Friday, December 17, 2010

Captain Fouquet; Chapter 1.2 'The Fire Bird' cont...

This game was played on 15 December. 2010.
Present were; Jan, Oleg, Palle & Goeg.

Misteline, Rufus and Marmaduke returned to Misteline's studio around an hour after night fall and tucked into a delicious fish prepared in wine sauce, served by the ever present Mrs Crimpstock. After the meal had been devoured and the plates had been cleared away, the companions set about theorising. Misteline expounded on his thoughts regarding alchemy and the purchase of alchemical materials, whilst Rufus advocated a thorough investigation of the mysterious Captain Fouquet. Marmaduke remain taciturn, watching the rain begin to form drops on the window.

Eventually, Misteline and Rufus decided to go and visit their former companion Silas Underhand whom they imagined might be able to assist their inquiries and shed some light on Fouquet's background. Marmaduke, who didn't know Underhand opted to remain in the studio and keep watch on the courtyard in case any further strange events took place. The first thing he noticed was the absence of the militia guard from the south tower door.

Silas Underhand was once a Captain in the City Militia, (See Campaigns 1 & 2) but who was forced out of his position by the change of regime and accusations of corruption. He survived these accusations and set up as the proprietor of the gambling house the Lotus Flower. As a consequence of his career, Silas has a great many contacts in the city's dark under belly.

Misteline and Rufus were admitted by the doorman and greeted by Silas in his chambers. Wine (of a mediocre quality) was served and Silas listened to Misteline's tale. Silas agreed to help in return for being in on any advantages Misteline's investigations unearthed (though Misteline was prudently vague about the mysterious cause of Molly Cutlerstub's death). Silas also agreed to lend Misteline the use of two of his associates. These were the muscular Mr Tom Hurdigrip and the sprightly Mr Gerald Mosscramp. Both men were at hand and accompanied Misteline back to his quarters. Rufus remained at the casino and gambled away some of his money.

Back in Misteline's studio, Marmaduke grew bored sitting in the dark. Two hours had past when he suddenly noticed two dark figures below. Two men in cloaks entered the courtyard from North Wall Street and paused to observe their surroundings at the rear of Meg Plum's house. Marmaduke realised the two men were in fact Meg Plum's lodgers, Cristobal Sebastiano and the man known only as Franco. He watched as the two men moved across his line of vision until they were obscured by the house of Robert Ladlevane. Cracking open a window he heard nothing until a few minutes later he became aware of voices and spied two dark figures standing outside the rear door of the Cock-a-doodle club confronted by the man named Franco who appeared to be threatening the two dark figures with a rapier. Marmaduke reasoned the two dark figures were paederasts and this conclusion was strengthened when both fled into the Cock-a-doodle club. Franco vanished from view. A few minutes later, several figures emerged cautiously from the gentleman's club and peered about the dark courtyard, then all disapeared back into the club.

Misteline returned home, accompanied by Tom Hurdigrip and Gerald Mosscramp, and Marmaduke told him about the confrontation with the patrons of the Cock-a-doodle club. Mosscramp immediately went down into the courtyard to investigate but found it deserted. Misteline then set Tom Hurdigrip and Gerald Mosscramp, to keep an eye on Cristobal Sebastiano and Franco, and both men then departed promising to report back on the morrow. Marmaduke retired to his own home and eventually fell asleep and Misteline sat by his window with a sketch book, musing.

Some time approaching midnight, just as he was beginning to fall asleep, Misteline heard dim voicees raised in argument. Putting his head out of the window he concluded that high above him, in the north tower, Anton Fouquet and his wife Anaïs were engaged in a domestic dispute. Not long after this Misteline observed the old captain leave the north tower and enter the south tower.

11th Marts. 1625.

Misteline was awoken by Mrs Crimpstock bearing his breakfast on a tray. It was sometime after 8 o'clock and outside, it was raining. After breaking his fast Misteline made his way to visit Meg Plum. Surrounded by Molly Cutlerstub's many children, including Nicolet Cutlerstub, the old char lady listened as Misteline expressed his sympathies (and offered a few Crowns to ease their pains). Misteline was interested in understanding Molly Cutlerstub's movements and moods in the days preceding her demise, but the family were unable to help. They had not noticed anything unusual in Molly's daily routine, certainly nothing they could connect with her death. The only detail Meg was able to recall was Molly's reticence during the evening of her last day.


Click to enlarge

Disapointed, Misteline asked the family to keep an eye open for anything untoward and then left Meg Plum's house, making his way along Garnet Street to Cobblemoss Court which he found full of people going about their business. Here he bought a copy of The Gentleman's Companion (one of the many single sheet Journals of Public Record which are a popular source of news and social comment in Takshendal) and found to his amazement that not only was Molly Cutlerstub's death the head line story but the journal was also reporting his involvement in the affair and the existence of an unnamed prime suspect (presumably Marmaduke).

Marmaduke in the meanwhile had awoken and gone looking for Misteline, but in crossing the courtyard had met Robert Ladlevane ignoring the rain and washing his head in a bucket of water. He also saw Anaïs Fouquet exiting the north tower with a wicker basket and head out onto North Wall Street. Marmaduke stayed and chatted with Ladlevane for a while then looked in on Mrs Crimpstock, and then Meg Plum as he followed Misteline's trail.

Independently of each other, Rufus and Marmaduke found Misteline standing in Cobblemoss Court engrossed in reading The Gentleman's Companion and since neither had yet eaten, they dragged him into the Red Fox for coffee and pastries. Having read the paper, Misteline and Rufus headed for the City Hall where they hoped to find archived information regarding the Friars Gate property.

Marmaduke made his way to Misteline's studio but along the way he encountered Bagangelo who seemed to be in a passion and who asked if Marmaduke might happen to know the where abouts of Misteline. Marmaduke replied he had just seen Misteline in the Red Fox and Bagangelo hurried away in that direction.

After two hours Misteline and Rufus were told the address of an old city archive which might be of use but by this time it was midday and so they returned home to rendezvous with Marmaduke who was still keeping watch from Misteline's studio. Marmaduke had nothing to relate as his vigil had been uneventful, though he did mention having seen Bagangelo seeking Misteline and Anaïs earlier in the day. Mrs Crimptock then served luncheon.

As they finished their meal, the companions were delighted at the arrival of Hilda Grimbleflax and Kit Kindle who came to see Misteline to express their solidarity with Molly Cutlerstub's family and to offer a reward of 100 Crowns to any one who might provide information which led to solving the mystery of Cutlerstub's death. Both women were convinced Molly Cutlerstub was murdered but had no understanding of how or why. During this conversation, Marmaduke was still sitting by his window post and noticed Anton Fouquet leave the south tower and cross the gatehouse to the north tower. He drew this to Misteline's attention and the old artist quietly wondered whether the former captain had slept in the south tower all night after the argument which Misteline had overheard during the night.


Franco

Hilda Grimbleflax and Kit Kindle departed and the companions pondered their next move. Misteline decided to seek out Bagangelo so the companions made their way downstairs and into the courtyard where the sun was beginning to shine. As the three men left Mrs Crimstock's house, they saw the mysterious man named Franco exit Meg Plum's house with a drawn rapier and a sharpening stone. As the man kicked a stool into place and sat down, Rufus made a insulting comment refering to 'people who needed to bully homosexuals to feel like men'. Franco understood the nature of the comment but didn't know what the word homosexual meant. He stood up and demanded an explanation, which Rufus subsequently supplied. As Misteline and Marmaduke looked on, Rufus goaded Franco into a duel and the unfortunate southerner drew his rapier and adopted a fencing stance. Within seconds their blades flashing in the sunlight the two men were duelling hard and the outcome seemed uncertain, but then Rufus gained the advantage and ran his opponent through the stomach. Franco dropped to the ground bleeding profously and groaning in agony.



Meg Plum flew out of her house and cried out in despair. Behind her Molly Cutlerstub's children looked on with wide eyes. Plum dropped to the dying man's side and tried to help him, but Misteline advised her not to move the wounded fellow for fear of causing more damage to the wound. An urchin was sent for a local doctor, and Bagangelo arrived whilst Franco spat curses at Rufus and swore he would be revenged. Rufus remained aloof and merely watched as Franco gradually bled out his lifes blood. A second urchin was sent to find Silas Underhand. By the time Doctor Hamshank of Milners Lane arrived, Franco was dead and a small crowd of onlookers had gathered. Several of the inhabitants of the Friars gate Property had also arrived, including Captain Fouquet, Mrs Crimpstock, Robert Ladlevane and from the gate house, Anaïs Fouquet looked on.

Misteline realised that Rufus was in a precarious situation since he had killed Franco without the other man having had any seconds to provide corroboration that the duel had been consensual. He asked around and disovered that Bagangelo had been sitting on his balconey and had seen enough of the exchange to vouch for Rufus's explanation. Misteline then sought the advice of Captain Fouquet but was surprised to see a strong involuntary, emotional reaction pass between Captain Fouquet and Baganagelo, both of whom then tried to supress themselves. Captain Fouquet advised Misteline to either seek a good lawyer or illict any other form of influence he might be able to find on Rufus's behalf. Misteline couldn't think of any good lawyers off hand so he decided to seek out the City Marshal Leander Quartermoon wth whom he had had previous dealings. Misteline rushed to his studio to find some money for bribes then after handing this to Rufus, he made off for the Citadel as fast as his legs could carry him.

Marmaduke and Rufus were left in the courtyard with a waning crowd of onlookers awaiting the arrival of the militia whom they supposed would soon be along. They observed Captain Fouquet and Bagangelo talking to each other ernestly whilst Bagangelo's apprentice Oliver Tapprattle tried to calm the two men down. Suddenly Fouquet punched Bagangelo in the face and the artist staggered back, then replied with an open handed slap to Fouquet's face. Enraged the old sea captain challenged the artist to a duel and Bagangelo accepted. The duel was set for the dawn of the 12th, behind the Dancing Badger public house on the Rogate Road (outside the city). Both men then departed the courtyard, Fouquet displaying an angry counternance as he kicked one of Molly Cutlerstub's children out of his path. He slammed his door behind him as he disapeared into the north tower.

The urchin sent to find Silas returned with a note which read 'Find a good lawyer'.

Two militia guards walking along North Wall Street noticed the crowd of onlookers cluttered about the Friars Gate gate-house and investigated. When they realised there had been a killing, one hurried off to find Captain Shallowsack whilst the other one questioned people as to what had taken place. Rufus explained there had been a fair duel of honour, but his only witness at hand was Marmaduke.

Misteline reached the Citadel and managed to bribe his way in to a meeting with Marshal Quartermoon. By great fortune, the commander of the city militia was watching his men training in the central courtyard of the Citadel, and by even greater fortune, he was happy to meet wth Misteline and hear his story. Quartermoon listened with sympathy and promised to look into the matter personally. He knew the name of Cristobal Sebastiano and asked an aide to find out who the name belonged to. The answer was quick to return, Cristobal Sebastiano was an Envoy to the Royal Embassy of Serrenisma. Quartermoon expressed his concerns at this development and gave Misteline the name and address of an excellent lawyer; Nathaniel Pennyfork of Hedgecote Road.


All the children are Molly Cutlerstub's offspring

Captain Shallowsack arrived with eight militia guards and questioned Rufus and Marmaduke. When he'd heard their story he arrested them both and brought them to the Eastern Wall Militia Tower where they were placed in a cell on the top floor.

Misteline arrived at the house of Nathaniel Pennyfork who agreed to a preliminary engagement to Misteline, on a retainer. Pennyfork undertook to investigate the matter and was confident of success, providing the dead man wasn't important. When he learned that Franco was the body guard of an Envoy to the Royal Embassy of Serrenisma, Nathaniel Pennyfork foresaw certain 'complications' depending on how belligerent the Envoy might be. Misteline expressed grave doubts that Cristobal Sebastiano would look kindly on the death of his body-guard.

Misteline set off for home around the same time as Captain Shallowsack returned to the cell holding Rufus and Marmaduke. He released Marmaduke explaining that the dead man was a body-guard to an Envoy of the Royal Embassy of Serrenisma but another witness (presumbed to be Bagangelo) had provided corroborating evidence which put Marmaduke in the clear. Rufus was left under detention but still retained gentlemen's privilges and his money. (His weapons were confiscated of course).

Misteline and Marmaduke met at Misteline's studio and brought each other up to date. Misteline was disapointed to hear about Captain Fouquet's challenge to Bagangelo, not least since Bagangelo was the only independent witness to Rufus's duel with Franco. Misteline suggested they immediately secure Rufus's apartment so they rushed over to the fencing school and Misteline searched about for any valuable Rufus might have had hidden away. It didn't take the cunning old artist long to find the secret location of his friend's funds and once these were secured, the door was locked and Misteline and Marmaduke descended to the Red Fox for somethng to eat. Hilda Grimbleflax joined them and Misteline learned the details of Bagangelo's confrontation with Captain Fouquet. He also learned that the betting was ten to one against his fellow artist.

Some what concerned with the way things were developing, Misteline and Marmaduke sought out Bagangelo in his apartment. Bagangelo who had been supping with his apprentice Oliver Taprattle was clearly shaken but retained his cool. He refused to consider an apology and offered no explanation as to the cause of the duel, refering to it only as an affair of honour. Misteline advised the services of a local duel instructor; Raymond Archharper (Rufus being out of the picture) and thanking him profusely, Bagangelo departed.

Once Bagangelo had left, Misteline questioned Taprattle as to the cause of the duel. Taprattle offered to divulge this information in return for an apprenticeship. He had no faith in Bagangelo's chances against the old sea captain. Misteline accepted Taprattle's proposal and the apprentice explained that Bagangelo had been engaged in an affair of the heart with Anaïs Fouquet for the last few months.

2 comments:

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

I understand your surprise at my picking a fight a bit better now, for "they saw the mysterious man named Franco exit Meg Plum's house with a drawn rapier and a sharpening stone. As the man kicked a stool into place and sat down" is not what you said or I heard.

You said "Franco comes out with a bared blade, he stands looking at you, then sits down and starts to sharpen it (,while still looking at you)", and I heard, "Franco comes out with bared blade, flourishes it while looking at you in challenge, then sits down to sharpen it while sneering at you"...

I also did not run him through- I had him in a position where he should have fled or yielded, but he lunged forwards insanely, impaling himself.

Misteline said...

Witnesses