Saturday, August 8, 2015

Adventure 05: Musketeer’s Reward--Chapter I

Chapter I: Compliments of a Maréchal of France

    After the Valtelline treaty is signed, the ambassadors credit their rescuers. The Venetian Ambassador, Alvise Contarini, was rescued from masked assassins by Gaston Thibeault and the King’s Musketeer Louis du Rouvroy outside the Hôtel de Bourgogne while Contarini was on his way to the Comédie-Française. Rouvroy led the Musketeers guarding Contarini, Gaston galloped up on horseback to help them. Contarini is grateful to Gaston. The Venetian ambassador suspects the Spanish were responsible for the attempts outside the theatre and on the Pont Neuf, where he was saved by an unnamed Paris Archer.
    The Savoyard Ambassador, Abbé Cesare Alessandro Scaglia di Verrua credits Guy de Bourges as his savior from the masked assassins outside the Hôtel de Bourgogne and Gaston as his savior on the Pont Neuf. The Abbé recommends Gaston to Marshal Bassompierre.
    The Envoy from the Grey League, Freiherrn von Rhäzüns, does not know the name of the man who saved him on the Pont Neuf from a terrible death by the poison known as The Burning. Whoever he was, he disappeared into the crowd and von Rhäzüns was in no condition to recognize him – although some witnesses said that there were actually two men, one in nondescript clothing, the other in the armor of the Paris Archers.
    Maréchal (English Marshal) Bassompierre summons those involved in the Ambush on the Pont Neuf. This includes the various leaders of the Musketeers, as suggested by Monsieur de Treville, his Swiss Guard officer, the Archer’s Lieutenant, and Gaston Thibeault. The Swiss Guards officer is Lieutenant Claude de Jussac[i], seigneur de Chédigny, the King’s Musketeers include Lucien, the Provost sends his regrets as the Lieutenant of the Archers, who was actually Guy in disguise, is most regrettably unavailable. Marshal Bassompierre takes the opportunity to score points at the expense of the Musketeers. His tone of voice honed on both the battlefields and the royal courts of France is loud, orotund, bombastic, and at times bitingly sarcastic.
    “Lieutenant Gaston Thibeault, tried to rally, but could not persuade a detachment of King’s Musketeers to bestir themselves to engage the traitors and assassins before them. Despite being unsupported by the Musketeers, this same Lieutenant Thibeault, seeing plainly the danger to the Ambassadors took it upon himself to charge the barricade alone and succeeded in killing or dispersing several of the would-be assassins. Seeing this brave act, my Swiss Guards then advanced past the King’s Musketeers and charged the barricade, killing or capturing the remaining traitors. Lieutenant Thibeault then personally rescued the Savoyard Ambassador under the very noses of the King’s Musketeers and conveyed him to safety within the Palais.”
    To Gaston he says, “Monsiuer, I am surprised that such a brave officer cannot dress better when in the presence of a Maréchal of France.”
    “Well Monseiur le Maréchal these clothes became worn in the King’s service…”
    Bassompierre interrupts, “No, no Monsieur. I know something about proper dress and this is unacceptable. Unacceptable I say! You must have a new suit. I, a Maréchal of France, insist upon it! You must become a shining example of bravery. Jussac, take Lieutenant Thibeault to my tailor. At once!”

    After hearing reports of the battle at court, Monsieur de Treville gathers the key members of his Musketeers who were involved in the battle at the Pont Neuf to question them. His goal – find out what was done right, what was done wrong, how to manage damage control, and any commendations or reprimands. Among those interviewed are: Ensign Achille de Châteaupers, Sergeant Ferusac, Corporal Barthélemy de Courtivron, Lucien de Bourges, and several of the Musketeers at the center of the Bridge including Léonide de Termopillae and Helias de Cedelhac. After all are questioned, Monsieur de Treville will complement Lucien on his planning and initiative, which was instrumental in preventing several aspects of the Spanish plan, and on his bravery and quick action in dealing with the assassins on the top of La Samaritaine. Lucien is rewarded for his actions with a promotion to Corporal.

Gastons New SuitJussac takes Gaston to the shop of Percerin the Tailor,[ii] who occupies a rather large house in the Rue St. Honore, near the Rue de l'Arbre Sec, also known as the Rue des Poulies. Jean Percerin is Tailor to Louis XIII, to Marshal Bassompierre, and to other notables. Third in a line of family of royal tailors, Jean Percerin’s father was the tailor for Bassompierre who then recommended him to Henry IV. Percerin is a man of great taste in elegant stuffs, embroideries, and velvets.
    Gaston has no experience with a tailor like Percerin. The menial task of obtaining measurements is left to a staff member. But when the staff member and Gaston cannot agree on a suitable style or color; Gaston’s simple tastes and the House’s experience with the rainbow of colors typical to the finery of the Court nearly provoking a challenge to a duel, Monsieur Percerin himself must intervene. He selects a set of autumnal browns that Gaston finds inoffensive while keeping a sufficient display of pearl and engraved silver buttons, embroidered vest, and laced collar to maintain the honor of the House of Percerin.
In addition, Percerin insists that Gaston’s old hat is part of his old “hobo suit” which must be all be replaced. Instead, Percerin finds a similarly wide brimmed brown hat adorned with a large white plume and the silver Cross Lorraine of the Fraternity Sainct-Didier. Gaston has never looked better.


Gaston's New Suit

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[i]     The same Jussac who leads the Cardinal’s Guards when they try to apprehend Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan for dueling.
[ii]     (S4) the shop of Percerin the Tailor, who occupies a rather large house in the Rue St. Honore, near the Rue de l'Arbre Sec, also known as the Rue des Poulies; the shop and house are at grid coordinates [G7].

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