And Introducing: Captain Benoit
Captured by Signore Gascone’s guard and imprisoned for a crime they did not commit, the heroes must ecape and clear their names with the court of Montaigne.
They were aided with a distraction from Claudette, who kept the guard’s attention upon her while they picked the locks to their cells. Escaping through the streets of Charouse, they eluded Red Guard patrols to arrive at the home of [[:apolline-du-rice | Apolline du Rice], whom they hoped would assist them in locating L’Empereur. But the plot thickened, and the Duchessa was proved to be in league with Gascone.
They stole her carriage, and rode swiftly to the Mousqetaire headquarters. A wagon full of Red Guards gave pursuit, but the horses leading the wagon stumbled and fell. The pursuit was ended swiftly.
Captain Benoit revealed that L’Empereur and several mousquetaires had retreated to his winter home, and that the Cardinal Signore Gascone was with them, along with a number of his guards. The heroes traded out the Duchessa’s carriage for a sturdy wagon, and took several mousquetaires with them when they rode out.
Nothing seemed out of place outside of the winter home of L’Empereur when they arrived. They were asked to relinquish all arms at the doors. Gascone greeted them with a grin, letting them know he had L’Empereur’s ear and the upper hand. When L’Empereur made his way down to dine, Xaviera twisted his strands to make certain he could see through Gascone’s lies. The Cardinal’s desperation was growing, when the assassin Vincenzo made his move.
A pitched battle against the forces of Gascone’s guards ended swiftly. Armand had taken Vincenzo’s bullet, intended for L’Empereur. Xaviera pulled several Red Guards and Vincenzo from the upper balcony, and held Vincenzo helpless.
A doctor was called to tend to the wounded, and Gascone and Vincenzo were taken into custody. L’Empereur bade the heroes rest in his quest quarters, and thanked Armand for saving his life by ennobling him. The next morning, Armand saw an end to his quest to bring the killer of his mentor to justice when L’Empereur invited him to the hanging of VIncenzo. The traitorous Cardinal was to be imprisoned within L’Empereur’s most impenetrable fortress for the rest of his life.
All had ended well, and the heroes made plans to return to La Tranquillità and resume their travel to Avalon. L’Empereur graciously provided for a wagon train to take valuable trade goods to Pourisse with the heroes. But Armand had a new quest in mind… to find where the Duchessa du Rice had fled, and bring her to justice for her part in the plot to kill L’Empereur.