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Julich1610 last won the day on April 5 2015

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About Julich1610

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  • RPG Biography
    Ars Magica
    Clockwork and Cthulhu
  • Current games
    Clockwork and Cthulhu
  • Blurb
    Fascinated by Early Modern Europe
    Love to travel - Paris, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Shanghai, Prague, Mexico, Sao Paolo

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  1. Steven, thanks for your feedback on The Heydelberg Horror. Will also be interested to hear your thoughts on The Koln Machinations. Whatever the rewards for writing and publishing these books, they are not primarily commercial success. There has to be something deeper. For example, like you, I share the love of weird history that can be frighteningly easy to read in the context of the Cthulhu Mythos. I used to scan old newspapers looking for exactly this sort of thing when I was running CoC myself. For A Clockwork of Orange, I had C. Erik Middlefort's Mad Princes of the Renaissance for inspiration, along with many other historical sources (I think I have about 300 books on my Kindle related to the books in some way). This particular year of 1610, when Shakespeare was writing The Tempest, also seemed to me particularly conducive to a campaign - when indeed the clouds of war were gathering over Central Europe that would eventually break forth in the torrents of The Thirty Years' War. Being swept into my imaginings of the political maelstrom of that period, Disney castles on the hillsides soon reduced to the ruins one sees on a voyage along the Rhine today, as if all the Fairy Tales had an unhappy ending, provided a sufficient impetus. Something wicked had to lurk behind this, didn't it? The real provenance of the obsidian seeing stone of Elizabeth's magus, John Dee, led to The Smoking Mirror, Mesoamerica. There is also a unique fusion of magic, religion and science in this period of time that lends itself to all the elements that I wanted to incorporate somehow in the books. There is more to the story, downstream in Düsseldorf, the center of all the political intrigue connected with the United Duchies succession crisis. I played it out at Gencon three years ago in four sessions with some great gamers; each session of which represents a book in the series. I can't make promises, but between you and Thorsten, I am considering another ride on Rocinante.
  2. I became quite interested in Jamestown, Virginia, as the location of my last campaign (my group played by night and toured by day) and having spent more time in Williamsburg last September, I am now considering a setting just before the American Revolutionary War involving the descendants of the Jamestown adventurers. I think I rather like campaigns set on the verge of war rather than in its midst. The factional tensions are greater.
  3. Steven, frankly the fate of the third installment is in question at the moment. I will let you know more when I do. Perhaps you will let me know your opinion of the first two books. I would be interested to know. Thanks!
  4. You are welcome, certainly! If you have any questions, please let me know and I would, of course, be interested to hear more of your early 17th century campaign as it takes shape.
  5. A shameless plug, perhaps...The Heydelberg Horror offers a number of new political and religious factions for Renaissance set on the continent in the year 1610, to wit: Political The Karolinum, Prague University The Protestant Union The Habsburg Empire The Spanish Empire The Bourbons The Dutch Republic Republic of Venice Grand Duchy of Tuscany The Stuarts The Papal States The Catholic League The Rosicrucians The Jews Secret Cthulhu Cults The Society of Jesus Opus Dei Religious Catholic Lutheran Reformed Judaism(Kabbalah) Rosicrucian(The Two Lights) Cults
  6. I love the automata in the Kunstkammer Wien, particularly the firing mechanism on the cannon of the ship. One could well imagine (and I probably will get around to it) a building full of deadly, military automata powered by hidden gear mechanisms.
  7. The Encounter at Dumpling Island The mouth of the Nansemond River soon narrowed from two miles to 100 feet wide but a few miles upriver. A southerly flow of air brought with it a chill, but welcome billow to the sail of John Smith's shallop and they progressed, reaching by mid-day a small island in the channel where a native house had once stood but was now burned to ashes. The Powhatan made houses called Yihakan, like "gardein arbours, between two parallel rows of red cedar or black locust saplings set in the ground at one foot intervals, lashed together with fibrous roots at the top to form a barrel-shaped roof. The framework was then covered with mats made of marsh reeds for walls and a small doorway was also covered thus. The Yihakan were usually built leeward of a grove of trees, to protect the flimsy structures from storms. A smoke hole in the roof allowed a fire in the midst to provide illumination and cooking. The only permanent furniture was provided by large bedsteads on both sides of the central fire pit, staked frameworks perhaps four feet in width, covered with mats and skins for blankets to warm the inhabitants during the cold months. But there was nothing left on the small island where they disembarked to obtain fresh water from the spring that once provided the inhabitants with potable water given the salinity of the brackish Nansemond river, tidal at this stage like the James itself. The corn from the fields near the house had been abruptly harvested. A dugout canoe was broken on the bank. There were skeletons yet half-sunk into the mud, some of children, without proper Christian burial. And a few musket balls gleamed dully among the shattered gourds and broken rusty red ceramic pots, signifying the visitation of violence by the English upon the salvadges who once lived here. With their waterskins refreshed, the Adventurers made their way silently from the scene, disturbing as little as possible the tableau of terror and death that presented itself. Without written records of their own, there was no epitaph to read who they had been. They spent the night moored not far from the island, for ghosts rarely crossed water, it was said. But the Adventurers, along with Bill Parnell and Gazali from Viginia, remained vigilant through the darkness so profoundly descended from heaven one was minded of a dungeon pit were it not for the chill but fresh air. The next morning, they set off again, still having the breeze to billow their sail, moving them up the Nansemond. By mid-day, the rounded hill of Dumpling Island, came into view ahead, named thus by the English, no one remembered how it had once been called by the Nansemond people themselves. Even from afar, it was obviously a scene of destruction. Captain John Martin, under the direction of Captain Smith, had settled with 120 men here at the cult center, the heart of the Nansemond people, but earlier this summer. On little pretense, the men of his command then made war unjustly on the Nansemond, capturing their chieftain, firing the temples of their worship, the places of dancing under the stars, and despoiled the tombs of the their ancestors, seeking pearls in return for the investment by the Virginia Company. Scant was the gleaning from the dead, but ripe the harvest of warfare that followed when Martin's men were forced to retreat with great loss by the attacking Nansemond, who also freed their chief. But the Nansemond left Dumpling Island, despoiled by the intruders, as it was, perhaps a mute prayer for vengeance to their god Okeus. The river narrowed at Dumpling Island and John Smith's sloop was forced into closer proximity to the hill overlooking the river. The Powhatan preferred to make their settlements on hillsides overlooking the river, to watch all approaches, so it was perhaps no surprise when a light rain of arrows fell down from the hillside even as the clouds gathered over the river. A feathered arrow pierced Bill Parnell's hat but missed his noggin. A small party of Nansemond on a trail above the river were descried, painted with the red and black warpaint of Okeus, armed with bows and hatchets. Samuel Scarlett quickly made his bow ready, fitted an arrow and took aim. The flight was true and a salvadge youth crouching in the undergrowth doubled up, falling with a crash into the river below. The muskets of Bill Parnell and Gazali rang out and though they missed their targets, the sheer echoing report of them drove the salvadge youths with yips and cries back under cover from whence they dare not stir. A larger war party could have rained death on the boat, but it was fortunate that the bulk of the mature warriors were a-hunting above the Falles line. The shallop continued along the Nansemond until it came close to the head of the river, beyond which further progress could not be made unless it were overland. It was at that place the Adventurers did discover a larger boat, no dugout but an English ship indeed, run aground on the Eastern bank of the shallow river. Cautiously, they approached it.
  8. The Pursuit The Virginia hove close to the eaves of the thickly wooded banks of the southern shoreline, a mile distant across the James River, searching for a sign of the wicked Earl and his guide. The dark palisade of tree trunks presented a forbidding, sentinel aspect to some of the Adventurers, who like most of the Londoners deposited on these shores. were not altogether comfortable with the primitive woodlands of verily this New World. The upper story of the forest, reaching nearly a hundred feet, was a mix of water-loving, evergreen loblolly pines, towering red oaks with leaves beginning to turn deep scarlet in the first autumn chill and sweet gums casting their dense aromatic pall. In the under story of thirty feet, the holly with its slightly poisonous red berries and deciduous dogwood with smooth leaves cupped like a prayer for rain in this long drought, worst in living memory, so the Salvadges saith. Interspersed therein were also pignut hickory, red mulberry, black walnut, wound about with shrubs and vines and briers. Were it not for the over-hunting of the deer in the Eastern lowlands, a staple of the Powhatan diet, there would be no hope for the expedition. The Salvadges were foragers and found many foodstuffs in the natural world to partake: maize, turkeys, fish trapped in weirs, mussels, beaver tail (a delicacy), turtles, rattlesnakes, the occasional black bear, but the deer were paramount. Only the great chief, the Powhatan and his brother, kept store of provision in their villages. For the most part, the Powhatan people, including the Nansemond, must live on what the land and their heathen god, red and black Okeus, proffered their industry. Without that industry, bellies would go empty. The Powhatan earned a reputation among the English as prodigious eaters - when they set to table, they did not rise again until the meal be consumed in its entirety. But late in winter, early in spring, they must live on whatever fat yet remained on their bodies. Without the deer, little fat would be on their ribs when needed for sustenance. Of great importance then was the annual deer hunt, both a solemn ceremony and festive occasion, when the healthy men and women of the tribes would gather above the Falles to await Okeus' omen, a sign of where the people should begin the fire-hunt, encircling the herds of deer and setting fires, moving inward with the circle, dancing closer to the hemmed in herd, driving the animals into the closing ring where they could be shot by the hunters en masse. Then the women would descend on their fallen prey to clean them, most of the deer skins to be rendered to The Powhatan as tribute. There would be feasting and celebration and magic and displays of manliness. Also, the occasional trespass into Monacan territory, leading to strife if Okeus so willed. Marriages would be arranged, boys would be blooded with their first kills, stories would be told, songs would be sung, fires would blaze in the hills above the Falles, until the people were sated, fattened on the deer to survive the winter months ahead. This was their best chance, Captain Smith had said, of venturing up the Nansemond. While the hunt was in full career, only those who were too old or too immature for travel would remain behind, the long houses lightly guarded until the hunters' return. If they did not stumble into a village, they could attempt the river, tributary of the James, in Captain Smith's shallop, unchallenged. Of course, that blackguard Bothwell with his native guide in Virginia's stolen shallop, must be somewhat ahead of them, planning a rendezvous with his Spanish allies, no doubt. Captain Davis, aboard The Virginia, well knew his tiny pinnace was no match on the James faced with a galleon. Outgunned by the Spanish ship, thirty guns to Virginia's eight, his doughty vessel, first of American manufacture, like as not would be blown to flinders. The vantage of those guns at Fort Algernon, in addition to those already emplaced, however, would offer a more commanding sweep of the river, should any Spanyard attempt it. There was a race on betwixt English Captain and Spanyard, with the fate of Jamestowne awaiting the finish! At last, the entrance to the Nansemond hove into sight, some 12 leagues down the James from Jamestowne proper. The longboats were lowered and Captain Davis advised them when they had returned from their mission, they should shoot off their muskets, the report of which would call forth the Virginia again to recover them and hopefully whatever treasure they had discovered. They were landed at the mouth of the Nansemond, two miles wide where it met the James, and set about scouring the undergrowth for Smith's shallop. But It were two boats they found at the mouth of the Nansemond. One assuredly Captain Smith's doughty shallop, well-hidden for later retrieval, evidently much used in Smith's expeditions to map the Chesapeack, the great shellfish waters. But there was another boat, the shallop belonging to the Virginia, at the edge of the river. The Earl of Bothwell had taken to the shore here ahead of them, the Adventurers surmised. The crew retrieved her own shallop to Virginia, to be used if word need be sent to Jamestowne of an approaching galleon, while the landing party of Bill Parnell, gruff in his brown greatcoat, with a tri-corner hat and bearing a matchlock, along with Gazali, a towering mulatto of uncertain origin with bulging, muscled arms, a matchlock, machete, and fierce, glowering mien, were told off by the Lieutenant to assist the Adventurers as both guards and rowers if necessary to make their way upstream. The longboats returned to the Virginia and the Adventurers made Captain Smith's shallop ready. They were on their own as the river lapped against the shores of the forest made now ominous by proximity to that witch and traitor to the Crown, Bothwell.
  9. At the Virginia, after they boarded ship, Ratcliffe took the Adventurers aside. "I dare not speak of this before the Council, even before Smith, who is usually found as the hero of all his own tales, but you must know that Archer and Smith have it out for each other. Archer even went so far as to urge Smith's hanging for the death of his two men at the hands of the Pamunkey. Any who know them both must doubt what happened to Smith was an accident." "Another thing you must know, shortly after Archer last returned to England, a map fell into the hands of the Spanish ambassador in London, Don Pedro de Zuniga. The map depicts our fort here but no instructions on where it lies. Archer's parents were fined for non-attendance at their local church. We suspect them as devout Catholics. The son as well?" "Whoever made that map was not a naval man. The Earl of Bothwell, however, former Admiral of the Scottish navy, is such a man. He is also known to have taken service with the Spanyards following his exile from England. We fear he has obtained the coordinates of Jamestown and is now headed for a rendezvous with a Spanish galleon prowling the coasts of Virginia with information that would allow them to launch an attack against us. We believe Bothwell took ship in the company of a guide named Naurians, a servant of the salvadge Werowance Arahatec, who rules a village just below the Fall line, with whom Archer had much friendship. This Naurians also returned with Smith's expedition to the Falles line and could be the one who fired Smith's powder bag." "We charge you, by good King James, that you stop the traitor from reporting our location to the Spanyards, if God give you the opportunity. Captaine Davis will drop you at the mouth of the Nansemond where you must locate Captaine Smith's shallop to take you upriver to Dumpling Island. There, you may seek the wreckage of the English ship espied by Captaine Smith. Captaine Davis, meanwhile, will take command of Fort Algernon on Point Comfort across the river to prepare a warm welcome for any Spanyards who might venture into the James." "Meanwhile, I will seek parley with the Pamunkey to obtain corne for the coming winter. May God speed you and watch over you until your return with a rich prize for King, Country and the Virginia Company!" Zuniga's map
  10. SUPPOSING THEM SPANYARDS John Ratcliffe led them out secretly by the back door, whilst the Council President Percy stepped out by the main door of the courtroom to speak soft words and reasonable with the crowd gathered there to await the execution of the Adventurers, him speaking rather upon the treachery and witchcraft of Bothwell among them . Silent and stealthy, Ratcliffe and the heroes stole through Jamestown's streets to an unimposing lodging close at hand against the walls and entered into the sickroom of the Captain John Smith, former President of James Towne. They ascertained no harm had befallen the Captaine at the hands of Bothwell whom as ship's doctor had tended him. Smith wondered at the intelligence received that this was no less than a traitor to the King, the 5th Earl of Bothwell. He remembered the doctor saying only that not all the Lords of England and Scotland were unmindful of the service done England by the son of a mere farmer tenant, fighting abroad in the Low Countries as he did and then risking life and limb to pursue the interests of England in Virginia. The doctor even said he had long been admirer and indeed tended his wound with due skill, perhaps even helping to save his life. "T'was even reported abroad," quoth the Earl of Bothwell in physician's guise. "Thou ordained for the good gentlemen of this colony should they not work then they should also not set to table. It would be like no such ordinance would be well received among the genteel residents of this Salvage land, but well-spoken t'was nonetheless!" Yet he was wan and drawn, the Captain but a shadow of his most gallant former self, and following introduction, explained what befell him upon his return from the Falles where the Salvages did beseech him for the behavior of these freshly arrived English sent upriver, a disorderly company who so tormented those poore soules by stealing their corne, robbing their gardens, beating them, breaking their houses and keeping some prisoners. Worse enemies than the Monacans, they complained to Smith, those he had brought them for Protectors. He had little choice in judging the matter than to set sayle again for James Towne with all those who would come. No sooner had they left than the Salvadges assaulted those hundred and twentie remaining in their Fort near the Falles, slaying many. Thus the peace between the Powhatan and the Colony was broken, so possessed were those in the Fort near the Falles with their great guilded hopes of the South Sea Mines rumor and wishful thinking doth madly conceive. But Smith parleyed with the Salvadges on behalf of those colonists of Non-such, as they called the Fort and appeased the Powhatan so that peace was restored once again. T'was then Captaine Smith, whilst asleep in his Boate returning with all expedition to Jamestown after his successful negotiations once more with the Powhatan, accidentallie or so it is reported, suffered the firing of his powder-bag, which tore the flesh from his body and thighes, nine or ten inches square in a most pittiful manner; but to quench the tormenting fire, frying him in his cloaths he leaped overboard, where ere they could recover him he was neere drowned. In this estate, with neither Chirugian, or Chirugery, he was to goe neere an hundred myles. It is clear that Captain Smith did not have more regard for the arrival of the Third Supply Fleet as it had been an invasion of Spanyards, in which his many friends among the Salvages had long been ready to ayd and assist with their best power. In facte, had it so beene, he said, he had beene happy; for we would not have trusted them but as our foes, where as receiving them as our Countrymen and friends, they did what they could to murther our President, to surprise the Store, the Fort, and our lodgings, to usurpe the government, and make us all their servants and slaves, till they could consume us and our remembrance; and rather indeed to supplant us than supply us... "Poore soule," quoth Ratcliffe, "he doth rave with the fever occasioned by his injurie...it were well we returned him to England soon for his convalescence. Dost thou have other questions, milady?" "Indeed I have many, kind sir," said Temperance, "but most of all as pertains to the ship he reported in his correspondence with the Earle of Salisbury had been espied by him upon these very shores." After a drynke, Captaine Smith then told them of the expedition of George Percy to the Nansemond, fine President he, who upon little pretext traded the trading mission for destruction and conquest of that people, even robbing the tombs of their former kings in his avarice, his guilded hope of riches. Smith came to Dumpling island in his shallop where yet another warre was brewing with the Salvages and there espied further up the Nansemond river what he took to be the wreck of an English vessel grounded upon the Eastern shore. Though he parleyed with the fierce Nansemond, now adopting the red and black warpaint of their fearsome deity, the Okeus, to revenge their ancestors, there was naught to be done with the countrie stirring behind them but flee downriver upon his shallop, the wreck left unexplored. In fact, even his faithful shallop lies hidden yet at the mouth of the Nansemond river, the men taking the longboats lowered from the newly arrived ship Unitie to bring them safe from the arrowes starting to fly, Though any retracing of his perilous steps be like to bring doom rather than riches, the gallant company of Adventurers now knew where they must goe and taking leave of Captain Smith with all solicitation for his recovery from such wounds, in England, they set their caps for the mission ahead, to find the wreck of the English ship of which Smith spoke. Who else could it be but the survivors of Roanoke, if the ship were not from James Towne?
  11. A Traitor in Our Midst There was for the space of three breaths an astonishment in the courtroom. "Smith lives?" Temperance broke the silence at last. "Aye, he does indeed," Ratcliffe continued. "Though badly injured. A bag of powder resting upon his leg somehow were touched off returning from an expedition to the Falls , gravely wounding Captain Smith. Since thy arrival, he has been ably tended by your own ship's doctor, Stewart Duncan, but we fear the Captain must return hence to England to fully recover from his injury." "Why then lie to Pocahontas that Smith was dead?" Temperance asked. "It was Smith's own idea," Archer growled. "The girl t'is but thirteen years of age and foolish in her love for Smith, who is twenty-nine. He feared she would insist on going back to England with him and she is the key, so he says, to peace with the salvadges, apple that she is in the eye of the Powhatan, her father. Her English is most accomplished and furthermore our late Chaplain, Robert Hunt, whom you murthered, believed she would become the first convert in this New World. As a Christian, she could help restore the peace, he also believed." "A peace that is strained now, thanks to Smith's aggressive policies," Ratcliffe said. "That bwame must be thared with the thalvadgeth themthelveth," Percy lisped. "We thet fawth onwy to twade with the Nanthemond for cawn and they captured two of the methengers we thent them, thcwaping their bwains fwom out of their heads with muthel thells. To weturn thuch injawy, we beat the thalvadgeth out of their ithland, burned their howtheth, wanthacked their templeth, took down the corptheth of their dead kingth fwom off their tombths, and cawied away their pearlth, copper, and bwatheleth wherewith they do decore their kingth' funewalth." It was then Lieutenant Benjamin Owen, second in command aboard Virginia made his way into the courtroom. After a whispered conversation with Captain Davis, the latter announced, "It would seem our ship's doctor, Steward Duncan, hath made off with our shallop, last seen headed across the James River on a mission unknown. Bloody Scotsman - is he mad!" Ratcliffe started. "Scotsman, you say?" "Aye. From Morham in East Lothian, he said. Learned his craft at St. Andrews." Lieutenant Owen took out a letter which Captain Davis declared had been found among the Doctor's belongings after he made his escape on the shallop: ”You Christians are treacherous and obstinate. When you have any strong desire, you depart from your master and have recourse to me; but when your desire is accomplished, you turn your back on me as your enemy, and you go back to your God, who being benign and merciful, pardons you and receives you willingly. But make me a promise, written and signed by your own hand, that you voluntarily renounce Christ and your Baptism and promise that you will adhere and be with me to the day of judgment, and after that you will rejoice yourself with me to suffer eternal pains; and I will accomplish your desire.” "He soundeth the very devil!' said Archer. "You perhaps do not know this," Ratcliffe said. "But Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell, was also from East Lothian and a cousin to our King. A well-educated man but rash and tempestuous - he did break in upon our good King James at Holyrood Palace, to hold him hostage, demanding pardon for earlier treason. But In the year of the Armada, he was Lord High Admiral of Scotland. T'was then, I saw him, though barely a seaman myself, when he was so lofty a person, replete with honor and courage in the face of overwhelming odds at sea, such that I never forgot his noble visage." "And stranger still, I thought I saw him again last night. It was dark, but for a moment I saw in the firelight the flash of that well-remembered face, though older now by twenty years. I followed the phantom, but he disappeared in the shadows again. Bothwell was accused of being a witch and a traitor to his King, exiled from England forever. Yet he is here. Perhaps the story of rats you tell is not so much a fable as first I believed it to be. As a witch, Bothwell would have such commerce, being the Devil's rat himself. With this letter as evidence, I would move all charges against your persons be dropped." "I agwee and Mr. Archer I thee from his nod, altho athents" said the Council President, George Percy. "Sergeant, fwee them." "We must perforce go to Captain Smith at once," Temperance said. "He may be in grave danger if the Earl of Bothwell hath been his guest." "I shall accompany you myself, milady," Ratcliffe replied. "Sargeant, bring the guards!"
  12. I would also like to see a CoC setting for the Elizabethan period, or more broadly, the Early Modern Period in general. There are other game systems that do look at this period, such as C&W's Clockwork & Cthulhu (I've written two installments for that system so far because it was closest to the Elizabethan era I could find; had fun considering the relative merits of alchemy and magic as enacted by the contemporaries Ben Jonson in The Alchemist and Shakespeare in The Tempest). The period so lends itself to Cthulhu with the triple convergence of Occult Magic, Nascent Science and Religious Controversy with which it is fraught. Consider, for example, the burning of the heretic Giordano Bruno in 1600, who internalized the Copernican theory to ask the dangerous relativist question "which way is up?" Also could consider HP's friend Robert E. Howard and the Solomon Kane setting offered by Pinnacle, but a pure CoC in the Elizabethan era would be welcome to me. I am myself headed down to Williamsburg, Va USA in the not-so-distant to consider the CoC possibilities. After all, the first public hospital for the insane in the New World was located in Williamsburg so one might reasonably ask what in all the deep woods or bubbling tidewaters was making the matchlock-toting investigators thereof crazy!
  13. Tribes and Tribunals The walls of the barracks seemed too close a confine for the night, especially with hands and feet tied to prevent their escape, but the adventurers realized it was more for their own protection that the militia sergeant, Masters, had roughly and quickly jostled them to their destination. It were plain as day to Sergeant Masters that Sam Scarlett had murdered their beloved chaplain, Robert Hunt, to get his key to the storehouse, had he not been apprehended in the very act. Everyone was hungry, but it took a particularly ungodly scoundrel to murder a man of the cloth to fill his or her own belly with the provender kept safe for the benefit of all. As word of the crime spread, an angry crowd began to gather round the storehouse. Sam and Temperance tried to explain how it were Ratkins the unholy demon rather, had wrought such woe, perhaps taking the shape of a man (he had the hands to hold the dagger, of course!) to accomplish the foul deed. One of the younger militiamen sniggered and another made a circle with forefinger at his temple to indicate the addled condition of the bearers of such tales. As if that would save them from the gallows in the morning! But it was worse than they thought. When the chaplain's key was produced by Masters and used to unlock the storehouse, to the horror of the assembled crowd, the colony's stores had been all but completely devoured! Even the dead rats were gone, perhaps devoured by their fellows, so but for a few bloodstains on the ground, there were no corroborating evidence to support what must now seem the wildest of tales indeed. The crowd grew dark and fierce, like a storm in the offing. "Ye filthy swine, hath devoured the whole winter's store of corn! Murderers indeed, not only of our chaplain, but of all who live here. Hang 'em, I says, hang 'em forthwith!" "Now then, sirrah," the Sergeant reasoned with the man in the crowd while idly sighting along along the bore of his wheel lock pistol, "all must be done in accordance with the laws of our good King James. I have little doubt justice will be served upon these villains and they will doubtless swing upon the morrow. Aye, justice must surely await them. So then, must we wait and not ourselves transgress to anticipate the wheels of justice." As there was little they could do when faced with a dozen muskets other than die for whatever cause they might espouse too devoutly to preserve even life and limb, so the unhappy villagers did not lynch them on the spot, but rather shouted their threats and imprecations. Americus and Henry Ravens wisely attempted to melt into the crowd, shouting villainy upon their own comrades to complete the disguise, but little Jane came forward to inform on the companions of the criminals or perhaps it was the grumbling of her belly denounced them. Americus and Henry Ravens were taken into custody perforce by Sergeant Masters and the militia, while the crowd grew more voluble in its maledictions against the supposed perpetrators. Mud balls were presently slung; fortunately stones were in short supply within the palisade walls. Dirty, disheveled and expecting to hang in the morning, the hapless adventurers were taken to the barracks, roped and kept secure under guard until their last day on earth should commence, sooner than one might hope or hold back. Shortly after the break of that day, bedraggled, the adventurers were dragged unceremoniously through the crowded streets, pelted with mud balls, spat upon and cursed by all: "Murderers! But not the chaplain alone. Us! By thy gluttony, thou hast taken the food from our babes' very mouths! How many will starve this winter without corn because of thy knavery? Villains! Hang them!" They entered the largest building along the North wall, the courtroom where the tribunal awaited to pass judgment. There were three who sat behind a sententious table, all gentry, one identified as the self-same Gabriel Archer who turned Pocahontas away at the gate. Foremost among them was the Council President, no less than George Percy himself, who bore the staff of his office and wouldst be chief among their judges. Another man, of severe mien, as though of recently survived illness, also a member of the gentry, stroked his beard and considered them with no friendliness in his hard, bright eyes, as he also sat himself at the bench before which the captives stood to be judged. "Thith cawt ith now in thethun," quoth the worthy Magistrate Percy. Archer was the prosecutor and quite skilled in his practice. All had heard stories of how this same Archer had nearly had Captain John Smith hung but for the arrival of the second supply fleet under Captain Christopher Newport in the nick of time. And the Adventurers had far fewer friends than Smith in Jamestown. Any protest they made was waved aside and a guard stepped forward with a threat to smite them on the mouth with the back of his mailed fist to enjoin a proper respect for the dignity of the court and its proceedings. A grim verdict, therefore, seemed all but a foregone conclusion. It was then Captain Davis from their ship, Virginia, entered the courtroom. "Begging your pardon, milords. I have here a commission from no less a personage than the Earl of Salisbury, Robert Cecil, to testify before this tribunal in all confidence." Even Percy, the highest ranking gentleman among the colonists of Jamestown paled at the mention of Cecil's name. His father, a Catholic conspirator who sought the crowning of Mary, Queen of Scots, died in the Tower, while his brother, Henry Percy, ninth earl of Northumberland, was nearly hung himself on a charge of association with the Gunpowder Plot, but narrowly escaped with a heavy fine that forced him - not that he was unwilling by any means, the bounder! - to ship his younger brother George off to Virginia where he would have little opportunity to spend (George Percy had expensive tastes in clothes and lavish banquets) what little remained of the family fortune. The justices passed the commission provided by Captain Davis of the Virginia amongst themselves. "Yes, milords," the good Captain continued. "These rogues have a mission from the Earl of Salisbury to accomplish on behalf of our King, God save his royal majesty! Afterwards, you may hang them by the neck at your leisure for the murder of your chaplain. Meanwhile, they remain under orders. And if what we seek is found, it would be most fitting and proper a share be apportioned for the common weal of Jamestown and its worthy governors, by my faith." "We also have a mission to undertake, if this colony is to survive," said the hard-eyed gentleman on the tribunal. "Mr. Archer in his haste and, may I say, less than diplomatic zeal, hath single-handedly severed trade relations with the only people who might provide sustenance this winter for not only the freshly arrived and manifestly destitute colonists, but also now for everyone, since that we have suffered the contents of our storehouse to be devoured by...was it rats, they claimed? Some leader of Jamestown must parley with the salvadges, I reckon, for corn to sustain us through the winter ahead." "And who do you propose should hazard so perilous a venture, Ratcliffe?" Archer hissed. "Thyself?" John Ratcliffe sighed. "Captain Smith, of course, if he were up to the task. None other speaks the salvadge language so well and that salvadge maid doth love him, methinks. But I shall go in his stead, for our cause is desperate without store of corn for the winter." "Ah, milord," said Captain Davis. "Perhaps thou hast not heard; Captain Smith now lies dead. I heard these very words proceed from Mr. Archer's own lips when he spoke to the salvadge maiden at the gate of Jamestown." "The version of the truth offered to the salvadges by the admirable Mr. Archer," Ratcliffe said with a slight smile, "hath not to its credit the three legal virtues of being the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!" George Percy, born Sept 4, 1580 in Sussex
  14. A Stab in the Dark The Chaplain left for the Council to sound the alarum almost half an hour past, but there was no beating to arms in Jamestown, no marching feet en route to the storehouse. Jamestown was not a large place. Something was wrong, the remaining adventurers realized soon enough. Samuel Scarlett was missing a dagger. The design was distinctive. The blade was long, double-edged and had a vine engraved upon it, with stylized grapes of wrath. The hilt and pommel were worked in hammered bronze. The handle was wood wrapped in leather. It was made by a weaponsmith of Blidworth village in Nottinghamshire, where t'is said Will Scarlett lies buried at the edge of Sherwood forest. A present from Samuel's father. T'was this dagger relieved the corrupt tax gatherer from all his burdens. The scabbard worn horizontal on his belt, Samuel must think in all the fray and commotion inside the storehouse his dagger slipped to the ground unnoticed, but he had no desire to retrieve it from Ratkins, as he named the thing Americus saw, to make it less dreadful an apparition. Not until reinforcements arrived. But no reinforcements had come. "Let's find him," Temperance said. So she and Samuel made their way toward the larger buildings set along the palisade nearest the forest, Americus and Henry Ravens left to ward the storehouse and its occupant. There was a vague sighing of wind on the moonless night, a slight chill in the air. Samuel almost stumbled into the body of the Chaplain on the ground before him. Robert Hunt was still, somehow, alive, though his clothes were sticky with blood and a dagger stuck in his back. "Doctor...doctor..." he breathed, with difficulty. But, of course, this was Jamestown. There would be no doctor, unless they could reach the ship's doctor aboard the Virginia. But the poor man hadn't the time. He hadn't a prayer. Without another word, he was gone. It was just then that a torch and 12 of the militia came round the corner of a nearby wattle and daub shop with thatched roof. The leader barked an order. Ready piece! said he. And the 11 militia men did uncork the fine powder and fill the pans of their matchlocks, their match cords glowing red. "Now then," said the leader, "what's all this then, eh?" Temperance and Samuel stood up to explain. Present piece! The militia men took aim with their matchlock muskets. The next order, "give fire", would doubtless produce a most unfortunate result as some if not all of the one ounce balls of the muskets struck their bodies with terrific force. Sometimes, the shock alone of a single ball was enough to kill. Temperance and Samuel raised their hands slowly over their heads. Two of the militia men came forward with short lengths of rope to tie their hands behind their backs. Meanwhile, the leader examined the body of the fallen chaplain on the ground. He pulled the dagger from the man's back. "Ah, here's a pretty thing" he said, holding up a dagger engraved with the grapes of wrath gleaming in the torchlight. The leader looked down at Samuel's belt. "Seems like ye be missing something, friend," the militia sergeant continued, sliding the dagger that killed the chaplain of Jamestown into Samuel's scabbard. It fit. "Begging yer pardon, friend," said the leader. "But when they be hanging you and your accomplice, it won't be with the benefit of clergy...you will have to say your own prayers!"
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