This is an experiement to create a story within my ETW Genoa campaign, rather than about it.
It is the story of the weak-willed General "Raffele Pinto", who gained control of the Colonial army after his predessecor, Dominico Farnese, died on the way from "old age". Now, the Generale finds himself burdened with great guilt and secrecy, bullied by his Colonels who know too much, struggling to secure a claim on Indian soil and persued by a mysterious government agent who knows what he did, and plans to make him pay...
It 1731, Anno Domini, and Europe is changing. Spain, long a world power, has lost its claim on all territories in wars with the Italians and Dutch. Austria swamps the east, Turkish power holding onto Constantinople with a dead man’s grip and Prussia sliced in two by Leopold and his armies. India, beset with war, has collapsed into anarchy, Mysore holding the south, Mathara clinging to the west coast and the Mughals all but dead in the eyes of the rebels and the Persian invaders from Punjab.
It is a good year, though, for the States of Savoy-Liguria. Genoa, long a petty province amongst the squabbling Italian states, has singlehandedly united the north, established a foothold in Greece and Morea, and has since struck at the heart of India, becoming the first Europeans to make territorial claim over the anarchist Subcontinent. But the tales of this empire are for schools, not for campfires. Behold this tale of clandestine terror and dark, deep secrets from within the command of Genoa’s glorious forces. Murder and Betrayal, whispers amongst the soldiers at night speak of horrors their leaders commit in brutal fashion, and at the centre of their command lurks corruption and backstabbers…
…a tainted heart.
Tenente Generale Raffele Pinto sweated buckets from under his collar. The note trembled in his hands, the music in the background faded into oblivion. Surely not, he thought, it must be a mistake. He couldn’t have…
We have been discovered, flee at once
No, it said it there, plain and simple. Someone had slipped; someone was out to get them. He cursed the name ‘Farnese’ bitterly, and stashed the note in his dress coat. The Grand Ball was a wondrous occasion, they said. To celebrate the recent victories, a smaller version had been held here, in Hyderabad, in Castello Aragonese, the Genoan centre of authority in the heathen lands. Pinto returned to the dance. It was stifling in the Indian summer, and everyone was at lengths to cool themselves. Fans and cold drinks created a circumference of freezing wind around the room, but could not fight back the weight of the humidity. He was Italian, warmth was in his blood. But this was something else.
“We need to talk, Generale” said a voice. Raffele jumped out of his skin.
“Damn it all, Colonnello, This is no time for sneaking about!”
“Never mind that, Raffele, you got the note?” said the Colonel. The General nodded grimly.
“An understatement, sir.” Said Conti. He was the only one Raffele trusted anymore, and as such was his number one suspect. Damiano was the Colonel of the Sixth Foot, Colonial Infantry, and had stayed in India when the opportunity arose, out of duty, most said, but Raffele knew that the Colonel had long planned to keep and eye on the General, and a knife at his back. They all carried the weight; Raffele had yet to work out how to deal with them. But he would, eventually.
“Who do you think…?”
“None of us, sir. Scopoli is a coward, and Ligabue and Loggia would not risk their necks to see us all fall. No, I suspect that this is a ploy fabricated from that Patrizo Costa.” Raffele spilt his drink.
“No! He has made landfall?”
“Presumably, sir, as the message comes from within the country. I strongly doubt he has an agent with him, so it is logical to assume he is here.” Raffele looked around, worried.
“In the room?”
“There is no way of telling, sir.”
“And has he informed the Minister?”
“Gagliano?” frowned the Colonel. “He is a pawn, sir; I doubt very much the agent would trust him…”
“No, you fool! Boscovich, DiBeneditto, the men who sanction our pay! Does the secretary know?”
“I have talked to Boscovich recently. He is a poor liar, and he showed nothing. He knows nothing.”
“If he knew, this conversation would be between us and St. Peter.”
“And Scarpa, god rests his soul.”
“Quite. But, let’s not make a scene, Generale. We are military men, we shall keep our cool.” Raffele scowled inwardly. He was General; he should be saying that to him.