Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Morning's Entertainment

Imagine Johannes surprise when Erwin says in response to his question, "I brought four of my 'fancy' pistols. Would you care for a pair? And when did you ever know me to have an unloaded one about?!" Baddmann gave an approving grunt as the two double barreled pistols disappeared under his cloak.
Mack continued, "I learned this trick when I was in Canada. Buck and ball with a large charge of powder is the key. Makes a hell of a loud noise, you can hit almost everyone in a small room with at least a pellet or two, the cloud of smoke comes in handy if you have to retreat, and by the third shot most crowds have found better places to be, leaving one shot in reserve. Tonight, my friend, I am loaded for bear. Although I'll settle for stag!"
“More like a filthy old goat, I’m afraid,” Johannes responded. “We suspect that Roquefort and M’Lady are involved too.”
“No wonder every time I look around, I see an alert soldier of some type!” Erwin responded. “Looks like you’re going to try to swat flies with cannon balls!”
“That’s the general idea,” Johannes responded. “Hesse Cassel armies are too close to overlook the chance that either the guilds or the Resistance will make a serious effort ... and with all these agents in town, it’s likely that some of them are suggesting it.”
Even though, Johannes sounded like he was just grousing, v.Mack’s watchfulness had been suddenly amplified by what he’d heard. His eyes were moving from one deep shadow in the night bound street when he chanced on a face moving through a light, “Rottenbrat!” he hissed to Baddmann and quickly gestured at an otherwise nondescript laborer still putting up bunting.
In moments, their two horses were at the foot of the man’s ladder and four pistols were held close to some very sensitive areas. “Okay, Hans,” Baddmann growled, “come down very slowly and lean on the wall.
“Private!” he gestured to a nearby soldier, “call for the sergeant of the guard.”
As the soldiers clustered around him and thoroughly searched him, Hans Rottenbrat protested his innocence and productivity. V. Mack had already climbed the ladder for himself, however, and found a smelly, black rag in the folds of the bunting lying under a glass ball.
“So, Stagonia plans on Frankszonia having a hot time tomorrow?” he challenges the now silent and surly agent.
“Ver*%&#!!” Baddmann exclaims. “We’ve got miles of very expensive and brightly died cloth hanging on every house! It will all have to be checked tonight!”
“No need,” Rottenbrat asserts, “I just had time to put up one.”

After the prisoner is removed and handed over to the Gallians for deposit in the Bastille, Johannes and v. Mack hasten to the palace to spread the alarm. As. V. Mack delivers the letter to Andrew, Herr Kunegunde orders the town criers out while the tour party is still happily entertained inside the palace grounds. Several more incendiary devices are found in a couple of hours, and the city returns to its uneasy slumber.

In spite of Frankfurter’s fears, the night passed peacefully. The gathering at the palace, aided by the glittering presence of Princess Alisonia, Lady Pettygree, and Lady Masquerade is a social triumph. Princess Stuftliana choose the auspicious moment to make her reentry into the social whirl, looking exotically lovely in a simple gown from Frau Ewewarp. In recognition of the exhaustion of the day’s travel, the party breaks up at midnight.
In the hazy morning, Duchess Lynda and her ladies are awakened by sweet flute music being played by a quartet in the courtyard of the Beerstein embassy. After a breakfast featuring a selection of Frankszonia’s sausages, the ladies are especially delighted by the tour of the porcelain industry. Excellent Delft ware and brightly painted ceramics are displayed for their pleasure. They each get to select a set of some design that they personally find pleasing. After a short coffee with the other high level guests of the Duchy, they get a brief tour of the sausage factory. L’Comte Beauphaup apologizes for the shortness of the tour, but the factory in full production is hot, smelly, and very noisy.
To compensate for the chaotic racket of the sausage factory, the party is led to view the Frankfurter cathedral and the materials used in the coronation and annointing of the Holy Roman Emperor. While they tour the building, choirs take turns singing various hymns and historic songs from the choir stalls.
As they wander through the dusky corners of the Gothic edifice, a gentleman passes Lady Pettygree and whispers, “God save King Charles. Watch the wine.” Before she or Cherish can respond, the man is lost in the shadows. They step behind a pillar to discuss the incident with Catherine when an old woman brushes by who says, “Why do you tempt fate? Germania, though it gives you admirers also gives you deadly greetings. Look high and low!” Then, as a puff of incense causes the ladies to blink and sneeze, the old woman also is gone from sight.
Now thoroughly alarmed, the ladies seek out Col. Enigma who has so often protected them in the past. The whole party, however, is led out to the square, where in one corner a luncheon pavilion has been erected. There, brass bands of school children serenade them, one group presenting “The Tuba Sonnata”. The luncheon is lively ... exquistely grilled fish, bratwurst, and other items blend with the best beverages, laughter and chatter as the ladies and lords flirt and the children from the bands march by, red faced with pride.
Suddenly, the happy noise is shattered by the loud staccato of musket fire! As bullets smash into the crystal and china on the tables by Pettygree and Duke Wilhelm, the ever present guards spot the smoke from the roof of the Cathedral. Gallian and Frankszonian troops return fire, though the professional ear of the officers in the party notice that some of the Frankszonian “Guards” are equipped with rifles. Other soldiers dash into the building to try to catch these dastardly assasins.
The party members begin to scatter as the ladies scream and the men curse, but Col. Enigma catches a glimpse of an old lady beckoning by the Rectory. With loud commands he manages to herd the notables into the house and to get soldiers stationed at some of the windows. Ritter von Meltzer and Ambassador Sgnori Vittorio Moretti demand why they’ve been brought into this building with its large windows when the already garrisoned inn on the square had been closer. Even as the normally imperturbable colonel hunts for a good excuse, a loud, bright explosion tears out of the inn’s basement.
“I knew it!” Enigma exclaims and dashes off to find Lady Pettygree.
For about an half hour, the square is filled with competing troops ... cavalrymen from the Grand Tour, Frankszonian guards, and Gallian Grenadiers. As the confusion and furor die down, and as the smoke from the badly damaged inn settles, the Archbishop reports that the assassins seem to have escaped! “There are just too many hidden passages and acloves in the cathedral,” he explains. “Given the all the confusion outside, if the evil men had the foresight to dress in uniforms, they probably had an easy time making their withdrawal. We did, at least, find the three weapons they were using.”


Capt Bill said...

And the adventure continues. No one will ever forget their visit to Frankzonia.

Fitz-Badger said...

Excellent and entertaining!

abdul666 said...

A rich and enjoyable write-up!

Martin said...

WOW!! Sounds like King Ludwig has been reading up on Guy Fawlks - the only man to ever enter Parliment with honest intentions!

No doubt that each faction will now seize upon the incident to justify their own repressions. Once again the pot of Frankzonia threatens to boil over and stain the floor of the kitchen of history.