Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Interlude At Sea

Narrator: After the “Versailles Preludes”, the reader was left in the dark. Hopefully more than a brace of you have been anticipating the morning of the 3rd. instant when Gallian Admiral Suthren’s two squadrons arrived at their destination. Did you contemplate too, the orders for the King’s nephew, Lt. Général Pierre l’Duc de Galantier, aboard l’Vengeance (40) and why he was abruptly ordered from imminent service in the opening of the 1758 campaign in Germania to sail the seas? Let me start a little farther back in time. It is the 2nd of March aboard the flagship, Impenetrable (74). The Admiral and Galantier….

Admiral Suthren
Lt. Général Pierre l’Duc de Galantier
Grenadier Capitaine Tojour
Van Olsen
Flag Capitaine Aigle
Tradgardland Guard


March 2, 1758

Suthren: “I am honored to attempt your plan Galantier. It is bold, strong and has the promise of success.”

Galantier: “Oui. Merci but I am the one honored by your approbation. Our little play beckons success but fate or destiny will perhaps laugh. Still, let’s go over the plan for the last time.

Suthren: “The isles of little horses. The Shetlands. Here on the map is the capital of Lerwick lieing roughly at the center of the main island. Notice the bastion of old Fort Charlotte in the town and the fortification named Broch of Clickimin to the southwest. Surely the Tradgardland rebel Van Olsen has batteries sited to fire from these to the eastward into Bressay Sound and possibly onto Bressay Island slightly to the eastward. We must be careful not to expose my ships needlessly so early in this campaign. We have it on good authority from the fishing boat Captain Grant we spoke to yesterday that the prisoner is held inside the Broch of Clickimin.

Galantier: “At 4am the ships boats of l’Vengeance will row ashore beyond this point, here, landing the grenadier and piquet compagnies of Battalion Albany in the small bay, an inlet really. We will quietly assemble and then be led by the Monsieur Grant to the Broch of Clickimin storming it from the rear. The guard is said to be disheartened and will not fight. I hope this to be true and that the prisoner will be given up without bloodshed. Afterwards we race back to the boats and row hard for l’Vengeance.”

Suthren: “At sunrise the two squadrons will enter the sound. Half from the north and half from the south saluting the town thereby removing their attention from inland to seaward. I will send in a ships boat demanding to speak with Van Olsen to explain the situation and to safeguard our interests. The supply vessels will remain far offshore mimicking a third squadron of warships. Indeed, it will not be difficult as they are as we say en-flute. This show of strength will I hope collapse the rebellion especially when Van Olsen learns the prisoner has been rescued. Now let us a drink a toast….

Later: 6:00am March 3

Narrator: As the sun begins to illuminate the cold northern sky Galantier’s body of elite fighting men consisting of 43 grenadiers with 41 piquet’s from Battalion Albany seconded by 16 shipboard marines have arrived at a low hedge line behind the Broch of Clickimin and….

Grenadier Capitaine Tojour: “Monsieur l’General, the sally port gate is wide open. No one appears to be present. We could…."

Galantier: “Capitaine, charge the sally port with your grenadiers and the marines. The piquet’s will remain here, give covering fire and a provide a place to rally back to if in need.”

Narrator: Moments later Tojour and his men are inside the fortification. Only one Tradgardland guard is present. He is prostrate across a bed in a cell perhaps in a drunken stupor or some other collapse of excess. Tojour sends for Galantier who arrives in moments.

Tojour: “Tradgardlander! Awaken!”

Guard: “Noooooh.”

Galantier: “SOLDIER! I command you to awaken.”

Narrator: The guard sees the uniform of a general. He sits up, blinking and finally stands.

Galantier: “Where is SHE, the Tradgardland daughter of your Duke?”

Guard: “She has gone Sir. The rest of the garrison here defied our commander Van Olsen, took her to a secluded cove and boarded a small fishing vessel to return her to Tradgardland proper. That is all I know. Alizoniah is gone, Sir, Your Generalship.

Even Later: 7:00am March 3

Narrator: The sun has barely risen in this high northern latitude as the Gallian squadrons enter the Brassey Sound heading for the town of Lerwick. One from the north and one from the south. The eight 74s are cleared for action in case of trouble when….

Flag Capitaine Aigle: “Monsieur l’Admiral, there is something unexpected. Here is my perspective glass. It appears a squadron of warships from Hesse-Engleburg are in harbor. Their flag flies over that of Tradgardland on Fort Charlotte.”

Suthren: “What have the fates allowed Monsieur l’Capaitaine? What indeed? I think Galantier was right when he said fate or destiny might laugh at our efforts. Hoist the King’s Naval Ensign and lets go in.”

Narrator: Fate or destiny? Random chance or plan? Mischief or madness? All the Gallians ashore know is that Alisonia is not on Shetland bound for her homeland. Suthren knows the warships of another nation are in harbor apparently subduing the rebel Van Olsen. But dear reader the Scottish reel is not played out. For what of Galantier ashore at Broch of Clickimin. Indeed what will Suthren make of the squadron of Hesse-Engelburgers anchored close into shore? He has no orders for this eventuality. Finally, if I may discombobulate your senses more, this is only half of the Gallian plan of campaign and as before when I said certain events were in the past, so too are these. Indeed, the second portion of the orders for Suthren and Galantier are already operative. But I am ahead of myself. Let us first find out what is next ashore in Shetland before the Finalé.


Bluebear Jeff said...

"Curiouser and curiouser" . . . what lies ahead?

And what of Lady Cherish Masquerade?

-- Jeff

Snickering Corpses said...

And one must wonder, having departed in such haste from their home port, if the Hesse-Engelburg squadron are equipped with any orders for dealing with outside arrivals. We shall see!