Dawn in Le Petit Basin at the Huguenot stronghold of La Rochelle. On the sentry towers the lookouts wait in vain for the promised English fleet to appear on the horizon.
Beneath their guns the fishing fleet slips into safe haven after a night's fishing
As the boats dock four men climb ashore and hurry away - clearly they have had no luck with their nets
They hasten to drown their sorrows in the Laughing Sandbag already doing a brisk trade in cognac and croissant to the early risers and late staggerers
In the alley behind the tavern the quartet meet with a cowled figure - it is M'Lady D'Lateautumn, agent of Cardinal Richelieu, who has been within the city for the last four days. Her news is grave, there will be no jailbreak or rescue boat tonight for the captured Rochefort, he is to be shot at dawn - today!
Even as she reveals the dire news Rochefort is being taken from his cell under heavy escort to recieve extreme unction from the last Catholic friar in the city - After all, a man's entitled to be collected by the right God when he arrives!
And in Le Place Boucheron the drums and fifes assemble to beat the death roll and summon the citizenry to the show
While the execution squad load and prime their muskets.
Rochefort is led into the square where the charges are read out -
1. Failure to be the King when kidnapped
2. Impersonating royalty
3.Failure to see eye-to-eye with the Huguenot point of view
Meanwhile, in the courtyard of the Red Dovecote Inn those breakfasters who have not gone to see the show watch open mouthed as our four heroes shed their disguise - a matter of honour to fight, and fall if necessary, in the right colours. And of course, you recognise them now, it's Alice D'Artagnan and his comrades Bathos, Pathos and Chanel.
The muskets are levelled and the escort round Rochefort steps away - a cad but never a coward the spy declines a blindfold and doffs his hat in readiness - a shame to get bullet holes in an expensive chapeau
And at that moment confusion erupts as the musketeers charge into the square pinking any who get in their way and spreading doubt and distraction with cries of 'ou est l'escargot?' and 'combien le crepe suzette?'.
The stunned Rochefort is hustled into the nearest alley, D'Artagnan and Pathos clearing the way to the rampart steps while Bathos and Chanel hold the pursuing mob at bay.
The party wins onto the battlements - Pathos and D'Artagnan holding off the enemy while Bathos, Chanel and a rapidly recovering Rochefort use one of the Huguenots as a makeshift battering ram to open the door into the winch-room of the Boucheron Gate.
Inside the gatehouse the portcullis and drawbridge cables are slashed - before the party head for the fighting top from where a rope can be lowered to the bridge - thumbing their noses at their impotent enemies trapped behind the portcullis
Bullets begin to howl around their ears as their pursuers reach the ramparts - recognising the danger a troop of Dragoons gallop forward from the royal lines to draw fire and snatch the fugitives to safety across their cantles.
Rochefort is returned to his master - while the musketeers receive a wave of recognition from theirs, along with the cheers of their comrades
you can find more Bayko Baron stories at planetdiecast.com - just search 'Bilfred' in the members area