He almost came to regret his decision as light flooded the dim corridor. Air rushed to his face, drowning the deafening cheers of the crowd on the other side. He could hear them since he had left his cell, the hundreds of thousands of feet that made the whole main arena shake, the muffled cries that demanded more, and the screeches of the horns that announced the end of yet another match. Blood rarely flowed in the arenas and when it did, it didn’t stain the ground for long. No, usually the only blood was the one boiling in the veins of the participants and in those of the spectators, or the blood thumping in his ears when he was in the center of it all. Perhaps tonight would be a bit of both…

It felt as if the world started to move again after stopping completely for a moment. His heart was pounding and he forced a smile on his pale face as he stepped into the outer rim of the arena. He had to look, if not for himself or for his audience, for Io. He couldn’t let the young Ehnar worry for him, plus Alexis would beat him to death if she knew what he was about to do and how he felt anything but confident about it… He knew he could do it, somehow. Probably. He had to do it so feeling indecisive about it changed nothing, he was backed into a corner, something he had gloriously achieved himself, and he had no option but to fight his way out.

The spotlights were on him and the three other gladiators that had been chosen that night. Well, “chosen” was perhaps a stretch. True the one in the green corner had been picked almost randomly to fill the slot, but he and Jams had instigated this whole thing, and Kietro had been more than eager to try anything to squeeze herself in-between them. Why she did that, he never knew, but it seemed she had either a grudge against Kietro or a weird fetish for getting into situations that could lead up to violent altercations. Altercations she could then be a part of, sometimes not even to win or beat other people up, but simply for the “thrill of it”.

He looked around and saluted the audience and the casters twice, doing his best to smile as confidently as he could until the moment he would be able to put on his mask. The smiles and the waves were for the audience and the favor points he could get, the mask was for the sponsors, to give a more mysterious image and aura to his gladiator persona. Everyone knew his face but it wasn’t to hide his identity, it was to hide his weaknesses during the bouts and to give himself courage by making himself believe he was becoming someone else, a better, stronger, version of himself. And even if it was only psychologically, and partially, true, it felt right. Finally the first bell rang and he put on the wooden artefact that would hide his features.

It felt as if he was underwater again: everything felt distant and cold, but his heartbeat seemed to calm down instantly. He closed his eyes and focused his mind, which was becoming clear again, on himself and the reasons that has pushed him to do this. Io, he was here to avenge. Or at least, if not to restore their honor, to show that there was still hope. Kietro, he had to defeat. If he could beat him this round it would be perfect but beating him was the top priority. He had to show him what he was capable of and what he, as a more veteran of the league than him, could not. Alexis, he was simply here to prove wrong, to piss her off, like always. And Nerio, he didn’t really know. To show him that he had grown, perhaps?

He had grown. That was obvious, mostly in physique, but also in mentality. He knew he had been too proud, and wrong. But he had learned from this. He hadn’t finished learning, of course. He would never finish learning, as Nerio often liked to remind him, be he dared to believe he had learned enough to call his own bluff tonight. At least, if not for him, for them. Io deserved to know they weren’t alone… The second bell rung and his whole body tensed up. he would have to be ready for the third one, a single misstep as it began and he might be done for. The column, the path, the house. The column, the path, the house. He reviewed his battle plan in his head. Everything would work, it had to. And if it didn’t… well he would make it. Or the arena be damned, he would never utter a single stupidity like this ever again! The third bell rang, his legs felt heavy but as he jumped, he caught the fleeting look of surprise on Kietro’s face. Maybe, just maybe.

A sort of short summary of the opening scene, or prologue, from a story I have had in mind for quite some time now. Perhaps this will motivate me to try to explore it in more detail… Maybe, just maybe.

The break-up

The first thing that hit him when he stepped into the condo was the feeling of something missing. Then his eyes fell on the note. A small piece of white cardboard paper, left there, in plain sight, on the old sideboard in the hallway. His eyes swept around the room, the apartment felt strangely empty. He looked at the note again and hesitated a moment before finally walking up to it. He slowly grabbed the white rectangle and read its content.

William, you have been my greatest love, you are my greatest love and you will probably remain so my whole life. Know that I love you more than anything, truly. But it can’t go on like this, I cannot bear your breakdowns, your bursts of anger, your dark thoughts and all those moments when you don’t seem to live anymore. I cannot bear the thousand wounds you try to cover with your excuses and your apologies, before reopening them the next instant. I know that deep down you are a good person, I truly believe it, but something in you is broken, something I am not sure I could ever repair… I know that I am probably breaking your heart right now but I can’t go on like this, I don’t have the strength anymore. My love for you doesn’t seem sufficient so I have decided to leave. Don’t look for me, I don’t want you to find me. That is the only way to prevent us both from going crazy…

Good bye.

The note was written with blue ink in a thin and gracious cursive. No signature, no name. No need, he though. His hand was shaking as he put it back on the wooden piece of furniture, he could feel his eyes tearing up. He pressed his back to the wall of the hallway and let himself sink down to the floor, his shoulders shaking as if trying to dance away the pain that was rising in his chest. He couldn’t believe it. Was all this real? Was it really the end? After years of love and hardships that they had endured… What had happened for them to let things get to that point? He remained on the ground for a long time, not trying to keep his tears from flowing and his chest from hurting. Only the faint rumbling of water through the walls, sometimes interrupted by his humid hiccups, filled the apartment, now devoid of half the stuff it used to house.

When he finally managed to get up again it seemed as if an eternity had passed, his legs felt heavy and weak. Slowly, giving time to his weary heart to pump enough blood to wake them up, he walked towards the bedroom; the bed was made, the curtains were drawn. Only the pale light of the winter sun managed to light it up a little. On the nightstands stood two small lamps, and on the wall a painting, relic of a distant time that they had found during a garage sale. Despite all of this, the room seemed eerily empty. He had trouble realizing that it was true, that it was over, that this emptiness would now be an integral part of the five-room condo…

He opened the closet, it was only half-full: suits, shirts and trousers. The rest had vanished. The jeans, the colored tops, the scarves and even the fancy underwear, nothing remained. The emotion once again took over him, he only managed to keep the sorrow at bay with the greatest of efforts as he closed the thin door before walking out of the room. He went through each of the rooms, shooting a quick look around. The result was always the same: empty, devoid of part of the stuff that used to fill them. His breathing was ragged and his heart felt like it was beating a thousand times per second when he found himself in the hallway again. The the fight came back to him in a flood of emotions, like a coup de foudre. Or, rather, the opposite.

He had almost been violent. Almost. He would have never dared, he knew it, and yet… The darkness in his eyes left no doubt as to the anger that boiled in side. He might even have surrendered to it and let it out, had he not seen the frightened expression and understood how scary he must have appeared… He had frozen on the spot, staying there, looking lost and powerless as his love walked away into the night. He hadn’t even shown a reaction when he had seen the silhouette turn around halfway. Perhaps he hadn’t wanted to do anything, uncertain he could even forgive himself…? Or perhaps he knew then, perhaps they had both understood what that moment meant?

Had he gone for a walk, or had he remained stuck there, on the sidewalk, for hours before coming home? He didn’t know. All he knew was that when he had come home he had found the apartment empty, not unlike today, but not of its furniture, rather of any human presence, the presence that had become so familiar over the years. Surely he had tried to call as soon as he had been back – the twelve missed calls were unmistakable evidence – before finally letting sadness and weariness overwhelm him. The next morning, night having gone away and his love still not back, he had gone to work, leaving the apartment empty and free for the whole day.

Once back in the corridor he cast another look at the note. He felt tears well up once again and, with a visible effort, fought them back. He read  once more, as if to cement the reality and the truth of what was happening in his mind and in his heart, to make sure that this was indeed what was left of them, of what they had been. Goodbye. The word echoed in his mind. It was over, the end. No tearful parting, no sobbing hug, not more fight. Not even a signature. No need, all had been said. Goodbye. It sounded so false, so empty in his mind, faint echoes in an infinite void… He remained like this for a moment, unmoving, staring at the note between his fingers. Finally he let out a sigh. No, despite everything, he deserved at least that. Alex took out the blue pen from his pocket again and wrote his name under the last word in an elegant cursive writing despite his trembling hand. He put the small rectangle of white cardboard paper on the top of the sideboard and, shooting one last look at the apartment, now empty of his belongings but still full of so many memories, before closing the door behind him.

A translation of this one: La rupture.

I feel that it could be improved, perhaps it remains too unclear… The goal is to incite a second reading but, has it been accomplished in a good way? I don’t know, time will tell.

An unusual request

The shop had been quiet for a few days now, which was completely normal, mind you, with everything that was going on around the Curve and its gates. It was like this every damn season: Leaf had its refreshing resorts opening their doors, Tear, its holidays and family reunions, Sand had holidays AND great weather, always, and Zephyr and the rest managed to make people get off their asses to move even though she couldn’t understand why after all those years… But what was the most mind-boggling was the people themselves, those who stupidly thought that by starting a few hours or days early they would manage to wiggle through when, after so many cycles, it was always the same thing. The same damn thing, always. Too many people would all think of getting an early start at the same time and it would end up like always, with the gates over-packed and her shop more quiet than usual…

This time was no exception. It even seemed even more quiet than the previous cycles. She knew that clients would always end up coming back at one point, often in much higher numbers in the first weeks following the change but it still managed to freak her out to an extent, even after all this time. I am no better than those idiots, am I? Thinking it’ll be different this time… She sighed and adjusted the new items she had received the previous day. Dust-globes of the citadel, animae of the shuttles gliding along the Curve’s rainbow paths, a bunch of Nat’ur magazines – stupid hipster name – and, last but not least, a dozen pairs of the latest lenses of truth by Trigon, supposedly able to display events past and future of the location you looked at. She knew it was a scam, as most merchants and tourists did – even Trigon themselves, the product’s distributing guild had admitted it sometimes operated in ‘unpredictable ways’ for Io’s sake! – but it never seemed to stop selling, the speed at which they disappeared even seemed to increase.

She was in the middle of putting the contents of the last box on display when the gong echoed. She looked up and saw a red-haired mudborn walk towards her. No, a human, she corrected herself silently. Not cool Vee, not cool… Those were the remains of the old her, she tried to let those apprehensions fizzle out in the far reaches of her mind but it was much more easily said than done. She had learned to see past what her clan had taught her when she had left her home all those years ago but it wasn’t perfect yet. Who is perfect anyway? Nothing it lost as long as you know it’s bad Vee, as long as you know it’s bad, she repeated the words of the preceptor as a mantra. She stood up and dusted her hands on her robe, everything needed a good scrub anyway and she still had some time to get the shop clean and proper before the number of clients soared again.

“Hello, how may I help you?”, she asked, putting on her best smile as the woman walked up to her.

“Hello”, the woman replied with a slight accent, which she found cute, “I am looking for a specific item and have been… unlucky in acquiring it in the shops I have visited previously. I was told that if I asked for a certain Verian here, they would be able to help me…”

The way she had paused in the middle of her sentence had caught Vee’s attention, she studied the woman a little more closely. She looked and sounded like a tourist passing through with her light clothes – an ample white blouse, an equally floating lilac-coloured skirt and a large curved straw hat – and her slightly rolling accent. The only thing missing to complete the look were large sunglasses. But as Vee observed the red-haired woman a bit more closely she noticed the small wooden stick – probably a wand – hanging by her side and the deep yet cold brown of her eyes. Not a passing client, she is dangerous… Vee immediately settled the broad smile on her face so as not to let on her thoughts. Now that she thought about it, the woman had an unfamiliar and spicy aura around her, which was definitely not common. And if he had been recommended to her by her peers, it must mean she was ot a usual client either.

“Of course, I am Verian,” Vee replied, “what is it that you seek to obtain? I may already possess something of the kind in my inventory.”

She went straight to the point and the woman seemed to appreciate that.

“To be frank, I am not looking for an object, rather… a creature. One of great power. I was hoping you would be able to provide counsel on this.”

Interesting, thought Vee. Usually when clients came to her with special orders they were seeking materials or objects, those who came to obtain other types of merchandise like living creatures or other were even more rare. And yet she felt that woman in front of her was of another kind still. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted already and someone who had the means to acquire it by private circuits rather than through merchants or guilds. So why would she come here?

“Come with me.”, Vee said before moving to the back of the shop, not even locking the front door as she was sure no one would disturb them.

The woman followed her to a larger, more lit room which served as a meeting room for the rich and important clients. Windows displaying different landscapes were placed along the walls. Of course they were false, this room had no other physical entry or exit that the one leading to the shop, and it was tailor-made to become a very, very sturdy safe-room if anything went wrong during or after a deal. Or if anything went wrong in general, with her establishment so close to the Curve it was always a risk, no matter what the officials could say, she trusted her judgement more than their corrupted one.

“Have a seat.”, Vee gestured and a row of different seats appeared behind the woman.

She sat on the one covered in pale blue fur. Nice choice, Vee thought, it was the most comfortable one, after her own of course, which she outed immediately after. She also outed a small table with refreshments, she always kept some in case of unexpected business.

“So,” she sat down in her own seat, a thin layer of ochre sand cut into the shape of an armchair, “what exactly brings you to see me?”

She shifted slightly, taking a cookie from one of the jars in front of her, resting her tale on her shoulder. The woman filled a small cup with the sweet ruby liquid in the bottle next to it and took a sip before replying.

“I have a – let’s say a project in mind, small and inconsequential to the scale of the Curve but which I hold quite dear right now. I am very peculiar on the details of this project but it requires a piece that I have not yet been able to put my hands on.”

She paused and took another sip, she seemed to enjoy the drink. Vee did not speak and simply bid her time, she knew when to respect her clients’ pace.

“The creature I am looking for is a dragon,” the woman said after a short silence.

Vee couldn’t help the slight surprise but nodded to hide her small frown. Why would a client come to her for such a simple task as this? There must have been something else…

“As you might expect, I am not looking for simply any kind of dragon, I wouldn’t have come to you if it was the case. I have specific requisites that must be met.”

Of course, it couldn’t be that simple.

“I understand. Would you care to give me these details? I will know immediately what preparations are needed.”, Vee said.

Dragons. She had a few of those in her own inventory but they were common and relatively easy to obtain. They would most likely not be what her client was looking for. That wasn’t a problem though, she hadn’t gotten her reputation by chance, if it existed, she could most likely get her hands on it and most assuredly make a nice deal of it.

“What I am looking for is a hybrid, cross between the black Zora and the small Iyor. It must still be in the egg state, that is very important.”

Vee was mentally reviewing her database to see if she could already pinpoint a location or at least a first move as to how she would fulfill this task and she visibly frowned at the second part of the request. A dragon, whether purebreed or crossbreed was relatively easy to find for someone with her background, but a specific crossbreed and adding the absolute condition it needed to be an egg made things more complicated. Not impossible, though she was confident she could achieve that by going through a few unusual channels. However she froze when the woman added a third condition.

“And you have to bring me along to choose the egg. I would normally ask for its location and go there myself but I am not familiar with these parts and I need a guide…”

Vee checked to see if this was joke, but nothing in her client’s attitude indicated anything of the sort. The red-haired human was completely serious. Damn… I should have expected this…, she silently cursed. Usually, for such a request, she would have her few trusted associates work for or with her and only move once the product was located, or not even move at all sometimes. But that damn woman wanted her to do it herself and to tag along, this was trouble, definite trouble! She did not want to be a babysitter to this human girl, even more so when she had this uneasy feeling about her. She was about to voice her refusal when she felt the spiciness of the air. The woman’s eyes were not cold, nor did they reflect any malice but she felt pressured nonetheless; there was power in those eyes, she could feel it and she wasn’t sure if she was ready to go against her request. She wasn’t even sure she could as she opened her mouth to speak.

“Very well,” she said, refraining a sigh, “I believe I will be able to fulfill your request. However, for this special treatment, the fees will be higher than usual.”

The red-haired woman simply nodded her approbation and Vee waved her hand, vanishing the food from the table and outing the documents to validate this contract.

“Usually for requests like these, I require a month. But since you wish to come with me, I will need a few days to prepare, no more than three, to get the shop in order and to gather some information as to the place where we will begin our search. I hope this is fine for you.”

“I see no problem, it will give me time to continue my preparations and to take a closer look at the citadel.”

“Then if you would press your finger here…”, Vee said, pointing to the thin silver sheet before her on the table.

The woman followed her instructions and Vee did the same on the other side, explaining the exact details, the dangers and the rules that would have to be followed. A copy was then made and one was kept by her, the other given to the woman. Then she accompanied the red-haired human to the door with a smile. It was only partially forced this time, this trip would not be pleasurable to her, she was sure of it, but she would making a nice profit, whether she succeeded or not. However, considering her impression of the one at the origin of the request- no, the demand, she had a feeling that failing was not an option she would enjoy… Vee watched with mixed feelings the woman only known to her by her initial, a cursive E on the contract, take out what she believe was a wand only to have it grow to the size of a broom, and hop on it with elegance before silently flying off.

“Well, this is going to be fun…”, she muttered, her tail purring with apprehension at what was to come.

Prompted by a Reddit thread.

The Shore

The waves had carried the small boat to the shore. She didn’t know where it could have come from but somehow it felt it had arrived right where it should be. As she approached she noticed the young man, lying in it, his face pale and his side bloody. His breath was ragged, his skin was cold and yet he was obviously burning with fever. He was dying. She knew it immediately. He was dying and there was nothing she could do. Nothing to save him at least, but perhaps she could ease his pain. The heavy wrinkles were unmistakable traces of the suffering. They were not scars and yet they were, momentary scars of the turmoil that went on inside. He was dying and she wanted to help.

How she managed to make her voice carry to the castle she couldn’t say, all she knew is that it had and somehow the guards had found her. She had given orders and the young man had been carried to a room in the high tower, her room – she would sleep in her sister’s, it was long unoccupied anyway. Her father had come with the doctor, finding her on her knees, by the large bed, lost in her patient’s form. Her patient he was now, for even after the doctor repeated the words she had already formulated in her own mind, she insisted that she would nurse him. Perhaps not back to health but at least to a more painless death. She would nurse him if none other would try, even if were to fail, even if he died. He wouldn’t die though, she could feel it. Or at least she hoped so with all her heart, day and night, by his side, she hoped and hoped. She would not stop hoping. She simply could not. Even thought she knew perfectly well that she didn’t know him, he was nobody to her, but she had found him on the beach and thus it had become her duty to take care of him.

Day and night. Night and day. Day after day. Week after week. For months she remained by his side, only leaving to attain to the basics of her status as the castle’s lady and to sustain her self. A full moon came and went and he remained bed-ridden, shivering with cold and burning up at the same time, unresponsive but breathing. He was alive. Alive weeks after the short time the doctor had given him, alive in spite of all common sense. Hanging by a thread of sheer willpower, or luck, or divine clemency – she could not say – and taking in breath after breath, each ragged and difficult, but taken in nonetheless. Finally, one fine morning, as winter began to melt upon the world and the sun rose to the east, after refusing to go away for so long, the wound at his side finally shed its last bloody tear.

No matter the cataplasms, the potions or the spells, nothing had worked, it had kept spilling the life out of him, each day annulling the care that the lady had put into treating and keeping the young man on the edge of the last breath. Nothing had worked. It was cleaned, disinfected and stitched shut each night, and every morning it would be found open again, spewing blood. Not profusely but never a small enough amount to hope for him to recover. However, that one morning it had stopped, after hours upon hours of sweat and prayers, after days of struggling and nights of wakes, as the young woman woke up she saw no blood. It had refused to close, the deep and fateful cut as fresh as on the first day she had laid eyes on him, but bleeding no more. The day had passed and although his state had not changed in any way, it had not gotten worse. Then came night and then day again, with no sleep on her part, no rest for her weary heart and mind, which over time had grown accustomed to his uneven breathing and the boiling chill of his skin.

It was on the first light of the next day that the countless prayers she had thrown into the air, all the hopes she had kept afloat for so long, for the first time, crystalized into something beautiful. A single tear, running from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth. It glided soundlessly on the pallor of his skin, stopped only by her finger as she ran it on his cheek. Awestruck, she had seen the water collect and the power of gravity slowly do its deed as it attracted the painful rains to the ground. She could barely believe it but, refusing to let this miracle be lost, she let her hand shoot to his cheek without a second though and collected the living pearl. Reflexively, as her fingers touched the cold and gruff surface, she let them keep contact and run further, along the hill of his cheekbone to the ledge of his jaw line. A small beard had begun growing again and the fever had kept him at the edge of freezing and boiling, and yet, under her finger, nothing had ever felt more soft.

Still in the most complete of silence, a small wind began to blow through the half-open window and sunlight poured in over the bed. Suddenly, the world seemed to halt as she felt it. It was lightning quick and softer even than the songs of birds outside, yet she had felt it. As clear as she saw the tear run along her finger now and as strongly as she heard his ragged struggle for life, something she felt she had not in an eternity. A heartbeat. A single, solitary heartbeat, lacking strength, lacking its ever-present echo, but a heartbeat nonetheless. There, in the morning-lit room, where the dead man had kept bleeding for so long, and where silence reigned unchallenged, her shoulders began to shake…

The scene where it all begins again.

In a part of the story inspired by an old legend.

A hero’s fate


Battle for the future under the night sky


When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we’ll see

No, I won’t be afraid

No, I won’t be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

When the knight has come

And the stand is stark

And the moon is of red, bright and bloody,

No, I can’t be afraid

No, I can’t be afraid

Just as long as I stand there is glee,

If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

And the mountains should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry

No, I won’t shed a tear

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

If I try to fight on and on

But stumble and fall

Then the fountains will rumble, and tears flee,

I will try, I will try,

No, I won’t sheath my spear

For as long as I stand, you are free.


I was picturing a scene in my mind, for one of my stories (which you will perhaps one day have the occasion to read), and had an epiphany of some sort and the words of Ben E. King from Stand By Me came to mind.

I now see those words in a whole new light, the moon’s light, bloody red against a sea of dark blue…

angello i rodin


Ces battants aux fines gravures

Qui gardent l’entrée du mur

Se tiennent dignes : hauts et droits

Et ne s’ouvrent pour nul Homme

Qu’il soit simple badaud ou roi,

Qu’il supplie ou qu’il les somme,

Car aucun n’en a le pouvoir

Après l’ultime au revoir

Devant cet antique chambranle;

Mais lorsqu’enfin ils s’ébranlent,

S’ouvrant synchrones et boisés,

Un sentiment malaisé,

Né des enfers, descend du ciel

Et vous assaillit soudain

De maux singuliers et pluriels

Coulant en vos veines, ondins…




How aeons pass in an instant,

Many a universe is born

Before fading in the distant

Cold and silence of the forlorn,

A single word, a single note,

Gives way to myriads of beliefs

To which I heartily devote

Before they fall to the ground – leafs,

It lives, it dies, I hope, I part

My mind explores the many ways

Of this old, ever-changing maze

Oh it is no science but art;

Only fools make their existence

The sole seeker of emerald light

That glimmers into the distance

While basking in the dark blue night

Instead of pursuing the sun,

Instead of living out the song,

We drown the music out and shun

All that is right with all that’s wrong…



Sur le grand tableau blanc qui trônait au centre de la salle étaient épinglées toutes les photos qui avaient été recueillies au cours des premiers jours de l’enquête. Six portraits en A4 étaient alignés sous le bord supérieur. Six visages, trois hommes et trois femmes, et, juste au dessous, les photos de la victime. Encore plus bas, les photos de la scène du crime, sombre et sanglante.

Sur le premier portrait on pouvait voir le visage d’un homme sur lequel s’étaient imprimées les marques du temps passé. Sa crinière sauvage et sa moustache finement taillée, ornements argentés qu’il arborait fièrement, lui donnaient un air des plus dignes. On pouvait également apercevoir le haut du col d’un gilet couleur moutarde au bas de la photo.

À sa droite, celui d’une femme d’âge environ égal à l’air revêche. Elle fixait l’objectif d’un œil noir derrière les verres en demi-lune de lunettes perchées sur le bout de son nez, nez aussi pâle que l’astre nocturne lui même.

Le troisième portrait attirait immédiatement l’œil de part la beauté naturellement hypnotisante de la jeune femme qui y apparaissait. Sur son visage aux traits fins se dessinait le fantôme d’un sourire narquois et étonnamment confiant. Dans sa longue chevelure noir de jais on pouvait apercevoir une petite broche en forme de rose rouge.

Les deux suivants étaient des hommes.

L’un portait des lunettes, l’autre non. Le premier était vêtu d’un foulard couleur aubergine, l’autre d’une redingote vert foncé à col haut. Le premier semblait grand et mince tandis que le second plus courtaud. L’un arborait une chevelure épaisse et sauvage, presque rousse tandis que l’autre était brun, au crâne presque dégarni. Rien ne semblait rapprocher les deux hommes, l’un était homme de science, l’autre résolument d’église, et pourtant, pour l’observateur attentif, on pouvait déceler dans leur regards quelques similaires lueurs sombres.

Le sixième portrait était celui d’une femme d’une cinquantaine d’années, les cheveux coiffés d’un couvre chef blanc de domestique. Elle semblait mal à l’aise, étrangement apeurée. On pouvait presque entendre la voix chevrotante qui s’échappait péniblement de ses lèvres lorsqu’elle parlait.

Sur la grande table devant le tableau était étalé un plan détaillé du manoir où avait eu lieu le crime et, répartis autour de ce dernier dans des sacs plastiques, les différents objets qui avaient été récupérés et analysés par le département scientifique. Il y en avait six en tout, dont un couteau, une clé anglaise et un pistolet.

La salle, illuminée par la lumière blanchâtre des néons, était vide. Mais cela ne durerait pas car bientôt l’équipe d’enquêteurs entrerait et se mettrait à travailler d’arrache-pied afin de résoudre le mystère qui entourait la mort du vieux Docteur. Cela leur avait été explicité de façon on ne peut plus claire : il était primordial de retrouver le meurtrier du Docteur, c’était tout ce qui importait à présent.

Alea jacta est, les dés étaient jetés…

“Qu’est-ce ?”, vous entends-je demander. Eh bien ne paniquez pas, il y a quelques indices ici et là… ;)

Ps: C’est pas Harry Potter >.>


On the large white board which stood in the middle of the room were displayed all the pictures that had been taken during the preliminary phase of the investigation. Six large portraits had been printed and were aligned horizontally at the top of the board. Six faces, three men and three women, and, just under them, a seventh: the victim’s. Still below, pictures of the crime scene, dark and bloody.

The first face, on the top left corner, was one of a man on whom time had left its mark. His silver mane and impeccably well-trimmed moustache which he proudly displayed gave him an air of strength and dignity. One could also catch a glimpse of the mustard-colored collar of his jacket in the bottom of the frame.

On his right, the surly face of a woman of roughly the same age as him. She seemed to look straight at the camera, her eyes dark behind her glasses shaped in half-moons which were hanging on the very tip of her nose, nose which was as pale as the nightly orb itself.

The third portrait immediately caught the eye due to the mysterious beauty of the young woman who appeared on it. One could see the ghost of a surprisingly confident smirk on her face. Tangled in her long dark hair was a pin in the shape of a red rose.

The next two portraits were of two men.

One had glasses, the other had none. The first wore an eggplant-colored scarf , the second a dark green frock coat with a raised collar. The former seemed tall and skinny whereas the latter appeared short and sturdy. One had thick and wild light brown, almost red hair while the other had lost most of his dark hair to baldness. Everything seemed to draw them apart, one was a man of science while the other was unwaveringly religious, however, despite all this, to the eye of the careful observer, a similar glint of darkness could be seen in both their gazes.

The sixth picture was one of a woman in her fifties, white hair covered by her servant headwear. She seemed uneasy, almost scared. One could almost hear her quavering voice coming out of her mouth with great difficulty when she spoke.

A large and detailed plan of the manor where the crime had taken place was spread on the large table in front of the board and, around it, the different objects that had been taken from the scene and analyzed by the forensic department wrapped in plastic bags. There were six in all including a knife, a wrench and a gun.

The room, lit by the sick white glow of the neon lights, was empty of any life. But that would not last for much longer as, soon enough, the team of detectives would come in and begin working on this case without rest until the mystery that surrounded the death of the old Doctor was solved. It had been very explicitly clarified : finding the Doctor’s killer was of the utmost importance, it was all that mattered now.

Alea jacta est, the die had been cast…

“Now what is this exactly?”, I hear you ask. Well worry not, there is a clue in there, somewhere… ;)

Le Masbaha rouge


Le Masbaha rouge

Un brouhaha quelque peu étouffé régnait dans le grand salon au boiseries finement vernies. Une foule d’une quarantaine de personnes attendait, patiemment assise sur des fauteuils installés spécialement pour l’occasion, que le propriétaire des lieux, également maître de cérémonie ce soir là, arrive et leur fasse part de son annonce tant attendue. Ils étaient venus de tout Paris, et même de province pour certains, afin d’assister à la révélation qui depuis deux ou trois semaines faisait frémir leurs coeurs passionnés d’exotique et d’étrange.

Cela faisait à présent presque une heure qu’ils attendaient pour les plus ponctuels, et une bonne demi heure pour les retardataires. La tension et l’impatience commençaient à se faire sentir dans les murmures agacés qui se propageaient sur le bois. Pour ceux qui connaissaient déjà la pièce dans laquelle ils se trouvaient, il n’y avait pas de doute : l’immense drap rouge, tendu devant le mur en face d’eux dissimulait quelque secret dont Louis Braguelonne, l’aventurier de légende, découvreur d’objets rares et uniques, allait leur faire la présentation sous peu. Les plus téméraires avaient bien sûr pensé à jeter subrepticement un regard derrière cette dernière mais deux hommes de taille et d’uniforme imposants les en avaient dissuadés d’un simple regard. Ils s’étaient donc contentés d’observer en silence la surprenante beauté des lieux dans lesquels ils se trouvaient ainsi que la qualité des gravures dans le bois des murs ou bien de faire survivre leur conversation avec la femme au cheveux gris qui ne pouvait s’empêcher de leur faire part de son excitation à l’idée de revoir le grand Louis Braguelonne.

Cette dernière était assise au côté de l’un de ces téméraires. Celui-ci avait les cheveux plutôt courts, blonds et bouclés, et observait la pièce de son regard brun, doux mais perçant, tout en l’écoutant d’une oreille distraite se vanter d’avoir pu rencontrer le Lord Braguelonne personnellement à plusieurs reprises et d’étaler son émerveillement pour la personne qu’il était. Il tendit cependant une oreille plus attentive lorsque la femme dont la voix chaude et presque sensuelle ne semblait pas avoir vieillit à la même vitesse qu’elle, commença à débattre de la présence du joli drapé d’un rouge foncé fort appréciable à l’oeil.

– Voyez-vous, je ne peux m’empêcher de me demander ce que cette tenture – car je crois, au vu des motifs répétitifs qui y semblent brodés, que l’on peut appeler cela une tenture – je me demande donc, disais-je à l’instant, plus que ce que cette tenture peut bien dissimuler, d’où elle peut bien provenir elle-même ? Car plus je l’observe et plus il me semble qu’elle est de grande qualité. Il me faudra demander à Braguelonne sa provenance lorsqu’il nous aura dévoilé son mystérieux “Masbaha” car j’en souhaite bien une pareil pour mon salon…, ajouta-t-elle avec un petit soupir en rabaissant ses lunettes de vue.

Le jeune homme ne répondit pas mais jeta un oeil rapide au drapé qui tombait depuis le plafond jusqu’au sol et prenait toute la largeur de la pièce, empêchant l’oeil de se glisser derrière lui. Il lui sembla, en effet, que le tissus de ce dernier n’était pas tout à fait aussi désuet et inintéressant qu’il avait pu le penser au premier abord. Il parvenait, en se concentrant suffisamment, à apercevoir d’élégantes formes et des motifs détaillés brodés en relief à sa surface. Ne s’y connaissant pas suffisamment pour évaluer le matériau simplement du regard, il ne savait dire quel genre de tissus avait été utilisé mais pariait sur du velour ou un tissus raffiné de ce genre. La couleur presque pourpre de ce dernier semblait également ressortir plus vivement maintenant qu’il y prêtait attention. A son arrivée son regard avait bien évidemment été attiré par ce grand drap rouge mais son coeur et son esprit s’étaient immédiatement transportés dans l’espace qu’il imaginait derrière celui-ci et vers le mystérieux objet, le fameux Masbaha rouge, cet objet mystérieux dont on ne savait presque rien sinon que Braguelonne le disait extraordinairement exotique et étrange et qu’il l’avait apparemment ramené de son dernier périple en Afrique.

Alors que son attention se détournait encore vers le sujet de cette soirée organisée par l’explorateur, un homme se leva du rang derrière lui et s’éclaircit la gorge bruyamment, attirant les regards vers lui. Attendant à peine que le silence fut tombé et que tous les spectateurs se soient concentrés sur sa personne, il retira le haut de forme qu’il portait, la veste en tweed et, à la surprise générale, son épaisse moustache et la barbe qui l’accompagnait, non moins épaisse. La femme à côté du jeune homme, qui s’était retournée avec quelque réticence poussa un petit cri et devint toute rouge, elle détourna le regard et cacha avec précipitation sa bouche ouverte en un grand O de sa main. Ce petit cri fut suivit d’un murmure de surprise dans l’assemblée et l’on put reconnaître les syllabes du nom de leur hôte prononcées dans un ordre décousu de-ci de-là. L’homme qui affichait un grand sourire prit alors la parole.

– Mesdames et messieurs, merci d’être venu ici ce soir. Pour ceux qui me connaissent, nul besoin de m’introduire mais pour ceux qui ne me connaîtraient pas encore, mon nom est Louis Braguelonne, pour vous servir. Il fit une petite révérence, laissant le temps à son auditoire de digérer l’information, avant de reprendre la parole. Veuillez m’excuser pour ce petit tour que je viens de vous jouer en me dissimulant auprès de vous sous une autre identité mais tout cela fait partie de la façon dont je souhaitais organiser la présentation. Il me fallait obtenir les réponses à certaines questions et il ne m’était pas d’autre moyen que de le faire ainsi, je vous l’assure.

Il s’inclina à nouveau, en signe d’excuse cette fois, puis se dirigea d’un pas assuré vers l’avant des sièges et s’arrêta lorsqu’il arriva devant le rideau pourpre, se tournant alors vers le public, toujours en souriant. Il étendit les bras de chaque côté et passa son regard sur ses spectateurs.

– Bienvenue, donc, à cette soirée où j’ai promis de vous faire part de l’une des plus étonnantes découvertes que j’ai pu faire au cours de mon voyage. Je vous ai promis quelque chose d’étonnant et de mystérieux, et bien me voici donc en train de tenir promesse. Il fit une pause. Vous avez tous, je l’imagine, entendu prononcer le nom de Masbaha avant ce soir, c’est même ce qui vous a poussé à venir si je puis me permettre de deviner, n’est-ce pas ? Eh bien, mesdames et messieurs, laissez moi donc vous présenter ce qu’est que ce Masbaha rouge dont vous entendez tant parler !

Il claqua des doigts et on apporta un tableau avec une carte de l’Afrique aux couleurs variées et étincelantes que l’on plaça derrière Braguelonne. Ce furent les deux hommes qui se tenaient de chaque côté de la tenture qui s’en chargèrent, à la surprise de presque toute l’assemblée qui ne les avait pas vu bouger d’un pouce de toute la soirée.

– Cette carte, mes chers amis, commença Louis Braguelonne en se décalant légèrement sur le côté pour que l’on puisse voir ladite carte, est l’une de celles que j’ai faites faire chez Marionnaud, un collègue à moi qui s’est depuis plusieurs années déjà reconverti dans la fabrication de cartes, et cela avec brio ! Selon mes indications précises, donc, il a fait confectionner cet ouvrage qui détaille les côtes mais aussi l’intérieur de ce grand et mystérieux pays qu’est l’Afrique. Voyez donc maintenant, avec mon assistance, le trajet que j’ai effectué au cours de ma dernière expédition. Ne vous inquiétez pas, votre patience ne sera pas requise bien longtemps encore et en sera fort récompensée, je vous l’assure !

Il entreprit alors, à l’aide d’un bâton qu’on était allé lui chercher, de décrire son trajet depuis Alger jusqu’à Khartoum, depuis Khartoum jusqu’à Kinshasa, depuis Kinshasa jusqu’à Maputo et depuis Maputo jusqu’au Cap, le tout par voie terrestre, à pieds ou à dos d’éléphant ou de chameau, et marine en suivant les rivières, à travers déserts, savanes et forêts vierges et, le plus souvent au péril de sa vie. Lorsqu’il parvint au terme de son trajet en Afrique du Sud, Braguelonne avait entièrement captivé les coeurs de son auditoire. Il continua son récit.

– Au terme de ce voyage, je rentrais ici, à Paris, comme vous le savez tous. Mais ce n’est pas de cela que vous voulez entendre parler il me semble, alors laissez moi plutôt vous conter mon escale à Kinshasa, ou plutôt sur l’île de M’Bamou, car c’est là, mesdames et messieurs que je rencontrai l’homme qui me fit cadeau de ce fameux objet que l’on appelle le Masbaha rouge et que je vais vous dévoiler ce soir. Il fit une pause pour s’assurer de l’effet de sa déclaration sur son auditoire avant d’enchaîner, visiblement satisfait. Dès mon arrivée à Kinshaha j’entendis prononcer la première fois, auprès de mon hôte, un marchand de pierres précieuses, le nom de Masbaha rouge. Je dis prononcer pour la première fois car j’avais, quelques mois auparavant, lu ce même nom dans l’un des livres de Sir Pierce, l’un des grands explorateurs du continent Africain de notre histoire, qui étaient passé par là bien avant moi. C’est d’ailleurs précisément ce qui m’avait amené à décider de passer par Kinshasa à mon départ : en apprendre plus sur ce mystérieux nom que Pierce décrivait comme le plus grand mystère de son séjour à Kinshasa. Qu’était-ce que ce Masbaha rouge ? Un bijoux ? Une épice ? Un animal ? Pourquoi autant de mystère autour d’une telle chose ? Je n’en savais rien mais j’étais bien déterminé à éclaircir ce mystère…. Il me fallut trois semaines et de nombreuses connexions pour trouver la trace de ce mystérieux nom. Les habitants eux-mêmes ne semblaient pas en savoir plus que moi à ce sujet. ce n’est peut-être que par chance que je croisais un jour la route d’un vieux chaman qui avait, de son maître, entendu parler de cet objet. Il croyait se rappeler en savoir la localisation, dans un petit village sur l’île de M’Bamou, située au nord de la ville sur le fleuve Congo. Je lui demandais des précisions mais il ne sut m’en dire plus quant à la nature de ce mystérieux objet. Car c’était un objet, comme j’avais pu le déduire lors de ces trois semaines. Le Masbaha rouge n’était pas, ou en tout cas n’était plus, un être vivant. Je me rendis donc sur l’île de M’Bamou et demandait aux habitants ce qu’ils savaient de l’objet de ma quête mais les versions divergeaient à chaque fois. Pierce lui, voyait d’abord une épice avant, comme moi, de réaliser que son existence ne pouvait qu’être extrêmement rare ou unique puisque l’on en connaissait l’existence sans pour autant en voir un grand nombre. Certains indigènes y voyaient un joyaux précieux, d’autres un sort recelant le pouvoirs de leurs ancêtres, d’autres encore une relique des temps passés, mais toutes ces réponses se révélaient soit incertaines soit complètement aléatoires. Une seule me marqua par la précision des détails et la certitude dans sa formulation, ce fut celle d’une jeune femme, fille du défunt médecin du village. Marqué par ce court échange je lui demandais des détails et elle m’avoua, après lui avoir assuré de la bienveillance de mes intentions, qu’elle pourrait me montrer ce fameux Masbaha rouge si j’acceptais de l’en débarrasser. Elle m’emmena alors chez elle, une grande habitation plusieurs fois centenaire, construite dans du bois précieux et qu’elle gardait malgré sa taille bien trop grande pour elle en l’honneur de son père. Elle m’introduit dans le grand salon où j’aperçus cette tenture qui se trouve derrière moi et qui cachait une partie de la pièce. Elle me fit alors l’histoire de la descendance de ses ancêtres et de la passation de ce mystérieux objet – que je vous passe pour le moment mais dont je vous ferait part plus tard si vous le souhaitez – avant de me faire la révélation de la vraie nature du Masbaha rouge. J’en fus frappé et ne pus la croire d’abord, mais une fois l’assurance de la véracité de ses paroles obtenue et un regard plus approfondi sur l’objet de ma quête je fus entièrement convaincu… Je vais à présent moi aussi vous révéler la vraie nature du Masbaha rouge mais, juste avant cela – ne vous inquiétez pas ce ne sera pas long -, laissez moi vous poser une simple question, la même qu’elle me posa alors…

Braguelonne fit une nouvelle pause et passa son regard sur chacun des membres de l’audience, celle-ci était pendue à ses lèvres et n’attendait qu’une chose : la libération de la révélation. Il prit une inspiration avant de continuer.

– Mes chers amis, que pensez-vous de cette tenture d’un magnifique rouge pourpre qui se trouve derrière moi ?, demanda-t-il avec un petit sourire aux lèvres.

Une nouvelle écrite dans le cadre d’un cours d’écriture créative.

Je n’en suis pas totalement satisfait, elle mériterait d’être quelque peu étoffée.

À retravailler.