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The Fall of Nantes (Cutlass 6/20/2018)


Message:

Mssr. L'eonce,

I plead with you to journey to Nantes, post-haste. It is a dark day for the Vert Valliant - For we have lost the battle, the field, a compatriot, and our chance for the head of the traitor, Tortensson. Your skills and experience could prove useful in the continuing action. Yet, I am ahead of myself.

It was the morning of the fourth day of the Battle of Nantes. Tortensson called for Parley. His forced numbered over twenty-five companies, with two artillery units. Our French numbered a mere eleven companies. Tortensson offered withdrawal under "Honors of War," (as if he understood honor) allowing retreat in exchange for the stocks of powder, pork and shoes in nearby Nantes. While Marshal Duclos and I (acting as his second and a Major) between shameful surrender and honorable battle, a glimmer of hope was found: Our missing musketeers returned the prior evening, and Enzo Gabin, Percey Wischard and Mal de Merd-a-din had all run off in the night , only to return with reinforcements. Enzo appealed to the townsfolk and returned with enough Rabble to form four companies, Merd-a-din, hired Serbian Cavalry, and, more importantly, cannon, while Wischard brought with him the guard of Moab Ibn Bakr, a noble of the Infidels neither of us have encountered.

Buoyed by reinforcements, we decided to fight on. The traitor, Tortensson, taunted me with a foul jibe, "If you only attended to your wife with such passion." Only the "Honors of War" prevented me from disregarding the protocols of civilized warfare and blasting the man's head with my brace of pistols.

Gabin joked that he hoped he wouldn't be shot for desertion. His own wry laughter cut off short by a wince of pain from his extant wounds.

And the battle rejoined. Still badly outnumbered the enemy gunners proved to be excellent with their cannon. We fought valiantly, yet our troops were hard pressed between the swords, muskets and pike of our foes, supported by the shells of the cannon. Duclos himself took a vicious wound in the carnage, but bravely fought on.

Again, the battle lasted the day, again the fall of night ceased hostilities. The whimpers of the wounded continued through to the morn.

The fifth day dawned, the sun rising over what would prove to be near-folly for the French forces.

Enzo Gabin, that brave lad toasted two nights before for his resolve and heroism, who convinced the local peasants to take up arms to defend their homes took up the regimental battle and charged the Russian center. Perhaps if the longbow-man had taken a musket, he would have lived, but, alas, it was not to be. When time allows we will drink deep to his memory. Gabin fell, slain by fire from afar, and the farmers he found fled. One young Lord from the region, Benedict Botin, held his nerve, and, with Wischard, retrieved the flag and fell back to headquarters.

Duclos directed our artillery to focus on the enemy mortars. Half were destroyed. The spectacular explosion of Russian powder and shells distracted their infantry and cavalry enough to allow me to take units forward and shatter the Russian center, yet it is not enough. We find ourselves forced back to headquarters. Another offer of parley is sent, but we decline terms. Vert Valliant do not surrender!

Hostilities renewed. The first blast from the last Russian mortar routs the bodyguard of Moab Ibn Bakr (I was told later this would hurt his schemes back home). We advance and are, once more, forced back to our headquarters with our center columns denuded. The battle had turned ugly.

It was the pacifist, Wischard, who directed our cannon to destroy the last Russian artillery, while Duclos reorganized our remaining men into a mere six companies. Lord Botin volunteered to take a single company of men to form a token center column. His command was short-lived. His troops gave better than they got, but were quickly routed, and Lord Botin, himself, earned a hole in his chest for his efforts. Eleven enemy companies remained to our four, but the carnage continued unabated.

A unit of French Dragoons and Wildemoon's loyal Tercio company were the last of our troops. For a few brief moments it seemed that Lord Botin had rallied the bodyguard of Moab Ibn Bakr back to the fray, but it seemed they were more interested in gathering their scattered men back into a coherent force to flee the battle.

The Dragoons were the last of our forces to rout. Nantes had fallen to the Russians, and, for only the second time, the Vert Valliant tasted the bitter tang of defeat.

The Spaniard, Juan Gonzaga, of course sat idle during the long battle. With Nantes fallen, and Gabin - the man Gonzaga hired to make the delivery - slain, the greedy merchant announced his intention to make his delivery, for, of course the most pressing need of a town fallen to foreign invaders is... wine?

For myself, Gabin was the man hired by Gonzaga, and I was hired by Gabin. With his death, I consider myself released from my contract. Merd-a-din and Wischard have chosen to continue with the mission, and Lord Botin is joining them (perhaps a local Lord will prove lucky! He would know the streets of Nantes). Marshall Duclos withdrew for treatment of his injuries, but Thomas de Marchand (lucky to have survived Nantes) has joined the group. I have also chosen to go along, but only in search of clues to the whereabouts of the traitor, Tortensson. His proximity gnaws at me.

Yours,

   Lord Bailey Baylee Bayleigh (Chronicler)



Message Replies:
The Loot of Nantes (Cutlass 6/20/2018) -- Leon Leonard L'eonce (posted: 6/21/2018) 
I wore a Dead Man's Hat -- Botin (posted: 6/22/2018) 
"Fixing" the timeline. -- Mike Myke Mique (posted: 6/21/2018) 
 
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