Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Captain Fouquet; Chapter 1.4 'The Fire Bird'.

26 January. 2011. Present were; Jan, Oleg, Palle and Goeg

The game resumed with Misteline and Marmaduke hiring Horace Nuvel in the market, whilst Marmaduke attempted to hide from the mysterious stranger in dark armoured clothing whom was following them. What Marmaduke hadn't noticed, but Misteline had was a young man, probably a teenager who had exchanged a few words with the stranger, running around to observe them from the rear. Misteline decided to pay these people no mind and followed by Marmaduke and Horace Nuvel, made his way to Nathaniel Pennyfork's house.

At the house of the lawyer, they were admitted by a short, heavy set man who showed them into Pennyfork's rooms. Pennyfork offered refreshments, sending his servant, whom he refered to as Ugan, to fetch, and listened as Misteline explained about Devar Lockmyrtle. Catching on pretty quickly, the lawyer did not raise any objections to using a false witness.In turn he revealed the location of Bagangelo, who was staying at the house of a friend.

After having spoken with his lawyer, Misteline then returned home with Marmaduke, whilst Horace Nuvel made his way to the Bastion to meet his new master. Along the way, the benevolent old artist stopped at Dr Hamshank's to ask him to send a decent surgeon to Nathaniel Pennyfork, to be sent on to examine Bagangelo and if possible, resew his face to reduce the scarring which must inevitably follow from the duel. There after, Misteline and Marmaduke returned home to meet Mrs Crimpstock who informed them that Captain Fouquet had called whilst they were out, and would return later. Misteline went to knock on Fouquet's door and was answered by the bruised and brusque Anaïs. Mrs Fouquet was in no mood to talk and rudely slammed the door in Misteline's face so he returned to his studio to write a letter to Silas requesting the use of more men.

In the Bastion, Horace introduced himself to Rufus, then set about arranging his duties. He had shopped along the way and was soon serving a delicious dish of chicken in a wine and mushroom sauce. As he ate the meal, Rufus spoke of the duel he had fought with Franco and explained his side of events.

As the afternoon drew to a close, Anton Fouquet returned to visit Misteline and Marmaduke. To their surprise, the old sea captain was in a jovial mood and thanked Misteline profusively for having solved the murder by discovering the corpse of Marcus Feathergate. Misteline remained silent on the matter, regarding Fouquet for signs of duplicity. Fouquet appeared to be acting honestly and handed over a purse containing two hundred crowns as payment. He then left leaving Misteline and Marmaduke to wonder at his state of mind.

Some what suspicious, Misteline and Marmaduke made their way down to Marcus Feathergate's house to look for any clue's they might have over looked (always a good idea in a murder mystery) and sure enough they found faint traces of blood on the back door latch. Misteline pretended to be looking for a ladder amongst Robert Ladlevane's wood store, just in case any one was watching, and found one. After havng eaten dinner provided in Misteline's rooms by Mrs Crimpstock, the two companions were joined by Tom who bore a letter from Silas. It read;

I'm having some trouble here. Gerald has gone missing and I'm trying to find him. I don't have any more men to sparre at this time.

Pondering this latest development, Misteline and Marmaduke prevaricated for a few hours whilst waiting for darkness to fall. Eventually they ventured forth with Tom and broke into Feathergate's house where they found signs that the local children had already found a way into the house. With a hooded lantern, and Tom holding watch at the door, Misteline and Marmaduke investigated the house and eventually discovered a trap door under neath the stairs which had been cunningly disguised with fake dust and fake nails giving the appearance of a long abandoned cellar entrance. In fact it was anything but and underneath Feathergate's house Misteline and Marmaduke discovered ten dusty cabinets stuffed with documents. Carefully, Misteline examined the papers and realised this was an archive of the House of Treadstone.

Taking as many random papers as they could conceal about their persons, Misteline and Marmaduke made their way back to Misteline's studio where they set about examinng their haul whilst Tom fell asleep on a couch. Only one of the papers made any immediate sense. It pertained to a small civil war fought ten years previously around the town of Cambri where Treadstone brought in clandestine military supplies to support one of the factions. The supplies were brought via Imperia, on the trading ship 'Molly Carbuncle' captained by A Fouquet.

Having digested this information, Marmaduke returned to his own house and Misteline went to bed. The artist promptly fell asleep, but Marmaduke stayed awake and kept watch on Feathergate's house. At his side, he kept his trusty old crossbow.

13th Marts. 1625.

Some time around one or two in the morning, Marmaduke came awake with a start. He had been dozing off when a sound from outside attracted his attention. Carefully peering thorugh a window of his workshop, he spied a darkness moving in the shadows by Feathergate's house. Deciding that attacking a stranger was a better course of action than observing him, Marmaduke then fired his crossbow into the dark. There was a yelp then a curse and the door to Feathergate's house slammed shut. Marmaduke then ran out of the front door of his own house and up Garnet Street. Reaching the gate house he peered into the courtyard but it was dark and still. Carefully he then made his way to Misteline's studio and woke his companions up.

Having debatted the matter for a few minutes, all three went to investigate the back door to Feathergate's house, with Misteline pretending to be borrowing a plank of wood from Thomas Ladlevane as a plausible reason why three men might be skulking around a yard behind a 'gentleman's club' in the middle of the night...

Marmaduke retrieved his crossbow bolt and found the back door to be unlatched. He snuck inside and found the front door to ajar. Misteline, still holding a plank of wood, checked the rear door and found dark fibres in the hole made by the crossbow bolt. None of them saw any witnesses to the events of the night. Everywhere was quiet. They returned to Misteline's apartment but there was not much else to be done so Marmaduke went home again, and they all fell asleep.

Misteline was awoken around 7am by Tom's prodigous snoring. Unable to sleep he set about pondering the ten cabinets in Feathergate's cellar and how to go about retrieving the wealth of information they must surely contain without any one else noticing, or getting the documents first. He realised that he must also hide the documents somewhere where no one else would think to look so he asked Mrs Crimpstock if she knew of any good storage space where he might put some old furniture belonging to a friend. Mrs Crimpstock suggested the cellar of her house, but Misteline politely rejected the idea. Mrs Crimpstock then suggested asking Meg Plum who knew a lot of people. Leaving Tom asleep on the couch, Misteline went to see Meg Plum.

Meanwhile Rufus awoke to find Horace with a bowl of steaming hot water and a lathered brush waiting for him. After a nice luxurious shave, Horace then served a splendid breakfast and whilst Rufus ate, Horace told him about an old court case (Rumblegut Vs Takshendal) which might prove a valuable precedence. After breakfast, Horace offered to spar with Rufus for the purpose of training. It transpired that Horace had once been something of a duellist himself in his youth.

Meg Plum invited Misteline and listened to his question. She did indeed know of some one who might be of help she replied, her cousin Magda Featherlock who was the land lady of the Eel and Spindle inn. Misteline, who knew Magda from a previous murder investigation, thanked her and set off to reach the Eel and Spindle, which was on the farthest side of the city.

Marmaduke was awoken by his mother bearing gruel and as it had started raining, he sat by his window and watched Feathergate's back door whilst he worked some wood. Soon the rain increased in strength and shortly thereafter Maramduke saw Tom leaving. Half an hour later he also saw Anton Fouquet trudging across the courtyard, and as the old sea dog passed by Marcus Feathergate's house, Marmaduke saw him regard the building briefly.

Misteline reached the Eel and Spindle and found Magda Featherlock in her kitchen. Magda was happy to see her old celebrity guest and to accomidate any furniture Misteline might wish to store. She certainly wouldn't pry nor ask any questions either. Misteline stayed and chatted for a while, and learned of the untimely demise of a former acquaintance; Griselda Honeycomb who had died of 'the clap'. Somewhat saddened by this news, for Griselda had been a kind and lovely woman, Misteline returned home (with a jar of Magda's pickled eels in his bag).

Misteline arrived at Marmaduke's workshop just minutes before Silas turned up. Silas had been unable to locate Gerald, and had no idea where Tom was either. He told Misteline and Marmaduke about the paper signed by Marshal Quartermoon which he had found in the Treadstone file in Axelrod's office. Misteline questioned Silas about the man whom Gerald had been set to follow, and who had been one of Anton Fouquet's seconds for his duel with Bagangelo. Pulling out a pencil and sketch book, made a drawing based on Silas's memory and Misteline recognised the man he had drawn as an old antagonist who went by the name Archibald Pillorseed.

Misteline sent a message to some reliable removal people (Elias Grappletap and Sons) then told Silas about the paper he had come by which showed Fouquet was a sea captain in the employ of the House of Treadstone and that the House of Treadstone was almost certainly a front for the previous ruler of Takshendal, the Grand Arch Duke who had apparently been engaged in smuggling military supplies to secret allies. Silas digested this information then told Misteline and Marmaduke about the agreement he had made with Marshal Quartermoon in 1624. Silas it transpired had been asked by Quartermoon to fabricate evidence to bring down an aide to the ambassador of Serrenisma named Alfonso Luis D'Cartega and in return, Quartermoon could arrange to have charges of corruption made against Silas, dropped. Silas readily agreed and D'Cartega was falsely incriminated as a slave trader, which is highly illegal in Takshendal.

Quite why Quartermoon wanted D'Cartega inciminated remained obscure, but Silas learned that once Quartermoon had arrested D'Cartega he then moved to arrest a man named Sir Oswald Dewfork (who Misteline identified as his landlord prior to Anton Fouquet) but discovered Dewfork has hanged himself only hours before. Silas then departed as the rain had stopped.

At midday, Rufus was interupted by the arrival of several armed guards. To his surprise he was told he was being released as all charges against him had been dropped. Bemused, he made his way back through the streets accompanied by Horace Nuvel. Upon his arrival at Friars Gate, he spied a group of several men, bearing the weapons and cheap garb of gentlemen loitering further along North Wall Street. As Rufus and Horace approached Anton Fouquets gate house, these men noticed their approach and observed them. Rufus entered the Friars Gate courtyard and met Misteline and Marmaduke. Just as he was calling out a greeting to his friends, he was arrested by the sound of a voice from the gate house.

A young man cried out that he was Rufolio of Carpii and as Rufus had killed his friend so he would kill Rufus. There upon he drew a rapier and adopted a fencing stance. Despite the presence of several witnesses, including Meg Plum, Anton Fouquet, Mrs Crimpstock, Father Caltrop, Robert Ladlevane and three of the 'working girls' from the Red Fox Coffee House Rufus suspected a set up and remained passive. He indicated the young man should go away, at which suggestion the young man horribly insulted Rufus's parents. Honour allowed no means for such insult to go unanswered so Rufus shrugged and drew his blade.

Misteline pulled out his sketch book and began furiously drawing the scene whilst Maramduke and the other wistnesses stood and stared. Only Father Caltrop made any kind of a move. Stepping forward he pleaded for the two men to desist from any violent action, but as he did, Marmaduke noticed that as the cleric approached Rufus from the rear, he was holding a long slim dagger partially concealed against his robes. Fearing the man might be about to attack Rufus, Marmaduke stepped forward and began to cry out a warning, but he was suddenly grabbed by the collar and ended up on his back with his breath pushed from his lungs by the impact. He realised that Horace Nuvel had held him back, but any thoughts of why were interupted by the sudden cry of amazement that went up as Father Caltrop smoothly stepped past Rufus and plunged his dagger deep into the lower throat of the man named Rufolio.

Chaos ensued as Rufolio fell to the ground gushing blood. Father Caltrop stepped back and turned to look momentarily at Misteline. "Ah well" he muttered, then quickly left. From his vantage point on the Gate House, Anton Fouquet could be seen chuckling as he retired to the Southern Tower.

Misteline acted fast. Grabbing an urchin he sent for the militia and took note of who was present and could act as a witness in case any charge was laid against Rufus. Rufus remained standing with a nonchalant air. Misteline then covered the body with an old sheet from the Feathergate house.

Captain Shallowsack arrived shortly thereafter and grumpily examined the body. It quickly became apparent that the dead man was wearing a disguise and beneath a wig and false moustache was a blonde northerner. No one recognised the body and after a few muttered curses, Shallowsack posted two guards to watch the corpse until the undertaker's wagon arrived to collect it, then took his leave. Misteline then deftly bribed the two guards to allow him to examine the body. He discovered the dead man's rapier was coated in some kind of toxin but otherwise the man was not carrying anything which might identify him.

Midday was moving into afternoon when the undertaker's wagon arrived, and Misteline and his companions had withdrawn to eat and catch up with each other. Whilst they were eating, Tom arrived and Rufus recognised Misteline's sketch of Archibald Pillorseed. Shortly thereafter an urchin arrived with a letter from the lawyer Nathanial Pennyfork which explained the reason why Rufus had been released. The Serrensima Embassy had denied any knowledge of Cristobal Sebastiano or of Franco.

Tired and worn out, Misteline fell asleep.

Thus ends the first Chapter of Captain Fouquet

No comments: