"Wake up, we're here," Piers said, shaking Linden's shoulder.
"Here where?" Linden mumbled. The last thing he remembered was staggering, only vaguely awake, from the plane to the waiting limousine.
"Our prison for the foreseeable future," Piers replied, looking innocently at Roderick as he said that.
"If you really want a prison I'm quite certain I can arrange one for you," Roderick muttered. "Perhaps the one under the ruins, if it's survived." He smiled nostalgically. "Now that was one of the better dungeons I've seen in my time if I do say so myself."
"He's kidding, isn't he?" Linden whispered to Piers.
"Knowing him, probably not."
Just then, the chauffeur opened the door, standing at attention while his passengers got out.
"See that our bags are brought in, Malcolm," Roderick ordered before striding up the steps to the main entrance of the manor house. The door opened before he got to it, revealing a butler in full livery.
The man bowed. "Welcome home, Master."
"Thank you, Seward," Roderick replied with a slight nod of his head. Beyond the butler, he could see the rest of his staff lined up at attention. He greeted each of them individually, giving the housekeeper, Mrs. Pope, a hug before introducing her Linden who had never been there before. "He's a good boy," he told her with a chuckle, "He just needs a bit of a firm hand."
Mrs. Pope looked him over with a stern, appraising eye. "I'll see to it that he obeys the rules, Sir." Then she smiled widely at the look of dismay on Linden's face and hugged him. "I was just joshing."
"Whew," Linden said in relief.
"She leaves the disciplining up to me," the tall, burly man standing beside her said.
"Now, Mather, behave. Linden, this is Mr. Pope. He's the stableman and gamekeeper."
As the introductions continued, Linden realized that they were all human and, as far as he could tell at least, none were ghouls. He wondered if they even knew that Roderick and Piers were vampires.
That question was answered immediately after Roderick had dismissed the servants. A young man approached Piers, asking, "Do you need to feed?" The look in his eyes said that he really hoped Piers would say 'Yes'.
"No, I'm fine thank you, Dixon," Piers replied. "Perhaps tomorrow evening." As young man nodded and walked away, Piers shook his head. "He's just a bit—needy, poor boy."
Linden bit back the comment he wanted to make, that the 'poor boy' wasn't the only one, glancing at Roderick. 'We're all 'poor' boys in that respect,' he thought, getting a nod of agreement from Roderick.