Archive for May, 2014

The Nuns of Gavarone – a short history

May 29, 2014

The story behind the Sisters of No Mercy…

 

The Nuns of Gavarone were formed in 972AD by Pope Innocent VIII (1484 –1492). He instigated severe measures against magicians and witches in Germany. In 1487, he confirmed Tomas de Torquemada as grand inquisitor of Spain, and was a strong supporter of the Spanish Inquisition.

While visiting a small poor convent in Italy in order to ‘hear the Nuns’ confessions,’ he and his retinue were attacked by a marauding gang of local vampires. The Nuns, accustomed to fending off these blood-thirsty villains, came to the rescue of His Holiness. In gratitude, he bestowed a new convent at Gavarone as a reward – with the proviso that their existence remained top secret, only known to each successive Pope and his closest advisors.

Ostensibly at the beck and call of the Pope, the Nuns would often work outside Vatican orthodoxy, depending on the views of the concomitant Mother Superior. Many accused witches were rescued from the fires by mysterious wimple-clad figures. Jews and alleged heretics too has cause to be grateful to the Nuns of Gavarone

Each chosen Sister, selected by the Nuns as they scoured convents of the world during their adventures, would be compelled to renounce family and friends, and sever all ties to the outside world. They would forego their original names. The average life-span of a Nun was not long; the few who survived until they were too old to fight, would become trainers and mentors to the next generation. The oldest would automatically become Mother Superior.

During World War II, the Nuns courted controversy by getting involved in the fight with the Nazis, in particular the Black Magic division of the SS, contrary to official (and unofficial) Vatican policy.

In the late 20th century the Nuns were under the leadership – spiritual and pragmatic – of their Mother Superior, Sister Scholastica. A fearsome woman, she drove them hard, expecting obedience and discipline of steel, with severe punishment for any Nun who disappointed her. She also had radical ideas, even recruiting a Buddhist nun in the shape of Sister Lotus.

But after Mother Superior was killed during a Trojan Demon attack on convent at Gavarone, the Vatican decided that such supernatural shenanigans had no part in a forward-thing Catholic Church for the 21st century.

So the Nuns of Gavarone were no more…

 

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The Black & White Wedding – the aftermath

May 22, 2014

Shell-shocked, we left the church and convened at the vicarage. Brandy was administered to Frognall & he was been put to bed. My step-daughter, Alison, was very tender towards him in his befuddled state, but no doubt he’ll get an earful from her tomorrow.

Mrs Mann rustled us up an excellent Liver Lasagne for supper. Cousin Septimus, divested of his ceremonial grab and back in his usual dog collar and moth-eaten corduroys, cracked open a bottle of something almost drinkable.

Over supper, I asked Cousin Septimus about the Nuns of Gavarone. In his youth he had been their spiritual mentor & trainer until an incident with a  If only I’d known that before, I would have asked for his advice re this whole bally mess earlier.

I wondered what would happen to Japonica. Apparently there is a Crypto-Zoo beneath the Vatican where she will be looked after and studied, perhaps cured if at all possible, then eventually stuffed and put on display when she finally pops her clogs.

As for the Squire, the villagers were chasing him out of town with flaming pitchforks at that very moment.

 

My stepdaughter couldn’t stop talking about the Nuns of Gavarone. She wished she could have joined them instead of her own convent. Cousin Septimus said their average lifesapna was very short. Girls would join the convent by the age of ten, spend the next five years training, but rarely lived beyond into their twenties.

I had never thought of my stepdaughter as being adventurous, quite the opposite.  But I suppose making her own way to Prentis Hancock revealed a nugget of hitherto-unseen spunk inside her. I asked her why she suddenly showed up like that. She just said she ‘had a hunch…’ Cousin Septimus gave me a theatrical wink. I didn’t know what it meant.

But finally  the nightmare is over. I didn’t get the wife I hoped for, but neither did I get nibbled to death by a Were -Badger. Once Frognall has pulled himself together, we will drive home to London.  I have books to write…

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

 

The Day of the Nuptials part 3

May 21, 2014

I watched fascinated and appalled – and no, definitely not aroused – as the beauteous Japonica wrenched off her veil and began to transform into the fearsome creature of her curse – the Were-Badger! Long hair was already sprouting from her face. Her snout protruded with a ghastly crunching noise, her eyes became even beadier than usual, and small sharp teeth protruded from her small mouth. Within seconds her face looked like a hairy Everton mint, and she dropped down on all fours.

The congregation, frozen into silence previously, now started screaming and hastening for the exit.

Cousin Septimus, belying his aged frame, bellowed that they must all stay calm. The congregation dithered, looking confused and frightened, which frankly was their usual demeanour.

The Nuns of Gavarone – all seven of them – encircled Japonica – oh, how can I still call her by that name when she is in the form of that grotesque monster?

‘Don’t kill her!’ I shouted, involuntarily.

‘Fear not, my cousin,’ said Cousin Septimus. ‘They are the Nuns of Gavarone, not the Sisters of No Mercy.’

A hiss came from the Nuns at the name of the Sisters of No Mercy.

I had heard rumours of that convent too; brutal, fundamentalist nuns who took no prisoners in matter of the Church. I believed them to be defunct since their leader, Sister Apocalypta, had been imprisoned for life for fire-bombing an abortion clinic.

The Were-badger hissed.

‘Careful,’ I advised, ‘she may give you TB.’

Without a word, the Nuns moved into position, forming a perfect circle. The tubby bespectacled Nun produced what I perceived to be a cattle-prod from under her cassock, while another retrieved several yards of rope. I must admit I never knew so much could be stored inside a nun’s habit.

The Were-Badger lashed out with its claws, but all the Nuns swerved effortlessly out of its reach.

‘Nunc!’ shouted one Nun, and in a barely visible blur of motion, Japonica was stunned and encased in rope.

I glanced back to see how my step-daughter was coping with her wretched husband, Frognall. She had seemingly forgotten him and was staring with eyes shining with admiration and awe at the Nuns of Gavarone.

‘Oh Father,’ she breathed, ‘If my convent had been like that I never would have left. All I ever got to do was milk goats and starch wimples.’

I spun back to say something to Cousin Septimus… and of the Nuns there was no trace. They had departed as furtively as they had appeared.

And they had taken Japonica with them.

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

The Day of the Nuptials part 2

May 20, 2014

A melee ensued.

And in the midst of this I saw a side of Cousin Septimus at which I had never even guessed . He stood up very straight, the years seemingly falling off him, clapped his hands, and in stentorian roar… ‘Sisters!’
The nuns who were spread throughout the church leaped to their feet, and each adopted a fighting stance.

Of course! I had often heard of this obscure sisterhood but had never quite believd their existence.

The Nuns of Gavarone!

In 1490, while visiting a small convent in Gavarone, Italy in order to ‘hear the Nuns’ confessions,’ Pope Innocent VIII and his retinue were attacked by a marauding gang of local vampires. The Nuns, accustomed to fending off these blood-thirsty villains, defended His Holiness. In gratitude, he bestowed a new convent as a reward – with the proviso that their existence remained top secret,
only known to each successive Pope and his closest advisors.

I had heard that they had been disbanded, but here they were, poised and ready to – as I believe the youngsters day nowadays – kick Satanic bottom.

My step-daughter, Alison, meanwhile had made her way to the front of the church and had grabbed Frognall, her husband, and was trying to drag him away. He looked half-cut, frankly, whether due to narcotic or alchemical causes I couldn’t say. Smith, the domineering domestic, immediately lunged forward and grasped Frognall by the shoulder, at which point one of the nuns, a petite little thing, flew through their air, flung her legs around Smith’s neck, and squeezed. His eyes bulged and he sank to the floor, out of the count.

This irked the Squire no end. He marched up to Japonica muttering some weird incantation.

‘No, Father, no!’ she pleaded. He ignored her. Another nun, a short hefty one wearing worryingly strong spectacles, produced the most enormous knobkerrie from beneath her cassock and, whirling it around her head, she hurled herself at the Squire and pummelled the living daylights out of him. I’d feel sorry for him if I weren’t so aroused.

But it was too late. The Squire’s spell had started to work its infernal magic, and in front of our very eyes, the beauteous Japonica began to change…

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

The Day of the Nuptials part 1

May 19, 2014

The day of the wedding dawned. It was with a sick feeling in the pit of my gut that I arose that morning, and not due to the usual pre-wedding bacchanalia with which we chaps celebrate the end of our fellow man’s freedom and his joyless trudge towards the eventual horror of alimony.

Cousin Septimus and I had talked long into the night, lubricated by an exceptionally fine brandy which a parishioner had bequeathed him in her will for ‘services rendered‘ – I didn’t ask. I demanded that he refuse to conduct the service – after all he would be knowingly abetting bigamy – but he patted my arm and told me to trust in the Lord. Much as it pains me to say this – after all, God is an Englishman – but I had learned at Normandy the hard way that the Lord isn’t the most reliable of comrade-at-arms.

After a breakfast of a Prune Smoothie and Black Pudding Omelette, I mooched about the village to pass away the time until the beastly ceremony was due to start. It was a beautiful day. The streets seemed deserted. I popped into The Shaven Mound and shared a rueful noggin with Sgt Dick Green. He was in his full ceremonial copper’s uniform, buttons-a-shine and truncheon newly-soaked in linseed, as he was on duty as usher-cum-bouncer, ordered to deal with any potential opposition. I asked him if I was the suspected trouble-maker. He nodded, shame-faced.

Just before noon, I staggered to the church, refusing to be defeated, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t see any way out of this infernal predicament. Many people would be made very unhappy by the events which were to ensue. My stepdaughter – what’s her name? Alison? – would lose her husband; my idiot son-in-law would lose his wife, become an unwilling bigamist and be married to a beast from Hell itself – a Were-Badger! Japonica, the Satanic creature herself, would marry someone she didn’t love and not me as she so palpably desired…

I had once hoped to marry Japonica myself although since leaning of her supernatural predicament, I had to admit that I was less keen. She was top-notch totty when in human form, but I’ve never had a yen for the hairier type of lass.

I took my seat in the church. I contemplated being discreet and sitting near the back, but I felt that I should be somewhere more visible as befits a gentleman of my rank. Particularly as I was the groom’s cuckolded father-in-law. The church was reasonably full. It seemed most of the village had turned out in all their vulgar finery. Whether this was because they had been ordered to, or simply wished to see the whole ghastly mess out of a gruesome Defarge-esque voyeurism, I did not know.

I spotted Mrs Mann in her Sunday best – a purple velour leisure suit with matching high-heeled Hush Puppies, plus what appeared to be a bowl of fruit salad on her head. She tweaked Sgt Dick Green’s behind as she walked past him. An act most unseemly in church, and judging by his flinch an unwelcome one.

Smith, the corpulent butler for Gloomy Grange was also present, glowering at everyone and handing out hymn sheets.

A small gaggle of nuns were sprinkled throughout the church too, on their knees, wimpled heads bowed in prayer. I hadn’t realised there was a convent nearby.

I spotted the wretched Frognall sitting forlornly and alone in the font pew. I thought I’d join him but a curled lip from Smith made it apparent that it would be an unwise move.

Eventually, Cousin Septimus made his entrance on the altar, bekeerd in his ceremonial frock, and most impressive he looked, a far cry from the doddery, cobweb-strewn duffer he usually presented. He peered myopically at the back of the church, then nodded at the organist, a middle-aged man in tweed jacket and be-socked and sandaled feet, the sort of cove one kept an eye on when kiddies were present.

The Wedding March struck up, and my heart sank. This was it. I had failed. It was new sensation for me.

A wondrous figure in white entered the church, her face competently covered by flowing veil, the evil figure of Squire Max Hotspur seemingly glued to her arm. They proceeded up the aisle, accompanied by the ham-fisted racket on the organ.

Frognall arose, shakily I thought, but with a lack of manliness I’d expect from such as he. He stood next to his reluctant fiancée. Smith stood next to him, presumably in the role of best man.

‘Dearly beloved,’ intoned Cousin Septimus, and the whole sorry ceremony began…

The service passed in a blur. Throughout, I racked my brains for a way to being proceedings to a halt, but to no avail.

Cousin Septimus reached the pivotal words. ‘Does anyone here present know any just cause or impediment…’

I braced myself to stand and yell that the groom was already married, and that the bride was by night the stuff of nightmares…

‘STOP!’ a voice cracked through the church. Everyone turned.

There at the back of the church was my stepdaughter… Alison, yes, that is her name, an expression of fury emblazoned on her face. I recognised the expression and remembered her mother staring at me with the same look.

‘This unholy farrago must cease!’ she said.

‘Who is this woman?’ spat the Squire.

I put in my four-penn’orth. ‘That’s the groom’s wife’ A gasp whooshed throughout the congregation.

‘Smith!’ the Squire snapped at his manservant. ‘Remove this hysterical creature!’

The bulky butler lumbered towards my stepdaughter. To give her due she didn’t even flinch. I tensed, prepared to engage the voluminous valet in fisticuffs; which even I – a pugilist par excellence – would admit I didn’t have hope in hell of winning.

And it was at this point that the unexpected began to occur…

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

The Bridegroom revealed!

May 8, 2014

Cousin Septimus and I drove slowly to Gloomy Grange: he on his motor bike, I squeezed into a side car designed for a  pint-sized woman.

Not the most dignified way to travel – I have never been so intimate with my knees before. And I was Unconvinced that Cousin Septimus has a license to drive this clapped-out thing.

We were shown into the drawing room by Smith, the corpulent manservant. He was much more welcoming to Cousin Septimus than he ever has been to yours truly. Tea was brought – and when have I ever been offered that? – and before long the Squire appeared, swaggering bumptiously into the room.

When he saw me, several emotions flickered across his face – shock, anguish, delight, fear, gloating, hate, lust, indigestion – all in one whole second. Of course, it may have been that his dentures had come loose.

I said nothing bar a polite ‘good afternoon.’ Cousin Septimus rattled along about the wedding plans.

Then Cousin Septimus said something I wasn’t expecting. ‘I believe we are to meet the prospective groom today?’ The Squire smiled.

‘The groom – and his blushing bride will be here shortly,’ the Squire said. I shuddered involuntarily at the thought of seeing Japonica

‘And here they are!’ The Squire proclaimed. I spun around. There was Japonica, as ravishing as on the night I met her. It must be said she looked much better without black-&-white stripey fur all over her face

I was so entranced by the beautous Japonica – in human form – that I failed to take in the man by her side…

‘May I introduce my daughter’s fiancé,’ the Squire said, with a triumphant sneer. I looked at the man by her side – it was Frognall!

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

 

 

The day after the night before

May 6, 2014

I have no idea exactly how I managed to escape from Gloomy Grange that dreadful night. I fled from my once-beauteous Japonica’s bedroom, somehow suppressing my yells of horror, flew down the stairs, left the house, and ran all the way back to the Rectory. I thanked my lucky stars that I am in immaculate levels of fitness and that I am not female so I didn’t twist my ankle.

I have been pondering my next step. I haven’t dared tell anyone about what I encountered for fear of being ridiculed, or worse, inciting a torch-wielding mob to go on a rampage.

But now I know the secret of Gloomy Grange. My beauteous Japonica is that most macabre of mythical creatures – a Were-Badger! It explains do much – well, apart from her accomplishments on the Tuba. But how did she get like that?And who is she to marry? And can she give TB to cattle?

I need to research Were-Badgers. Cousin Septimus has a large library with many obscure books of esoterica. Plus a full run of Razzle, bound.

Later

My eyes ache from hours of research by candle-light. I have not learned much as so littl is known about the Were-badger. Even the most credulous of crypto-zoologists have denied its very existence. Ha! They would laugh on the other side of their doubting faces if they had seen what I had.

I was preparing to call it a night when Cousin Septimus popped into the library, carrying a mug of Ovaltine – and whisky chaser-  for us both. I contemplated telling him what I had encountered, but something held me back. Then he dropped his bombshell.

He is going to Gloomy Grange on the morrow to finalise the wedding plans! He will be seeing not just the Squire… but the bride and groom!

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music