Because there is only one story with Otto, I decided to give him some love.
Truth in the darkness
Otto was curious, and also a bit scared. The thing he was going to do, could be really frightening, when you think of it, nevertheless it was something that could be considered a good thing. Come to think of it, this was the reason people were visiting fortunetellers and looking into magic mirrors – they wanted to know something about themselves, even if the truth could be horrific or a real downer. Still there was some part of one's mind that wanted to know what kind of secrets were connected to one's soul or destiny.
Ever since Otto realized the dark light could show past, future and general truth about the person depicted on the picture, he was wondering what he would see, if he made a dark light portrait of himself. At first it was just a small thought and he dismissed it with no effort. But soon it started to come back. He kept telling himself it's not a good idea. I mean, look, there are things you better off not knowing, like: how you die or what kind of bastard you can be in a very harsh situation. Also if the picture of dark light could show the past, Otto didn't want to see it. His past wasn't good and he surely had enough fun with nightmares of pitchfork and torches during his dreams, thank you very much.
Besides there was a purely technical problem of "who was going to be behind the iconograph, when he would be in front of it" nature. Otto was still the only iconographer in whole "Ankh-Morpolk Times", but he wouldn't let anyone near his basement anyway. They could mess around with his salamanders, his experiments, his precious iconograph… Oh, gods, he wouldn't stand if somebody would have broke his iconograph, even by accident. He also didn't know any professional iconographer he could trust with his workshop.
Zo no, absolutely zere vas no option to take a dark light picture of myzelf and leave me alone, you zilly thought!
But it didn't change the fact that Otto was curious. Didn't help much that he still had a dark light pictures of William and those thugs dressed as a priest and a virgin that wanted to hurt him once. Something inside Otto wanted desperately a dark light picture. It didn't care for excuses, hell, it didn't care for decent arguments. His curiosity was growing more and more each and every day spent in his workshop.
Maybe if we took this damn picture, it would be something important, like knowledge of some future catastrophe, he could prevent.
But it's dangerous to know the future. And Villiam could not prevent zer fire from happening, even ven he saw the picture.
But now he will know. He's not stupid. And so do you. Besides, it doesn't necessarily have to be the future you will see. Maybe also it won't be anything bad or scary. You won't find out, until you see.
But I don't vant to zee!
You keep saying it, Otto, however, you really don't believe it. You work in a place that keep chasing for the truth. And you know what philosophers say: you have to get to know yourself, before you get to know the universe. Don't you want to know truth about yourself?
Not everybody vant to knov zer truth. Ignorance iz a bliss.
Yes, but do you really think that you belong to those people, who think that ignorance is a bliss? No, you don't.
But zere iz some things people should not knov! Even about themselves!
Still, you know you want to.
Leave me alone! Go avay!
It didn't go away. At least for not very long. It kept coming back every time Otto's mind stopped being occupied by other things, like running after Sacharissa or William to make a picture, or just plain talking with other employees of "Times". In other words, it was coming back every time, he was alone.
There are many kinds of curiosity. There is "I wonder what's in that hole" curiosity that could be suppressed by a sound that would indicate there is a snake inside. There is "I wonder how that young lady looks, when she dresses to sleep" curiosity that could be pushed away by reminder that father, brother or husband of said lady would start to shoot you from the crossbow, if you try to be a peeping Tom. And there is that kind of curiosity that doesn't listen to any reason, no matter how much somebody try to reason with it. Generally this is the kind of curiosity that killed the cat, even though cat ran before it on a tree. To fight it, you need a good obstacle and even then you have to pray that you don't find a solution for this obstacle.
So after few weeks of inner battle Otto Chriek finally gave up. He found an iconographer, who was also experimenting on dark light and was more than helpful to make him a picture. Said iconographer just happened to left an advertisement in "Times" just when Otto thought happily that there is no way to make him a picture, since he was the only iconographer in Ankh-Morpolk (known by him) to use the technique of dark light. That was the moment when he had to just roll with it. He wrote down the address and decided to go there right after the work.
The iconographer was named Adeline Weston. When Otto (after many problems with finding the right place) came to her workshop and knocked to the door, it has been opened by a young woman with round face, jasper eyes and red locks. She looked a bit like a doll with this light skin, blushed on the cheeks. On the other hand some kind of gentleness was radiating from her, when she smiled to him.
"Yes?" She asked, still smiling.
"Yes," He began a bit nervously. "I vould like to have a dark light picture."
"Oh…" She said and opened door wider to let him inside. "Please, come in, sir."
She led him to a room that was small, but still contained everything necessary – an iconograph, lights, big screen with wonderful forest scenery, and a lonely chair. This chair seemed to wait for Otto and he felt odd for thinking that way. Soon he will have to sit here just like that. He could run away from this place and forget about the picture, but his feet were nailed to the floor. He remembered a dark figure looking above William's arms on his first dark light picture ever taken under "Ankh-Morpolk Times" employment. It had been creepy and, truth to be told, still was.
"Can I ask for your name, sir?" Asked miss Weston, taking him back to reality.
He turned to her. She smiled even wider and even nicer.
"Otto Chriek." His mouth said.
"Oh, that Otto Chriek?" She almost exclaimed and quickly extended her hand towards him. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."
He wasn't mesmerized or even charmed by her. It's just… her face was so sympathetic like there was only kindness in that young woman. So he shook her hand and smiled too. When the shaking ended, Otto felt a bit uneasy.
"Can ve proceed?" He asked. "I'm sorry for such a rush, but I feel zat I vill change my mind if it vill take any longer."
"I understand." She began to do some adjustments in her iconograph. "Dark light pictures can be tricky. But who am I telling it? You know it very well, mister Chriek." She stopped and looked once again at Otto. "Please, sit on this chair, sir."
He obeyed. It was a really weird feeling – being on the other side of the iconograph. The device seemed to watch him with its only eye, showing no emotion whatsoever. Like an owl in the woods. Meanwhile miss Weston covered herself with standard black curtain and took the right position – one hand on the main device, the other holding high the pole with eels.
"Relax, mister Chriek. Everything will be fine." He heard from behind the iconograph.
Otto straightened himself on the wooden chair and smiled lightly. He didn't know why he bothered with a smile. After all looking good wasn't the main point of that picture. The main point was the thing that wasn't visible right now (whatever that was).
"Are you ready, mister Chriek?" Miss Weston asked.
"Yes, I do, mizz Veston." He replied.
"And you don't want to run?" She said jokingly.
"Me? From here? No." He laughed.
"Then it won't take long. Only a second."
Otto smiled to his thoughts. He knew it will take a little more than a second.
Sitting on a chair, still considering the escape, he observed Miss Weston's every move, wondering if that's how he looks like to others (minus blue dress and plus black trousers). He exactly knew what was happening behind that black curtain. The whole process was known to him more than anything else. He could explain everything as she go.
"Boo." Miss Weston said.
Otto's smile suddenly fell flat. How she…?
But he couldn't think about it a bit longer, because he felt that something imploded soundlessly. And then came another weird feeling – feeling of tiny, icy spikes coming through his body right into his soul. Then everything was normal once again and he realized that it was done. Now he only had to look at his picture.
Otto blinked twice and, standing up, looked at miss Weston, who came out and waited. After three seconds the picture came out from the iconograph. Miss Weston took it and observed for a moment. Her lips curved into smile. She chuckled and turned her eyes on the vampire in front of her.
"It turned out… very interesting, mister Chriek."
"Can I zee it, mizz Veston?" Otto asked and came closer to her.
"Of course, you can see it. It's your picture." Miss Weston extended her arm towards her customer and gave him the picture.
Otto took a deep breath and fixed his eyes on the picture. He had hard time recognizing himself. In fact his silhouette was only outlined on the background of big, shapeless spot of white and yellow.
"Iz zat a…?" He began, pointing at the spot.
"Yes, it's a light." Miss Weston responded. "Come to think of it, it's an odd thing to appear around a creature of the night," She looked at him and added: "don't you agree, mister Chriek?"
Otto, who was listening to her while watching the picture, now turned his eyes on the woman. Whatever she was suggesting, she didn't mean to offend him.
"However," she started again and pointed at place on the picture, where was Otto's legs. "there is also darkness."
Some kind of black flames were coming out from a floor and changed into forest of black hands, reaching for his legs. Otto felt another rush of coldness within.
"Vat does zat mean?" He asked with a weak voice and once again turned to miss Weston. She smiled to him in a very reassuring way.
"I'm not entirely sure, mister Chriek," She began, still smiling. "but I think that you are followed by light. Light surrounds you in more than one way. And since it surrounds you, everybody knows what you are in the plain sight."
He didn't know what to think of it. For sure there was many ways to read into this kind of fortune.
"Und vat about zer darkness?" He asked.
Miss Weston's expression changed for a bit more concerned. Otto thought it wasn't a good sign.
"Darkness comes from the ground, so there must be something that deeply disturbs you, mister Chriek. Some part of you want to pull you away from the light."
"It looks like it vants to eat me." Otto whispered with horrified expression.
Previous smile of kindness returned on miss Weston lips, as she put her hands on Otto's arms. He felt weird, but not as much uncomfortable as if she came closer and took his hand. Then he would be afraid of relapse and would have to bite something.
"Indeed, it looks like that is the case." She finally said. "This darkness want to consume you whole. However, mister Chriek," miss Weston took her hands off Otto and put them together like a proper lady. "whenever it will come anywhere near you, remember that light follows you everywhere you go. Even if sometimes it's disguised as black ribbon."
She turned back to him and entered the other, rather dark room.
"I'm sorry to leave you," She began. "but I have some things to do."
"Hov much do I pay, mizz Veston?" Otto called after her. Female iconographer stopped and faced him with another of her smiles.
"You don't have to pay me, mister Chriek. Let say it's a gift." Her hand rested on the doorknob on the other inner side of the door. "Goodbye, mister Chriek."