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The Traitor of Nantes (Cutlass 6/13/2018)


Message:

Mssr. L'eonce,

I wish you well with your new vessel. Young Enzo contracted myself, Alain Gignot, Moridin de Pyrate Captain, Chip Wildemoon and Percy Wischard to join him on a delivery of wine (I'm told it "fell" from the carts of another convoy) via river to Nantes. It seems the miscreant, och Dag, will find his fortunes further harmed by this endeavour. With luck, should the man make it home to France, he'll find himself ruined. Our Patron is Juan Gonzaga, son of the Duchess Gonzaga - a formidable woman we've dealt with before, usually to our disadvantage. Is this simple task part of some scheme of the Duchess? If so, her son travels with us, and he would be the first to taste our wrath in the event of a double-cross.

Before setting sail, we rest for the night at the very tavern you stayed at on your return to Paris. Servitors of Crown Prince Viktor of Russia assaulted our band. The very barmaid you found so admirable was slain in the melee - pulled in front of a slashing sword by Gonzaga. Alain tried a fancy move to spin Percy around into position to slash a foe but misjudged, spinning Gabin into a foe's dirk. I tried to show Alain how the move was truly done, but Wildemoon failed to foresee my plan. Instead, Wildemoon, too, was seriously injured. A fine lad calling himself Louis Brighteyes, leapt into the action, and it was his blade that ended the fray.

Once our cargo of wine was stowed aboard the barge we chartered, the river route past Vichy to Mainz passed without incident. At each brief stop we inquired for information about our patron: While Gonzaga is a Dashing sort, he has a reputation for turning on his servitors, and he has been introducing us as representatives of the Bullingdon Cartel. Obviously we are keeping one eye open around Gonzaga at all times.

In Nantes we find an large force of invading Russian regiments! Perhaps the attack in Paris was a deliberate attempt to neutralize some of the noted soldiers of the Vert Valliant? Francois Duclos' regiment was there, victorious against the Germans, now frustrated to be denied a quick march home. Alain was dispatched back up-river with urgent messages to the Crown. For the rest of us, our services and expertise were offered to Duclos, and he gratefully assigned us all as temporary Majors. Often troops would be demoralized to have new officers thrust upon them on the eve of battle, but, most of us are Vert Valliant, and that name makes the hearts of Godly French soldiers sing!

After assessing the situation we decided to burn the fields where the engagement seemed fated to happen.

The battle began with a charge of French Lancers against Russian mortars. Francois had been duped by a cunning ploy. What we thought were Rabble were fully trained Tercio, and three more Russian artillery units stood revealed.

We divided a company of musketeers, sending half into the woods and up the creek bed to the west to ambush the Russian's rear flank. The rest were sent to reinforce our Command Headquarters. The detached musketeers never struck their targets. Cowards? Looters? Traitors? Unknown.

Meanwhile I took a company on an infiltration mission. On our left flank, nine more companies of Tercio. It was my sad duty to inform all at HQ that were were badly outnumbered.

And then the battle truly began: Francois took command of the left flank, Enzo and Moridin the Center, Percy and myself the right flank. Louis was left to co-ordinate at the HQ. As the day wore on, cannon and musket fire raging on both side it became clear that our choice to burn off the brush had been the correct one, else our troops would have been trapped in fires started by weapon discharge and impact!

The battle continued past night fall. While good for stealth the chaotic situation made co-ordination difficult, and we were all forced to pivot our forces around the fields.

The second day: Enzo Gabin would find himself toasted that second evening for his valliant disruptions of multiple companies - routing as many as three at once with a single charge. Yet, despite his heroism, Gabin is forced to fall back to HQ with Louis moving up to command the center. Such reversals of fortune feel like the Devil and Fortune itself conspired against us. All agreed our "Gentleman's Luck" was in short supply. Moridin was wounded by an unfortunately unlucky turn of events. Our fixed artillery was shelled and destroyed. Merd-a-din arrived (heard the news passing Alain on the road?) and took command of Moridin's forces. Outnumbered and outgunned, our forced were pounded by Russian mortar and cannon and driven back by their pike-men. With our right flank in danger of exposure we, again, fell back towards our command position to reorganize. It was around then I spotted the banner of Leonard Tortensson - and the rabid animal stood truly revealed for what he was; not merely one to betray the troops he worked alongside, but now a traitor to France herself. I swear, Leon, the traitor's head shall be mine! With the setting of the sun hostilities wound down for the night. Again our troops were reorganized, and Francois spoke eloquently to re-energize the men, telling tales of battles such as Salerno, Mainz, Lucerne Peak, even the Incago, where members of Vert Valliant overcame superior numbers. One of the missing musketeer companies returned. Questions about their failure to complete their mission, or, indeed, their whereabouts for the past two days would wait until later. At the time we needed the bodies and the weapons.

For the third day of battle saw the tide turn out of our favor. Our right flank finally broke, and once again we found ourselves forced back to our Command post, where I took the time to compose this missive. The troops have again re-organized, dulled pikes exchanged for sharper points, powder from our cannon and mortars divided up amongst our musketeers and pistol holders. And now, we return to the butchery. For France, friendship and the glory of the Vert Valliant the men fight. I add revenge to the list. My hated nemesis stands, separated by less than mile of land and thousands of Russian soldiers. Win or lose this battle, I shall make it my goal to make certain Tortensson himself falls.

Yours,

   Lord Bailey Baylee Bayleigh (Chronicler)



Message Replies:
Grim Dispatch -- red (posted: 6/16/2018) 
Gentlemen's Luck was Gone as Well .... -- Iron Conrad (posted: 6/16/2018) 
The flips of Fate... -- Mike Myke Mique (posted: 6/16/2018) 
 
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