In the name of the King!
Killing one Cardinal’s guardsman and wounding another, the adventurers prepare to make their escape with the horses of their ambushers in tow. Sweeping toward the front of the Hôpital Saint-Louis, they hear a shout – a pair of crimson-cloaked Cardinal’s Guards in the main gateway to the pest-house, and recognizing their own horses being led away, they whip up their arquebuses and fire, the shots whistling over head. Ferusac draws on of the two pistols from his saddle-holster and prepares to charge the guardsmen, but Riordan stops him, instead calling for Saint-Alar to come forth and duel as planned.
Moments pass and Saint-Alar appears at the gate. The young suitor steps forward but he is restrained by the leader of the guardsmen, whom the Musketeers recognize as Lieutenant de Lamoye. Lamoye orders the guardsmen to form a skirmish line, then calls out to the adventurers, “You are under arrest, in the name of the King!”
Believing he’d done his best to satisfy honor, Riordan was content to let the matter drop as three guardsmen rounded the corner of the pest-house and opened fire with their arquebuses as well. Riding to a point near the Porte Saint-Martin, the riders split up – Louvigny races to the hôtel de Tréville to alert the [[:tréville | captain-lieutenant]] of the King’s Musketeers, followed by Ferusac and Courtivron with the strings of guardsmen’s horses. Jean-Luc, Riordan’s lackey, escorts the wounded Bruno to the company surgeon and physician, Guillaume Sébastien. Knowing that Lamoye’s guardsmen will be heading in the same direction, Riordan gallops his horse toward the Place Royale.
Sending a message
Riordan thunders across the Place Royale, stopping the horse in a cloud of fog from its hard breathing in the cold morning air, in front of the townhome of the viscontessa.
His arrival does not go unnoticed.
Presenting himself to the Swiss guardsman at the entry to the house, he asks to see " Signorina Susanna ." The guards speaks a few words in German and Lautens, the captain of the family guards, appears. Riordan does his best to be polite to the grizzled Swiss mercenary, but his rushed manner and abrpt arrival rouse the old soldier’s guard, and in German Lautens says words that can only be interpreted as a firm no. Riordan quickly changes tack, asking for a quill and paper, and this the Swiss provides as two more guards, rubbing sleep from their eyes, appear in the antechamber. The Musketeer hastily scratches out a note to Susanna and entrusts it to the enigmatic captain.
Emerging from the townhome, Riordan discovers that his arrival was marked by the Cardinal’s Guards across the place from the Praz-de-Lys residence, as five guardsmen in crimson tabards, armed with a mix of swords and polearms, sprint toward him. In a single graceful bound Riordan alights in the saddle and spurs his horse forward, so quickly that the guards scarcely have time to react. A single guardsman is able to swing his poleaxe at Riordan’s horse as they charge by, scattering sparks on the cobblestones as the Musketeer gallops clear of the square, for the hôtel de Tréville.
At the hôtel de Tréville
Riordan arrives at the count’s mansion to find the others waiting for him, joined by a crowd of Musketeers. A thoughtful Châteaupers, the ensign of the company, stands at the bottom of the steps with Courtivron, the latter evidently explaining the events of the morning in his quiet, concise fashion.
Immediately a complication appears: Tréville isn’t present this morning – he’s riding with his friend, the comte de Challons, and no one is precisely sure where. A handful of Musketeers are dispatched to search for him, but it’s clear it will take some time, meaning that the Cardinal is likely have the king’s ear before Tréville.
Riordan mulls options. Fingering the ring in his pocket, he considers calling upon the duchesse de Chevreuse, but as Louvigny reminds him, Chevreuse is despised by the king and the Cardinal alike – neither the duchesse nor the queen are likely to gain the king’ sympathies. The Musketeer sergeant considers setting off in search of the vicomte de Bouvard, on whom Riordan made a favorable impression, but Châteaupers strongly urges the Musketeers and Bruno, along with the doctor, to get out of Paris before the provost-martial can find them; the ensign generously offers the villa belonging to the parents of his fiancée, near the village of Choisy. In short order the party is mounted and on its way, a note from the ensign in hand.
The ensign’s fiancée, Marie, graciously welcomes the men to the family villa. Her father, a président of the Paris financial court (chambres des comptes), and mother are away, providing the fugitives with a measure of privacy. With nothing to do but wait, the men search for ways to occupy themselves. Courtivron thumbs through a legal text belonging to Marie’s father. Louvigny produces a sheaf of papers from inside his doublet, his latest literary work-in-progress. Ferusac paces like a caged wolf. Bruno rests, his wounded arm aching.
After offerng gallantries to Marie, Riordan studies the maid staff of the villa, setting his sights on a rather ordinary peasant girl who nonetheless stands out among the wizened crones serving the family. The girl responds to Riordan’s advances with enthusiasm and the pair slip away to the hay-filled loft of the villa’s small stable.
Overlooking Courtivron’s admonition to avoid attracting attention, Doctor Sébastien sets out for the parish church. With Marie’s assistance, the tall, athletic physician in his silken doublet and breeches locates the parish church and is introduced to the pastor. He promptly explains that he is a a prominent Paris doctor who is in Choisy “on a mission for the king.” Realizing that he has said the wrong thing, Sébastien hastily adds that it is a secret mission, and no one must know he is here. The pastor’s furrowed brow suggests that this isn’t going well, and the physician struggles to regain the cleric’s confidence, saying he would like to provide care for any of the villagers in need. The pastor insists that this take place in the church, presumably under his watchful eye, and after a little while a small number of villagers, suffering from a variety of maladies, appear in the narthex.
After his exertions in the hay-loft, Riordan decides to get in some sword practice with the restless Ferusac. The doctor returns shortly before dark, and soon thereafter Châteaupers arrives as well.
The men gather, and the Musketeer ensign relates the events of the day. The Cardinal did indeed reach the king first, claiming that his guardsmen appeared to arrest the Musketeers and their allies for dueling in defiance of the royal edicts; Richelieu further stated that one of his guards was murdered from ambush and their horses stolen by the fleeing duelists – horses, Châteaupers notes with a smile, which somehow appeared wandering in the garden of the Tuileries, nibbling on the royal shrubbery.
Tréville returns with Challons later in the morning; the captain-lieutenant shares the Musketeers’ conclusion that the Cardinal’s men were lying in wait, and sets off immediately for the Louvre to speak with the king. The king, Tréville later told Châteaupers, was furious at Tréville and his Musketeers, and despite his best efforts to convince Louis otherwise by pointing out inconsistencies in the Cardinal’s account, the king could not be budged from accepting Richelieu’s version of events. Tréville then tried a different tack, noting that whatever punishment ordered for the Musketeers should be visited on Saint-Alar as well, for arranging the duel in the first place; being that Saint-Alar is Lamoye’s nephew, this would surely put the Cardinal in a difficult position.
Urged toward leniency by Tréville, the king ordered all of the Musketeers and others who were with them, as well as the sieur de Saint-Alar, banished from Paris for at least six months, as the price for the duel, on pain of death should they return before receiving his grace. The men are silent as this news settles over them.
The comte de Challons, Châteaupers continues, received permission from the king and the constable to raise a troop of carabiniers to fight in Italy, and Tréville will allow any of the four Musketeers to be seconded to the Huguenot mercenary’s troop with his blessing, adding that the others can surely find duties appropriate to their stations as well. Courtivron nods immediately – “I know of Challons, a competent soldier” – and agrees at once to set out for Grenoble, where the company is to assemble. Riordan and the doctor agree as well, but Ferusac shakes his head. “It’ll be over before you get there – you’re wasting your time,” the Gascon growls. The governor of La Marche, he explains, “is offering a bounty on wolves to protect the peasants’ sheep, and I’m going to make some silver bagging wolf pelts. And,” he adds unexpectedly, “it’s closer to home.”
Louvigny also demurs. " I may still make the Floral Games and enter my composition ," he says thoughtfully, adding, " and this may be a good time to enter a convent of my order for awhile, to give me some time to write ."
Riordan immediately sets about writing a number of letters – one to the vicomte de Bouvard, one to the viscontessa di Praz-de-Lys, one to Susanna, explaining, in a general way, the need for his abrupt departure from Paris and his sincere apologies for the necessity. As he writes, Châteaupers approaches and explains that a young man appeared at the hôtel de Tréville, mounted on a beautiful chestnut Arabian, inquiring about Riordan. Belatedly, the Musketeer sergeant pens a final letter, to Francesco, and entrust the missives to the ensign.
Courtivron poses a question for Riordan and Guillaume; do they want to stay to the roads, and move quickly, or do they want to keep to the countryside, which is slower but may attract less attention? Traveling by road, the tall Musketeer explains, they can probably reach Grenoble in a week or so; avoiding the roads could increase this time to three weeks, however, provided the weather isn’t severe. A Bourguinon raised in Auxerre, he explains they can follow the right bank of the Yonne through the province then cross Bourgogne to the Saône River; the Saône will take them to the Rhône, and the Rhône to the Isère and Grenoble. From the time they reach the Saône, Courtivron offers, they will likely need to keep to the roads, due to the forbidding terrain of the mountains. After receiving assurances from the ensign that three weeks is acceptable to reach Grenoble, the party agrees to stay off the roads until they reach the Saône and then dash for Grenoble.
Leaving for Grenoble
The men are roused in the freezing darkness hours before dawn, exchanging whispered goodbyes by the flickering light of a single guttering candle. Under a cloudless starry sky, the exiles set off, Ferusac and Louvigny riding south together, the others – Riordan, Guillaume, the wounded Bruno, Courtivron, and Jean-Luc – east along the Seine toward the Yonne.
On the second day, the exiles find themselves riding over forested ridges, skirting estates and doing their best to look like a party of gentlemen out for a country jaunt. Topping a ridge, they spot a herd of cattle gathered in a glen; looking down upon the cattle, a short distance away, are four men dressed in worn buff coats, one with a steel helmet on his head. All four carry heavy muskets with rests; around their torsos are collars of bandoliers, the musketeers’ “apostles” carrying boxes of shot and powder.
The four’s attention is focussed on the cattle as two of the men place their muskets on their rests, aiming toward the grazing herd. They appear to be arguing over a choice of targets. One of the exiles’ horses snorts softly, and the musketeers look up at the strangers. Mindful of the range and power of the muskets, Riordan notes that the four are likely foragers shooting cattle for food for their company, and Courtivron pointedly reminds Guillaume that avoiding attention is their goal. The five riders cross back over the ridge and into the woods; a short time later they can faintly make out the sound of shots from behind them.
Paris is a hard place to leave – Willa Cather