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16 November 2009 @ 03:02 pm
Plain text of the Diary of Johnathan Hakkon, Part 1  
Because some people find script fonts hard to read, I've put a plain text version of the diary below behind another cut.


December 25 , AID 109, the Fourth hour of Morning- The Family had our Incarnation party tonight , of course. Uncle Matti , Aunt Nina , and my bratty twin cousins were there , of course, along with their ghoul Frank (I wonder if Uncle M and Aunt N realize that living humans find his stench utterly unbearable. I remember when I was little and they were still alive- surely they remember that ghouls STINK! The twins grew up with him, so they’re probably used to it, though.) There was Mr. Norell there with another vampire I hadn’t met as his date. He (the date, not Mr. Norell) looked about eighteen or so, two years older then me. Not that that means much, with vampires. For all I know he could’ve been older then Mr. Norell (who’s 120), but it’s not polite to ask a vampire’s age. I know how old Mr. Norell is because I didn’t know about the not asking rule when I was five, and Mr. Norell humored a little boy and told me the truth. My parents were very glad about that, I realize now. I think they still owed some of the money they borrowed from him to build the castle, and were afraid I had made him mad. They told me about the rule after he was gone. I wasn’t in trouble though, since I didn’t know. Grandpa Ludwig , the chief of the Ludovicii tribe of ‘Mountainfolk’ (Dad says it’s not polite to call them barbarians, even if Mom says that it’s fine, because she and the rest of the Ludovicii are barbarians and don’t want to be anything else), wearing a fur kilt and boots and a solid-gold breastplate and nothing else. He brought a lot of his younger warriors with him, which made the dancing MUCH more fun. It can get boring only having the same village girls and boys to dance with. I mean, I’ve known them all since before I can remember, and the same is true of them as well, and that kind of kills the romance, if you know what I mean. Besides, even if I would forget I’m the son of the Deadlord and the Deadknight, THEY won’t!

I think that he frightened the Bavarian diplomat more then the vampires did, and THEY were trying to freak out the normal humans. Uncle Ludi was just being himself. Of course, since the mountainfolk tend to think of Bavaria as an “easy target” , and Ludi was looking at the Ritter Von Namesin (I think that’s his name, I wasn’t paying much attention) the same way he was looking at the mutton, that’s understandable.

Oh, Dad was dressed in his best necromancer’s robe, the one with the half of the coat of arms he and Uncle Matti adopted before I was born and they both settled down embroidered in silver thread on the right side. Uncle Matti wore the matching robe, of course. Matti isn’t my Dad’s real brother, but they’ve known eachother since they were younger then I am because they were both learned necromancer from the Ghoulmaster beneth Sevenhills, and, of course , they married twin sisters, Mom and Aunt Nina.

Naturally, the four of them together lead to lots of stories about the “good old days” of the Lords of the Night that I’ve heard a thousand times before, but it was interesting because the Bavarian dude had been in the Sevenhills City Guard, and later a paladin of the order of the Hospital, and had been on the other side in some of those adventures. It was interesting… apparently the gate guard at Lodi was so slow about going after Dad and his friends because the commander was drunk and insensible, and the sub-commander’s wife was giving birth to a baby, so no-one knew who was in charge. Thank God! If they were more organized, I wouldn’t have had a daddy! So the stories weren’t all boring, this time.

Grandpa wanted to take me with him on a sea voyage next year, when the seas unfreeze. “Trading, not raiding”, he said, and I wanted to agree then and there, but Dad wouldn’t let me. “We’ll see how far along your studies are by March” , he said, which is totally not fair, because he was killing people and looting treasures at fourteen, and now I’m two years older than him and have never cast a spell in combat or even seen a Dark Elf, or even a paladin that’s trying to kill my evil self rather then being fat, retired, and trying to buy my Dad off. I pointed that out to Dad at the dinner table, in fact.

Dad said that “those days weren’t all fun and games, and the things that are most exciting to talk about now were terrifying then, and mostly adventuring is boring and cold and being poor, and mostly people don’t strike it rich”, and that he wouldn’t have done it if he had had another choice, and that he “went through all that hardship and danger” so that I could have a better life then he had. Mom said that if I was a Ludovicii I would have been sent on a raid or something to prove myself by now, and that I didn’t need mollycoddling. “Hear hear” Grandpa said to that.

Dad frowned, and said that he and I weren’t Ludovicii, we were Bavarian renegades, and even though the Ludovicii had more sensible laws on some things (I think he meant that they allow girls to marry girls and boys to marry boys, as well as letting girls fight if they want to, and letting people learn any magic they can) they allow their children to take too many risks, and didn’t Mom like having hot baths, a featherbed, and a lady’s maid’s skeleton to do her hair. The Bavarian Ritter kind of choked at that point. I don’t know if he was amused or horrified, but I would guess that it was a bit of both.

Anyway, Dad said that he wasn’t saying no, and in fact I COULD go, if by March I had learned enough nautical magic to be a help rather then a burden aboard ship. I was so happy I actually hugged Dad right in front of everyone. It was embarrassing. Dad reminded me “not to celebrate just yet”, because I’d have to “work a lot harder then I had been working on my magic lessons” if I wanted to be a qualified ship’s wizard by next March, but I know I can do it. I’ll study extra hard, and I’ll be ready by the time Grandpa’s ship is, I know it! I’m going on the first adventure of my life! I can hardly wait.

Anyway, what else happened that day? Well, in the morning and afternoon Dad and I judged the agricultural prizes for the village, fattest pig, sheep with the most wool, sheep with the best wool, biggest corn and apple crops, etc… boring (well, except for the best cider competition, which Dad finally let me help with this year)… but Dad says this is part of a lord’s duty, and even though we’re all renegades and outlaws here in the Blighted Lands, some customs are worth keeping, and that he’s “not going to be one of those outlaw lords who rule through terror and might alone”, instead of winning his people’s loyalty. Mom says that that’s a waste of time, but she doesn’t stop Dad from doing it, and you can tell she’s not that serious.

It seems to work, because our village keeps getting bigger cause people come to us, not just from Bavaria and the rest of the old Imperial lands, but from other villages in the waste. Barbarians looking to settle down, too. In fact, three other outlaw villages have sworn allegiance to Dad as their chief, so that their leaders can learn what Dad does to make him so popular, and to stop their people from running away to Dad. The leaders were all at the feast tonight with us, too, to demonstrate their loyalty, but they were at the far end of the high table with the important townsfolk, so I didn’t get to talk to them. All of them looked like bandits trying not to look like bandits, though.

Anyway, doing things like awarding cash prizes to farmers who raise big pigs may make Dad popular, but it’s still dead boring, and the livestock stink. I’m glad that I’m not a farmer’s son, ‘cause then I’d have to deal with stink all day. Dad and I judged the spinning, weaving, baking, cooking and preserving contests too, because Mom’s a barbarian and doesn’t know about any of that stuff, even though in Bavaria it would always be the lady’s job, not the lord’s.
Mom got to referee the quarterstaff bouts and the mock swordfights, which is much more fun. I wanted to do that instead, but Mom and Dad both said that when I was ten I had decided to study magic with Dad rather then learning how to fight from Mom and I had to live with my choices, which I don’t think is fair, because when Dad talked about learning magic he showed me how to reanimate a skeleton and talked about undead armies destroying my enemies, not about judging apples and pigs! Dad just says that “the pigs go with the armies, son”, which is just silly, and besides, Dad doesn’t have an army of undead, just a handful of skeletons to drive off beasts and bandits from the village and the castle.
Well, a few skeletons and Mom, anyway.

Anyway, the dancing after dinner was fun, though, since the barbarians were here, as were some people from all other villages that obey Dad now, so it wasn’t just the other kids from the village , which made things a lot more fun for everyone. We cleared off the trestle tables from the great hall, and Mr. Norell played the flute, of course and it turned out that his vampy friend was a dab hand with a fiddle, so we had both him and Old Man O’Connell as fiddlers , two barbarians names Akira and Eirika had brought these weird instruments that are like a bag that you blow into and then deflate with these pipes (like the pipes of a hautbois) to make sound, so we had quite of music on hand.

The Barbarians had their own music and dances that they showed us, too, so there’ll be some new dances in the village from now on. It’s interesting, they don’t always pair off to dance, sometimes they hold hands in a big circle and dance as a big group.
Anyway, my first dance was with Alice. She and I aren’t interested in eachother – she’s so much like my big sister that it would be weird dating her- but she’s been my best friend for ages, since she helped me learn to swim when I was seven, so it was natural to lead off with a real with her. Then she and I split up to do a do-si-do with a pair of handsome Ludovicii twins, Hans and Hrolf. She took Hans, I took Hrolf, but we switched partners halfway through, just to be confusing. (By the bye, the barbarians seem to have a lot of identical twins. I wonder why that is?)

After that the Barbarians showed us that circle dance I was writing about earlier, and I eneded up next to a girl called West. She was one of the people from the other villages, and said that she became an outlaw when she hit a man who tried to rape her over the head with a poker. We chatted while we shared the next dance, which was a slow, droning waltz on just the barbarian instruments, because the two vampires wanted to dance. That’s how I figured out that the other vampire was Mr. Norell’s date, and not just his friend.
Anyway, I tended to alternate between Hrolf and West for the rest of the dances, and I tried to get them both to come up to my room with me, but Dad caught us and sent me up to bead and them off to wherever they were staying.

I hope Hrolf and West don’t do anything without me being there. That would be so unfair. Anyway, I know Dad loves me and wants the best for me, but why can’t he respect my own choices. Anyway, I’m going to sleep for a few hours before I have to get up and open presents. I wonder why Mom and Dad insist on that. It’s not like I still believe in the Frostfather. Anyway, going to sea with Grandpa is better than any other present anyone can give me.