Saturday, May 21, 2011

Captain Fouquet Chapter 2.4 'Of Services Rendered'

I'm a bit behind in posting my write ups, but with luck I'll get them finished today.

This game was played on 20th April. 2011. Present were; Jan, Oleg, Palle and Goeg.

Misteline listened to the voices from below. The Militia questioned Mrs Crimpstock for a while, then suddenly departed taking the old lady with them and Misteline found himself alone in the house. His immediate reaction was to hurry upstairs to Doctor Giffshank's apartments but his search for clues was hampered by a locked door and his clumsy attempts at picking the lock, failed. Misteline returned to Rufus's studio, noting along the way that the weather was turning foul and it had begun to rain.

In the mean time, Marmaduke had eaten some lunch, then packed up Father Caltrop's weapons, and returned them to the old priest's room. Finding the place empty, he took the chance to look around a bit and whilst examining the assumed angle of trajectory for the crossbow bolt which Misteline had previously discovered in the back of the door, he heard Odette Turnbull training her voice by singing scales from the adjoining building.

Misteline found that Rufus was no longer at home but shortly after he was met by Marmaduke and Luigi and learned that Rufus had returned to Belinda. The two companions left Luigi and returned to Father Caltrop's room intent on working out where the poisoned crossbow bolt had come from. This proved fruitless until they examined the rest of the building and discovered that there was a widening gap between the Red Fox property and the house of Bertram Turnbull, and although this gap could not be entered from the ground floor, it grew wider towards the top and from the first floor balconey walkway at the rear of of the Red Fox it was wide enough for a person to climb up and be almost invisible from the street. Misteline exmained the gap and found that there were even iron spikes driven into the wall to facilitate access to Father caltrop's window.

Satisfied that they had found a way by which a crossbow could be fired into Father Caltrop's room, at the angle of the bolt in the door, Misteline and Marmaduke returned their attention to the question of those ships associated with the House of Treadstone.They decided to return to the Old Seaman's Home and quickly made their way down to the docks where they found two of the same old men as previous, with the yellow bird, sitting outside, ignoring the rain. Misteline was wary of asking to many obvious statements so he proposed several fictious ships names before asking if the men had ever heard of a ship named Scarlet Jane to which they refered him to an old sailor named Bartholomew who replied yes, the Scarlet Jane he recalled well as having been captained by a man named Morrowhock, and which had sunk in the Starshine Sea with all hands, either in the year 1621 or 1622.

Misteline then asked about Buttercup which all the sailors knew perfectly well as it was still sitting on Long Bottom Bank on which it had grounded during the high Spring tide of 1621 and where it was still visible to any vessel passing through the Weyr estuary, as was the small settlement which had taken root on the ship. Misteline then asked about Molly Carbuncle and to his surprise, all the old sea men chuckled and pointed to the neighbouring dock where a large carrack named Lady Trueblood was moored not more than a hundred yards away. Molly Carbuncle had been sold it transpired and renamed and she was now a gin merchant owned by the House of Goatroll. Bartholomew agreed to inquire who was the captain of the ship, but discovered that the current captain had recently been dismissed a new captain was expected shortly, though the sailors on board had no idea who the new man would be.

It was still raining, but this didn't deter Misteline from whipping out his sketch book and making a few studies of the docks. (The image above corresponds to the size and general lay out of Lady Trueblood)

Misteline and Marmaduke returned to the Red Fox as the twilight was darkening into night. Nothing of any interest had happened in their absence and Rufus was still away so the two companions sent down to Hilda Grimbleflax for some food and set to filling their bellies and wagging their tongues. Misteline decided to remove the crossbow bolt from Father Caltrop's room, and as the weather began to turn ugly, he returned cautiously. No one was about and he managed to take the poisoned dart. Outside, thunder began to runble. Misteline decided to go home, but stopped by the scullery first to inform Nicolet, assuming that she would convey this information to Father Caltrop. Nicolet feigned ignorance at first but eventually acknowledged the hint.

At home, Misteline found the house dark, cold and empty. He rigged the back door to make a noise if any one should attempt to open it, then went upstairs and set about lighting a fire in his studio. Marmaduke hung around for a while but then returned home. Misteline set about working for a while, and eventually he was disturbed by Meg Plum who came by to see if he needed anything and to hear if there was any news of 'poor Mrs Crimpstock'. There wasn't, but this didn't prevent Misteline and Meg gossiping for almost an hour whilst outside the storm increased in volume.

Meg Plum eventually left but she had hardly done so before some one was pulling the front door bell chain and Misteline went to answer the door as cautiously as possible. Upon opening up, he found Marlowe and a Militia Gaurd standing on his door step and in the street behind them, a fine carriage drawn by four liveried black horses. Within he found Marshal Quartermoon and the Royal Principal Secretary Sir Nigel Toadmoat.

Quartermoon and Toadmoat warn Misteline that the Militia have been ordered to stay away from Captain Fouquet, and Quartermoon lets slip that the Lord President of the Privy Council; Sir Reginald Foxwort issued this order to Sir Toadmoat who nodded his head sadly as the Marshal explained the situation to Misteline. Things were not well at court with the new King desperately beset on all side by ambitious nobles vying for influence and power. Misteline and his friends could no longer count on any open support from the Militia, though of course, they were all secretly rooting for the old artist and would offer any clandestine help they could.

Quartermoon also passed on a few details he had managed to glean from the Treadstone papers, foremost of which was the presence of a guardian to watch over Treadstone; Selwyn ’The Shank’ Wortfern. Described in the documents as a loyal, formidable agent and deadly assassin, well versed in mysterious martial arts from foreign lands. Misteline presumed this must be Father Caltrop whom he had already guessed might occupy such a role.

Sir Toadmoat then warned Misteline that the Lord High Steward had also been taking an interest in the affairs of Tradstone, which meant the Segrati were almost certainly now involved. Misteline was unfamiliar with the Segrati so Toadmoat briefly explained their history. Brought into being by the old kings, the Segrati were a secret organisation devoted to preserving the Royal family. One of Phelonius Grambeline's first acts as King was to re-establish the Segrati and both Quartermoon and Toadmoat knew of its reincarnation. They warned Misteline that one of the most dangerous agents in Takshendal, a man of fearsome reputation, said to be capable of near impossible feats, and very dangerous, known only as 'The Rat', had been employed by the Lord High Steward.

Misteline expressed his hope that Rufus would be a competent body guard, to which Marshal Quartermoon then explained that Diego Monte Banquo, Rufus's competitor for the hand and heart of Belinda Faustini, had been found dead in a ditch outside the city. Preliminary reports indicated that Diego had been stabbed a great many times.

Misteline bid the two gentlemen good night then went to find Marmaduke and Rufus and after having digested the latest news, the three companions decided to recruit the Faustini brothers as an extra precaution. Misteline was still expecting a rendezvous with Father Caltrop and was not easy in his mind with regards to security. The Faustinin brothers all agreed to the caper, but left Pedro to watch over Belinda.

As the night progressed and the storm clouds drew ever tighter, the darkness increased and lightning and thunder began to pass directly over the city. Misteline and his band of men took up positions in Misteline's apartment and kept a watch on all sides. Time passed slowly and as midnight approached, a wagon was seen entering the courtyard. Three figures emerged from the gatehouse's southern tower and in the lightning, Misteline was able to identify Captain Fouquet and Gregory Marshkindle. The third man remained unidentified. The three men proceeded to load the wagon with small barrels whilst the driver remained on his seat, hunched in his oil skins against the rain. Once twenty one small barrels had been loaded, Fouquet and the stranger mounted the wagon and departed whilst Marshkindle returned to his hut.

Rufus had taken the precaution of waiting in the North Wall Street and as the wagon passed him by he surreptitiously followed it all the way down to the Gin Dock where its load was rolled aboard the carrack Lady Trueblood by her crew. Rufus watched from a dark alley as Captain Fouquet and his unknown companion conversed with several other men before all turned and walked up the ships gang plank.

In Misteline's apartment, it was noted that no one had locked the door to the southern tower. Misteline, Giancarlo and Pietro Faustini quickly and quietly made their way across the courtyard and entered the tower. Within, they found the place much as Misteline had seen it before, with a store room on the first floor and a workshop above it. When they reached the locked trap door which had thwarted Misteline in his previous visit, Giancarlo picked the lock with ease and the three men entered a second, more extensive workshop. Here they found a great many glass bottles, brass instruments, books, diagrams and samples of black powder standing about the room in various containers. There were several large leather ships buckets filled with varying amounts of black powder. Misteline told the Faustini's to leave everything untouched, but quickly took several samples of black powder. The three man then left the tower, re-locking the trapdoor behind them.

In the courtyard they came face to face with Father Caltrop who was watching and waiting for them by the old wagon. Misteline invited him back to his apartment, but Caltrop declined, telling Misteline to return the money to his room by the next day. He then paused for a moment before leaving in a hurry, heading towards the Red Fox and the three men became aware of a dark armoured figure standing behind them in the gate way of the gate house. The dark figure stepped back into the darkness of the North Wall Street and disapeared but before Misteline and the Faustini brothers could react, they became aware of a commotion by the Red Fox. Two men were desperately fighting, knives flashing in the dark. Neither seemed to have an advantage and abruptly they broke apart. One fled via the Red Fox gate and the other, who seemed to be FatherCaltrop, turned to face Misteline and the Faustinin brothers. Suddenly throwing his knife into Pietro's shoulder, he turned and bounded up the wall to clamber onto the balconey of the Red Fox and slipped away into the shadows.

Giancarlo rushed to his brothers aid, but before Misteline could react he became aware that the dark armoured figure from the gate house had returned and was silently approaching them. The man identified himself as Julian Keenkettle, a journalist working for The Volunteer and began to pose awkward questions pertaining to the amount of mysterious deaths that had taken place around Misteline. Misteline noted the man was approaching him holding a lead tablet in one hand a curious steel stylus in the other. He began to back away from the man in order to keep him out of range. Keenkettle followed him with an increasingly menacing air, but just as this was becoming absurd, Marmaduke and the remaining Faustini brothers descended from Misteline's apartment and the journalist ceased his aggressive behaviour. Having dropped a sly comment regarding Marmaduke's mother, he then left and Misteline, Marmaduke and the Faustini brothers all returned to Misteline's studio.

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