While planning how to destroy the colonials’ plans – and while trying to determine what those plans were – the characters had also sent an emissary to the French, to point out to them that their involvement in treachery was uncovered, and to suggest to them that they should withdraw from the game if they did not want their plans to be revealed and their forces outmanoeuvred. However, their messenger sent them the following letter after a few days away:

Dave

I had a chat to Monsieur le Frenchie Homme. He is unwilling to stick his neck out over hearsay or anything else for that matter, more than ‘is job’s worth. So he is sending a letter “up zee chain” and once the garlic’s been wiped off it’ll be read by someone with authority. Should take about a week. Don’t know if anyone but Louis himself actually has any authority, but if they do they’ll start to act like there’s a serious problem with their allies in about a week or so.

Until then, everyone more important than the local cannon-cleaning gaffer doesn’t think there’s a problem, so I wouldn’t recommend you start a war in the next week unless you are really really really sure that you are gonna come up smelling of roses. Or at least unless you’re confident you have a good bolthole. The trouble you stir up is gonna be like Turkey, only smellier.

Also, have you seen any injuns lately? God knows I haven’t, and I kind of miss having ’em around, with all these thorny-arsed colonials walkng around acting touchy.

Your garlicky mate

Bob

This note made it very clear that any attempts to arrest or attack Washington within the next week would lead to a war starting between the British and the French, with the colonials aiming to inherit the rubble.

Except… that the characters knew now that there was a messenger which would deliver urgent messages to the French. So they decided to start a war, and to ambush the messenger so that the Colonials would act believing they were going to receive aid from the French – when in fact no such aid was coming. They had one week to do this before negotiations commenced with the French to secure their refusal to aid the colonials, and in that week much damage could be done to the colonials which would lend weight to the British side of the negotiations.

With this in mind the characters enacted two crucial processes:

  1. Russell Ganymede was resurrected. Upon his return from death, he seemed a little weaker, with a strange light in his eyes and also on the scales of his semi-demonic skin, which down one side of his face was now slightly luminous, and flickered in many different, brighter colours when he was upset, hurt or angry
  2. They delivered all the evidence they held so far on the connections between the French and the Colonials to the British, though for their own sinister reasons they withheld evidence about the NWFC’s involvement

As expected, when the Governor learnt of Washington’s treachery he sent a force to arrest him. By then the characters were long gone, however, lying in wait at the cave to which the French messenger would be heading. By blind good fortune they knew this cave’s location because they were the adventurers who had cleared out its original occupants, when they first began adventuring together. Such fate! ‘Twere as if there were a designer, planning their destinies…

So the messenger appeared, on cue, two days after the British government moved on Washington. It emerged from the shadows in front of the cave where the characters hid, moving stealthily in extremely expensive combat armour, of the sort which only very powerful companies and national armies tended to own, and it emerged from nowhere with the menacing air of a stalking beast in full charge of its environment. Humanoid in shape, carrying a demon longbow and a rapier, the creature was clearly a teifling, some hellish spawn of demon and human born naturally but soulless and abominable in design.

The characters sprung their trap but the beast was fast. Their initial surprise strikes barely touched it, and it moved swiftly from the point of ambush, nearly eviscerating Russell Ganymede and springing over a wide swathe of grass to strike at Merton St. Helier. In its wake it left two demonic fighters, figures of shadow, fog and wood, which attacked Father David Cantrus and Anna Labrousse’s summoned monster. However, the beast though fast and strong was no match for our heroes. Dave Black struck it from the rear and, while it flailed at his elusive and shadowy form, he slowly cut it to ribbons. Within a minute or so the messenger was dead, its message lost. The French would not come, and Washington’s fate was now sealed.

The characters entered the cave that the messenger had been about to enter, hoping to find evidence of its messaging device. Here they found the body of the witch they had once killed, slowly decomposing on an altar that smelt of attar and  roses, two bowls of uncongealed blood by her head. This was clearly the messaging device. The characters destroyed it on the spot and, leaving the cave behind them in a cloud of smoke and burning flesh, turned back towards Albany, to finish the rebellion which had only recently been begun in such haste…

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