Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A brouhaha


Even as the landlord got his footing in the archway, dark shapes boiled out of several stalls. The Croat fired his musketoon and dropped one, but this drew a fusillade from the attackers’ pistols. The Croat was slammed against the arch and slid down with a groan. The dark figures continued their rush resisted by only the landlord.
Now it was true that the landlord had had little military training, other than the standard required of all the local citizens, but the peaceful reputation of his inn rested largely on the fact that the landlord was a pieceful man, in that other’s picked up the pieces etc.... The assailants ran into a much more muscular wall than they’d counted on. A fist used to easily handling fifty pound hams can also usually lift someone off their feet if properly placed just on the jaw. The landlord managed to knock another into the muck before a clubbed pistol behind the ear also dropped him onto the pavement.
By this time, however, the Prioress Hildegarrd had pulled two pistols from her robes and leapt into the gap. Her shots spun one assailant around and caused another to duck back. This left one lonely fellow to try to dagger the “nun” as he surged past. Unfortunately for the luckless man, he stumbled over the bodies in his way, and as Hildegarrd caught him, another Croat’s musketoon was discharged directly into his face.
More cloaked figures charged out of the common room while everyone seemed to be focused
on the fight in the stable archway. Their pistols dropped another Croat and hit one of the “nuns” in the shoulder. While the little priest dove under the coach, three of the nuns fired back into the charge. This intimate discharge quickly piled three bodies onto the porch and momentarily stopped the charge. Suddenly, the “nuns” displayed broad bladed scimitars and with a wild ululation they rushed their foe. These men rapidly redeployed back into the common room and managed to bar the door just as the first extremely large nun crashed into it.
Windows in the upper floor now slammed open, and men leaned out to fire into the courtyard. Another Croat was dropped and one of the horses began to plunge out of control. Two of the nuns quickly ran behind the coaches to cover. These new assailants, however, had overlooked the four men on top of the carriage whose shotguns abruptly blew the assailants back into their rooms.
In one room, a young man looked at the his two bleeding companions and anxiously began to try to help them. In the other, however, the third man counted on the moment when the enemy would be reloading and leaned out the window to take aim. His folly was completely corrected by four pistols fired from less than ten yards away ... the coachmen had plenty of back up firepower!
There was now a wild volley from the windows of the common room, and the nuns on the porch quickly took cover. The landlord, however, by now had risen from his feet, and the assailants in the stables had fled to their horses. “This way!” he shouted to “Sister” Hildegarrd and the now dismounted Croat. Bursting through a side door into the kitchen, he grabbed utensils from the kitchen table and dashed into the common room, taking the band clustered around the windows from behind!
The landlord’s furious scream as he charged was punctuated by the discharge of Hildgarrd’s pistol and the Croat’s musketoon. The confused assassins tumbled over each other as they tried to face this new assault. Which held one hapless man steady in front of the landlord’s flung cleaver.
The assassins discharged their own weapons into the smoke and drew their swords. They began to try to spread out, kicking tables out of their way. At this moment, an explosion ripped apart the door to the courtyard! As the “nuns” pile screaming into the room, a few men manage to escape, but most throw down their swords and yield.
As the landlord and his new guests search about the inn, they find two dead assailants and one unconscious in the stable yard; one dead and one injured upstairs; two dead and one injured on the porch; and four injured and three healthy captives in the common room. Alas, two of the Croats and on of the nuns were also dead. Two other Croats, including the veteran leader, were injured and two of the “nuns” were also bleeding. The little priest proved to be skilled surgeon and the wounded would probably all survive.
Nothing could be gained from the captives, unfortunately, other than “the Holy Office” had dispatched them to intercept “the Apostate” who was believed to be traveling disguised as a Croat to some anti-Papist plot in the Rhineland. The Croats were as confused as the landlord, and the “nuns” who were obviously Turkish eunuchs, weren’t conversant with enough German to illuminate anything. The four coachmen just demanded more beer and roasted pork.
Bernard was found sporting a bruised bump on his head and bundled into one of the stalls with a pregnant mare. The priest cautioned the landlord that Bernard’s seemingly minor injury could be more dangerous. “One cannot cauterize the brain,” he admonished the landlord.
“Funny,” the landlord responded, “all these years I thought somebody had already cauterized his brain.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another family emerges:

Inspired by the presence of the Iznplotz regiments in Germania (see Alte Fritz' blog), I'm generating another military dynasty to help the poor Hurtshog.

Hauptman Izzent Plotzt, son of,
Col. Ishent Plotzt , son of,
Brig. Shnot Plotzted, (rummored to be a son of a Bysshe from England) ...

It was very wet night ...

As v. Mack hastened down the stairs, he heard a noise and bustle from the ground floor. Quickly taking a post at a landing, he glared down at the figures milling around in the foyer. To his surprise, he recognized the long absent Comte l' Beauphaup. However, Mack's professional eyes noticed that instead of the usual cluster of fancily dressed youth, the accompanying men had the hardened look of seasoned dragoons.
Mack quickly slid down the hall to the doors of his employers and gave the special knock.
"Wonderful!" the Duches v. Kern declared as he stepped in. "Have you noticed that Frankszonia has FINALLY decided to officially recognize our presence?"
"Perhaps," Mack responded coolly, "they decided they'd need to while we were still present."
"Oh, I wasn't planning on leaving without SOME sort of meeting," The Duchess replied icily.
"It's not your plans, but those of Louis and Hugh d'Vile I'm worried about," Mack responded.
Somerussian Guyovitch lurched to his feet. "Where?"
"Close, and with a team for backup."
"They mean to get all of us!" the Duchess gasped.
Mack's trained ears noticed the tread of cavalry boots crossing the floor above them.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'd started to game the situation at the inn ... using a fudged version from Two Hour Wargames black powder rules. However, the game suffered a major cat-astrophe.
On the plus side, he did NOT jump on the battle board, but carefully avoided it like the good cat he is.
On the disaster side, his big fluffy tail ... ...
I'll need to fudge up something to replace the floor plan and hopefully find the other figures ...

Before I forget, however, initial moves reveal that the "nuns" are Turkish eunuchs ... armed with pistols and scimitars. The coach men are excellent shots, having pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The Croats are old soldiers ...

The assassins are NOT mercenaries, but fanatics and volunteers and of enough income level to dash about the continent on wild escapades ... hence, though they outnumber the target, they are much less well co-ordinated. They are talented and eclectically armed. At the moment, three are down in the porch of the common room, while others fire through the shutters ...

The rush from the stables has knocked down the old Croat and the innkeeper, but the struggle gave the "prioress" and "Sister Hermenigarde" time to engage. One of the other Croats is down and out (leaving three still up and mounted, though their muskets are now discharged). Two of the "nuns" are injured, and two have tried to take cover under or behind their coach. The coachmen have exchanged shots with attackers in upper windows ... the coachmen are all right so far, and the effect of their fire isn't known in the yard yet ...

The innkeeper, though knocked down, is not out, and is about to go into berserkergang ....

Of course, nobody has actually SEEN the Apostate yet ....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Meanwhile, back in Frankfurter ....

Von Mack, sitting near a window in a quiet cafe near the temporary residence of his nobles, observes a large man striding through the dark puddles of the wet night. That can only be Moosehunter, he thinks when the figure suddenly stops in a bit of shadow and seems to look directly at his window. Then, with a quick sideways jerk of the head down the street, the large man strides into the rain.
v. Mack quickly rises and tosses a coin to the barman, grabs his coat, and hurries out into the street. Moosehunter has vanished, as V. Mack expected, but a quick whisper from a sodden, late night vendor asks, "Some goat cheese, meine Herr? It's quite fresh, and there's more to be had at the Sign of the Broken Flute."
"Goat cheese?" v. Mack asks, then comments, quietly, "this looks more like some Muenster."
"There be plenty of monsters on the street tonight," the vendor responds. Then he quickly crosses the street, turns a corner, and vanishes.
V. Mack looks at the cheese in his hand, and notices the paper in which it is wrapped. He hurries back to his rooms and presses the paper against the chimney of his lamp to read "3 + karl v". Rapidly snatching up a case from his luggage, v. Mack hurtles out of his room towards the quarters of the V. Kerns.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Bell Rings

The landlord jerked awake behind his bar as the gate bell rang. Who would bother? The gate would not be barred this early, even though there was no custom to speak of on such a horrible night. Cold rain, dark cold rain, about what you’d expect at the end of winter, he thought. At least there’s no lightning.
The bell rang again, and there was pounding on the gate.
The landlord’s comments revealed his Platt Deutsche origins as he grabbed a lantern off one of the wooden pillars and trudged out into the rain. “Are you crippled?’ he shouted into the night. “The bar isn’t dropped yet!” Then, in the swaying shadows, he noticed that a barrel had rolled against the gate somehow. Between his rich, lowland comment on the situation, he assured the unseen guests that he would quickly remedy things. His language became even more florid when he realized that the barrel was from today’s shipment of Italian wines ... and he’d need every drop, he had, if his guesses about the strange crowd in the back rooms was correct. Had to be a mercenary band from Italy ... Italian officer, Spanish troopers, and God knows what else. They’d retired too early, but he’d wager that they’d be out for refreshment before the last bell rang. Mercenaries were always notoriously thirsty!
As he bent for keg, however, the landlord suddenly stopped an peered through the gate window. Armed and mounted men? Before he dashed back inside to raise an alarm, however, he spotted the two coaches. “Who are you all?” he asked. “Where on this d-m-d night are you headed?”
“The Prioress Hildegarrd from St. Kunnegunde’s,” was the heavily accented reply. “They’re being sent to start a ladies’ home in Bravaria somewhere.”
“Okay,” the landlord grumbled as he rolled the keg away. “Come on in, and I’ll rouse the ostler. Bernard!” he shouted. “Bernard! Look lively! We’ve got another herd of pf—ing horses, and you’ll have to find room for them.!”
The convoy rattled onto the paving stones of the inn’s yard, and some of the coachmen sprang down to place steps at the doors facing the inn. A small wiry man in priest’s garb came out first and helped down the prioress. The landlord greeted her fulsomely, while noting that she seemed much more plump than he’d expected ... ah well, he had some good hams which could be prepared quickly.
“Where’s the ostler?” one of the mounted guards asked.
“With tonight’s rain,” the landlord grumbled, “he’s probably sound asleep. He has had another large batch of horses to bed down earlier tonight.”
The men and the nuns exchanged quick looks at this. “Will you have enough room, then?” the priest asked in a reedy voice. The nuns in the second coach stopped dismounting and listened worriedly.
“Sure, they were a cheap bunch and bedded down together like they were back in the barracks,” the landlord responded grumpily. “Bernard!” He shouted again.
One of the Croats dismounted. “Perhaps,” he commented, “we will go together and rouse the stables.”
“I am so sorry,” the landlord apologized. “I am completely mortified, Mother,” he groveled to the prioress. “Alas, meine Herr,” he continued to the soldier, “I’m afraid you have the right. How long have you been in service?”
“Excuse me?”
“There’s hardly any accent in your Deutsche,” the landlord said. “Usually, that means a veteran in the Merry Teaser’s service.”
“Her father’s, actually,” the soldier responded.
“I’m afraid he was the last of the old emperor’s,” the landlord sighed. “Well, we’ve a reputation of being a quality but orderly stopping point for soldiers now for almost a hundred years.
“Sisters, the common room is just through that porch,” he continued. “My maid will be glad to wait on you. We do have some good stew on, and if that runs out we can have some excellent ham cooked in just a few moments.” He turned then towards the stable, escorted by the soldier leading his horse.
In a moment, they’d splashed through the arch leading into the stable yard. The landlord threw open the large doors and shouted, “Bernard!”
There was no answer, but a couple of lamps were still lit and a water bucket was spilled in passageway. The landlord cursed, and started forward, but the soldier grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back. In the same motion, the soldier slipped his musket off his shoulder and stepped back into the archway while cocking it.
“What? What?” the landlord spluttered. His fear of armed bands rushed back over him, as he noticed that the other guards had spread out in the court and also now were prepared for combat.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Scene: a dark, somewhat dingy room lit by a single candle. Bundled shapes lounge or lay about on crude furnishings while their breath steams in the cold. Rain drums on the strake shingles, but the sound of a horse galloping up and stopping outside is still audible. Most of the bundles begin to move into a more upright stance, and there is a sound of metal sliding across leather.
Steps and muffled voices sound from a room beyond the door, followed by a quick rapping.
One man rises and slightly opens the door while another stands behind it.

"They've been spotted at the Hausenstein ford," a voice says quietly from outside.
One man in the center of the room speaks clearly but with an Italian accent, "were they able to cross?"
"Yes, my Lord."
"They're continuing on in this storm?"
"It looks like they're trying to get here."

A moment of quiet excitement and rustling figures follows until the lord asks, "How many and how long?"
"Looks like about a half dozen outriders and two coaches, my Lord. Given the condition of the road, they could be over an hour out, but normally it'd be about half an hour to here now."

The nobles stands up and begins to divest himself of the rug in which he'd been wrapped. A Spanish accent from the corner cautions, "Quietly, Gentlemen. Quietly. And no smoking. Wait for the bell."