Averoigne II:7, in which the Inquisitor’s Haste Is Remarked Upon and the Fog Conceals Much

Being Compline, Wednesday, the twelfth day of February, Anno Domini One Thousand Two Hundred and Seventy-Six, in the solar of the Archbisop’s Palace…

“Fortunately,” the archbishop says softly, “an old man sometimes sleeps poorly.”

Bruyant, Pierre, and the ecclesiast are huddled in a corner, far away from the fire and prying ears at the doorway.  Their patron shivers. Pierre retrieves a blanket from a nearby chest, and Honore smiles as the wineseller drapes it about his shoulders.  “Thank thee, my lad.  Now that I have heard thy story, I must admit it is a difficult one to unravel.”

He sits on a bench, with the two men flanking him.  “It is most uncommon for an inquisitor to leave his seclusion to apprehend a suspect, especially before the edict is read.  Some might even call it reckless.  He must have had a good reason to believe that something was afoot…” he trails off.

“… and a better reason to believe that time was of the essence,” finishes Bruyant.

“’Tis most unusual that an inquisitor would know precisely where to find a hidden object in the quarters of an unattached lady,” mutters Pierre.  “Though, of course, that need be no reflection upon his character,” he adds hastily.

“It does raise some questions.  What was in the vial?  Who knew that this vial was located in its cubbyhole?  How did he or she find out?  Why was the Inquisitor informed?”  The archbishop takes a deep breath.  “I fear I have no answers -“

He is cut off as a shriek resounds through the halls.  It is followed by two more before it turns into sobbing.  The men leap to their feet and run out into the passage, toward the dungeon where Eve is kept.

At the top of the stairs to the cells, they meet Conrad and a guard, who is carrying a torch.

“This is most unseemly, sir!” calls out Bruyant.  “This woman should not be harmed in this holy place!”

“Keep a civil tongue, priest!” snaps Conrad.  “I have done nothing to her.  She awakened from slumber and began screaming, no doubt from her guilty conscience.  Thy own guard will vouch for it.”

The archbishop looks to his retainer, who nods.

Pierre coughs.  “Good sir, Father Bruyant is merely motivated by his zeal for the well-being of this young woman, both physical and spiritual.  It might be appropriate if he might work with thee as her guardian.”  The archbishop nods his assent.

“Perhaps.  We will discuss this in the afternoon of the morrow.”  Conrad walks past them toward his room.  “No doubt he is fitter for it than that Franciscan.”
Meanwhile, somewhere in the streets of Vyones…

“This cursed fog grows thicker by the minute,” says Julien, pulling his cloak more closely about him.

The clerk and the friar had hoped to find someone with whom to discuss Eve or the mysterious woman, but to no avail.  All have vanished into their houses and are deaf to any pounding or entreaties at their doors, save to pray the more loudly.

Marcel nods.  “Nothing more can be done.  We had best head back to the palace.”

An agonized, staccato series of squeals erupts from out of the mist.  Julien draws his sword, and the companions dash through the mists toward the sound.  The clammy air, mingled with wood smoke, causes them to cough, but they press on.  Somewhere nearby, dogs howl behind barred doors.

After a few twists and turns, they find the source.  A pig lies on its side on the ground.  Its throat has been savagely torn out, and it wheezes futilely to obtain air as its blood darkens and pools on the cobblestones.

“What could have done this?” Marcel says, gasping for breath.

“Perhaps an animal – look!” cries Julien.

Through the fog before him, a few feet away, glow two malevolent, yellow eyes.  Julien is a large man, but these hover at the level of his chest.

The men stand transfixed for the moment.  The thing stares, blinks, and vanishes.  Julien hears the padding of feet somewhere, but soon this is swallowed by silence.

The clerk takes a deep breath.  “I am a brave man, Marcel…”

“…but it would be foolhardy for us to pursue whatever this might be through the fog with naught but one blade,” concludes his friend.  “Our friends should be informed.”

Few would fault the two companions for their brisk pace through the fog back to the archbishop’s palace.

Published in: on March 30, 2008 at 8:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Minister Gordon Brown’s grilling by senior MPs on the Commons liaison committee. (56 clicks) Averoigne II:7, in which the Inquisitor’s Haste Is Remarked Upon and the Fog Conceals MuchBeing Co… STEVIE WONDER / “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)”I realized recently that we […]

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