Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The escape (1): Evasion plan

Lleida, a few days earlier (3rd Nov. 1713)

This is the first one of a series of articles accounting an adventure run by a group of gamers from Lleida city, who volunteered for giving some kind of continuation to the urban revolt happened in that town a couple of turns ago, through a proxy gamed series of skirmish scenarios. This one is intended to giving readers a preliminary background of the story.

After the revolt outburst, the rebels of Lleida town had found themselves confined in a section of buildings enclosed behind barricades and rubble. And now, after a tough battle, the tense silence was broken only by some occasional shot from too a nervous sentry. Amidst the rebel area, the 15th century "Paeria" Municipality building showed little damage... however, everyone knew this could change quickly if the hitherto silent garrison guns started their horrifying song.

Inside, the rebels' most outstanding leaders were engaged in an endless debate about alternatives: whether a relieving army might be expected or not; if they should resist until death or not; otherwise, whether it would be convenient accepting the Spanish pardon in exchange for their leader Maria Sauret's head, just as Marquis of Aitona had demanded... Certainly, this last option was gaining adherents day by day.

None of them ever noticed that in a close small, dark room a very different kind of deliberation was taking place. There, two characters had met: Maurici Madriguera, a former officer of the "Coronela" militia of Lleida, who was now leading the defense barricades in Knights Street (="carrer cavallers"), and Josep Cassay --one of the main tradesmen in town, if not the main one.

--What do you want from me? --Madriguera abruptly asked-- I guess you wouldn't just recall me we're both going to hang from gallows side by side...

--Don't be that insolent and listen to me --Cassay whispered--. As you probably know, the betrayal to Maria Sauret can be taken for granted, for that bunch of cowards won't last long to find something to soothe their consciences, but their decision is already taken for quite awhile ...

--Don't you agree? How is it? --Madriguera asked with surprise, now in a lower voice.

--Due to my long relationship with the locksmiths family of Sauret, I could tell you. And you wouldn't last long to deduce it's a lie, so that I'm leaving it to her when the time is come... The truth is that (for reasons not concerning you) I wouldn't like to see her dead, because she's pretty worthier alive. She has already proved such in bringing together people around her. You have the necessary military experience, she radiates charisma and I have fundings enough for my plan... there's only one element missing from the equation.

--Taking her outside from town? --Madriguera said.

--It shouldn't be that difficult.

--True, we could use any of the numerous half-hidden gates of Gates Street (="carrer de les portes") and follow Segre River upstream.

The tradesman responded: --And turning eastwards later, to avoid the patrols of Balaguer town's garrison. It should be quite easier from that point on, because General Moragues has just expelled the Spaniards from Pallars county.

--A friend of mine who is an experienced miquelet could willingly help me. All right then --Madriguera concluded--, with his help I can easily take the girl out from this hell.

--Not just you two. A third person is accompanying you: lawyer Mallada. He'll be my man on the outside, who will provide for your fundings.

--Hey, taking a girl is hard enough! Will the old man hold up? --Madriguera protested.

Cassay replied with irony: --He must, for this time he wouldn't escape from gallows...

[We have chosen to represent Maria Sauret as a young woman for aesthetics and love for drama. However, it should be noted that the really scarce information on the Net about this local heroine suggests she was actually older than this, besides of having likely not survived the 1706 siege of the city. As there is no surviving depiction of her either, I've finally chosen assigning to her the image of another, different Historic character: that one of Katherine Ferrers, a reputedly criminal lady in English Civil War times. Beg your understanding fur such caprice.]


abdul666 said...

A perfectly understandable poetic licence: tales are always more enthralling if the heroine is young and pretty!

abdul666 said...

Really impressive, how our campaign spreads and involves other people: the mark of a great 'game master'. Compliments!