Although any suggestion that he adopt a gnathonic demeanour when requesting a letter of authority from the Duke would normally raise the hackles on Laszlo Licinic's neck, but on this mission, which would require daring and subterfuge, together with cunning and deadly intent, he was quite prepared to waive his normal insistence on equality, so he bent his knee, bowed his head and let Peter Boo do the talking: the request was made, evidence presented, the warrant was issued, and the two friends, together with Giorgio's red-eyed father beside them, then backed out through the door which was closed firmly by two liveried guards; the deed was done, throughout Lombardy they had the right to Pursue, Apprehend and Restore to Milan for Trial and Execution, Sir Ptarmigan MacFarlane and Damien Doubleday, Scotchmen, responsible for the brutal murder of Giorgio Martinelli son of Piero Martinelli of Milan, subject of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan; and that was it – the granting of a mana which would enable them to do anything in their search for the two men, within Lombardy, but what magical powers it would imbue them with beyond the boundaries of the Region were anybody's guess; but one thing in their favour was that precious few Scots were about on the roads, in the taverns or inns of Italy at that time of war and tribulation, and made them extremophiles so long as they stayed there, in a war-torn land; as they rode out of the city, Peter spoke quietly in English to Laszlo, "let us review our assumptions, just in case we have paralogized, and consider whether we might have drawn false conclusions: Giorgio was raped, we both saw that, though we did not mention it for poor Piero's sake, he has suffered enough loss; they chose a boy who played a girl in our production, and dressed him as a girl before raping him. now I think it is reasonable to assume that the clothes were the property of the Master, MacFarlane, but we don't know if both raped him, or if so, in which order - although again, I would think MacFarlane led the way – nor which, if not both, killed him; if the latter, the actual murder, was done by Doubleday, is it possible that MacFarlane may actually dispose of him too, hide his body, and be fleeing alone? he was, if I recollect any speech from him, fluent in Italian, so on his own would be harder to find; but alone, he would have only his own resources to rely on and we don't know what services Doubleday performs for him; perhaps Doubleday is the muscle, better able to seize and secure any unwilling victim, in which case, if MacFarlane depends on him for that, would he wish to cut his throat, or would he keep him close, for the protection he could give his Master? alternatively, if MacFarlane is the killer, might Doubleday decide to dispose of him, stealing his purse and knowing that his flight would be faster travelling light? d'you see what I am getting at?" and Laszlo laughed softly, "you have the skill of a lawyer in confusing the jury, by offering up so many possibles that it is difficult for a layman to know which is true and which humbug!" and this time Peter laughed, "thankyou, dear friend, for your faith in my ability to dissemble: what's that thing about being able to hold two diametrically opposite beliefs?" and Laszlo shook his head: "madness, surely?" but Peter continued: "a British writer, George Orwell coined the term 'Doublethink' for it in his novel 'Nineteen Eighty-four' but, you know, I suspect that you are right; in psychiatry the term 'Cognitive Dissonance' is used, and it describes the stressful consequences of either holding opposing beliefs, or doing something which is against your beliefs or morals, and yes, I think it does lead to a kind of madness!" which was when Piero nudged Peter and said, in an anxious voice: "two men, up ahead!"