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Little Gems - The Flashing Blade
Episode 3 - Original BBC transmission 14th April 1969
General Thoiras plans to allow Francois and his aid Guillot to secretly sneak out of the castle in a procession of Lepers who require to leave for sanctuary. The Lepers leave early the next morning lead by a monk. They approach the Spanish lines and are halted whilst the guard seeks permission for their move through the Spanish lines. The Spanish General Castellan grants the request but Don Ricardo another Spanish officer wants to check they are who they say they are. Ricardo starts checking the monks and eventually reveals Francois and Guillot. Our two heroes though are well armed, kill several soldiers and then escape on horseback.
Several chases later through woods on horse and on foot Francois and Guillot have evaded capture. General Castellan is furious when he realises that they must be French agents acting as messengers and Ricardo is sent after them. The two finally make their way to a woodcutters hut whom they have been told is a French agent. He takes them in and offers to convey them to the next rendezvous. During the night, however, the woodcutter is found to be a traitor and Francois and Guillot must make their escape before the Spanish forces arrive. Francois and Guillot eventually make there way through the forest and encounter a Vatican coach which is stuck in a rut. The two help out the Vatican officials who then offer to give them a lift. It turns out that the main Vatican official is power hungry and when he learns that Francois knows the Cardinal, he is all too eager to help the pair. The Vatican pair are on their way to a conference between Spanish and French officials to draw up a truce to stop the current hostilities. The coach under the protection of the church is not interfered with by the Spanish security patrols. However, the Vatican official informs his aid that if he keeps his friendship with Francois then it will do him well with the French church and if he is discovered by the Spanish, then he would inform them that he was a prisoner - either way he cannot lose. The coach goes through several Spanish check points and eventually arrives at an inn.
Episode 4 - Original BBC transmission 21st April 1969
The Vatican diplomat arranges to be ill so that Francois and Guillot can steal his coach and make their escape. They leave the inn and are well into the local countryside before they are intercepted, not by the Spanish but by deserters. After a valiant fight the pair are soon outnumbered and captured. They are taken to the villain's camp and thrown into a cave which has a metal gate. Inside they meet several other prisoners who are being held hostage whilst a ransom is being collected. One man has been there a week and has a ransom of 15000 francs. The pair are also introduced to two other prisoners, Lord Chancellor de Savoir and his daughter (later known as Duke de Sospel and his daughter Isabelle de Sospel). They too are being held captive for ransom. The leader of the brigands demands ransoms for all the captives and will hang any for whom he does not receive appropriate payment. After a long period of chat and banter it is time for some action and our two heroes attempt an escape. Francois is able to get out and with the aid of a horse, he and Isabelle are able to ride out of the camp. Guillot remains to help the old Duke de Sospel.
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