Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mountain Dew (the plot thickens)

A get - together Scramble: part two

A few people came out of the house, but they did not come to greet the hikers. Instead, the girl placed her and on Emil’s sleeve, gave him a serious look and said, formally, “Welcome, von Reisling, to one of Frankszonia’s most sacred secrets, The Bock Spring.”
The people from the cottage doffed their hats, and as Emil followed suit, he saw that Hans had grounded his rifle in a veteran’s stance of attention. “Honored, I’m sure,” Emil said, “but why is it so sacred?”
“From here, Frankszonia arose,” the girl responded.
“Ja,” Hans continued. “Once, long ago, when the Electors came to crown a new Emperor, the best beer in the world was brewed from this water. The brewmaster Fhartz sent an entire wagon to them.”
“From that time,” one of the men from the cottage noted, “we Fhartzen have been enobled.”
“We Fhartzen?!?” Emil and one of the strangers exclaimed together. Even as they snatched for their pistols, however, the others reassured them.
“Do not fear, mein Herren,” the first speaker chuckled. “We are truly of the Resistance.”
“The dream of truly free Freistadt derived from the Imperial Receipt is not confined to just .my uncle,” the girl assured them.
“Your uncle?”
“The Hurtshog Stanken Fhartz zu Frankfurter,” she replied impishly.
“Ja,” chuckled Hans, “Our Rausen Marie, the Rose of the Resistance, is a Granddaughter of der Alte Hurtshog.”
“But,” Emil protested, “I know that his agents communicate regularly with the Gallians, and in spite of the hassles he’s caused other Gallian allies, he has provided troops and fought himself to protect Gallian supply routes.”
“The Hurtshog favors the Merry Teaser,” the speaker responded. “As long as there’s no hope of a Germanian nor an Imperial rescue, there’s no point in sacrificing Frankszonians.”
“Besides,” a lady smirked, “the Gallian depot is the best source of Gallian wines.”
“So, the Hurtshog pretends alliance to plunder the Frogs?” Emil asked.
“No, no,” the speaker grinned. “We replace the Gallian kegs with good Rhine wines, locally grown and legally paid for!”
“Of course,” Rose Marie laughs, “we’re careful that the gentlemen who drink their own estates vintages will get their own stuff.”
“Then the Resistance is a sham!” the other stranger shouted angrily.
“Hardly,” the speaker responded soberly, “and that’s why this meeting is necessary.”
“Most of our people hate an alliance with the Catholics,” the other woman said. “And most of the nobles resent the Gallian presence visciously. Now that the imbecile Bastille has removed the Hurtshog, they’re getting ready to act.”
“Without Stanken, we doubt that Broderick Woad will commit his men to the field,” the speaker continued, “and without Hottatrot, a lot of the Frankfurters will drag their heels in fighting their own cousins. We won’t be able to take Frankfurter, nor would we have nearly enough people to actually capture the depot.”
“But we can probably burn a lot of it,” Rose Marie eagerly suggested, “and we can drive the Gallian lapdogs back into their master’s boudior!”
“Then the Gallians would be forced to pull back from Hesse Seewald,” the other stranger realized.
“And then,” Hans contributed, “the Resistance will need a clear path to run!”
“And that,” the speaker continued, “is where you two come in. The Mayor of Ausfhart needs to know that you can clear a quick route out of the valley into Hesse Fedora or even further north.”
“And what,” the other stranger asked, “is the Mayor’s role in this?”
“My Lord Bleah,” the speaker replied, “Stanken may be Hurtshog, but the real head of the family is always the Lord Mayor. Surely you Cheezers knew that!”
“I doubt,” Emil responded, “that our Britischerwurst can get any real strength this far behind enemy lines. Why even involve us?”
“Because Stagonia and the Kerns are about to relaunch their feud on our turf,” the other woman responded. “Neither the Alte Vater nor the Hurtshog care to risk the fall out taking out too many of our cousins. This is a rather pretty dance we’re trying to make here.”
“This stinks worse than Frog Cheese,” Lord Bleah complained. “The Frankszonians would still put nearly 15,000 men into the field if you tried to concentrate for a real strike.”
“Hardly, they’ve got nearly 4000 already committed to the Altenburg affair,” the speaker commented.
“And our agents don’t report to General Mayer,” the other woman continued. “They won’t have time to get their full strength into the field, even if they knew what was going to happen by tonight! Stagonia has some usefulness, it seems.”
“So,” Emil asks, “what is going to happen?”
“These are mountains, Captain,” the speaker responded. “They hide a lot, and city troops won’t be trying to patrol them when a hard freeze hits.”
“And the morning after,” Rose Marie exulted, “my beautiful bronze guns and their friends will be skating across the fields!”
“There is a big risk in that,” Emil cautioned, “Your heat, my lady, just might melt those fields and freeze the guns!”
She laughs as the men turn back to the cottage to begin more detailed planning.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Get-together: A scramble in the woods

A get - together Scramble

The pearl grey mist swirls about vague, pre-dawn shadows like rope curtains. On the tree dark slopes, two indistinct lumps slip across wet, black stones and stumble, muttering, over gnarled roots.
“Ha! Poachers!” storms out above them, and they jerk to an awkward halt.
“Not poachers,” protests one figure, “but protectors!”
“Ja, ja,” their captor sneers, “und you vill the little birdies from der Hurtshog’s kitchen protect, eh? Nein, Nein!”
“Nein, Feldwebel,” the other captive answers with a girl’s musical voice. “We keep therm from turning into Frogs!”
“Ach, meine kleine Blumen,” the large figure of a jaeger sergeant steps down among the black pillars and dripping branches. “We did not if you for sure were coming know. Welcome to our Ausfhart Wald und valley.”
“Hans, Hans,” the girl chides him and gives him a quick hug. “I have your hunts always enjoyed.”
“Ja, und we have your style of hunting always loved,” the big man chuckles. “Wo ist?”
He gestures to the other figure whose shoes were slipping off the rocks.
“Emil,” the girl responds gaily, “stop slipping away and come meet Hans Baher.”
Hans catches Emil a second from disaster and leans the smaller man into a tree.
“These boots,” Emil complains, “are too stiff for this work. Our little plotter here won’t let me just ride in!”
The sergeant grunts cheerfully, “only a dwarf on his mine pony could where we’re going ride anyway.”
“Where are we going then?” Emil asks.
“Come!” Hans moves across the slope, leaving a billowing wake in the fog. Emil and the girl stumble along behind him onto a narrow path which cuts across a cliff hidden by tall firs.
“Careful, meine Herr,” Hans cautions, as he leads them on a narrow goat path across the face of a cliff. “It can get slippery.”
Emil clutched the cliff face on his right as he wobbled through the fog. “Where will we meet the others,’ he asks after one slip sends a small rock bounding down among the firs.
Hans and Rausen Marie steadied him. “Already there, Mein Herr,” Hans reassured him. “Achtung! Be careful,” Hans continued and then seemed to vanish into the cliff!
Emil came to a startled stop, and the girl blundered into him. For a moment they tottered and swayed together, clutching each other, tree branches, and random loose rocks. The little tussle ended with a loud slap and a muttered apology. Their little stumble, however, had moved them far enough for Emil to see into the mall gorge which cut into the cliff. Of course the path turned suddenly into the gorge a few yards above the boulders over which a mountain stream splashed.
“First,” Emil mockingly grumbled, “you try to break my legs. Now you want me to break my neck and to ruin my boots?”
He was rewarded with a brief giggle.
Though the rocks were wet and mossy, they weren’t slimy. Emil was quietly grateful for that. Then after a few yards, the gorge twisted, and the crack climbed swiftly. The three stepped out onto a clear terrace. A few goats nibbled at bunches of grasses on the glade. The stream flowed from beneath a dilapidated cottage leaning against the upper cliff face. Emil’s companions removed their hats and nodded respectfully towards the cottage. “We’re here,” the girl said.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

At last, the camera is found!

My has a beloved Pentax which was rigged for close ups with special mounts and tripod ... it disappeared last spring, which removed a lot of the oomph for my postings.
I've played several interesting games, but with no photos didn't feel like posting them.
Today, after a major excavation (not kidding, it took her hours of heavy effort; and I was unable to help); she reports she has finally found it.
Looking forward to a much more active time next year!
Perhaps I can persuade her to shoot some of the figures I'd painted this fall ...
which would make me feel more like a participant in our grand enterprise.