Thursday, 26 May 2011

A sudden exit

Van Danewald was incandescent as he ordered his servants to pack his bags. He should have challenged that blaggard Vladislav to a duel, but he was not a gentleman but a vicious thug in uniform. Well, his chances of winning money from the Monte-Cristo ambassador would have to wait, and as for the scheme to trick the Kruppfalzen
ambassador into a rigged carriage race that opportunity would have to be forgone.

He would have his revenge but it would take some time, now he would leave and head back to Glowstein with a short break at the gaming tables of Sonnenbad on the way.

Earlier Count Vladislav had reconsidered the position, At first light the hussars would be sent out to intensively search the countryside for a teenage girl on the run. He had tried to ensure that their orders didn’t cause them to sweep up any young girls that they found, just imagine what problems that could cause, just any girls they found that no one locally could vouch for!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The dunnyman

In the faint morning light Juli was led out into the courtyard of the house, a foul smelling wagon was waiting. Herr Bohler explained “There is a narrow compartment behind the driver where you can hide, the wagon will make all its usual collections and then head out into the countryside. When all seems clear the driver will let you out, Good luck”

“That you for your help sir”, with that Juli climbed up and squeezed into the small compartment. The cart seemed to take forever touring the streets and collecting the night soil, and the stench was almost unbearable.

Finally Juli heard “Halt, state your business”

“Ain’t it obvious? Didn’t you smell me coming?”

“Yes, but you know we have to do our job as well”

“Yeah, alright”

“Carry on”

The wagon started moving then, “Stop that wagon” came a loud order.

The wagon stopped. “What do you men think you are doing?” sounded an officer’s voice.

“It’s only the dunnyman sir”

“Have you checked no one is hiding underneath? Obviously not”

There was a sound of a sabre being drawn then loud thumps as it must have been driven through the load. “Now next time check thoroughly, now clean my sword before I wipe it on your arse”

“Yes sir”

The wagon moved off. Once they were well clear of the city and passing between some trees the wagon halted and the dunnyman opened the compartment to let Juli out. “There you go lad. Now the main road to Bruckewasser is about 1000 paces back that way” pointing north “and the other road to Illerkamp is at the other end of this road. God speed”

“Thank you sir”

With that the dunnyman rode off heading towards a nearby farm.

After carefully checking, Juli headed back towards the Bruckewasser road, but she had no intention of going that way. It might be the quickest route, but it was also more likely to be watched, instead she intended to head for Minenhafen on the Rhine. She had decided to be a down on his luck farm lad called Christophe heading there to try his luck working on the river barges.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ill met by moonlight

Given that Albert had revealed that he was due to meet with the Glowstein ambassador at the strike of nine that evening, the Count put plans in motion. Firstly Captain Pilsner had arranged for a couple of respectable gentlemen to be positioned with himself close to the rendezvous in a back alley close to the cathedral as neutral observers and some grenadiers to be stationed close by.

Shortly before the hour, the Cathedral Kapellmeister turned to the Captain and asked “What exact crime do we suspect this gentleman of committing?”

“Well sir, to put it delicately, similar to the affair involving the Bishop of Finkenstein and a choirboy that was discovered by the Duke’s son Augustus”

“Oh dear!”

“The burgermeister commented “Apparently, he then threw himself off the bell tower in a fit of remorse”

Just then the hour struck, shortly after the Ambassador arrived and spotting Albert asked. “Ah, Albert want have you got for me tonight”

“What’s it worth sir”

“The usual payment”

At that moment Count appeared from the shadows “That’s enough, we know all about your unnatural desires”

“What do you mean sir, Oh Count Vladislav”

“You pervert, corrupting the young for your own pleasure”

“Nothing of the sort Count, you wouldn’t dare to make such accusations in public”
“Gentlemen, reveal yourselves”

Von Danewald turned to see the citizens emerge from the shadows, followed by some grenadiers.

“Now sir, I recommend that you leave the city tomorrow or this will be public news”

“But I can explain”

“Grenadiers escort this man to his residence”

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Preparing the escape

By dark Herr Bohler arrived back and Juli joined him and Franz for a meal and discussion on what to do next. Juli was insistent that she needed to escape from the city as soon as possible but Herr Bohler was not sure. “The guards are everywhere, everyone and everything is being checked as it passes in and out of the city and they have issued a warrant for your arrest. If you wait a few days then the uproar will die down and it will be far easier to get you out”

Juli glowered but before she could saw anything, Franz commented “But father you’ve already said that the longer someone stays here the more likely the authorities are to find out. I’ve also heard that they are conducting house to house searches in parts of the city”

“Very well, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! You’ll leave early tomorrow young lady, I’ll provide some food and money, but you’ll be on your own once you have left the city”

Now we need to change your appearance, right Franz, fetch the scissors and some of your old clothes.

Juli almost cried as her long hair was cut, worse was to come as her visible flesh was stained with blackberry juice. By the finish she hardly recognised herself; she now looked like a young farm lad.

“Now, get a good night’s sleep as you’ll leave early tomorrow morning!” instructed Herr Bohler

Friday, 6 May 2011

Interrogation 2

Once he was free of his social responsibilities, Count Vladislav found Captain Pilsner.

“Now what’s the real story?”

“Well Albert insists he did see this Juli heading towards the south of the city. He had put his old clothes to one side and hadn’t realised that they had gone missing. Now, it appears that the lad had got the job using some dubious references, But what he has really been up to is passing various bits of palace gossip to Von Danewald, the Glowstein ambassador, for a bit of cash.”

“Now that gives me an idea” muttered the Count “anything else?”

“Yes the mention of references made me check on those for Juli and like most the female staff she came via the Bishops household. I checked with the Bishop’s housekeeper on her origins. She said all her girls came from good backgrounds and were able to read, write and respect their betters. Juli came from a parish over near Illerkamp”

“So she could be heading back in that direction, but more likely across the border, maybe to Pommaine or Iserwelt."

“Just a minute, did you say she could read?"

“Yes, sir, according to the Bishop‘s housekeeper”

“If so, we have the motive, the instructions are quite clear that the Duke’s office is only to be cleaned by servants who couldn’t read. That’s why we continue to employ idiots like Suzanne”

“Oh, I thought she was employed for her other attributes”

“That is partly true, after all, she was originally employed by Erbherzog Johan”

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The safe house?

A tall gangly youth opened the door. “Can I help you?”

Not sure whether to trust him or not Juli gave the password “There is a loose slate on your roof, it might fall and hurt someone important”, while preparing to run if necessary.

The youth walked out, looked up at the roof then up and down the street and then said “You’d better come in”

Even after Juli entered the house, he checked the street again.

“I’m Franz Ferdinand, I’m sorry my father is absent, but he was warned to expect you”

“I’m sure the guards will be hunting for me shortly”

“That’s OK, my father thought that this might happen, which is why I stayed here today”

“So what now, I need to get back as soon as possible”

“Well first I’ll hide you until dark, when my father returns. We have a secret room, where you can hide if they search to building. Follow me"

Juli was led up to a second floor bedroom and shown a trapdoor in a closet that gave access to an area under the floor. “Just wait here until dark, if anyone knocks on the door just hide in the hidey hole, I’ll cover up the surface so it’s not visible."