As the castle came into direct eye-shot, William could see a stream that ran from the mountain, through the castle, and into the sea.
To one side was a huge green clearing of sand and ferns.
Captain Bird pointed at it and announced, "This is where your Indians can sleep and make their fortress, they can bring up our luggage, but only you,
your woman, my soldiers and direct servants will be in the castle and the fortified grounds at night".
William was too awestruck to say anything, until they stood before the castle gate.
It was engraved with a giant Hexagram.
The Captain explained that it was one of several sigils against vampires.
The courtyard was impressive, and could have housed at least three regiments.
Then they opened a door cast in iron, and entered a maze of passages.
Some stairways were only wide enough to fit one person at a time, while others were broad.
The soldiers showed the crew where to carry everything, and William and Amanda were allocated a large room in a rotund tower without windows.
Torches and candles were lit, as well as a fire-place, and the building began to take on a gradual look of habitation.
Captain Bird knocked, and invited William and Amanda to his chamber.
This was really three chambers: a reception area with reclining chairs and tables, and shelves of dusty books and scrolls.
To one side was the Captain's private bedroom, and adjacent to that was another quarter, where William could see Ricardo and Tituba tying hammocks to
hooks in the wall, and then, they shut the door.
"Look", said Captain Bird, and through a window William could see the moon and the edge of a mountain, narrowing to a tip.
He suddenly realized how high they were perched.
Then Captain Bird turned, as the crew put down two barrels.
"And have a look here, this is all you have left of the drained blood and wine from your battle. How will you replenish it?"
Just then they heard a commotion in the passage outside.
The door flew open and Little Mother rushed inside, falling at Amanda's feet.
Two soldiers followed her, but Amanda signaled them to stop.
"What is this ungodly commotion?" Captain Bird demanded sternly.
A soldier answered: "It's the savages Captain...they refuse to sleep outside the castle".
Everybody rushed down a narrow staircase, until they saw a dozen of Captain Bird's soldiers pointing their rifles at the pleading and angry crew. They
were mainly the natives from William's ship, but there were also white and black men from both crews who had taken wives or integrated with the
natives. Indeed, it seemed like at least two of Bird's soldiers were with the mob, and pointed their rifles right back.
Captain Bird charged out towards the courtyard and yelled; 'Shoot men - I will have no mutiny here!"
Within a second William stood before Captain Bird, and faced the mob.
His fangs were out, and his eyes were glowing amber.
"What is going on here - I am tired and hungry - explain this!"
Everybody cowered, and lowered their weapons.
Somebody shouted: "We are afraid of vampires. It is night, and we have nowhere safe to sleep".
"They will take us from the sky!", wailed a woman.
William turned, and said: "Fine, you can sleep in the courtyard until your own village is ready".
With that he turned to face a a relieved Amanda, and a furious Captain Bird, who could barely contain himself.
They could hear the heavy castles gates closing.
Once inside the building, Captain Bird began to shout: "What have you done, you idiot!"
Amanda cried out at him, "You would have them all drained to death; you sir are a monster!"
"Rubbish, Rochester, you better control your wench ... a vampire will take one or two just like a shark when they go to spear fish, they will never
take a whole breeding population ... you have undermined my authority you damn fool ... DON'T YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN!"
William rushed towards Captain Bird and grabbed his throat.
The Captain struggled for breath, as he fumbled a silver pin-shaped object from his pocket.
He jabbed it into William's hand.
With that the vampire shook, as if from an electric shock, and fell to the floor.
Captain Bird steadied himself, and adjusted his collar.
"Don't test me boy, I have men behind you with silver arrows and chains".
He stretched out his hand to help a writhing William to his feet.
"Now, we've had enough excitement, I think we all need a stiff drink".
William took his hand, as the guards let go of Amanda.
For some reason everybody burst out laughing, and they all laughed as they continued up the stairs.
Perhaps it was just a release, and the rest of the night was jolly with no mention of the previous unpleasantness, but it seemed that it would be the
last laugh at Bird's Lair Castle.
edit on 20-1-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)