Vox Populi Forum
Wischard Percy, Archbishop of Marseilles,
Your Eminence, following the shocking betrayal of Bartolomeu Diaz, Mathys Violette, Alain Gignot, Louis Brighteyes, Nemo McMoridin and I continued quartering Bruges in search of the missing frame for the printing press. The turmoil in France seems to have had an effect on her neighbors, including the Netherlands. Bruges itself was in minor turmoil, and out party had to take cunning action to avoid persecution from angry mobs.
We met up with Rolphe d’Ambray and Birmingham Brown - Bonadventure’s man. The two men had received dispatches from members of the Valliant and journeyed to Bruges to assist in the search. The two believed they had located where the frame was being kept - in the loft of a local “House of Low Morals.”
We assembled at said business to retrieve the framework, which had been disguised at a bed. Gignot observed it should only take two to move the framework. Brown had volunteered, but, as the man already had a mug of ale, it was McMoridin and I who ascended to the upper levels while the rest of the group stayed below, pretended to be interested customers, reluctantly sat wench upon knee, and kept watch.
McMoridin and I quickly located the (thankfully disused) room with the frame. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit so, but, McMoridin and I, both of noble birth, found ourselves quite unprepared to disassemble the framework’s pegs, buts, bolts and fastenings. We had admitted to each other that we would require the carpentry skills of Brighteyes, when we felt the building shake and heard a muffled explosion rumble from the lowest floor.
Downstairs, we found darkness. Ten guardsmen of some sort had attacked our companions. We never discovered if they were allied to the Tri-Colors, represented the local constabulary, fought for the Fasci Friars, or were allied to another faction. Gignot had plunged the melee into darkness by slicing the room’s candles from their holders. Brighteyes’ grenades ended the battle.
Brighteyes supervised partial dis-assembly of the frame, and, as one we rapidly moved the pieces out of the building without further incident. Gignot did drop sections as we hurried from the loft, but they were stopped by McMoridin’s stout peg-leg. The town was abuzz with news of the brawl. With the population of Bruges pre-occupied with concern for the health of the local female workforce, we were able to ferry the frame to the Port and set to sea for our return to Marseilles with no further ado.
Aboard our vessel, Brighteyes and Brown attempted to re-assemble the press’s frame and insert type. The two tradesmen determined that a vital part was missing - a specialized fastener that secured the type-plate to the rest of the frame. In the meantime, D’Ambray had a new prize displayed on a thong around his neck - an elaborately shaped, fluted and flanged bit of brass he had swiped from one of the guardsmen battled in the bawdy house. Brighteyes believed the object to be some sort of “butterfly nut,” and the very piece missing from the framework. D’ambray felt the object was his by right, for he had swiped it “from ‘round the very neck of an idiot who tried to stab me!”
We had all learned by then the effusive d’Ambray was stubborn like few other men. It fell to Gignot to retrieve the nut at the end of a long night’s worth of cards and dice…. Once d’Ambray had nothing else with which to wager.
As we neared the Port of Marseilles we discovered, to our shock, something of which you are, no doubt, already aware. The Port was under blockade, and were would have to sneak our way in. We continued east along the coast until until nightfall, then doubled back in an attempt to sneak into harbor under cover of darkness. The covert action was almost successful. We believed we had rounded all the blockading ships, but nearly collided with the lone patrol galleon sailing to and fro just offshore.
Given the opportunity for a surprise night assault, Brown (who was serving as Officer of the Watch) ordered the crew to throw grapples. Brown led our troops across and quickly turned the foe’s deck gun against them. D’ambray followed Brown’s lead with a second deck gun while Gignot took his men below-decks to catch those who slumbered below unawares. Above, Brown had been forced back and knocked unconscious in the pitched melee. Violette pulled him to safety. Brighteyes was seeking a location from which to launch an ambush while McMoridin was causing friend and foe alike to dive to the deck with blind pistol and musket fire. My intimidating blade work served to discourage those of our enemy who considered bringing the fight to our own ship.
Gignot had stalled half of the marines below decks, and was dueling their Master of Arms. The rest of their marines had forced their way up to the main deck. This interrupted d’Ambray (who was in the midst of declaiming to one and all the proper methods of assault at sea). Violette and Brighteyes understood actions spoke louder than words and rushed forwards to impede the progress of marines from below. Violette’s belaying pin cracked many a skull while Brighteyes slowed the antagonists with a simple stratagem…. a length of broken planking laid across the hatchway made egress too narrow for the marines to climb from the hold, encumbered as they were with Cutlasses clenched grimly between teeth.
McMoridin ended the battle. McMoridin scrambled into the rigging, identified the enemy Captain, and shot the man dead from above. The enemy crew was forced to leap into the cold harbor waters, while the galleon was aimed out towards deep water, her wheel lashed, and her deck set aflame. The galleon was set free to sail into the night. With luck, she struck other ships of the blockade.
Your Excellence, the framework and lead type of the printing press have been delivered to the previously agreed upon location, and I have drafted missives to Lords Bonadventure and Wildemoon. Brighteyes’ notes on the assembly of the device have been sent as well.
We of the Vert Valliant now control the most efficient means of preparing pamphlets for the education of the people of France. The dangerous document, the Carta Magna, is delivered safely into your wise hands. We are well placed to counter the dangerous lies and vile propaganda spread by the nefarious Da Vinci and his misguided “Republican” allies. Together, we are in a position to turn the hearts and minds of France towards acceptance of Just Rule. Soon enough we can act to elevate Bonadventure from Absent King to Reigning King.
I wish to speak with you in person in regards to the actions of the traitor, Diaz. My heart still beats heavy in my chest at the revelation of Diaz as the hand behind the pen of The Seer. It is my hope the man can be located, reasoned with, and brought back to the path of true Loyalty to France, and convinced to turn his wisdom to the service of a Godly King, rather than to the false elevation of uneducated rabble. Yet such discussions must needs wait. I return to sea on a mission that will, with luck, repair the broken relationship between France and our allies in Kleef.
Lord Bailey Bayley Baileigh
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