Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mud on the Carpets!

Early morning and drizzly rain, the perfect time for a contingent of exhausted, mud splattered riders to crash through the various carts and stalls, splash across the square, and blunder into the palace grounds. As the guards snap to attention (trying to ignore the horrible splatters on their dress whites), the party squelches to a stop at the steps. They help each other dismount, demonstrating a degree of stiffness one would expect from courtiers and overweight nobles who had just endured a grueling, multi hour dash through increasingly foul weather.
As they clatter and clump (and I do mean clump) through the doors onto the marble floors and priceless carpets (much to the dismay of the maids who had just finished their morning cleaning). loud roars (commands distorted by fatigue) bring a few staff officers hurriedly into the hall.
"Your Grace!" one of the men exclaimed, "You almost beat your courier here, we're still gathering."
"Gathering? This late in the day? When we've troops in the field?" the Hurtshog was NOT pleased.
Another over large uniform came through the door. The soldier wearing it was obviously not as fussed about appearances as the first rush of staff officers. He also seemed to have slept, or perhaps not slept, in his uniform. "Your Grace," he mumbled with a polite reverence.
"Okay, what happened, Oscar?"
"Well, we were on that zombie hunt on the border with Maurice when there was a local mutiny."
"Yes, Sire, mutiny. We suspect Stagonian agents of course, but before we could prove anything, our flanking brigade ran into a war in Saxe-Bearstein."
"Saxe-Bearstein? Saxe-Bearstein!! Gut Got, Meine Herr, ve haff to haff SOME friends left in the world!" The Hurtshog's facial color was definitely getting florid.
"Nichts! Nichts!" Gen. Meyer reassured his old friend. "We were able to get in on our old friend's side. Already been some fighting down there. We've got Generals Schwann and Rosenschnauz in command of a good expiditionary force."
"By now," the one rider who somehow managed to still look daper intervened, "Gen. Hottatrot will be in command."
Gen. Meyer gave an inaudible sniff of disdain, but continued, "we have a slightly more serious situation though ..."
"I know, little Rausen Marie," the Hurtshog interjected. "I'm hoping we got here before anything happens."
"Well, we're not sure, ...." the old general seemed at lost for a moment how to continue ...
"The depot supplies may have been sabotaged again," one of the staff officers hesitatingly offered.

Meanwhile, Baron Bastille was angrilly shedding clothes in his quarters while staff gathered around. This being a family friendly forum, his comments on Frankszonian politics will not be shared. As his comments about Generals with Royal Favor being even less discrete and potentially harmful to his health, they will also be quickly smothered under a pillow.

Col. Mirage, however, was even more incensed than everybody else!
"Why .... I mean WHY haven't they been shot for mutiny?" he icily demanded.
"Well, Sir," the worried Major responded, "It's just happened, and honestly they do have a solid point. Besides, the powder is worthless ... it hardly ignites, let alone explodes."
"Okay," Mirage's expression seethed with not okay, "what happened."
"Well, the sergeants refused to make the cartridges because they thought the powder had been poisoned."
"To paraphrase, Sir, they said it smelled like a thousand cats had pissed in it."
"That would be some strong saltpeter," Mirage acknowledged. "Go on."
"Well, we tested a bit, and it just smoked and stank, .... And stank, .... and realy gagged us all, Sir."
"Has a chemist examined it yet?"
"That's in progress, Sir." Mirage interpreted this as a more urgent version of "we'll got on it right away, Sir." The major continued, "but I'd guess somebody took some charcoal kitty litter, ground it up, and mixed up the gunpowder in some of the barrels."
"Just how many is 'some,' Major?"
"About a hundred and thirty five, Sir," the happless officer answered. "We're still checking."
"Out of how many barrels checked, Major?"
"A little over a hundred and fifty, Sir."
*Good God! Merci or Merde, Generals Cheveret and Broglie need to know about this right away!* Col Mirage thought. Then he had an idea as how to spare himself the immediate fireworks. "Major," he ordered, "have your personel report to me. You must go instantly and report this to the generals!"
"Oui, M'sr," the Major managed a disciplined salute and withdrawel.

*Now,* Mirage wondered, *which Frankszonian noble has tons and tons of cats around ....?"


Fitz-Badger said...

Suffering Succotash, what a cat-astrophe! No pussyfooting around now, it's like herding cats. All these cat and mouse games going on in Frankzonia.
(hold your catcalls!)

Bluebear Jeff said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Stagonia has a vile cat litter business working hard on something like this.

-- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

Frankfurter said...

And since the Hurtshog is going to dispatch Graf Felix Fhartz and his wife to the inaugural ball in the Duchy Indur far to the north on the frigid Baltic Sea, Graf Felix is obviously innocent!
BTW, did you know that if a cat pisses on unslaked lime / lye the mineral will explode?

abdul666 said...

The experiment would be cruel for the cat.

Frankfurter said...

True, but that's how ammonia / lye explosives were discovered according to the myth ...