Friday, August 24, 2007

Eddies and Rapids in Formal Costume

Eddies and Rapids in Formal Costume

Scene 1: the Gallian Flood

The original schedule for Sunday’s fete had been as follows:

Noon: Inspections of Infant, Mother, and Hurtshog by Court Physicians
2 PM: Processional March to Cathedral
3 PM: High Mass, Blessing of Banners,
4 PM: Recessional March to Palace
5 PM: Another grand feast ... which must include many, many ceremonial toasts ....

Now, these events will occur as scheduled, but obviously much, much more is going to happen this Sunday!

After the uprising of the Frankfurter Constables, who attempted to storm the new Bastille, and the assassination of the strange Englishman at the Masquerade, the town is in turmoil in the morning. All that is known is that the town council and constables, whose Protestant and Germanian sympathies are well known, reacted violently to Bastille’s attempt to seize and to imprison their leaders under a Gallian style “carte blanche”. In the morning, every burgomeister and constable still alive (and not attending the Masquerade the previous night) is either in prison or in flight through the sodden country side.

Even as the crowds start to gather in spite of the efforts by the dragoons to keep them dispersed, a loud drumming fills the air! A huge force of Gallian troops pours through the city gates and, led by picked troops of loyal Frankszonians, quickly clears the streets and occupies key points and the great bridge. The few civilians who are brave or foolhardy enough to try to talk with these troops find that not only are these forces not defeated (as rumors still insist happened), but have struck and scattered the infiltrated corps of Hamburgers in Russell Wald!

Sunday’s schedule will enjoy much smaller civilian celebration. The crowds are replaced by long lines of alert Gallian bayonets!

Scene 2: Rocks in the River

Earlier in the morning, the tired and harried General Bastille received l’Comte Beauphaup and * Herr Eberhard Kunegunde: Master of the Frankszonian Secret Police. While Kunegunde looked more worn and tattered than Bastille, Beauphaup was his normal, impeccably attired and pomandered self (to keep things simple and short, it’s been a bad night after all, I’m going to keep to bald narrative today). After assuring the Intendant that the Hurtshog understands Bastille’s motives for his actions and sympathizes, the nature of the events force him to take a public stand which is less friendly than his personal feelings.

They deliver a stiff note of protest from the Frankszonian Court concerning the Gallian security sweep. Not only does the Hurtshog view this as a serious violation of Frankszonian autonomy, but also, Beauphaup tells Bastille, the swift removal of the ladies removed the only sure way of investigating the murder at the Masquerade. It is obvious that the Lady Pettygree could have, at least, identified the victim and given them an idea as to his purposes. Kunegunde also reminds the Intendant, that as a personal confidant of the Hurtshog, his forces could have been utilized more safely and without arousing the latent pro-Germanian attitude of the merchants and craftsmen. Furthermore, the Gallian preemptive action within the city has meant that the real resistance leaders in the countryside and many of their forces are now either fled or in strongholds, whose reduction may not be worth the effort they would require.

Furthermore, Fettucine, the Italian dancing master whom the victim apparently knew, has taken refuge with Count Saucie, the Ambassador from Bologna. General Woad, on whose Black Skirts suspicion has inevitably fallen, has mustered his regiment and barricaded himself in an Estate beyond the walls. The Hurtshog understands that Broderick Woad had been at the Masquerade, but had rushed to his troops even as the victim was dying in the hall. Woad himself, is not Scots, but clearly knows something. However, the Jacobite emigre and his officers insist that they will only cooperate if “a certified representative of the Gallian Monarch” is present and participates in any investigation.

Beauphaup also personally advises General Bastille that he should order Rosenschnauz and Hottatrot to rejoin their troops post haste. While the quality and loyalty of both men and their troops is proven, Beauphaup feels that they would be better employed in the field. Unfortunately, since they are also old friends of the Hurtshog, Fahrtz has balked at making them resume their duties away from court, using their wounds as an excuse to keep their company. Both men, however, had shown vigor and quickness at the masquerade in their own ways, however, and Beauphaup believes that with the Gallian forces currently in Frankfurter, their presence is really unnecessary.

Kunegunde also requests that the Gallian troops continue their rigid security in the streets until their own constabulary can be rebuilt. Both men assure Bastille that Gallian participation in the day’s schedule of formal events is desired, but if Bastille wishes to remain away personally, this supposed rift might lure other disaffected elements into revealing themselves.

As the visitors leave, Bastille ponders their messages. He also holds a note from Phillipe: “The rebel Rosemary was at the masquerade and was at Beauphaup’s house this morning.” Given the count’s, ah, proclivities, a romantic attachment seems unlikely. Bastille wonders what plot the slimy intriguer is generating now.

Scene 3: Into the Maelstrom

As the Ladies Pettygree and Masquerade canter through the early morning mists with their martial escort, wagons are suddenly pushed into the road to block it! Phaulies Fusiliers form up behind the wagons, bayonets levelled, while Hussars dash from concealment to surround the troop!

Even as Lt. Gardier’s troopers lower their lances to break out of the trap, General Phaulie gallops up shouting at his troops to hold their fire! He dashes up to the Gallians with apologies on his lips when he is startled to see the ladies. “My Ladies!” he says, “what madness is this? We’ve been skirmishing with Hamburger and rebel remnants along the highway all night! You all are riding right through a battle!”

“It’s not the first time for them,” Lt. Gardier retorts. Then at Phaulie’s insistence, gives him a brief account of the night’s events.

Gen. Phaulie then requests a private word with Lady Pettygree. When he is assured that the lovely woman has the Hurtshog’s private communications for Charade, he declares that the safety of the ladies is more important than rounding up fugitives. He, himself, takes two squadrons of Hussars to act as outriders for the Gallians and escorts them at speed to the bridge at Nidda, parting from them at sunrise. Even so, as they ride rapidly through the muddy lanes, the Gallians note the signs of recent troubles, a few burning barns, cottages with their windows shot out and doors smashed, an inn heavily damaged by cannon balls, an unfortunate herd of cows mistaken for cavalry in the darkness, and similar scenes meet them ... though parties of peasants under control of soldiers are already working to gather the few human bodies from the places where darkness had hid them.

Gen. Phaulie tells the ladies that religious tensions in the area are contributing to the troubles. The Anglericans tend to be more receptive of Protestant alliances than the Later in the Day crowd, he assures them ... and they have the adherence of many tradesmen and country nobles, while the peasants and the Court tend to be much more in favor of the Catholic powers.

“There’ll be a drinking dirge tonight,” he tells them sadly, and explains that it is a formal toasting which must be done with inferior libations as a penance.

August 24, 2007 (12:18pm)


Gallia said...

The Nidda River Bridge
Scene 1 of 1
Narrator: Dawn. The Lancers de Saxe commanded by Lt. Gardier have posted piquets out a mile with the requisite number of mounted rider posts positioned in circular fashion back to the center. The ladies Masquerade and Pettygree arising are housed at a stone farm house near the bridge surrounded by the remainder of the lancers. Lt. Col. Enigma and Lt. Gardier are talking over a fire.
Enigma: "A red sky Gardier."

Gardier: "Oui, red sky at night, a sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning."

Enigma: "More inclement weather."

Gardier: "Oui Monsieur, perhaps before noon. Another muddy day. Well...."

Enigma: "Gardier, look to the east. Do you see?"

Gardier: "Oui Monsieur. The picquet rides round and round but no one is alarmed."

Enigma: "Then it must be our expected relief. My own soldiers."

Narrator: Sure enough. Within a half hour five brigades* of Royal des Carabiniers de la Garde arrive at the bridge and dismount. After a rest of two hours all turn westward onto the Coblenz Road.

And so dear reader we find Lt. Col. Enigma (formerly The Black Mask at the party), Lt. Gardier, the Lancers de Saxe, the Carabiniers and Ladies Masquerade and Pettygree with the latter's lady in waiting, Martha riding within with the important message for the Gallian Foreign Minister, l'Prince de Charade.

Along the road they are unexpectedly reinforced by the Saxe-Raschstein von Rutowski Chevaulegers released from duties at the last minute by l'Intendant Bastille from the Frankfurt Am Main garrison. Among them is the young Lord Charade, quite pleased to be away from the turbulence of the magazine city and its tribulations.

Ordre de bataille
Lancers de Saxe: 120 (1 esq.)
Carabiniers: 600 (5 brigades)
Rutowskis: 400 (3 esq.)

* In this unit a brigade is equivalent to a squadron.

Thus dear reader we have a picked cavalry force of 520 Saxons who are still aggrivated and highly motivated for vengeance by the loss of their country last season along with 600 armoured elite heavy cavalry. The whole commanded by the brave and severe Lt. Col. Enigma are heading for home via the Gallian magazine at Coblenz.

Bluebear Jeff said...

I tend to think of the wars of religion being in the previous century . . . but you are undoubtably correct in your assumption that it still plays an important role in our period.

-- Jeff

Gallia said...

Arrival At Coblenz, Germania
Narrator: In spite of the expected inclement weather, rain, high winds and muddy roads, Lt. Col. Enigma pushed the brigade of horsemen unmercifully toward Coblenz. During the afternoon of the third day, all safely arrived within the city walls.

Coblenz you may recall is the magazine supplying the Duc de Broglie's Armee now at Minden to the north. Once again we find our ladies within the walls of a garrisoned town. After some rest, they will procede to Versailles with the note for the Prince de Charade of the Gallian Foreign Ministry from the government of Frankzonia. What does it say?

But what of Lt. Col. Enigma, his Royal des Carabiniers and the Saxe-Raschstein Chevaualegers? Will they continue to Versailles or return to Frankfurt Am Main? Methinks the Lt. Col. may have unfinished business there in cooperation with l'Intendant Bastille. But orders from Versailles, dispatches from de Broglie or even Lt. Chevert may intervene with a different destiny. Meanwhile let us allow our weary travelers to rest, sup, drink and let tomorrow, take care of tomorrow.

Allow me dear reader to pour you a generous glass of Chevert wine.

Gallia said...

For Jeff, et al,
My Saxe-Raschsteiners (Saxony) are not upset about religious matters. Rather, Der Alte invaded and took over half of Saxe-Raschstein last year in the autumn. Following that, the foe pushed into The Imperium (Austria) and was defeated at Lobositz (November, 2006 BIG Battalion game at Rock Con). Like the historical Saxons still being enraged at their treatment in the War of Austrian Succession, my Saxe-Raschsteiners are equally distressed and looking for vengeance. They are puzzled why Saxe-Bearstein remains neutral when Lobositz was fought on their ground. I am not puzzled since Jeff explained he wants to remain neutral for the BLOG. And that's okay too.