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Monday, October 17, 2005

The Adventures of Felix Mephisto, Gentleman: Part 2

Chapter 3. In which: A Taste of Pain & Poison Give Felix a Taste for Bloody Vengance

Well, Brian being away on holiday this week, I felt uncomfortable at the thought of pushing his PC into the background of the session I've been planning for so long. So we all agreed to play Donald's Flashing Blades yesterday instead of the expected WFRP. So this time there were 4 PC's to pursue the investigation into the affair of the Red Kerchief Plotters.

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Recovered from the rigours of their visit to the Baron's aunt, Felix and Jean-Claude met up late the next morning at the Club of St. George. They were joined there by Piedro van Horstmann, his pressing family business now concluded.

By this time Felix and the Baron had realised that the Chevalier was no victim, but was undoubtedly a key conspirator. As a result the note they had left for him must mean that the red kerchief plotters knew that our heroes were on their trail. In fact, mayhap the activity seen the previous day had been a response to this exposure of their schemes. As our 3 heroes planned their next move, Felix insisted they had to move fast and hope to exploit any potential confusion that their own sudden intrusion into the course of events might've engendered.

While the 3 companions considered what this would entail, word came that there was someone waiting to see Felix. The visitor was brought in. Introducing himself only as Hugo, the newcomer turned out to be bearing a message from the Constable General. The message told that events at court were unfolding which might have some bearing on our heroes' investigations, and insisted that a report be delivered that day.

Taking the Constable General's confidence in this Hugo at face value, Felix, Piedro and Jean-Claude outlined the situation and options were discussed with the newcomer over a game of cards or two (in which fortune favoured the Baron as ever). The decision was that it was time to try the ruse with the red kerchief at the basement door of the bank of the Brothers de Vittoria. Three more kerchiefs were obtained through the services of van Horstmann's handy flunkey.

Our party set off.

Someone soon noticed that 2 men were following our intrepid band. Felix quickly brought the party to a halt. Giving the impression of talking animatedly and adding some extravagant gesticulation, Felix proposed to continue on ahead while everyone else should take to a side alley to outflank the shadowers for the sake of an ambush. This was agreed. With a last gesture, Felix set off as before.

The next thing Felix knew a crossbow bolt skidded off his sturdy leather boot. The busy street left Felix unable to spot the attacker, so he turned about and headed back down towards his fellows by which time the hidden attacker had had time to reload, and his 2nd bolt hit home more solidly. Felix winced as the bolt bit into his right thigh- painful, but fortunately only a flesh wound.

At this point the others spotted not only the crossbow-armed assassin on a nearby rooftop but also the 2 shadowers moving up to the attack. Van Horstmann went to Felix's assistance while Hugo and the Baron turned to face their pursuers one of whom unleashed a hail of throwing knives. Thankfully our heroes were prepared for hazard and the Baron's cuirass saved him from injury.

Felix and Piedro sought cover from the rooftop assassin. Pistols were pulled and several shots discharged by to no avail. Hugo drew his sword and closed in to attack. He avoided his opponent's attempt to parry and delivered a slashing cut which left his man staggering backwards to fall to the ground. Putting the point of his blade to his hapless assailant's throat Hugo waited for the man to surrender. He tried instead to knock the blade aside and strike out at Hugo, for which he paid with his foolish life just as the Baron was calling out to take him alive.

Meanwhile Felix and Piedro were moving to cut off the retreating rooftop assassin, Felix looking for a side-alley for the sake of getting round behind the villain. Ignoring the pain of his wound and the blood dripping into his boot Felix threw himself against the wall under the eaves. Suddenly he felt strangely woozy. Poison!- he thought. As van Horstmann drew a bead on the assassin and fired- to no avail- Felix's head swam more and more and he soon passed out altogether.

As Felix lay unconscious in the street van Horstmann made a last attempt to pursue the crossbow armed assassin, but gave it up as futile as said villain made his escape across the Paris rooftops. Piedro then returned to attend to the health of his young companion. A local doctor soon arrived on the scene, and Felix was carried to his house nearby.

Nearby, the villainous companion of Hugo's victim having fled, and the Jean-Claude having given up the chase as futile, the Baron and his new companion were searching the corpse for clues when a city magistrate arrived. With the aid of his rank and the Constable General's warrant the Baron was soon able to convince the magistrate of the true circumstances of the murderous situation. Grasping these realities the magistrate sent for a contingent of the city guard to dispose of the corpse.

By this time the doctor was investigating Felix's injuries. Sure enough: he diagnosed a poisoned wound. With the help of van Horstmann's chemical knowledge, he was able to prescribe an antidote. The doctor's daughter was sent to procure the ingredients while his wife attended to cleaning and bandaging our young gentleman's wound. Baron Tourné and Hugo caught up with their companions, having watched their would-be assassin's corpse being unceremoniously dumped into a wagon for removal, then being directed to the doctor's house by a bystander at the scene.

Everyone watched as Felix was fed the antidote drip by drip. He'll be unconscious for several more hours, the doctor told them. Come back later this evening.

And so it was that Felix awoke, naked, and in a strange room. His head was sore beyond a mere ache as he struggled even to sit up, but he still made a determined effort to get to his pistol and sword which he could see nearby. At this point the doctor's plain young daughter stuck her head round the door, whereupon, espying that the patient was awake, she fetched her parents.

Felix was soon being sat up in bed with pillows fluffed behind him, and being fed a bowl of heartening broth. This'll need some bleeding suggested the doctor. No replied Felix, I've bled enough today. Then the doctor gave the young man an unpleasant tasting concoction to drink. This'll soothe the pain he told our young hero. It did that, and more too, leaving Felix without a care in the world despite all the trials, tribulations and excessive expenses of the past few days.

Sometime thereafter the rest of the party arrived to collect their unfortunate companion. Paying the doctor his fee on the spot (10 livres!- Felix's annual disposable- not to mention his meagre savings- had pretty much been disposed of by now) Felix was given a bottle of the miraculously soothing medication and told to return in a few days for a final check-up. More expense?- was Felix’s immediate thought.

Ensconced in the carriage the Baron Tourné had brought, the PC's decided to repair to the good Baron's apartments, there to prepare for the next stage of the investigation. This had become a simple matter for Felix:- as he repeated time and time again: these people were traitors to France and lowlife scum employing evil means like poison- there was nothing for it but to track them down and kill them. No one demurred.
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