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Kieran decided to load the Ghoomer's body onto a small vegetable truck and wheel it through the town to the cottage hospital, where it could be incinerated in the crematorium. He insisted that the body be left uncovered, because he wanted everyone in the town to see that she was dead, and realise that the fears of the monsoon madness were over.
Adam insisted on helping him pull the truck through the streets. He ordered Joby to say with Tamaz and Lonts, and haughtily ordered Julian to "mind the house". Mieps followed the unorthodox funeral cortege like an illicit mourner. He also hung around in the background at the hospital, refusing to say anything to anybody. As they were all leaving, Ransey arrived, saying that he had just heard everything that had happened.
"Follow him home, Ransey", said Adam, as Mieps left the building "I don't want him getting any bright ideas about disappearing back into the wilderness".
"Sure", said Ransey, following Mieps back out into the streets, which were getting foggy with river-mist in the early evening.
Adam and Kieran went to the 'Mermaid', which Kieran was annoyed to find decked out with garlic bulbs.
"Reminds me of that bar in Xuste", said Kieran, crawling around under the table in the snug and retrieving handfuls of the garlic bulbs "As if any of this would be any good against a Ghoomer or a vampire, or much else come to that!"
"Oh sit down", said Adam, pulling him up by his dusty vest "I started this day by telling Joby off, and now I'm on at you. Sometimes I don't know which of you is the worst".
"Joby, surely!" said Kieran "He's far worse than me! Anyway", he raised his brandy glass "Here's to Lonts, who saved the day".
"To Lo-Lo", said Adam, toasting his absent friend in coffee "He's so sweet".
"Sweet?" Kieran gulped and laughed "With those great hands of his! God help anyone who attacks anyone he loves!"
"He adores Tamaz", said Adam.
"I know, it worried me at first", said Kieran "In case Tamaz treated him badly, but it seems to work".
"Freaky is spoilt", said Adam "But he has good intuition. He knows it wouldn't be wise to start trampling on Lo-Lo's feelings".
"You don't play games with the Lontses of this world", said Kieran.
"No, he takes after me!" said Adam, giving a wry smile.
"Jaysus, it's such a forlorn sound", said Kieran after hearing the mournful wail of a foghorn "It's getting bad out there".
"Yes, we'd better get back", said Adam, draining his cup.
During the rest of the Fair, Lonts acted in a highly-protective way towards Tamaz, even though the danger was past. He was protective to the extent that even in bars and shops he stood over Tamaz, like a big brother shielding a toddler. Hillyard wanted to buy presents for the pair of them to compensate for all they'd been through. Tamaz was easy to buy gifts for, anything expensive would do, but Lonts was another matter. Hillyard thought of getting him a little gold or silver crucifix, but somehow it didn't seem right. Lonts was more at home with the simple wooden one Gimmit had made for him all those years ago. In the end he got the local carpenter to carve out a set of wooden bears, of all different sizes. Lonts was ecstatic with them, and played with them for hours, wearing a solemn but contented look on his face.
After the Fair had left town, Julian and Ransey both impressed on Hillyard the need to make a visit (even if it was only a short one) to Woll's estate, if only to serve as a reminder to Glynis and Codlik that they didn't in fact own the place. "I'm always being told to go to places", Hillyard grumbled "It's all so bloody pointless!"
Finia also kicked up a fuss, and said he didn't want to spend another winter there. "Neither do I", said Adam "Not after the last one, and I'm absolutely insistent that we spend this Christmas here".
"Why don't we just leave them all up there to stew?" said Tamaz, who was lying on the sofa, sucking on his chunky new (and very expensive) pearls "They're all boring, nobody wants to see them".
"But it's Hillyard's house", said Adam.
"Some house!" said Finia "More like a giant crypt!"
"'5th October. The Watering-Hole'", Julian wrote in his log-book "'Adam has been nagging me for some time to re-open this book. Since the Indigo burnt I hadn't the heart to, but he argues that I am in essence still Captain, so I see his point. It is still very warm here, so we don't need to sleep in the bar itself tonight, which after hearing about it last time I'm quite glad about. It's quite busy here at the moment and the cider is flowing. We're sleeping in the tee-pee tonight. Should be quite fun, it was last time'".
"'6th October. 10:28 PM. I've put in the exact time to remind myself that we have only been here a few hours, since 2:45 this afternoon in fact. It feels more like about 6 years! Codlik ... well were words fail me. Suffice it to say that the sheer misery one essentially well-meaning person can cause defies belief! Things surely can only get better here ... can't they?
We arrrived in the hay-cart to find what at first appeared to be a flotilla of penguins waiting to greet us. It turned out to be the staff. Codlik has instituted A Dress Code. He has decided that all the household staff should only wear black or white clothing.
No one knows, other than some waffly spiel from the idiot himself that this helps to create "a harmonious balance, whilst at the same time maintaining a professional working image". He talks like some bloody management consultant! First and foremost, this house may not be the cosiest of places, but it is still meant to be a family home. That is what Woll wanted, that is why he gave it to Hillyard, and that's why Hillyard thought putting a more conventional family like Codlik, Glynis and Baby in it might work. Not a chance. Codlik runs the whole place like some sophisticated but essentially dreary office block, Little Joy Co. Ltd.
Anyway, back to my story. Hillyard resolutely refused to go through all the performance of greeting the staff AGAIN, and insisted instead on driving us all round to the stables. As we were going past the East Wing (which I have to agree with Adam is much the pleasentest part of the house, I suspect because Codlik doesn't get in it much), we passed a handful of the monks, who all went into blissed-out raptures on seeing Tinker Belle, practically hauling him off the cart and smothering him with kisses. Some of them evidently wanted to go into a lengthy bitching session about Levka, the completely bonkers local vicar. Kieran insisted we had to settle in first.
We let ourselves in via one of the back doors, and eventually located the Great Hall. (Hillyard says it's very easy to find one's way around here really, as most corridors and stairways seem to lead to the Great Hall eventually). The penguins had migrated in here by the time we got there. Adam noticed immediately that all the little rugs he had put down in the hall to deaden noise and give a more domestic feel to this cavernous place, were missing. Codlik (need I say more?) had ordered them to be removed. He had carried out a time and motion study (the very words are synonymous with his name), and had found that the rugs took up too much of the staff's time to maintain. I thought Adam was going to have a seizure on hearing this, and quite rightly so. The rugs take Lilli 10 minutes every morning to sweep! She used to do this (when we were there in the sane days), after unbolting the main doors. A big rug and carpet cleaning purge takes place throughout the house 4 times a year. But Codlik evidently feels 10 minutes a day takes up too much of Lilli's time, quite what she would be doing instead in that 10 minutes that is so vital to the betterment of the human race I don't know!
A rather nasty scene was diverted by Freaky, who had been running around the hall yodelling. He had tossed his leopard-print wrap into the air and had got it caught on one of the chandeliers. He let out a "wha-a-argh!" cry, and Bardin lifted him up so that he could get it down again. Codlik informed us (!) that it was a good job the chandelier hadn't been lit, or there could have been a FIRE! CRIPES!
Naturally, one asks, where was Glynis in all this? We eventually managed to wring it out of Codlik that she was in her private sitting-room. I instantly assumed he was referring to the charming morning-room, as I've always felt that it would make a perfect lady's boudoir. Not a bit of it. Bertha led us up so many stairs and corridors I was beginning to think we had stumbled into the labyrinth of the Fair Rosamund. Glynis has taken to hiding herself and her baby away in a remote part of the West Wing. After a few minutes of Codlik's company I can quite see why! When we finally located her I was relieved to see that she looked quite well, as I was expecting to see a pale, ghostly figure with hunched shoulders and haunted eyes. Her sitting-room is large and brightly-lit, with a splendid view of the mountains and the forest. We all had tea with her in there.
The baby, Leon, is a handsome, robust little chap. Adam praised his healthy size, and I nearly blurted out "what does one expect with parents like Glynis and Hillyard?!" It wouldn't have mattered if I had really as Codlik hadn't joined us, but I'd still have got lambasted by Adam for it! The truth is though, with parents like them, baby Leon won't ever lack for build for good looks!
I think Glynis was a tiny bit upset that Hillyard didn't show more interest in the boy, although I could have told her that he wouldn't have had much in the first place. The likes of Hillyard don't. Out of all the people I've known, he's one I can least imagine in a state of conventional marital bliss. He would never see anyone lack for material or physical comfort, if it was within his power to ease it, simply because he wants everyone to be happy and enjoy themselves, but for emotional long-term monogamy, no. People like him achieve pleasure too easily, their sense of it is too highly refined, it makes it hard for them to be impressed enough by any one region of bliss long enough to dedicate themselves to it.
Nonetheless we had a pleasent afternoon with her. The younger ones demolished the cakes on offer. Adam twittered and apologised, but Glynis was at pains to stress how nice it was to see people actually "enjoying" their food. Enough said really. She added later that it was a continual source of amazement to her as to who was interested in the baby and who wasn't. Kieran wasn't that interested either, although he feigned to be. As a devout Catholic, he undoubtedly believes in the propogation of the species, but I wouldn't say he was the most paternal of men. He's too mystical and remote for that. Joby would make the great father figure not him, he's the ones who gets down on the floor and plays polar bears with Lonts, I doubt Lonts would even ask Kieran in the first place! I hope Glynis never reads these words, as it's painfully obvious that she is still enamoured of Joby. Having seen Joby fully in the flesh countless times, I can understand the physical appeal, but the woman must be a glutton for punishment to keep going back for his own peculiar brand of mental torture!
7th October. God knows I've tried to be tolerant and broad-minded and all the rest of it, but it must be said once and for all, Codlik and I are never going to settle down together in connubial bliss! He decided to lay on lunch for us today. It is galling to be invited to lunch by him in our own home, but Adam says we have to expect that at the moment. You should've seen it! The dining-room evidently wasn't good enough for him, so we had to troop upstairs to a gloomy panelled room, although I don't know why. Actually I think he had some insane idea that we should all eat at separate tables, not one big one. I didn't want to eat with him at all, but I don't see why the rest of us had to be split up. The new dining-room was an utter abomination. All the tables were covered in lime-green cloths. Lime-green is a particular pet hate of mine, but I tried to conceal the fact, for Adam's sake, only to have Joby march into the room and declare "What a shitty colour scheme!"
I'll draw a veil over the rest of the lunch, there are some things just not worth remembering, although I have heard a rumour that Codlik called a meeting of the relevant staff this afternoon, to go over all the points of why some bits of the lunch worked and others didn't! Pah-lease!
Codlik's influence is evident all over the house. Even a nail to hang up a picture can't be banged into the wall without his permission first. I kid you not! "Old houses like this have to be protected", he said. They also have to be lived in!!! I urged Hillyard with all my heart to counter-act all this somehow. Even Glynis has been brainwashed into using 'Codlik-speak'. She talks about the house as her "work-place". "I work here", she says, not "I live here".
I truly believe I'm in Hell. The middle-classes have taken over!'"
Over the next few days a war of nerves went on between the Indigo-ites and Codlik. Trying to impose their will over his was like chipping away at a great rock with a toothpick, only to have the great rock rehealing itself as soon as they had made any impression on it.
They insisted on eating in the downstairs dining-room, but were steadily fed a diet of undressed salads, to be washed down with jugs of iced water.
Adam went to the kitchen to plead with the cook that surely a bit of variation was in order, only to have her burst into tears and say that "Mr Codlik" was very strict about what was to be served in the house. "I made some savoury bread cakes once, you know, the ones with different toppings that you call pizzas, because Miss Glynis likes them", she wailed "Only to have him come in here and start demanding did I know how much salt went into them? Well of course I know, I made them! He had no right to come in here and talk to me like that! He was shouting his head off. I'd always thought he was a reasonable man up til then". Adam sympathised, and spent the rest of the afternoon helping her to gather berries in the orchard, in order to make a summer pudding. "And if Codlik complains, we'll put extra salt in his portion!" he said.
Hillyard was roused to a rare burst of anger on hearing about Codlik's crusade against salt. So much so that he grabbed the keys to the cellars, whilst Codlik was out touring the estate one day, and took everyone down there. The stores of wine, produce and delicacies were enough to make the head of any reasonable person spin. And in spite of Ransey's protestations that it would "bugger up the inventories", Hillyard let everyone loose on all the goodies stored there. The cook's eyes gleamed and it was obvious she was planning a feast that night to rival the last days of the Roman Empire!
Out of all the Indigo-ites Bardin was the only one who secretly agreed with Codlik. Bengo had often felt that Bardin should have been a doctor, the way he was so obsessed with the body perfect. Bardin had kept himself disciplined for so long that he felt guilty if he ever tried to break out of it. That was why he got annoyed that Bengo would quite happily stuff himself silly all day if he could, because he would only feel guilt if Bardin was around to make him so. Today he stood at the top of the cellar steps and watched as Bengo and Tamaz engaged in a mock sword-fight, using two huge sausages in thick purple skins as weapons.
"Your boss is watching", said Tamaz.
"Oh he's gonna be unbearable tonight", said Bengo, miserably.
"So we'll give him something else to moan about", said Tamaz, and he kissed Bengo lingeringly on the mouth.
Jealousy was Bardin's Achille's Heel. It was the one part of himself that he couldn't discipline, couldn't control, that stopped him being A Professional at all times. It was too easily roused to the surface for his liking, and it was especially galling that it was Bengo who could set it off so easily.
Joby had noticed the expression on Bardin's face, and followed him out of the cellar when he ran out.
"He did it on purpose", said Joby, breathlessly, when he caught up with him "Tamaz I mean. He knows how to find people's biggest weaknesses, he arrows straight in on them, and then plays it for all its worth. I should know, he did it to me well enough when he kidnapped me!"
"How did you survive that?" said Bardin "You're so tough, so strong inside".
"Not really", said Joby "I don't know what it is, but somehow I seem to have a built-in survival mechanism where Tamaz is concerned!"
As Joby had expected, Tamaz had been curious about his rapid departure from the cellar and had gradually followed him out. When he appeared Joby led the way up to their room. Bardin was sufficiently curious to follow too. They had all taken a first-floor room in the East Wing as their temporary dorm, until they could decide whether it was worth doing up somewhere permanently. In the meantime an assortment of beds had been shoved in there and they kept their belongings in bags and packing-cases. In spite of all this it was surprisingly homely.
There was an entrance at either end of the room. One led down to the ground-floor bathroom, and the other connected them to the long corridor which led eventually to the Service Wing. When they reached there, Joby began shoving Tamaz's belongings into a canvas sack.
"You can't throw them out!" Tamaz shrieked, in horror.
"I've no intention of throwing 'em out", said Joby "They all cost me good money! I'm just taking 'em away for a while, until you realise what a little sod you've been to Bardin".
"He deserved it", said Tamaz, scowling at Bardin "His jealousy's a joke, although I notice it didn't stop him poking the arse off me that time!"
"Go and fetch your jewellery-box", Joby sighed.
Tamaz looked wretched. He obediently fetched the box though, and watched with quivering lips as Joby emptied the contents into the canvas sack. His most exotic underwear also went in, as did his fur stole, leopard-print wrap, and a vial of perfume that Finia had given him.
"Where are you going to hide it?" Tamaz demanded to know.
"Well there's no point me telling you that is there!" said Joby.
"Someone might steal it all", said Tamaz "You can't trust anyone in this house, they're all so bloody greedy!"
Joby gave him a longsuffering look, shouldered the canvas bag, and left the room.
"This is all your fault!" Tamaz squawked, after Joby had gone.
"Mine?" said Bardin, his round eyes going even rounder with disbelief.
"Yes, because you can't take a fucking joke", said Tamaz, sitting down abruptly on the nearest bed "That's all it was, a bit of teasing to wind you up. It was only a bloody kiss! And because of it I get all my nice things taken away, and when Mieps hears about it I'll probably be whipped as well! I hope you're satisfied!"
"You won't be whipped", said Bardin, sitting down next to him "I'll put in a plea of mercy for you".
"As if that's going to stop him!" said Tamaz "You'd think you being a fucking clown you might be able to take a fucking joke!"
"Alright, alright, now calm yourself", said Bardin, firmly "Now then. I have a problem with jealousy, no one realises that better than me. No one suffers because of it worse than me. And to be blunt, Bengo's too daft to fully realise how much I suffer because of it. But you have to admit you went out of your way to provoke it".
Tamaz shrugged, awkwardly.
"It gets the better of me sometimes", he mumbled "I'm sorry. I don't know why I do it. I never get anything out of it, except humiliation".
"You can cope with humiliation", Bardin smiled "That's why I think you'd do so well in showbusiness. It can be such a humiliating game".
"No, I'd get fed up with people staring at me", said Tamaz.
They leaned towards each other, only to be sprung apart by Mieps coming into the room, looking rather fierce. Tamaz gave a terrified cry and dived under the bed.
"Now what?" said Joby, walking in behind Mieps.
"Take him away!" Tamaz screamed.
Joby deftly ushered both Bardin and Mieps out of the room, refusing to take 'no' for an answer. After they had gone he sat down on the floor. Tamaz tentatively poked his head out, flicking his tongue nervously.
"Am I safe?" he asked.
"No", said Joby.
"Can I have my things back?" said Tamaz.
"No", said Joby.
"Bardin's forgiven me", said Tamaz, defensively.
"Well I spose he's not a clown for nothing!" said Joby.
Tamaz hauled himself out on his stomach.
"But he's forgiven me", said Tamaz "So you've no reason to carry on persecuting me".
"Be glad it's me doing the persecuting and not Mieps!" said Joby.
Tamaz realised he'd reached an impasse. If Joby was in one of his stubborn moods, there was no way he'd get his things back today. Even sex wouldn't work, as chances were Joby'd have his way with him and still refuse!
"I can't negotiate with you at all", said Tamaz, sitting next to him on the floor "You're completely unreasonable!"
"Takes one to know one!" said Joby.
"I don't think you love me at all really", said Tamaz.
"Now I know you're desperate!" said Joby.
"What are you going to do?" Tamaz sighed, resignedly.
"I'm gonna go and have some dinner", said Joby "Ask me again afterwards".
As Codlik still wasn't back from his inspection of the outlying farms, the evening banquet could go ahead with no hindrances at all. Glynis came down to eat with the Indigo-ites in the ground-floor dining-room, and they all feasted on spicy salad with quails eggs, followed by trout (with the eyes still left in), venison pies, then a medley of sticky sweet custards and fruit puddings.
"Is Tamaz still being punished?" Lonts asked.
Tamaz had walked in behind Joby, looking wretched and sheepish. He didn't want to be eating with Glynis when he was so bereft of any finery at all. It was hard to be coquettish and haughty when wearing an old shirt and trousers, both of which were liberally covered with grass-stains.
"Yeah, he'll be punished for a while yet", said Joby, as Tamaz sat down miserably in his place next to Julian.
Bengo was mortified by Tamaz's dejected figure, and rounded on Bardin.
"This is all your fault, you jealous sod!" he exclaimed "You didn't mind Tamaz kissing me when we were all together back at the Town House, so why pick on him now?! I notice it's a different story when you want a threesome!"
Glynis was looking rather bemused by this conversation, even though she had long since decided that nothing to do with Tamaz shocked her anymore.
"Now stop it!" said Adam, glaring at the clowns "You're behaving very childishly".
"I'm afraid we have to face the fact that this is one of those rare examples of me being wrong", said Julian, getting up and pacing round the table to face the clowns "I put you two together in the innocent belief that I was doing the right thing. I regret to say that this is not so, and that this relationship must come to an end".
"Oh dear", said Adam, catching Julian's facetious tone "We've never had a divorce in the family before, this is very sad".
"Well they've done nothing but bicker and fight", said Julian "So the sooner we call a halt to this whole thing the better".
"But we've always bickered and fighted, I mean fought", Bengo protested "Bardy! Tell him! He can't do this!"
Bardin didn't speak, but merely looked like a distraught Jack Russell terrier. Eventually, after what felt like an age and everyone looking at him, he spoke.
"It's all due to my jealousy", he said "It's no one else's fault, but mine".
"It's also Freaky's actually", said Adam.
"Let's not make a 3-act melodrama over this", said Ransey, tipping more vegetables onto his plate "Bengo and Bardin will always stay together, even if only because no one else would have them! And Tamaz is a confirmed mischief-maker, and will never change, so let's all stop wailing about it and just eat, shall we?"
"Thank you, Henry Kissinger!" said Julian.
"Can Tamaz stop being punished now?" said Lonts.
"Not if I had my way", Mieps growled.
"We have this every meal-time", Ransey sighed at Glynis.
"No we don't, stop exaggerating", said Adam.
"I was enjoying it", said Kieran "A bit of public confession and absolution, just the thing really!"
Adam felt sorry for Glynis having to put up with them all through dinner. She reminded him of Alice at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Afterwards though she had said she found it quite stimulating.
"I've been starved of that since Dolores went home", she said, which Adam felt spoke volumes about Codlik, but then again this didn't come as any great surprise!
"Joby seems different somehow", Glynis continued "Quieter. Stronger. Has anything happened?"
"Nothing tangible", said Adam "Something happened up at the monastery between him and Patsy, but no one knows what. They haven't even told me".
It had taken a lot of effort for Glynis to bring up Joby's name, but now she had she was like a runaway train with it.
"From what I gathered at dinner", she said "Tamaz has been getting close with the clowns. How does Joby feel about that?"
"I don't think anything is ever going to split Joby and Tamaz up", said Adam "Freaky did the worst things he could think of to Joby when he abducted him that time, and Joby still fell in love with him. Humans are strange, imponderable creatures, Glynis".
Glynis might have got a small crumb of comfort at that moment if she'd known that Tamaz was jealous of her, even if it was only a temporary thing. Glynis was beautiful. With her golden hair and newly-regained curves, she looked like a fertility goddess, an earth spirit, like Demeter from the Greek myths. Deprived of all his exotic finery, and very out of sorts because Joby was cross with him, Tamaz felt like (in his own words) a "grotesque lizard". He refused to join in the dancing in the Great Hall, and instead ran out to the back hallway, where Joby found him weeping and gnashing his teeth on the stone staircase.
"You don't care what you do to me", Tamaz sobbed "I'm entirely in your power because I love you so much. I hate you!"
"All I did was ask you if you wanted to dance with me!" said Joby, sitting down on the step below him.
"How can I dance when I look so awful?" said Tamaz, angrily.
"Oh stop carrying on!" said Joby "You'll get all your things back by tomorrow".
"It's going to be too late then!" said Tamaz "Glynis will have triumphed".
"I'm not going over all this again", said Joby, emphatically "If you don't know how I feel about you by now you never will. Now behave! Or I'll take your pants down and give you a tanning!"
"Yes, why not finish my humiliation completely!" Tamaz sniffed, violently "Give the Goddess Glynis something to really gloat about!"
"If she's a goddess, you're an empress", said Joby, stroking Tamaz's ankle.
"That still makes her one up on me!" Tamaz spat, indignantly.
"Not in my eyes", said Joby "After all, goddesses are remote, cold figures you have to worship. They bring thunderbolts crashing down on you if you do the slightest thing wrong, and if they do something nice you end up paying through the nose for it, like demanding bits of your soul or summat".
"What about me as an empress?" said Tamaz, sliding down a step to sit on his level.
"Oh I'd build you a palace", said Joby "You'd have rooms filled with gorgeous clothes and jewels, and you could stuff yourself with food until you got really fat. Adn you could have Lonts as a bodyguard. He'd go everywhere with you and terrify everyone".
"He'd be good at that", said Tamaz "But what about you? What would you do?"
"I'd make love to you in just about every way I could think of", said Joby "And with you there's plenty of scope!"
Tamaz flicked his tongue excitedly.
"If only you had Hillyard's money you could do all that", he said.
"I wouldn't have it for very long with you around!" said Joby.
"Kieran's got money", said Tamaz "He never spends any of it, so he must have loads of it by now, all rotting in the bank, not doing anything. He should spend more of it on us than he does".
"I'm drunk enough, so why don't we go and ask him if he'll build us a palace?" said Joby.
Tamaz yodelled joyfully, and slipped his little hand into Joby's, a movement which Joby always found to be one of the most pleasurable sensations in his life. They went in search of Kieran, who was sitting by himself in an armchair in the library, cradling a glass of whisky in his lap. He heard the other two trying to approach his chair stealthily, and as they got close he leapt out and growled at them playfully.
"Kieran, you have tons of money don't you?" said Tamaz "I mean, you must have. It's all sitting in the bank, not doing anything. That's not doing the economy any good is it? It's not boosting trade at all".
"What are you after?" said Kieran.
"Joby says he wants to build me a palace", said Tamaz.
"A palace?" said Kieran, his blue eyes opening very wide "But you've got a palace, you can run around here and pretend it's your palace".
"No it's not, it's bloody Glynis's palace", said Tamaz.
"It's Hillyard's actually", said Joby.
"What would you be wanting a big, draughty old palace for?" said Kieran.
"Joby says I could have a palace, with as much food, jewels and clothes as I wanted", said Tamaz "And he would make love to me there in as many ways as possible".
"Heck Joby, your sexual fantasies are getting a wee bit on the extravagent side!" said Kieran "You used to be happy with a tub of chocolate ice-cream!"
"That was before me met me", said Tamaz, haughtily.
"Well I don't know how much money I've got", said Kieran "You'll have to ask Ransey, he controls me finances. But I suspect if it's palaces you're after you might have to approach Hillyard and weave your charms round him instead".
"Shouldn't be too hard to do", said Joby.
"In fact, Joby", Kieran handed his tumbler of whisky to him "Why don't you go and whisper sweet nothings in his ear, whilst I take this fiery spirit somewhere more private? Now c'mon, be a sport. I don't often get to have him alone do I?"
"Alright", Joby drained the whisky "The things I do for Ireland!"
Kieran took Tamaz to the morning-room, and locked the door against the rest of the house. On their way there Kieran had thrust his hand down the front of Tamaz's trousers and worked his groin until Tamaz felt as though his clitoris was 3 times its normal size. Once in the room Kieran stripped completely, leaving on only his gold crucifix, which rested between his nipples on a long, fine chain. Tamaz waited, knowing that Kieran liked to undress him.
He sat on the sofa, not saying a word, as Kieran unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off his shoulders, exposing his bare breasts. He then pulled off his trousers and his drawers. Tamaz wasn't greatly into foreplay, which was fortunate as neither Joby or Kieran were when they were with him. Kieran and Tamaz fucked lustily, whilst admiring each other's extraordinary bodies.
"It's a beautiful night", said Kieran, standing at the window afterwards "Let's get outside in it. I want to see you in the moonlight".
He slid up the window, and they both climbed over the ledge, running naked across the lawn at the back of this part of the house. There was a slight chill in the air, but they both passionately wanted to ignore it. Nothing was to be allowed to mar their need to be with each other at this time. They went to the forest, where Tamaz was able to spy out all the small nocturnal animals with his night-vision.
"I feel like I'm at the beginning of time", said Kieran, standing in a small clearing.
"I thought you didn't believe in that theory", said Tamaz.
"Not in my cold, rational side", said Kieran "But sometimes ... sometimes like now, when we're standing here like this, I think it just might be true".
"Do I look like Her?" said Tamaz, moving up close to him "You're the only one who's ever been able to look her fully in the face at full power, and survive. Tell me".
"You have her eyes", Kieran stroked Tamaz's face gently "Exactly her eyes".
"You won't tell anyone though will you?" said Tamaz "They'll go off me if you do. Become too afraid".
"I won't say a word", said Kieran, encircling his arm round Tamaz's waist.
"But what was the source of her power?" said Tamaz "Was she really so hideous that no one could have survived looking at her?"
"She wasn't hideous at all", said Kieran, quietly "Her eyes were hypnotic. I could have fallen under her spell so easily, it takes tremendous self-control not to. But she wasn't hideous. When Joby saw her in the mirror at Wolf Castle and found her beautiful, he was seeing her as she really was".
"Then how could she destroy?" said Tamaz "I don't understand".
"It was the power coming from her", said Kieran "It was awesome, intense, as though she carried the power of a 1000 women. You have elements of it too, that's why I'm weak around you, and why I'm admitting it now".
"But what turned men to stone?" said Tamaz.
"I don't know", said Kieran "Perhaps after a 100 years of men being without women, it was easy for her to do. The vampires had their best weapon in her, their most perfect weapon. A woman, a real woman, but one with such terrible power".
"But you stood out against her", said Tamaz.
"The only way I could avoid being destroyed by you", said Kieran "Was to use the only weapon I had. Love. I had to make you love me as much as you loved Joby. If I had tried to fight you, or destroy you, I would have been defeated. Because you had captured Joby, my strongest and my weakest part of me. So now you know. I've bared my soul to you. If you ever want to destroy me, just make me hate you so much I would want to demand Joby chooses between us. It's as simple as that. If we had sunk to that level, we'd have eaten each other alive. All 3 of us. All the power is in your hands, it always has been".
"Do you see me as a substitute for Amy?" said Tamaz "Is this the threesome you would have liked to have had with her and Joby?"
"Jaysus no, that would never have worked!" said Kieran "Anyway, Amy was another life. I stopped loving her many years ago, and that was something it took me a long time to come to terms with. I punished myself so much, because I felt guilty for no longer loving her, and this was all long before you came on the scene, so there is no way you can be a substitute!"
"Joby loved her didn't he?" Tamaz mumbled.
"Tamaz, I know Joby pretty well by now", said Kieran "And I can promise you one thing, if Amy was to appear here tomorrow and use all her wiles on him, she would have the same impact as Glynis!"
"But Glynis does have an impact!" Tamaz cried.
"Because, like Amy, she's blonde and beautiful", said Kieran "And Joby's a mere man, with all the weaknesses of the same! But that's not the same as what he feels for you, believe me I know this to be true!"
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