League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 1766

Chapter 19


This time they were they were taking the fight to their enemy. The League knew where Joseph Curwen's base of operations was, so now this bunch of assorted personages will march to his domain and end his diabolical machinations.

Munchausen's coaches had taken the group as far as he saw fit, the roads did not reach the cave, so there will be a two hour walk. That suited The Baron fine, he did not want the warlock to hear them coming, even though he would no doubt be expecting them.

Apart from members of The League there was one of The Chateau servants carrying food and water. Also there was a horse being led with its reins by a walking British military cadet whose name was Jack Absolute. Munchausen had convinced the teenager to conceal his dazzling dress uniform, since he was in a country that still remembers the Seven Years War.

"Thank you for your mature wisdom Baron." Said Jack. "I'm sure that as I go through life's challenges I will find much advantage in pretending to be something that I am not."

Hawkeye and Chingchook each carried two muskets and ample reloading materials, the latter also had a bow and small quiver of arrows. Redmond Barry managed the long walk well, despite his bruises; he carried two muskets, bayonet, pistol and some extra concealed weapons. Juliette kept a pistol in her garter holster, a knife scabbard down her cleavage, and held a crossbow in her arms; yet she considered herself to be the best weapon.

Jean Baptiste Grenouille had issued a small spray bottle of knockout concoction to each League member, he had another perfume with him; he explained its concept to Munchausen as best he could but did not list the ingredients or how he acquired them. A pistol was issued to him, he kept it despite an aversion to the close gunpowder smell and his inability to aim. The perfumer carried a small animal enclosure, its occupant was Tom the cat. Jean had discreetly seized the feline during Tristam Shandy's visit, the envoy left without realising he had left Tom behind.

Baron Munchausen had armed himself to the teeth with firearms, swords, knives and a crossbow with several bolts in reserve. The League he put together was his real weapon, he believed that it would smite his foe; the carried arms he brought would merely pave the way. Jack Absolute was part of a secondary force M had planted in this area, soon they will get their signal to advance.

The dressings on Juliette's feet were masterfully applied, she did not feel the cuts and bruises received during her flight from Curwen's lair, she could hike through the hills quite comfortably. This left her free to consider Pamela Andrews B, an antagonist of hers and recent victim of The Beast, this she didn't find out till the British envoy's visit. So the wretched model of virtue met a grisly ignoble end. Juliette reviewed her own stand with regard to Pamela, this polar opposite should not be hated so much. It was Pamela Andrews story of virtue upheld that turned women's virtue into a commodity, this allowed the courtesan to make her personal fortune by fraudulently selling her virginity several hundred times. She was young enough to sell it several hundred more times. Thank you Pamela Andrews.

Another stand Juliette considered was that with Jean Baptiste Grenouille, ever since her captivity he had made an effort to keep his distance from her. There was no more discreet sniffing of her personal scent; which was just as well since she surmised him to be a malevolent scent vacuum; he minimised each interaction with her and resented the embrace she gave upon her rescue. During one of these brief interactions Jean assured the courtesan that the assassin known as Chastity was dead and said no more. When Juliette remembered sensing Chastity's presence in Jean's perfume spray, a bitter logic was formed.

Which is the bigger concern? Juliette pondered the two: she could be losing her appeal; or there's a man going around France putting woman in bottles.

To Jean Baptiste Grenouille, the vibrant courtesan was no longer a fragrant draw, her personal odor had been tainted by communion with at least one of the foul omnipotent beings from beyond. She even knew its name, Yog Sothoth. The perfumer sensed the tainting when Juliette embraced him after her rescue; she will keep her sexual magnetism and alluring quality to everybody else, but to Jean she was tainted. He will no longer seek exquisite pleasure in her scent or consider capturing it in a bottle.

A rocky set of hills turned the perfumer's attention aside from the scent trail to Curwen's lair.

"Baron." Said Jean. "I can sense a wounded wolfman in those rocks."

Munchausen saw that it would mean only a short side trip to investigate, then turned the League towards the rocks. As they got closer, Juliette recognised the monolith she climbed to escape the two lupine horrors fighting over her last night.

"The injuries smell very bad Baron." Said Jean as he zeroed in on the source.

What The League saw was a naked man who obviously had been mauled by The Beast. M immediately commanded Jack Absolute to stay back and not see this gory sight; he would have done the same to Juliette but she rushed to observe and seemed to handle the grisly vision well.

The unfortunate man had one of his arms virtually destroyed, the broken ulna protruding from the torn flesh, his hand a mess of severed finger bones dangling from chewed tendons. The torso had much skin ripped away from the ribcage which was partially exposed. Much mauling had been done in the pelvic region, one leg looked like it would detach if he was ever moved, it wouldn't be any good if it did remain attached, The Beast had chewed it into a virtual mince of flesh and bone. Only sustained shock kept this man from crying out in pain and baffling how he had not bled to death.

Redmond Barry recognised Fernand Wagner, the fugitive he was after, the face was unmolested, it even had the powderburn mark. Hawkeye and Chingachook saw the wolfman who placed Joseph Curwen's ghostly image in Cagliostro's firebowl. Jean identified the wolfman called Fernand, who carried Juliette away for the warlock. The courtesan recalled the wolfman who got passionate with her when she was tied to the crossbars, she also realised this was the exact spot where the second lupine figure lost his battle with the Beast of Gevaudon. Munchausen found himself looking upon the legendary figure from The Black Forest who gained youth and vigor through infernal dealing.

"Juliette." Said M. "This is the other wolf thing you saw last night. You may have seen him earlier as a man, but last night he was a wolf. He is Fernand Wagner he is about three hundred years old, immortal and a werewolf."

The others stood in profound disbelief, except Redmond who approached the mangalated figure.

"Is he?" Asked the spy of M.

"Yes Redmond." Answered M, predicting the question. "That is the man who became the wolf figure you saw at De Evremonde's chateau. He is the one who did those murders seven years ago while he was a wolf. He is the man you're after and he has met a nasty near end in the jaws of a bigger wolf. You can finish your mission now, it would be doing him a favor."

Redmond pointed his musket at Fernand. Several members of The League, including Redmond, tried to talk to the mauled victim before the shot but Fernand Wagner remained in a state of shock and just stared at nothing.

The musket fired and when the smoke cleared, the point blank target was very much as he was before the shot. It was as if the musket had no ball in it, yet several League members can tell when a firearm fires empty and when it fires loaded; in this case it looked much like the latter. No projectile wound was visible or evident on Fernand.

"Excuse me gentlemen. Ladies." Said a sudden presence at their side.

The man wore a scarlet coat with gold trimmings, a lustrous shining cloak and a long feather in his hat. He spoke German; Munchausen and Redmond understood him, Juliette knew enough of the language for a rough understanding, the others stood dazzled at the the loudly dressed figure. Jean found the figure's scent saturated with sulphur.

"Are you looking for this." Said the sudden presence as he opened the palm of his hand to reveal the fired musket ball. He tossed it to Redmond who caught it and saw that it was a hot, just used projectile.

"You cannot kill this man." Said the scarlet coated man indicating Fernand. "He is under contract. He will come with me."

Redmond was stunned, it appears the man had caught the musket ball in flight or he was using a dark sorcery like that of Joseph Curwen. Baron Munchausen maintained his poise.

"This man is going nowhere, he is severely injured and under sentence of death." He stated.

"Death." Said the man. "That concept has long since lost its meaning for both of us. His injuries are irrelevant he is under contract."

The man approached Fernand Wagner and took his remaining intact hand, the mauling victim who was also a werewolf came out of his shocked state then and there but did not seem to feel any pain, he just gave a look of recognition. Despite his injuries Fernand got to his feet without any apparent discomfort. He faced The League giving an indulgent individual stare at Juliette, she could not return any expression, she was dumbfounded.

Never letting go of the scarlet coated man's hand, Fernand Wagner began to walk away, his destroyed leg seemed to function as normal. The two figures achieved a few steps when Munchausen fired his pistol at the scarlet coat. The man spun around, with no sign of injury, and revealed the fired shot resting peacefully in the palm of his hand.

"You know me better than that Munchausen. I'm under contract to."

"I was demonstrating something to the others. I do know you and the hopelessness of your existence. Goodbye Faust."

Faust tossed the spent pistol round aside then turned to continue his walk with Fernand. In a matter of seconds, both figures faded away into thin air. Jean sensed the smell of sulphur vacate as quickly as it suddenly arrived.

"Redmond. Your mission is complete." Said M "At least as complete as its going to get."

The Irishman snapped out of his stunned bafflement and faced Munchausen.

"I am going to write to your boss in Berlin." Announced M. "I will explain the outcome, the difficulties, the extenuating circumstances and the reason behind the casualties. Most of all I'm going to tell them that you were good, damn good."

Munchausen patted Redmond on the back.

"You will be a useful member of The League." Continued M. "Our crucial battle is only just ahead of us."

All this was lost to the other League members who remained in stunned bafflement.

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