Marie Diane Goillot chases after The Many Faced Man from Merteuil, Andre Paul Chanley. While intrigue and scandal have long been celebrated hobbies in Montaigne, it is said that it was not until the war against Castille that an organization would be formed to keep an eye on such as its raison d'etre. That lead to the formal creation of the Court of Nil.
This is one of their stories.
EVERYTHING DEPENDED ON THE NEXT CARD. I knew I was in trouble as I stared at the black seven in my hand. I slid my finger against the curved corner of the playing card and tried not to look anxious. My other hand cradled the two remaining cards. My opponent was smiling. The bastard probably was going to win.
“You play a mean game of Dismiss, madame Marie Diane Goillot. I had half expected to have won in the first few rounds but clearly you have played me for a fool. This is not your first time to dabble with the affairs of the Les Neuf Preux!”
I smiled. It felt good to have caught the man off-guard. As one of the l’Ami du Roi, Maurice le Blanc was a Montaigne whose reputation preceded him quite a bit. The man had his romances with alcohol and his dalliances with crime. Far from being a miserable specimen of a man, Maurice had thick barrel arms framing his ponderous chest. But far from looking like a disheveled brute, his velvet-lined doublet was well-tailored to match his bulk despite being worn over his gold-threaded shirt. Most Montaigne had begun to favor the more full and unfitted sleeves. He kept his mustache wide and pointed and his beard slightly curved back towards his glistening lower lip. It almost looked like he was on the verge of drooling. “Ah,” he suddenly leaned forward and shook his head so violently I thought he was going to shake free his wig, “I am lousy today. Just lousy. This game. This wine. Even this wine is lousy. Terrible, in fact. Are you sure this is Cabernet? It tastes old. And not the proper old of a wine. Bleagh,” he stared at the nearly empty bottle beside his glass with disdain, “Today is just going so lousy.”
“And not just because you are losing,” I teased.
“All the more so because I am losing!” he cried out in a trumpeting shriek. The man hated it when things were not going his way. I saw a ball of spittle cling upon his lip, threatening to leap away for freedom. But before I could motion towards it, Maurice grabbed his glass and downed the remaining dregs of wine still inside of it. “How could you have all betrayed me…” Maurice moaned aloud a few more times the same proclamation in varying octaves then raised his empty glass towards the waiting botellier. The wiry man in the unstarched ruff moved quickly and took the empty bottle away just as Maurice yelled out once more, “Betrayed!”
Betrayal is quite a funny thing. If there is one truth I’ve learned about betrayal is that it never comes from strangers or from one’s enemies. And the wounds from such can last a lifetime. Betrayal was the reason the Court of Nil was founded. Founded by Gérard d’Crieux upon the instructions of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, the l’Empereur’s second wife, the Court of Nil exists to hunt down and deal with domestic and foreign threats to the monarchy. The organization started with humble beginnings, from what I’ve been told. All of the cases handled by the Court could fit in a simple apple box which Gérard stored among his clothes in the cabinet. But it was only after the Court of Nil unearthed and halted the Rilasciare agents that had infiltrated l’Empereur’s staff did we get more funding and support from the crown. But not the l’Empereur. The Sun King never knew of the Court. The Court functions by existing in the Sun King’s shadow.
Some would call that a betrayal.
I would disagree.
Includes a writeup for a new Secret Society, the Court of Nil.
Marie Diane Goillot
Marie successfully infiltrated both the Rilasciare and the Die Kreuzriter within her first three years in the Court of Nil. She was an expert at support operations, which both secret societies benefited from to a great degree. Neither realized she was using her role to steal information from each group and transmit them back to the Box. Known also as la dame qui boite, or the lady with a limp, it was said she accidentally shot herself in the left foot while on a hunting trip. After having it amputated, she replaced it with a wooden leg that had a hollow compartment that proved to be extremely useful in her activities.
This book tells the story of one of Marie’s missions.
Favor with The Court of Nil
The Court of Nil runs a complicated game in the circles of secret societies. Unlike others, which readily trade in favors, the Court tends to do so through intermediaries and indirect messengers. Unless the Hero is one of the targeted replacements for an existing member, they probably are trading in Favors without realizing it.
Grab the book today.