BAYKO BARON 39
PASCHIN SUR SEINE
Cardinal Richelieu's hunting lodge at Paschin Sur Seine
The 'Eminence Rouge' is entertaining royalty
This morning the royal party has decided to take the air
Queen Anne and the long-awaited Dauphin, Prince Louis. have the carriage
While King Louis follows with his latest mistress, and the Cardinal himself in mufti for once
The Musketeers - Alice, Bathos, Pathos and Chanel arrive - only to recieve the usual welcome from the Cardinal's Guards
Chanel pauses to kneel and absolve his victim, but there is no time for delay - they bring dire warning of a dastardly plot laid by the Duc De Rohan who has raised a rebellious rabble and may even now be....
A rattle of ragged musketry confirms their worst fears - on the Esplenade a guard tumbles from the saddle and suddenly the formal gardens are alive with howling rascals. The king hauls his mount about and spurs away, going to fetch help, no doubt....
... leaving the rabble to overwhelm the remaining guards and surge towards the defenceless coach, but our heroes are here
Driving the enemy back with reckless ferocity they gain the coach and snatch the beleaguered Queen and infant from the rabble's clutches - but outnumbered ten-to-one and in immediate danger of being overwhelmed they must give ground.
A fighting retreat, but not without loss as the nerve of the royal grooms breaks and they attempt to flee, only to be shot down. Pathos too takes a ball in the shoulder and falls, while Chanel is run through the thigh. Only the fearful press of their enemies blocks Bathos and Alice from being shot too as they weave a flickering wall of desperate courage around their Queen - unable to see that some are already fleeing as the blurt of trumpet signals help is finally on its way.
Suddenly the gardens are alive with fleeing men and slaughterous, scarlet vengeance
Ringed with scarlet heroes now the Queen sees Chanel and Pathos carted off to her personal physician
A week on, His Majesty steps forward to congratulate the heroic quartet as the court acclaims them and His Emminence broods in silence
While over all, the haunting notes of the Te Deum rise in thanks for the preservation of the princeling
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