It’s a two-day ride from Turin to the fortress of Casale in the neighboring duchy of Monferrato. Nominally neutral in the conflict between Savoy, Genoa, and Milan, the duchy sits at the junction of all three states, and soldiers from each criss-crossed the duchy in recent months with only token resistance from the duke, Ferdinando Gonzaga. The raid on the Lisowczycy encampment in which Riordan O’Neill seized the Poles’ banner was actually in Monferrato, Razmann, the German colonel, notes, as the duelists ride toward Casale.
The invitation from the graf von Hentzau specified five duelists, and the comte de Challons asked Riordan, Razmann, Captain Vaile, and the baron de Saint-Jurs to stand with him. Surgeon Guillaume Sébastien is invited by the count as well, of course, and the party is accompanied by a handful of servants, including Riordan’s lackey, Jean-Luc.
Challons places Vaile, the chevau-légers fencing master, in charge of arranging the specifics of the duel for the French soldiers.