Thursday, April 07, 2011

Captain Fouquet Chapter 2.2 'Of Services Rendered'

This game was played on 16th March. 2011. Present were; Jan, Oleg, Palle and Goeg.

14th Marts. 1625 continued...

Misteline and Marmaduke met at Misteline's studio some time just after noon, to decide upon a course of action, whilst Rufus was still lying in his studio, drunk and unconscious. They decided to go and investigate Father Caltrop's room in the loft of the Red Fox and wary of being seen by any witnesses, made their way cautiously. Father Caltrop lived above the quarters belonging to Bagangelo, who had not been seen since the morning of his duel with Captain Fouquet. Taking care not to be seen, the two companions snuck into the room and examined it carefully. They found a rough straw filled mattress lying upon the floor, a rolled up rug and three wooden chests. The two larger chests contained nothing of interest, but the third, which was the smallest was locked. When picked up, it made the slithering metallic sound of loose coins.

The rug was found to contain a number of highly unusual weapons, made of steel, inlaid with silver and a dark tropical hard wood. Two of the weapons were large, pole axe like swords (example 1 2), several were ornate daggers, some with no hilt, only a ring and the last weapons was a strange multi-bladed axe like affair (3), the like of which neither man had seen before. Examing the inlaid decorations however, Misteline determined the weapons must have come from Jungolan, and having examined the dark hard wood with which the hilts of several of the weapons were made, Marmaduke agreed. Further examination of the room revealed nothing further so the two men took the box and the rolled up rug containing weaponry and carefully made their way down to Rufus's studio. Rufus was still incapacitated, so they left the weapons behind and took the chest down to Marmaduke's workshop where it was broken into. Within was a substantial amount of money, which Misteline guessed to be roughly two thousand Crowns. It was decided to take this money and hide it and after some deliberation Misteline took the money and hid it inside one of the horse testicle studies hanging in his studio.

Misteline and Marmaduke then sat talking for a while, trying to decide upon a fortuitous course of action until Mrs Crimpstock interupted them with a message from Hilda Grimbleflax, which informed them that a strange young man was in the Red Fox asking for Rufus. Misteline and Marmaduke were hard set however and sat down to a spot of lunch before going to investigate. As they ate, Misteline went over the few remaining papers he retained from the Treadstone archive. One in particular was interesting for it was an account of an insurance policy paid out against a ship named Buttercup owned by Treadstone which had run aground in 1621 on Longbottom Bank.

After having finished their meal, Misteline and Marmaduke sauntered over to The Red Fox and entered by the back door. Hilda took them to the coffee room and pointed out a slender young man who was attempting to charm a serving girl. Noting a certain physionomical resemblence to Rufus, Misteline decided on a direct confrontation and greeted the young man who introduced hmself as Rufus's cousin Luigi. He was seeking Rufus, and bearing bad tidings, so Misteline and Marmaduke took Luigi up stairs to where Rufus was lying in his billet, fast asleep in a drunken stupor. Luigi cried out for Rufus to awaken and struggling against the alcohol (helped along the way by Hilda's strongest brew) Rufus sat up blinking and trying to concentrate.

Luigi had ridden straight from Castelopea to warn Rufus about the impending wedding, and although he was too late, he was still able to pass on some additional information. The wedding it seems was the brain child of Rufus's grandmother, 'Donna Bella', whose relationship to Rufus's god father, 'The Don', goes back a great many years (it is rumoured they were thwarted lovers in their teenage years). Having spied the wealth of the widow Faustini, Bella Donna proposed a union to The Don, who agreed that it was a good idea, not least because Rufus was not producing the children his family expected of him.

Belinda Faustini however, was already in love with another mutual friend of childhood; Diego Monte Banquo, a bookish man, bespectacled and shy, and the feelsing were mutual. The Monte Banquo family were in favour of the match, but the Faustini's were horrified as Diego was a penniless scribe. The Faustini's accepted the Don's proposal and Belinda was told to go to Takshendal and marry Rufus. To escort her and ensure the family honour remain unblemished, Belinda was in the care of her seven brothers, headed by Ronaldo Faustini.

To make matters worse, Diego Monte Banquo had suffered a sudden fit of bravado and made public threats to kill his old friend Rufus in a duel rather suffer the loss of his beloved Belinda. As Rufus listened with incredulity, Luigi explained that Diego was also on his way to Takshendal, and they would all probably arrive with the next day or two. Rufus found himself in a predicament. Lose an affair of honour to the comically inept Diego and get out of the marriage or kill Diego and marry Belinda who would almost certainly hate him for the rest of her life.

Whilst Luigi was telling his news, Marmaduke was leaning against the doorframe when he heard the creak of wood from outside the buidling. It sounded like a step on the wooden walkway which connected to the courtyard so he stepped to the outer door and opened it to peek out. As he did, a man in a brown cleric's cassock, kicked his stomach and sent him crashing to the floor with his breath knocked out. Immediately the man stepped over him and placed a long slender dagger to his chin, grinned down into his face. Through a haze of pain, Marmaduke realised the stranger was Father Caltrop. Caltrop took a quick glance around then leered down at Maramduke.
"You better be careful boy!" he rasped, "You and your friends better stay outta trouble!"
Having uttered this warning, he feld the scene and though Misteline looked out of the front windows he caught no sight of the mysterious priest in the street below.

The afternoon was drawing to a close, but Misteline decided to sound out the local children with regards to Father Caltrop. He had some suspicions as to what the priest was up to so he made his way down into the courtyard where he spied little Timmy Cutlerstub playing with his friends. Approaching the boy, Misteline made himself as amenable as possible but try as he might, he couldn't get the children to say much about Father Caltrop and their increasingly furtive manner suggested they had been primed to resist inquiry. Misteline decided to try Timmy's older sister Nicolet who was employed at the Red Fox as a scullery maid, but he found the scullery door shut with urgent voices coming from within.

Listening closer, he realised one of the voices belonged to Luigi and the other to Nicolet. Rufus's cousin it seemed was attempting a seduction, but unsuccessfully, and Misteline interupted the debacle and having gotten rid of Luigi, question Nicolet with regards to Father Caltrop. Nicolet adopted the same glassy eyed parody of ignorance as her brother and his friends had done Misteline quickly let the matter rest, satisfied in his assumptions.

Luigi returned to the bedside of his cousin,where upon Rufus took it upon himself to test Luigi in the arts of fencing. To his dismay he found that despite his fire eating reputation, Luigi was a poor swordsman. Eventually Luigi left and the companions gathered to debate Misteline's theory regarding Father Caltrop's use of the local children as a means of gathering information.

After a while Rufus turned to Marmaduke and advocated he find out who Marmaduke's mother had been talking to. Marmaduke shrugged off the suggestion at first, but Rufus was adamant that some one was 'pumping Mrs Gurdlecat' for information and the identity of the man ought to be established. The others then left, each for his respective home and Rufus went down into the cellar to examine it for secret passages but he found nothing.

Marmaduke went home in a confused state and examined his mothers bedroom. He found nothing much of interest, save some of his late father's belongings. His mother Ivy, was her usual acerbic self and Marmaduke didn't attempt to interogate her with regards to the 'nice man' she had spoken of. Instead he examined the cellar of the Gurdlecat house, and found nothing untoward.

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