A Rather Special Interview
Dearest Mr Wolfgang, thank you for meeting me today. I am delighted to hear that you are doing better. […] [REDACTED] does not scare me. It does make me wonder, what would drive one to douse their eyes so? What makes and motivates a hunter?
I guess [the reason] why I became a monster hunter started when I first came here from the surface. It started with rat-catching. I would spend days, months at a time in the marshes, picking off rats by the hundreds until the numbers of rat corpses would take multiple of the department’s counters to pick through the stinking remains. It was satisfying but I would find myself with great hunger. Not the candle-lighting hunger that leaves so much dread around the direction of North but a more primal sense. I found myself in luck when I realised that someone had been amplifying my other actions, say my work for His Grace and Mr Inch, to Slowcake. It wasn’t long before I became a stalker which provided nice company on assignments but this was the act of bringing in one’s mark relatively intact. Challenging, yes. Satisfying, no. I guess us hunters hunt as it is our ambition to regress to a more primal mindset. All this cordite and steel nonsense muddles the order of the food chain. Us monster hunters wish to climb it as monsters do – through our own prowess as, ironically, monsters ourselves. When I first dragged that thing up to the beach near Prickfinger, I felt more alive than I ever did in my entire life. When I ate of its flesh, I became that monster’s superior, its predator. By eating of its flesh, I had ascended.
A thrilling tale, certainly, a satisfying premise. The hunter becomes not the hunted, but one to equal and surpass the prey. Surely, you must have hunted great beasts in your time here. Does one stand out? A true apex predator, challenged perhaps only by your own might? In short – regale me with a tale of a hunt, Mr Wolfgang.
It was during my work with the Bishop of Southwark. He wanted to make a beast to hunt devils by breeding a great beast with what sounded like [REDACTED]. All my candidates were failures which made me feel quite worthless. Then I saw it in my dreams one night. The Void’s Approach. A citadel of ice. F________d. As soon as I awoke, I set sail in my zub. My crew was incredulous. Once the conditions were met, I proceeded to reduce myself to my basest form. My own flesh and my notched-bone companion. After your first hunt, the water never quite feels cold anymore and you can actually see a fair bit as well. To put it simply, I was as comfortable under the water as a babe in the womb. He was below, I could see him. Alone. I swam deeper to meet him. He was 4 men long with armour plating and quite sharp in teeth and spikes. Could’ve torn a bound-shark to ribbons. He carefully appraised me like a duellist does his opponent. Was it the eyes? Mine were a lot like his; peligin. He charged toward me and I waited, his mouth agape. He seemed to be quite shocked when I slipped beneath him and wedged my harpoon between his ventral plates, daring to go deeper. He swam to the surface on my behest. I had to take him alive, sadly. He looked quite delicious. He may be gone now but his daughter now serves an admirable cause. R., I would be lying if I were to say I didn’t miss him.
So thrilling! So exquisitely revealing. The hunt is a romantic horror, a show of strength, wit, determination. Beyond that, however, you have mentioned our dear Bishop of Southwark. He is a man known well over for his rowdy interests and dislike of devils. Other matters, well, I know better than to stray too far, but therein still lies an interest. The Bishop is not a man I often seek the company of. What can you tell me about him?
His Grace is the sort that is as subtle as a strongwoman scorned, but his ideas are quite forward-thinking. Especially in terms of ridding – or at least regulating – the infernal presence within our fine city. Don’t let the fact that he is a man of the cloth make you think he is frail, for he is anything but; he is quite partial to bouts of wrestling. An enjoyable and educational experience, at least when it’s been him and I on the mat. If you were to actually let him voice his opinion, he would allow you to voice yours in kind as while he believes his opinion should be held high, he appreciates that conflicting ideas exist so that he may strengthen his own. He and I have discussed wrestling techniques for hours over a bottle of Broken Giant. My experiences, however, can be chalked up to my former envoyship over an unfortunate court case involving that buzzard of a woman V______a – don’t even get me started, but she essentially offered him a plea deal in exchange for marrying her – but if he can tolerate the practices of the Bishop over at Fiacre’s I’d say he’s a probably the best man to be the head of Southwark Cathedral. I ought to stop indulging so often.
A quite fascinating man, truly. Wrestling, I see, is one of your many passions. You are, visibly, a man of might yourself. My interest had been piqued when you mentioned wrestling goats. Please, by all means, tell me more.
Ah, the goats! Not the friendly little things from the surface, but those terrible, disgusting freaks of nature from Hell itself! They are completely grotesque! They stand on their hind-legs like pagan satyrs and are bloody strong, too! They are one of the many reasons I have chosen the Royal Beth over those who love to be ogled in the completely wrong way over at the Embassy. I’m a shepherd. I return souls and gather contracts and it makes my blood boil to know of and see people willingly admit themselves to a place where they are so likely to lose the very thing I work to return! Anyway, I’m getting off track. Goat-demons. I tracked one down in the Flit when I was working with Mr Inch over at the labyrinth. One of the more tamer catches if you ask me. When I was trying to help His Grace with his ennui back with that whole V______a business, I resorted to wrestling a great goat-demon called Yule Lad. Have you ever seen an upright goat with a well-defined abdominus rectus? Neither had I! Anyhow, we got into the ring, and what transpired was perhaps the most challenging unarmed bout I’ve ever experienced! I never thought that I’d be using horns as leverage for a throw, or be suplexing a bloody upright goat of all things to begin with! It was tough, but after slamming it into the ground and getting its horns wedged, I was declared the winner.
My! That sounds like true excitement. Now, I’m sure there are many a discussion to be had about goat behinds and what Iceland has to do with residents of Hell – and, trust me, I have much to comment upon in one of those cases. However, it suffices to say, I’m sure, that your efforts for humanity and martial arts are commendable. Let us briefly speak of other things.
I am certain that our readers are, by now, wondering who the man behind these acts is. Dear Wolfgang, what led you first into the Neath?
Well, on the surface I was in the Royal Navy. Joined as soon as age permitted as I felt the sea calling ever since I first set my eyes on it. We were posted in the Mediterranean, near Naples, for what the crew at large were told were ‘routine patrols.’ Found out later that it was a survey mission for a little anomaly we know as the Avernus that leads to the Cumaean canal. Everyone was rightfully confused when the pigeons stopped coming with messages from London. A few months of no orders later, the captain declared that the ship was now part of some sort of sequence or something, and we made for the Neath via the Avernus, as all do. More and more of the crew started speaking of a ‘dawn in the darkness’; rightful strange stuff. Long story short, our dreadnought got swamped on a fairly upset sounding giant sea urchin which I later found out was a particularly large fluke. I fell overboard and presumably a kindly drownie felt pity and dragged me ashore at the cost of my uniform. The constables didn’t like the concept of a nude man wandering Wolfstack, so they cuffed me and sent me to New Newgate for ‘gross public indecency.’ That’s how I ended up here, and I can only say that my life has improved exponentially. I have my own Zub, a crew, friends, and a job so much more fulfilling than rifle repairs – and I don’t feel a day over 27!
A rather strong introduction, one must admit. Your complexion also supports- ah, nonetheless. You speak of such harrowing experiences like a true fearless hunter.
Now, I cannot forego my own guilty pleasures. You have sought an interview with us for a reason, one would reason. Are you a lover of the Neath’s many arts? Moreover, is there more you would like the world to know, casting your voice so far and wide through the press?
My beloved is better versed in London’s more conventional art, but it’s the Neath itself that fascinates me, and it’s that nature in which its true art truly lies. Surreal vistas across the Unterzee, playing chess with the Boatman only to wake up as if death was only a mild footnote in one’s expanded life, the smell of brimstone down south where coal is cheap and laws never cease to change. It’s that sort of art which I love. The art of experience. In terms of what I wish to say in conclusion, I would like to give thanks to a few people and an organisation for helping me get to where I am today. I give my thanks to F_____i, who provided me with a great whetstone to sharpen myself, to F_______, who was a sporting rival on the way to the [REDACTED], to V______a for awakening my utter hatred of her kind, to Claude for being the best assistant I could ever ask for and, to the brave men and women of the C.V.R with their noble work in restoring souls to their rightful owners. Also Mr _____. Thanks for attending my wedding I suppose (I didn’t invite it, it just showed up and we couldn’t just tell it to leave). To any aspiring artists out there, know that art isn’t just the art of pen and quill, or canvas and paint. Art is what you make of the world and what you do within it. There is art in everything. Find the art within you. Also, to any aspiring monster hunters, it’s worth it. Very worth it.
Beautiful words, Mr. Wolfgang, truly so. Thank you very much for this opportunity.