The NIX Solutions’ 20th Anniversary

29 September 2014

Sheath swords, monseigneurs! The Royal Musketeer Parade is over, with each of you having displayed the courage worthy of a true musketeer. Now that it is over, the ladies-in-waiting of the Versailles court can only sigh passionately, fondling the memories of the courteous chevaliers and the Cardinal’s guards can only dream of what they believe to be an imminent revenge, swearing by their honor that the next duel or rumble to come is bound to be victorious.

The 20th anniversary of NIX Solutions witnessed the arrival of as many as 29 musketeers’ regiments. Never before had a solemn event like this hosted so many gallant braves in one venue, les Jardins et le Parc de Versailles.

Each regiment was to pass a number of no-joking trials before His Majesty the King, Monsieur de Tréville, the musketeer commander-in-chief, and Richelieu the cardinal could personally appreciate each and every one of noble musketeers and reward them for their merits. A true musketeer, however, never fears hardships and deprivations of the service, always prepared to face up to the danger and – win!

Needless to say, the King’s musketeers had to endure all the eventualities of long campaigns in the past, so the road to Versailles looked like a sort of leisurely stroll to them. It was to the tune of a bravura march performed by the all-female court rubber band that the braves entered the Royal Jardin to set up camp.

Each regiment had to take care not only of a splendourous exterior of the bivouac, but also of the comfort of the residents. For it is no good if the splendour of a musketeer camp serves only for an exterior décor, just like Porthos’ baldric showed gilded embroidery on the face side only.

Having made all the necessary arrangements about the camp and a trifle bloating after a filling breakfast served by the cardinal’s pious nuns, the musketeers filed up at the platz for the ceremonial parade and the royal inspection of arms. Le Roi Soleil, Colonel de Tréville and Cardinal Richelieu personally welcomed the troops, granting them an opportunity to present themselves in the best possible light.

On their part, the musketeers had their own stories to tell the King. For their fame, that travels way ahead of them, takes root not only in their irreproachable courage, but also in the countless daredevil pranks much rumoured about all over Paris, especially under the influence of two or three casks of Anjou too many habitually consumed in a close-knit company of bosom friends in the tavern Pine Tree Cone. One of such stories related by the regiment ‘Athos Having Drunk Away his Hat’ goes that, cask after cask, the musketeers lost any count of those as well as the track of time to come around in the tavern Zolotoi Kolos twenty years after and in the company of nuns of dubious antecedents. His Majesty, however, put heads together with de Tréville and the Cardinal and judged it that the noblest gentry without having experienced such a so-to-say ‘grievous predicament’ was something unheard of. So the presentation contest brought the regiment the honorary third place and won a collectible Bourget musket.

Les Jardins de Versailles which, among other things, are world known for its exquisite fountains could not help but appeal to the musketeers who, before long, developed a habit of marking St. Ludovicus day by bathing in them. A memorable skirmish with the Cardinal’s guards that broke out near one of them served the plot of a story related by the Avante-garde regiment which won them the second place and a new regimental artillery piece as a prize.

It goes without saying, musketeers are well-versed in all matters equestrian as well as all possible vehicles and modern technology as a whole, for all these may play a decisive role in a battle. Not surprisingly, the regiment MechaNixXX’s story of their specialization in alignment and convergence of carriages and what they called a privilege of assisting a noble damsel in distress touched everybody’s heart to win them the first place in the contest and a bottle of His Majesty’s finest cognac.

The parade was supposed to end up in handing in the musketeers’ credentials, upon which His Majesty was expected to entrust his subordinate braves with a noble mission saving a much spoken-of would-be musketeer, d’Artagnan from Milady’s hands. The noble musketeers, however, had displayed an unpardonable carelessness in the crooked streets of Paris, which cost them their credentials stolen by the local rogues.

In the breathtaking chase that followed, the glorious musketeers managed not only to retrieve their credentials, but also find the first clue to the whereabouts of the brave Gascognian. It is hard to recall all adventures that awaited the rescuers, for these included an exchange of repartees with the merry musketeers, a merciless duel with the Cardinal’s guards, lessons in fencing and riding with the best masters of the court, studies in the labyrinthine passages of Paris’s mansions, acquaintances with Milady’s trusted confidence men, finding true friends in the royal court, a breakfast in the hail of bullets of St. Gervais bastion and the last but not the least – tracking down lady Milady de Winter all the way from Paris to the Foggy Albion. Luckily, the Lady Fortuna never turned her back on the brave musketeers and all regiments successfully passed the trial to find the Milady’s hidden last resort and trade the sensitive materials collected in the course of action for the brave Gascognian’s freedom.

While the Avant-garde detachments were on the Milady’s track, the King himself with Colonel de Treville and Cardinal Richelieu visited the regimental camps to grade the musketeers’ skills in putting up a viable camp. Some regiments were all in favor of maintaining the military discipline, planning the camps in full compliance with the field manual, preserving the general atmosphere of the barracks. The others, however, favoured the habitual quarters, lodging in trattorias, inns and boarding houses, where they could give a vertigo to trattoria keepers’ wives and seducing prettyish chambermaids.

Two regiments, namely ‘Angry Muskets’ and ‘Gascogn Park’ joint their efforts to have their camp equipped with whatever amenities a musketeer could not do without, la Bastille, Le Bordelle and a convent (female of course); an interrogation chamber, a regimental mess and others: so impressed by the ingenuity and celerity of the two regiments was the King that at once he released a POW of the Cardinal’s guards to knighten him into the ‘Angrey Muskets’ musketeers, pardoned all convicts confined in le Bastille and, in his mercy, relieved a guilty musketeer off the sophisticatedly ruthless torture by ‘Dom-2’ TV show. As the two regiments is concerned, His Majesty granted them the second and third place in the ‘camping’ exercise with the prize of a most accurate spyglass and a precious statuette from his own collection.

Meanwhile, the first place had to be shared among as many as three regiments. ‘MusQA’ won the recognition for mere audacity, as they had chosen to quarter in a trattoria with a particularly seedy reputation in one of Paris most notorious regions, ‘Mason du Roi’, which yet suited them perfectly, enabling them to welcome the search party back with a ready meal of a piglet baked on spitz to be washed down with time honoured good wine. The cutthroat regiment ‘Different Duma’ won the Jury’s hearts with their discerning tastes in vintage wines and exquisite cuisine coupled with meticulous expertise in camp arrangements, which brought them a prize of a collectable pack of cards, a valuable ornate plate and rare candle-handler from His Majesty’s private collection.

In the meantime, the tired search parties began to come back in anticipation of a substantial dinner, rejuvenating Burgundy and a truly splendourous ball. The Royal Court had always been known for the benevolence for rare arts and crafts. In honour of the Royal musketeer parade the masters of ceremony had invited a flame team capable of playing whatever magic with fire. It was long since Versailles saw such an impressive spectacle!

It was at the ball that His Majesty, Colonel de Treville and Cardinal Richelieu announced the winners. Noteworthily, this year, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of NIX Solutions, their numbers turned out to be twice as many as usual. A new feature of the ball was that the Royal Family together with their subjects launched their balloons into the sky, thus wishing a peaceful sky to the Kingdom and all neighbouring countries as well.

The ceremonial part of the celebration over, the musicians touched their instruments and the Jardin de Versailles saw the grandest ball in its history to last till dawn.

So, the musketeer parade came to an end, which cannot be said of their adventures. Those can never end, especially as the brave d’Artagnan beckons you to join him along the path of exploits, and damsels of the court send you their perfumed batista handkerchiefs.