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Monday, November 07, 2005

The Adventures of Felix Mephisto, Gentleman: Part 2

Chapter 5. In which: Conspirators Are Confronted & Confounded, & Felix Receives His Just Reward

So, with 4 of us knackered after Saturday's long session and subsequent late night, we decided yesterday just to round off Donald's first Flashing Blades adventure. Brian's presence brought a 5th PC into the adventure just in time for the conclusion.

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It might've been the pangs Felix was feeling over the fate of the innocent servants of the Chevalier Didonner. Or it might've been the tensions of the wait for the confrontation with the conspirators that was to follow that evening. Either way our 4 heroes spent a quiet and restless afternoon which was broken only by another trip to reconnoitre the nearby graveyard, and by discussions to plan their attack.

In the end it was agreed to split into pairs- Felix and Baron Tourné- posing as people interested in graveyard memorial architecture, on the one hand; and van Horstmann and Marie- posing as mourners, on the other. Arriving with plenty of time to spare, our heroes deployed their bravoes- 7 city guardsmen under their command on the authority of the Constable General- in hiding in a nearby mausoleum (Felix winced to see their desecration of this repose of the dead, until he realised that it was a Papist plot, after all). The guardsmen were told that a gunshot would be their signal to rush to our heroes' aid.

Another long wait began.

Some time later shouting was to be heard from the mausoleum that was the guardsmen hideout. Hastening thence our brave defenders of France discovered 2 guardsmen- one of them their sergeant- arguing over a game of dice. Felix instructed the guard sergeant to exercise more control over his men, not to mention more discretion himself. The Baron Tourné had to be dissuaded from joining their game.

Returning to their watch our intrepid investigators didn't have long to wait before they caught sight of the first conspirator, who Jean-Claude recognised as the Baron de Gras, who was the intended overseer of the new project to construct the series of fortifications along the Spanish Netherlands border. He and his 2 henchmen both were decked out in the by now familar red kerchief, which was soon accompanied by a mask that was pulled down from under their hats.

De Gras and his henchmen noticed Felix and Jean-Claude lurking nearby as they passed, but fortunately our pair's ruse to conceal their intentions passed muster, and the conspirator and his companions passed by. Our 4 heroes sought suitably concealed vantage points from which to maintain a watch on events. Soon there were 4 recognised conspirators present- one of whom was a leading member of the Bank of the Brothers de Vittoria, so that Felix and the Baron finally realised that the bank was part of the conspiracy and not one of its victims. Also recognised was the Spanish ambassador. Each was accompanied by 2 henchmen.

Unbeknownst to all present, there was also another watcher nearby, but he chose to maintain his concealment at this point.

Seeing the conspirators gathered for their planned gathering, our intrepid investigators rapidly understood that this was no time for subtlety. This was reinforced when- as our heroes looked to their weapons- another outburst of shouting was heard from the mausoleum where the city guard was hidden. Our heroes opened fire, Felix choosing to aim for the villainous Spanish ambassador.

Taken unawares, the conspirators and their henchmen rallied quickly, drawing a variety of weapons to prepare themselves against attack. Gunshots were exchanged, including some which appeared to target the traitors from an unexpected quarter. The conspirators' bodyguards were just preparing to launch an assault at our heroes when they were diverted by the arrival of the city guard, who had managed to respond to the prearranged signal despite their own brouhaha.

The ensuing melee was mercifully short, thanks in part to the arrival of the mysterious 5th man- a gentleman who became known to Felix only as Xavier; but mostly because the plotters had little stomach for a fight. The one traitor who posed a real threat delivered some telling blows to the unfortunate Baron Tourné, but chose to surrender when his more lily-livered fellows left him outnumbered several to one.

Relieving the plotters of their weapons and other possessions before they were marched off to meet their well-deserved fates, our brave defenders of France found detailed specifications of the plans and armaments for the projected fortresses, as well as a credit note from the crown for several hundred thousand livres: a conspiracy that could've ripped the heart from France's continental power just as it had been stabilised following the victory at Rocroi in other words.

Felix's satisfaction at this outcome was magnified when the Constable General paid our heroes for their endeavours. Receiving the sum of 200 livres, our young gentleman's first thought was that he could, after all, pay his taxes this year. Our would-be bourgeois was to enjoy further gratification later, when he discovered that his services to France had led to his promotion at his Club of Saint George- he was now a club manager, who could enjoy the club's services for no annual fee in return for a minor allocation of his time.

All of which left our gentleman finding it very easy to nurse his minor wounds when he returned to his apartments sometime thereafter.
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