Monday, October 03, 2011

Good to be a nobleman, after all...

Troubled journey - chapter 7

Pierrelatte (Dauphiné), night of 24th August 1713

To the surprise of Claire Baizanville, the Marquis of Vilana who had coincidentally just left his room added his own voices of alarm to those of the militiaman. But a very different way. Having quickly grasped the situation, Vilana adopted the authoritative ways and voice of a nobleman: -No one enters the room! Prepare some torches, the murderer might already be outside! You man! -to the militiaman now: -what are you doing? A man of God has just been brutally murdered, and you're standing here dead still as a statue? Go tell your superior. Hurry up!

Claire instantly understood the risky bid Vilana had undertaken: relying on the others' perception of his own social high status and through authoritative ways, he was trying to reverse the situation and assume command on an eventual, more than likely reaction of militiamen! The bluff seemed to be successful, because the militiaman seemed to be quite intimidated. Claire deduced he had been told just to go upstairs and shout, and little else. The man started slowly to back toward the stairs. Quite ironically, the dead monk's room was still closed.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Llinàs was the first one to get upstairs. One single glance was enough for him to react, he drew up his pistol as fast as a lightning and aimed it straightly against the militiaman face -Who told you to give the alarm? -Vilana sharply asked to him.

-It... it was my captain, Monsieur Bouvier... He had spoken with one of the newcomers ...

-Which one of them?

-A tall one... with a scar on cheek... I don't know anything else, monsieur; just was told to ...

-Your captain. Only you were told to come here and give the alarm, or anyone else too?

-Ju... just me, monsieur.

The militiaman was terrified. Unlike Llinàs, he was no more than a rookie and had never before had to face a loaded weapon. Worst of all, Llinàs grim glance showed clearly he'd shoot with no hesitation.

Always assuming the authoritative ways of a nobleman, Vilana stepped out of the militiaman's mates, who had also started coming. Leading them downstairs back, Vilana addressed to the inn's owner, ordering him to call for the authorities of His Majesty in town. Again, it was a calculated bid: if regular troops came and took care of the situation, they would prevent the militiamen to take the law into their own hands if someone happened to accuse them. Vilana then went to face the militia captain, realizing of the interrogative glance he was addressing to the stunned militiaman he had just sent upstairs.

-Monsieur Bouvier, your collaboration is essential -Vilana affirmed using his best authoritative voice-. Must find the murderer. Please organize your men for a raid around the surroundings. No one should access the upper floor, for it would be desirable not to alter the crime scene before the authorities arrive.

After a moment of hesitation, the officer resigned to contradict him. After all, Vilana thought, he would already have in bag the coins likely donated by the scary monk -the alleged murderer. A complete success. Safe again, although likely for not too long. They should take advantage of the confusion created by Vilana and flee from there.

1 comment:

abdul666 said...

*Excellent*! Admirable reaction!
The Marquis has a long experience of diplomacy, and is used to unexpected bad surprises, but nonetheless: hats off to him!