Sunday, October 09, 2011

Troubled journey (8): On pursue

Pierrelatte (Dauphiné), night of 24th August 1713

-Are you sure? Two horses? -Marquis of Vilana asked to his escort men while getting inside the stage coach.

-Sure, Sire. Two horses, and they faced south -Lieutenant Llinàs affirmed while loading the vehicle with their luggage.

So the murderer had an accomplice... The veteran legate was plainly doubtful. His mission implied facing northwards, towards Versailles. Would it be wise getting distracted from that high mission to investigate the death of a religious instead? However, Vilana was now certain about the identity of the deceased monk. His intuition was insistently telling him the old man had some information he considered highly valuable for what he had called "shared interests". Some information he seemingly had the aim to share before being killed.

-I guess it would be futile trying to pursue them in this stage coach... -Vilana probed Llinàs.

-We have two horses of the monks, Sire... Good animals. If they have taken the road southwards, we could catch them on these horses.

The inn sorroundings were bustling with activity while the militiamen scattered with torches at hand, shouting against the authors of the terrible crime taking the life of a faithful servant of God. Vilana's thoughts were then interrupted by the sound of galloping horses. Mounted soldiers coming from Pierrelatte town, alerted by the boy sent by the inn-keeper. He should take a decision -quickly. He then shouted:

-All right! Let's go south! Claire, you and Llinàs take those horses and fly after the fugitives! We shall be following you at the stage coach own pace. Take the weapons you believe necessary, but... please. We need at least one of them alive. We need answers.

Claire Baizanville eagerly agreed, excited at the prospective of man hunting. On his side, Llinàs obbeyed with professional indifference, as if being given orders by a higher rank military.

While the gallant couple put their horses at gallop southwards like avenger angels, Vilana plunged again in thought, lulled by the stage coach gentle swaying. According to his own assumptions, the inscription on the dead monk's Bible had been written by Brother Adrienne (sic) de Wignacourt, who had been Grandmaster of the Order of Malta between 1690 and 1697. The Order of Malta... A sovereign, solid state with dense economic, political and financial ramifications everywhere. A state built up of individuals from all across Europe, often influential lineages in their own native nations... a so large and complex network that had required to have it internally organized into geographical groups: the so-called Langues. This way, the true identity of the deceased monk, who had introduced himself as Brother Vincent, was actually that of Dídac de Serralta, appointed as Grand Prior of Catalonia by Brother Adrienne de Wignacourt in 1697. He asked for confirmation to young Brother Adrien, no longer hiding himself, for his words were in Catalan language from that moment on -He was the Grand Prior, wasn't he?

The boy nodded in silence, while still wiping his tears. Vilana tryed to guess his age. No more than twenty years old, certainly. Perhaps younger.

-But for God's sake, what were you doing in France?

The young monk couldn't tell him. He didn't know.

4 comments:

abdul666 said...

The hunt is on...
A night hunt... memories of the 'Wild Hunt' /'Chasse Gallery' / 'Mesnie Hellequin'... Better to be the hunter.
But who will be hunting who, in the end? We all harbour images of a coach pursued by horsemen...

abdul666 said...

Is 'Adrienne' the Catalan form? In French Adrienne is feminine; and seemingly the man's family was French?

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis,

I got puzzled too, when read from my sources such name in the form you can see ("Adrienne" instead of "Adrien"). It has nothing to do with an eventual Catalan transcription of the name, that would be "Adrià" (f. "Adriana").

Sources for this? If you access the Wikipedia article on him (English v.) you'll be able to see his name written in both forms, i.e. "Adrienne" and the correct form "Adrien".

Although suspicious about it, I finally chose to respect the "Adrienne" form, guessing that perhaps Old French language didn't have things so clearly settled as to-day.

Actually odd, I admit :S

Soldadets said...

Who will be hunting who?

A clever question, my friend... quite a clever one ;)