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Mihai BERCA: AVENTURA BOBULUI DE GRÂU
CINE IMPULSIONEAZĂ HAOSULÎN CONTEMPORANEITATE ? - Adrian Botez: Bravada neruşinată, Viruşi ai haosului internaţional subliniaţi de presa străină: News Week despre modelul de afaceri al FMI, REALITATI CONSEMNATE DE ZIARUL „DAILY MAIL”, Acesti oameni josnici au condus si conduc lumea, Rockefeller si elita mondiala- Interviu cu Alfred Lambremont Webre - directorul Institutului pentru Cooperare in Spatiu (ICS)- PARTEA I
CINE IMPULSIONEAZĂ HAOSUL IN CONTEMPORANEITATE? - PARTEA II
CINE IMPULSIONEAZĂ HAOSUL IN CONTEMPORANEITATE? - PARTEA III
Delincvența haosului intern : DE LA STAREA GENERALĂ LA CE A ADUS „PUNCTUAL” BACALAUREATUL 2011 – articole de Adrian Majuru, acad.Florin Constantiniu, acad. Dinu C. Giurăscu, Ion Longin Popescu, Georgeta Resteman, Magdalena Albu, Adrian Botez, Viorfel Băetu, Daniel Roxin.
Delincvența haosului intern : DE LA STAREA GENERALĂ LA CE A ADUS „PUNCTUAL” BACALAUREATUL 2011 - continuare I
Delincvența haosului intern : DE LA STAREA GENERALĂ LA CE A ADUS „PUNCTUAL” BACALAUREATUL 2011 - continuare II
IN LOC DE CONCLUZII, O PĂRERE PRIVIND EVOLUȚIA ÎNVĂȚĂMÂNTULUI
EMINESCOLOGIA PRACTICATĂ CU PROFESIONALISM ȘI DĂRUIRE POETICĂ DE LUCIA OLARU NENATI
DIN NOU DESPRE FĂNUŞ: CUVINTE PENTRU FĂNUŞ NEAGU ŞI DESPRE VREMURILE NOASTRE, de Darie Novăceanu
ŞI TOT CĂTRE FĂNUŞ MĂ-NDREPT… de Corneliu Leu
ASTĂZI E ZIUA TA de Ramona Vintilă
O CARTE DESPRE VISUL ROMÂNILOR CĂ: „VIN AMERICANII”
CĂLĂUL LUI DRACULA A DEVENIT „DRACULA`S EXECUTIONER”
La femme même reine…
SOLUŢIA MERITOCRATICĂ
POEZIA ROMÂNĂ ÎN LIMBILE LUMII - OCTAVIAN GOGA ÎN VERSIUNEA FRANCEZĂ A LUI CONSTANTIN FROSIN
DAN LUPESCU LA 62 DE ANI
NOI APARITII EDITORIALE ALE AUTORILOR: Melania CUC, George BACIU, Stefan DORU DANCUS, Emil ISTOCESCU, Samson IANCU, Veronica STIR, Doina DRAGUT, Gheorghe Andrei NEAGU, Ion CATRINA, RECENZATE DE: Victor STIR, Daniel DEJANU, Ioamna STUPARU, Al. Florin TENE, Melania CUC, Georgeta NEDELCU, Tudor CICU, Veturia COLCEAG - Partea I
NOI APARIŢII EDITORIALE - Partea II
DISTINSUL POET DIMITRIE GRAMA PROPUNE O DEZBATERE PE TEMA RELIGIEI, A OMULUI MASINĂ ŞI A VIITORULUI OMENIRII
MOARTEA UMANISMULUI ATEU de Corneliu Drinovan
DIN FOLCLORUL INTERNETULUI - Partea I
Partea II
Rubrica lui Ionut Caragea
SECUNDO TEMPO - DIN FOLCLORUL INTERNETULUI - partea I
Rubrica lui Ioan Lilă
 CORNELIU LEU

THE COMPLAINTS’ NOVEL
OR
DRACULA’S EXECUTIONER



WRITTEN AND UNWRITTEN
SENT OR UNSENT LETTERS
OF
VLAD DRACULA RULING PRINCE AND VOIVODE
OF WALLACHIA
 LATER ALSO STYLED VLAD THE IMPALER
FROM THE YEARS 6972, 6982, 6984
AS THEY ARE WRITTEN ACCORDING TO OUR DATING 1464, 1474, 1476

FOUND AND EDITED IN BUCHAREST WALLED CITY WHICH HE FIRST
ENTERED INTO THE MUNIMENTS UNDER THIS NAME FIYE HUNDRED
YEARS AFTER
THE
SLAYING OF THE PRINCE



                                                                                                  English version edited by
                                                                                                             Mattie E.Tanner




PROLOGUE


Oh, Good, how weak we are! You wanted to create us just like you, in spirit and in body, only that we didn’t come up just like that. We’re haunted by many weaknesses, and we still have to fight them to get closer to your strength.
We are mean by birth, and eager to fight each other, but we only need a tougher edge of a sword or a stronger bomb for a fiber to break inside us and make us perish just like the weakest of the bugs… why did you not make us, dear God, with iron just as well, or with more bones where needed, so that we don’t melt at the first stung and our blood doesn’t leak, like it were more proper to water the soil rather than run through our veins?
If you cannot give us a better and stronger being, why didn’t you try to make others different, just as the creator makes chosen, cared for and tried on things, so that they cannot die – like those ones he boasts about with his ability? Oh, God, you have only worked upon the souls, making them special and giving the greatest of your power to some, upon their beliefs and that of the ones they have been raised by. But in body, you have been just as good and merciful with us all, didn’t take from some to give to others and you didn’t protect some from their spirit, so that they loose as many penchants to evil, that sinful man has!
If you had to make us resembling animals, then why didn’t you make us horses, God? According to the nobility of his calm being, you should have given us his beauty, and his eagerness, and his greatness, and his moderation, his peaceful grazing and the contemplating gentleness in his eyes, and his force to hit only to defend itself, without any other part of the body made for attack, just as you have left us the fingers to strangle with them, to tear the throats apart and lately, to hold killing weapons.
You made us continuously from these animals with claws and teeth, and with perfidious eyes made for lurching, and insatiable cravings, much greater than our body can hold. Sinful me has subjected your wish to make us warrior beings; and we cut, we killed all over around us, we shed blood and had our revenge, put on fire and shot bombs, we made enemies and used all the weapons man has learned to use till death, just because he does not have your power to give life… but how good it would have been, oh, God, if you had made us similar to horses!… According to the good temper, they feed, leaving what is left in the crib and not ruining more grass than they need. Like the great strength of their necks, the big poise of their chests, after their quick flight, on tender ankles which make them ripple as the bird, and like the fire they throw on their nostrils only when manhood makes them feel wedding coming close!…
Look at them from your heights, oh God, as the truest beings you have succeeded, because it is true they should be no less than what is nice! Watch their arrogant harmony in their walk on the green cattle of your world, their rippled walk and their lined flight and the feeling of a child you gave happily and with no bad-will regarding the other. And you will see how beautiful this world could have been.
Could have been! But I don’t long for that much. No, no longer, as I used to, during the revolt of my cruel youth. I remain your slave, submitted to your will to fight with and without reason, and I am only rummaged by the injustice of our creation, as beings with a bad and warrior-like soul, meant to fight, but unarmed with all the protection to fight it, to protect our lives, which still come from your spirit.
And saying this plight, the larger of them all, my soul carries inside this tortured body, hidden to the light by Mathew’s guardians. I bow my forehead in the dust, saying, with the humility you have sealed in our souls along with other evils inside us:
“Thank You, God and Teacher, listen to the complaint of your slave! Listen to them, oh, God, for I have lost all connections in this hole where Matthew holds me and no one hears me! Except for your mercy, my complaints are no longer heard by anyone, God!… No one!”

2

“Oh, I can hear them! I can hear and I can answer them! I hear the lamentation of my prince, I hear his thundering voice he used to order me with, but I cannot answer him and I cannot show I heard him, or I know his complaints, and listen to them all the time, I cannot show him I gather in this bag I always carry on me or my horse’s neck, anywhere, all the writings of our souls, in a bunch that gives them more strength. My brother was up to the prince’s order, he passed it to me, and I was concentrated up to the other fighters’ who made up the scary and invincible bunch of the black knights. They were invincible, as long as I kept them under my power, as the prince had ordered. We were as such making up the machinery of a net in his power, and we not only became invincible, but also frightening to the enemy. More frightening than the canon invented in those times, as we were a weapon unknown to others, weapon with which, although having a small army, our prince crashed the greatest armies of the world, gathered by the sultan.
It was the greatest and happiest time of our lives – and of course, the most glorious one, undefeated by any other foreign power. And I now weep and search for my prince, and I cannot let him know as to where I am, because it was enough for him to break from us in a sole moment of weakness, only one, and my brother, lacking the invincible power the prince was sending him and being hurt just that moment, he fell down. It was no good he then felt his strength coming back, he could only stand up and kill some enemies around him. But the weapon had struck him, his blood was shedding, and in the end, he fell. He fell down, because he had only been lacking the support the prince was sending him from far away – for a moment only. He fell down because for a moment, our prince had been blinded by fury. Because furies cover power, and the prince had been struck by furies, seeing Matthew’s betrayal. A moment of darkness had been enough for that unseen lace between us to break. My brother, as he was ensured by the strength the prince was sending him, struck dead hundreds around him, and entered the fight with trust, to kill all the enemies and save him; but he had not felt the lace had been broken and he fell down under the others’ swords, many of whom he also killed – but he himself died.
I felt that. I dodged; I saved myself, but remained alone – alone in my searches and longing for my prince. I made all the witchcrafts he had taught me, and from other places, I tried all those unseen powers, but could not succeed in anything, except to hear his complaints every now and then. And not even all of them; because, just as he sounds clearer to me, everything is quiet again, and I search again and try hardly, very hardly; sometimes I fell, in all my wanderings, that sometimes I see him from close, and some other places I get farther away from, but I never get to find out where he is!
And I always punish myself, looking for him, and I punish myself again, gathering all the papers that write about him inside the bag I always carry with me, so that I present them as clarifying documents to some high judges, to save him. But I still cannot find him, and I neither know which high justice chair I should address to, so I carry the bag with me as another crook I have to bear and I hear every now and then, from far away places I don t know, such complaints which carry the voice of my prince, without a doubt. And I try to learn them, because I cannot write. But I learn them by heart, by mind, and if at any time I see some monks, I will learn how to write them too, or I can tell someone to write them down.
Because what others wrote hasn’t been true, and I believe that is where the hatred of the complaints my prince has, comes from – the prison he lies in. Complaints!… yes, the complaints… because what else does a man in prison, than complain for what he has done and has not been recognized to him, or complain about what he would have liked to do and did not do?!
My mind thinks and gathers it all there, in the room of the brain it had made for them, just as my eyes learned to read some of the letters, just as Turks, Slaves and Westerners write them; only my own fingers do not have the skills to lay them down on paper, these eyes of mine are looking for the papers which tell stories about my prince, all the papers and documents, and all these complaints which are no longer written in ink, but in his blood, in my blood.
And my hands tremble with love for him, they get them, caress them as clarifying documents, as they are, and throw them in my bag, with which I will go to him, for judgment. Only I don’t know which judgment, because I cannot ask him to lead me to some judges he would know as honest.
For I have seen injustice and I have been very troubled. I was so troubled, I was scared I would forget everything, when I saw what lies Matthew‘s people have printed in Saxon and in Latin, making him wrong in front of the entire Western world. And it is then that I make up the true stories about Dracula in my mind, my dear tyrant, so that people know he was cruelly honest. But I cannot tell him all these things, and I also cannot make him know what I try to show some lightened minds through these documents, nor ask for his advice as for what is best to be done, and this tortures me to death!
Because the prince has built us as a machine of his own, with the entries and exits and its commands, so that I make one thing, my brother another, the others connected to us, yet other things; the handling belonged to the mind which made us only, to set us to our own places to serve him and comply with the orders he gives us.
I do, I know this machinery all too well, because I have vibrated inside it and I assured its functioning ever since it was in its glory and frightened the Turks. Vlad, our prince, went all alone right in the heart of Mohamed the 2nd to frighten him, because he knew how he could dominate him and knew the machineries of his soul, which could open to communicate. He sent us to the others; we made the lace of his black knights who got huge powers with him handling us, and hit enemies with their won swords, but with Vlad’s hits. For my brother got tenfold powers by absorbing the ones sent by our prince, giving them back to us and rushing over as a small yet strong band, in the middle of the enemy I frightened. Even more, the ones thus empowered, some other souls from the others side, felt attracted to; souls which could feel the attraction of our prince, let themselves swept away and handled by him, through us.
And it was then that the chaos began, because we made the enemies attack each other, darkening their minds and making them hate each other. It was a great war machinery, with the killing weapons handled by arms which you did not expect to, exactly because the magnet of our prince, sent again and again in a tension for all renewed, gathered them all, making our people kill, and our enemies – to kill each other, transforming the night in the blinding of the unseen battles and frightening the foreigners camps with the fear of the black night who made the Turks not listen to their commanders and blind by killing themselves.
Great machinery, belonging to a great prince… but it was the machinery which broke right there, under Piatra Craiului, the moment where, for a sole instant the connection of our savior, which made him invincible, broke, and my brother, who was some sort of center of this machinery, crashed under the swords of Matthew’s people, which the prince had thought coming to his help, but who actually kidnapped and infuriated him.
It was all it took: a moment of fury which left our prince with no judgment, because the entire machinery crashed along with the one who communicated with us, that is, through the brother I was talking about. And ever since I, the sinner raised to a higher rank, as the second butcher of the prince, I remained on the first place following my brother, if I no longer have a master, that is, I can neither find him, from where he might be closed in, nor can I let him know I am alive and looking for him.
I am looking and still looking, and carrying along not only the burden of the clarifying documents I have gathered, but also, since I read the miserable print which only sees his darkened parts, darkening them even more, I also carry along the true stories that I keep writing and writing in my mind to kill the liar’s ones.
And as I listen to the complaints of my prince and master and I cannot answer them, I suffer just as much, and build up the stories that I believe to be true, in my mind, stories I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. Because I have been his loyal servant and I have always been next to him and I understanding all his deeds, as much as my stupid mind could understand”.



FIRST CHAPTER

1

After he had printed that eerie tale entitled "On a Certain Tyrant Dracula" and after he had elaborately folded the sheet of paper into six, carefully pressing each leaf with a roller he himself had devised, the printer Heintz Szacs who lived on the out-of-way street of new handicraf.ts which lay behind Sankt Lorenzkirche in Nuremberg, was seized with a kind of fear, of panic or anxiety which hindered him from sleeping. At times this anxiety even made him burst into tears most unexpectedly much as women
of a certain age do. And when eventually a troubled fleeting sleep overcame him he would wake up after some time wet all over like a new-born babe.
And he would never awake before the moment of crisis, so that he might hold back with his hand the pressing need to discharge and rush out into the garden, or at least be able
to kneel before his chamber-pot and urinate. No, the moment he would fall asleep most deeply, was the moment when his bladder would discharge itself, and only then would he wake up finding himself drenched all over in the middle of a pool of urine.
He most certainly lay under a threefold curse, the first one being this trouble he was having with his bladder. The second curse was Margarethe's reaction to his disease, for now his wife slept in a separate bed and their relations were badly deteriorated, she would sometimes even throw up at his attempt to come near her. And the third curse was that the very anxiety he now experienced as a result of his bladder discharging itself at the moment he was most profoundly asleep impeded him from falling asleep at all, for fear that he might reach that moment when he would urinate in bed.
It was a fear that tormented him and gave him no peace of mind, a fear much greater than the curse that had made a laughing stock of him, it was a fear the nature of which had been predicted to him by the stranger who had visited him at night, whom he later recognized as being the demonical tyrant whose exploits he had just printed in a volume. Fot the demon had appeared before him almost in the flesh and blood, not like an apparition in one's dream, but like a human-being that leaves traces, and had informed him without any grudge or anger in a soft-toned voice, that makes one's blood run cold, that for the time-being he would not suck his blood and give it to fiendish creatures to sip, nor would he thrust a stake into his backside after having first tickled him with its tip and then pushin it hard to rip through his entrails. He was for the meantime being lenient with him as to his backside and would only lay a curse on his organ of urination which would become blocked and incapable of discharging throughout the day and would become free to discharge only at night when he was fast asleep, so that thus he might become alarmed and remain awake and thereby become weak and repellent to his wife Margarethe and be finally turned into
a freak.
He consulted countless doctors, for Nurenberg is famous for its experts in medical science. Many apothecaries using most accurate scales and scores of extracts, made medicines for him; but it was to no avail!... He even went to a jeweller who with the assistance of a surgeon made him a silver tube which could be slipped into his organ of urination with a view to its being unblocked. The tube would slip in fairly easily, giving him a sensation of excitement or itching or causing a thrill to run up his spine, but it did in no way enable him to discharge his bladder.
One day, while he was in the lavatory standing with his face to the window so that the light might fall on to what he was holding with his left hand, the artisan handled the tube gingerly with the fingers of his right hand, when on a sudden he gave a scream of terror. The scream was not owing to any pain that might have been caused by his mishandling the silve tool and thus hurting himself, it was caused by the image tha presented itself to his eyes which were bent downward while focussing on the performance of the delicate task of making his organ discharge itself. It so happened that the smooth silver tube which slipped so easily in, as he lightly pushed it with the tips of his fingers, became ten times, twenty times or even thirty times bigger in size and was piercing him elsewhere in the body. It was piercing him not with the gingerly pressure of his fingers but with the cruel harshness of a power which made it tear through his entrails, bowels, stomach and lungs and to emerge through the top of his chest at the throat. At the throat which ripped open by the stake gushed out blood while gasping for breath in its desperate effort to keep alive the mauled, dying body of the artisan. And Heinz, the printer, felt how his body was pierced throug] and how his esophagus hanging like a gory hose twitched and
which throbbed trying to carry to the slashed lungs the air wich the mouth violently kept breathing in while his entire body was held within the grip of death.
That is what the artisan saw when he cast his eyes down toward the business he was attending to. That is, he saw what he had printed on the pages which he had been so handsomely paid for with Hungarian gold coins - happening to his own person.
He had seen himself being impaled by Dracula, on a silver stake that entered his body through the same place as did the little silver tube, only that the tube had increased first
ten times, then twenty times and finally thirty times in size and it had torn through his entire body ripping through all his organs on its way up to his throat from whence it finally emerged. It was then that he screamed with terror and was reminded of yet another detail he had retained while printing the tales. Namely, that after the tyrant Dracula would have you pierced through by a pike he had had erected alongside
a forest of other pikes on which dying men breathed their last breath, he would come up to you and thrust the fire of his satanic glance into your eyes watching all that was occurring inside, watching how you were slowly and painfully perishing. The Voivode would see in the eyes of the dying victims all the miracles the human soul experiences when it is on the brink of death.
Horrified and wishing to convince himself that what was stuck into one part of him was only the little silver tube and not a silver stake running through the entire length of his body, the printer raised his eyes to convince himself that he was under the ceiling of his lavatory and not under the scrutiny of the hellish eyes of the Voivode.
It was then that Heinz Szacsz screamed again. It was a choked scream that echoed and reechoed in the air. But it
was not heard by anybody of the household, nor was it heard by the apprentices, nor by the traders who sold him paper, nor by the sparse customers of his printery, nor by the engravers who inlaid the flowery letters in his books. It was when
he beheld overhead the head of Dracula whose glittering eyes were all afire. It was not his imagination because he heard him say in his level, smooth-tongued voice devoid of vengeance or anger that so made his blood run cold:
"Well, Heinz Szacsz, do not wonder at the fart that I can impale you on a silver stake; I used to have some of my submissive foes impaled on gold stakes, too!"
Scanning the face that was not awe-inspiring, but rather attractive in its ugliness, with features some of which
were quite beautiful, the artizan expressed a thought which one usually does not dare do to a living creature:
"The rumor goes that you are no longer alive. Even the nobles at King Mathias' court assured me that you..."
"Well, here I am! You can touch me and see for yourself that I'm neither dead nor a ghost, but a true human being. And that I am here in your lavatory at the back of your dwelling on the street housing the new guilds of Nurenberg. If you want I can even use your lavatory as you yourself cannot since..."
"Since you laid me under your curse!..." Complained the wretched craftsman who did not dare make any movement and had thus remained in his initial position with the little silver tube sticking into his body. Standing in this position he covetously watched his alien guest who pushed him aside and without the assistance of any tube lavishly discharged his urine into his latrine.
After that, he merrily arranged the tails of his princely garment and then turning toward Heinz Szacsz he specified in his commanding voice:
"It is not the curse I have laid you under, but the punishment I have inflicted on you, my dear friend!„ , Curses can be called down upon you regardless of the place where the wronged one may be. The wronged one may, for that matter, be dead and still you remain under his curse! Whereas a punishment is inflicted upon you by a master, whose will-power is free to call for the punishment of any one who has injured him „ , Do you get my point?"
"Yes, I do," said the printer cringing to Dracula as low as the position of his hands allowed him to, Then it seemed to him that the seat, the usual seat with a hole at the middle which covers the upper part of a latrine, had turned into a throne before which he, the humble artizan, must needs bow and accept the punishment inflicted on him „ , "Yes, I understood from the first when you told me you would not hand me over to any blood-thirsty creatures who would suck the blood out of my veins, and that you would not have me pierced through by a stake, but rather that you in your merciful kindness have decided to punish me with but the impotence
of my bladder which.„ ," on uttering these words the printer no longer able to contain himself burst into tears which began running from his tormented blue eyes down along his pink cheeks and through the fair tufts of hair of his mustache and beard, "Which has made of me a most wretched man, Your Highness!"
He went down on his knees in submission and the silver tube Striking against the floor pricked him violently causing him to groan with pain. Then, to his surprise and contentment something which is the wish of all wrongdoers happened to him, he felt how his bowed head was lifted upward by a powerful hand whose fingers almost caressed his cheeks, When he raised his head his eyes encountered that most unusual face which blended ugliness and beauty into a harmonious whole. It was a face with beautiful maiden-like, long-lashed eyes, the shape of almonds which had
in them a flicker of dreaminess, but which were over-shadowed by the fierce eye-brows of a criminal.His lips were full and alluring and his moustache was imposing, but they ran counter to his threatening chin, which was wolfish in its outline.
His forehead was high and noble and his acquiline nose was full of will-power. The head was topped by thick black hair, so
thick and whirling that it resembled a mane of a;ure ox, rendering the head huge in size. So huge that it looked more like the head of some ferocious violent animal than that of a man. The head
was so large that the face beneath it was as if of tightly stretched parchment that allowed the skeleton-like bones of his countenance to show. It was a most noble, tormented visage, of a man who is ever beset by questions which he must needs find the answers to.
"You've printed lies about me, that's what you've done. It's true that you didn't write them, yet your printing them made possible their being spread throughout the world," he uttered in his cold, level, righteous and ruthless voice. "I was much crueler and I impaled a much greater number of people than
is written in your book; but I never once had old people killed, neither did I have the breasts of women cut off so that their babies might be drowned in the blood gushing out of the open wounds, neither did I ever have red-hot irons thrust between their thighs into the organ in which offspring is carried, that so any intercourse might be put an end to. As to my looking into the eyes of the dying traitors, it is true, I did do it. But I was probing the depths of their eyes to find a way, to find the way in which I should best rule over my country. As to my partaking of my feasts under the corpses of my impaled foes whose stench would draw the ravens in flocks, or that I would fill my goblet with the blood dripping fom the gashes and wounds of the corpses, when it is common knowledge that such blood is too foul for any living soul to be able to drink, they are the misrepresentations of my enemies, that is what they are !... Your trade is miraculous, my fellow. It is miraculous because it spreads news like quick fire throughout the entire world. Do your utmost and have its effect diminish go and wander till you find the books you have printed wherever they might be; go and find out the truth of my exploits and write a book about them yourself and above all find out the names of the people who made the payment in gold coins for you to print their wretched lies, in such manner that when I come to seek
you anew you will be in possession of their names and will be able to hand them over to me ! That's all I have to say. And for the meantime remember that I haven't inflicted any severer punishment on you !"
On uttering the words "That's all I have to say" Dracula struck the artisan over the hands that had remained holding the silver tube and vanished through the ceiling of the room. The printer's hands began to tremble so strongly that he could no longer perform the business he was attending to. Then a gushing force, which he only became aware of after some time, stemming from within him and pressing forth towards its exit by way of what comes natural to any man, but which for Heinz Szacsz, the printer living on the street of the new guilds of Nuremberg, was a true miracle. For Heînz Szacsz it was such a miracle
that on looking out of the window through which the fearsome
Dracula had made his entrance shortly before and on seeing the clear sky, he burst into tears at the thought that for more than three months he had been unable to urinate except while he was fast asleep in bed. And he suffered his bladder to discharge its contents to its last drop and his eyes to let its tears flow freely and gleefully and mingle with the hairs of his beard trimmed after the fashion of the painters of Nuremberg with whom he was linked through his trade.
And all along the liquids from his body kept gushing forth vehemently and vigorously splashing the seat and the walls of the lavatory and on rebounding, spraying the clothes, the hand and even the face of the printer craftsman who received the droplets of urine with the pleasure of a thirsty traveller who has at long last come upon a fountain. The force of the gushing liquid was so violent that what he had been holding previously with his hand had almost turned into a being in
its own right. It danced about and jerked like a hose under the impact of the spurting water shooting out a torrent which splashed everything with its jet and persevered in a manly frenzy till the lavatory was overflooded with wave upon wave of foamy liquid.
The apprentices who were learning the new trade of printing from Heinz Szacsz, say that when their mistress Margarethe summoned them to help her get her husband out of the lavatory they found him kneeling and splashing about in a pool of urine that reached up to his waist, like a baby in his bath-tub. And from time to time he would cup his hands and splash the top of his head with the mirific liquid as if officiating the rites
of baptism.
When he slept for five successive days in a tub made of oak staves, they bathed him with water and washing soda and rubbed him with soap boiled in wormwood but to no avail. Because the moment he woke up he would overturn the tub and spill all its contents on to the floor,then without resorting to the silver tube, he would discharge his urine into it till it reached the mark when he could bathe in it. It was useless for him to attempt to make his wife Margarethe see the reason for his great joy:
"But can't you see ?! before I would have to be fast asleep to be able to urinate; now I wake to do it! I am the same as all other men, I wake up, I ease myself of my need and then I go back to bed and fall sleep at once!"
And he would fall asleep and they would again bathe him in the water with washing soda and soap suds in it.
When he awoke on the sixth day, however, his face wore an expression of dutiful determination. He asked his wife, Margarethe, to get his best suit out of the wardrobe, for he wished to wear it on that day. She thought he wanted to put it on because it had been kept in the wordrobe and savoured beautifully of lavender and thus it could, to a certain extent, lessen the repellent uric smell of his body. He slipped on his suit as if he were under a spell, he kissed her good-bye and then he departed leaving her mistress over the printery with no one to run it, as printers were at that time very few in number, they being the first generation skilled in this new trade. In fact, only thirteen years had elapsed since the printer Gensfleisch, styled Gutenberg from Meinz, had become the partner of Fust and Puster with whom he had manufactured the first printing press in the world. Later Fust had become the partner of Schoeffer with whom he had opened the printing house where her Heinz had learned the trade of printing.
It was a trade which many people looked upon as being cursed and belonging to forces which generally subjugated man. If mistress Margarethe had not bent her ear to such rumours at the time she married Hemz, now she realized that they had not been mere old wives' tales. The more so that before her husband's unexpected departure another unusual incident had taken place: one of Heinz's most trusted apprentices, whom
he had dispatched to Budapest with a book he had just printed, had returned from his errand as fit as a fiddle and with the rest of the money owed to her husband and most rnysteriously
had committed suicide by sticking a pike into his heart, much the same as bats do when they kill themselves.
In consequence, Margarethe, with her heart in her mouth did hasten breathlessly, fact which caused her full breasts majestically propped upward by her bodice to swell and drop
at her every step, to the printery owned by Ambrozius, the Elder Huber, even though she knew that in his doting old age he was in the habit of slipping his hand under the skirts of any woman who so happened to come near him.
Huber, the Elder, had been the man who had offered the order to Heinz on the pretext that his printery was too busy at the time. Margarethe, however, had sensed the old fox's perfidy and realized that he had come up with the offer only to have a chance to slip his hand under her skirt while her husband was immersed in studying the conditions of the order.


2

Early in the winter of 1463, Nuremberg was a most prosperous city with countless profitable guilds and well-to-do burghers. Its senate was active in having solid stone streets and walls built all over the town, yet the nobility, which preserved
the eternal values of tradition, was beset by numberless worries, anxieties and most particularly evil incidents whose supernatural forces had an impact on the rank and file of the city.
Thus, on Christmas eve, from the highest tower of the former Emperor Sigismund's castle, emperor who had ruled at the time when Gutenberg was just launching his new printing craft, castle which in the last ten years had not induced any evident curse to be called down upon it, therefore, from the highest tower of the castle and from the other towers as well, there fell upon the city of Nuremberg a horde of bats. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of bats assailed the people in the streets attacking their throatsand poisoning them with their venom or scaring them out of their wits. And this came following upon another two incidents which the town had experienced shortly before. It so happened that the houses of the city had been flooded with filthy, foul water which emerging from the castle had come tearing down the streets bringing along with it pestilence and disease for the townsfolk. Then, on the day previous to Saint Stephen's Day, a huge flame burst out of the castle, or as some eye-witnesses held, had fallen upon the castle out of the heavens, setting fire to all the gun-powder stored inside and causing half of the castle to blow up thereby dispersing stones and boulders into the streets fact which brought about many casualities and damage to the houses.
All the people crossed themselves and remained awe-stricken except for Heinz, who among the younger printers of the town, cried out in his agitated sleep due to the circumstances already related: "I know who has done all this !..." But Margarethe, who at that time had several times witnessed her husband's habit
of passing water in bed'instead of putting their meaning to better use, deemed them to be yet another surfacing of his madness and took no notice of them at all.
Later some other signs appeared and they also came from the castle on the other bank of the river Pegnitz. One day all the grey-hounds of the castle, several hundred in number, broke down the fence of their enclosure and stormed into the city where they devoured many a child. Then, the hawks which had escaped from the castle when it exploded, banded into an itinerant flock in the nearby forest darkening the sun overhead and assaulting the surrounding villages where they would kill and plunder everything within reach: poultry, lambs, piglets and children in swaddling clothes. Rumour had it that the
city had not been under such a curse since the year one thousand four hundred and fifteen when Sigismund Luxemberg had been residing in his castle for four years as its master and as King over the whole of Germany and he had consented that John Huss be burned at the stake, and that after he had first assured
him he would be safe in his country. The torments of the saint's burning flesh, his soul, which the Catholic bishops from the Council of Constance had sought in vain to rid themselves of, had caused not only the Schism, the first Great Schîsm in the Western Catholic Church, but also had laid the castle, in which the deceitful Emperor chose to live, under devastating curses. Terrified at the faith which had been enhanced in the hearts of the followers by the burning to death of their leader, John Huss, who had not been a heretic but a visionary, Sigismund sought to redeem his sins by turning his castle into the headquarters of the last major order of knights, that of the Reversed Dragon. The order incorporated the effort of Europe
to rally all the noble knights so as to fight with their armies against the ever stronger and more menacing pagans who kept pushing the border of the Ottoman Empire farther and farther West. That it was a desperate gesture of his at old age, when the image of the saint he had deceived and betrayed haunted
his days and nights, that it was a military rationale which had been defeated by the greater might of the Turks, cannot be known to this day. '    Fact is that the Order of the Reversed Dragnn struck deep roots and laid down countless secret rules which were known to the initiated alone, while a whole host
of curses were called upon the castle with its many draw-bridges and the city that lay on the other side of the river Pegnitz. And Sigismund Luxemberg after ruling for fifty years, first
as King of Hungary and later as Emperor over the whole of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire died in time not to witness the curse of the fall of Constantinople.
It was therefore, right at the middle of that age of glory and grief that gave birth to the great changes occurring in Europe. Over a span of thirty years, which is the age of a generation, by being burned alive at the stake Jnhn Huss had ignited the flame of a modern faith, by inventing the printing press, Gutenberg had changed the bases of the all-powerful science of some people to fall fall apart,thus allowing thought to find other means of being spread. The knights of the order of the Reversed Dragnn had set new secret laws of military science and had found new unseen relationships for preserving their power, And the forces of Asia had shown their mission to contaminate Europe bringing about the fall of the Empire of Empires, the holder of the treasure of treasures of the wisdom of wisdoms, and the diplomatic policy of diplomatic policies, Byzantium, through the fall of the city of cities, Constantinople under the attack of the armies of Sultan Mohammed II.
And thus our characters, whose spirit has already begun to permeate the pages of this book all draw their origins from the major events of a century - the threshold of history. The printers, whose craft had started striking roots in the heart of the Continent, and had thus troubled the waters like any new-fangled invention which has not as yet clearly settled in the consciousness of men, would now bring the light of a wonder, then the anger of discontent, then the rebellion of certain forces which wished to thwart its progress, then even the devilish images whereby it could frighten the obscure souls. Because by possessing that occult or mirific force which was later to be likened to, let us say, the hearing of voices coming from great distances or in the future the reception
of signals arriving on earth from other worlds.
Then come the knights of the Great Order who had inherited the secrecy and the severe rules of the Freemasonry of crusade tradition which they had enriched with the gains of the century in point of secrecy, skill and weapons. Of the latter~we should mention the awe-inspiring cannon whose cannon-balls had already produced devastating effects and the decline of armor, brought about by the light-dressed Ottoman soldiers who moved so swiftly in battle, but most particularly by the need to devise ways and means of countering the enemy who would launch attacks with armies of hundreds of thousands of warriors.
Then follow the crowned heads, the grandeur of mid-century Europe, from the midst of which Louis XI alone was missing, he being at that time taken up with arranging his rather late marriage with Magraret of Scotland and with redressing the state of disarray which had resulted from his taking over his father's throne somewhat arbitrarily. Then there followed the famous Pope Pius II, the great Italian ecclesiastic whose literary name was Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, Mathias Corvinus, the renowned King of Hungary, Mohammed II, the Ottoman Sultan, the conqueror of Constantinople, King Casimir IV of Poland, Stephen the Great Ruling Prince of Moldavia and Vlad Dracula the ill-fated Voivode of Wallachia and the main character of
our book. Al1 these personages will succeed each other throughout this novel presented not only in the grandeur their sovereign positions entitle them to and due to which they have gone down in history, but also in their more intimate life with their idiosyncracies and foibles which are known to those who spent a part of their life with them, before they became the heroes
of historical, chronicles. In other words, at a time when their relationships were those of man to man and not those of monarch to monarch, and when their pursuits were both beautiful and passionate or meak and violent. Most particularly they will
be depicted in their confrontations at an age when they did not as yet hold their supreme positions.
A world of ties, ambitions, of the dependence of one man
upon another, but also of interests running counter to one another, the solution of which is pursued by devious, secret means, a
world of spine-tingling mysteries and attempts at probing the lower depths of existence where forces exceeding those of man are at work. A world permeated by the unknown and apprehension, whose beginnings lie here in this German city of ingenious artisans and meticulous artists, which lives under the predominance in conception and secrecy within the Holy Roman Empire of the Knights' Order of the Reversed Dragon: Nuremberg of the fifteenth century.
It is toward this city and borough beset by its obsessions that the thoughts and hopes of Vlad's damned soul are directed. If not somehow his very own being,about which it was said that it could separate from its body and haunt other places. Nothing of all this is certain, they could well be the superstitious rumours of those occult and fearful times that incited people to dark imag nings. But as to his hopes and thoughts we know that they were directed here when he was yelling Yelling and invoking Nuremberg, and the deeds that had been committed there, as he does in this his first letter which never reached Stephen:


SECOND CHAPTER

1

They all believe me to be dead,
With my head severed from my body, as it rightly befits my. mortal frame, and as I myself did honor the mortal frame of Dan who so exceedingly coveted my throne.
Nay, rather they believe me to have been impaled, as it does no way befit my mortal ,frame, though the stake be gilded as I used to have it gilded for many i:llustrious a foe. Ay, rather they all believe I have been impaled, as of old my provost marshals impaled some hundred thousand souls, and as I would erect a forest of stakes before my windows.
Or, maybe they believe I have been chopped into two halves like a tree-trunk, at the middle of the body where the peritoneum lies. Chopped just below the ribs, as the Turks are in the
habit of doing in order to allow life to continue in the half of your trunk with the head, where the heart still beats and the lungs still breathe while you yourself see how you are dying, how you are dying before you have actually died, that is the half of your body with the legs, loins, stomach and bowels. You see it wriggling, you feel its excruciating pain, you kick about with your legs which no longer.belong to your body. You see how with jerks and twitches they come to freeze and it is only then that your sight blurs with the unbearable pain and you finally freeze too. That is you, the half of you which thinks and sees! „ .
Well, however they might imagine my death, they all believe me to have perished. Even you, Stephen, you who know how much I value, the living I, how much I value as a man, as a friend,
as a brother and as a mind alongside your own mind! You believe me to be dead, as your priests do pray for me when they issue forth with the holy sacrament to hold the princely divine services.
Mathias alone knows I am alive, only he.
For he granted me my life. He took pity on me and spared me my life; he the chit who used to trip over our legs at his father's court and used to cry on our refusal to play children's games with him.
Nay, it was not he who spared my life!... I ejaculated at the top of my voice at him l... I shouted, do you hear, as loudly as I do cry out and stir the very echoes of this putrid dungeon now, and as I do cause the walls to shake and the very heart of the
rocks and mould herein to shudder, if, indeed: heart at all they have. For I am peerless, and there is no creature on earth who was not appaled by the flash in my eyes and the thunder in my voice.
Thus did I ejaculate at him; I yelled at the top of my lungs that the whole of Alba Iulia quaked to its very foundations
where the bones of my forebears, and the forebears of our forebears lie !...
I shouted : "Mathias !..."
And the walls of the cathedral shook, the cathedral under the tombstones of which reposes his S: father, the last valiant Romanian Voivode of Transylvania.
"Mathias !" ejaculated I, "Mathias, think of your flesh-andblood brother, Ladislaw, name which means Vlad in Romanian,the -language of your father !... As the aforenamed was not forgiven by the nobles of Buda for having risen above them, neither did
  they pardon Ladislaw for being both your father's and Transylvania's son, and they wouldn't have forgiven you either had you not
fled with your uncle."
Mathias looked hard at me. He is twenty; that is, now he is - if I have not lost count of the days and months - twenty-two going on twenty-three, But at that time he was only twenty and his rather uncomely visage was under the burden of a crown which not all as yet wished to recognize as his, and he labored under the thought that he would curry favour with them by shedding my blood,
"Mathias !.,." I howled so loudly that the heavy clappers of the bells above the tombstones of his father, and also his uncle - John the Younger - began to swing, "Mathias, recall, now while you are still on Romanian soil, how they beheaded Ladislaw in the square of Buda with four strokes which failed to sever the head from the body, for they had purposely left the executioner's axe blunt : so as to deal more cruel and pertinatious biowsi Mathias, it's impossible that you cannot hear, when you stand by the stone under which not only your father, but also those who built
our country have been lying for centuries, it's impossible that you should not-hear the four successive strokes, the one more cruel than the other, with which the executioner failed to cut off the head of your brother from the body which had fought alongside your father !. „ "
Thus did I shout at him, And I searched his youthful fâce, still that of a chubby child, and his eyes disquieted by the business of royal power, I looked him straight in the eyes, for I was not afraid of death, and it was not to defend mysel,f from death that I had cried out.
Ihad yelled out      ,   .because for long .had I craved    to ejaculate ate at him, for long had I felt the burning need to cry out at him,
`I had to shout at him there, on Rpmanian soil, at Mathias who had  
come to be the great and celebrated king of Buda, So that he might !better understand what his father had come to understand in the last years of his  
life, That, in case he had not known it all along, So that he might understand what we    -know,-&tephen;beeatTSe we were present,by your.-father's side,  
I yell, as I would have yelled if I had been impaled. For I have seen thousands of people, both cowardly and brave, impaled and wriggling on the stake so as to have their entrails pierced through and thereby enhance their pain that they might the quicker die, Nay, I wouldn't have followed suit, nay; I had
long reflected upon it : I would have used all the might and breath I still possessed to cry out to him, For him to learn, to know what his courtiers held in store for him ; what had been in store for his father, and your father, and myself !... Treason!... Yes, treason !...
However, this word doesn't embrace all. Since, in order to
be betrayed, you must first have been loved. Whereas, they do but hate us ; from the very start they hate and play false with us !... It is the treachery of the bird that watches with preying eyes !... Even when I used to have them impaled, and they felt death unseaming them, from bottom to top, nothing but treason could be observed in their eyes !,..
Th at is the reason why I ejaculate !... I yell from here from Vishegrad, that it may be heard over in Buda, and I only quiet down when I catch a bat and impale it in the spikes of the bolted door !... I impale it as if it were one of my boyars, spitting treason out through his eyes.
Otherwise, I cry out that it might be known that I am alive for I am determined that, as long as I live, I will shout out aloud what I must needs say.

2

I have words to cry out at you, Stephen. Particularly at you. For you were the closest brother of my heart. And for me you are that even now. You still are for me !... I no longer am that for you, since you do not know I am still alive, and you have,had your Fathers Superior offer up prayers for the atonement of my sins during your services for the dead.
Even before that, you had ceased to look upon me as your brother, Stephen !... And you did betray me, Stephen !...
Alas, I, who now in this vault have reckoned up the names of all those whose souls I had had divorced from their mortal frames, and grow enraged for not having always overcome those of my foes who deserved but to be examples for rousing the fear of all my other foes. I, who whilst preparing to avenge myself am beset by nightmares in which I have quarrel with God Almighty for having moulded our bodies so weak and easy prey for slaying, I, who wish to live not for the sake of this accursed life but for the purpose of taking avenge, of having all those impaled whom I should have had impaled formerly, and, indeed wrong was I not to have done so. I,your friend,who in the past men did call but Dracula or Draculea and who, since those Saxon scribes did print that libellus famosus on six pages, entitled "The Wonderful and Appalling History of a Great Tyrant Styled Prince Devil" - they have taken to styling me The Impaler. "The Impaler", I, I, who were I but close to your lovable soul of a Moldavian child, close to your conciliatory tone of voice, I would relent, and any thought whatsoever of vengeance would most assuredly vanish
from my heat-oppressed~.~rain.
And it was you of all eople, Stephen, who filled my chalice wuith noison !
Shall I launch a brutal, gory revenge on those who betrayed me, on those who libelled me, against those who by means of deceit did actually sell me (as I previously did with much less cause in the first year of my reign), or shall I resume founding what I still have to found and resume reinforcing what I still have to reinforce in my country ?!... I most fear lest my thirst for    ` vengeance get the better of me, I most fear it be thus! For a volcano of rancour rankles in me and it convulses and haunts
me, and it will continue to harass me, till I have sat down
to feast , in the midst of my forest of sharpened stakes, and I have revelled before the corpses of my enemies and, while partaking of a joint of deer roasted in wine and spice gravy and I have raised my goblet to the birds of prey carousing above my head
on the flesh of my foes. I do most fear!
I fear the thirst for gore promoted by this fetid cellar in which they have imprisoned me; I fear the craving I have
to hear the groans of the dying men pierced through by the stakes, craving begotten by the creeping silence of these chilly subterranean caverns !...
O, Stephen, why did you raise your army of kindred blood with mine and lead it to Chilia. Why ?!...
That did indeed smite me, that did indeed make me stagger!... And you know that once you begin to stagger, you begin to fall. Yes, I who had hunted down and awed the biggest army the Sultan had ever raised , I in honor of whose victory the bells did ring in Rhodos and Venice, I, who was confident, like my grandfather Mircea, that I could defeat an army twenty times bigger than mine, on the soil of my country, I who played havoc among two hundered thousand Turks who had come, array upon array, carrying sceptres and fluttering banners, headed by the descendant of the Prophet, did stagger only when assailed by the archers you led at Chilia. For what could not be undone by the enemy hosts was rendered thus by the grief begot by friends.
Yes, I staggered, and never was I to recover again. I lost my country whereby fain would i have proved that my sharpened stakes did, decidedly, serve a purpose. And if I had preserved my country and had exhibited it to the world the way I had commenced, then the pamphlet, disbursed by those Saxons to be printed at Nurnberg, would have signified nothing.
Yes, Stephen, I most fear that were I to escape from here, my rancour would overcome my reason, and instead of performing what it behoves us to perform on this earth, I should hasten forth my horses and armies to destroy all my slanderers !... I fear rage is taking possession of me while the warders sensing it too, do laugh awry whilst uncovering their black teeth. They are deaf warders, hired thus by Mathias purposely not to listen to what
I say regarding himself and his treason.

3
“I have been fierce, and I have learned and forced myself to be just as fierce all my life because the evil that overwhelmed me from the outside had no mercy at all, no trouble; and I cut, and impaled, always looking for the roots of this evil. But here it is: it is I, this one, that I don t believe I would have had the strength to touch you with a flower, had I caught you there, in front of Chilia!
Nevertheless, when I heard you attacked me, I forgot all about the need to fight the Turks, I left all that threatened my country and, blinded by the hurt that you were hurting me in Chilia, I went there in a hurry, to get my revenge! Blinded, crazy with the torture you had lit inside my soul. I left the fight with Mohamed, I left my country to my nobles, I made up a whole mind, and one I would not have done in that moment.
But the attack you had launched in my soul had been too great, and my thirst for revenge was too great, to even think at something else. And do you know why this happened? As long as you were by my side, you had me as your brother, but did not learn from me. Your mind was not set to learn those secret waves I had learned at that Asian crossroads, where the sultan had exiled me and I knew all the magic of Orient.
You see, with others, even with the butcher I had at my command, I can speak by sitting here, in prison, as he is in another town or even in another country. As he is at my command, he learned all he had to from me, in order to be a good medium. With other people, even foreigners, but having learned to be submitted to someone like me, I can communicate over mountains and seas, or I can even show myself to them, telling them what they should do. Furthermore, I know how to communicate to enemies who fear me, and think fear to my revenge. I can storm over these ones in thousand places at once, I can scare them and make them run away, just as more than once, the soldiers of Mahomet’s camps had their sleep troubled and I made them run away – only with my spirit showing itself to them, making them tremble and cry out:  “Kaziklî, Kaziklî Şeitan – there comes Devil the impeller, he will impale us!”…
But as you were my playmate and always had an independent sense, you cannot connect to the waves my power sends over spaces and you cannot imagine how sorry I am for that!… for I have tried so many times! I have tried to call for your help, I tried to tell you my joys, I tried to argue with you. All for nothing! We resemble too much and we are too closely made up to be able to melt in one another, becoming strong over the worlds that separate us. How I yelled at you and I threatened, as I found out you were pushing the Tatars away – not to protect my Chilia, but to take it for yourself! But you could not hear me, and that made me even angrier!
If anyone could impale me, I, who raised forests of impaled, that was you, Stephen, you, with your independent sense! You did not put the pale in the stomach, to take it out in the back of my neck, and for all to see how I struggle in it, you stuck it right into my heart, thin and unseen.
How is it that my thoughts, for which I have the skills to force me out, to gather inside me and then throw them in far away, wherever I want, do not resound in you? Your mind is too secure on its thoughts, your will is too tensed on its pleasures; we are both of stone and sparkle without being able to connect. And you should not fear, but only love me.
I have noticed; I have noticed that my thought can get where the other one’s mind is softer, made of something else, or has got a certain fear of me, just as a flame which is forever awake, towards which my thought can go directly. I believe so. I mean, I believe this when I want to get used to the thought I cannot communicate with you anymore. But my conscience won’t let me, because I don’t like to be defeated on any side, so I will torture my soul and these enflamed powers of my brain, and I will discover the trick, be it in me or in you; it is the trick I can handle to get to you, and you will answer to me in the sweet Moldavian word.
For you are the only one, oh, brother Stephen, the only one who knows I have not killed for the sake of killing, but only to end what is evil! You do know that, but I am dead to you and I feel how you shed a tear when your priest, who anointed you in the place called Justice, asks for forgiveness to my sins. So I lie here above the Danube, while my name walks through the world, on the six printed pages in Nürenberg.
During all day, my shame comes before me and shame has covered me up, so that I really became the mockery of my former neighbors, and fear for others stories. The ones who saw me some day have run away from my memory, and the ones who hated me raised their heads and are now happy for my misery. Some people like these ones have raised their hands above me and humiliated me, doing me harm and thinking they put a rock of shame on me, on my dead body and on the memory of my soul. And I lie here, condemned to be forgotten; to forget me, the one I have been, and I have no brother nor relative, nor friend, and I am alone, alone in my grieves and hurts, unattended by these complaints

SIXTH CHAPTER

It is not known whether the whole synod of the knights had heard all these lamentations while going through the documents, trying to verify their authenticity, and searching the papers and the cheater who tried so hardly to seem good. It is not known – but they rather didn’t hear, than actually heard. But the butcher, which did not prove to be such a cheater, as he appeared, put the documents in front of their eyes. He had heard or had these lamentations in his ears. His expression was not cajolingly addressed to the knights, but floated with delight, because he had heard the voice of his prince, or remembered the voice of his prince, or caught the feelings of his prince from the air, or felt him closely and crying because he could not hear him, without being able to say anything.
“I have brought here on the table all my heart knows, to your highnesses. What is written, and what is only written here, in my mind. But they are all true, all of them. Written or not yet written, set on papers or waiting to be set on papers, I have put them all just as they were, because I hear them from my prince, I can hear his lamentations and I suffer so much, for I cannot answer him and cannot send him a comforting word. But I have inscribed them in my mind and I have learned them all, especially the ones that Stephen must hear. Because Stephen does not hear my prince, and my prince vainly cries to him. They are all set here, with clean heart. Your greatnesses, read them, listen to them, and you will understand”
“Fine”, the great judge stopped him from the lamentations that, also belonging to the prince, had now an own one. “We will study them and see all there is in good faith. Now you will show us what you say your prince has taught you”.
But the butcher did not give up:
“Your highnesses, I hear all these lamentations coming from my prince! I can hear them and I recognize his voice all too well, and I suffer so much that I cannot answer him and I cannot lead these lamentations towards Stephen, whom they are addressed to”
“We understood it, we heard you, and we believed you. But in order to believe you completely, you have to show us what you know and not what you can tell!”
“I understood, your highnesses” he said, and raised, pushed by the knights pulling him out with them, and turning towards the tower. “But you should know that ether brings me closer to my prince, and my heart hurts when I feel him, without being able to speak to him; you have to do something to raise the curse on the printer, burning all the papers and attracting our prince in a clean place!”
“We will do that, if you prove us you will too”
“I will; we go up in the tower and I prove you just as I proved it to the honorable knight. I will darken the sky of Nürenberg with the flight of the bats and I will scare everybody. But be careful: even your highness’s soldiers will be frightened. Do you want that, great judge?”
“I do”, ordered the judge. “If they are soldiers, they have to be put to trial!”
“As you please!”
“I please so: show us what you can do. Do not mind the city or the soldiers”, ordered the judge. “You pay attention not to cheat our trust. You show us what you know! Come on, get up in the tower and show us!”



2

A group of knights with green mantles, on which the sign of the reversed dragon under the cross was applied with a cloth of the color of the boiled crab, was coming down on the stone road, casting out from the castle set like a crown on the top of the hill. It was the old road, Konrad’s the 2nd, the one who had built the castle and the first one in his family who had come to the throne of the Holly Empire. It was a road enlarged afterwards by another Hohenstaufen, which had been known to the glory of humanity under the name of Frederich Barbarosa.
The castle was a senior one, its Pentagon tower prolonged the courageous line of the hills towards the sky, and led their way, just as it had led it for tens and hundreds of times along the centuries, to the armies of crusaders which has set off there armed with faith in the Catholic cross and their right to conquer the sacred places.
There were entire armies in that glorious era, and not a common group, like the ones nowadays. There were armies setting against the aggressive antichrist and not against a printed-paper, which you can scramble with one hand.
But just as any mission given by the order is a sacred one, and they had set off to accomplish it, the knights had the same audacious expression, and their mantles floated in the wind with the same significance of duty to sacrifice, and harsh punishment for all there is against the Holly Empire and the Catholic faith.
In the valley, finding some place between the two hills the city rose upon, the Pegnitz river extended in rebellious arms which continued in sudden angles, as if wanting to tear themselves apart from the main course and come back to the source when one less expected. Like them, the guards of the city made the strangest curves while getting up on the hills, as if tearing apart and melting down again at every curve.
Because of these turns, sometimes smooth, some other times sudden, the light coming out of the windows – the numerous windows, on whose connection with the roofs appears the city seen from above – reflected the winter sunlight all over the place. It was a sun with thousand more sparkles, coming from the snow and the windows themselves, turned around according to the curves of the streets, just as if on purpose oriented in all parts, to create that aura of reflections which gave the blaze to the city of Nürenberg. There was an imperial sparkle, under the frozen blue clarity of the winter sky, jabbed by the arrows of the city’s churches: St. Sebold, St. Lawrence, St. Maurice, Frauenkirche and other more, jabbing with the stone lacer the heights above, from over the bourgeois roofs with many eyelets.
Grey streets in smooth backfall, red roofs in great backfall houses jabbed with no order on the two hills, eyelets jabbed unordered on the abrupt roofs, and the river with incoherent arms in the middle, breathing a golden smog which dusted everything with a good-news light.
That was just about the panorama of the city, caught from up above the curved road, on the hill crowned with the loophole of the castle. Two angels were missing, to keep the herald sign in the middle of the cold light of the sky above, and all would have been just as in the gravures where the masters of fine chisel who lived on that street, with houses not so big, but noble jobs, set up their city – the great commercial knot between the Orient and Occident, the German store for Italian and Levantine merchandise for the Occident, and the English and Dutch ones for the Orient.
That was because everyone lived right that era of bourgeois flowering, the times of the great change in manufacture, change between the countries and areas of the world, with big boats floating on the mazy waters of Europe and having the bank frames at the base of every city.
But as Nürenberg was the city of all cities, it had the greatest frame, the most stirs, at the bank of the moderate river Pegnitz, enlarged by the hands of the German builders with a channel through which the world’s navigation got to the mountainous middle of what was called Mitteleuropa – every time proudlier.
Under this beautiful aura was that the group of knights advanced in solemnity. The snuffle of the rested horses gave a boiling and a majestic feeling of power to their walk, so that they seemed to be once more the knights who had brought the glory to this city, opening it, with their walk, to all commercial routes, and making it the center of the continent.
There they were again, the strong ones, and not the unequipped army from nowadays, a poor army which Marc the count took tributes, every time hardlier for, from the avaricious merchants and masters. It was because as much as they won and gained power, they became evil and despised the noblemen every time more in the open.
The proof was now, at a turning point, in the middle of the road, when there came a strange group. It was made up of a knight with a great denim hat and a Dutch beard, who advanced with pride in his saddle, put on a beautiful ashen horse, in front of his suite made of tow mules, among which only one was ridden by a servant, and the other came along carrying luggage. The pride man looked at the servants of the order, but did not get back, expecting them to turn around from him. He waited for them with the same pride, won his horse, on whose blankets there were embroidered the huge signs of the knights, but without being so, and definitely presenting only some tools and the initials of his bourgeois name.
“They have actually made signs out of the marks of the brotherhoods”, the knight said in despite from where he was, when they turned around.
Only that the knights did not get to jump up to the trot of another turn; it was then that their serene day darkened all of a sudden, and a black sizzle boiled and covered the sky under which they traveled
“The demons”, the knights yelled, with their hands hesitating between the swords and the sign of the cross. And they forced themselves to keep up the boiling of the horses by covering their eyes with their green mantels, until the cloud of bats calmed down, going straight to the city in front of them.
It slipped like a stream between the houses, getting down in terror over the streets, hitting the windows and catching the clothes of the passers with their claws. It was the flock of bats which scared again the curses, and those who could not know that up there in the castle, a strange character, carrying a wide bone instead of fore tooth, whistled and laughed, and showed the judges from the order’s council what force he had, to lead the will of another being, setting the flock of that grouse beings over the city. Wrapped up in their green mantles, the judges stood up there on the crenels of the Pentagon Tower, where the panorama over the city had other angles, falling down suddenly, from up above. They followed how, at some orders and whistles of the butcher, whose eyes kept something evil inside, the cloud of bats flew as never before during the day, grew bigger and set to the left and right, up and down, just as a good commanded army, just as it received the orders.
“Now they will set themselves over the poor bourgeois from down there!” someone said, realizing the horror they could produce. “They will believe that the curses have returned, the curse  of the 50th anniversary, when we put fire on the heretic”
But the chief of works was actually happy to see all that and said, with his theatrical voice:
“Let them fear and cry! We can barely get a penny out of them, for the interests of our holly order!”
And with the feeling of a satisfaction, he reversed his gratitude over the head of the butcher, the one shaved and with the triangular pile of hair.
“It is good, my man; we have been told of this science of yours, but now we have seen it with our own eyes. If you say that your prince, who is connected to our order, also possesses more powers of this kind, then we will do our best to save him! Stay here and do all you said you would do”
At this point, through the winds where the Pentagon Tower rises, everyone heard a short and explosive exclamation of satisfaction:
“There you go!… there you go, your highness!”
But it did not came from the throat with big muscles of the butcher, as he floated as in a fascinating dream, looking at the heights where the voice of a satisfied stentor came:
“There you go, there you go, great judge of my father’s order!”
“Your have made my prince happy!” Only then the butcher said it with his own voice, taking the hand of the chief of works and kissing it with a juicy gratitude, while the echoes could still be heard:
“Great judge of my father’s order…”
“It’s his voice, it’s the voice of my prince, coming all the way from there, from the Danube bank, at Vişegrad!”, the butcher said happily, making some rolls with his thick fingers, as if he tried to catch on that voice, to pull it to him, to take it to his chest and not loose it.
And truthfully, it seemed that the last time the voice was heard came right from his chest:
“My father’s odere…!”
But it was not only from his chest. Near him, near his short and thick being, with all the importance he had and the importance he gave himself, the knight wanted to prove himself lucid, even tough he seemed just as possessed now. On another tone of voice, with another intensity, with another type or echo, his lips also said the first words heard as coming with that strong stentor voice, from the floods of the sky:
“Yes, your highness!”
It was a sure thing. He was caught up with something, impressed with something, encouraged by something. And he held his hand on the huge shoulder of the butcher, not only as if to gain support from him, or as if proving himself to be proud of his discovery of his hidden talents. Even more, as in a brotherhood from which he also received flood for his ambitions, as a thrill which passed through them both when out of the untouchable ether of the winter that voice formed itself in, the voice that came vibrating from over the skies. And he thought this demonstration as a triumph of his own person:
“There you go, your highness, there you go!… all who don’t care about the interests of the order, all who got nuts with principles and no longer see the cause!… there: I feel him close now, that far away prince, and I realize how he leaves us. Yes, great judge, he retires from the ones who don’t pay him the due respect! He exclaimed, pushing his impulsive beard right to the great prosecutor of the order. And in his stubbornness, as it usually happens with the perseverant idiots, he found the capacity to demonstrate:
“Is it still to doubt that prince Dracula belongs to our order –  or not?!… and asking for the confirmation of the butcher, he also said: honest knights, say your word quickly. The noble prince-knight has just been among us, with the presence of his voice and all that his person sent us; and now, sensing our hesitation, he got further away. He is no longer among us and we cannot make him speak anymore. Why upset him, as long as he…”
“Yes, your highnesses”, the butcher jumped up all of a sudden, when he heard the other one. “I often come into contact with my prince, but I have never felt him closer and more present as before. He has the great science to communicate over the seas and you must not misjudge it. It is a new science that people will acquire later than this century. I would advise you to be more careful. Look, I feel him now, I can feel he is upset and retires himself”
“There cannot be any sign of a doubt, prince Dracula fully belongs to our order!” the knight yelled along, as if threatening the master judge, but also demonstrating he wanted to underline himself in front of the unseen, feeling prince Dracula among them, who had paid them the honor to show himself on the sky from above the Pentagon Tower. And he finished, as if he had the right to decide: “there is no more doubt!”
“He has never been received, nor initiated!”, the great prosecutor spread his venom, with his old dogmatic stubbornness he contradicted his rival.
But just as usual in front of a new generation, which wants to take by force the power you remain attached to, he only gave him an extra chance, an extra chance for the knight who was much more aggressive than intelligent.
The younger but yet not so young knight rolled his chin which gave him the intransigent air to hide the careerism, whose middle age made him force the facts, knowing that is was now or never, and said fiercely:
“The order, above all! Even if prince Dracula, who paid us attention and visited us…”
“Rare thing, your highnesses”, the butcher interrupted him, still happy about hearing the voice of his prince.  “I usually do not make contact with the prince; if he chooses to, he addresses me through a medium; like the printer. Our secret science allows more transmitting the thoughts, but not the voice! This means that there, in his prison, the prince worked and tried out and there he goes, he managed to send his own voice up to here”.
“But now why did he retire it, why can’t we hear it anymore?” the evil prosecutor asked, as if he had taken off the mask on both of them.
“Does your highness know how much energy one needs to send a sole sound?… do you know what kind of an effort one has to make, and what kind of power one has to concentrate near you, along with other powers of the world, unknown and unseen powers to common people?”
“Yes”, the knight jumped up encouraged. “I am speaking just about these powers and there are these powers that we have to bring in as a weapon to our order which… which has got old”, he encouraged himself in the end to call it by its name. “Even if prince Dracula would not want it, he should still belong to us. We have to attract him to our order, where his roots are! The secrets of his science have been now seen; but I am telling you more than that, because serving the order, I studied his actions: a prince who, stands to armies of hundred thousands with ten thousand men, has some secrets which…”
“Yes, your highnesses, he does!”
The words belonged to the butcher as well, who now knew all too well what kind of chances he had from the vehemence of the knight.
But it was just then, after rightly calculating his game to show himself preoccupied only in the interests of the order, more than all the other, concerned not in making him justice, but in fiercely showing off his own merits in front of the high synod, which could promote him, concerned with the glory he would gain, the knight ordered him:
“If he has such merits, you show them to the masters immediately!”
Even if his eyes had got a fanatic sight in his drought to power which he could no longer hide – that drought to power which sometimes jumps up in front of some armies, not necessarily the most learned and intelligent people, but the ones who can express this drought more fanatically – the butcher who had seen so many fanatic heads rolling in their pleasures, was not impressed. He thus answered modestly and persuaded:
“Only my prince can give them to you, and I can make your contact him; this I can do: look for him, for you, wherever he might be, and bring him thus to you, or to send your greatnesses to him”
“No, not us”, feared the prosecutor himself. “You either bring him here, or you send the printer, just as you promised!”
“Your greatnesses have already seen, it is hard for him to stay. He can make a sign, just like a trumpet sound, or a call; but no more. There are great energies, which have to be concentrated in the unseen streams of the world, and this exhausts him; and I do not want to exhaust my prince”
“And then you want to exhaust us?”
“You have guessed, your greatness; allow me to watch you closer, there must be a medium among your highnesses…” the butcher said, with his wrong eyes, too eager to do such a thing, so that the entire synod stepped back from his thick being, dressed up in the gabardine of furs, too long to have been his from the beginning.
“No, no, never mind”, the judge said, calmly. “Do it with the printer, just as you promised. You said that he is the machine you can put us through to your prince”
“More or less”, the butcher said in despite. It is a machine, yet not of the best. “The best are those whose heads I can put on the chunk, to take their whole energy. I need a little blood, your greatnesses”, he smirked, “so that I can acquire my powers, too! Give me a convicted to send to the other world, make me feel the smell of blood, because I… but I am ashamed to tell you I need so much blood…” facing the careful looks of the great judge, more intelligent than they seemed, in the drowse from the council hall, the butcher felt the weakness of a babble, as he were in front of someone he could not bargain with.
The old man had a senior meditation in his entire behavior, telling him with no order, but proving himself to pay attention to all, much more than he seemed to:
“Do it just as you said you would; and we will pay you our attention”.
“I will, your highness”, the butcher said, proving himself to be submitted in front of the great seniors. “I will do it right with this miserable man, even if I drain him all out. Because he has a wrong mechanism there inside, where I tickle the communication, trying to put him in contact with our prince; he has a stupid thought for his fat Margaret and when I try to take him higher, to send him far away to the Danube, he falls like an idiot near the one he longs for… forgive my words, your highnesses”, he said, “when realizing the shock the knights proved, regarding his language – but I wanted to explain clearly, because I am no learned man and I cannot do it with fine words. I am an… ignorantus!”, he searched for a precious word, through which he could get rid of the shame of the others.
“Good, good”, the great judge accepted with sweet understanding. “Do it as you know; but do it already!”
He wrapped his short body in the caftan with expensive furs, inherited from who knows which noble face he had put his hands on, with the rich collar only not covering the pile of triangular hair. The butcher felt its caress like a dog, and cherished the big cross, bigger than others’, pushing on an even bigger reversed dragon, which wrapped the chest of the master of works.  And then admitted in a sad impotence:
“This idiot longs for Margaret, and fears my prince!”
“Is he scared, or is it you, who don’t have the force to send him, the force your boasted about?” came the evil and threatening question of the prosecutor who straightened himself up there, in the wind which agitated the mantels of the judges, up above, on the crenels of the Pentagon Tower.
“I didn’t lie to you”, the man with short legs said stubbornly, as if crashing the bone in his mouth. “But your greatnesses, first we have to free the printer of the curse! My prince has threatened and asked him to burn his prints. When he sees them burnt out, he will feel free and will have the courage to head towards the prince. And do not forget that it is still then that he promised my prince to visit him. The stream will be doubled, from both ways; and the meeting will be made easily!… yes, your highness, do you understand?” he asked for understanding to the great judge.
“I do”, the chief of works agreed with joy, with a great light of interest in the eyes, other than his usually gravity. And he decided, making a gesture to banish all that was not convenient to all those forced to show themselves submitted, especially to the prosecutor and his rival. “You will come and talk to me about this. I have also dealt with such forces as yours, when I was fighting in the Orient. You will speak to me!”
“I will; it is a great honor!”, the man said, scratching his pile with his awful fingers. “But if I cannot anoint myself with the blood of a convicted, I am just as an unused tool, and I corrode here, your highness!”
“Your corrode? Why? You said you would do something! Do it!”
“I will”, he said directly. “But it needs time. And this time corrodes me. If I don’t do my job and don’t anoint myself with blood, I loose my forces”.
“Your job?”
“Yes, your highness, have I not told you I am a butcher? And one of the best!”
“And what do you want?”
Sensing communication with the old judge, feeling that the question sounded like a beginning of an agreement, the butcher bowed with respect:
“This is it, your highness, you have understood me! Give me someone to execute: to hang, to impale, to burn, to cut, anything! The time to wait is long, and I cannot corrode. I need to look into their eyes and read there, what I read from my prince”.
“What did you learn?”
The younger knight proved himself vigilant, hoping to catch something.
But the butcher passed over his question, like it was coming from an ignorant, speaking to the old man:
“Your highness, if you searched the mysteries of the Orient, you know all too well that what I learned is not to be said. We only say what everybody says: it is only an energy I need to get out from other people, in those moments. That is why I am said to be the kindest butcher: I pay them back afterwards, and I kill them slowly… really, your highness, don’t let me corrode: may the Nürenberg city be great, but I am persuaded there is no butcher with my skills!”
“Okay, okay”, promised the old judge with generosity, wrapped in his green mantle.
The looks lacking all shyness, sure of them and authoritarian were this time lacking command and rather knowing, experienced and wise; they studied the fierce and strange being in front of them, mirroring in them a plan that kept gathering in his mind, mixed with perfidy and attention.
Then, below the platform of the Pentagon Tower, like a curse with thousand of claws, a flock of bats fell all of a sudden. Lost from the attention of the butcher’s will, who was thinking at something else, letting loose the bridle which got from his own impulses, the grouse night birds sent sleepwalking over the day had erred and come back.



3
The group of knights spread around; some got to the roads of Great Germany even before entering the city, others got passed its walls and crossed it from one gate to the other, each one according to his direction, like during the glorifying times when here was the heart, where gathered the will of great emperors, where its connected to the hanseatic north and the Italian south started. They also got to the sunset of the Franks, or the sunrise mastered from the Baltics to the Adriatic by the Teutonic knights through the Polish crown, the Hungarian Kingdom, the Severin Banat and the Dalmatian parts, which still confronted the Ottoman invasion.
But now, as the capital moved according to the elation of the emperor, through the elector princes, from here to there, in the castles of the great families which rose to the throne, it was the city of Nürenberg which, in this constitution of the electorate, had been proclaimed through the Golden bull from Charles the fourth, had been left off its noble characters, making place for enrichment of the merchants, whose brotherhoods pushed to an ignoble impolite power, in some kind of a council called  “Rat”, through which the money passed before getting to the noblemen power which so much needed it – as much as sometimes it really had to please the bourgeois.
The chief or works of the knights’ order of the reversed dragon lived his crepuscule above, in Konrad’s castle, Frederich Barbarosa’s, succeeding every time harder to gather all the masters from the council’s order. These ones saw the needs of the castles and those of their fields spread all over the empire, while down there, the two slums with wooden houses resided from year one thousand one hundred – one thousand one hundred strengthened and expanded with docks, places, bridges, channels and strong stone constructions. The merchants made stores of big businesses, raising their houses over these ones, in superior levels, building up floors with the unfinished rows of windows and closed balconies, mounted by the all-embracing roofs, composed of the backfall of red brick and the shining eyes of the dormer from the attic rooms.
Many of these houses, cornered prisms as if keeping themselves at distance to clearly mark their entire bourgeois property, pushed whole sides from their walls over the water banks, thus building for themselves extended embankments where the boats unloaded and loaded up their merchandise. Others closed the streets in their curved climb on the two hills, showing symbolic sculptures on the gates, for the jobs and the brotherhoods they represented, putting these vulgar images in the place of noble signs and those of the legendary faces of Niebelungen heroes.
There were sculptures which took the place of blazons kept by lions and vultures and they spread, just as we have seen, on the embroidering of the clothes, on the blankets from under the saddles of the horses, on the doors of the coaches and even on the flags which hung under the balconies of the city hall.  The façade of this building that symbolized the vulgar power based on money and not on noble rights was not yet finished because of the peasant wars, but on the inside, the mayor was strong enough to be taken into account by the knights who wanted to be supported with money by their former enriched emancipated subjects.
On the hills whose houses gathered around the Sankt Lorentzkirche, houses which did not show the claims of the noble ones, had a type of their own, to show off, to emanate a modest safety, that durable safety of the money earned with commerce and manufacture, coming right after the street with more window rows, balconies and dormers belonging to the paper’s brotherhood, which was in great flowering and gain, after the assemblies full of money fabricated the play and tarot cards for almost one century, and whose incomes had risen them with floors and pretentious roofs, there was also – newer and with more modest houses – the street where the printers had begun, as the new brotherhood appeared along with inventing the print.
There, in one of them, in the dorm upstairs, whose windows opened through the main dormer, supported by the piles in which the builder, with no kind of pre-conception, had sculpted some dragons, Margaret had received master Ambrosius more than once.
But she had made him long, because in the last minute, when he was ready to say she had opened to him as a flower, spreading her petals and letting the pestle be seen, she changed her mind, cried, closed back and asked him to leave.
“Why, why?” he asked, deceived and with tormented eyes, under the sweat of his bold head, red with the eager blood which stormed in it.
“No, no”, Margaret protected herself, woken up from the intentions. “No, I can sense Heinz is around; he walks all around here, he is following us; he pulls me to him… no! Please, don’t!”
And Ambrosius burned, filled with heat and sweat pushing through his wide baldness, which infuriated him to death, making him sent Heinz to hell.
“Damn you bastard, where the hell does she sense you?!”
He sent him to hell in despite and threat, as if he was the one who made him miss, all there is left being the mood, not the power to get back to it. With a spite sent just as much to the unseen presence of this one, as it was the age which, as a plate boiling hard and not always, it makes you argue with the stubbornness of your own body and its own limb.
“Damn you, if you are here!” Ambrosius mumbled with his shirt taken off the pants, haunted with the thoughts of the one who doubts he will ever gain power.
Then, loosing control, he started to yell at the same adored Margaret:
“And you, how do you know he is here, where did this come from?!”

“I know”, Margaret said shaking with pleasure and fear. She was all shaking, from the dimple chin to her round knees. “I know she spins around here and she sees us!”
“What should she see? There is nothing to be seen!” Ambrosius said, with the widen enjoyment came from the inert state in which he fell, not reaching to an object he could no longer use.
He pulled his pants on, and left full of a powerless sadness. On the stairs, the stairs which went all the way down to the margin of the shop, in the gang with the vault in front of the big gates, at every step, after steping down, he felt the need to hit the air with the foot, only if he could get in the fat face of Heinz, hurting it… he hit with spite, taking revenge in all he had not done.
That afternoon, after having made sure that the apprentices and the workers had left to bring stacks of paper all the way from the slum of the other hill of the city, Margaret became weak and hot in the short-fingered hands of the master, and when he held her into his arms, she slipped a groan and told him she felt free, Heinz did not bother them anymore and there was no sign he was still there. Master Ambrosius started to tremble with pleasure and the sweat came differently, with other reasons and with another effect on his bald forehead, lacking eyebrows.
And he went through a little bit of torture, just seeing how many embroidered skirts Margaret was wearing, one after the other. When Ambrosius Huber, now freed from the instincts of a small fatty stallion and enchanted with the fact he had proved himself not to be so “Der Olde”, started to get down the stairs putting his braces straight, Margaret opened her beautiful eyes, as if belonging to a young and beautiful cat, smoothly with a cuddling astonishment, and felt the need to reach a lecherous hand to the place the man next to her should have been. She felt the need of an embrace, or that of a loving word, which the heat of her body needed and deserved.
But she stood sad when she touched only the cold linen of the sheets with the tips of the fingers still vibrating. But in his age, when calculations gather brotherly with lust and even dominate it, raising above them and cooling them down, master Ambrosius was more confortable in considering Margaret a closed issue for the day. So he passed, as a good and calculated German master, from the work Margaret, to the work he had to finish in the printing house. And thus, stepping down in satisfaction on the steps, with a cleared peace in his heart, without feeling any need to hit after some trace of Heinz’s, he got down among the frames with a chosen writing.
And he had a thought. A thought the visit of that traveler with the big denim hat and a Dutch beard had put stuck in his mind. He was the same one the knights have met in their way, speaking of his bourgeois signs from the gears. He was known to him: the printer master Ulrich Zell, who had left Peter Schoiffer’s shop in Meinz some while ago, and opened an own shop in Köln.
They had been both witnesses in the trial of Gutenberg against Fust, when the banker, the sly banker Fust took all tools and printers from the great master, leaving him poor and making him go back to his mother’s house, from whom he had actually taken the name Gutenberg – Bonimontis in Latina and Buonamonte in Italian.
Ulrich Zell had brought him good luck with no intention, because he had given him chances in one direction, speaking to him about what was in a totally different one. That is, as he was called in front of the rulers of the Reversed Dragon Order, he had passed through the lower city, on his way to the castle inhabited by the great master, especially because he wanted to find out more of what had happened to the composition made when printing about Dracula. And he had come to Ambrosius, who had once been recommended by Szacsz. The story went like this: Zell had received some hundred copies of the printing to sell his part, but the knights had ordered him to get there and bring them all back.
Now, when he executed the order, felt a certain sorrow, because he had smelled a very good business, many buyers clutching out of curiosity to buy that libellus about Dracole Wyda. And as he still went by, he, as a bourgeois, knew all too well he was stronger than the will of the knights, and had come to the smart idea to give the rulers of the order what he had by, but to go back towards Köln to carry another few hundred copies, which, if Ambrosius wanted, could easily draw themselves in secret, if master Heinz Szacsz had kept the composition and had not spread the letters to their places, in the boxes of the printing table.
That was the intention – a shining business, meant to bring money immediately. And Ambrosius Huber, after he had agreed with him to go there the next day, went to Heinz’s shop with serious thoughts, inside the limits of his job. How could he know that just that day, Margaret was about to get rid of the obsession of Heinz haunting around the house, that her lust, that of an unworked on woman would come, and that she would let herself rambling in his arms?!...
So he strengthened as much as he could, no bearing to let the birdie slip away. But also happy to have managed to hump her, and in some way grateful to Zell, he had no longer thought at the caress moments from after sealing the connection with a woman – but, as a hurried artisan, barely closed one deal that he already thought of another.
And now, whistling in calm and relaxation in the half-darkness of he shop, he searched for the remaining compositions, the ones left unwrapped on the two long tables from the wall, becoming now and then stronger, as a reflex to the satisfied lust.
And just when he had found what he was looking for, lighting a candle and decoding in front of the metal letters, to be read backwards, while spelling  “Item”, which he knew for sure as belonging to the libellus, that awful thing happened. First, there was a scream – Margaret’s terrified scream... or maybe not at first, because first there were some sizzles, one huge sizzle and some bombs which filled the street. Afterwards, or at the same time, Margaret’s scream up above, in the room where, only a while ago, so he did nothing else than moan softly. An awful scream, a long, terrified one. And her steps running like crazy.
Then the door opened, and Ambrosius jumped to catch her, because she had stormed so strongly, she was ready to roll down the steps. But when he caught her, all screaming and trembling, he also stumbled and did not know how he got to the steps, because on the wide door left open, sizzling as if the air had boiled, , tens, hundreds of grouse and sticky beings came to them in flight.
They all came in disorder, hitting them, scratching them, hitting the walls and falling down with thuds, catching their clothes and worse – to Margaret’s terror, ever growing fear – stumbling in her hair and tearing fringes apart, in the fight to get off. The master had no such problem, as he was bald, but they let itching tracks on the baldness, scratching it with the claws they used, to try to hang on.
“They are bats, bats!”, he mumbled, looking at his blood in the hand, the blood he whipped from his scratched bald head and holding Margaret’s body with the other, as an obligation and not at all as a wish.
He also thought fast enough at such a possibility, feared the thought of the bats getting into his pants, if opened. He then said grimly a line memorized from the ones he had printed in his life:
“All is paid back with blood!”
And he no longer thought the woman next to him smelled good.
“It is Heinz’s curse, his curse”, Margaret was crying, holding her hair where the grouse beings pulled and beat their wings with bald skin.
The entire air sizzled with the beat of these wings and every now an then, just as in a boiling pan, thuds were heard, as in their crazy flight, the birds were hitting walls and fell down.
The calves found them fainted, embraced and almost frozen with scare. And their story would have been unbelievable, if there were not some suicidal bats fallen down in the corners, after the hurts they had got from hitting the walls. At a certain point, as if following an order, the whole flock had gone back, to the door at the top of the stairs, where it had entered. And it had got out just as well, as if sucked by an invisible stream.
Poor Margaret, who wanted to chill out, after the heat that had got to her and heated her, when using the former marital bed, had opened the window. And now she mumbled crazily, still shaking with horror:
“It is Heinz’s curse, it is Heinz’s curse, he sent them…”
She could not know Heinz had not come, but let her feel free and relaxed, exactly because the force who had sent him there had its energies occupied with leading the bats.

4


In the main yard, to which lead the facades of most of the bodies of the castle, there grew a huge lime, counting more that four hundred fifty years since it had been bedded there, in the dry stone of the top of the mountain, by saint Cunegonda, the virgin wife of emperor Henry II, the one who had been sanctified just because he had lived in liturgies and fights only. There, in the court of this castle-city, guarded by the two shadows of the towers – the Pentagon Tower, towards which led narrow steps made of massive stone, nicked at some edges, from the weight of the bombs that had got up, and the Pagans’ Tower, with its walls heavy with the sculptures of some old Germanic idols sculpted my the masters Heinz Szacsz received as a less than ordinary ritual.

First of all, he had been taken to one of the old Byzantine chapels built superposed and assisted at the church service where all knights took part, in their finest uniforms, with green mantels over the red tunics, from whose shoulders descended the two laces of the chain each one was invested with. They were staying in rows back there, according to their ranks, and the two chains of the chain met on the chest in the double cross at whose feet there was the reversed dragon, just as in St. George’s icons. It was their sign, as knights of the order and, keeping it with the palm over the heart, they renewed now, just as usual, the sermon to be unforgiving to the enemies and the heretics of the Catholic Church.
After that, the printer was left in the dark, on the sofa, along with the man wearing a caftan and with a triangular pile on his shaven baldhead, to watch, from between the nerves of the sculpted stone rosette from the windows, what happened around the old lime. Around the old lime, bedded in dry stone by St. Cunegonda, the virgin empress for whom her husband, emperor Henry of Bavaria had built the chapel from above the one where he prayed, wrapping it around with that marble bas-relief showing the crowning of the Virgin, and other two in wood, where the saints and the apocalypse were put face to face.
Around that sacred lime, all knights had gathered in a semicircle, getting out from the church service, along with the apprentices of the order, who served in the castle. The judges of the order had sat down on the stone banks, and in front of them, right in front of the massive portal of the stairs which led to the wings of the castle, the ones built by Friederich Barbarosa, right under the drumhead with bas-reliefs which threatened towards the pagan sculptures remained from the ones who misjudged the Bible of Wulfilla, there sat, with his great denim hat, and the high Dutch beard, master Zell, who had taken the copies of the work to sell them in Köln.
Heinz knew him ever since he was an aid in Heinrich Keffer’s shop, a printer came to the city directly from Gutenberg’s school, and they had made some business together, holding to the brotherhood solidarity, just as all printers wanted to, so that the drama or their great ancestor be not repeated, the skilled graver and inventor of printing – Gutenberg-Buonamonte, who had impoverished because he had taken money from Fust the banker, in order to enlarge the shops, and that one took them back, by the new laws of the bourgeois money, with its interests, and along all the wealth and even the instruments he had invented.
Did Ulrich Zell betray him? Heinz thought, trying to differ what that one was doing there, in front of their knights. And thus, he saw in front of his brother a pile of prints which yes, of course!…
 Even tough at some distance, Heinz Szacsz could not fail to recognize or even feel the letter of his shop. And there, beyond the pile of prints which, as it was now clear, were the copies of the last libellus printed in-sexto, that knight with an intransigent figure, who had investigated it and tried it out was now taking care of Zell, in a harsh interrogation:
“Ulrich Zell, are you part of the brotherhood of the printers, in Köln, is that so?!”
“Exactly, your highness”.
“And did you print this book?”
“No, I did not, your highness; it has been printed here, in Nürenberg, and I took over, according to the brotherhood’s costumes. I took the whole pack, to sell them in the northern and lower lands”
“But were you offered to print them?”
“Yes, your highness, I have. Two years ago, coming from the people of the crown city, also for a nice sum of money”.
“Why did you refuse the order?”
“I was busy, your highness… and aftwerads, because I heard the reason confessed by that people”
“Which was?”
“Revenge, your highness. They wanted to avenge themselves on a prince who did not let them do their commerce in his country, and they supported an enemy who wanted to get him down. The prince punished that enemy by cutting his head, and then he punished them fiercely too, putting fire on them”
“And what does this have to do with a little book?”
“It does, your highness, because printing is a wonder of our world, brought to it by master Gutenberg, who was impoverished by Fust, the extortionist banker…”
“Let Fust alone, he did not even give money to our order”, the knight said with anger. “You answer what I have asked”
“Well, the people of Brasov found out that revenge can come from the print, if you write a letter and you give it to print, you spread mud all over your enemy, and the whole world finds that out. And they not only find out, but they also give money for the printed paper which tickles in the man the pleasure to speak … you see, our brotherhood started to win like this and gets further away from…”
“I am not interested what it gets further away from!”
“The holly things, I wanted to say, your greatness”, the printer shut him up, making him admit
“Okay, say it!”
“Well, those people of Brasov found out of the miracle of printing, which makes you known all of a sudden, that is, it brings to the lips of the whole world, so they wanted revenge by talking about the cruelties of this tyrant and gathered money from another city, enemy to that one, the city of Herman or Cibinium on its Latin name, from some noblemen from the Hungarian court, who were, as I said, set to revenge”
“And you, why didn’t you want to help this revenge, as long as it paid out? Why did you send them here?”
“I didn’t, they just came here”
“Just the same! Answer why!”
“Why?” the master repeated, just as a man who wanted to underline his virtue. “Because our job is in its beginning and no one knows all the mirrors it can make, and all the curses it can bring!” he then said loudly, defying the intransigent profile of the knight and as if avenging himself on the pride of his questions.
“So you admit there is something evil in this job of yours, something which belongs to other powers than…”
But the printer interrupted him:
“Evil, as long as sacred books we print can be evil, and the fact that his Sanctity the Pope addresses us to print his bullas!”
The knight now felt not only the defying of the one he interrogated, but also the happiness of his competitors, from the council which, of course, made all kinds of signs behind him. Because he could not watch them, they also made signs to harm him. He then turned on to the printer:
“How dare you bring in the name of His Sanctity?”
“Because he is our client, and we serve him” came the answer, in the bourgeois style.
“And why did you first speak of the…”
“We spoke of the miracles and the curses of this job”, the man admitted with pride.
“Exactly! You allowed yourself to mix them in!”
“Your highness”, the printer confronted him again, as he could see the smiles of the ones behind the knight who pretended to be fierce, “my job has a stronger power than you suspect, and maybe, even more than we think. Yes, even us. And you cannot stop an unknown power, imagine a time where all people would have a piece of paper to find out all about the one next to them!…
 “Does that not bring you to change humanity? That is why I have to tell you that we still have to fear our skills and we still need time to know their powers!… I only know that, today: by my job, the secrets from the books are no longer in libraries and in the power of the ones who can enter the libraries. With a few pennies he gives me, the man can take and read it for himself. There are new ways opened to him, and new powers unleashed”
“And then, if you see your job so nice and clean, why did you not want to print what those people in Brasov and Cibinium wanted you too?... and especially the noblemen from the Hungarian court?”
“But I have already said it: when one does not know the whole power of a thing, you can neither know all the curses it can bring. I am still afraid of my job, and even more, others should fear it, too!”, the master’s voice sounded prophetically, in that court surrounded by the older and newer facades of the buildings of the castle, and he no longer watched the knight, but the judges of the order, who watched him crispate.
“Your highnesses, any job and any invention is paid with a tribute, to forces much bigger than us. You know that the canons, the new invention, so appraised, with which armies proudly defile explode the grass in them, the tubes crack and kill the ones who wanted to shoot in the first place?”
“Let the canon alone!”, the knight attacked back, for not being taken into account. “The canon is the great weapon of the century, and we deal with guns, we, the knights”
“Your greatnesses”, the one with the straightened beard said to the judges, “our job is a new invention whose evil parts we do not know yet, and proof is what happened to my younger brother here”
“How do you know what happened?” the intransigent entered back his heart.
“Because it happened to other people, greater and more skilled than him!” the printer said, as if bringing there the furies of the skies and even turning around from the one he interrogated. “Yes, your highnesses: Gutenberg, the genius and inventor of our job is now a poor man, a defeated old man, retreated to the small Buonamonte field, which belongs to his mother, and who is lucky to get something from us, the brotherhood which learned the job and the art from him!… but it is not only him; even his enemy and detractor, the great banker Fust who hurried to take his shops and tools with usury and threw him on the streets after the shameful trial in 1455, which made justice to the money and not the inventor, he died in very bad conditions, just about the ones which are now in the city set at the foot of this castle; he died drowned in his avaricious money…
“How does the interrogated know of what happens here, at us?” the knight had ceased to confront him directly and, a little set aside, found a way to get back to the obedience he had to address the judges.
But this was also misjudged, as they told him to shut up and, paying attention to who knows what judgments in their experienced minds, the story of the occult forces the printer was revealing:
“It is a job which is not only made with gravity and letters to set in, your highnesses; it is not only by spreading the ink and gathering the matrix! It is a job which can be made with wisdom and even faith, with perfidy and bad-will, with simple knowledge or hidden interest games because spreading all these papers starts to seem like getting involved in the stories of the world. And the stories of the world are revengeful!”
He tried to say something more, but more voices of the masters yelled back to the interrogating gesture of the knight:
“Stop interrupting him!”
Which was equivalent to the fall of his infatuation, and putting him to his place, towards the old judges.
“No one interrupts me, your highnesses, because I have also finished the story”, the printer of  Köln said, and bent with gallantry. “I will only tell you of the curse of Fust’s son in law, who took over the shops of our master Gutenberg, as he wanted to become the great printer, after stealing his job. Well, this Schoeffer guy felt strong on the printing and started to consider himself a sort of count or baron of information, even allowing himself to make comments and involving himself in the conflicts of greater people of the world, maybe to gain some money. Well, your highnesses, it is thus that he entered in the fight between Diether of Isenburg and Alfred of Nassau for the archbishop of Meinz.
“And he used the perfidy of his job, printing words of emperor Frederich III and words of Pope Pio II, as his orders were, or as his intriguing mind lead him to. He made good money, I won’t deny that; but he involved them all in the conflict – you know all too well how the greatest ones are: they fight, and then make peace; they hurt each other in fights and embrace themselves in sermons; they bow with elegance in front of one another keeping the knife hidden under the mantle… well, your highnesses, I have read many things, because one of the tricks of our job is that it makes you read a lot and become a learned man; I don’t know what you, noblemen, will do in this world anymore, when all learned people will rise, listening more to them, as to your orders!
“You see, this is the force of printing, may it be heavenly or evil… so that Schoeffer, the one mentioned before, just as much as he boasted, instead of minding his own bourgeois brotherly business, he pretended to be smart, and got involved in the conflict between the greatest ones in the world, which brought one curse after another. I will no longer tell in what kind of dismay they threw him in chains, set him trials just as his father in law had set up for our master, burned his merchandise, his servants ran away, the shop vanished along with the silver letters stolen from Gutenberg, so that he ended up poorer than him.
“But he was also depraved and went to bars and filled himself with sweet abscesses which come from that syphilis when you make love without washing, and it rises to the brain and makes you sick. This is what happened to him, out of revenge, for the one who had done everything to make himself an empire of paper written with the intrigues of his prints… and by that, I hope that your highnesses will no longer need any explanations…”
Under the great lime of Cunegonda who, being married to Henry of Bavaria, managed to persuade him to remain virginal, both of them, on the imperial throne, with no imperial bed and not fulfilling the carnal lust, but putting their bodies together in the two superposed chapels where they prayed – he below and she in the one above his – under the old branches which covered them all, the words of the printer had gathered as if catching into them like fruit. Like heavy and poisonous fruits, by the senses they unveiled.
The masters remained in meditation, each one having his questions and reasons to haunt their minds. Only the chief of works was a little more serene, he himself hid some occult mysteries, of the ones that troubled that decade’s end of the great century – the fifteenth, according to the numbering of the holly Popes carrying the three crowns.
Reduced to his rank and brought back to his place where, as a career man, stubbornly tried to get passed the others, the stubborn knight – as the whole world says, stubbornness is not a proof of wisdom, and stupidity is not the proof of lack of slyness – with the perseverance of his instincts which were more connected to ambitions than the mastermind of diplomatic thought –became smaller, just as he really was, but no less ambitious.
  So he remembered the respect in front of the conclave, bent to the judges, just as the printer of Koln had done and asked for permission to ask that one:
“Let him tell us, honest judges, if these are the reasons he claims he did not want to print the book on Dracula the tyrant”
 “That was my question; the question I would have had the right to ask”, came the protest of the great prosecutor, with envy, but no success, because the great master accepted, as if both of them had the right to ask the question:
“Let him tell us!”
“I will, your highnesses: I did not know how much truth and how much revenge these stories gather inside them!” the man answered with dignity, and then said: “revenge accomplished by our job brings yet another revenge with it, brings a revenge on us, just as it brought on Schoeffer and his shop. And that is why we must stay apart!”
“Then, honest masters” the knight said, not forgetting his role, but neither the strong ambitions, “let him tell us why, if he refused to print them, did not do the same with spreading them, and accepted to sell them?”
“These are the laws of our brotherhood”, the man said clearly and with no simulation. “We are a young brotherhood and we must support each other. Each one of us has his shops; we sell what the others print because that is how we support our brotherhood. Yes: I sell them by the law of modern commerce and I don’t ask where money goes to or comes from. There it is: your highnesses asked us, I have brought them; you give me my money, I let them here and I walk away!”
“You will get your money, don’t you worry, the great judge”
Then, forgetting all about the protocol again, the stubborn fool also said:
“You see, you will get out of the castle with the money; but before you go, say it: do you admit that the printed papers have something evil inside them? Something like a dirty soul of their own? Do you admit there are not only simple papers, like letters?”
“And letters haven’t got anything evil?” the printer said, more thoughtful than in reply. Do the letters not carry thoughts? Do they not carry secrets? Do they not carry whispers of love? Do they not carry the curse of demands of debts or the blessing of granting some liberties? All that it is written, I say, comes from the man, that is, comes from the worse or best intentions he has. And the printing, as it gets piles of papers, uncontrollably, increases many times more this evil or good”
“So you admit they have a special power, don’t they?”
He could not get passed it, his stubbornness was stupidly-ambitious and proved itself to be stronger than any other spiritual word. The master thought well, looked at the rich crown of the lime tree, as it tried to catch it in its whole, and suddenly lightning the one before him with no protection, proud of his job, said extremely fiercely:
“So it is, they do!”
He then bent with dignity in front of all the knights wrapped in their green mantles, in front of the judges from the stone banks and got further away, with the pace of a man certain of the occult powers of his skill. These powers which lead to miracles and curses.
When he rose on his ashen horse with proud blankets, he got passed the bridge of the gate let down, counting down his money, and met some of the knights he had crossed the way with a day before. They were the ones with the closest mission which, entering the great court of the castle, left after handing over, some folded papers to the knight they had received the orders from, out of which only two were really the print searched for.
Then, Heinz and the butcher were brought in. The later put the papers with solemnity, over the other ones brought by Ulrich Zell. Hideous, with crooked legs and fingers like hooves, proud of his caftan with high-ranked furs, chattering the big bone between above his lips, instead of teeth, the butcher set to a true ritual, arranging and organizing the funeral pile.  Alongside him, Heinz Szacsz, the printer with bleary eyes vainly looked for Margaret.
 “We will burn the papers for which the prince has cursed you and we will make him get closer to you, so that he can set you free of the curse. This man who is his butcher, has the power to bring him here for you, in unseen ways”
“I don’t want to, I don’t want it anymore…” Szacsz got scared, remembering the appearance which had cursed him.
“Calm down!” the judge ordered him. “We have to bring him here, to see these communication powers over the spaces, which will become the wonder of the sciences our order has!”
“But I am scared…” the printer cried with humbleness.
“Calm down and prepare yourself to meet him with no fear; we are also here”, the judge encouraged him, more to show the butcher he pleased him. And he even asked this one: “are you satisfied? We are doing everything you have asked for, but you show us what you know!”
“I know many things”, the butcher mumbled, “and I know a thousand ways to get the soul out of the man”
“Let that be, start the flame now!”
“I can do it with or without flame”, he said, and did not let go. “But give me bodies made of flesh, to sizzle; don’t give me just some papers!”
“Did you not hear? These papers have a soul!” the judge grudged him, thundering in command. “You burn them like bodies, until you get that cursed soul out of them. That cursed invention of printing has a soul, which has to be killed!”
“It could have”, the butcher mumbled in discontent, “but it smells like ashes, not like sizzling flesh! I’d better stuck my nostrils than smell such a thing!”
“Do that, do whatever you want, but just fulfill the wish of your prince, to unsteel him, and bring him to us, here, so that I can see the power to communicate, the power he has to do that over spaces”, the great judge ordered and turned to his knight: gentlemen, if our order will enrich itself with the science to speak at distance to this son of the one who used to be our brother, we will have the primacy in military art!... so… burn it! Put your fire on, you butcher, and burn these evil curses that upset prince Draculea so much!”
 The butcher rose, spinning the torch a few times in the air, to stir the flame and said under his jawbone some words he alone could understand, then he skillfully put the flame in the middle of the pile, which enflamed itself with a thick smoke, out of which unknown birds got out.
He had actually hypnotized them all to see the ashes of the papers rise along with the flame.
“The porter and…” the fascinated knight mumbled.
Only the lucid knight got closer to the butcher and made him pay attention with no mercy:
“Don’t you dear to ask for anything else, until you do your job!”
Only that the butcher was on another world, as if listening yet another complaint of his prince.
“But your grace, I need new forces; I need to execute someone for real, not some simple papers! You are keeping me here to corrode…”
“Yes, we do”, the knight intervened, feeling engaged in his actions. “It is in your interest that we are keeping you. Until you will domesticate the printer and send his soul where he should meet your prince, to receive news!”
But the butcher did not feel impressed and said it roughly:
“But have I not told you clearly that every time I put it in, this poor bastard gets back to his fat old Margaret?!… you can hardly tear apart the lust to pussy from a smart person – harder it is, from a stupid one like this!”

Produs Port@Leu | ISSN 1842 - 9971