Monday, October 22, 2012

Stolen secrets

Versailles, 24th November 1713

Marquis of Vilana was happy, on that day. He went down the streets of Versailles, unconsciously whistling while heading to the small palace that once had hosted Princess Elisenda --a building that now had become the central headquarters of Catalan diplomacy in Europe. A recent letter from Lord Dalmases, their Ambassador in London, was behind the evident happiness of our good Marquis: the new king George had summoned them for a formal audience.

When he reached the palace, however, he realized with surprise that the front door was oddly open wide. One of the front windows glasses were broken into a thousand pieces. Alarmed, he climbed the stairs two by two, while a confused butler hurried on to meet him: --Sire, oh Sire, what a disgrace!

Muted, the Marquis crossed the threshold, closely followed by an ever lamenting butler, and went to the place of dislocation: his own deskroom, where a bleaking outlook was awaiting him. It was as if a hurricane had devastated the room: drawers thrown violently to the ground, scattered papers, a broken pipeline on the Persian rug, books with torn pages, lying chairs... all lying on the ground in chaotic disorder, stirred by someone embedded in a devastating fury.

The Marquis then had an ominously bad feeling, so that his gaze went quickly toward a spot in the wall where a painting should be hanging. The canvas lying on the floor, the wall behind revealed a hidden cavity, where the Marquis used to store State secrets in a safe chest. The coffret had been forced and emptied of its contents.

Vilana turned pale: the contract and payment orders to the corsair ship carrying Princess Elisenda had disappeared. He then understood who had perpetrated the attack: agents of King Philip, no doubt. And now they would know the whereabouts of Her.


abdul666 said...

The information will reach Madrid probably too late to set an ambush at the Strait of Gibraltar? But the Castillans will have plenty of time to tighten the blockade of the Catalonian shore: how efficient could it be? Then I suspect the captain hired by Claire is not inexperienced in blockade running.

Now to quote a historical anecdote when Bob Denard bought an old cargo ship to deliver weapons to Biafra despite the UN embargo, it was 'obviously' a *private* venture. It was then purely coincidental that French frigates took turns to sail in convoy with his ship from France to the landing point, happening to accidentally prevent any 'interference'. It would not take much time for a message from Versailles to reach the HQ of the Flotte du Levant at Marseille.

Coronel Montbau said...

Llegint el llibre de "Lliures o Morts", trobo a faltar els seus posts. Espero que aviat ens torni a fer gaudir d'aquesta historia.