We get a classic Gothic novel opening: "It was a dark and stormy night."
Athos has to restrain D’Artagnan from going too fast.
The friends try to strike up conversation with the man in the red cloak, but he remains reticent.
The storm gets worse.
The men are approaching the inn where Milady was spotted, when Grimaud appears out of nowhere and tells them that she has left!
Athos questions Grimaud, and concludes that Milady has gone half a league in the direction of the river. Alone.
Grimaud guides them through the night. Near the ferry across the river, the men discern a small house with a light inside. A man jumps out of a ditch to join them. It is Mousqueton. Bazin is watching the door.
Athos looks through the window of the house to see Milady. She looks up and sees the face of Athos at her window.
Athos breaks the window and enters the room. Milady screams and turns to the door. D’Artagnan stands on the threshold with a pistol.
Athos tells him to put the weapon away.
Porthos, Aramis, Lord de Winter, and the man in the red cloak all enter the room.
Milady screams. She asks what they want. The lackeys guard the room.
Athos verifies her identity—she has gone by the names of Comatose de la Fère, and Milady de Winter.
She asks again what they want.
Athos replies that they are there to judge her for her crimes.
D’Artagnan steps forward as the first accuser. He accuses Milady of poisoning Constance Bonacieux, and then of trying to poison him with wine. A man named Brisemont died in his place, bringing her total body count up to two. Athos and Porthos bear witness to these crimes.
D’Artagnan then accuses her of asking him to murder the Comte de Wardes. There were no witnesses, so he attests to it himself.
The Lord de Winter steps forward. He accuses her of causing the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham. This is the first time those present have heard that news.
Lord de Winter explains how Milady corrupted John Felton and made him kill the Duke; Felton will be killed for this.
De Winter then says that his brother (her second husband) died a mysterious death.
Total body count: 5.
Athos steps forward. He explains that he married Milady when she was a young girl, and gave her money and a title before finding the brand on her shoulder.
Milady defies him to find the tribunal that sentenced her and the man that executed the sentence.
The man in the red cloak comes forward.
Milady is terrified.
The man in the red cloak takes off his mask; Milady’s terror intensifies. She calls him the executioner of Lille.
The man explains his story.
Milady was once a nun who seduced a priest. She convinced him that they need money to flee, and the priest stole sacred objects of the church and sold them. Both were arrested.
Within a week, Milady seduced the son of her jailer and escaped. The priest was sentenced to prison for year and was branded with the mark of a criminal his shoulder.
The brother of the priest happened to be the executioner, who swore up and down that he would one day also brand Milady. He caught her, branded her, and then returned to Lille. The priest escaped shortly thereafter, and the executioner was condemned to take the man’s place. The priest rejoined Milady and the two of them fled. They found a small church on an estate, where he pretended to be a curate and she, his sister.
The lord of the estate (that would be Athos), soon fell in love with Milady and made her his wife and the Comtesse de la Fère. The priest returned to Lille and was horrified to find his brother in jail. He surrendered himself to take his brother’s place, and then hanged himself that night.
Body Count: 6.
Each of the accusers demands the penalty of death. Porthos and Aramis serve as judges and pronounce the death sentence.
The men condemn her and Milady realizes there is no hope. She does not resist when someone drags her out of the cottage.