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7th November 1997

10:08pm: How is mother doing?
I haven't been able to get through by phone for the last three days. I mean no one is answering; the line doesn't appear to be down. Is she all right?
Current Mood: worried

30th October 1997

6:41pm: about tomorrow
ritual; Travers; Rudi; WtBCollapse )

I'm going over to Rudi's later this evening, after he's done his review; we'll set out from his place in the morning. I'll distract myself in the interim by setting up an outline for the "preferred victims" chapter. I hope my meanderings haven't upset you, Pamela; I am nervous about tomorrow and wanted to tell someone my fears. I mean, someone who loves father too. But I know we'll all do everything possible to ensure a favourable outcome.

love, Lydia
Current Mood: anxious

27th October 1997

12:58am: things to remember
Dear Pamela,

rituals and conversationsCollapse )
Current Mood: tired

26th October 1997

2:23pm: a long weekend
Just came in from a weekend at Rudi's. I must say I wasn't expecting to spend the whole weekend there; in fact I rather expected we would watch Sense and Sensibility, have our Serious Talk, and then I would go home, alone, to resume battle with the thesis early Saturday morning. If any part of this agenda was to be skipped it was the film.

Friday nightCollapse )
Current Mood: optimistic

24th October 1997

4:45pm: Travers is an ass
To put it no more strongly.

He's astonished that I wish to innovate on approved Council doctrine on vampirism. "Our views have served us well for the last half-millennium, Miss Travers, which should surely tell you something."

He said the usual condescending things, of course, about being pleased at my initiative, of course it is my duty to consider the evidence with fresh eyes, that's one of the reasons to write a thesis. Only, of course, having considered all the evidence with fresh eyes it is apparently my duty to come to the same conclusions the Council always has. Vampires are ravening beasts with no trace of the original owner of the body except their memories and their physical appearance. Questioning this only reveals that I have not considered the evidence carefully enough.

I have considered it much more carefully than he has - or anyone else in the last century or more! The man is a hidebound fool.

I think he was going to ask me to withdraw the chapter entirely, but the tone of my comments must have made it clear to him that I would refuse. Instead he told me that he could not countenance a chapter that simply detailed my theory - I must, instead, give all the available theories, giving prominence to the one accepted by the Council. If I then wished to add, at the end, an alternative theory of my own devising, he would let me go so far. Provided I documented it adequately of course.

I think this is the closest to a compromise I will ever see from Travers, so I will take it. Which means I'll spend the weekend rewriting the chapter, of course; but at least a dissenting view will be on record in the archives for later researchers.

I'm going to go for a walk. As I frequently do after any interaction with Travers. Then I'm over to Rudi's; we've rented a film, "Sense and Sensibility" - the one that came out a couple of years ago. Neither of us has seen it yet. I was surprised to discover that he had never read any Jane Austen. I hope the film is a decent introduction. I always enjoy Emma Thompson, in any case.

I'm a bit nervous about seeing him, to be honest. At the end of a Travers Day I'd rather not have a Serious Discussion With Boyfriend Evening. But I think it's indicated. I really do want to work this out.
Current Mood: aggravated
9:45am: phone call from Travers
He's read through my Alternate Theory of Vampirism chapter and has a few questions he'd like to ask about it.

This is the first time he's ever phoned me at home, so I think he's quite exercised, though he sounded calm enough.

I managed to sound calm enough myself, and am to meet him in his office in an hour. Fortunately I just last night pressed my good white blouse. Not that he will notice that I look respectable - but he would notice if I didn't.
Current Mood: nervous

23rd October 1997

6:28pm: things with Rudi
He brought flowers. Quite a lot of them. But any man caught in the position in which I found him, on his own desk wrapped in a beautiful wicca, has only two options, I think - to say goodbye immediately, or to bring flowers frequently for probably a very long period of time.

We've talked things out a bit and I think that after all we may be all right. Though - I'm not sure yet, honesty compels me to admit.

I should tell you the rest of the story.

Rudi's storyCollapse )

Good Lord - it's nearly 6:30. Well, on that revelation I had better heat some dinner (leftover chili as it happens) and get back to sorting my notes on William the Bloody's "preferred victims". I'm wondering if I should give an itemized list, or a few general 'types'. Perhaps the latter, but keep the list as an appendix.

Rudi will be up on the 31st. I'm still not sure if I will be, but I think I will. Not necessarily because things are all well again, but because we are, at least, talking over the things that matter, and trying to work it out.

If we can't, at least it won't be because we lacked sufficient respect for each other to try.

love, Lydia

22nd October 1997

7:14pm: what happened
I've given Travers a draft of my "alternate theories of vampirism" chapter. I am prepared to fight for it. The Council's accepted theory of vampirism clearly isn't viable and I cannot do anything with the data on William the Bloody if I am forced to follow an unworkable interpretive model.

From which you can probably tell that I am in a mood. So why don't I tell you about Rudi.

Rudi's storyCollapse )

There's the door - he's here early. And bearing flowers if he has any sense. I'll let you know what happens! Wish me luck (again) -

love, Lydia

21st October 1997

7:04am: checking in
Just a note to reassure you. Rudi is asleep in my bed, recovering from various injuries I did not inflict, though I was sorely tempted; and I am furious with him.

He's been trying to PROTECT me. He says. For my own good. By lying to me and keeping me at arms' length.

This is utter nonsense, as I shall shortly impress upon him. It is himself he is trying to protect. And he can stop it, or he can lose me. I won't have this.

I'm on my way out to buy eggs - I'll give him a decent breakfast before I tear a strip off him.

More later.

20th October 1997

6:45pm: really worried now
He picked up on the third ring at his office, and when I said "Rudi?" he answered "I'm sorry, you must have a wrong number," and hung up on me.

There's something wrong. I'm going up to the Academy to find him.
6:40pm: worried now
He's not at his flat. I just called there, wondering if he had mistaken the day or thought I was coming there or - anyway he's not there. Or he's not answering.
6:30pm: still no Rudi
He's still not here. This isn't like him, he's very punctual.
6:15pm: he's late
It looks as if I didn' t need to rush to get ready; he's not here yet.
5:15pm: wish me luck
Dear Pamela,

preparations for dinnerCollapse )

Perhaps I should get some wine into him first.

16th October 1997

4:30pm: sorry I missed you
Thanks for the phone message; I'm sorry you didn't catch me in, I would have liked to talk to you. But it was still good to hear your voice.

Of course you may talk it over with George, and thanks for the thought. Sometimes it takes a man to understand a man.

I may just come down Saturday for an overnight visit. On my own I mean. I've pretty much finished reviewing the literature I needed for the theory chapter I'm adding, and what I really need now is read through my notes and let the information percolate a bit, think through what I actually think myself, perhaps come up with an outline. And I can do that on the train.

In fact I can probably do it better on the train. Instead of my apartment, I mean, where I sit wondering why Rudi hasn't phoned. Or the library at the Academy, where I try to concentrate and wonder why Rudi doesn't come by to fetch me for lunch, or so we can go home together, the way he used to. Or at the Greek cafe near the apartment, where he took me for coffee after my werewolf paper was turned down, or - but I'm getting maudlin.

I need to get away from here for a couple of days, clearly.

Very well. Expect me on the 11 a.m. train on Saturday. I'd come tomorrow for the full weekend, but Rudi and I are going to "L.A. Confidential" Friday evening. I'm not too keen to see it, but we've already gone to most of the decent films on at the moment, thanks to our new policy of dates that don't involve actually speaking to each other. And it was that or "8 Heads in a Duffle Bag", the other new release this week. And we will have a carefully and neutrally pleasant time and I will be home early, in plenty of time to get a decent night's sleep, if I could sleep lately, and catch the early train.

It's like going out with Cyril all over again, except with better sex. Only not that much better anymore, because though he's as thoughtful as ever he doesn't say the sort of things he used to say, in fact he hardly speaks at all, and it turns out that was the most important part for me - it made me feel so loved. Damn, I'm crying.

Enough. Anyway that's why I plan to be home early on Friday, because that has been, post-Birmingham, the only night that he will ask me over to his flat, which will lead to going to bed with him, and I can't do that anymore, until we've got this straightened out. If we get this straightened out. I don't know what the problem is but I do know I'm miserable. And perhaps I've done something so awful that we can't be together. I really don't know, since Rudi won't tell me. But I can't do this anymore. I love Rudi dearly. But I'd rather have none of him than feel like this.

See you the day after tomorrow.

Now back to psychological theories of vampirism for an hour. And then I'm going to go to the gym and pick the biggest trainer I can find for a tae kwon do session, the more brutal the better. It takes my mind off things.

love, Lydia

p.s. I don't think it's another woman, since you ask. He would tell me if he had met someone he preferred. And drop me, too; not keep me on a string.

love, L

15th October 1997

4:49pm: Troubled
Dear Pamela,

Sorry to have been so long in writing.

recent eventsCollapse )
What do I do? Please, tell me what to do.

love, Lydia
Current Mood: anxious

26th August 1997

11:14pm: Prague explained
We think we've figured out what was going on in Prague.

Prague explainedCollapse )

See you this weekend.

love, Lydia

25th August 1997

12:19am: homecoming
Dear Pamela:

escape, and homecomingCollapse )

Love, Lydia

24th August 1997

12:31am: more in Prague
Dear Pamela,

Sorry to leave you hanging (yet again) - I've been over at Rudi's the last two evenings and this was my first opportunity to finish my story.

what happened in Prague (continued)Collapse )

I can't believe the hour - and I'm very sorry, but I will, I promise, finish this story tomorrow! I'm really too sleepy to keep on right now.
Current Mood: sleepy

22nd August 1997

6:45pm: derring-do in Prague
August 22

Dear Pamela,

I'm meeting Alison (you remember, my roommate at Cambridge) in an hour to see "My Best Friend's Wedding" - the one with that annoying American with the big teeth, but it also has Rupert Everett and Alison insists that makes it bearable - so will have to keep this short.

derring-do in PragueCollapse )

21st August 1997

11:41pm: What happened in Prague (part 1)
The call was some poor girl trying to sell me carpet-cleaning. With my next fellowship check I plan to invest in a 'phone with call display. To continue.

What happened in PragueCollapse )

Love, Lydia

20th August 1997

8:28pm: Prague
The Whole Story

Dear Pamela,

as I promised, here's a full account of what happened in Munich and Prague. I think it ought to reassure you that I did think things through; it is not, as I said, my fault that my data was inadequate.

Though Rudi agrees with you completely. He is wrong too, of course, but to avoid causing him anxiety in future I may handle things differently. I trust you will find this reassuring.

First an update however - Travers is still furious, but beginning to calm down I think. I did nothing that was not in accordance with the Guidelines for Field Watchers, except that I omitted to inform my supervisor before I did it. As he did not want me to know the situation in Prague that had contributed to both the depredations and the escape of William the Bloody and his paramour, he is playing this minor infraction of the rules for all it's worth, and threatening me with expulsion, possibly to a nether dimension, if I ever do such a thing again. I am not to write an account, in the thesis, of anything I learned in Prague. He will give me copies of the relevant pages of Ms. Kundera's journal, and that is all I officially know.

I have apologized and tugged my forelock and prostrated and abased myself and promised good behaviour in future, all of this on Rudi's advice, to avoid being thrown out of the Academy. Rudi's attitude is simple. He is not naive in the slightest about the Council, but he points out that for the work he wants to do, it offers better facilities than anywhere else in the world. To be able to do the work, he says, it is from time to time necessary to make a show of submission; and then one can get on with things, usually largely without interference.

Rudi also said something that in the light of what I have now learned meant a lot to me. Travers, he says, is in many ways an ass. He is certainly a little too fond of his position as the Head of the Council, and the pomps and trappings associated therewith. But where it counts, he's a good man; and he's fighting for the right side. It is possible for a Watcher to go very bad indeed. Travers has not done so. Being Head of the Council is not a pleasant job and Travers does a relatively decent job of it. So it behooves the rest of us to make his job as easy as we can by recognizing that we are all on the same team and letting him have his way whenever it's at all possible.

Rudi also had personal reasons for wishing me to accept Travers' demands that I suppress a great deal of what I learned in Prague, and of course I will honour them also.

So, in sum, I have agreed to Travers' demands. What I learned in Prague wasn't strictly speaking germane to my topic in any case, and I'll exclude it from the thesis. However I believe I can tell you privately, and of course I have already confessed everything to Rudi.

Damn, the phone. More shortly.

18th August 1997

11:57pm: oh, for heaven's sake
Very well, so I underestimated just how angry Travers would be. But until I knew what he was hiding how on earth was I to know?

And I think it's entirely unfair of Rudi to be angry with me too. Though I can understand it, since he spent twenty-four hours thinking I was dead. But it's not my fault that he didn't go through Milan or check his email on the way to Munich.

There's no point my telling you this, however, since I gather that you and mother are furious also. For heaven's sake, and for the last time, I am NOT DESMOND. You know perfectly well who inherited mother's brains and it wasn't him. I'm not about to charge into a den of werewolves with only one silver bullet left in my gun. But you're all united in thinking I'm liable to go rushing off half-cocked without preparation of any kind and with no idea what I'm facing. To which I have two things to say: if anyone would TELL me what I'm facing I would not have this problem, would I? And you people and Rudi are in such perfect accord that he might as well marry you instead of me and never have another argument for the rest of his life.

That is the good news of course, that Rudi has asked me to marry him. If only, he says, because he doesn't plan to take his eyes off me for more than ten minutes at a time for the rest of his life in any case, so he might as well.

Yes, of course I said yes, what do you think? After three days of marathon make-up - activities - I hadn't any resistance left and would happily have agreed to anything he suggested. (In the spirit of full honesty I may as well admit that I had already agreed to anything else he suggested and had probably forgotten by that point how to say no to him. Not that I ever have.)

You and mother seem to have decided in advance of your data that I'm a reckless idiot. In fact I behaved with all due caution based on the facts I had, and it is certainly not my fault that Travers had deliberately withheld pertinent information.

Rudi is coming by for dinner. More precisely he went home to change his shirt and is coming back to cook dinner for me, to give me a little more time to finish a draft of the "Appearances" chapter for tomorrow morning, when I'm due to see Travers, cap in hand, cowed and apologetic look on face, chapter in briefcase as a peace offering. I probably won't spend the whole evening working - at least, I certainly hope not - so need to finish what I can now. But in the interests of setting the story straight, I'll give you my side of the story tomorrow.

For now, please tell mother to calm down. You can add, if you wish, that Rudi is keeping an eye on me for her - she'll like that.

love, Lydia

1st August 1997

10:05am: contact info (Munich)
Just quickly - I've changed my reservation in Munich to the Hotel Helvetia (it's the hostel right across from the train station). You can reach me there if you need to - I'll be off-line until I return to London. I thought that since I wasn't travelling with Rudi I didn't need to stay anywhere particularly nice; I've got a private room so I can still work late if need be, but it's less than 1/3 the price of the hotel we'd originally booked.

And what am I planning to do with the money I've saved, you ask. Well. I told you my travel grant was only for Munich. But I've looked over everything I need to do in the archives in Munich, and I think I can get it all done in the first week, unless there are a huge number of relevant documents I wasn't expecting to find there. And if I do have a few days free I will use the money to get to Prague. It's only eight hours by train. I'd like to interview Watcher Kundera myself, since Travers won't let me see her journal. I've got her address and will contact her from Munich.

I don't really see how Travers can object to this - surely thoroughness in research is a virtue? (Of course Travers WILL object, but what I mean is, I don't see on what grounds he can officially do so.) If he objects that I should not have spent Council funds on an unauthorized side trip I will say that the opportunity for the extra trip came up unexpectedly. Which is true enough. And I really can't pass up the chance to interview someone who has actually SEEN William the Bloody and his consort.

I've written to Rudi c/o the Milan Council Headquarters and emailed him also, to tell him where I'm staying in Munich in case he finishes his case early (though he didn't sound is if he thought he would). I'll leave a message for him at the desk if I leave for Prague before he gets there.

So I think everything is covered; just wanted to let you know my travel plans in case you need to get in touch. I don't know my address in Prague but I don't expect to be there more than a day or two.

I'm off for Heathrow - more in a couple of weeks,

love, Lydia

26th July 1997

10:04pm: change of plans
Dear Pamela,

Rudi can't come with me to Munich after all - at least, probably not. He's been called in to consult on an At'tliskr infestation outside Milan, and left this morning early. Apparently the demons have begun taking household pets from the farmhouses, which means they're nearing the egg-laying phase of their cycle and the nests need to be found and extirpated as soon as possible. If they'd lay their eggs in wild animals somewhere far away from a human habitation and avoid observation there would probably be many more of them, so stealing house cats seems like a contra-indicated reproductive strategy, but apparently At'tliskr larva mature best inside the body of an animal that has been loved. How awful. And of course it doesn't have to be an animal, either, and when their numbers are large enough they tend to start in on humans as well; the main reason they need to be rooted out now, before they get comfortable in their new quarters.

Rudi explained all this to me as he packed his supplies for the trip. He's distressed that he can't come with me to Munich - he wanted to introduce me to the chief archivist there, who is an old friend of his, to make my work easier. He has sent the man, Dr. Mueller, an email by way of introduction instead, and apparently he will help me find the particular documents I need. I think Rudi also wanted to show me the city, though, which he spent a couple of years in in his twenties and loves. Perhaps, I suggested, we could go back after I finish the next chapter, as a short holiday (if I can afford it) - though it will be harder for him to get away after term time begins in the fall, given his teaching duties.

In any event he promises to try to deal with the At'tliskr as expediently as possible, so as to join me in Munich for at least the last few days of my stay. I made him promise also to take no undue risks in order to finish faster; I'd rather wait until I return to London to see him, than have him seriously injured or worse. He reassured me that he has survived a long time in the field against much worse than these. I began to object that overconfidence was a dangerous attitude but he had finished packing by then and stood up and kissed my cheek and began to take down my hair, which he loves to do, and by the time he left three hours later I was vastly comforted, if not precisely reassured.

In fact I know I'm worrying irrationally. I just dislike the idea of his going into danger. But he has survived much worse and for a long time, and I need have no real concern.

I just miss him terribly.

To be perfectly honest it's probably just as well that he won't be in Munich the whole time, though - I will be able to work until all hours and get a lot more done, though it won't be nearly as much fun. Over the long term my work is better for his presence, because he keeps me balanced, encourages me to eat and sleep and take time to relax. But for a short-term effort, like spending two weeks in the archives, my habit of working until all hours and forgetting to sleep will not harm me and probably will garner more data. (He has made me promise to eat in his absence.)

IfI work hard enough before he arrives perhaps we'll be able to take a few days off once he gets there, too. Though there was some work he needed to do in the archives also, on the origins of the Birpali demons he was observing in Afghanistan; he is nearly ready to publish a monograph on them, he says, but needs the early documentation. But perhaps we can get a free weekend together before we head back to London.

In any event, he's gone for the moment, and I find myself at a bit of a loose end. And faced anew with the problem of Travers. He would not give me Janna Kundera's journal - just a summary, the "Watcher's Report", which he has his staff make up, of all the information he considers "relevant". And there was a great deal of relevant information in it, certainly. But there may have been a good deal more that I also need, context for one thing, and I am not allowed access.

I decided not to tell Rudi of my problems here - I am a little shy of bringing in my high-powered lover for assistance, when I ought to be able to handle this problem myself. But despite Travers' obvious regard for Rudi it is clear to me that he is in many respects a weasel. If I could think what advantage he gains by preventing my access to these documents I might be able to address his behaviour constructively.

Maybe I could just break into his office.

I'm joking, don't worry.

Attractive thought, though.

But for the moment I'll have to make do with what I have. Which is, in truth, an enormous amount of useful detail. Just the fact that William the Bloody's hair is still platinum blonde, which must be a considerable effort for a non-reflective vampire to maintain, is fascinating. His paramour's behaviour continues unpredictable, though he seems to make some effort to control it. I doubt this is out of compassion for the victims, but rather an attempt to avoid inciting precisely the kind of witch-hunt which caused them to leave Prague. For Drusilla, like any vampire, will take anything when she's hungry, but she prefers children, and prefers, from the evidence, to keep them alive for some time.

If you have ever wondered if my research troubles me from time to time, I must tell you that the answer is yes. I try not to think about the implications of some of the things I learn, but at times I cannot help it. One of her victims in Prague - at least a victim that fits Drusilla's modus operandi - was an eight year old who disappeared two weeks before she was found. When her body was discovered, in an abandoned house on the outskirts of the city, she had only been dead a few hours. It was clear that she had suffered more than I want to dwell on. She had wounds in various stages of healing all over her body; probably inflicted daily; or more. She was dressed in a lacy Victorian-style nightgown. Her hair was neatly braided, after her death it appears. She was Drusilla's doll.

And I do try not to think about the two weeks of pain, and terror, that eight year old girl went through, and the hope that her mother and father would find her, hope denied in the end. I wonder if she died weeping for her mother. I wonder if she died thinking that they had not tried to come for her; all alone, and in pain, torn from her loving and ordinary family by the pretty lady who (say witnesses) apparently fell in with her at a bus stop, said she knew her parents, and offered to buy her an ice cream on her way home from school.

And the pain her parents went through, when the knew that only that morning, she had still been alive, and could perhaps have been saved.

These are monsters and I do not forget it.

There are signs that William the Bloody tries to curb Drusilla's worst excesses - the lengthy child-murder, once her standard procedure, is relatively rare now (unless they've simply become better at concealing the bodies). But not, as I've said, because he cares about the children. He seems calculating enough to want to avoid creating too many lynch mobs, and that is all.

But if this information is all in the Watcher's Report, what is it Travers does not want me to read? Secrecy and deviousness may simply be so habitual with him that he has no real reason, of course.

I need to garner as much as I can about vampire habitats in general from the books available in London (that I'm allowed to read!) before I go to Munich next week, so am going to turn in now for an early start tomorrow.

Oh, about father - I think you're quite right, on reflection. It must be mother's decision. I'll call her tomorrow and tell her what Rudi had to say.

love, Lydia
Current Mood: lonely
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