1617: xxiv

Wails of the damned echoed through the stone passages as Gilles followed a decrepit guard deeper into the fortress. No doubt, he was merely a key holder, in charge of the feeblest of prisoners. The air was thick and fetid. Straw was tossed on the floor to blot up the waste. Seepage from the moat added to the constant moisture.

The guard’s torch was frequently the only light between the sporadic braziers. When Gilles glanced down, he could see the glint of black eyes, peering at the them from between the iron bars as they passed. Toothless or de-tongued mouths mumbled unheard prayers.

“You don’t shake easily, do you?” the guard asked with a glance over his shoulder. Gilles glared at him.

“This is not my first visit,” he said.

The guard nodded. He kept casting looks over his shoulder as if sizing up the Count.

“Is there perhaps any other prisoners that you would like to see?” the guard asked with a gaping grin. “Perhaps the unfortunates…for a small fee, of course.” Gilles grabbed a handful of the man’s filthy clothes and in flash had a dagger at the old man’s throat. The torch hit the against the stone wall and a shower of spark fell sizzling to the damp ground.

“I am here on business for His Excellency. I suggest you stop wasting my time,” Gilles ordered.

“I beg your pardon, Monsieur,” the man blubbered. “I only thought you might enjoy the Grand tour is all.” Gilles released his hold and the guard bowed.

“The Greek…now,” Gilles growled.

i           xxiii           xxv

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