June 4, 1932 - Florence - Evening
Madelyn set the tome down and eyed her empty glass. Though feeling tipsy, she considered a refill, then decided against it when she noted Carlos' glazed eyes. Chuckling, she said, "I hope I don't look as drunk as you." When he didn't respond, she continued, "No mysterious hocus-pocus shenanigans in this passage, so relax a bit, will you? It was straight rape and pillage, courtesy of Halfdan's son Gudfrid. You know, Viking stuff. Anyway, he did good. Collecting gold, that is. Well, until the Franks drove him out." As Carlos remained silent, she chimed, "Are you still with me?"
The young man stirred, held up and inspected his near-empty glass. Downing the last of it he nodded. "Yes, Miss York."
"Still thinking about that Necronomicon I asked you about? Worried I might pose questions you don't want to answer?"
Carlos jerked his head slightly in the affirmative. "Yes, Miss York."
Smiling widely, she said, "Well, tough darts for you. Tell me. Tell me everything.
For an answer Carlos stood, collected the glasses and disappeared into the kitchen. "Would you like a coffee, ma'am?"
"Changing subjects won't save you." Carlos remained silent, save the noise of clattering glasses and cups. Madelyn considered his offer. "Very well, bring me a coffee. Obviously liquor won't loosen your tongue. Maybe I'll get something out of you with caffeine." She turned in her chair to make sure he hadn't snuck up on her, like earlier in the day. "You know, if you don't tell me where it is I'll just search it out myself. I'm resourceful that way."
The noise in the kitchen stopped, followed by a long pause. "I never confirmed he had a copy."
Madelyn laughed. "Sweet Jesus, Carlos. You became white as a ghost and downed half a bottle of scotch at the mere mention of it. If that's not a tell, I don't know what is."
Another long pause. "It's not here."
Madelyn clapped her hands like a giddy schoolgirl. "Now we're getting somewhere. So, pray tell, if the book is not here, then where is it?"
"I can't say."
"Can't, or won't?"
"Pick one, Miss York."
Madelyn slumped back in the chair and pouted. "Fine," she mumbled to herself. "If that's the way you want to play it." Raising her voice. "Okay, you win, for now." She passed a hand over the contents of the centuries old box. "I'll just go back to reading this."
From the kitchen Carlos' spoke with an unabashed sigh of relief. "Very wise, Miss York."
Frowning, she picked up the tome, turned the page and scanned the old writing. "It appears a lot happened while Gudfrid was away raiding in France."
Minutes later Carlos walked in carrying a tray, his footsteps a little uneven. "Is that so?" He leaned forward to set the tray on the coffee table, stood straight and swayed before throwing himself into his chair.
Madelyn chuckled. "Poor dear. Drunk as a skunk, and here I let you make coffee. Where are my manners?"
"The same place you keep your curiosity, Miss York."
"Ohh. A funny. I'll have to get you drunk more often. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. "With the brothers torn asunder, and seeing Ivar and Sigurd marcheth north, Halfdan, Ubbe and Bjorn did remain to siege the fortified town of Appleby..."