The quiz had kept us up late - we'd waited because of CDWM and we'd waited for Tom to finish a job application - so there weren't many heads over the parapet first thing. It was my turn to do bread and breakfast, so I went to the boulangerie on my own to collect what was needed. I managed to explain, in french, that I was feeling a little tired because of all the wine. The baker smiled and titled her head at me. "Are you staying in the chateau?" she asked. I nodded. She nodded, knowingly.
Breakfast became brunch became lunch as more people rose and the day warmed. Vinny, Skinner, Tom, Hannah and I filled a box with beers, and went down to the river to fish. I wasn't bothered about fishing, really, but I was very interested in the box of beers. Insecure Dave and Dom followed on. We found a sandy cutting through the reeds that led down to a sunny spot by the river. I shudder to think of what the channel we were fishing in was designed for. It certainly wasn't natural. Vin soon tired of fishing, and Skinner seemed restless too, so we went back to Ventenac. We took a different route through the vineyards, and were set upon by score of flying ants. "France is a load of shit!" said Skinner, "this is horrible."
The team re-convened on the small balcony, and we drew cards for murder.
"We are about to play a game of murder, most horrid." Murder is a game. It's a little bit like mafia,, a little bit like wink murder, and a little bit like something else. This is how it works: a murderer is chosen at random and in secret, using playing cards. The murderer has a killing period, perhaps 24 hours from the drawing of the cards. In that time they must commit at least one murder. A murder is committed by the murderer presenting their victim with (semi-)realistic means to carry out a real murder. The victim is now dead in the context of the game, and must lie still until discovered (within reason). The only information that the dead can give to the living is an 'autopsy report' detailing how they were killed and the approximate time of death. The other players conduct informal investigations amongst themselves, based on whatever factors they think are important. At the end of the killing period, there is a trial, and all the players cast a vote to say who they think is the murderer, and therefore who they think ought to be hanged. After the hanging, the real murderer reveals themselves. If the murderer gets away with the murder, they win. If the right person is hanged, the others win.
We had drawn cards, and the killing period had began. The game was on.