Thursday, January 28, 2016

Adventure 10: Lyon - Side Missions and Intrigues - Chapter II

The Player Characters

  • Guy de Bourges - a very intelligent and most polite courtier with a desire to travel.
  • Lucien de Bourges - Guy's cousin, Lucien is a King's Musketeer and duelist.
  • Father Gaétan Signoret - another of Guy's cousins, Father Signoret is a Jesuit priest and swordsman and an exceptional horseman.
  • Gaston Thibeualt - a friend of Lucien's from the army, although a commoner, Gaston is a soldier, duelist, and poet.

The NPCs

  • Fabré - Guy's valet and trusted companion, his impeccable service includes being a master apothecary.
  • Bertin - a street urchin from Paris, mostly reformed he acts as Lucien's page.
  • Claude - an old family retainer entrusted to Gaétan Signoret by his father on his death bed.
  • Genevive Benoit - the orphaned niece of Auxerre's town governor, now married to Etienne.
  • Etienne Deveraux - a scholar from Paris now on his way to Rome with a new wife.
  • Antonio Lucalla - an Italian sword for hire, Guy spared his life on their last encounte.
  • Father Sean O'Kelly SJ - a Jesuit priest, ex-soldier, and master of the Spanish style of fencing.

Chapter II: Escape from La Place du Sang

Gaston rejoined Guy, Lucien, Lucalla, and the young woman, but as they prepared to walk to the main road they heard the sound of many voices, running footsteps, and the jingle of weapons. Lucalla said, “Whether that’s the watch or reinforcements for our foes we don’t wanna be caught with a bunch of corpses.”

“Quick, this way!” Guy said. He and Gaston raced back to the courtyard and tried to find an unlocked door while Lucien picked up Lucalla, who groaned in agony, and hoisted him over his shoulder. The young woman followed, fretting over Lucalla. The doors on the lower level were all locked. “Upstairs!” Guy said as he led the way. Gaston stopped to block the alley with the cart. Upstairs, they opened a double door, behind which was a long corridor, one of the traboules—corridors that bored through buildings and crossed courtyards to form a network of galleries, spiral staircases, and secret passageways that wound from place to place behind the scenes in Lyon. They hurried down the passage which opened out onto a balcony. Below them was a tiled courtyard with a central fountain.

Rounding the balcony, Guy frantically knocked on the nearest door. An elderly servant opened the door and Gaston and Guy pushed past him into the apartment. Behind them they could hear the sounds of pursuit. They ran down the hall and through a bath where they surprised an older noblewoman whose maid hurriedly wrapped her in a towel. Lucien paused and blew her a kiss as he said, “Forgive us sweet one.” Charmed by the Musketeer, the lady smiled silently. Through the bath they ran into a bedroom with a balcony. Lucien said, “We need to find some way out of here. They are right behind us!” Guy opened the balcony doors with a sweeping bow and gestured the others on.

Beneath the balcony sat a huge wagon filled with hay. Lucien carefully dropped Lucalla into the straw then the others jumped. The young woman landed on Guy driving the breath from his chest. The wagon driver yelled, “Hey! What are you doing?”

Lucien replied, “The Hôtel Phoenix! Ten livres to take us there!”

As the driver hesitated, Gaston whispered in his ear, “Drive or die.” The driver frantically cracked his whip and the wagon lurched into motion. 

Once they reached the inn, they carried Lucalla upstairs to Guy’s room. Fabré applied a healing poultice made with some foul smelling greenish paste then brewed an herbal tisane that he said “Should alleviate some of Monsieur’s pain.” The combination greatly improved the Italian’s condition. 

Guy asked, “Why were they trying so hard to kill you?” 

“Well Signore, I overheard a man with a mask plotting to kill some nobles,” Lucalla answered. “The first of his victims was to be a Chevalier de Savelborn. Masked men, assassins, it all sounded like a pretty dark business so I tried to leave the tavern, but I guess I didn’t get away fast enough.”

“Do you know who the masked man is?”

“I don’t know Signore and I don’t know why he would want to kill this Savelborn.”

“Savelborn,” Guy mused. “That name is familiar. I know of a Savelborn family from Lorraine, which is where the provincial governor’s family is from. I think the Savelborns are clients of the Neufville family, that is to say, of the provincial governor here in Lyon.”

“Just what we need,” Lucien said unhappily. 

Guy continued his questions, “So Lucalla what are you doing in Lyon?”

“Well Signore, after my failure in our last encounter I thought it would be healthier for me not to return to Italy. And they say the mountain air is healthy.”

Guy smiled and asked, “And who is the charming Signorina?”

“Ah Signore, she is a town girl. The daughter of a silk worker, what they call a canut here in Lyon. Her name is Anne Corday.” Turning to the girl he said, “Anna, this is my good friend the Signore de Bourges.”

“Signorina, you must forgive my humble attire.” Guy said as he doffed his dirty hat with a flourish. “We are taking part in a sort of masquerade. Had I known I would be seen by such as you, I would have acquired a more appropriate costume. But allow me to introduce my companions. This is my cousin, Lucien de Bourges of the King’s Musketeers,” Guy said. “And this is our comrade Lieutenant Gaston Thibeault.”

“Gentleman, this is Mademoiselle Anne Corday.”

Guy suggested that Lucalla should rest at their inn under Fabré’s care and one of them should escort Anne Corday home, while the other two went to warn the governor about the plot against the Chevalier de Savelborn. 

Lucien volunteered to accompany the pretty Anne. Though he said he would don his Musketeer’s tabard before they left.

Lucalla insisted on escorting “Anna” back to her father’s home on the peninsula. 

“But you are wounded,” said Guy.

“Signore, it is a matter of honor,” replied Lucalla gravely.

On the way to the peninsula they passed a gentleman in a sedan chair who said, “Excuse me my Lord could you direct me to the home of the provincial governor?”

“Why you are in luck,” Guy said. “We just happen to be heading there ourselves. We would be delighted to accompany you there. Speaking of going there,” Guy continued. “Lucien, I think it would be best for you to accompany me rather than Gaston. The tabard of a King’s Musketeer is well known and likely to impress the governor.” Lucien agreed and together they quickly convinced Gaston to provide Anne and Lucalla with an escort. 

Gaston, Lucalla, and Anne left for the peninsula while Guy and Lucien accompanied the gentleman in the sedan chair. They introduced themselves. Guy and Lucien learned that the gentleman was named Monsieur Parfait Grellier. Guy asked whether Grellier was expected. He was not. And then asked why he wanted to see the Governor. 

Grellier replied, “Ah Monsieur de Bourges, I want to see the Governor so that he may give me justice! My family has received an insult most grave. Ah Monsieur, what was done to my cousin. Oh what was done to him by Le Boucher. It is too horrible even to speak of.”

“Your family was attacked by a butcher?” Lucien asked.

“In a manner of speaking, Monsieur le Musketeer. Le Boucher is a notorious criminal here in Lyon. It is said he once was a butcher and butchery is the least of what he does to his victims.”

In turn Guy told Grellier that he and Lucien were there to try to prevent the murder of a nobleman. Guy and Grellier combined what they knew about the governor of Lyon and his family and faction. Guy knew that the Governor of Lyonnais was Charles de Neufville, Marquis de Villeroy d'Alincourt. Neufville was a sword noble who had been powerful in the reigns of the last two Henris. Although less active in the present regime, he was still powerful and his name was known at court. Grellier confirmed that Neufville was appointed governor of Lyonnais in 1612 during the regency of the Queen Mother and added that Neufville was an authoritarian noble who was often in conflict with merchants and Lyon’s city council. His eldest son Nicolas de Neufville was twenty-five years old and since 1616 he had commanded a private regiment of Lyonnais infantry. 

Lucien said that the Lyonnais regiment served during the last Religious War and was at the sieges of Montauban and Sainte Foy. Like most of the private regiments, the Lyonnais was reduced in strength and the end of the campaign, though he thought that it had left a company in garrison in Sainte Foy, which was in Brittany between Nantes and La Rochelle. Lucien remembered that several of Nicolas’ friends were officers in his regiment. Grellier added that Nicolas was not with his company in Sainte Foy, but at his father's court in Lyon, where he socialized with a group of young nobles who had served him in his regiment. Together the three were able to recall the names of  Pierre Baron de Bavigne, Richard Comte de Ehlerange, Ernst Chevalier de Savelborn, Percival Baron Savigny, and Vicomte de Valegneray.

Lucien said, “I wonder if that is the same Chevalier de Savelborn?” 

“Like as not,” said Guy. “Which means, friend Grellier, that you should come with us, for if we are successful in warning the Chevalier, that may give you a way of gaining an audience with the governor.”

Because they did not know the identify of the man in the mask, they did not know who they could and could not trust. Therefore they decided to find the Chevalier de Savelborn and to speak directly to him. At the palace, they were greeted by the Comte d’Ehlerange, one of the other young friends of the governor’s son Nicolas. Ehlerange told them that Savelborn was somewhere in the palace. The Comte was so impressed by Guy’s Parisian court etiquette, that he agreed to escort them through the palace and help them to look for his friend Savelborn. The palace was a rambling structure and they spent some time searching its rooms. Eventually, Ehlerange led them outside to the palace’s ornamental garden where they found a nobleman with long brown hair and a neat mustache and van dyke beard lying on the ground. He had been stabbed; blood pulsed from a wound in his chest. They knelt by him. With his dying breath he grabbed Ehlerange and said, “Ricard! Why!? Why?”

The Comte d’Ehlerange looked shaken as he stood up. “That Messieurs, is the Chevalier de Savelborn.”

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