Vox Populi Forum
'Tis a tale of changing fortune I, Hugo Marque Lamarr, tell.
I, along with another sailor, Nemo Moridin, and a soldier named Enzo Labine found ourselves contracted by a man named Olaf Porse to assist in the return of the galleon, "Thor," the vaunted flagship of Kleef to her home port. Thor had been taken as a prize by that company of men who call themselves "Vert Valliant," and her safe return (we were told) would assure Kleef and France remain friends.
And so we set out for the port in Paris, tavern hopping along the way. From the outset things seemed to go poorly. Beset by thugs, a brawl led to Enzo Labine being kidnapped! We blended in with the crowds of peasants headed to market to avoid being spotted. Porse, felt this was slowing us too much and had us march, double time, through the nights.
In Paris, near the docks, we found Enzo Labine, bloodied at beaten, but well, having narrowly escaped being impressed or sold as a galley rower.
No sooner was this accomplished when we were assailed by Scottish solders! The nuisance Scots must have come to humiliate France and Kleef by taking Thor for their own. I was knocked unconscious, and kept from Enzo Labine by being dragged off. Turnabout is fair play?
Fortunately, this was the last obstacle for some time. A crew was recruited, a towing vessel chartered (Thor had stripped of masts, sails and guns), and a simple voyage to Nantes saw nothing untoward occur.
Nantes is where the news caught up with us. Our Sovereign King, Alexandre had passed away. Crown Prince Maxime assumed the throne (Long Live the King!), while the Lady Margrete finds herself exiled to Scotland. Perhaps the rumors of her involvement with King Alexandre had truth?
Rumors abound and it was suggested we put to port at the end of the next leg of our journey in Tbilisi. The Infidel Fatimah were said to comb the straights, committing acts of piracy. Porse scoffed at these rumors, and we set sail for Stockholm. The rumors came from truth. During the passage sounds of battle were heard. I recognized the sounds were echos off the outer islands. Paradoxically, steering towards the sounds of the far off battle enabled us to avoid the fighting.
Enzo Labine was quiet for much of the journey. When pressed he admitted to having family ties in Scotland. The encounter with Scots in Paris had shaken him and he decided to withdraw from the party when we reached Stockholm in hopes of avoiding affront that could affect his relatives.
Once reaching Stockholm, Enzo Labine took his leave while Porse ventured forth to report our arrival. Nemo Moridin and I decided to give Thor one final inspection to make certain nothing had been damaged during the tow. Hatches that had been battened stood open. Someone was aboard the ship.
The first foul agent we found was amidships. We were too late to stop this man, a meddling Monk, from blasting a hole in the hull, severing the anchor winch from it's chain. Ironically the blast set the ship to rocking and the damaged winch tore loose from it's housing, rolling over the saboteur.
We worked through the middle holds, encountering a group of Africans. We moved in to repulse them from the vessel, and, surprisingly, Nemo Moridin's appeals to the glory of France caused the dusky foreigners to abandon their task and leave in peace. Another surprise, these men actually understood some concept of honor, and warned more of these monks (Fasci Friars) were moving to secure the arms locker, powder room, tiller and signal cannon.
We moved to re-secure the arms locker first. It had simply been blockaded with barrels, so we cleared them and armed ourselves with more pistols.
In the powder room a friar was attempting to place charges under Thor's waterline - the goal wasn't theft, but destruction. My warning shots failed to distract the friar, but Nemo Moridin strode into the fray and knocked the bomber out.
At the tiller I took a page from Nemo Moridin's book and simply choked the friar sabotaging the gimbal mount out.
Our sweep of the interior completed, we moved back to the upper decks. More of these mad friars and exotic Africans crowded the decks. Outnumbered, I attempted to calm the situation with words, but, again, it was Nemo Moridin, with his strange affinity for the Africans, who was able to distract them long enough with fervent pleas for Porse to return with Kleef soldiers. Denied of their opportunity to commit sabotage the friars and their associates fled or surrendered.
And so we returned to France by the sea lanes. One half hearted attempt was made to attack Nemo Moridin and I. A quick blast of warning fire and they lost their taste for an unfair fight. Enzo Labine had returned to France days ahead of us, and was seen around the Court.
Porse, an honorable man, paid us well for our success. Despite implied offers of more, a fat purse of gold is enough reward for a job completed.
Understandably, the Court was still in some turmoil, and it was Nemo Moridin who was approached by the Admiral to deliver a letter to his brother in far off Carpathia. As we seemed to work well together, he asked Enzo Labine and I to accompany him and the twenty-five horsemen sent as our guard.
Now we must admit to some curiosity - why would an Admiral send sailors to dispatch a letter overland with a troop of cavalry? The letter made clear that it wasn't the Admiral at all, but the Bishop Stanislaw...
An ambush! Our company was attacked by other horsemen. Nemo Moridin is first to fall, our brave French cavalry are cut down like so much wheat, and Enzo Labine and I were forced to flee, but, as unskilled riders, are easily captured.
Our assailants wanted the letter. When it became clear I didn't have it, I was released, but told to walk away. If the letter was turned over to them, Enzo Labine would be set free, but, for now, he remained a hostage.
I returned to the site of the battle. The bodies of the brave French cavalry littered the land, but no Nemo Moridin to be seen. I found him at a local tavern. A drunken, blackhearted rogue was making a loud spectacle of himself, bragging about the wealth he was about to come into, slapping wenches bottoms, stealing drinks from others and taunting poor Nemo Moridin as well. Disgusted, I taunted the rogue and challenged him to the contest of his choosing. The already drunken fool chose a contest of drinking and repartee which ended with him snoring across the table, and his new-found "wealth" in my hands... The deed to "Star Horizon," a speedy caravel.
Nemo Moridin Moridin and I continued our trek to Sophia. Nemo Moridin seemed tired, somewhat nervous, and refused to let me re-peruse the letter we had carefully re-sealed to try to glean some hints as to our adversaries. We were accosted by three horsemen - survivors of our ill-fated cavalry troop - who sought vengeance for the deaths of their fellows and who blamed us for the loss. A (forged) writ of Royal Authority and Secrecy I happened to have prepared was enough to send them fleeing.
Thus we arrived in Sophia where Enzo Labine tracked us down. Enzo Labine had escaped from his captors. He had discovered that Kira, Lord High Mayor of Sophia, brother of Bishop Stanislaw, and the man we were to deliver the letter to, was, himself, a captive in the same area of the Carpathian Weald Enzo Labine had recently escaped.
We attempted to bluff our way past a guardian garrison using falsified papers. Curse our luck, we found a soldier who could not only read, but recognized his commander's signature. The scrawl on my forged writ did not pass scrutiny and we were turned back.
Circling to another area of the Weald, Enzo Labine Dashed by sentries, Nemo Moridin snuck past them like the most stealthy of Hunters while I distracted them long enough to slip it with a Cunning deception. We Exploit our advantage past a second group of sentries via a Lordly bluff from Nemo Moridin, but were surprised by a third group of guards.
We were forced to retreat and regroup, but were at least able to prevent the alarm bell from being rung with a quick bit of triple Tinkering.
Our Forays and Returns across the Weald finally bore fruit. Enzo Labine recognized the area where he had so recently been held. Our plan was formed and placed into action. Nemo Moridin rode wildly past the sentries to the hideout, drawing fire, and Enzo Labine disoriented the sentries with a subterfuge - chastising the sentries for wasting shot and power on the very man who procures their arms! The ploy works and we three are able to enter the hideout. We Skirmished past another group of sentries, Enzo Labine finding himself unhorsed, Nemo Moridin riding through wile I pulled Enzo Labine up to ride behind me.
The delay proved fortuitous. We found Nemo Moridin held at gunpoint by the seeming leader of our foes. Enzo Labine simply strolled up behind the distracted Rival, tapped him on the shoulder then felled the turning gunman with one swift knee, right to the "valuables pouch."
Lord Kira is untied, taken to safety and the letter delivered.
Our duties discharged, and more, we set out to return to Paris. First we collected the "Star Horizon" from her berth. The crew were reluctant at first, as they were expecting a blackhearted rogue to arrive as her Captain, but I told the tale , showed the deed and set the crew to work. A Carpathian Patrol vessel attacked, thinking the caravel had been pirated, but, under my leadership, we were able to outrun the patrol vessel. Star Horizon's Sergeant-at-Arms verbally challenged me, wondering why I had ordered evasion, not fought or prepared for boarding. My answer - that my claim to her was legal and proper and that I wouldn't submit to paying bribes to men of questionable morals, nor was I willing to fight and kill others without need - seems to have been the right one. That good crew well and truly hailed me as their Captain with a lusty chorus of Huzzahs! With those issues settled the crew of the Star Horizon proved themselves some of the finest sailors I have ever encountered and the equal of the elite sailors of the French Navy. The journey to Paris was swift, sure and speedy. I invite Enzo Labine and Nemo Moridin to stay aboard to be my officers. As yet, they haven't decided, but the offer remains open.
The Bishop Stanislaw was well pleased with our services. Nemo Moridin is rewarded with the deed to a small Carpathian vineyard, and we are hailed as the rescuers of Lord High Mayor Kira. While it was Enzo Labine who led Nemo Moridin and I to the where Lord Kira was held, and Enzo himself who freed the man, I won't object to my name being toasted for my part in the affair.
And that is how I, Hugo Marque Lamarr, find my fortunes risen. Born on the streets, lived in poverty, forced to steal, scrounge and con my way through the world, and impressed into the Navy of France, I now find myself wealthy enough to live comfortable for a time, with a fine, fast ship of my own, a loyal crew of the highest quality, and two loyal friends, who, Fates willing will join the Star Horizon as she sets sail once more, seeking cargo and riches galore!
Hugo Marque Lamarr (Mike)
True Glory to Me -- red (posted: 6/1/2018)
Rest assured... -- Mike Myke Mique (posted: 6/2/2018)
Long Knife Porse is Back!!!! -- Iron Conrad (posted: 6/5/2018)
As Red points out... -- Mike Myke Mique (posted: 6/5/2018)