Journal of Virginia Hyde

13th May

Took a long, brisk walk. Annoyed on my return to be reminded of the Soiree. Lady H sent Agnes at help me dress - quite unnecessary. She had laid out a frock for me, which was kind, but I am sure it used to be more comfortable that it is now. Brown is to the door with the Carriage now...

Sra.Avalone's home is a very picturesque villa set on a hill amidst olive groves. I began to think that coming was not such a bad idea as we approached. It was a very puzzling evening, with considerable Danger, in fact. Sra. Avalone had invited a young Poet, Sr. Pietro Volsario who had an odd, dark, older lady Companion, Sra.Leone, who turned out to be far from what she seemed. After the Poetry (which I remember very little of) and some Music (accomplished) from Srta.Avalone and the Poet, I spoke to Sra.Leone who asked about the odd Storm we had experienced and we spoke a while of Weather control. She did not lead me any nearer finding out how it is done. I do believe now she was controlling the Weather around the Villa, for a violent storm arose not long afterwards and many Guests, ourselves included, set off for the City at once.

We were too late; a tree down across the road forced us back to accept Sra.Avalone's hospitality. Lady H and I are sharing an attic room - perfectly adequate. I am sure I shall sleep well in spite of the Weather continuing its Foul mood.

14th May

A very Strange business indeed, today! Woke early, as usual, to find the sky an odd violet shade. No sooner was I up and dressed than I heard that Snta Beatricia Avalone was feared missing. Expecting some Foolishness on the part of the Girl, I went to her room but there was no sign of her or of her having packed - nothing at all Amiss. No horses were missing but it did appear that Someone had opened the front Door to the Villa during the Night. Search parties were set up.

While I was waiting for the group I intended to go searching with to assemble, Lady H called me aside. She told me two odd things. Firstly, she had had a Dream or Visitation in the Night from a "Wild Gypsy" who asked a lot of questions and seemed curious about Mr.Pasha, the Turk. Secondly, she had found Sra.Leone's room empty and the bed not slept in but in the adjacent room, the Poet was pale and faint and very weak with a Wound on his Neck. Lady H went off to organise something sustaining for Sr.Volisario while went out with a few of the Locals.

Not far from the Villa, the local Peasants began to Complain that nothing looked right, indeed, the Trees looked very un-natural to me too. The storm had abated but the sky was weird. I felt it Sensible that we continue to explore in greater Numbers and Insisted out group return to the Villa to reinforce the other groups. I instigated a thorough search of the Villa itself. Meanwhile, others returned from their Search to report that Trees and forced them back!

Consultation with Lady H and Sra. A gave us the Notion that Sra.Leone had Abducted Beatricia to replace the Poet, who was now too weak to be of any Use to her. I noticed an improvement in the light in the direction of the Road and decided we might usefully search that way. Lady H sent Brown along with me and a few locals came too. The Vegetation was most Interestingly unusual. In a patch of Wild Woodland where memory told me the Road ought to have been, we found a path with White Lilies growing and followed it. We heard piano music and hastened.

The music came from inside a small, odd-looking Shed. Inside I glimpsed Sr.Avalone and two of his servants, who had been out with a Search party but never Returned. They were seated on the bare earth, looking at Beatricia, playing as if Possessed on a piano, behind which stood Sra.Leone, a slim silver blade at Beatricia's neck. The Girl was caught up in the intense, romantic music and seemed oblivious of the Knife. I ignored Sra.Leone's invitation to enter and listen.

Hasty discussion with Brown followed. We sent one servant back to the Villa to report what we had found. I positioned myself, gun in hand, close to a window through which I could take aim at Sra.Leone (who I was by now sure was no real woman at all but a Fiend of some sort). Brown and the other servant entered the shed slowly and noisily as Sra.Leone threatened to cut Beatricia and while so distracted, I shot the Evil Fiend. The shed burst outwards, the "piano" exploded and I was very fortunate to avoid Injury. I saw a Mist swirl up into the Trees. Sr. A and Brown caught up the swooning Girl and we made haste to leave the Accursed spot.

The Wind was wild and the Trees lashed at us. As we emerged from the trees, not far from the Villa, Lady H stepped outside, fiddled with her gun and fired over our heads. (She told me afterwards that she had loaded the gun with a few steel needles and fired on the Mist that seemed to be Pursuing us.) We sat Beatricia and Sr.Volisario beside the Kitchen Range, both the Warm the poor, weak things and keep them close to a lot of solid Iron. Everyone else took up pokers, spades etc. Soon a weird female voice called out from the trees to Lady H - something about a Question, us being in her Territory, and her Prince being Pleased. Most Unpleasant for us, I should say. I began to suspect that Herr.W had been boasting of our involvement with the Turks, Inflating our Role and Import in the Matter out of all proportion, and bringing down on us the Wrath of some Unseelie Fair Folk.

Beatricia was soon sufficiently Recovered to tell us of her Abduction, not that it helped must but Confirm the use of Magick against us. Following discussion with the Poet, we decided to try to use Art in our favour and transferred to the Piano. Sr.V selected a simple peasant folk song and recited over it as Beatricia played. I watched the Artists, alert for any hint that things might be endangering them or us Lady H watched at the Window for any change in the sky or scenery that might suggest the Villa was returning to its normal Place in the World. She was spoken to again by the female who had been Sra.Leone, who wanted to make us Honoured Servants of Prince Vlad. Servants indeed! And of such a Master! Thank goodness the homely peasant music seemed to work to our Advantage. Just before Sr.V tottered and failed, Lady H announced that the World had been Restored to Normality.

We tended to our two Saviours, while peasants ventured out with iron-loaded blunderbusses. It was not long after they had cleared the road that we received a highly surprising visit from Sr.Verbinelli. He seemed to understand our Tale of the past night and day. He was sure that the UnSeelie were Interested in the Turkish Matter. It appears that Sr.Verbinelli knows more of Magick than he let on before. Lady H pointed out to him that the Poet seemed to have soma abilities in that Direction though Sr. Verbinelli was concerned that this man was already known to the UnSeelie. When I expressed a wish to know more of these things, he advises me to go to a certain place on the Night of a Full Moon where I might meet someone who could Enlighten me. I Resolve to do this at the First Opportunity. Meanwhile, I shall carry a large old iron horseshoe in my Bag, just in case.

Returned to Trieste, glad to have the Queer business behind us. Was somewhat distracted but there did seem to be more Confusion than usual in the city streets. No sign of the usual Chaps on traffic duty. Eventually made our way back to the pension through the snarled-up traffic. Someone had been in my room, I am sure of it. Retired early to update my notes. Have been warned to take care and keep my door locked, which it now is.