Igor sighed, another NEW castle. New castles were such a bother, nothing had any character, everything worked as people expected it to work. And of course, the dungeons were never correctly laid out; never a place to sleep peacefully without the slushing and gurgling of the plumbing.
Two years the last one had taken, re-routing the plumbing so that it fed outside from the upper levels. Fixing doors to creak properly took ages, drying the wood, carefully moving the floor levels to produce the scraping pressure, setting the door swinging over and over until the pressures created exactly the right creak.
Finding the right bats to come and share the belfry (and building one if the architect had been remiss, also took time. Not every bat was scary enough.
Planting only the blackest of roses and hedges. After all a scary castle couldn’t have pink or red roses growing along the pathway.
Ensuring the correct winding paths in the woods led to the correct entrances, doubling back on each other when needed. In one case a few centuries earlier he had had to plant the whole forest himself. Some nonsense about the local farmers needing the land for crops.
It seemed that he was taking longer and longer to create exactly the right castles for vampires to inhabit. He was always thinking, it takes so long, if I could just start at the beginning it would be much easier.
Then one day he was out ad about, looking for exactly the right place when he discovered what seemed at first to be the ideal place for a vampire colony. An area of large old buildings, many rooms with small indeed one could describe them as pokey windows, easy to allow to become grimy to keep rooms sufficiently dark and gloomy. Roofs at varying heights, every door had at least a minor creak, and some of them had really impressive groans. There were only a few people about, but he was sure they would be easy to persuade to leave. The best part was the long large rooms, full of books.
That area had quite a few people, all the time.
He asked around a bit and found the man in charge. “Thir, how musch would you like for the twhole plasse” he asked. The man stood up “My dear chap, that is a most alarming lisp, Dr Leichner would be fascinated to investigate and help. Why he was only saying at dinner last night, that all the corrective surgery available has made real lisps few and far between.”
Igor looked around, then he said “Actually sir the lisp is just for show. My apologies to the good doctor but I would be of no interest to him in that arena. However if he wants to discuss self-surgery, I’m sure we can make some time together. Meanwhile, how much do you want for the whole place?”
Professor Wilkins shook his head, “My dear chap, I’m afraid I don’t own the whole place, I am only the Chancellor of the University. As you know the University has existed for over a thousand years and all of the central buildings are the originals. They are protected by the University’s Charter of Independence. The secondary ring are all buildings we have created in the last 50 years to accommodate the influx of students caused by all the publicity.
However as it is summer holiday, all of the students and most of the staff are away. I am rather bored, and would love a chat with someone from outside. Please do stay and take some tea with me”.
That was how Igor discovered the faculty of architecture. He studied there for two years, emerging with a Doctorate in Uneven Floors.
Now Igor designs castles for vampires, doing it all himself. He calls his architectural practice “Doing it right”
(with thanks and apologies to Terry Pratchett)