Bloodlust & Bonnets
Check out our episode here! Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern
Somewhere in Great Britain at the tail end of the Regency, Miss Lucy is subjected to a lackluster and frankly insulting proposal of marriage. Instead of simpering like a typical young miss, Miss Lucy takes the gentleman’s cane, biffs him across the noggin, unsheathes the blade hidden within and lops his head off. Of course she is accused of being hysterical by the gentlemen near and they must subdue her, but Miss Lucy has had enough and dispatches them easily. Her skills and bloodlust draw the attention of a vampire Lady who asks her to join her secret ancient immortal vampire cult. Huzzah!
However, Lord Byron, you know, from books, plunges his sword through the vampire Lady making her explode, blood splattering everywhere. His psychic eagle, Napoleon, sent him to Lucy’s location. Together they dispatch the other undead and have a snog before flying on Napoleon’s back to Byron’s magic Castle in the Scottish Highlands. The Castle is truly magic. It cleans their clothes, talks and offers (not the least bit suspicious) suggestions to go to sleep. It’s during the night that a strange whisper wakes Lucy, telling her to head to the library. Waiting there is the mysterious vampire Lady, who is immortal so of course she is back. She offers Lucy the chance to join her secret ancient immortal vampire cult and without hesitation, Miss Lucy agrees to its ruination, debauchery, scandal and unending rampage of chaos. Then Lord Byron stabs the vampire Lady, exploding her again.
Luckily, Lucy spots a calling card in all the viscera and finds out the vampire is Lady Violet Travesty, and the card has her address, Vampire Towers. Convenient. A few days later, Lucy and Byron are ready to lay siege to Vampire Towers when a huge explosion in the hedgerow throws everything into confusion. There is another Vampire Hunter after Lady Travesty, Sham. Sham joins forces with Lucy and Byron, and together they enter Vampire Towers which turns out to be Byron’s literary nemesis, Sir Walter Scott’s, estate. The one he built with all his money. So much money. Scott points them in the direction of Baroness De Bri, and banding together, they head out. Some time passes and they get lost in a fog and constantly bicker. They call for Napoleon, but he has flown away to live his best life in the gaming halls and can't be bothered. Luckily, Baroness De Bri happens by and takes them back to her home.
Byron knows the Baroness, or BB, as they had a single torrid night together once upon a time. BB agrees to take them to a ball that evening being hosted by one of Lady Travesty’s ilk, even though they're guttersnipes. Dolled-up guttersnipes could make a splash. Lucy and Byron borrow gowns from BB, Sham adds a bow to her blunderbuss to join in the festive spirit. Together they head out to the soiree. The host for the evening is Countess Gladys De Harridan, the most distinguished vampire in all of London. As she’s giving her grand speech, Harridan spots a “disguised” Lord Byron which causes chaos to ensue. During the outbreak, Lucy is clunked on the head, knocked unconscious and taken to be interrogated and/or tortured by Harridan.
Harridan wants to know Travesty's plans, and what Sham is about, but Lucy knows nothing. Byron makes a grand entrance then stabs Harridan making her explode and allowing them to escape to BB’s carriage where BB and Sham are. BB kicks them out to attend another party with a wealthy widower so Lord Byron takes them to his club. The club, used to Byron’s antics by now, allows him entrance, blood soaked ball gown and all. Lucy, having the audacity of being female is denied entry until she biffs some unsuspecting guy over then head and steals his clothes. Sham meanwhile uses the side door. Inside Lucy finds Byron is holding court with his cronies, ugggh, so she heads to the kitchens and finds Sham. Finally a snack! They talk for a bit, neither revealing exactly why they want to find Lady Travesty. All the while Lucy flirts with Sham, but Sham is completely oblivious. Hearing thuds coming from upstairs, they go and investigate, finding everyone either drugged or poisoned. At the entrance to the club is Napoleon.
With Byron lost and in a panic, Lucy asks Napoleon to take them to Byron’s Castle. During the night something again calls to Lucy in her sleep and she wanders into the woods. There Lucy meets a ghostly spirit called Gwendolyne, who is desperate to know everything about Lucy. Lucy happily spills her guts about Lady Travesty, how she has potential, about Byron ignoring her at the club, and her mistaken reading of Sham’s feelings. The spirit loves it because she is actually a succubus who is feeding off Lucy’s tragedy and stealing her life force with the intention of taking her place. Lord Byron, still in his blood-covered ball gown, suddenly appears and shoots the succubus with a gun he just so happened to find next to him when he awoke in the forest a few moments before. Sham then appears and also shoots the succubus, and then they all question what the hell is going on. Instead of thinking too much about it, they decide there's hot chocolate and comfortable beds back in the Castle, so they go.
While Lucy is rag rolling Byron’s hair, they hear strange noises. Following them to the whiskey cellar, they find a strange woman who says her name is Virginia. When Sham walks in, it is confirmed that Virginia was her old “partner,” but really, Sham felt like Virginia was more of an inconvenience. Deciding interrogation would be better with whiskey, they have a wee dram or two... dozen. Suddenly it’s morning and Sham informs Lucy she is leaving. Upset, Lucy heads back inside where she finds Virginia awake. Virginia is eager to join their crew now that they are a member down, because after all, Lady Travesty won’t be happy she’s messed up… oh no, she’s said too much!
Lucy tells Virginia to stay put, which of course she doesn’t, so she can go and find Sham, which she can’t. Asking the Castle to drop something heavy on the intruder's head, Lucy sets off to find Sham. Instead she happens upon Byron who tells her he only just left her, Lucy, but she was taller, bluer and had a pointy face. She even gave him a drink to help with his hangover, which promptly knocks him out. Sigh. This can only mean one thing: Lady Travesty is in the Castle! Oh no!
Searching everywhere including a costume room, a gothic orangery, a bunny sanctuary room, and a second costume room, Lucy ends up in the dungeon where Lady Travesty unveils herself from an iron maiden. Cool. She again offers Lucy her place in the secret ancient immortal vampire cult which Lucy actually turns down at first, but then persuades herself to join. Of course this is the point Byron comes in, but he’s still hungover and suffering from the drugged drink, so he passes out again. Sham then runs in, blunderbuss at the ready, but Lady Travesty thwacks her over the head. Then, Virginia runs in, but trips, causing her gun to accidentally go off and shoot Lady Travesty. Bloody hell. The Castle then drops a helmet on Virginia. Sigh.
Virginia’s interrogation is fruitless. She knows nothing about Lady T and kidnapped the incorrect person in a dress at the club and brought them to Scotland by a special magic travel thing. But at least it explains how Byron made it to the Highlands. While Sham is despairing over the lack of any progress or clues, the Castle drops a letter into her hands. It’s from BB, and though she is an unreliable source, Sham has to either believe her that there is a lead in Bath or she has to accept that she has been consistently misjudging things and making irrational mistakes. To Bath!
As expected, BB’s source is a wash. Lady Cronelia hosts the secret Bath Gavotte and Quadrille Club, which is not a secret vampire club. Whilst Lucy and Sham are drawn into the most frantic quadrille where one simply can’t hold a coherent conversation, we uncover a TWIST! Sham meets Chalky, a fellow vampire hunter who reveals Sham is being paid by none other than Gladys De Harridan to take out Lady Travesty. Lucy doesn’t hear this, she’s too busy being given the key to parliament and, she thinks, a proposal of marriage… Anyway... Sick of all the false leads and Sham treating her like a dick, Lucy heads off to the spa to meet up with Byron.
While taking the waters, a mysterious old man selling “remedies” offers some magic pellets which will endow clairvoyant abilities upon the user! Five for threepence, ten for a groat, SOLD! Of course Lucy, Byron and Sham secretly take some pellets and then fall into a messed up metaphorical mind trip where Lucy learns Sham is being paid by Harridan, Sham learns Lucy wants to become a vampire and Byron is, well Byron. Sick of each other, they decide to go their separate ways.
Finally Lucy reaches Vampire Towers, and it’s rather a letdown. Induction into the secret immortal vampire club only requires filling in forms. Forms! And there are so many other ladies there waiting for their turn. There must be a mistake! Lady Travesty informs Lucy that the only mistake is Lucy thinking she is the only special one. She really should have asked more questions. Upset, Lucy goes for a nice dramatic walk, but not because Lady T told her to! It’s then she runs into Virginia who is about to go on a last minute mission involving some plot or other, Castles, intrigue, death traps, Blah, blah. Not kill Byron. Oh dear… errr, bye!
Outside Vampire Towers, Lucy sees Sham off in the distance. Sham has had very uncomfortable feelings since their fight in Bath, like her heart is broken. It's not really her thing, having feelings. Sham no longer works for Harridan and since Lucy never handed in her forms to become a vampire, they are free to go and save Bryon and promise to be nice to each other. Sham has arranged for BB to pick them up and take them to Byron’s club in London. Lucy is not happy as BB has proven massively unreliable but as Sham points out they have no money or magic Eagle, so how else will they get to London in time? Fair point. BB easily gets them entrance into the club where Walter Scott is waiting to offer a bad guy exposition monologue. It turns out Scott has been in cahoots with Harridan and, while she wants to take down Lady Travesty, she also wants to dispose of that irritating Byron. Scott is only too happy to help get rid of his nemesis and be remembered as the greatest, sexiest, popular-est poet of the era.
Harridan enters the scene and reveals that BB is working for her. This is not strictly news to anyone there, Lucy and Sham have always been suspicious, but it is a surprise to BB who thought she was just doing a good turn. Lucy has been desperately trying to psychically contact Napoleon, who is off fighting a duel, to help them escape and take them to Scotland. Thankfully someone throws a bomb through the window offering them the distraction they need to escape, and outside Napoleon is waiting for them, so they take off for Scotland.
Upon arrival, Castle informs them that strangers were snooping around and that Byron hasn’t left his bed for days, so they decide to split up. Sham will look for explosives and Lucy will fetch Byron. With promises that Byron can come back to bed later, and yes he can bring his sweets, Lucy tells him the noble thing for him to do would be to hide in the woods. This means Lucy can help Sham find the explosives, but instead she finds Lady Travesty. While Lady T monologues, Gladys De Harridan arrives and the rivals start an epic battle. Well, there is a lot of name calling. This provides Lucy the opportunity to duck out and escape with Sham.
They find Byron being pestered by Gwendolyne the succubus, so they shove her off and wait around a bit before checking on Castle. They've not heard an explosion… yet. Nearby Castle, they see a figure running toward them, it’s Virginia who has decided to swap sides and join their merry band. She found the explosives and a few bottles of whiskey too. Good show, old bean! Then Castle explodes. Virginia found the explosives but didn’t disarm the explosives. Oh well, time to drink!
As the group sits, watching the black smoke emanating from Castle over the beautiful backdrop of the sunset, they decide to band together officially. Sham tells Lucy she likes her against her better judgment and they smooch, but Lucy shouldn’t read anything into that. Or she should read everything into it. So with no supplies except whiskey and sweets, and with Byron still in his nightie, they go onward to ADVENTURE!