Whilst the Citadel is a fascinating place in its own right, I have always been partial to going down to the village. I will admit I can still occasionally bring them mischief, and in the past have brought them more than their fair share of misery and chaos. In fact, they know me as the slightly eccentric and generally benevolent character, Lord John. They are good people, you see. But it is so hard for a leopard to truly change its spots, do you not think?
At other times I might visit the place in disguise, and then again I might not. It is all part of the fun. The current crop of villagers are perhaps the most interesting I have ever observed. So it is without further ado I would like to mention some of them.
Old Man WenceslasWenceslas is definitely the most enigmatic inhabitant of the village. His inscrutability is only matched by his hospitality, and he is the only being that I would say can best me in outright eccentricity. He is well known for suffering from recurring medical ailments, many of which have baffled some of the finest medical brains in Prague.
He is legendary for the fiery moonshine he often produces in his garden shed. In 1878 he produced the infamous 'Nose Bleeder Spirit', which was banned by the authorities. Furthermore, he was arrested in 1942 by the Nazi occupiers for spiking their water tanks with 'Gut Gurgler'. The Gestapo only managed to hold him for about two hours before he miraculously escaped. More recently, he has produced 'Befuddler', 'Pillow Seeker' and the ever-popular 'Toe Curler Hooch'.He is said to be as old as Methuselah, and I can concur with that judgement. However, his origins and true nature have always eluded me, and I suspect that powerful magick is surely involved.
Stoic and quietly spoken. Vilem watches over his flock and the oversees village from a distance. He very occasionally visit the village tavern, where he is heard to mutter incomprehensibly to his drink through a dirt-encrusted straggly beard. It is said that he has a wife somewhere, but I find this doubtful. His first love is looking after goats - and he is very good at it. The year before last, attention was drawn to poor Vilem during an outbreak of mysterious events in the village.
Mr PospisilThe village's amiable and bumbling fire warden. He is in the village tavern so often that the hostelry is also known by the informal soubriquet: The Fire Station.
Monied widow and member of one of the village's oldest landowning families. She more or less spends most of her time here at the Citadel as she is still in courtship with my faithful butler, Stanislav. I am sure they are yet to share a kiss - but that is probably none of my business. Rome was not built in a day!
Here is a reminder of an early rendezvous between the happy pair:
Veceslav Valdek runs the village station, where he administers justice and directs a force of two constables in the task of policing Stary Hrom and its surrounding environs. Sergeant Valdek is an old-fashioned and headstrong old goat, but I harbour a quiet respect for the man. I will admit our paths have crossed on more than one occasion, and he is still the person who gets my mischief juices flowing the most (after Vlad Dracula, of course, but is not a 'person' per se).
Okay, I concede. His moustache is worthy. Maybe.