughter!

Michael can see that an entire conversation is going on between the two of them without many words after that until Seward bows his head and submits to his wife’s request

“I’ll send a telegram immediately” He grabs the book and leaves

Michael cannot stand simply waiting so he talks Lucy into experimenting with the book, if this was done by vampire hunters then she should be able to also activate it and together they have to be able to help Arthur and Darcy

The two of them run after Seward and tell him their plan, he reluctantly gives them the book and rides off to still call in reinforcements

Lucy and Michael isolate themselves into a room to make sure that nobody else gets affected and Lucy begins reading the first page with nothing happening

Michael gets close to her and tells her to try to read it out loud, no matter if she knows what she’s doing or not

The two of them feel dizzy and everything goes black before they wake up in a snow clad mountain forest, but just like Darcy neither of them minds the cold

Michael immediately looks around for signs of Darcy or Arthur but does not find anything, Lucy spots the cabin and Damien starts jumping over there until Lucy waves at him telling him she is wearing the wrong type of dress for this so she’ll need a ride

Damien brings her to the door and then checks into the cabin as Pretty, not finding any trace of Arthur and Darcy, after that he investigates the wood shack outside but also finds no traces

Getting more and more agitated he nearly rushes off without Lucy to get down from the mountain but she reminds him that she needs another ride

Just as Arthur and Darcy the two of them run into the barrier and when Lucy points out the strange sensation and disorientation, Damien climbs a tree only to notice that they have been brought up the mountain even further than where they started

Lucy suggests checking at a 90-degree angle but it avails to the same results

Now utterly frustrated Damien tries to simply figure out if it snowed over the tracks and after rushing back to where they appeared (with Lucy rubbing his ears and trying to calm him down) he begins to dig down to see if maybe he overlooked something

Lucy tries to talk him into patience and that she can take another look once the sun goes down, which makes them realize that the sun has not moved at all since they arrived

Lucy has had it with being outside and in the sun, so she asks him to at least let her wait in the cabin

Clearing the snow from the entrance he opens the door for her but she reminds him that she cannot enter without him inviting her, prompting him to distract himself by starting a debate on what would count as home and needing an invite and what would not

While he looks around the cabin he also finds the vampire hunter kit and in contrast to Darcy, Lucy hisses and backs away when he opens it

At first reluctant to just throw it out because maybe not all vampire hunters are bad Lucy is rather insistent on getting rid of it and only agrees to look through the notes if he brings the box outside

Putting it in the shed he returns to find Lucy has noticed the bible on the nightstand and is sitting as far from it as she can, so he puts it out of the cabin as well

She looks over the notes but reminds him that it is her husband who has the language knowledge, although she can tell that it is the same language as in the book that brought them here

Between the two of them they decide that the most likely point of the trap is for the hunters to arrive at some point, so they settle in for the wait, planning to ambush the hunters by Lucy (who shouldn’t be able to be in the cabin as a vampire) playing the poor damsel and Pretty lying in invisible wait

Michael asks how long she can survive without blood and given that she cannot sleep here she estimates three days and when Michael tells her that he could give her goblets with his blood she is disgusted and decides it’s worth it having to potentially explain why she bit Michael to Darcy

Not looking forward to just waiting with nothing to do Lucy starts into exchanging raunchy stories with Michael while they sit in ambush

In the other cabin meanwhile Darcy is keeping her distance from Arthur feeling herself getting to the point of hunger where she knows she is doing things she doesn’t notice, well, neither does Artie

But he does notice that she is trying to protect him and also that she really tried to make passable breakfast with the ginormous amount of oatmeal he is getting

Wondering if he can maybe find some changes around the magic Arthur dons his bear pelt poncho, and fancy skirt shawl before fighting his way around the high snow for an hour

When he comes back in Darcy takes one look at his sodden pants and puts her foot down: “Arthur, take your pants off!”

Lacking any towels in the cabin she takes the remaining top of her dress off (both of them are utterly ignoring the fact that she is running around him in her underwear now) so he can rub himself dry while she makes him warm tea

With her having retreated away from him as far as she can in the tiny cabin he decides to study the annotated bible in the vampire hunter kit and the day goes by with him learning a lot of anti-necromancy theories that he would like to check against some actual books

Having still not come any closer to finding a way out, which he is convinced exists, he tries with Darcy to reconstruct the first sentence in the book that brought them there

Still too terrified about the implications she refuses to even consider his question if she needs to eat, and actually pleads with him to not invite her powers so that he is safe in the cabin, so that he could lock her out if need be, and to please stake her if she is trying to hurt him, he has the vampire hunter kit after all

He just shakes his head in disbelief and insists that she won’t hurt him before he is too tired to go on and retires

The next morning he awakes with a kiss from her and her breasts right in front of his face, prompting him to realize that she definitely needs to get something to eat, so he tries to get to the kitchen and cut his arm

Only to be stopped by her inhuman speed, taking the knife out of his hand, and cooing at him that there is no reason to get hurt

Feeling really awkward but not fully threatened by her wrapping her arms around him from behind he offers her his arm and when she asks if that is an invitation, he nods, making her fangs immediately appear

She effortlessly lifts him up into her arms and carries him over to the bed, sitting him down on her lap sideways, holding him with one arm while gently lifting his wrist to her lips with the other

Contrary to his fears when she actually does bite him it does not hurt at all, but fills him with a feeling of comfort, affection, and protection (internally he confesses that this actually feels nice)

Being hungry but still very much protective of him she has no trouble stopping herself before it becomes critical for him, but given how hungry she was she still ends up taking half his blood, leaving him feeling weak and dizzy and her gently holding him in her arms talking to him and apologizing

It takes him a bit to get the concentration together to heal himself and when he is done he shuffles out of her grasp but does not fully flee

Deciding breakfast might be a good idea he starts walking over when he suddenly feels the world going dark around him again, which makes him immediately lunge back towards Darcy, who with her speed is wrapping her arms protectively around him before he even fully turns around

In the other cabin Michael and Lucy also feel the tell-tale signs of a teleport and Pretty jumps on her lap

The first thing they see is Darcy in her underwear holding a bear pelt wrapped Arthur in her arms

Michael rushes over and hugs both of them, when Darcy starts thanking him for saving them Seward cuts in: Not him, this time it was me.

Before Darcy can turn to her father a melodious deep male voice chimes in: “Well, actually, it was me.”

To her horror there is a very aristocratic man standing next to her father, holding the magic book under his arm, and she is very glad when Michael interposes himself between them and hands his vest to her to cover her nudity

The man nods towards her but then addresses Lucy as his fiancée, effectively giving Michael the opening he needs to get Darcy out of the room because she needs to clean up before being properly able to greet the guest

Michael helps her wash up, and get herself presentable while she is panicking about having bitten Arthur, and even when Michael tries to shift the topic and calm her down by pushing for more romantic directions she circles back to the topic, being even more outraged about that then about Lord Arthur Holmwood, the vampire hunter, being in her house

To his astonishment, when he mentions the altercation with her father Darcy takes Seward’s position instead of being offended with it

She eventually shoos Michael out of the room to check on Artie, who she is afraid must be traumatized by what she did

Said Artie ran down to his lab to grab his armour right after cleaning himself up and is meeting Michael on the stairs, being rather dismissive at the question about being traumatized

He is much more concerned about the man in their house, leading the two boys to eavesdrop in on the conversation between Lord Arthur and Lucy, Seward is not contributing much apart from sounds of anguish

Lord Arthur is clearly furious and hurt about having been lied to by Seward, having been denied knowing that his love is neither dead nor doomed, and that she even has a daughter

The boys can’t help but snicker at some of Lucy’s quips at the two men

Pretty and Artie suddenly hear the beginning of Darcy cussing them out for eavesdropping before she suddenly stops, throws her hands in the air and tells them to scoot over so she can listen in too

Arthur has to hold both hands before his face and Pretty bites a paw not to burst out laughing at Darcy actually joining them

Lucy meanwhile has, of course, noticed the kids outside, and after another poignant remark points out that they should let the children back in, leading to two sudden transformations back into human form and all three being several feet away from the door when Seward rushes to open it (everything just not to be under Lord Arthur’s gaze anymore)

Michael does the formal introduction, making it clear that he considers Darcy the head of the household, and closely observing Lord Arthur’s emotions

The man asks for the right to claim old friendship with the family and to be allowed to stay the night to at least assist with the book problem and Michael can feel no anger at Darcy in him, in fact, to him it feels as if the man is filled with regret, longing, and pain

Darcy, with input from both her mother and Michael, grants the request and Lucy volunteers to bring Arthur to his old room

Seward looks like he is considering taking his old morphium habit back up at the sight of Lucy easily striking up a friendly conversation with her old flame, and Darcy follows him to take care of her papa

John sticks his head into the room right before she leaves because he didn’t want to intrude on the adults but he needed to see for himself that she is well, of course, standing next to her now he is a bit shy again, leading to a group hug between Michael, Darcy, and John

The three boys alone end up going down to the kitchen and when Artie mentions that Darcy is some kind of vampire princess John does make a comment about her being pretty in a tiara, which only gives Arthur another unwanted data point…

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