“Uncle Peter?” Veronica Gladstone asked.
The rain beat against the window like so many tiny, cold drums. A flash of lightning did little to warm Veronica’s mood. It did, however, cast more light upon the room than did her feeble lantern. She gasped at the sight before her.
“Good evening, Veronica, dear. It took you long enough,” Dr. Peter Synn said. “I expected someone with your insatiable curiosity to discover my chamber on the first night of her visit, especially after I expressly forbade you to enter this wing. I find your obedience somewhat surprising, dear.”
“Did you say that you expected me?”
Veronica shuddered at the implications her intrusion being anticipated. The shackles on Synn’s desk implied one meaning. The skeleton strapped to the table implied another. The expression of the rather hirsute officer brought to mind yet a third. If she dared call him a man, then the figure next to him could crush her with one hand. She couldn’t decide exactly how the suave, but pale, aristocrat standing next to the clock wanted to devour her. Most disturbing was the unreadable face of the man near the window. She felt a fifth enter the room. Without looking, she recognized him as Michael, Synn’s silent valet. With the sound of squeaking iron, she knew he closed the door and blocked her only avenue of escape.
She felt all eyes upon her. As her gown slid from her shoulder, she wished she had taken the time to lace it, and to don her robe. Clearing her throat, Veronica said, “Uncle Peter, I do not believe you will harm me. I am, after all, your niece.”
“Permit me to correct your faulty memory,” Synn replied. “You are my wife’s niece, not mine.”
“Speaking of Aunt Barbara, I haven’t seen her since I arrived. Where is she?”
“Why, whatever do you mean, dear? Barbara is right here in this room.”
Veronica became aware of another presence in the chamber. Someone she saw, yet did not see. The figure looked and felt all-too-familiar. She wondered just who her aunt and uncle were, and what sort of company they kept. Self-preservation overwhelmed her sense of curiosity.
“Please allow me to depart,” Veronica said. “I will say nothing to Mother or Father.”
Synn laughed. “Do not fret, dear. I shan’t kill you. Neither shall my friends. Despite his appearance, Andrew is a Fusilier, and quite the well-groomed gentleman. Oliver is prone to violence when he loses at chess, but otherwise is as kind as a kitten. Christopher finds the taste of prostitutes more satisfying to his palate than that of the daughters of gentry. Vincent is somewhat a lady’s man, but he promised to remain clothed in my home at all times, so you will at least know where he is. Michael only does as I command. As for your aunt, Barbara seems to have mayhem of a most pleasant sort on her mind tonight. No, we shan’t kill you. I invited you to visit me because we have, shall I say, intentions for you.”
“What do you want from me?” Veronica asked.
“A witch would complete our little cadre quite splendidly.”
Veronica inherited her parent’s talents, and learned much at their sides. Somehow, Peter Synn knew. She cut her eyes toward the figure who appeared to be her aunt. Barbara swore that she would never reveal the Gladstone’s secret craft to anyone. Apparently, she had revealed it to her husband. While Veronica’s family faced no threat of death by fire, witchcraft was considered fraud by law. The many ears and tongues in the room threatened her father’s position, the Gladstone home, the family reputation, and its liberty.
She stammered, “I hardly qualify as a witch, Uncle.”
Synn sighed. It was a triumphant sigh. He said, “You shall join us, Veronica. One way or another, I assure you that you shall. While you decide whether that will be voluntary or compulsory, please enjoy a nice glass of wine with us. I insist. Michael, be so kind as to seat Veronica at the table.”
DAZ Studio 4.8 Pro -> Reality 4.1 -> Luxrender 1.5 -> GIMP 2.8.
Preliminary work in GIMP, ShaderMap 2, and Hexagon 2.5.
This was originally planned for late August. It was delayed to take advantage of the new features of Reality 4.1. So, just in time for Halloween.
I apologize for Veronica’s obviously modern panties, but I needed something to preserve the remaining modesty of a rather immodest girl. Besides, this scene is already everywhere in terms of fashion chronology. The Invisible Man is a markedly late Victorian character, but as no Victorian suits are available for G2M, I relied on the versatile Regency suit (Synn, Michael, and Vincent). The Century Nightgown (Veronica), on the other hand, looks like an intimate from around 1890. Corsair (Andrew) is historically nebulous enough to fit anywhere between 1800 and 1850. Princess of Darkness (Barbara) looks 20th Century to me, but it was the only non-fantasy texture I had for the Morphing Fantasy Dress. The Regency era accurate Sensibility didn’t look right when made transparent. Still employing the fashion time machine, I stepped back to the era of Queen Anne and used the Pirate Coat (Christopher) to give the vampire more of a continental flair, combining it, yet again, with the Regency suit. Highland Lad (Oliver) is decidedly Jacobian, but it works for a 19th Century setting. It also shows off his sutures. Considering Veronica’s panties, however, I was tempted to put Oliver in the Edwardian era Grantham Hall Suit and call it a day, or four hundred years worth of days.
Characters are named in honor of the “Hammer Repertory Company” (Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed, Veronica Carlson, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, and Michael Ripper), with the addition of Vincent Price, as no scene like this is complete without a nod to him.