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My dearest Sister,

As you shall undoubtedly recall my last missive closed as my husband and I braced ourselves to enter the storehouse. We stood beyond the reach of the churl’s gaze, concealed in the shadows cast by the minacious storehouse, whose every unpropitious and shattered pane of glass within the window casements shone in the dying sun.

Waiting thither for the opportune moment, we sent the carriage forth entirely devoid of it’s occupants, for we had bid the coachman to take Louis Antoinette and flee on foot as though a highwayman were pursuing them. The coach rolled forward with great pace as it was pulled by two of our own fine horses (Catherine, do not be alarmed at our dispatching the horses thus into the midst of villainy. Woodville and I were quite confident that no harm would come to them; they were of such superior bloodlines as to render them twice as swift as the King’s own steed and no churl in possession of any sense would do anything but admire such creatures!). Through the gates and into the storehouse they galloped.

The sudden arrival of the carriage into the building had the affect we had been so desirous of. The churls who had been parading all about the courtyard, acting as watchmen, were all surprised curiosity as the chaise and four flew past them in a flurry of hooves and Whinnies.

From our place of concealment we heard the sentries astonished cries of “Forsooth!”, “Tis a carriage! We be under attack!” And “Halt them, halt them this moment.” A good many of them pursued the chaise inside, leaving only two of the most unintelligent rustics I have ever known, beyond the storehouses walls.

As has become our custom before we launch ourselves into an affray, Henry and I waited only sufficiently long enough to once more declare our most ardent affections for one another, vow to do all within our power to defend our King and our helpmeet and ready our weapons.

My sword borne aloft (while the blade may be the more inelegant weapon it is also more silent) I followed Henry out of the umbrage and beyond those gates, so elegantly fashioned that they were better suited to a merchants manor than to a storehouse.
Before the remaining defenders could do more than arrange their unfortunate features to convey their incredulous surprise, we descended upon them, and with a blow from the hilts of our swords atop their heads, rendered them quite insentient.

Then with one accord we proceeded through an ingress so covered with an unkempt and unruly vine that it was nigh on full concealed, and into the storehouse. Once within its confines we came to understand that the building was not quite the gloaming husk that the exterior led one to believe. While the lower floor remained little more than a storehouse the piano nobile was quite the opposite. We had had only to glance upwards to it’s handsomely carved gallery, which ran full around the building, to know that the rooms beyond those ornate doors, had been arranged in fashion that was perfectly calculated to afford every comfort to the leader of this terrible band of ruffians. And it was to these parlours that we headed. We had deemed it prudent to ensure that we did not cast ourselves too hastily into battle without being certain that a regiment of malfeasants did not await us above.

We traversed the oaken floors with our habitual cautious and noiseless pace, and soon we were indeed quite certain that no treacherous churls were concealed within the opulently furnished parlours. We returned to the gallery’s elegant balustrade which left, quite void, a space where a candelabra might have hung and I diverted myself momentarily by contemplating what fine evening parties could be hosted within these walls if it were the house of a duke rather than a place for the holding of exotic spices.

My husband and I turned our gaze downward, and on the villains below, who had, as Woodville had foreseen, gathered all about the carriage. Looking all about them, their visages shewing a good deal of confusion as they endeavoured to understand how the carriage had come to be in their midst. Catherine, it would seem that a good number of them were of uncommon stupidly, for the absence of the coachman did not, as it would in a person of good sense, lead them to believe that it was all a ruse, but rather they seemed to believe this was the work of some dark witchcraft, some phantasmal apparition. Such foolishness reassured us that we would retain the advantage of surprise for a little longer.

We began our heedful descent, and as we reached the foot of the staircase, which was of such fine proportions I could not help but admire it, (Catherine such a thing would do well in your own home, perchance Charles could be persuaded to undertake some improvement) I quite suddenly became aware that my dear Woodville was of the fervent belief that we ought not sunder as we advanced.

“Maria, I am of the fervent belief that we ought not sunder as we advance.” Said he to me as I exchanged my blade now for the musket, while the silence of the afore used cutlass would have been preferable for the task before me, the proximity to one’s foe that such an arm renders necessary was not at all desirous.

Concealed once more, this time huddled down upon the further side of some empty wooden trunks piled high at the stairs’ foot, our backs pressed against them as Woodville whispered; “We must endeavour to injure them sufficiently to inhibit their escape, but not so severely that they are rendered nonsensical, for we require answers.”
I agreed by way of a minute nod of my head, and pushing a lock of hair that had come loose from the woven chignon aside, I turned and raised my weapon. Using the top of the trunk to keep a steady hand, took my aim and fired afore the churls could conclude their scrutinising of the carriage.

It took them but a moment after I had fired my first shot to understand themselves to be under attack, but once the fact had become quite plain to them they engaged in the hostilities with voracious aggression. Bullets were soon soaring betwixt us and them as we strove to wound them. My dear sister, I fear that I have, of late, become so accustomed to these violent fracas that the novelty of the skirmishes has become lost to me and I am afraid that the vocabulary I have at my disposal for their description is not sufficiently varied to transcribe their paltry details in such a way as to be amusing to the reader. I beg your apology for the lack of particulars within this letter, but allow me to reassure you that anything of significance will be included, such as the fact that these villains, like so many others I have had the great misfortune to encounter, seem to have a great inclination to perishing with undue haste, rather than prove themselves to be amenable to the notion of aiding us. This most vexing partiality on their part meant that many of them allowed themselves to be dispatched rather than wounded, throwing themselves to the floor with surprising conviction.

However their desire to depart from this world did not mean that Woodville and I would soon be victorious, the churls forces were soon redoubled as men baring an abundance of weapons appeared from I know not where and all was confusion. Amid the noise of gunfire and expiring men, cries of “Make haste, make haste! The weapon. We must save the weapon from this place!” were audible.

Afore we were presented with the opportunity to reflect upon these ominous words we were overwhelmed by the fiendish rustics, whose numbers seemed to swell again. Forced from our refuge behind the weighty wooden trunks we were left with no option save the coward’s preference. We fled through a door which stood to our left and which we had only just had the fortune of discovering. Leaving behind the cavernous vaulted centre of the storehouse we ran forth into a labyrinthine warren that appeared to sprawl around the whole building with a multitude of heavy doors led from it.

Pursued as we were, confess, that we did not take as much heed as perhaps we ought to the repeated calls to conceal and protect the “weapon” that followed us deeper into the passages. We ran faster than can be considered quite proper for a lady in so superlative a muslin gown, firing shots over our shoulders all the while. Yet we soon became full aware that the distance that lay betwixt us and our enemies was growing smaller with each moment that passed. When we turned another corner all our hopes of evasion vanished as swiftly as the fortunes of an earl’s son whose opponents at cards have lately discovered the twitch of his eye that reveals him to be bluffing.

The passage that we had run into with such indecent and uncommon haste, led nowhere.
And hither, dear sister I shall leave you as cruelly as the libertine leaves the youngest daughter of en earl when their flirtation has grown tiresome.

Your affectionate sister,
Maria.

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