Averoigne, Part 1: The Conclusion

Being nigh unto sundown, the sixth day of November, Anno Domini One Thousand Two Hundred and Seventy-Five, in the audience hall of Archbishop Honore of Vyones…

The last of the witnesses from Ximes files out, and the companions stand before the Archbishop of Vyones.  Honore is an elderly man with a bald head who bears himself with dignity and poise.

After a long pause, the Archbishop rises, places his hands behind his back, and strides over to the window.  Though it is chilly, the day is warm for the month, so he opens the shutters and looks out upon the busy cobbled streets beneath.  The cries of shopkeepers, the chanting of pilgrims seeking salvation, and the squeals of pigs driven to the slaughter drift through the aperture.

He waits.  Thibault coughs quickly.  Marcel scratches his nose, hoping the gesture will go unnoticed.  The silence continues.

The archbishop speaks.  “It has come to my attention, by way of my messengers, that no sign of the monks of Saint-Crapauld is to be found anywhere.  ‘Tis as if they vanished into the snowstorm, or the hellish labyrinth beneath the monastery.   The place must be garrisoned, but finding an order worthy of the task will undoubtedly be easy.”

He pauses again.  From below, the sound of a troubadour may be heard.  “Tell me,” says the Archbishop, “what is that song?”

Richard steps forward.  “Your Holiness, it seems to be a lay in honor of the good Philbert, who with the aid of Saint-Azedarac fought off the evil that infested the heart of Ximes.”

The archbishop turns toward him.  “Ah, my good Parisian, but is it a good song?”

“Well, no.  I mean, I am by no means conversant with the popular tastes in music – “

“It reeks,” says the archbishop.  He claps his hands, and a servant appears.  “Bring me a quill and ink.  A scribe is unnecessary – I prefer to compose in my own hand.”  He shakes his head as the servant departs.  “How in the name of Saint Azedarac will we get this Philbert beatified if the public must listen to this tripe?”

“But sir “ protests Marcel.

“Yes, good friar, I know.”  The archbishop holds up a hand in placation.  “He was a poor man to become a saint.  Still, I am sure that poorer have found the grace of God and been incorporated into his His holy train.  In the end, I think he may have found salvation for his sinful life.  At any rate, two saints are better than one, and the pilgrimage road to Ximes also runs through Vyones.

“Ah!  Here are my writing tools.  Please join me, gentlemen.”

The archbishop sits down at a desk and begins to write.  Soon wine is brought out, and the others are clustered around the table.  Richard quietly suggests a particular turn of phrase here and there.  Julien belts out a few stanzas from tavern songs off-key, trying desperately to avoid any untoward material, as Thibault claps for a beat.  Over the archbishop’s shoulder, Marcel shuffles through papers from Saint Crapauld, compares the archbishop’s handwriting to them, and gives a tiny sigh of relief.

Few troubadours travel in winter, but the spring will hear a new song.


Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. C’est merveilleux!

    *applauds, pleased*

  2. Nice. Thanks for taking the time to write this up. I’ve enjoyed it all.

  3. Dan, its been an interresting journey. I do hope there is something else in the pipeline.

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