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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Lord E

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lightningmj2.jpg



1st of April 1625

The road to Bordeaux
Guyenne region, Southern-France





The rain was pouring down, the skies had come in from the Atlantic earlier that day as Jean had left his village behind, but now it had been raining for hours. A bright flash appeared on the sky and some seconds later the sound of thunder could be heard. Jean pulled his cloak closer together, but it didn’t help much as both the cloak and the rest of his clothes were already soaked from hours out in the rain. He moved slowly along the road, or it could hardly be called a road anymore, now it was just a trail of mud across the countryside. Jean had been out for hours walking along the road trying to reach Bordeaux. He still couldn’t understand why his father had sent him to Bordeaux in such a bad weather, but there was little Jean could do about that now. He just continued moving forward as lightning once again struck and the loud sound of thunder was increasing in strength. The storm was moving closer by the minute.

As he moved slowly forward again through the mud Jean started dreaming about how he would enjoy arriving in Bordeaux, he already looked forward to go inside and sit by the fire with a glass of wine and once more be able to feel his cold and wet body. Also he dreamt of the future, fighting for France. It was then the riders got him back to reality.





”OUT OF THE WAY!”




Jumping backwards Jean landed on his back in a large puddle of water and mud, and got even more soaked. The two riders didn’t seem to notice much, Jean could hear them laugh as they halted in front of him.



”Hey, you should probably learn to walk before trying to use the roads. He he he…”



The man that had spoken to him was covered in a red cloak, was wearing a large hat and from what Jean could see he had both two pistols in his belt and a sword at his side. Jean couldn’t see his face; the only thing Jean could see was a couple of dark brown eyes staring right at him. Feeling cold and sweating Jean moved his hand under his cloak and made sure that his letters were safe in cover before answering the man.



“I am no peasant.”


”I say you are, and then you are… We have no time for this. Now tell me peasant what are your business outside in this weather?”


“That isn’t your business…”


How dear you speak to my like that, peasant. In the name of the Cardinal I insist on getting to know your business… Are you maybe a Huguenot spy?”


“No, I am not. Who is this cardinal you speak about and why has he anything to do about my business?”


Turning to his companion the man shook his head.



”They certainly don’t teach these peasants much Michel…”


“It seems they don’t, sir”


”The Cardinal is His Most Christian Majesty’s first minister and closest advisor, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu… You do well in remembering that name peasant; the cardinal knows all and sees all.

Now I will not ask again. What is your business on this road?”



“So you work for His Majesty? Oh that would be something to work for the King…

I can tell you monsieur that I am traveling to Bordeaux to deliver a letter and to meet an old friend of my father.”


”The King… yes, we work for the King….

Who are you going to deliver to letter to and what is its content?”



“I am afraid I don’t know monsieur… I was told to deliver the letter to monsieur Dufour in Bordeaux, but I was never told the content of the letter”


The two horsemen looked at each other, then the one that had spoken nodded to the other.


”Thank you peasant. Now we must move along…”


The two men kicked their horses and start to trot down the road. As they had moved away from Jean the first man nodded to the other.


”It is him... Dufour is their agent…


You are sure these bastards know what to do?

Make sure they kill the messenger… no point in allowing him to live.”



“Certainly, sir. They are ready.”



” The Cardinal will be very pleased… Very pleased indeed.”





Jean could see the two horsemen disappearing from sight as the road turned left and soon they had disappeared inside the woods just as quickly as they had arrived. Jean was pondering over what had just happened. These two men were clearly working for the King and this Cardinal Richelieu. Jean could only dream about working for the King, but when he arrived in Bordeaux he was determined to ask the Baron if he knew more about this cardinal, Jean thought he sounded like an interesting man. Jean was once again dreaming, this time he imagined serving as a soldier in the King’s army fighting against the enemies of France.

As Jean reached the turn he was far way in his mind fighting for the glory of France. He had just defeated an evil English giant in a duel and was feeling were self confident when suddenly he noticed three men stepping out into the road in front of him, all of them with their swords at the ready.



“STOP.

You have something that we want young monsieur. You can make this easy and hand the letter to me or we will have to kill you right now…”


“Why do you want my letter?”


“Get him boys…”



The largest of the tree men remained in the background while the two other moved forward against Jean. Clutching for his short sword and moving backwards as the men got closer and closer Jean felt that he was sweating. This was no joke and no fantasy, this was real.




“Remember the monsieur’s words boys… make sure you do it well. Get the letter unharmed and then kill the messenger.”


Jean moved one more step backwards, but that was one step to many as he sat foot in the deep mud he lost his balance and fell backwards. As one of the men jumped against him Jean tried to stab him with the sword. The man jumped away from the sword and instead he drove his sword into Jean’s left arm. Jean let go of his sword and clutched his left arm with his right trying to stop the pain. But all he noticed was his right hand was getting warm and sticky from the red blood that was coming out of his wound. Jean’s eyes were getting blurry and his head was dizzy, and he felt like he was falling backwards.

As he was just about to pass out Jean noticed horses and more men arriving, he could hear screams and saw one of the thieves fall to the ground. He could hear the sound of steel and against steel, and he saw another of the thieves fell to the ground, and then his head fell backwards into the mud. The last thing he noticed as his eyes were getting very blurry was a man standing over him, a man wearing a blue cloak with golden lilies, the fleur-de-lis Jean remembered.

The he fainted.

 

Estonianzulu

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Ah, the lilies of France have saved our good hero. Excellent portrayal of the fight, Jean is no hero, at least not yet.
 

unmerged(24320)

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Lord E: ...The last thing he noticed as his eyes were getting very blurry was a man standing over him, a man wearing a blue cloak with golden lilies, the fleur-de-lis Jean remembered..Then he fainted.

as i read the earlier posts, i thought "red is the color of England." now it seems that blue is the color of France.

mind you, i am colorblind, so i usually have trouble knowing which color represents what. that said, in this game (not necessarily the AAR) is red the color of England? ? :confused:

i did not expect our young man to survive the day ! ! :rolleyes:

excellent update ! ! :D
 

Snake IV

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England is often red, France blue. The game has it this way too.


VERY close call there for Jean. Let's hope his "luck" will continue.
 

unmerged(24320)

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Snake IV: England is often red, France blue. The game has it this way too.

one thing that helps me remember the English are usually red is the phrase, "The Redcoats are coming!" from the ARW... :)


Snake IV: VERY close call there for Jean. Let's hope his "luck" will continue.

agreed ! ! :cool: methinks that Jean will be an integral part of the AAR.


that said, it seems to me that (on the face of what we have seen) the French are having a scrap (perhaps, even a "power play") amongst themselves - not a good sign. England is too strong for the French to fight amongst themselves. :eek:
 

coz1

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Just in the nick of time! Well done creating the tension. So now we must know who this man is!
 

Lord E

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Estonianzulu Yes, I guess it is good to be saved by the lilies of France, better than being killed by some thieves for a letter. He certainly is no hero yet, but maybe as he grows up…


J. Passepartout I guess you can’t write about France during this period without including everyone’s favourite cardinal. Time will show who this new guy is, but first we get a closer meeting with the cardinal


GhostWriter Oh he will survive, don’t worry, he will play a role also in the future.
Yes, red is normally the colour of England and blue the colour of France that is normal in many games and certainly in Paradox games…
But red can also be the colour of a cardinal/the cardinal ;)


Snake IV Yes, he was lucky, and as he is to play a role also in the future let us hope he will continue to be lucky.


GhostWriter Yes, England is strong, and so is Spain and Austria… But for now the French are fighting between themselves, I guess you know about the Huguenots? Half of France has provinces that are both catholic and protestant, and in Germany the 30 Years War is going on so there is a lot of religious tension. More about that in the future.


coz1 yes, Jean was lucky that they arrived to save him. Well a story needs some tension I think, time will show who this man is, but first we get a closer look on a certain French cardinal

All As you understand the French are having troubles internally, Europe is at war especially in Germany, and England has just got a new King so there is a lot of things going on, but before anything else can happen a certain French cardinal is not very happy about what have just happened…
Finishing the next update up, should have it posted pretty soon :)
 

Lord E

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louisxiiilouvrewq3.jpg




4th of April 1625
Paris, France





The Cardinal was walking back and forth in his chambers constantly beating his hands together making a clear and distinct sound for every step he made.

Halting for some seconds at the window he looked out over the courtyard before turning around and walking back the other way, halting at his desk he picked up the note once again. This was probably the fiftieth time the same morning that the Cardinal had picked up the note and looked at it before tossing it down on his desk and started walking again. Back and forth, halting at the window to cast a look out on the courtyard, watching the guards pass by and people arriving, and then he turned and walked back to the desk to look at the note again. As he picked up the note for the sixtieth time that morning he halted and looked at it closely for a minute while his faced turned more and more red.



Cardinal Richelieu was in a bad mood.






” De Rousselet!”




As if the man had been waiting outside for the Cardinal to call out, the captain of the Cardinal’s guard entered the moment his name was called.




“Your Eminence. How can I be of service?”


”Tell me de Rousselet, how did your men manage to spoil such an easy mission. They were supposed to get George’s letter… How hard could it be for them to grab it from some young messenger?

I don’t think I need to remind you how important it is that this letter never arrives in Bordeaux and certainly not in La Rochelle…”





As he spoke the Cardinal’s face was getting harder and redder and it was as if lighting struck from his eyes. Staring right at de Rousselet the Cardinal didn’t let go of the man with his eyes, it was as if they were nailed on de Rousselet staring at him with a look that could kill.




“They are terribly sorry Your Eminence. As Your Eminence knows they had decided to use local bandits to get the letter to avoid getting their own hands dirty and avoid bringing Your Eminence directly into the action…”



”I am aware of the facts de Rousselet…




I hope you have taken care of these two idiots. I don’t want to see or hear from them again… ever!”




“Certainly Your Eminence that has already been taken care off, they left for America two days ago. I am confident they will not live to return.”



The Cardinal looked at the captain and then smiled while rubbing his hands.



”Splendid…



But this still doesn’t’ settle the matter with the letter. We need that letter. I don’t care if he has been found and helped. I want the letter. One way or another…”



“I will see to it personally Your Eminence!”


”Oh and de Rousselet if the messenger and his aids were to offer any opposition… any at all….

Well… as you know…Accidents do happen, especially to traitors…”



“Indeed, Your Eminence”



As the captain left the room he had a huge smile in his face. Smiling cunning while sending out the same deadly look the Cardinal had just given him. De Rousselet knew exactly how to handle the Cardinal’s business satisfactory, and now he was to get a chance to handle some old enemies as well… Looking down on his left hand he saw the long white scar that went from one side of the hand to the other. This time he would be the one delivering the scars.
 

stnylan

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Richelieu certainly makes a most excellent dark enemy.

Of course, saying that and we'll discover at the end he's been the hero of the piece! ;)
 

J. Passepartout

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Jean wants to fight for France, so I assume he is Catholic? I imagine the addresse of the letter is not Catholic, considering the destination. Interesting.
 

coz1

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Oh yes, Richelieu is in a bad mood indeed. And I can see why. ;)
 

unmerged(24320)

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Lord E: ...and now he was to get a chance to handle some old enemies as well… Looking down on his left hand he saw the long white scar that went from one side of the hand to the other. This time he would be the one delivering the scars.

ahhh. revenge. what a motivator ! ! :D

excellent update ! !
:cool:
 

Lord E

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daemonofdecay Thanks, glad you enjoyed the prologue, I hope you will enjoy the rest of the story also


stnylan Well he makes a good, dark character that is for sure, but as you say there is still much to be discovered about his role in all of this, and who knows maybe he ends up like the hero ;)



J. Passepartout Oh yes Jean is catholic, he belongs to a French noble family and his father is just sending him away to join an old friend of him who is commanding a company of riders in the French army. But as you say the person behind the letter and the person suppose to receive it might not be… There is a hint in the name of the person who has sent the letter and more hints will be in the next update. I guess you can say that also he is an old friend, but maybe not a friend of France… ;)



coz1 Yes, he isn’t very happy right now. And I guess you might have understood who wrote the letter, because then you can see the real reason behind his anger… More of his name will be discovered in the next update.



GhostWriter Indeed, revenge is a great motivator, and working for the cardinal I think you have a lot of enemies and then you want of inflict a lot of revenge.




All Thanks for your continued support.

As some you of have said there is more to all this than can been seen at the moment, but I hope at least some will be made a little clearer by the next post. We get to know a little about the man who has rescued Jean and also a little about the mysterious man behind the letter is discovered… ;)

Should have it up real soon.
 

Lord E

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churchhseoveryma2.gif



6th of April 1625
Guyenne, France




As he tried to open his eyes Jean felt a pain in his head and his eyes. The sunbeams that came in through the window had awoken him, but Jean was having a hard time in opening his eyes. After forcing them open he felt a sting of pain in the back of his head, but after moving his head a little Jean felt the pain go away and he started looking around the small room he was in. Apart from the window just over his bed and the bed he was in he could see a chair with his clothes on top of it and a small table with a glass on it.

Pulling up his body Jean stretched out his arm for the glass, but as he tried to grab it he felt a sudden pain in his left arm. Turning his eyes to his left arm he could see a white linen cloth was covering his wound. Then it all returned to him. The bandits, he had been stabbed and then the men with the lilies had arrived. Looking around Jean didn’t see any of them now and carefully he moved out of bed.


Clutching for his clothes the first thing Jean does is to look for the letters. Finding them still hidden inside his cloak he feels like a large burden goes away from his shoulders and he lets out a heavy breath of relief. Then he looks for his short sword, but seeing it nowhere in the room Jean instead starts dressing.

Suddenly the door cracks up and two men enter. The first and largest smiles when he sees Jean is awake.



“Ah you are awake. Welcome back to the land of the living monsieur. Those bandits were close to ending your life permanently… Do you now what they wanted?”


“I... I am not certain…”


“Well these bandits and their friends have been roaming all around Southern-France for years, so I guess they just wanted to see if you have any valuables….

Of course from what we have seen valuables aren’t your strongest side, just a couple of coins. He he he yes and those letters of yours then. Don’t worry we have left them in your cloak…”



“WHAT?

How do you know about the letters? “



Jean suddenly feels cold and has to look into his cloak again for the letters, seeing that the seals hasn’t been broken he feels relived.


“Don’t worry, we didn’t open them… But moving around with a letter in Southern-France with that seal isn’t the cleverest thing to do. I think there are many people that would want to get their hands on that letter.

I am certain the cardinal would…”




”Aye, and this looks like it can have his hand behind it all…”



“Now, now Louis we can’t go around accusing His Eminence of such acts…”




Looking at each other the two men smiles and then burst out in laughter. Jean not understanding much just stands there with the letters in his hand looking shocked at the two men.



“It seems like our young friend is a little in the blue Louis, and we aren’t being very good hosts.

Pardon us monsieur; we must have forgotten our manners…”





The door bursts open and one more man enters the room looking shocked.




“Pardon me monsieur Baron. The scouts report a large group of riders coming this way; they will be here soon… It seems they are commanded by the captain of the Cardinal’s guard.”




”It seems like we are getting guests Louis… I think it is time we leave this place.”



“Agreed.”



”Now you can give me my letter later, but I think I know who you are, but more importantly just now can you ride Jean?

I guess you have many questions, but for now your father and I have already agreed on the details so I guess he doesn’t write much new news in his letter so I can read it later… “



“Monsieur Baron?”



”Oui”




The man smiles and nods to Jean and then before Jean can do anything else the first man has already left the room and Jean can hear him shouting commands on the outside for the men to prepare to leave. Still standing shocked half dressed with his mouth open Jean is really having trouble understanding what is going on.



”Now then didn’t you hear the Baron? We need to leave. Get dressed quickly young man or else you will be dead in twenty minutes…”




As awoken from a deep coma Jean returns to life quickly grabbing the rest of his cloths and dressing in a minute and moving outside. There he sees 5 men already mounted on their horses and all wearing the same blue cloaks with the golden lilies. Handed a horse Jean mounts and before he can notice anything more or get a real impression of the men around him they all start moving, leaving the small village behind. Jean wonders what have happened, trying to recapture the events of the last hours he is unable to understand much, but from what he can understand it seemed his father’s old friend had now not just rescued his father’s life once, but also Jean’s life. Seeing the Baron close up to him and smile Jean smiles back



“Now young sir, perhaps we can soon get our manners straight…”



“Oh don’t worry young Jean, you are not dreaming. I think we will need a long talk, but for now I guess we can agree that you are better off with us than those bastards the Cardinal sent to collect you… I suspect Villiers wouldn’t enjoy having his letter ending up at the Cardinal’s table…


It seems like I have a certain touch for rescuing men of the de Nogaret family…. There is much we need to discuss, but for now let us get away from here. ”
 
Last edited:

Snake IV

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I love that you juse different fonts colours and such for the dialog of different people. It is just brilliant
 

Veldmaarschalk

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I always wonder, was Richellieu really a 'bad' man or is the influence of Alexandre Dumas' work so great that we can only see him in that way
 

stnylan

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I think Jean is suffering from a severe case of having the rug pulled from under him. Quite a few shocks for him to get over there.

@Veldmaarschalk - a very interesting question. I really have no idea how he was viewed pre-Dumas, though he certainly had his fair share of enemies who doubtless would have viewed him in a far from positive light.