Previously on Motte and Bailey: The intrepid duo have arrived at Castle Fillion, home of Baron Camelotto-Rollovyr, in connection with a mysterious death.
Scene 2: At the castle gate
BARON: Welcome! Welcome guests! I am Baron Camelotto-Rollovyr. [BOWS] Noble knight, and holy lady, your presence is a great relief in these dark times. I trust my bard has welcomed you well?
MOTTE: He sang terrible puns at us, if that’s what you mean?
BAILEY: Hm-hm, yes, Milord, we were most graciously entertained by Geoffrey Saucer.
BARON: Ah, excellent, excellent. I am anxious to get to business, but first, you must need refreshment! Follow me to the Great Hall, for we are about to fall to our repast. In all our recent troubles, feasting has not been our priority, so you must content yourselves with a mere roast sparrow –
BARON: – within a roast quail, within a roast pigeon, within a roast chicken, within a roast pheasant, within a roast swan. ‘Tis not much; I apologise. We got it from McDonald’s.
[ALL WALK TOWARDS THE HALL]
MOTTE: McDonald’s? The feared Scottish warrior clan?
BARON: Yes, sister, for we are on good terms with their chieftain, Ronald, and often they send us such gifts as this, wishing us always a happy meal. Now! We are here, will you take seat and eat?
[THEY ALL SIT]
BAILEY: Better to take seat-and-eat now than later, when you must sit-and-sh-
MOTTE: Sir Liqueur! [WHISPERS] Professionalism! If we wanted vulgar jokes we would have brought Sir Fartalot.
BAILEY: Sorry, Sister Bonne. [TO THE BARON] So, Milord, you wrote to us urging us to come with great haste. A death? What business have you for us?
BARON: Let us discuss it in private. After dinner.
Scene 3: The Baron’s private chamber
BARON: We are waiting for another, who can assist me in explaining our problem to you. [CHAMBER DOOR OPENS] Ah! Here he is; welcome, Abbot! Sir, Madam, may I present Robert de Milton Keynes, scholar and abbot of nearby Downton Abbey.
ROBERT: Welcome, Sir Knight. A blessing on you, sister. Do you like cats?
MOTTE: Well, yes, I – er, why?
ROBERT: Observe this scroll. ‘Tis a new form of humour I have been perfecting. You see, I have taken this vellum illumination of a cat, and at the bottom I have directed my scribes to write funny captions. See – look, this one says ‘Verily, I hath cheezburger?’ It’s funny because cats can’t talk. See? [GIGGLES]
MOTTE: I’m not sure you’re feline alright. Anyway. Can we get to business?
BARON: Yes. Abbot, please, now is not the time for those – what do you call them? – lolle-cattes.
BARON: Very well. The facts of our case are this: The castle jester, Richard Gervase, was found several days ago in the moat – dead.
BARON: Not exactly. We think his neck was broken and we do not think it was an accident.
BAILEY: How can you be sure?
BARON: Because he was last seen near the privy on the upper floor, and we think he may have gone through the garderobe. The privy is private – it is a private privy and only I am privy to it. There is a locked door at the end of the passageway that leads to the privy. To have been there means that he must have been let in, or have obtained the key. He must have had a reason. And then – he turns up dead? It is all very suspicious.
MOTTE: But he could have fallen.
ROBERT: Ah, but we found something that suggests he was pushed. A piece of stuff – wool, we think – torn from something and clenched in his hand. We think it was torn from the person who pushed him.
BAILEY: That is certainly suggestive. But what is the motive? Who would want to kill a jester?
ROBERT: You didn’t have to listen to his stand-up routine.
BARON: Ahem, thank you, Abbot. The mystery is that we don’t know. But something is amiss. Strange things have been reported about the castle, and in the village. Howling noises. Strange lights in the windows of locked chambers. Items going missing. We suspect… witchcraft. But who is the witch? We know not.
MOTTE: We should examine the body. Sir Liqueur?
BAILEY: Ah, um, yes. The body… the dead, very dead, body. You know, Sister Bonne, I think I might scout for clues while you examine the body.
MOTTE: We should really both look at it. Unless the brave knight is afraid of bodies?
BAILEY: No! I mean, no, of course not. I love corpses, me. I mean – not like that. I mean –
MOTTE: Let’s just go and examine it. Baron, would you lead us there?
BARON: Of course, sister. We must go down to the dungeon.
To be continued…