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|Date of birth:||September 18th, 2242|
|Status:||Living by the Gun|
- "Now, I've never denied that loaded dice, guns, and women have a nasty tendency to make life shorter, but I've always maintained that were it not for them, life wouldn't be worth the living."
- ―Jean-Napoleon on his vices, 2273.
- "Keep an eye on that boy there, Comte Arceneaux's son. He's fifteen and from the way he holds his head, you'd think he's the king. Mark my words he'll be trouble one day."
- ―Director General James St. Just to Roi Devereux.
He was schooled in court functions and memorized all the details of the Royaume and its political net. From an early age, he schemed how he would lead New Iberia to become the jewel of the Royaume crown and then how he would seize the crown from Jérôme Devereux when the time came. His education, however, was not purely in books, arts, politics, and language. Being the son of a warrior, Jean-Napoleon was taught how to handle a firearm and became a somewhat proficient shot with a pistol. While he was never adept with a rifle, he took a liking to handguns, particularly revolvers, personally possessing a Mexican Gaucho revolver he plucked out of the New Iberia armory.
As he became older he wanted out of New Iberia more, being drawn to the bright lights of the French Quarter and making journeys there as often as he could. Taking money from his father's treasury he gambled in the card houses among the bright lights starting at the age of 16, wearing a gun in a cross-draw holster like a gambler and always wearing a pre-War suit. He was flanked normally by a guard from New Iberia assigned to him by his father. Around seventeen he began frequenting the whorehouses and brothels, it was here that he met his first love, the beautiful Madame Andalucía du Roseau. This woman was a whore much older than he was who for seemingly no reason took a liking to him and educated him in the art of sexual interaction.Young Jean-Napoleon was enamored, here he was with a thirty-year-old woman on a weekly basis. Sometimes he spent weeks at a time in the French Quarter with his whore who he fell in love with. However, nothing is ever as it seems in the old city of New Orleans. What he didn't know was that his Andalucía was on the payroll of one Obed Narcisse, the criminal boss of the French Quarter. Her job was to entertain the young playboy with the hope of getting close to him so that one day Obed could have a connection to one of the Royaume's leading members. It was this treachery that almost spelled the end for not only Jean-Napoleon but the Royaume itself.
"The Man Who Nearly Broke the Royaume"
- "The ruling authority of Lafayette and Vermilionville recognize the sovereignty of New Iberia and her right to harbor and defend, with lethal force, her people from unfounded extradition perpetrated by the deputies of St. Martin and any other authority, foreign or domestic. Additionally, Lafayette and Vermilionville pledge that should St. Martin's coalition choose to inaugurate civil war by marching on the barony of New Iberia, that she shall come to Comte Arceneaux's aid and fight this coalition with the same brand of aggression that Comte Daniau has exhibited towards New Iberia."
- ―Gene Casson, Duc de Lafayette's Declaration of support for the Comte of New Iberia.
Jean-Napoleon threatened Luc and demanded he apologize and never see Andalucía. Luc, also being of noble blood wasn't going to take anything. All sources agree that Luc threw the first punch in the fight, but Jean-Napoleon being a scrawny boy and not one to play fair was documented to have drawn a switchblade and stabbed Luc in the gut repeatedly. Some say up to two dozen times the boy thrust the blade into his friend's gut as he covered his suit in crimson guts and gore. After stabbing Luc, Jean-Napoleon drew his revolver and shot Luc in the head. Some say this is what killed him, others say that Luc was dead and the gunshot was merely done to desecrate the corpse. But no matter what it was, the deed was done and Jean-Napoleon Arceneaux had put into motion a course of actions that threatened to tear the Royaume apart at its seams.
A man was dead, and not just any man, the son of a Comte. Under normal circumstances, the killer would have been brought up to answer for his crimes in a fifteen-minute trial and then quickly executed for his crimes. But this was another story, Jean-Napoleon fled back to New Iberia where his father sheltered him due to natural paternal instincts. When Comte Daniau demanded that Comte Arceneaux deliver his son up to St. Martin for justice, the response was simple, that any soldier or agent sent to New Iberia with orders to extradite Jean-Napoleon to St. Martin would be shot on sight as an invader.
This declaration was shocking and riled up St. Martin who threatened that if need be they would burn New Iberia to the ground. Word of the growing feud spread like wildfire over the bayous and the Comtes and Barons of the Royaume began to take sides. Morgan City, St. Marie, Franklin, Terrebonne, and Houma, along with the Roi in Tuloya agreed with St. Martin that the young Jean-Napoleon ought to be brought up to face justice. However the Duc de Lafayette, Gene Casson and Vermilionville vowed to defend New Iberia from invasion by Daniau's coalition due to personal dislike of Harrison Webre, Comte of Terrebonne.
St. Justs' intervention proved to be what was needed. Fearing the old ghoul, Casson withdrew his support of Pierre-Martin and with a heavy heart, the Comte agreed to hand his son over to face St. Martin's justice. St. Just, fearing that he was not yet in the clear personally lead the posse of gendarmes to apprehend Jean-Napoleon with the intent to then escort him to Comte Daniau. However as they stormed the Arceneaux family's plantation they found Jean-Napoleon gone along with his personal possessions and a great sum of money from New Iberia's treasury.
Exodus to Mexico
- "You see, in this world a man must always be able to find the positives. Take what happened to me, I rode out of my dear Louisiana on a rail with a posse of gendarmes on my trail. But leaving my native home I met my second love, the beautiful Madame Giordano. There was something special about that girl, I tell you. But alas, circumstances dictated we wouldn't make a lasting couple, I just hope that baby she said she was carrying turned out well for her, because I do believe it was mine. Well no actually, I don't belive it was mine, I know it was mine. Funny when you think about it, there's a young man out there who's as devilishly handsome as his father, who sadly he'll probably never meet. Well, hey, it may been the first with Bellatrix but it certainly was not the last, I will tell you that."
- ―Jean-Napoleon reflecting.
He sailed with them as a passenger towards the Corpse, saying very little except to the beautiful daughter of the captain, one Bellatrix Giordano. The two had hushed conversations outside of her father's earshot and Jean-Napoleon made it his mission to woo this girl on this tiny boat. He took wooing her as a way to pass time. Him being suave and her being young and susceptible made it work. After several weeks at sea, young Bellatrix was convinced she was in love.
When the boat landed in the Corpse, the whole crew went ashore, it was expected that Jean-Napoleon would not be returning. But two didn't return as young Bellatrix, a girl of only sixteen ran off with Jean-Napoleon into the wastes, crushing her father. The young couple made through the Corpse quickly by purchasing the protection from the Blues of Flour Bluff. Once out of that war-ridden hellhole, they kept going south as lovers, stopping in every saloon on the way to play cards at the tables and rent a bed. Jean-Napoleon had a way with cards, he seemed always able to make money at every turn.
That coupled with the fact that he still had thousands from New Iberia proved quite well for him. His plan was to go to Mexico, and it worked. In early July of 2261 he found himself in Tamaulipas, in the border town of Nuevo Progreso. He and Bellatrix sat down and played cards with some Comancheros, winning big. He and his girl decided to stay in town, renting a room in the cantina.
They stayed for several weeks, Bellatrix becoming quite fond of the two and a half year old child of the saloon owner, playing with the young baby whose name was Billy. Little did Jean-Napoleon know at the time who the boy would grow up to be. However Jean-Napoleon's luck ran out in Nuevo Progreso, it was in the cantina one night that he was gambling with a group of traders, he was winning big and feeling emboldened from liquor. He bet large, most of what he owned on a three of a kind. When the cards went down he lost most all he had in a single night.
The next morning he was panicked, he had money to keep him and Bellatrix in the cantina for another two weeks or so, then they'd be broke. Then came worse news, that Bellatrix was with child, impregnated all the way back on the voyage to Texas. Jean-Napoleon panicked but then remembered how most people in this part of the country made a living. He fashioned for himself a mask from an old flour sack and the next morning slipped out of the bar early, his pistol in a greased holster. He made his way outside of town, about three or four miles and waited in an old abandoned gas station until he saw a group come by.
The group was seven men strong all of whom were wearing guns. However, Jean-Napoleon was cocky and he came up behind them, fired a warning shot, and shouted that they all drop their guns. They obliged and turned around to see that they had surrendered to a lone skinny gunman in a three piece suit. Jean-Napoleon made no attempt to disguise his diction, keeping an elevated vocabulary and a refined Cajun accent as he ordered them to throw their money on the ground before him. He took the loot, three thousand pesos in all. He then made off literally like a bandit back to Nuevo Progreso.
It was in the cantina however that his young folly was shown, he had robbed a gang of comancheros bound for Nuevo Progreso. His face turned ghost pale when he saw them walk into the room, and the fact he had on his same suit and had an unmistakable speech pattern meant they recognized him instantly. He knew they saw him and he drew first, shooting the man who he thought was their leader in the collarbone, killing him instantly. The second shot hit another comanchero in the gut, taking him out of the fight but not killing him. By then the comancheros had figured out what was going on and had drawn guns to return fire.
The gunfight was quick and terrifying, realizing that he couldn't hope to take five comancheros, Jean-Napoleon made a run for it out the back door with his money in a potato bag and his pregnant Bellatrix cowering in the corner. This would mark the last time he'd ever see her as he made out of Nuevo Progreso on a stolen horse with bullets whizzing past his head, the first Gunfight at Carlos' Cantina made him two times a killer and he wasn't even nineteen. This was but the first in many gun battles he'd participate in over the course of his long career.
The Great Nicaraguan Cattle Drive
- "Nicaragua, now that was something, it was three years there and back moving at speeds of the highest caliber every day. And the funny thing is, half of those poor cowboys came back to Mexico poorer than they were before they left."
- ―Jean-Napoleon on The Great Nicaraguan Cattle Drive.
However Nicaragua was in need of food, and a sustainable source of it. Three years previously they had made contact with the ranchers of Tamaulipas and now they were ready to make an order: ten thousand cattle at two hundred pesos a head. The drive took nearly a year to assemble with the two cattle powers of San Fernando and Valle Hermoso combining their herds to drive them south. In Nicaragua the cattle would be used for beef and to establish a Nicaraguan ranching industry.
It was a massive venture full of famous names along with names to be famous in the future. Esteban Ignacio Chavez and Salvador Miranda led the drive with Chavez representing Valle Hermoso and Miranda representing San Fernando. In addition to the old enemies came gunmen who would soon be famous: Harland Ross future sheriff of Hidalgo, Pedro Fontanez who would later be known as the Terror of Tampico, and Dante Solano who would become famous as the only man that the Bandoleros of Ciudad Camargo feared. Last but certainly not least was Jean-Napoleon who signed on as a cook's assistant.
The drive lasted three years from 2261 to 2264. In that time, Jean-Napoleon along with the other 300 or so drovers faced banditos and comancheros, mutants, hard weather, rough terrain, and internal strife. Only 220 made it to the ruins of Ciudad Guatemala and only 180 made it back to San Fernando. These three years were crucial to his life, being a cook's assistant he only had to work three times a day to prepare meals. It gave him time to think over his life and decide that the working man's life certainly wasn't for him.
He vowed he wouldn't make the same silly mistakes that cost him his first fortune when he got the huge payout of ten thousand caps at the end of the drive. He decided he would gamble better, cheat better, and not leave any survivors when he robbed men. He picked up an understanding of the Spanish language after dealing with so many vaqueros on the drive and returned back to Tamaulipas in late 2264. He decided he would stay around San Fernando and began gambling again, many drovers were eager to spend their new fortunes at the card tables and for several months he made a killing. Until in early 2265 he went to the cantina known as Tasca Gringa between Valle Hermoso and San Fernando, and he began his reputation not as a gambler but as a gunman.
The Tasca Gringa Gunfight
- "If you gentlemen think that I'm scared of you for a moment, then you can all go straight to hell."
- ―Jean-Napoleon's response to Jose Debayle and his men, the last verifiable words before the shooting started.
Jean-Napoleon, along with fast-draw kid, Dante Solano and Dante's stepbrother, Max entered Tasca Gringa on the 5th of February, 2265. The three had been good friends on the drive and decided that they'd relax at Tasca Gringa for a little while before trying their luck at mercenary work. It went well for a week or so with the trio renting beds and whores and spending all nights listening to the jukebox play, shooting dice, and drinking. However other cowboys were also spending some time at Tasca Gringa. One such drover from the grand drive was Jose Debayle who began to stay at Tasca Gringa with his three cousins, Eric, Ivan, and Bruno, and the Guatemalan gaucho, Hugo Roberto Abarca.
Jose Debayle was the leader of the small posse which from the start clashed with Jean-Napoleon. They didn't take too kindly to Jean-Napoleon's sense of humor nor were they fond of his bragging and his skill in cards. They lost thousands of the pesos they had spent three years earning in hours to the gentleman from New Orleans and grew irate. On February 13th, Jose and Jean-Napoleon got into a shouting match under the influence of drink and nearly went to pistols over it when Jean-Napoleon made an insult towards Jose's dead mother. Jose was held back by Bruno while swearing that Jean-Napoleon would pay for it with his life.
Later that night things proved worse for Jean-Napoleon when after a conversation with Dante, he learned that his friends intended to leave in a day for the ruins of Mexico City. Having no interest in going that far south and fearing that without Dante and Max there to back him up that Debayle would kill him in Tasca Gringa or track him down in the countryside and shoot him in the back there.
Thus Jean-Napoleon took the initiative, while the Debayle boys were gambling he went and stole Eric Debayle's pocket-watch from his pack. That night when all of the Debayles and Abarca were sleeping with the exception of Eric, Jean-Napoleon began to wave the pocket watch around. Bragging how nice and fancy it was and drawing attention to himself, when Eric saw the watch he demanded that Jean-Napoleon return it. Jean-Napoleon, with Dante and Max at the table claimed that the watch was his.
Enraged, Eric ran back and woke up his cousins and Abarca. A few minutes later Jose Debayle led his cousins and Hugo Roberto out, all carrying guns. Jose demanded the watch back and Jean-Napoleon told him that he and his men could go to hell. It is then widely agreed that Jean-Napoleon drew on the Debayles and Abarca and shot Bruno dead. A moment later in the early hours of February 14th, a greater gunfight broke out as Jose and his remaining men along with the Solanos opened fire. When the gun smoke cleared all the Debayle cousins, Hugo Roberto Abarca, and Max Solano were dead. Dante had been shot in the arm and Jean-Napoleon was miraculously unharmed.
Jean-Napoleon had shot three of the men, killing Eric, Jose, and Bruno Debayle. Dante Solano shot Hugo Roberto Abarca and Ivan Abarca, and it is believed that either Ivan or Hugo Roberto shot Max Solano. This was concluded by the fact that when scavengers picked the bodies over, they found .30-30 slugs from a Caballero revolver, the one used by Dante in Hugo Roberto and Ivan and found .45 Colt from a Gaucho revolver, the one used by Jean-Napoleon in the remaining three Debayles.
Word of the gunfight spread like wildfire and made the two survivors famous. However they fell out with Dante blaming Jean-Napoleon for starting the fight and getting his stepbrother killed. Jean-Napoleon however had no problem with had happened as were it not for the fact that he had the Solanos there to back him up, he would have died. Thus he reckoned that it was better Max than him and left Tasca Gringa with no regrets.
The Great Northern War
He rode south from Tasca Gringa down to San Fernando, arriving in early March. With a good bit of coin left, he set himself up in the saloon, staying there for months as he made his living gambling. Here he found another woman, one Isabella Grayson, a half-Mexican, half-Arizonian cantina singer. Senorita Grayson and Jean-Napoleon became lovers and a couple almost instantly, both being cultured with a love for night life.
Jean-Napoleon found his reputation preceded him, his actions at Tasca Gringa had been made legendary by Radio Libre Frontera, a radio station based in General Francisco Villa, just north of San Fernando. The reported story was in fact that the Debayle boys had drawn first and that Jean-Napoleon was the hero of it all. While artistic license was taken, it had a great affect on Arceneaux who was respected out of fear by all who saw him.
Six times a killer, he romanced Isabella for nearly a year of bliss and peace until his reputation provided him a new job, mercenary. Though he was living the life of a gambler, men with his ability to shoot were needed in San Fernando for what would be called the Great Northern War.
The second and largest of the range wars between the San Fernando Cattleman's Association and the Valle Hermoso Cattleman's Association broke out in November of 2265 and would last for four years. It started when Valle Hermoso rangers executed a pair of vaqueros from San Fernando on charges of cattle-rustling. The execution was summary and without trial, the two vaqueros, John and Domingo Mejia were tied to fence posts and shot in the head, their bodies sent back draped over their saddles. San Fernando responded that the cattle the vaqueros had been driving were property of their ranchers and called it a murder.
Word spread of the "Mejia Murders" and it acted as a call to arms for the ranchers of San Fernando. They and Valle Hermoso had always had a rough history with the first great range war of 2249-2252 claiming nearly sixty lives. It had been hoped that the Great Nicaraguan Cattle Drive would have cemented friendly relations for decades, but it failed. And this one would be much bloodier. Gunfighters and mercenaries from all over Tamaulipas came including many who Jean-Napoleon had known going down to Nicaragua. The Great Northern War, named so because it was fought in Northern Tamaulipas was on, and Jean-Napoleon was hired as a pistolero for San-Fernando making two hundred pesos a day.
The Molina-Vidal Feud
Return to San Fernando
Relationship with Isabella Menendez
Jean-Napoleon is an opportunist and egotistical debonair at heart. As a rule of principal the first thing in his life is himself. Perhaps due to inbred arrogance, perhaps due to his noble birth. Either way it means that self-preservation and hedonism are his only two goals in life. Nothing is worth his life or being harmed to him, not his friends, not his employers, and certainly not his women. Everything and everyone that doesn't serve him a purpose is discarded and not cared for to him and if furthering his goals means putting another human being, an innocent human being in danger or possibly getting them killed, Jean-Napoleon thinks nothing of it. As long as there's a profit for him and he stays alive.
Despite his sophistication and devilish charm, his desires are so basic and rudimentary that he can almost be described as animalistic. He cares merely for pleasing himself, there is no greater glory, God, dream, ideology, or brighter future that this Cajun could care about. He wants to play the most riveting game of cards, eat the finest steak, drink the smoothest bourbon, and then sleep with the most beautiful woman on the softest bed. If anyone gets in his way in this process, he has repeatedly shown that he has no problem in killing them with the fast gun he totes on his hip.
However while he is no stranger to violence, Jean-Napoleon is also a coward when it all comes down to it. He knows while he stands no chance against a gang of armed men, that his negotiation skills are pristine and his elevated diction and quick thinking have gotten him out of more problems than his gun ever has. If he can't talk his way out or he doesn't need to, then he skins his pistol.
Though it may seem that his relationship with the opposite sex is purely motivated by his desire to fulfill animal instinct. Some close to him have noted that he may perhaps have more of a heart than thought. It has been noted that he is never without a heart shaped sterling silver locket he keeps in the coat of his blazer and that he is quite fond of snapping it open. Especially after a night of cards, looking at the picture of the woman in it normally makes him yearn for drink and brings a few tears to his eyes, and anyone who knows him knows that the picture in the locket is that of Isabella Menendez, the only woman who ever left him. He doesn't speak on the subject but he doesn't have to, the look on his face shows that the only human being who has ever put a mark on his heart is his Comanchera lady.
Jean-Napoleon is a man of narcissism and for him all effort goes into his appearance. He always dresses in a suit complete with some form of a tie, a vest, a shiny silver buckle, and a bowler hat. He sports no facial hair but keeps his hair well groomed and maintained. His gunbelt is a cross-draw made from border tooled leather dyed a deep black. He is fond of polished dress shoes and his cane made from ebony with a sterling silver head. While he doesn't need it to walk, he fancies it for the elegant appearance it gives him and for its use as a blunt object.
Bodily, Jean-Napoleon is a healthy man. He is a little over six feet and light for his weight, giving him a skinny, almost lanky appearance. His face is smooth and has a natural smug look on it from his wealth as a child. He is handsome and quite fair, spending time in the sun mainly only to shoot with the rest of his time spent in saloons, cantinas, brothels, cardhouses, and taverns.
Jean-Napoleon travels quite lightly. Rarely being in the wilderness he owns no real survival gear. If he needs such amenities he purchases them before leaving town and discards them when he no longer needs them. He does this with the vast sum of money he carries around. For equipment he keeps a .45 LC Gaucho revolver in a cross-draw gunbelt at all times. He wears his gun cross-draw as it is easier to draw it a table where he often has to use it. While this weapon is for the world to see, he carries three other pistols at all times, he keeps a pair of Dama revolvers chambered in .32 S&W in a double shoulder rig with one under each arm, concealed under his jacket. Each revolver has five shots as opposed to his gaucho's six. Additionally he keeps a semi-automatic Baby Browning in .25 ACP with a six round magazine in his vest pocket. He generally doesn't carry a knife however if he is in the countryside wearing a pair of boots he has a stag handled knife he'll keep in his left boot.