17 February 2007
We really had very little to go on when we landed at Altiport Peyresourde. Michael's information claimed there was some activity involving a great spirit serpent in the mountains south of the airport, near Lac d’Oô, and that it had caused some trouble for locals. Michael had been kind enough to get us a car from the airstrip to the town, but from there we were on our own. I decided to sort out accommodations for us and check in with my supervisor in Rome, and she slipped into the spiritual realm to start asking around. It didn’t really occur to either of us right away that the spirits would be accustomed to speaking French, which she didn’t know. So I was in a small rented room on the phone when she burst out of the spiritual realm ranting about how she couldn’t find a single spirit using a sensible language. On being questioned, I briefly reminded them that I was traveling with an expert who had just returned from some preliminary scouting and quickly got off the phone.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to maintain permission to travel with you?” I asked.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a spirit that doesn’t turn its nose up at you when you don’t speak the local human tongue?” she demanded, slumping back onto a bed and slowly coiling her lower half on the floor beneath her. “I hate Europe. We’re still in Europe, right?”
“Yes. France is in Europe.”
“Yes, well, am I to take it then that you haven’t found anything useful?”
“Not yet. But I bet there’s spirits that at least speak the language of water in that lake nearby.”
“You didn’t check?”
“I needed to cool down before I dealt with any more locals,” she said, rolling off the bed and stretching. “Any luck on your end?”
“Well, we have this room, which is not a hotel, so please be mindful of the limitations there.”
“I’ve also suggested that we are here to record local lore. We have a dinner tonight with a local man who is very eager to tell us all about local customs and folklore. It seems the Pyrenees do not get nearly as much attention as the Alps and he is excited to correct that.”
“Does he know about me, or is he just expecting you?”
“He’s expecting both of us.”
“What does he think we are?” she asked. I looked at her confused for a moment. “As in, are we dressing nice? Should we be acting like professionals, or romantic partners, or…?”
“I did not indicate anything that would make us pretend to be in a relationship.”
“Bene, we’re in a relationship.”
“I mean a romantic relationship.”
“It might be fun to pretend you have interest in romance, one of these times. Really test our skills at fitting in.”
“I never said I’m not interested in romance. Just that my vows preclude it.”
“Right, your vows, again. Well, at any rate, what image are we putting forth tonight?”
“Dress comfortably,” I said. “I suspect you’ll have legs late into the evening.”
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.