Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A brouhaha


Even as the landlord got his footing in the archway, dark shapes boiled out of several stalls. The Croat fired his musketoon and dropped one, but this drew a fusillade from the attackers’ pistols. The Croat was slammed against the arch and slid down with a groan. The dark figures continued their rush resisted by only the landlord.
Now it was true that the landlord had had little military training, other than the standard required of all the local citizens, but the peaceful reputation of his inn rested largely on the fact that the landlord was a pieceful man, in that other’s picked up the pieces etc.... The assailants ran into a much more muscular wall than they’d counted on. A fist used to easily handling fifty pound hams can also usually lift someone off their feet if properly placed just on the jaw. The landlord managed to knock another into the muck before a clubbed pistol behind the ear also dropped him onto the pavement.
By this time, however, the Prioress Hildegarrd had pulled two pistols from her robes and leapt into the gap. Her shots spun one assailant around and caused another to duck back. This left one lonely fellow to try to dagger the “nun” as he surged past. Unfortunately for the luckless man, he stumbled over the bodies in his way, and as Hildegarrd caught him, another Croat’s musketoon was discharged directly into his face.
More cloaked figures charged out of the common room while everyone seemed to be focused
on the fight in the stable archway. Their pistols dropped another Croat and hit one of the “nuns” in the shoulder. While the little priest dove under the coach, three of the nuns fired back into the charge. This intimate discharge quickly piled three bodies onto the porch and momentarily stopped the charge. Suddenly, the “nuns” displayed broad bladed scimitars and with a wild ululation they rushed their foe. These men rapidly redeployed back into the common room and managed to bar the door just as the first extremely large nun crashed into it.
Windows in the upper floor now slammed open, and men leaned out to fire into the courtyard. Another Croat was dropped and one of the horses began to plunge out of control. Two of the nuns quickly ran behind the coaches to cover. These new assailants, however, had overlooked the four men on top of the carriage whose shotguns abruptly blew the assailants back into their rooms.
In one room, a young man looked at the his two bleeding companions and anxiously began to try to help them. In the other, however, the third man counted on the moment when the enemy would be reloading and leaned out the window to take aim. His folly was completely corrected by four pistols fired from less than ten yards away ... the coachmen had plenty of back up firepower!
There was now a wild volley from the windows of the common room, and the nuns on the porch quickly took cover. The landlord, however, by now had risen from his feet, and the assailants in the stables had fled to their horses. “This way!” he shouted to “Sister” Hildegarrd and the now dismounted Croat. Bursting through a side door into the kitchen, he grabbed utensils from the kitchen table and dashed into the common room, taking the band clustered around the windows from behind!
The landlord’s furious scream as he charged was punctuated by the discharge of Hildgarrd’s pistol and the Croat’s musketoon. The confused assassins tumbled over each other as they tried to face this new assault. Which held one hapless man steady in front of the landlord’s flung cleaver.
The assassins discharged their own weapons into the smoke and drew their swords. They began to try to spread out, kicking tables out of their way. At this moment, an explosion ripped apart the door to the courtyard! As the “nuns” pile screaming into the room, a few men manage to escape, but most throw down their swords and yield.
As the landlord and his new guests search about the inn, they find two dead assailants and one unconscious in the stable yard; one dead and one injured upstairs; two dead and one injured on the porch; and four injured and three healthy captives in the common room. Alas, two of the Croats and on of the nuns were also dead. Two other Croats, including the veteran leader, were injured and two of the “nuns” were also bleeding. The little priest proved to be skilled surgeon and the wounded would probably all survive.
Nothing could be gained from the captives, unfortunately, other than “the Holy Office” had dispatched them to intercept “the Apostate” who was believed to be traveling disguised as a Croat to some anti-Papist plot in the Rhineland. The Croats were as confused as the landlord, and the “nuns” who were obviously Turkish eunuchs, weren’t conversant with enough German to illuminate anything. The four coachmen just demanded more beer and roasted pork.
Bernard was found sporting a bruised bump on his head and bundled into one of the stalls with a pregnant mare. The priest cautioned the landlord that Bernard’s seemingly minor injury could be more dangerous. “One cannot cauterize the brain,” he admonished the landlord.
“Funny,” the landlord responded, “all these years I thought somebody had already cauterized his brain.”

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

Reads like a wild (and bloody) little brouhaha indeed.

-- Jeff