The Courier's Tragedy

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Angelo: evil Duke of Squamuglia.

Duke of Faggio: good Duke; killed by Angelo.

Pasquale: evil illegitimate son of the Duke of Faggio. Takes over as regent for his half-brother Niccoló until he comes of age. Plots Niccoló's death.

Niccoló: rightful heir of Faggio. When he becomes an adult he lives in Squamuglia waiting to kill Duke Angelo and masquerading as a special courier of the Thurn and Taxis family.

Ercole: henchman of Pasquale, but secretly aids Niccoló when Pasquale tries to kill him.

Domenico: alledged friend to Niccoló, but tries to tell Duke Angelo about the true identity of Niccoló.

Francesca: sister of Angelo (also, lover of Angelo), who is married off to Pasquale, but is also his mother. (How did Jerry Springer miss this one??).

Vittorio: one of Duke Angelo's couriers. Tells Niccoló about the Lost Guard and the possible involvement of Angelo with the death of the Duke of Faggio. When Niccoló reacts, Vittorio tell Angelo.

Gennaro: proclaims himself head of the state after Pasquale is murdered and until Niccoló can be located.

Basic Plot by Acts:

Act I:
Niccoló is telling his history to Domenico including the death of his father, the Duke of Faggio, the usurping of his throne by Pasquale, and the plot on his life, also by Pasquale. Niccoló is waiting around Angleo's court waiting to avenge himself and hiding under the colors of the Thurn and Taxis mail system. Domenico, when he hears this story, goes to tell Angleo, but the Duke is busy so he tells the Duke's assistant, Ercole. Ercole, who is secretly in alliance with Niccoló tortures Domenico and kills him before he can tell the Duke. Meanwhile, the Duke is telling his sister/lover, Francesca, that she must marry Pasquale to unite Squamuglia with Faggio, even though she objects because she is actually Pasquale's mother.

Act II:
A cardinal refuses to marry Francesca and Pasquale because they are mother and son and is tortured by the Duke. Ercole, seeing the torture of the cardinal sends word back to the good guys in Faggio to rile them up. However, he can't stop the torture and eventual death of the cardinal. Meanwhile, Vittorio is telling Niccoló a tale about the Lost Guard of Faggio (a group of fifty knights who were selected to protect the Duke of Faggio and who vanished without a trace shortly before the Duke was killed). Niccoló is outraged and this offends Vittorio who vows to tell Angelo.

Act III:
Ercole is successful in instigating a coup against Pasquale. The murder occurs at an orgy when the party is being amused by a performing ape, which turns out to only be a man in an ape suit who leaps out at Pasquale and is accumpanied by other men disguised as females. They torture and kill Pasquale. Gennaro, who has not been mentioned until this point, steps in and proclaims himself head of Faggio until Niccoló can be found.

Act IV:
Angelo learns of the coup, that Niccoló may still be alive, that Gennaro is gathering an army against him and that the Pope is going to intervene because of the cardinal's death. Angelo feels he can trust no one so he has Ercole summon Niccoló as the Thurn and Taxis courier to deliver a letter of appeasment to Gennaro. At this point, Angelo does not know who Niccoló really is or that Ercole is betraying him; Niccoló and Ercole don't know that Pasquale has been killed. Angelo writes the letter to Gennaro and hints about the origins of the ink he is using. Niccoló goes off. Vittoria finally tells Angelo how Niccoló reacted to the story of the Lost Guard and the body of Domenico is found with a bloody note revealing Niccoló's true identity. Angelo swears to kill Niccoló, but will not use his own men to do the job. He never directly states who will be used, but only hints. At this point, Ercole is accused of Domenico's murder and is killed in a mass stabing. Angelo attempts to muster an army. Meanwhile, Gennaro's army has been discussing Angelo's position and decide to attack him unless he sends a messanger with a letter of peace. A spy from Squamuglia tells the army that Niccoló is on his way and Gennaro reminds everyone that Niccoló is riding under the Thurn and Taxis colors. This has a very sobering effect on the army. Next, Niccoló is seen for the last time resting on the shore of the lake where the Lost Guard was last seen. He opens the letter and reads all of Angelo's lies and also of the coup and his restoration to the throne. Suddenly, men in black attack him and all he can say before he dies is "T-t-t-t-". Gennaro and his army reach Niccoló and find him dead with the blood soaked letter in his hand. Now instead of lies, the letter is a confession by Angleo of all his crimes. We learn that the Lost Guard had been thrown into the lake and was later fished up and turned into charcoal and then into ink, which Angelo used for all his correspondence with Faggio. When the ink from the lost knights mixed with Niccoló's pure blood a miracle occurred. At the end of this scene the name Trystero is said by Gennaro. This is the name Angelo refused to say and Niccoló tried to say (T-t-t-t-).

Act V:
Gennaro and his army invade Squamuglia and everyone dies except Gennaro, who is the last man standing.