Vox Populi Forum
It is I! Leclerc!
The merchant smuggler Ihan Colon loves Camille Bella, the daughter of Admiral Louis Bella of France. Rene Bella, the Admiral’s son had been kidnapped while serving as a cabin boy among the fleet. The merchant contracted Paul Wildemoon to rescue the lad, and it was Wildemoon who brought together a stalwart group to perform the rescue and function as ship’s Officers: his own brother Paxton Wildemoon, brothers Mordred and Mordrem Mort Moridin, Lord Nathaniel Mayweather, Artyom Vadim Semenov, Alize Baptiste Pozzo, Julius Cae, Jean Meslier, Robert Surcouf, Anton Le Condamne, Reginald Willoughby, myself and my own brother, Roger Leclerc. Together we set forth of the merchant’s galleon, “Globesetter,” to deliver the three-thousand doubloon ransom. The race was on, for others had designs on the lad. Who would be the first to arrive at the Gahanna fortress in Tangiers, Ethiopia?
Gahanna was a ship in poor condition. She was a Pyrate vessel, and her marines were a corrupt and unruly batch of pyrates. The vessel was further damaged leaving the Parisian port by a seemingly random barrage from shore. Out sails were damaged, and it was my brother, Roger, who intimidated the boarding patrol, allowing us to break free of the harbor.
At sea, Paul Wildemoon and M. Meslier worked to reduce corruption and piracy amongst the crew while Lord Mayweather tried and failed to obtain fresh sail from another passing French patrol. M. Semenov, meanwhile, proved a disappointment - the man took to drinking with the crew, and his gluttony quickly turned him from a Dashing young man into a corpulent layabout. Semonov would desert when we reached London.
We encountered a ship under attack from pyrates, and chose to aid. MM. Meslier and Paul Wildemoon found themselves wounded by sharpshooters, while Roger’s jaw was cracked by the Pyrate captain’s hand-weights. Lord Mayweather led the final charge to victory.
M.Willoughby was the next to take up drinking with the crew. He insisted there was a man of renown amongst the crew. None of us had heard of the so-called “renowned man.” Meanwhile M. Cae disclosed that he was a wanted man. He had killed another in a bar fight before joining this mission. The barrage of fire as we left port now seemed motivated, for a French patrol vessel overtook us for ostensible document review… in truth, a search for M. Cae. Our band chose to not let one of our own face arrest. In the battle M. Willoughby was mistaken for M. Cae and captured. A rescue attempt saw M. Meslier and my dear brother, Roger, slain, while M. Surcouf was able to retrieve Willoughby.
Julius Cae asked us all to refer to him as “Kyle Julius.” Still, the knowledge of his crime was widespread among the crew, and the recent deaths made “M. Julius” unpopular. The scapegoat found himself accused of also spreading the heretical pamphlet, “Divine Awe” around the ship. This pamphlet, written by the German, Lewis Scofield, dealt with the selling of indulgences. Men from Lichtenstein were the accusers. Support from we officers saw M. Julius acquitted.
We stopped in London to sell the Pyrate vessel we had captured earlier. The damaged, leaky caravel failed to fetch a significant price, but the action drew unwanted attention. As we turned our bows south we were attacked by an English vessel. Paul Wildemoon recognized the banner of a Warden of England. We outran the pursuer, but his barrages hit our upper deck, leaving us gun-shy.
I found myself plagued by dreams that the Germans would cause us to fail, over and over again. I suspect the detestable Scofield was somehow behind the pamphlets found aboard and the repeated attacks on our vessel that cost my brother his life. I will revenge Roger at the earliest opportunity…
Again, the English approached. This time, shouted accusation were thrown of our vessel spreading the heretical “Divine Awe” through ports of call from Paris to Sofia. MM. Moridin, Moridin, Pozzo, Surcouf, Wildemoon and myself responded to the base charge with avowed declarations of our loyalties to Pope and Church. Out impassioned pleas made the English realize they had been mislead, and so they stood down and halted their pursuit.
And so, without further incident, we made out way to Gahanna fortress.
Observation showed that there were two likely points of entry - the Motte and Bailey or the Watershed. Rather than announce our presence and intention to pay the asked ransom for Rene Bella, we decided to use subterfuge and attempt to free the boy. The desired outcome would be the same, yet we would have three thousand doubloons to split for our troubles…
The watershed seemed a merchant and tradesman entrance, and so we attempted to talk our way in. Sadly, M. Pozzo and Lord Mayweather were unable to convince the guards that our group of men were there to ply the merchant’s trade. We were warned that if we tried to enter, we would be shot. Instead we made our entrance via Motte and Bailey. The sentries expected the arrival of tutors. Attempts by myself and M. Pozzo to pass as such failed - for drawings of the expected men had been given to the alert sentries. We had no choice but to take a direct approach. Mordred Moridin directed the fire that allowed us to pass the bailey.
Through the inner courtyard and past the kennels we were led by the brave Paul Wildemoon. Near the siege doors we came across a troop of cavalry. The cramped courtyard didn’t leave the mounted troops room to maneuver. As they attempted to dismount, I led our marines in a charge that scattered the unprepared horsemen.
Our search of the main tower had begun. We had located the Major’s quarters but a search for papers, maps and orders had yet proved fruitless when the building shook. Surviving gate guards and cavalry must have reported our entrance. The garrison commander must have had overly strict orders or dire threats to his personal health if anything happened to any of his documents, for he took the unusual step of directing cannon fire against his own quarters! Collapsing walls severely injured Lord Mayweather, MM. Willoughby, Julius, Surcouf, Pozzo and Mordred Moridin.
We fled deeper into the tower and located the quarters for the attending squires. Those lads were in residence, and drew blades to stop us. Lord Mayweather called for a game of chance over bloodshed. One squire took the Lord up on his offer, and graciously stood down when the Lord’s drawn card proved superior. The other, bemused squires again took up arms, Later they would take up nursing headaches, for M. Surcouf charged in and applied a firm fist of discipline to the foolish, but brave boys. A search of the room turned up orders from the fortress Castellan. The Squires were to make new uniforms as a reward for the garrison? Sadly, the uniforms themselves were not to be found, as they might have proven useful as a disguise.
The squire’s ready room abutted what we shall call a “guest chamber.” Within, an unlocked iron ball. Did the boy, Rene Bella escape his captors, or had some other fate befallen the boy we had come to ransom? We would have to ask the Castellan.
The Castillan was found within the barracks, along with his guard. No quarter was asked from either side, and none given. Kyle Julius revealed himself as a traitor in our midst - he attacked M. Surcouf, and both men died with their hands around each other’s throats and their daggers buried in the other’s belly. Paul Wildemoon was shot down while trying to intervene between MM, Julius and Surcouf. Mordred Moridin led our vanguard. He was unaware of the dissent happening behind him, but found himself stabbed to death in the melee since his “support” was fighting itself. Anton Le Condame took a sword stroke to the chest as well. In the chaos, Paxton Wildemoon, Mordrem Mort Moridin, M. Pozzo and myself found ourselves pushed aside and unable to act effectively. It was the efforts of the charismatic M. Willoughby and the rallying cries of Lord Mayweather that led our marines to victory.
With the capture of the Castillan’s notes we discovered that we had arrived too late. The race was lost. Rene Bella had been sold of to Jack Jensen - Warden of England. The attacks by English ships had nothing to do with the heretical Scofield, but had been delaying tactics to prevent us from paying ransom.
We are a somber gathering as we turn our sails towards Cypress, for one of our companions had deserted the cause, a second had turned traitor, seven of us had fallen in battle (the traitor among them), and several of us nurse vicious injuries. So far, the sacrifices have been for nothing but ignoble experience. It remains to be seen if we can complete our task.
Raise a mug to Paul Wildemoon, Mordred Mort Moridin, Alize Baptiste Pozzo, Jean Meslier, Robert Surcouf, and my dear brother, Roger! I make water on the memory of the criminal and traitor Julius Cae! So say I, Leclerc!
High body count... -- Chronicler Mike (posted: 6/11/2020)
Perspective of body count -- Chronicler Mike (posted: 6/11/2020)
And yet the Fancy Lad lived -- Tasha (posted: 6/16/2020)
Well deserved -- red (posted: 6/17/2020)
Well, you took the hat. -- Chronicler Mike (posted: 6/18/2020)