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  1. The evacuation has begun and the people of Malto has gathered at the docks to be shipped out. Most of the populace is anxious to leave and is eagerly pushing and showing to board the boats that are to take bring them aboard the awaiting vessels. Corlander troops are struggling to maintain order, unaccustomed to such temperamental people. Despite Eslandian promises, many Maltoans are still worried that staying will mean risking prosecution and plunder, which has raised their Mardierian tempers somewhat. However, all in all, they are grateful to the Corlanders and willing to listen, so sofar, no serious incidents have arisen. One of the waiting vessels is the Red Friar, an ancient cog of Balondian origin, and the first of the transit boats is just reaching her now, with the captain and don Isaac Montoya ready to welcome the refugees aboard. The Red Friars are an order of sea-borne monks from Balondia, formerly of great importance to the Balondian navy. However, their warlike nature has long since been forgotten (or so it is said) and now they sail the seas as merchants, raising money for charitable purposes. Their ship, aptly named "The Red Friar", was one of the last Balondian warships built before cannons made their debut as the primary offensive weapon of naval combat. This becomes evident in the fore and aft platforms well suited for archers or crossbowmen, with shields mounted for cover. The monks has kept her as good as new by continual care, and she is one of the last of her kind to still sail the seas. While old fashioned and slow, she is a very stable sailor, even in rough seas, and will ensure a safe and comfortable journey to Alicentia for the refugees. As always, C&C is welcome. It was fun to build a ship of a different era.
  2. Malto was the smallest of the three Mardierian settlements on Isla de Medio and the one least visited by the upper classes. The negligence and arrogance of the Mardierian elite early on resulted in enmity and some degree of silent unrest from the main populace. During the recent war with Eslandola, Malto has suffered heavy shelling from both field artillery, mortars, and warships, as well as some Garveyan bomb vessels, which has left many of the buildings scarred and damaged. Additionally, as the Mardierian army evacuated, many buildings and stores were set ablaze to avoid anything of value falling into the hands of the enemy. This scorched earth policy served to sow further discontent from the populace, main parts of which were both unable and unwilling to flee to other Mardierian colonies. While the smallest and most plebeian of the cities, its strategic location has made it the main harbour of the Mardierian colony. Fearing reprisals from their new Eslandolan overlords, and the natives who the Mardierian forces are said to have savagely repressed, former Maltoan citizens and refugees from the other settlements have gathered in the ruins of Malto on the north of the Island. Their homes and crops burned, they are left with no where else to go. Former Mardierian Captain Giovanni Lorenzini, foreseeing the plight of his fellow countrymen before the Mardieran withdrawal, has deserted the Mardierian army and now attempts to safeguard his people. Feeling abandoned by Mardier, and fearful of Eslandola, he has turned to the Empire of Corrington for help. Much concerned about the civil rights and safety of the refugees, the crown of Corrington has set in motion Operation Pax Corlandia. This operation aims to establish an independent neutral zone on Isla de Medio in which those disowned by their former masters can seek safety from political prosecution, starvation, looting, and the elements, and establish a peaceful existence. Established on the ruins of Malto, it will be known as Nova Malto. To secure the status of the settlement, significant forces have been committed, both naval and army, most notably a full regiment of the Queen's Mardierian Legion, who has been selected as suitable to protect a populace mainly consisting of former Mardierian citizens. Marching in by Christian West Passing two damaged buildings a section of Corlander troops is being celebrated by the locals and refugees as liberators on their way towards the main square, where the following statement will be read out: "People of Malto, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Anetta of Corrington, hereby declares the settlement of Nova Malto and the surrounding territories neutral ground and extends the full protection of her armed forces, navy and army, to its continuing existence. However, putting aside narrow gains, Nova Malto shall remain independent of the Crown and under its own governance, by the office of a locally elected governor, answering only to the citizens. The governor will be required to act within the stipulations set down in this statement and its accompanying treaties to secure continued neutrality and perpetual attendance to the civil rights of the populace. Nova Malto will remain open for any refugee or settler of any nation, unless explicitly deemed a threat to the neutrality and safety of the settlement. Refugees will be offered the same security and convenience as existing citizens. Until elections can be held, Captain Giovanni Lorenzini will hold the office of governor, his most important task being organising the relief efforts in cooperation with Corlander forces, and consequentially to hold proper and fair elections to either affirm his mandate or find a successor. Her Majesty will be watching developments carefully to ensure all obligations are fulfilled to her satisfaction. To ascertain it so neutrality, Nova Malto shall refrain from raising any military forces, including, but not limited to, militia, irregular forces, or naval assets. A reasonable constabulary force is excepted from these rules. Security will be ensured by the continued presence of a permanent Corlander garrison, currently commanded by Major William Bradley, as well as the additional naval and army assets necessary at any point in time. As a neutral protectorate of Corrington, the port of Nova Malto will be perpetually open to vessels of all nations. Visiting warships will be moored under the guns of Nova Malto to safeguard against any hostility, and shore leave will be strictly regulated to ensure a minimum of trouble. The Governor, the commandant, and the Crown of Corrington each reserves the right to, at any given time and without explanation, to deny any vessel or person access to the port, or any communications with shore, should it be deemed necessary to uphold the neutrality and safety of the territory and its citizens, and to take any measures consistent with its charter to ensure its continued existence. Her Royal Majesty grants her best wishes for the safety and well-being of the citizens of Nova Malto and trusts that you will hold the ideal and principles on which it has been established in the highest regard, serving as an example for others to follow. To relieve you of your immediate troubles, vessels are, as we speak, unloading provisions and medical supplies, offered directly from her Majesty's Royal stores. Long live Nova Malto. Long live the Queen." However, words are not sufficient to alleviate the hardships of war. Elsewhere in Nova Malto, Corlander troops are already hard at work. The Mardierian army left almost nothing intact when they withdrew the Isla de Medio, burning settlements and crops, destroying all critical infrastructure and taking anything of value they could carry. One of the most immediate tasks for the Corlander troops deployed on Operation Pax Corlandia is the provision of basic necessities to the remaining population. They have started on two of the most pressing priorities for the fledgling refugee camp at Nova Malto; access to clean drinking water and food security. Repairing the Well by Ayrlego Drinking water for the settlement of Malto had been serviced by a series of wells that draw uncontaminated water from deep aquifers underground. Mardierian troops had smashed these wells and attempted to foul them by dumping debris in them. Here a section of Royal Marines clears and repairs one of the larger wells. Ploughing the Fields by Ayrlego Re-establishing crops will take longer, but work has already began on ploughing and planting fields that had been allowed to go fallow due to the conflict. Here Royal Marines are assisting a farmer and his young son plough and plant a field with corn. BurnedOut3 by SilentWolf Legos In addition to water and food, shelter was another necessity for those left behind. The destruction by fire had been severe in some parts of the town and countryside. BurnedOut1 by SilentWolf Legos However, some of the building had not suffered structural damage. Boarding up a few windows and roofs would enable some of the scorched houses to be used as temporary residences even if a bit smoky. BurnedOut2 by SilentWolf Legos The troops are busy getting houses prepared for temporary residences as well as aiding in bringing the belongings of the refugees to their new abodes. More buildings will need to be constructed soon...
  3. Young lieutenant Parker had his orders. He was not, under any circumstances, to interfere. Cooke had been very clear on this matter, furrowing his brow and eying the young man with great gravity. And as if that hadn't been enough, Montoya had been going on at length about the impossibility of interfering with Eslandian politics.Nonetheless, Parker had stressed these orders to their very limit, imploring the general to reconsider his plan, but to no avail. General Van Heyten was of the old guard. The very old guard, Parker thought, looking at the general overlooking the operations from the shore. He seemed to embody every Eslandian stereotype Parker had ever heard. Arrogant and pompous, too much spit and polish, and having surrounded himself with a set of officers more concerned with gaining the favour of their general than getting the job done, it was obvious that Eslandolas officers had long been accustomed to peace. Parker had been met with a patronizing arrogance, when he had suggested that perhaps reconnoitering ahead to estimate enemy forces, and perhaps reconsidering the landing spot to find a place more suitable for getting supplies and artillery on shore. "You lads know nothing of warfare - I lead men before you were even breached!" He had exclaimed with laughter. "One might even think you craven, young man." Parker had clenched his fist unconsciously and the general had noticed flash of anger in his eye, quickly adding "... had I not known otherwise, of course." The plan was folly. Parker had followed the meticulous planning and dash in execution of several landing operations while serving under Cooke and other Corlander commanders. Nothing at this scale, granted, but the challenges would, if anything, only be more insurmountable here. First of all, the surf. Landing troops here would be hard, not to mention getting the artillery train ashore. Taking a boat in here required navigating the surf through jagged stone reefs, and even with this accomplished, the risk of capsizing near shore still remained. Many powder charges would be wet and useless, should they even reach the shore. And it was likely to grow worse, judging by the barometer. Second, the enemy. Two minutes of surveying the shore through a spyglass had been all. Van Huyten had declared that the Mardierian forces was no more than a sergeant's guard, and that they would be swiftly overcome. Parker had pointed out that the terrain was perfect for an ambush, and that even a sergeants guard and a single gun would be able to hold out against a much larger force until reinforcements could arrive. Perhaps the ineptitude in choice of landing place would be their saviour? Surely, the Mardierians could not expect them to land here? They had dispatched a rider to the nearest garrison, as soon as the ships had closed with shore, though. Third, the element of surprise. Their ships had made no effort to approach the landing site unseen, parading up and down the coast for two days now. Parker would have sent in a small vessel to chose a beachhead (of which he had already identified several more suitable for the task), and then stood in under courses alone at first dawn. He had seen this done to great effect before, the attacking force being spotted only minutes before reaching shore. Last, supporting fire. The landscape here prevented any effectual fire from the ships to reach the enemy. Sand banks and reefs made it impossible for the squadron's larger ships to get close enough, and the smaller ones would have to fire over the heads of their own troops. But he was not to interfere. His orders were clear. He could only watch and take note of what he saw. Parker was not shy, but he admitted to himself that he was happy the general had ordered him to stay on board the transport. One thing was risking his life for Queen and country under competent commanders, another to do so for foreigners under a... Parker corrected himself and observed the shore. The Garveyan marines, placed under command of van Heyten for this mission, seemed to share this view, as they held back their boats outside the surf. They were meant to be reserves, as the general had thought it only right that the Eslandian vanguard took the honour of the victory. However, they seemed reluctant reserves, unwilling to cross the dangerously violent breakers near shore. Parker had heard them speak ill of the general and his plan, and seen the glances they had given him. Their lieutenant seemed less than pleased with his new commander, and Parker doubted they would ever land, even though they were much more competent in handling their boats than the greenies. It was a slaughter. Parker could hardly make out the details, but he saw a boat capsize, another about to, and two boats collide, tipping over the one. Apparently, the sergeants guard had been waiting for them, for presently, two field guns opened fire on close quarters, spewing grapeshot into the unprepared landing force. Was that the general going down? Smoke was obstructing his view, but something surely happened. For most of the boats, it was too late to turn back, although they would be unlikely to reach the shore unscathed anyway. The battle was hopeless, its outcome as hopeless as the plan that had led to it, and apart from the Garveyans, who had stayed back, the invasion force was lost. Not much to write about, really, but such was his task. "Lessons in amphibious landings from the Isla de Medio by lt. Parker", would be grim reading for the admiralty back home, but it had to be written. So were his orders, after all... Hope this makes the cut. If there is any doubt, this is for Mardier! ;) As always C&C welcome. :)
  4. "Mr. Gardener!" Montoya exclaimed, delighted to see his old shipmate. "Doctor! How pleasant to see you well!" the young man replied, his voice carrying over the crack of sails and rigging. "In fact, it is lieutenant now. And, should you wish to oblige me immmensely, you could call me captain, being in command of this here fine vessel!" "Captain Gardener it is, then - And what a prodigiously fine little ship she is!" "Indeed she is, although some may call her a yacht, rather than a ship, not being ship-rigged... But a wonderful sailer, nonetheless." Gardener said with a smile. "Bah, you sailors and your jargon!" he said, shaking his head. "How is the wind for Celestia?" "As sure as your hand during surgery, Doctor! Hop on board just this moment and we will be right off. Been lying to here for long enough now!" Montoya had long since had enough of the fighting on Isla de Medio, or Isla de Victoria, as the Eslandians seemed to call it, and as the field hospital was established and would function without his participation, he had written to Cooke to have transport arranged. And while it had taken some time, Cooke had arranged for the Pioneer, under the command of his former midshipman, now Lieutenant, Gardener, to pick up Montoya on its way to Celestia. As it happened, the Pioneer was despatched to bring supplies and mail to Major Allcocks expedition on Celestia, whereafter it be at Allcocks command to support the expedition in any way he may wish. Montoya was happy to leave. Eslandian and Marderian wounded alike all seemed confident on victory, and the battle would be bloody. He was tired of war, and rumours of both Marderian and Garveyan (on the side of Eslandola) reinforcements suggested an escalation of the conflict. Soon, it would be full blown war. The diplomatic grapevine was buzzing with tension. The Pioneer is a yacht, a swift and manoeuvrable fore-and-aft rigged vessel type recently developed in Altonia. Adept at sailing close to the wind, low draught, and easy to handle even by a small crew makes it perfectly suited for running communications both inshore and on the open seas. Several of the type has been commissioned by the Crown for the National Surveyor, the service in charge of charting the territorial waters of Corrington. Apart from small-arms, it is unarmed, not intended for warfare. On board, in the cabin, young Gardener asked Montoya a curious question. "Who was that fellow?" "Who?!" "Did you not notice the man behind the bushes? A native, it seemed..." Montoya was leaving from a small pier just outside the Fuerte Unido city wall. He wouldn't be sad to see the island disappear below the horizon, once more devoting himself to the natural sciences. ___________________________________________________________________________ A fun build, and one of my favourite landscape builds ever. Rigging the yacht did obscure most of the build, though, which is why you get a "ship-free" picture. The yacht is a class 2 F, under the current nomenclature, and may or may not be licensed. If the greenies want the property licensed, let me know. C&C is, as always, welcome.
  5. The MAESTRO's famous apple cider (produced by Felipe de la Manzana), has always been one of the favourite drinks of many soldiers. The Cider Shop in Breshaun is one of the most popular hot spots in that city. Due to the recent war between Eslandola and Mardier, the apple cider became a forbidden product for Mardierian soldiers. The past three years, La Sombra has been a smuggling paradise. But since the Eslandolan troops recently arrived on the island, the smuggling spots have been taken over by MAESTRO. For the smugglers, not much changed, except for the kinda products they are smuggling. The best fortified smuggling cabin became the temporary headquarter of MAESTRO on La Sombra. The whole smuggling paradise, would become the very popular "Smuggling Bay" where the ships nowadays anchor in front of Trador. These types of canoes are very popular by the smugglers. They are very fast, but still stable and they can transport a lot of goods. Although the job of smuggling can be very dangerous due the pointy rocks around La Sombra, and many smuggler have found their grave in those waters. However, a succesfull smuggling run, results in huge profits, which makes it worth the risk.... The temporary headquarters of MAESTRO on La Sombra, located at Trador ---- Thanks for reading! This will be licenced as a medium commerce (as the canoe itself will not be licenced as a ship)