BAYKO BARON 10
'The Retrieval of Rochefort'
In the crepuscular gloom of a grey Atlantic dawn (hmmm nice!) the fishing fleet returns to Le Petit Basin while the watchtower sentries search in vain for an English fleet to relieve their beleaguered Huguenot city
Beyond the harbour the citizens are starting to waken
But what is this? Four salty figures hurry ashore - clearly they have caught nothing this night!
The quartet hasten to drown their sorrows in the Laughing Sandbag where early morning coffee,cognac and croissant are already being served to the early risers and late staggerers
Behind the tavern the four rendezvous with a cowled figure - it is Milady D'Lateautumn, agent of Cardinal Richelieu, who has been in the besieged city now for four days. Her news is grim, there will be no furtive night time jail-break or boat rescue for Rochefort (BB 9) - he is to be shot - this morning!
Meanwhile at that very moment Rochefort is being taken under heavy escort to recieve the final sacrement from the last Catholic priest in the city - after all, we don't want the chap collected by the wrong god, do we !!
In the Place Boucheron the drummers begin their slow death roll - summoning the citizenry
While the firing squad load their pieces
The condemned man is led into the square to hear the charges read against him - the sentence has already been decreed
But in the courtyard of the Red Dovecote Inn those who have not gone to see the show are treated to a spectacle of their own as the four strangers shed their disguises - Yes, it's them, Alice D'Artagnan and his comrades Bathos, Pathos, Chanel, determined to do or die in the blue tabard (Well, you knew it was them all along, didn't you? You could tell by the moustaches!). They brace themselves for the charge!
The muskets are levelled and the escort clears - squaring his shoulder Rochefort refuses a blindfold (bit tricky anyway, with one eye and all that) and doffs his hat - shame to get bullet holes in an expensive chapeau! (Best Flemish moffet, you see, finest felt)
The musketeers charge into the firing squad shouting 'ou est le crepe suzette?' and 'voici l'escargot' to add to the doubt and confusion
The stunned Rochefort is bundled into a nearby alley, Bathos and Pathos turning to hold their pursuers at bay while Alice and Chanel dispose of the guards covering the battlement stairs
Reaching the ramparts Pathos covers the stairs while Alice holds off the sentries giving Bathos, Chanel and a rapidly recoving Rochefort time to force an entry into the Boucheron Gate using one of the Huguenot sentries as a battering ram
Inside the gatehouse the cables are cut, lowering both portcullis and drawbridge - before racing up to the fighting top to lower a rope, down which our heroes swarm while their enemies on the far side of the portcullis snarl in impotence
Slugs hum around their heads as the Huguenot musketeers reach the ramparts (they must have run out of escargot!!) - recognising the threat a troop of Royal dragoons gallop out to draw fire and sweep the running men up on their cantles and away to safety
Safe in the Royal lines Rochefort is returned to his master - while the musketeers recieve a cheer from their comrades and a nod of recognition and approval from theirs - ror such heroes it is... enough.
you can see an alternative photo-set at: