Leaving Spain the Cauldroneers have soon rest and recuperation in France in April. In this time Antoine completes learning his letters and adds forgery to his repertoire.
Recalled to the Palais Royale the party are gifted high quality daggers with poison pills in a hollow pommel and sent on new missions escorting Monsieur Ambassador Beinvenu to the free Netherlands and then England.
Sailing from Rouen on the Dutch Frigate Het Onweer they try and slip past the Spanish blockade out of Antwerp through twilight fog. Disaster – the frigate runs aground and lurches, Antonine falls overboard. Joesph throws him a rope he unwraps – which collapses a sail. As Antonine climbs up a Spanish galleon drifts by and the Dutch stop admonishing Joesph to crouch in silence, sweating as Spanish voices of the oblivious crew sail by. Resuming their voyage the reach The Hague.
The Cardinals instructions warn the party that secret papers in invisible ink belonging to the Ambassador may be vulnerable to theft in the Protestant Netherlands.
Reaching The Hague the Ambassadors Party taken to the Binnenhof castle complex and Knights Hall. Hertzog (Duke) Von Almsvelt meets and greets the party. They are also introduced to the undercover French agent Van Rijswig and his servant Haarlemmer.
After the reception in which Joesph provided glittering small talk the Ambassador retired to his apartments – retrieving his quills he found himself barred from the room. After Antoine and Joesph bounce off the door Durand breaks in – they find the glass in the window cut, papers burnt and experienced cracksman Antoine determines the thief has scuttled up the chimney.
Only Antoine was slender enough to give chase – erupting from the chimney he sees a black clad figure leap from their roof to another. The figure turns and shoots the light gleaming off the pommel of the pistol. The bullet sticks on Antoine’s jerkin but trying to leap he looses his footing and plummets but manages to grab some guttering as the burglar escapes.
Rescued by his colleagues out a window Antoine and others go is the French spy Van Rijswig. He gives them the address of a crack investigator Van Zoetermeeter who lives an hour out of The Hague.
Borrowing horses the players race there – after 20 minutes waiting. 15 minutes having their papers inspected, 20 minutes small talk and 20 minutes of circular conversations in which Van Zoetermeeter states the obvious after tortuous sentences that turn into paragraphs the Cauldroneers start to suspect they are being had …
Unfortunately more time is wasted as Antonine proposes a card game as Zoetermeeter is happy to lose money for time. Eventually with Jean and Durand dragging Antonine away they ride back to The Hague.
Racing back crossing a bridge they spot Pikes poking out from hedges – an ambush ! Reigning in their horses rather than charge upon Pikes they spot 2 pikemen, 2 longswordmen in the hedgerows and a leader with rapier and pistol hiding
Joesph attempts to leap the hedge in his horse. Failing – leaving his horse straddling the hedge, falling off the horse and getting stuck in the hedge before falling out ingloriously. He then proceeds to blunder through a sword fight dropping his sword, hitting himself in the chest and generally blundering about. However he opponent after some initial competences manages to stab himself in the foot (literally) and Joesph succeeds into delivering a major wound to his right arm incapacitating him.
Durand let’s off pistols and then charges down a swords men and eventually decapitates him fighting from horseback.
Antonine an unaccomplished horseman dismounts and fights the other swordsman. Stunning him with a strike in the head he slashed the guy to no effect so kicks him in the goolies.
Jean dismounts takes one of his six Savoy muskets and shoots a pikemen him the head. Durand then parties the other Pikemen and when Joesph’s opponent yields the hirelings run off.
So Jean shoots them in the back with his muskets. The Gent.
The leader of the ambush is the cat like Heerlammer – Rijswig’s servant – he also has a silver pommelled duelling pistol and was the burglar. Rinswig is a double agent ! Searching him they find the address of a safe house and silver key.
Leaving him tied up on the basis that he’s a gentleman and he could be an ally against the Spanish one day they continue to ride for The Hague.
The safe house is in a poor area. It’s front entrance is guarded by Dutch cavaliers but round the back is secret entrance that the silver key fits. Leaving Jean on guard Antonine, Joesph and Durand stalk up three flights of stairs and burst in on Van Rijswig and Van Almsvelt heating up the invisible ink on the Ambassadors documents.
As the Dutchmen try to hide the documents Antonine finds a load of evidence of Dutch spy networks in France they depart and quickly sail for England with the Ambassador to England on the Sloop the Swift.