Thursday, September 02, 2010

After dinner thoughts

Monte-Cristo, 21st July 1713

It was already dark night. Back from the presipapal palace of Monte Cristo, the carriage stopped gently in front of the majestic staircase of the Paris H. Palace Hostel, leaving its passengers to descend under the watchful eye of a Royal Catalan Guards soldier holding the vehicle door. The Marquis, who had been the first down, turned to Lieutenant Leibnitz, who had just descended after him, and asked: -Are you coming with me, Friedrich? There is a lot of work to be done yet...

-May I ask your permission to go for a walk, Sire? -the young officer hesitantly answered- I am a bit stunned after the dinner, if you understand what I mean...

-I can understand you, Friedrich. -with an affirmative gesture- I've got a little worried after so many revealings, too... It is really stunning how does Monte-Cristan diplomacy to find out so many data and match them altogether, isn't it? Please go for a walk if needed, hope this helps you to clarify your ideas on all this... I shall need your advice later, when writing a report for the General Deputation -in fact, de Vilana had just had the idea of taking some advantage from that unexpected Leibnitz's absence to write a couple of “unofficial” reports else, which ought to be written and delivered with the greatest discretion.

-Take your time -he then added-, but please keep in mind that tomorrow we'll have a first meeting with representatives of our King & Caesar.

-Of course, Sire. Thank you, I'll be back in a short while.

And the young man walked away with slow steps and headed towards the gloomy streets, thoughtfully bowing his head and with the hands into his military coat pockets. The Marquis then realized close by him the discrete presence of Claire Baizanville, who had been alternately watching them with some concern. He then discretely nodded to her, and Claire quickly understood. After a fast checking of her sword and pistols, the girl lifted her coat neck and started walking after Lieutenant Leibnitz's steps, as silent and smart as a panther.

Reassured this way, the Marquis then walked to his own room, under the watchful “surveillance” of the guards discreetly scattered on his way -both Catalan and Monte-cristan, he observed. When in the comfortable suite, he sat on an armchair and started filling his pipe with a distracted air, while ruminating the relevant informations he had been given during the dinner at palace.

His highest concern was after an insinuation of Mme. de Polyachrilamyde about the absolute lack of Catholic Church representatives at that same morning's reception. Church was a key institution in the Principality -so much it was that an old, uncontested unwritten tradition stated that the General Deputation's Presidency was always assigned to a clergyman. The Catalan/Galatan Church had been siding as a single body to King Charles so far. Was Catholic Church about to change sides? ...was it all some kind of warning to the Catalans/Galatans if persisting in their refusal to Utrecht terms? ...was the Catalan Church involved in such maneuver, or was it all due to Vatican designs only?

He felt the need to expose his thoughts on the matter, so that quickly took a piece of paper and a pen, and started writing firm and fast, with the aim to finish the letter before Leibnitz was back.

7 comments:

abdul666 said...

The Marquis can be reassured: the lack of Catholic Church representatives at the official reception is unlikely to be the manifestation of the Church's policy. For sure it merely reflects the deep reluctance of all religious people -were they priests, monks, nuns, pastors, evangelists, imans or rabbis- to enter the Presipality. Because of the obligation to wear secular clothes, the casual nudity of the youths (specially in summer), the general casual and irreligious atmosphere... Monte-Cristo deserves anathema for most of them. And it did not pass unnoticed that some of the prelates who stayed here for some time were... changed (portraits of the same cardinal before he left for Monte-Cristo and when he came back home).


In the Hostel -and everywhere else- not all guards are in uniform. The most efficient ones are probably those few unobtrusive men (and women?) in civilian clothes...

Jordi said...

It can be this, but he would not be a surprise if it ends with a split in the form of Catalan national church.

abdul666 said...

Under other circumstances Claire would have left the carriage first, under the watchful all-around cover of the coachman and valets (all members of the Ecuries et Equipages receive a dragoon-type military formation and are routinely armed, but those attributed to V.I.P. come from an inner elite thoroughly trained to bodyguard / escort missions). But she has noticed -as expected- reassuring presences in addition to the Galatan guards, and perceived a discreet 'All clear here' signal.
Maybe the Monte-Cristan 'Services' are aware of more than they tell their guests -the Galatans already having reasons enough to worry....

Soldadets said...

I also suspected Claire was not behaving according to usual practices.

It might be explained through her role in the Galatan retinue, which I guessed goes far beyond a mere bodyguard's task: I rather see her as an attached security and protocol manager, with the responsability of co-ordinating surveillance tasks among her subordinates, rather than direct action. Things would have gone really bad if she was actually forced to action, as I imagine her.

She is not behaving according to such role either, when deciding to follow Leibnitz instead of staying into close range of the Marquis, who is central piece of the Galatan legacy.

We might believe, as you suggested, she is confident enough on the protection devices set around the Marquis... although this does not fully explain her *personal* will in protecting Leibnitz -who in the end has a lesser role in the Legacy. Anyway, who knows what's going around in the mind of such a free soul! ;)

abdul666 said...

What can be said? As soon as the Galatans split, all had to be protected; of course Claire could have made a discreet sign and 2 or 3 shady 'guardian angels' would have followed young Lieutenant Leibnitz. On the other hand, the other Galatans were already at the PHP Hostel -currently a fortress of the BSN, reinforced by the best Investigators; and the Marquis was obviously to retire, thus her mission as liaison officer was ended for the day. So...knowning Claire's personality and her taste for action, she felt she was acting 'professionally' -while allowing herself to stretch her legs after a tense day and a long dinner / working session. Now, other motivations cannot be excluded...

And if her decision implies that Claire (unconsciously?) judges herself at least as efficient as 2 or 3 of her colleagues chosen at random, she is neither presumptuous nor overconfident: she is that and more. Only 2 other women in whole Monte-Cristo and its 'Services' are -each in her own way- as dangerous as she is (one currently back to South-Eastern Europe, the other befuddling the recruiters of agents for the 'Secret' Opus Dei). None of these 3 ever met a single man -or even a team of 3 or 4- equal to them.
Louys sometimes calls them in his mind 'my Erinnies', but has not yet decided who would be Al·lecto, Megera or Tisifone.

abdul666 said...

As liaison officer with the Galatan legation, Claire Baizanville is attached to the person of Marquis de Vilana 13 - 16 hours / day: thus she simply cannot command / coordinate the security service protecting the legation. Of course she was at the meeting where this protection was planned, and her advices were listened to with the uttermost attention, because of her experience (on both sides of the fence: assassin and bodyguard) and because of her essential part in the pattern as de Vilana's ultimate rampart.
She would be made aware as soon as possible of any relevant information -from hard facts to mere suspicions- but otherwise she is essentially left on her own.

For the sake of flexibility / immediate adaptive reaction Monte-Cristo expects its agents to act on their own initiative: this perfectly suits Claire, who by temperament is more a 'solo' than a commander (otherwise -if still alive- she would probably now be at the head of a pirate fleet plundering the Caribbean or scouring the oceans for the fabled Seven Castles of the Sea King). This explain why, despite her rich naval experience, she declined the command of La Petillante, the very first (exploration?) ship commissioned by the Presipality.

abdul666 said...

At the official presentation of his credentials at the Palace, Marquis de Vilana spotted two representatives of German states, Beerstein and Herrschaden: it must be emphasized that, while the Reich Duchy is the most faithful ally of the Habsburg-Austria, the 'Demokratic' Direktorat is NOT (no longer?) part of the Reich and stubbornly concentrates on its own mysterious agenda (we hope to receive more information from there soon).