John Haker’s blog, post #1: Travels in Transylvania
I never saw myself writing a blog. To be honest with you, I’ve only ever been an infrequent user of social media. It just goes to show how much has changed in the past few weeks. Of course, none of it will mean anything to you unless you know something about me. I’m in my twenties or thirties, work for a niche corporate law firm in the city and to date nothing much exciting has happened to me. Does that sum it up well enough? I suppose you can tell I’m not keen to give too much away about myself. This is my first blog post after all!
Now imagine this for a turn of events. Right now, as I type, I’m sitting in the airport lounge waiting to board a flight to a place I’ve barely heard of, let alone thought about visiting. The Transylvanian Alps, somewhere in Romania. I’m travelling for business, not pleasure, and have absolutely no idea how long for. That’s right. It’s an open-ended business trip and I’m crossing every finger I’ve got hoping it won’t all be board meetings (bored meetings?) and tax planning.
I suppose it would be wrong to go any further without explaining the purpose of my travel. I’m going to advise a high net worth foreign client on some general matters of our corporation law. Not particularly gripping stuff for the uninitiated, I imagine. This is a very personal adventure for me. I’m happy to admit I was unscrupulous in acquiring this opportunity, but it’s best not to go into detail. Suffice to say this one trip could give my career the jumpstart it needs.
But that is nothing to the excitement I feel at the prospect of meeting the client himself, the real prize in this adventure. You see, I consider myself to be something of an amateur historian. I don’t readily delve into the unfamiliar without first doing all I can to learn and understand what it is I’m getting myself into. In the last few days of research, lukewarm at first but almost feverish in my appetite to discover more as my eyes were opened to this fascinating man, I’ve become something of an expert in the life and personal history of Boyar Dracul.
The first thing you should know about the man, the living legend to put it better, is that boyar is a title in that part of the world. Its equivalent would be our duke or count. Not to say my client holds such a title, though records indicate he comes from a long aristocratic line stretching back through imperial courts, local insurrections and bloodsoaked wars against invaders from the East. Boyar is his given name and I wonder what his noble parents expected of their son, hanging such a lofty title before a child’s eyes to chase after with all his strength.
It seems he has done just that, through sheer tireless will if not through virtue. Boyar Dracul’s name smears the cover of every local news website, blog and gossip column on a fairly regular basis, as far as I can read them. Those available in English paint a picture of a man for whom scandals and smear campaigns are things to be courted, rather than shied away from. His name even crops up in the occasional national spread, hints thrown out in evasive suggestion that his presence can be felt in some recent upsurge in organised crime, a new wave of local government corruption.
Pictures show a man in his sixties, dressed in dour clothes more often than not, but always surrounded by every possible trapping of wealth and success. Ah, but the real measure of the man can be found in his eyes, if I’m not mistaken. There’s clearly something in them, a fire which never dies. An insatiable thirst for life which defies his apparent age.
Of course, I may have utterly misjudged the man, but time will tell. For now, my flight is being called and I’d rather not miss it.