Vampiryirya, Acting Queen of the Damned.
She flung her magnificent hair back and stood, her black eyes flashing as the moon rose, blood red, behind her.
‘I, Vampiryirya, Acting Queen of all the Creatures of the Night, I speak!’
The crowd behind her murmured and seethed.
‘She speaks, she speaks. Vampiryirya speaks.’
Many of them stumbled on the name, and the effect was somewhat dampened.
‘For now is the hour of Magicke,’ she called, her cloak billowing in the occult wind that had sprung up out of nowhere. The final ‘ke’ of magicke needed a slight emphasis to differentiate it from just ordinary magic, of which she was, naturally, superbly contemptuous.
‘Magicke,’ murmured the crowd of vampires, whose raven hair and jet cloaks were also billowing in the occult wind, but somehow not quite as convincingly as hers. ‘It is the hour of magicke.’
‘Friends!’ she called, and the word echoed around her. ‘Gather, for we have much to do. Soon, oh soon, I will summon the great Magus, of whom we are all daughters. Sons, also,’ she added hastily.
‘We await,’ they called back in ragged unison.
Her eyes became darker still, darker than night, darker than darkness itself, as dark as the shadows that creep in the netherest regions of the pits of the damned. Darker than that, even.
‘Now, oh now,’ she called. ‘Oh great Magus, whose bosom has suckled us, whose tears have cleansed us, whose, er…’
‘Blood,’ someone prompted quietly.
‘Blood!’ she yelled, sending waves of delirium into the crowd. ‘Whose blood is our food, our life, our passion and our despair!’
The vampires were an unquiet presence behind her, hungry, tumultuous, rapt.
‘I summons you! In the name of Osiris and Isis, Temperegrath and Bewilderwind, Peregor and Kallingernacht, oh hear me!’
‘Hear her! Hear Vampiryirya.’ Again the name proved troublesome for many.
‘From your timeless slumber! From the depths of your agony and delirium, your endless captivity in the caverns of damnation. Come forth!’
The crowd wept and swayed, all eyes on the great door before her, encrusted with ancient wisdom and antic runes. A moment passed. An antic rune fell off.
‘Come oh great one! Your servants await you!’
And another moment.
The moon was gibbous, hectic, and at the fullest. The time was the most propitious, the hour was at hand, the crowd wept and sang and surged, a great hunger driving them to beat themselves with whips and chains, the blood crawling over their pallid flesh like monstrous black worms.
Some more moments passed. No Magus.
‘Ah,’ she said.
‘Right, let’s have a look at this then,’ said Belloc, pushing through the demented hoard of hellish creatures. ‘Scuse me, ta.’ He stood, a man of little over five feet with wispy ginger hair and thick glasses. ‘Right well, you see what your problem is here love?’
‘Speak, oh Belloc!’
‘Yeah. Well it’s your Portal to the Netherest Regions of the Damned, sweetheart,’ he said, scrutinising the great door with a little torch on a keyring. ‘See, it wasn’t put in right.’
‘Not right?’ she called.
‘Dear or dear. What comedian put this in for you? See the render? No, sorry darling but it’s all going to have to come out.’ He scraped at it with a little blade. ‘I mean, call this a Portal? Dear oh Lord. The soonest I could have a look at is Thursday.’
‘Thursday? Is that the propitious day?’ she demanded.
‘Yeah, have to be PM love cos I’m all backed up at the mo. I’ll just take some details.’ He produced a small duplicate book and a pen. ‘Name?’
‘My name,’ she announced magisterially, ‘is Vampiryirya, Acting Queen of…’
‘Yeah could you just spell that out for me my darling? Bit of a mouthful isn’t it? OK. Daytime phone?’
‘Daytime? Phone? I, Vampiryirya, have no phone! I communicate by the winds, by the owls, by the fleet messengers of the underworld…’
‘Yes, I understand all that my love, but I will be needing a daytime phone,’ Belloc said with somewhat strained patience. ‘And I’ll be needing a deposit.’
To Be Continued…