Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lettre de marque (1): A discrete meeting

Mataró, 14th November 1713

[Here you are the first scene of a new RPG adventure based on our Defiant Principality WSS layout. This time, action starts following the path of General Basset, who had been recently called back in Barcelona from his first line command post. Contrary to what he feared, there was apparently no political manoeuvre behind the order --but he was assigned instead the unexpected mission of persuading the council of Mataró town, the Principality's second city by size, to authorize the raising of a new regiment of foot --and to finance it! Little before his departure for Mataró, General Basset held an unexpected meeting. It is following his counterpart's indications that he now gets into a tavern of Mataró town in search for something, or maybe someone]

Basset lowered his head to cross under the tavern low doorframe, while taking his hat off. His eyes needed a few seconds to get adapted to the new level of light. The inside of the tavern was comfortably shady, when compared with the intense luminosity of the sunny day. A tall woman, about the forty, with a pitcher of wine in her hands, chatted away with two old sailors sat around one of the tables.

--I’m looking for Mr. Ginard --he asked.

--You will find Toni upstairs, Sir. First door to the right.

His steps resounded on the wooden stairs. In the narrow corridor, the first door was half-opened and the tempting smell of broiled fish was slipping through it. His stomach complained loudly, remembering him he had eaten nothing since the night before. Basset briefly knocked at the door. An unmistakable and vigorous voice answered immediately.

--Come in!

The relaxed smile of his old friend Ginard was enough to lighten the weight of Basset’s concerns. Antoni Ginard left the window from he had been contemplating the port of Mataró, to give Basset a strong and warm handshake.

--Ah Joan! Always on time! Those soles are nearly made up. You will discover what good is my Mateu at cooking!

The so-called Mateu was a young boy who was face to the chimney, occupied with a broiler that showed half a dozen of mouthwatering soles with a good number of potatoes distributed among them.

Ginard invited Basset to sit down while he generously filled two steins with red wine. Both men took a short moment to savor it.

--Has my general forgotten his uniform? --Ginard asked with a strong Majorcan accent, pointing with a finger the civilian clothes of Basset. --Haven't you left the Army, did you? Hopefully not. A soldier is always unable to find a decent job, believe me.

--Just a matter of discretion --Basset answered-- How's your business going lately, Toni?

--Not that bad, given the circumstances. Those damned English and Dutch ships have frightened away any eventual prey, for all Spanish ships seem to have vanished from the Balearic Sea. However, I'm pretty sure the Moors will come back with their... "courtesy visits" once things begin to set down again. But right now, there's actually little chance to get any good money from corsair activity. Anyway, I'm not even sure about the validity of my Lettre de Marque, with all those pacts, agreements, kings and emperors. Meanwhile we're making some scarce profits bringing supplies to Barcelona.

Basset stared at Ginard's grey eyes: --About your Lettre de Marque, I’m pretty sure we can solve the issue. You need a new one.

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