After a long and painful illness, Damned Bloody Assassins has finally been pronounced dead.
I never intended this to happen, and I'm truly sorry to any readers who wanted to read the end. Until now, I genuinely did intend to finish it at some point, but realistically, that's almost certainly never going to happen. I feel that I owe readers an explanation. This fic was one of my first serious attempts at a novel-length piece, and as such, while it means quite a lot to me, it was never very good. It needs some serious reworking of what's already been posted as well as writing the rest of it, and I'm no longer sure I even like the story at all, even if I could get it into some kind of decent shape. I'm no longer seriously writing fanfiction - although there is one short piece in the pipeline, entitled Sic Semper, which might get done at some point; I've moved on to original work, and don't have the time to devote to fanfiction any more.
If anyone likes any of my characters or ideas from this fic and wants to borrow them, I would be delighted.
For the sake of not leaving people wondering, I'll end this by telling you what would have happened.
The rather interesting chap in black who Vimes encountered is a vampire, comma, hunter. In fact he is often a vampire hunter, but only because it takes one to inhume one. He's a licensed assassin, based in Uberwald, and in Ankh Morpork on business. (I don't know his name yet. For brevity I'll refer to him as V,H)
Andrei was going to be found, almost dead, following the fight in the alleyway, and would be 'adopted' by the Watch once Angua squashed any idea of his being The Bastard as she would definitely have smelled him.
I was going to edit in some more suggestions that Marko Biondi might have been a werewolf, and try to hint that he and Andrei were the same person. They're not.
Andrei's name is a reference to Angua's brother - it's not the same name as André, and they're nothing to do with each other. Although Andrei was going to possibly end up in the Cable Street Particulars. He's good at being an invisible person. He's also something of a poet and I had one or two nice scenes lined up with him entertaining literal-minded Morporkians.
Obviously, he's not Andrei von Ubervald, who is a yennork permanently in wolf form, but I was going to have a go at suggesting he was before reminding everyone of that fact.
V,H would also encounter the Watch (not sure of the details), resulting in a meeting between him and Andrei, who knows him from their past. Andrei would seem positively infatuated with him, and speak of him as if he could do no wrong, but Sadik's picking up on someone's fear.
Not just the werewolf-vampire thing. Although it is related to the werewolf-vampire thing. (This is the bit I generally cringe at when thinking of this.) Andrei was kept imprisoned by vampires, who were attempting to make a kind of slave race out of werewolves. His scars and disabilities are from being tortured. V,H was behind this along with the rest of his family/clan, but he would sometimes show Andrei a little kindness. As a result, Andrei is suffering from severe 'Sto Kerrig syndrome', Sto Kerrig being the nearest Disc placename I could find to Stockholm. Andrei was 'helped to escape' by V,H, and is convinced that he never wanted any part of his imprisonment and torture. The 'business' for which V,H is in Ankh-Morpork is to find him and see how successful the plan was (quite successful).
I'm really not sure where that side plot was going.
In another side plot, (which also makes me cringe a little,) Young Sam's cough was going to turn out to be related to him developing asthma, which would become life-threatening. Vimes was going to give up smoking, as Doctor Lawn would tell him that it was harmful to his son even if he never actually smoked around Young Sam. He'd take up snuff instead (not related to any musings on the title Snuff, since I had this whole idea before I heard of it). However, Young Sam would die anyway, leaving Vimes racked with guilt. This was going to lead on to some depictions of Vimes' darker side.
Back to the main plot. Sadik's lie-detector ability would convince Vimes (correctly) that Biondi did not know or suspect that his brother was alive, but both of them would leave that interview with the idea that he was, and was The Bastard. Since Biondi (meaning Julyan; Marko will always be referred to by his first name) wants to be the first to find Marko, they would join forces, though not-exactly-secretly would both have different aims, Biondi wanting to help his brother escape.
A plan would be hatched whereby Biondi would be just a fraction too careless in his investigations in the Shades, in the hope that The Bastard would discover him. Then he would feign being off his guard to try and either
if it is Marko, get him to confront his brother. Or,
if it's not Marko, provoke an attack which in theory a trained assassin would be able to defend himself against.
The next scene would have Biondi staggering out of some desperate part of the Shades carrying a child. Both have been stabbed and are badly injured. While the child, who is the street urchin from the very first scene, was taken to be looked after, Biondi would insist on talking to Vimes as a matter too urgent to wait until his own injuries had been treated. At his first, rather desperate and garbled, attempt to explain, all Vimes would manage to gather is that it was Biondi who wounded the boy.
Vimes goes spare.
Biondi manages to convince him to hold off on beating the injured man to a pulp (remember, this is in the wake of his own little boy's death, as well as his usual attitude to crimes against children) until he's heard him out.
Despite being a trained assassin, and his own back-story, Biondi fell for exactly the same ploy as every other victim, and ignored The Bastard when he walked past the alley where he lay in wait. He did, in fact, notice him, but made the fatal mistake of assuming that the starved little street urchin was largely harmless and certainly not a serial killer. Vimes, of course, was on the right track with his earlier supposition that the killer was a dwarf - or someone about the height of a dwarf. The boy attacked Biondi, who instinctively fought back and had stabbed him before registering that he was just a child.
That's about all I know. Most likely the boy gets taken in and trained by the Assassins' Guild much like Biondi was. Or possibly he dies; he was already in quite a bad way before being stabbed. Biondi probably survives. As for ANdrei and V,H: not a clue.
A Couple of Notes:
Why Angua couldn't trace The Bastard: young children have very little body odour compared to adults. It never even occurred to anyone that The Bastard was pre-pubescent. Angua would have been able to detect the child's scent, but since it was so faint she discounted it as being much older and therefore not belonging to the killer, and it wasn't strong enough for her to remember it when she smelled it at other crime scenes.
Werewolves: We don't actually know that much about the Disc's version of werewolves, so I made up what I needed to, trying to keep it in line with what we do know.
Only fire or silver can hurt werewolves, and they heal perefectly from all injuries. So you might be wondering how Andrei ended up in such a state. In my interpretation, werewolves don't magically heal from injuries inflicted by fire and silver. Burns affect them just as they do anyone else, and a cut from a silver blade will leave a scar. In addition, silver burns werewolves, but a mere touch doesn't kill them: it would have to be a fatal injury inflicted by a silver weapon, or burns severe enough to be fatal.
I also wanted wolfsbane to poison werewolves, before remembering that that doesn't work in Discworld: Angua states that it's 'just a silly herb'. But in fact there are many plants referred to as wolfsbane, so I just invented a very rare and little-known one that's the real deal. True wolfsbane is deadly to werewolves in high enough doses, and at lower doses merely makes them very ill, and can have lasting effects. It also burns and prevents healing if applied to wounds.
Andrei was restrained with silver chains, leaving his wrists and ankles badly scarred. He has limited use of his hands, but binds them with heavy straps to brace his wrists, and also to wrap around his fingers and any object he needs to hold securely. He was also repeatedly injured with silver tools and with fire, and poisoned with true wolfsbane - not enough to kill him but leaving him severely weakened. Not only is he disabled by the effects of his treatment, but it's possible that he's so weakened by things that can kill werewolves that ordinary things might be able to kill him because of his weakness on top of the temporary effects of ordinary injuries - neither he nor Death are sure about that, though.
Monkey Street: Monkey street is a real street in Morpork, much deeper in the Shades than Cockbill Street. To the best of my knowledge, that's all we know about it from canon, so I invented a little as background for the Biondi family. Being in the heart of the Shades, Monkey Street is full of much less savoury characters than Vimes' home. It's also even more deprived: Monkey Street people are too poor to buy soap, and Monkey Street people buy their clothes from the pawn shop. Hence why Vimes was 'a nob from the start' from Biondi's point of view: Monkey Street is where Cockbill Street people look down on.