The Devil's Burden
A heavy-set man with ruddy skin and thick black moustache, wearing a long leather overcoat.
Jean d’ Auvergne was one of Henry IV’s Carabins (the forerunners to the Musketeers) and unlike most a Hugenot. He has a 10 year old daughter (Elise), the mother having died shortly after childbirth from some malady. Two years ago (1599), Jean intruded on a man in flowing robes delivering wine to the King’s mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrees. Jean confided in his captain (Lagarre) but was told to keep his mouth shut and so he did.
Gabrielle was heavily pregnant and died shortly thereafter, giving birth to a stillborn son but rumours persisted that she had been poisoned. Jean again spoke to his captain who dismissed his stories. Shortly thereafter, Jean was attacked and wounded in the streets of Paris – only thanks to his skill as a soldier did he survive. The attackers had a curious brand upon them – a ‘V’ on their right hand. Jean rushed back home and found the house broken into. He despaired for a few moments before hearing Elise’s tears out back. She had hidden in the henhouse.
A note was plastered on the wall – “There is no place on the Lord’s earth for your kind, heathen scum. What you saw is only the beginning. Your daughter will be next, Verite”
Jean took his daughter and fled. He took his horse and weaponry and travelled into the country. He travelled to Poissy and the forests there. He knew an old man from the War of the 3 Henrys who might know what this meant. Hugo Cantalon said to him that:“There is the
inquisition and then there is Verite (the Truth)”. They are an extremist cult and tatoo a ‘V’ on their right hand to symbolise that they are the Right Hand of God.
Jean had always despised the Papists for their wealth at the expense of the people and could see their constant attempts to subvert the King’s attempts at more equality (Jean has huge respect for the King). Clearly his conversion to Catholicism wasn’t enough for them.
Jean fled back into the forest, living off the land as best he could but he was no tracker. Soldiery was the only thing he knew. A chance encounter with a Papal wagon carrying priests, dressed in finery set him on his way to becoming a highwayman. He stopped the wagon and robbed
the clergymen before leaving them to be found in the woods later. Over the past 6 months, Jean has only sparingly done this and only Papal wagon trains or those of the wealthy who can afford to lose their jewelry.
Recently, Hugo helped to track down a sorcerous associate of Verite rumoured to be living in Colombiers. It was time for Jean and Elise to head there…