To the serene sound of Ludivico Einaudi’s ‘I giorni’, Noirseuil Voltaire sits alone in an empty room, but for the mint condition Victorian armchair he is sitting in and a similarly well-conditioned Victorian end table. Sitting atop this table is a bottle of the finest French absinthe. In Voltaire’s hand, a large crystal absinthe glass, filled to the very top. He speaks in his usual soothing tone above the music.
Absinthe, spirit of the immortals. The drink of my ancestors. Undiluted perfection.
Noirseuil raises the absinthe to his lips and slowly drinks the entire glass. He quietly places the glass down and leans forward in the chair, motioning for the camera to come closer.
Bonjour à tous, mes bons amis. J'espère que vous appréciez cet événement spectaculaire. What you are about to observe is not for the fainthearted. I admonish all of those with a delicate soul to divert your attention elsewhere. Parents, guardians, I implore you to shield the eyes any child in attendance. With that warning, all who wish to observe, I request your perseverance during any potential delay.
Just as Voltaire stops talking, the door to the room opens and the twins of Justine and Juliette enter, dragging a beaten individual into the room.
Immaculate timing. Release him.
The twins drop the bloody, lifeless man to the floor, and take up position either side of him. This man is unknown to the XWA, but clearly has a link to Voltaire.
Jacques Barriere. It’s been almost twenty-six years. I hope my maidens weren’t too austere with you.
Noirseuil turns to the table and pours himself a fresh glass of absinthe, filling it to the top of the glass without diluting it, unlike it is intended to be.
November 15th, 1986. Toulouse. I was a mere child then. 16 years old. Simply wandering down a peaceful scenic route soaking in the delights of nature. Suddenly I am interrupted by a loathsome mendicant demanding I present him my daily bread. When I declined, I remember my world immediately fading to black. As I awoke, I found myself enclosed by flames.
Noirseuil rises from his chair.
They say an elephant never forgets, my good friend. Unfortunately for you, today I am that elephant. You’ve come a long way since that day. Jacques. For that, you earn my reverence.
Jacques begins to come around and begins to crawl towards Voltaire.
But this day is my day. This day is my retribution.
Barriere crawls a little further forward, coming around a little more. As he reaches closer to Noirseuil, the sisters of Justine and Juliette stab their heels into each hand of Jacques, stopping him in his path as he screams in pain.
Silence friend. Einaudi must be respected.
Noirseuil steps forward with grace and lowers himself to Barriere’s height. He stares lovingly at his glass of absinthe.
Pure, undiluted absinth. The way I favour it.
Noirseuil pours the drink into his mouth as the twins hold Jacques Barriere’s head back. Out of nowhere and in one swift movement, Noirseuil strikes a match and sprays the absinthe towards Barriere’s face, creating a lethal fireball. Noirseuil does not hold back, spraying every last drop of the highly flammable spirit. The twins throw Barriere’s blackened and singed face to the ground. Noirseuil walks to the table and grabs his bottle of absinthe before returning and placing it on the ground next to Barriere.
The hymns of Einaudi and the remains of my absinthe. My parting gift to you. Adieu, mon vieil ami.
The twins release their grip of Barriere as the Charenton Plague exit the room. Noirseuil quietly closes the door behind him. The feed fades out as the music continues to play.