Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Cara meets Renaud, January 26 2008
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 08:15 PM
The girl worked by twilight, even without candles, her long, pale fingers carefully managing a pair of tiny pliers first, a little golden-headed hammer next, pale liquid blue eyes looking straight ahead, as if she were entranced by something only she could see, as if she were not aware of the darkness surrounding her.
She plucked up a needle, carefully sewing a long piece of black ribbon to one corner of the florid gold face-mask she held in her hands, and her fingers ran over the stitches, and she smiled at her handiwork in the darkness.
She rested, leaning back on her stool to flex her legs.
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 08:23 PM
The door behind opened quietly, and quickly closed again as Renaud stepped inside. Though the hour was late he was still in uniform, the gun at his side. "You work well in the darkness mademoiselle Artimodaes, my aide assumed that you had already left this quaint little town."
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 08:34 PM
"Signorina, per piacere," the young woman answered, and she sat back up and got back to work, not acknowledging the man with a look. "I do not speak Aquitainian. Why would I leave town? And who, might I ask, are you?"
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 08:41 PM
Renaud made a faint bow in the darkness, his eyes slowly adjusting. "Grand Commandeur Renaud Moreau, Signorina Artimodaes." He stressed the cecilian honorific a bit.
"My aide has the assumption that all criminals are gripped by a sudden urge to flee once their crime has been commited, but he is un jeune homme and not very experienced in these matters. In my experience most criminals are so confident on their own abilities that they brazenly remains, and sometimes even brags about what they did."
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 08:43 PM
The girl pouted for a moment, then let out a light chuckle, and continued to sew. "I did not think any crime I committed would merit a visit from a man with so many honorifics," she informed him. "What have I done? Are my hedges not trimmed back enough? Did I fail to pick up after my dog? I apologize, I did not see it."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 08:57 PM
"A man is dead Signora, that is all. Compared to hedges and dogs it might seem a ltrifling thing, but we in the navy tends to take it rather seriously." His tone of voice was almost joking, as if he knew something she did not.
"It was a fine piece of work, the collar we found on him. It had dug so deep into the throat that le docteur had difficulty removing it. I do think they had to cut the head off."
He was never taking his eyes off her back.
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 08:59 PM
The girl stopped what she was doing. Still, she didn't turn around, but lay her hands flat on the table. "The piece was mine?" she asked. "Is that what you are tryingto tell me? And surely when a man stabs his neighbor with a knife, it is the knifemaker's fault and you go to arrest him?"
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 09:04 PM
"No. Of course not Signorina. A knife has many uses. As do a gun in some ways. However, if there is an explosion, I would seek to question the bomb-maker. There are fairly few legit uses of an explosive device."
Renaud was running his thumb over the butt of his gun, watching the back of her head.
"And even fewer for a collar that strangles the wearer. Really, the clockwork is quite intricate. From the looks the death seemed rather painful."
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 09:06 PM
"They're meant for dogs," the girl answered without a beat. "Not people. For training. So they learn not to pull at their lead. And they're not meant to be set that tightly. I can tell you who might have purchased a collar," she offered. "But I certainly can't be held accountable for improper use."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 09:13 PM
"Now Signorina, do you see me aiming a gun at your back? Do you see my men storming off to drag you into trial? It might be dark, but I can assure you I do neither. And not because I could not."
It was not meant as a threat, but she might take it as one should she wish to.
"The man that is dead is Commandeur Gerarde. This makes this a navy affair, and trust me Signorina, they are less concerned with accidentally hanging innocent than they are with hanging tout le monde concerned with this whole affair. And you are a woman, and not an Aquitaine citizen that makes you doubly exposed. They would care little about whether you could be held accountable or not."
He paused to let the gravity of her situation sink in.
"I however is less rash. Truth be told I was a bit... impressed with ce petit jouet."
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 09:18 PM
"I don't speak Aquitainean," the girl replied reasonably. "I told you that already. But I get the impression that someone misused one of my dog collars, and you do not wish to arrest me so much as purchase more dog collars to misuse? Is that it?" she asked sweetly.
"And before you make a fool of yourself, no, I do not see a gun or a storm of men," she said, before turning around to face him, clear blue eyes unfocused. "But I do not see anything else, either."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 09:23 PM
"I see. I thought that those particular rumours were a bit exaggerated." Renaud watched her eyes for a moment, satisfied that the eyes indeed seemed to be blind.
"What I do wish is for you to remember which people might have bought a collar from you. I am sure we will be able to connect one of them with a person that might have the opportunity of having a Commandeur of the Aquitinian navy put on a collar meant for dogs."
The humour was rather dry there, he could imagine what kind of person, judging from the state of undress the body had been found in.
"So, is collars all you make then?"
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 09:27 PM
"Yes, you see, the trouble is that the same way a knife-maker may not take down the name of everyone who comes into his shop, I do not take down names, either," the girl apologized. "I can describe their voices to you. The most recent was a deep baritone with notes of honey. Smoked a pipe, I think, and wore cheap cologne. He was a large gentleman and he had a local accent."
She smiled. "I make all kinds of things," she answered, picking up the mask to offer it to him. "But my father was a maschiere. You see?"
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 09:37 PM
He did not take the mask, but admired it for a moment as he stepped closer. "Yes, the blindness... it rather complicates matters, doesn't it?"
Bringing up a handcerchief he coughed, attempting to keep it as low and under control as possible.
"Out of these last customers you remember that bought the collar... was there anyone of them that did not smell of dogs?"
Because if someone bought a collar in person, it would obviously be someone in close contact with a dog, like the owner, or a servant that cared for it.
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 09:47 PM
"I told you, the last one smelled of cheap cologne," the girl replied. "Most of them do not smell of dogs, Signore. My nose is not that refined. I am a blind woman, not a wine-taster. Men here smell like tobacco or cheap beer or sweat. Or sickness," she added in a pointed tone. "But I don't sell many of them. Four, five, in the past six months."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 09:51 PM
"I will need you to tell what you remember of each and every one of them to my aide later. And do not worry signorina, you are not under arrest. You seem to be very eager to help with our investigation."
He did not comment in the sickness part, just shoved the now bloodstained cloth back in his pocket in defiance.
Posted by: Cara Artimodaes Jan 26 2008, 10:00 PM
"Of course," Cara replied, turning back to her worktable. "And if you would like to purchase some of my wares, please drop in during my normal business hours. Not after dusk."
Posted by: Renaud Moreau Jan 26 2008, 10:02 PM
"I will make certain to do so Signorina. Farewell for now."
Renaud bowed and left.
Yes, this would hopefully work just as he envisioned it. Now for step two...