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Varcosian Border, Spring 608 The Juniper war was raging on, far on the East. According to the latest news, the Empire of Light was winning: the troops of Corrington had been routed, and were retreating towards the chief town of the Juniper Province, but everyone knew that they couldn’t keep it for long. The war was almost over. There were little celebrations in the westernmost provinces, as people had more urgent issues. Varcosian brigands had plagued the area for centuries, in a deadly hide and seek game with the local lords and their soldiers. However, as the Juniper War called too many dragoon regiments back to the East, those rascals soon stopped being an annoyance and became a real problem: it was no longer matter of a few stolen cows, but of farms set on fire and border hamlets sacked. At the time, Tristan Rimbaud was a young lieutenant at his first command. He had received the task of repelling “Bogdan” (the Varcosian brigands) beyond the border, but he soon realised that the mission was completely pointless: Bogdan moved back and forth the border as he pleased, escaping capture every time. After the first skirmishes, therefore, Tristan gathered all the available men and attacked the brigands directly in their bases. The campaign was successful, and “Bogdan” remained out of the lands of Oleon for several years. Crossing the border, however, was not without consequences: after the protests of the Varcosian ambassador, Tristan was relieved of his duties and transferred to New Oleon… a punishment only on paper, since he received a medal an important command in the Marines. Apparently, bands of Salleeki pirates were creating troubles, but Oleander response was complicated by international borders… From left to right: -Front 1) Armoured guard: some rural areas of the Eranos province had remained behind in the military innovations. The guards of some noble lords, therefore, are equipped as they were 100 years before: swordsmen wearing morion and heavy armour are not an uncommon view. 2-4) Eranos chasseurs: regular line infantry is stationed in the large Western Forts along the Varcosian border. Most of the fights against brigands and overambitious Varcoast boyards, however, are fought in the woods by light infantry units. 3) Lieutenant Tristan Rimbaud: second son of an ancient but relatively irrelevant noble family of Western Oleon; he could either choose the clergy or the army, as his elder brother will inherit title and estates. He choose the latter and, after attending the military academy, he was assigned to the Varcosian Border, near to his native lands. 5) Arbalétrier: while antiquated and difficult to maintain, a crossbow can be as powerful as a musket. Almost disappeared from the regular army, this weapon is still used by militias in some rural areas. -Back 1) Chasseur à cheval: light cavalry, equipped with sabre and carabine. Chasseurs a cheval can fight both on horse or dismounted but, differently from dragoons, they are essentially cavalry soldiers. In the western provinces, where border skirmishes are more common than real battles, those soldiers are trained to fire from horseback, something quite unusual in the Madrician kingdoms. 2) Garde-chasse: the role of game wardens is usually non military, mainly patrolling public woods and noblemen’s hunting grounds against poachers and brigands. These men, however, are skilled horsemen and excellent marksmen, who know the Western Forests as their own pockets; therefore, during wartime, they are enlisted as scouts and explorers. From left to right: 1-2) Varcosian brigands: brigands wear traditional costumes, often including peculiar cloth hoods and long moustaches. While most of the loot consists of livestock, on lucky days they can steal a statuette or a golden goblet from a temple. 3) Brigand chief: each band gathers around a charismatic leader, sometimes a lesser nobleman, a village chief or even a priest. He usually wears more elegantly than his men, with colourful clothes, silver buckles and plumed hats. 4) Varcosian brigand: most bandits have antiquated firearms and little gunpowder to waste. Therefore, they always have a wide array of knives and axes. 5) Armed peasant: not all the bandits are full-time brigands. Many of them are simple peasant who join the brigands for a while, hoping to steal enough to repay a debt or to cope with a bad harvest season. 6) Bowman: a bow costs less than a musket, and can be built by any craftsman with minimal tools. Bows are therefore often seen along the Varcosian border, in the hands of both hunters, bandits and even irregular soldiers. ——————— As most of my bricks are still in the form of Breshaun port, I built a small figbarf and expanded a little bit the past of my main character. “Bogdan” for Varcoast brigands should be something like nickname “Charlie” for the Viet Cong or “Fritz” for German soldiers.