A Familiar Demon

Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote; “Deprived of meaningful work, men and women lose their reason for existence; they go stark, raving mad.” I can’t remember where I read that, but it is a thought that keeps coming to mind as I adjust to life here in Jasper Cove. I’ll admit, since that night in Bremerhaven; when Katharina took my life and brought me to a new one; I have had serious doubts about my sanity. What man wouldn’t, when almost everything he held to be true has proved otherwise, and what he held to be fantastical has proved real? Nevertheless, I always, at least, managed to keep myself busy; freelance accountant, manager of three different clubs, city treasurer, bodyguard to two queens… So I can’t say that I have been deprived of meaningful work.

At least, until I came here. Here in Jasper Cove, I have struggled to occupy myself. So far, the people seem to spend their time gambling, drinking and fishing. I have no objections to any of these, save the latter, which seems to entail far too much waiting around for something to happen; but none of these activities could be described as meaningful work. Thus, according to Dostoevsky, I should be going mad. It is entirely possibly that I am. For, if I were mad, would I know?

This place doesn’t exactly help to convince me of my sanity. Would a sane man walk around on an island conversing with angels, elves and miniature horses, and treat this as routine? Probably not, but I cannot blame Jasper Cove for that. No, that particular vestige of my sanity was stripped away long before, wandering the streets of London and finding myself talking with elves and demons, werewolves and dragons as well as my own kind.

No, it is not the fantastical creatures that test my belief in my sanity, at least, not in themselves. Particular examples, thereof, on the other hand do. There is the woman who so resembles my dearest Anna, yet seems not to know me at all. Granted, she is not a fantastical creature, save in the superlative sense. Then, a couple of nights after the birthday party, I walked into the tavern to be greeted by a most familiar, and definitely fantastical, figure in the shape of the well-renowned Madam Vedis Seid. However, unlike the aforementioned Anna, this would appear to actually be Vedis, who seemed unsurprised to see me in a tavern, and said so. It took me a while to unstick my jaw from the floor, and I must confess I did step outside for a moment to rail at the heavens for adding to my confusion. But, confusion or not, the heavens were not having their little joke, it was the one and same Vedis I knew. She did not venture to explain how she came to be here as she was on her way to the bath house, but said that we should talk more soon.

Aiobheann and a fire-headed young lady seemed most relieved when she left. Perhaps that is not so surprising, given her appearance. I would imagine she would appear quite frightening to somebody who did not know her. I reassured them that Vedis was a very splendid woman, and that I had known her in London, where she owned and managed a club. The red-head, whose name I later learned was Senna, seemed to accept this, but Aoibheann still seemed unsure. But then, she seems somewhat wary of all non-human creatures in my observation so far. Perhaps I should wait a while before revealing my nature. It somewhat depends on how long before she notices that I keep refusing offers of meals.

Senna is a most interesting character. She was dressed rather sparingly in a very short skirt but quite a bit of armour. She was most proud of her achievement in drinking all other competitors under the table on an earlier evening. Given her petite frame, this probably is an achievement. I am afraid that I joked with her that this was because I had not entered the competition. I think she took this as a bit of a challenge and affected to be unimpressed with my list of places I have been drunk. I do not think I will ever take up the challenge. I know that the alcohol has little effect on me, but I don’t really know how much I can consume without bursting and I suspect that disappearing to the privy to get rid of it is cheating. When she isn’t drinking, I think she is some sort of mercenary. However, she admitted that too many assignments end up being unpaid ones. I know that feeling. We agreed to advertise each other’s services and I offered to do the accounts for her, should she ever get paid.

And on the subject of getting paid, it seems I might have a job after all, albeit a relatively minor one of sorting out the tavern’s accounts. I don’t think Aoibheann has much idea about paperwork. Still, it should be relatively easy to sort it out. It’s not much, but at least it is paid work. I don’t know how meaningful it is, but it should suffice to justify my existence a little longer. So, perhaps I will hang on to the last vestiges of sanity for a while yet.

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