Hill of Bones

Hill of Bones by The Medieval Murderers

Book: Hill of Bones by The Medieval Murderers Read Free Book Online
Authors: The Medieval Murderers
of thanks for your deliverance,’ the canon said. ‘I am going to meet Pica in the abbey, and you are welcome to join us. Ah! Here he is now.’
    ‘My husband has made arrangements to visit St Michael’s instead,’ said Gwenllian, before Cole could respond with a more pithily worded refusal. ‘He will—’
    ‘Good,’ said Pica unpleasantly. ‘Let us hope God tells him to ditch his stupid enquiries about Hugh, and take up my cause instead.’
    It was dark by the time Gwenllian had finished. Iefan was waiting to escort her back to the inn, and they were just passing St Michael’s when they heard a commotion. They joined a crowd of people hurrying to see what was amiss.
    Lechlade was lying on the ground, dead from a wound near the groin.
    Those in authority did not take long to arrive. Walter was first. He had brought a lantern, and Gwenllian looked away when she saw the amount of blood that had been spilled. Next came Trotman, Robert at his side. Trotman dropped to his knees and began to weep when he saw his friend’s corpse, and Robert laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. Then the bishop appeared, his henchman-knights slouching behind him.
    Cole arrived, holding the tool he used for paring hoofs. Dacus was not far behind, and Gwenllian realised the stables were near the hospital; Cole might have been tending his horse, but he had also been monitoring the man he considered a villain.
    ‘Lechlade was killed with a sword,’ Cole said, kneeling next to the body. As a soldier, he was familiar with such injuries and well qualified to judge.
    ‘Who would do such a thing?’ wailed Trotman. ‘And why did Lechlade not fight back? He always carried a dagger and a mace when away from Wells.’
    ‘He must have been taken by surprise,’ replied Cole. ‘His weapons are still in his belt.’
    ‘A knight did it,’ stated Osmun. ‘Who else wears a sword? Fevil and I have been with the bishop all afternoon, so we are not responsible. It is another knight.’
    His reptilian gaze settled on Cole, and Gwenllian’s stomach lurched. Was this how they would thwart the investigation, given that cajolery, bribes and threats had not worked?
    ‘No!’ said Trotman unsteadily. ‘Sir Symon has been in St Michael’s, attending Mass.’
    ‘And where are we now?’ demanded Walter archly. ‘Outside St Michael’s! Obviously, he said his prayers first, and murdered Lechlade afterwards.’
    Gwenllian watched in horror as Osmun and Fevil drew their swords. Cole started to do the same, but his scabbard was empty.
    ‘Symon cannot be the culprit,’ she said, seizing in relief the way to exonerate him. ‘His blade was broken in last night’s attack, and it is with the smith. You can see he is unarmed.’
    ‘Then he used another one,’ snapped Osmun. ‘There are plenty available in Bath.’
    ‘But you just said only knights wear swords,’ said Robert. ‘You cannot have it both—’
    ‘Arrest him,’ chanted Dacus. He began to dance in small circles. ‘He is an evil killer, who refuses to face the wolf on Solsbury Hill. Throw him in prison! Hang him in chains!’
    ‘What is going on?’ came an imperious voice. It was Pica. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Lechlade, and his hands flew to his mouth. ‘God save us! What happened?’
    ‘A knight has murdered Lechlade,’ explained Trotman brokenly. ‘But Sir Symon’s sword is broken, which means Savaric’s henchmen—’
    ‘Now just a moment,’ began Savaric. ‘My advisers have no reason to harm Lechlade. Besides, they have an alibi in me, whereas Cole has been alone in the stables.’
    ‘How do you know he was alone in the stables?’ pounced Gwenllian. ‘Have you been spying on him?’
    ‘I may have ordered him monitored,’ acknowledged Savaric reluctantly. ‘For his own safety. He was almost killed last night, in case you had forgotten.’
    ‘I had not,’ said Gwenllian coldly. ‘However, your confession is excellent news. Let this spy step forward.

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