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Found 33 results

  1. With a copy of the signed treaty calling for cessation of all hostilities in hand, Captain Brickleton thundered southward on his horse, throwing pebbles and rocks up in his wake. The Terraversans of Pamu, from whom he has been lent the horse, claimed it was the fastest mount available - and as Brickleton galloped at full speed for hours on end this appeared to bear fruit. He would seek out Colonel Allcock and attempt to stop Corrington's assault on Tarlor before it was too late ( @Ayrlego ). OOC:
  2. Dawn was just breaking as Major Brickford arrived at the top of the hill and extended his spyglass. There it was in the distance - the freshly constructed wooden fort at Tarlor. Corlander intelligence suggested the fort was manned, but that there were no additional Oleon expeditionary forces in the town. Brickford figured that by arriving from the east, the sun would likely be in the eyes of any defenders atop the fort walls peering at him. He sent a rider back to notify Colonel Sir Dirk Allcock that they had arrived. Allcock, the expedition commander, was traveling with the main body of their 500 man force marching overland from Westface. The force, composed of various regiments from across the Brick Seas, stretched back a lengthy distance to the southeast. After Oleon's assault on Terraversa left Kings Port, Sillitholina, Tarlor, and Pilnton in their control, Corrington came to the aid of the Terraversans to support their liberty as free citizens of the Brick Seas. The Corlander forces had been amassed in Westface, training and preparing for eventual action on the island of Terraversa. In particular, the cavalry had been running drills and leading reconnaissance missions to scout enemy locations and thoroughly know the terrain. The recon as well as additional effort spent improving roads had made their journey from Westface to Tarlor go off without a hitch, quite a feat considering the large number of 12-pounder field guns and mortars they brought with them. Brickford had strategized earlier with Allcock and the other company commanders as to the best way to take the wooden fort, and they had decided they would set up incendiary mortars behind the crest of the hill to fire westward over the fort walls. Perhaps the new wood of the palisade walls would burn. Continuing to survey the scene before him, Brickford saw some wagons full of hay halfway to the fort. As a large column of 26th Foot came over the hill, Brickford ordered a squad of 18th Hussars toward the wagons to set them ablaze. He would have them douse the fires with water to create a smokescreen. Seeing the first two of the haycarts set ablaze, Brickford tasked Captain Redding of the Royal Artillery with setting up the mortars out of sight of the fort on the far side of the hill. He knew once Allcock made his way to the front of the column the fight would commence. via @Ayrlego OOC: BTS: @KotZ @Bodi @CapOnBOBS @Ayrlego @Bregir @LM71Blackbird
  3. The Corlander Army has amassed a large number of field pieces of various size at their Westface Camp. Major Brickford talks with Captain Redding of the Royal Artillery after the artillery unit successfully ran through a speed drill with their 12 pounders. Captain Redding, a veteran of many previous engagements, is confident they are ready to face Oleon should they meet on the battlefield.
  4. King's Port, Terraversa, 20th February 621 They had done it! After the fierce battle for the shore and the coastal batteries, after the long siege and the battles in the streets, after two full days of brutal room-to-room fighting in the Palace of the Archduke, King's Port had finally fallen! On the other side of the monumental square, now a labyrinth of trenches, moats and barricades, they could see the Council Hall, where the Archduke Guards and a company of Altonian mercenaries had made their last stand. With their surrender, just a couple of hours before, the Battle for King's Port was definitively over. Philip climbed one of the pinnacles of Oldis' Palace and started waving the blue flag of Oleon. Down in the streets, dozens of soldiers were watching, cheering and throwing their hats in the air. Just a few years before, the Raiders were considered the scum of the Empire, a discipline unit to be sacrificed as far as possible from the motherland. Now they were hoisting the colors of the Nation, celebrating the victory of Oleon over its enemies! ------------ My first attempt with forced perspective, I hope you like it... the inspiration is the famous picture of the Red Flag over the Reichstag.
  5. After returning from a reconnaissance mission across eastern Terraversa with Colonel Allcock, Major Brickford oversees a group of 47th Foot as they use machetes, hatchets, axes, and chains to clear and expand the single tracks that crisscross the interior. If the Corlander Army needs to bring field artillery north, they'll be ready!
  6. On the Outskirts of Westface While Colonel Allcock and Major Brickford have been scouting the surrounding land beyond Westface and clearing overgrown roads, the troops in Westface continue to drill and remain on high alert. Keeping a well regulated army is just as important as gather information on the enemy. Here, a detachment of the 45th Regiment of Foot from the city of Quinnsville joins a few hussars on a short march. Troop Movement 3 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr Just outside of Westface is a small encampment of Terraversians. The sight of long orderly columns of proud redcoats give the locals hope that they will one day be free of the foreign threat from Oleon. Troop Movement 7 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr The Terraversians are offering what help they can to the Corrie cannon battery located just outside the city gates. Troop Movement 6 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr ------------------------------------------------------- After seeing all the recent builds for the Terraversa conflict I wanted to jump back into things with a bang. Extra pics in the spoiler. C&C are welcome and appreciated!
  7. Cooke was tired. Having escaped Kings Port and later been part of an Atwi ambush near the city, he had been looking for a friendly settlement. Avoiding patrols, checkpoints, and the nosier locals was exhausting, and his sea-legs were not suited for the hard, unforgiving land. Everywhere he went seemed to be occupied and swarming with bluecoats. Finally, he had found a track leading to a farm where he could rest his weary body under a tree, shaded from the burning sun. Quickly dozing off into restorative sleep, he left his worries behind - being taken up now would most certainly see him executed as a spy, regardless of his explanations. He *was* out of uniform. Suddenly, he felt the prodding of a musket butt and the insistent orders in an accented Terraversan. "Papers, now! What are you doing 'ere? This is Oleonese territory, and I shall see your papers - Are you a spy, per'aps?" The young soldier's arrogance was false confidence, but Cooke had no time to think. He had no choice... ____________________ Nothing major - just a small build to progress Cooke's story - I somehow need to get him back on the deck of his ship Also, no bluecoats were harmed in the making of this build...
  8. King's Port, Terraversa, 15 February 621 "Disregarding losses, the city is ours to take!" That yellow flag was ugly, nothing more than an old piece of cloth put on a bent pole. And it could be the last thing Tristan would have ever seen... people definitely think strange things when they might be only a few seconds far from their own death. It was time to go. "Soldiers of Oleon, for King and Country... Charge!" The men launched a battle cry and turned the corner, leaving the protection of the stone wall. The enemies were waiting for them behind a barricade, just twenty meters forward... The sharp sound of shots immediately filled the air, and bullets started flying in every direction. The man right at his side fell with a yell, wounded or dying... but they had managed to close the gap, and the enemies had no more time to reload! Tristan raised his gun, aiming for the man in front of him, a veteran of Oldis' heavy cavalry... it would have been a fair game. The man did the same with his long wheellock pistol... they both knew that one of them would have dined in the Hades, together with many others. --------- Miguel Sanchez pushed with rage the ramrod in his musket as if he was stabbing an enemy. He had enough gunpowder for five shots, six at most, then he only had his knife. They couldn't resist for long, he knew, but he was ready to fight for his country until his last dying breath! Miguel had already fought for the independence of his nation... he was in Van Dhorne's militia during the civil war. Some called them fanatics, some accused them of war crimes, but they did what they had to: they hit hard the Mardierians and their sympathizers, killing the enemies and leaving behind the fallen brothers. People of Terreversa had gained independence, and now Archduke Oldis was losing it, entering a power game too big for their young nation. But people of Terraversa were not defeated yet and would have resisted, with or without the Archduke! "Stand up, coward! Take your musket, or I'll shot you myself!" The man nodded, frightened, but remained where he was. The militias had recruited all the able men to fight against the invaders, sometimes even forcibly... if they weren't ready to die for freedom, they didn't deserve it! Some of the new recruits, however, completely lacked motivation... damned cowards! "Oleander dogs are arriving! They are the renegades of the Legion!" Miguel spat on the ground, disgusted. The Legion, traitors of their own country! The men ran to their battle positions, ready to open fire. Everyone hated those sellswords, who had sold themselves to a new master. The bluecoat officer started speaking in Mardierian, asking the defenders to drop their weapons... well, they would have dropped something! "Augusto, send them a cocktail!" ---------- "One last attempt, their last chance." Thought Captain Alvaro Ferrer. King's Port had almost fallen, only a few blocks of buildings stood between them and the palace of the tyrant: the impregnable Citadel only existed in Oldis' propaganda. Selfish and greedy as usual, Archduke Oldis was still sending his soldiers to die for him, even if the battle was clearly lost... probably he had to feed his self-esteem of great general, resisting against superior forces -clearly from his own palace. Or more likely he was just gaining time to gather more gold, paintings, and Lotii porcelains in his coach before running away... maybe even something stolen from the Ferrer Manor, sacked by the militias during the civil war. "Drop your weapons! Oldis has already fled with your treasures! Do you want to die for a coward?" Yelled Alvaro in a megaphone. He used the Mardierian of Terraversa, his native language. "You fought well, but it is over!" Two men appeared on the upper floor of the building. One held an explosive bottle, the other, in civilian clothes, had a gun. They had wasted their opportunity. "Fire at will! Take the drunk down!" As usual, the one with the explosive bottle -the drunk- was the priority... even if sometimes those devices exploded before the Terraversans could throw them. The soldiers of the Mardierian Legion started a violent musket fire towards the windows, trying to take cover behind the low wall of a garden. In the nearby road, a company of soldiers launched an assault against a barricade. This was happening on his right, so they likely were General Rimbaud and his guys, the Astrapi Raiders and the tirailleurs of the 5eme. ----------- On the other side of the road, Francisco Mendoza was waiting for the enemies behind a barricaded door. That build must have been a tavern, just a few months ago, but now it was their fort. He peeked across the planks blocking the windows. The enemies were advancing again, crossing what remained of the park of the Cordobas' Mansion. Those bluecoats were the traitors of the Mardierian Legion, mostly Terraversans exiled during the Glorious Revolution. But, apart from the official words, he knew that some of those men had their reasons... rumors said that some of the men ended up in proscription lists with were simply political rivals of Oldis or L'Olius, or were victims of personal revenge. However, Francisco Mendoza was a soldier, not a politician. Soldiers follow the orders, do not discuss political intrigues, and the orders he had received were quite simple: defend the Citadel, hold the line, if necessary die where you stand but do not retreat! For sure the Archduke had a plan to broke the siege... soon he would have personally led the counterattack, but he needed time to reorganize the army. Or at least, this is what soldiers told each other, sharing a bottle of brandy in the pauses between the fights. The truth was that nobody really knew what was happening in the city... for what he knew, the things yelled by the damned traitors on the other side of the road could even be true. But Francisco Mendoza was a soldier, and he followed orders. He would have fought there with his comrades -soldiers from different units, militiamen, even some civilians- he would have held the position! Orders were shouted on the other side of the street, and muskets started firing again... soon the hellish concert of shots and yells seemed to arrive from every direction, oddly even from below... --------- The road to victory is always difficult and scattered with obstacles... nobody ever mentioned that it could also pass right through the sewers. Captain Antoine Dupont crawled through the breach, entering what seemed the cellar of a tavern. If he was right, the enemy stronghold was just a couple of meters above them... otherwise, they would have found a way, as usual. Antoine waved his torch twice: it was the right way, or at least he hoped so. With a few hits of pickaxe, the little breach became a real passage: it would have been their only way out, in case of troubles, so it was worth spending a little more time to widen it. He didn't have to explain that: his men knew perfectly what to do... it was their tenth mission together, and he trusted each of them as himself. However, it was their first time in a unenviable task, the dandies of the infantry would have got lost in five minutes. But they were the Engineers of the 2eme, thought Antoine with pride, and they were the only ones who could complete the job! "Enemy patrol!" The yell reverberated in the tunnels, truncating Antoine's thoughts. He didn't expect to find enemies down in the sewers, but they were more than ready. Barely lighted by a dark lantern, the soldiers started shooting at the enemies... the torches of those idiots turned them into perfect targets! --------- Sergeant Guillermo Cortina was nervous. He had seen enough battles to know that they were losing... the Citadel could hold for a week at most, no matter how hard they fought. What he also knew was that someone was going to be left behind, to cover the retreat of the others... and, of course, the escape of the politicians: they were still continuing useless talk about the best defence strategies, even if the fights were now just a few blocks far from the Council Hall! Guillermo and his platoon were patrolling one of the many tunnels running below King’s Port... a labyrinth of catacombs, sewers, cellars and smugglers’ galleries. It was quite unlikely to find enemies down there, and at least they were safe from enemy cannons, but everybody knew that they could re-emerge in an area controlled by the enemies... not a great perspective! They crossed the umpteenth arch, stopping just a step before the slippery bank of a sewer canal. Guillermo raised its torch with a sigh of relief... then he noticed the figures forward in the tunnel. He had barely the time to realise his mistake, then he was hit by two musket shots. --------- Overall view: the whole build is 32x32 on three levels (in the evening I'll show you the third one). Back view: Front view: I completed this build in a very long time, and even more time passed before I could publish it (because I waited for the result of King's Port Battle, but also due to real-life stuff). I tried to depict different points of view, from my main character to a Mardierian expatriate personally hating Oldis, from a common Terraversan soldier to a fanatic of the militias. I hope you enjoy the build and the stories- I liked building and writing them!
  9. Part One is here Part Two is here Captain Brickleton figured the group must have traveled 125 miles in their journey from one end of Terraversa to the other. Based on the maps he'd consulted before their trip, the distance was only 110 miles as a crow flies but they weren’t crows. The track they followed through the interior connected Atwi villages and thus wandered here and there. Lord Spud had to admit some grudging respect for Brickleton's ability to choose the correct path each time. The group's path was also circuitous because Consul Montoya's horse wandered off the single track quite often as he pondered a butterfly or giant centipede he'd caught in the corner of his eye. Brickleton was ever so grateful for Montoya's steady aide Baker, who would direct Montoya back to the group. Lord Spud and Brickleton were also grateful for the questions Baker asked around their nightly campfires. While none of the men were especially outgoing, Baker drew them out by innocently asking about their past adventures and current initiatives. Captain Brickleton showed them all the native constellations he'd learned in Elizabethville from the Onondaga. He also let them know of his hopes regarding the beautiful Elsabeth Stockton. Lord Spud described his grand plans for the nascent Spudkirk settlement, and Brickleton took note as he was also guiding Wullham as that settlement's new commander. Via a description of a particularly beautiful moth, Montoya recounted the adventurous tale of how he and Baker had arrived by raft on a deserted island. Brickleton and Lord Spud admired the resourcefulness of the pair. Brickleton didn’t like to be a stickler for appearances, but he reasoned that as a representative of Her Majesty's Armed Forces his refined appearance to Oldis at Pamu would be a sign of respect. Since he'd already exchanged his officer's uniform for a more travel-ready trooper's set at Westface, shaving was the least he could do. As they approached Pamu, he decided the benefits outweighed the risks and he paused the group to shave his mustache with a sharp dagger while looking at his reflection in a pool of fresh water. They were greeted by Pamu town guards and directed into the town. Brickleton couldn't help but notice the expressions of relief he saw on the faces of townsfolk when they saw his red uniform. Now for the reason they'd come...
  10. Oldis gathered an eclectic group of advisors in his makeshift headquarters in Pamu. Emissaries from Eslandola and Prio, as well as members of the Terraversan noble council, huddled around a table to discuss the situation. “I don’t trust the Oleanders,” declared Oldis. “They have us on the run. Why offer to stop now?” “They have Kingsport, sir, but can they hold it?” replied Count Navarro. “They dominate the surrounding waters, but our Eslandian friends have reinforced us admirably.” “The count makes a good point, your highness,” added General Rizzo. “If they attack us here, they risk losing Kingsport to an attack from elsewhere.” “Yes, your eminence,” interjected Eslandian Admiral de Flynt. “Lady Condora here assures me that we have more fleets prepared to transport hundreds of troops for an assault.” “Hmmm.” Oldis rubbed his chin. “All the more reason for us to counterstrike now.” “But we need to at least engage them in talks, don’t we?” asked Navarro. “Yes, but we shouldn’t delay our preparations. We must assume the talks are a ploy on their part, not sincere.” Everyone nodded in agreement. Prio’s Commodore de Pernica shuffled his feet and cleared his throat. “Sir, if I may be so bold, it would also help to present Oleon with our strongest possible defense in these talks. And to this point I have not heard one word of your forces in Westface and assistance from Corrington. “He has a point, sir,” added Navarro. “L’Olius holds Westface, and Corrington is said to be bringing in troops there.” “Ach! Don’t talk to me of L’Olius!” barked Oldis. “He cowers in Westface while Kingsport falls! He’s probably working out a secret deal to replace me!” Oldis waved his arms madly. “L’Olius fancies himself the hero of our war of independence from Mardier for his naval exploits, but I commanded our troops in the decisive land battles! He seeks to tear me down!” Everyone gave Oldis a little room before Lady Condora spoke. “My dear friend, you will give yourself a fit of apoplexy. You are the Archduke, and everyone knows this. Calm yourself.” General Rizzo ventured to speak. “We need to show a united front. Even if L’Olius has his eyes on your throne, he is still a Terraversan. We must reach out to coordinate with him.” “Reach out? I’d lose my hand!” “Surely not!” remarked Lady Condora. “Sir, if I may be so bold,” said Admiral de Flynt, “we can use the animosity between you and L’Olius to our advantage. Oleon knows of your enmity; they are likely counting on it. Show up at the peace conference with L’Olius at your side, and you turn upside-down their expectations.” Oldis’s eyes smoldered, but he did not say anything. “Oleon knows they cannot beat the combined forces of Terraversa, Eslandola, and Corrington,” added Count Navarro. "And Prio," added de Pernica. “This is the best play," continued Navarro. "Show them that they have misjudged you, miscalculated everything.” “Yes, yes,” Oldis said softly. Then his voice growing stronger, “I will show them. But L’Olius must know his place. He must be there at my side, but simply as my admiral, my council. He is not an equal. He cannot have a seat as my equal.” “Sir, with your blessing, I will send a messenger to find L’Olius and summon him,” said the general. “You have it,” replied Oldis, “but make sure he understands his place!” And so a courier was dispatched to Westface in advance of the conference with Oleon.
  11. The Terraversa Crab Basket Part 2 : Diner at Edwina's In case you've missed the first part of this story : Here it is. Felipe de la Manzana had to be involved in the Terraversa matters since he was back from his quest. The chase for the Golden Apple would wait ! Coordination and orders had to be given and there were only one man to do it in here in Elysabethtown : Felipe himself ! He was joined by Basil at Edwina's, the new tavern in town Edwina is a brave girl from the MAESTRO tradition ! She can cook an apple pie fastest than her shadow and is able to serve dozens of cider bocks without spilling a drop ! Felipe welcome Basil and invited him to sit : - Have you had a proper diner my friend ? No ? Come... Come... have a seat. - I am bringing you bad news Felipe said sadly Basil. Our friend the Archduke Oldis flew from Kings Port and is now retreating towards the north in Pamu. Lady Condora is over there helping the wounded but I am not sure they could hold a siege ! You have to intervene ! - Arrrh ! Yes ! You're right ! It is a difficult situation... Felipe paused and after a thought continued : - I will have to need all the support I can engage ! Basil ! Tell me ! Are our Ténotlaxcan friends ready to use firearms ? - Yes Felipe ! We taught them well ! They are ready ! But they don't want to wear our uniforms; they are arguing the best outfit for battle is their primitive one ! I don't understand why they are so stubborn on that ! - Don't argue with them ! We have no time for that ! Hire them with any outfit they want I don't care as they can raise fire weapons ! - Alright ! I'll hire them... And what about their special forces ? - Special forces ? asked Felipe intrigued. - Yes the special weapon Zumo de Kapaya showed you in Zum'heria... - Aaaaah ! Those special forces ! Yes ! Yes ! Bring them too ! And Basil left Felipe finishing his diner at Edwina's following the mysterious order of the mysterious apple leader... How the Ténotlaxcans could help ? And who are those special forces ? Let's hope the war in Terraversa will find an issue before it gets worse ! The tavern will be licensed in Elysabethtown as a large Commerce. Thank you for reading !
  12. Location: Westface, Terraversa Type: Terraversan Support Build "Form an Orderly Line, and please leave all non-essential belongings on the bridge." Shouted a Terraversan Soldier through a megaphone. People bustled and murmered on the small bridge, one of several on the Drake River. As Oleon had invaded the island, civillians had fled to the last safe bastion of Teraversa, Westface. "Name?" Asked the screener. "Harold Burton." Said the Refugee. "Occupation?" Continued the screener. "Cobbler." Replied the Refugee. "Can you fight?" Asked the screener, this time with a tinge more emotion. "No." said the old refugee, sadly. Further down the line, children cried, and a pig squealed, the only belonging a farmer had been able to take out of his home. Things deemed 'useless' by the Terraversan authorities were cast to the side of the bridge. Form an Orderly Line by North White, on Flickr While they were glad to be alive, there was little hope in the eyes of the refugees. Soon, Oleon would sweep west, and they'd be forced to submit, or flee Terraversa altogether. Under the muskets of the soldiers, stationed to prevent panic or worse, Oleander armies, the line moved slowly onwards. Truly, these were dark times for Terraversa. FIN C&C appreciated. This is a bit darker of a build, but I'm happy with how it turned out. I briefly considered a bridge battle scene, but I've been enjoying painting the different angles of the conflict. Lighting isn't as good as I hoped it would be, it was sunny enough to not have to use my usual set up, so I thought I'd try with sunlight instead. I'm not sure if it worked as well, so I might retake the photos. Thanks for viewing!
  13. Location: Westface, Terraversa Type: MCRA TER Terraversa had been hit hard by Oleon, and resources had been running low. Fortunately, donations were being shipped in from across the Brick Seas by those who didn't want to see the island taken by the Bluecoats. The City had been reinforced in preparation for Oleon's forces. Windows were boarded and barricades erected. While some rested in between shifts, crates of 'Genuine Giraffe Jerky' and Muskets were unloaded onto the wharf. Terraversa would not go down without a fight... FIN Thanks for viewing my. build, and my support for an independent Terraversa. The build is pretty straightforward, maybe a bit simple, but I don't think it needed much else. The Terraversan officer uses Cedric Diggory's body from the HP CMFs.
  14. On the outskirts of Westface: With the every growing threat of attack being an immanent danger, some of the regulars from the local garrison have taken it upon themselves to drill the new recruits so that they might be able to at least have a fighting chance at repelling the blue invaders. 20201013_131230 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr It is a motley crew to say the least, but the more proficient they become could mean the difference of a free Terraversa or a Terraversa under rule of foreign power. 20201013_131251 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr The garrison regulars can tell that they have a lot of work to do if they intent to repel these invaders by themselves. Some of the recruits seem a bit to well dressed for the heavy combat that's sure to follow, and some need to gain control of their weapons! 20201013_131321 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr -------------------------------- My second build in the war effort supporting the Terraversian conflict. C&C are welcome and apprecieated and thanks for looking!
  15. Terraversa, East of King's Port, August 620 "Thousands of feet march to the beat, it's an army on the march. Long way from home, paying the price in young men's lives." The first battle had been won, and several bridgeheads had been conquered all over the island. The losses had been relatively mild but, still, they were the highest suffered since the Juniper War. And that damned island was still largely to conquer. The first, rather obvious objective was the capital city, King's Port: the city had the largest harbor and was right in the middle of the excellent road system of western Terraversa. The capital city of the island also had a strong strategic and politic value: its capture marked the turning point between an island successfully resisting to the invasion and some minor strongholds still in enemy hands... and, for foreign nations, it could also make the difference between joining a war or supporting isolated pockets of resistance. Therefore, they had to conquer King's Port, and quickly! During the T-Day, the forts of the city had been shelled and stormed, and the vanguard of the army had entered the city from South and East. However, refraining from a brutal bombing with heavy artillery had had its cost, and the bluecoats were still fighting in the streets, with the local militia clinging to buildings and barricades. The troops landed West of the city, so North of the King's River, on the contrary, had successfully captured fortifications and batteries but were still too weak to attack the city and defend themselves by a counterattack from Pamu, so they had entrenched and were waiting for reinforcements. And the easiest way to bring those reinforcements was crossing the King's River from the South, building a proper bridge, and using it to bring soldiers, supplies and artillery between King's Port and Pamu, cutting the city off from the Kingshead district. The designated crossing point was a few miles East of the city, where the King's River was nothing more than a fast stream... quite easy to cross for a man, but an insuperable obstacle for a cannon. Combat engineers and common soldiers started working hard, reinforcing the riverbank by hammering long wooden poles in the sand. More poles were hammered directly into the bottom of the river, creating a robust anchorage for the pontoons... for sure a difficult and uncomfortable job. On the other side of the river, the bank was cleared from the bushes and the sand was leveled with shovels and spades. The next step was far more difficult, especially considering the fast flow of the river. Empty barrels were thrown in the water and secured to the poles, creating a sort of floating platform: the buoyancy of each barrel could barely sustain a single soldier, while the complete structure will hold men, horses and even cannons. While the privates worked, the officers planned the next moves with the chief engineer: according to him, the bridge could be completed in half a day, enough to let the column rest and to complete the siege before the evening, if they marched quickly enough. Soldiers and sailors followed the instructions of the combat engineers, trying to keep the barrels in position before they are dragged away... and trying not to be dragged away themselves while working in the deep water! The bridge quickly started to take shape, at first as a simple row of ropes and barrels... ...and then, when planks and earth were cast over the structure, as a robust floating platform. For sure not a bridge intended to last, but a fast solution to bring men and cannons onto the other side of the river. The soldiers marched forward, platoon after platoon, ready to face the enemy on the battlefield. Among them, the veterans of the Mardierian Legion. Several of those soldiers lived on Terraversa -or were even born on the island- before the "Terraversan patriots" forced them to flee with their families. Some were members of the garrison, others were simply political opponents of L'Olius or Oldis, who had ended up in proscription lists for a reason or the other. For them, the war was something far more personal... a chance come back to their land and to get their deliverance! -------------------------------------------------------------- A series of three builds I've done for the invasion liberation: the river banks remain the same, with the soldiers progressively clearing the bushes and building the bridge. Probably it would've been better using a larger river, this one doesn't really seem worth of a bridge... but I imagine that it would still be a problem for our cannons!
  16. LM71Blackbird

    [BTV1-TER] Midnight raid

    Westface surrounding beaches around midnight: After much fighting over the course of several weeks, Oleon successfully captured most of the prominent settlements on the coasts of Terraversa. The last stronghold on the coast is the city of Westface. In an effort to complete the circle around the island, several boats have landed supplies on the beaches a short ways from the city. While some of the guards can feel a tension in the air, some are exhausted from the sleepless nights and fall fast asleep. Beach Ambush 1 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr As the bluecoats relaxed a little, a brave band of Terrversian raiders from Westface had been spending the past 2 hours slowing advancing on the unsuspecting enemy. Beach Ambush 2 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr In and instant 2 shots rang out as the small band of raiders quickly overtook the enemy guarding some much needed supplies. Though one solider returned fire, two fled as two lay dead in the sand. Beach Ambush 3 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr Knowing that the shots would certainly cause a stir, the raiders quickly went about securing as much of the supplies as they could before reinforcements would arrive. As the guards had fled, they figured they would help themselves to the two empty and waiting boats. Beach Ambush 4 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr The supplies were loaded and boats were launched. The remaining raiders would escape on foot back to the walls of Westface with the intent of drawing any enemy fire away from the escaping boats. It was uncertain if this brazen ambush would help the Terrversians retain their freedom or not, but it was worth a shot. Beach Ambush 5 by LM71Blackbird, on Flickr ------------------------------------------------- A build for the support of Terraversa and their continued freedom! C&C are welcome and apprecieated and thanks for looking.
  17. Terraversan officials have hired Guerilla Mercenaries to sneek into Oleonese-held cities to find information and eliminate key individuals. Man people have rallied to the call, from locksmiths, to expert climbers, shipwrights and ex-soldiers. They are all united by one thing - the promise of cash. 'Aah, for Poseidon' s sake! I said Guerrilla, not Gorilla! '. Said an infuriated organiser. The Oleonese invasion plan was flawless - but for one thing. They forgot to fix the destroyed walls they came through, and now Terraversans can easily sneak through. ' For liberty and freedom we fight, to rid this sacred land from the vile invaders-' 'Wait, what, we aren't doing this for money?' OOC. I can't seem to delete that third pic, the one identical to the second. Can anyone help me with this please?
  18. Westface 29 Sept 620 With the invasion in full swing, Westface now stood as the lone Terraversan held settlement on the southeastern side of the island. The military had begun fortifying the city, preparing for the imminent attack that would one day come. Refugees and sympathizers streamed through the gates daily, eager to join one of the many militia groups forming to augment the army, or looking for protection from the invading forces. Among the refugees, two particularly gruff men were admitted through the city gate. While nothing of their appearance was of note, an onlooker with a keen eye and plenty of time on their hands, may have found their behavior to be quite interesting. They began methodically walking through the city streets, skillfully keeping to the shadows and alleys, avoiding the regular Terraversan army patrols. In normal times, this may have caught some eyes, but with the almost frantic atmosphere in the city, no one had any thoughts other than an army of bluecoats materializing on the horizon charging for an attack. As such, the two men continued unchallenged through the city streets, the first man making notes of any notable thing in a small ledger in shorthand, the other, hatchet in hand keeping a watchful eye for anyone who may make sense of their purpose in the city. _____________________________________________________________________________ Since I was on vacation last week, I decided to try my hand at doing a digital build. Its been many years since I've done so, and only used LDD at the time. Switching to Studio made a world of difference, but definitely takes some practice and time to learn all of the functions it offers. I'm still a bit slow at it, but the customization it offers for colors and the like made it perfect choice for this build.
  19. King's Port Batteries, Terraversa, 16 August 620 (T-DAY-1) "And all around the shore, where cannons still roar, they're haunting my dreams, they're still there when I sleep" The Terraversans called them "Oldis' Fist", according to the intelligence. Probably it was one of the heaviest souvenirs left by the Mardierian army... and everybody could easily guess why it was left behind. That massive 64-pounder was for sure quite difficult to move by itself and, furthermore, it was on top of a steep cliff. For sure, it represented a real threat for an attacking fleet: that beast could throw a roundshot up to three kilometers far, or a shell filled with dozens of musket balls on a shorter range. If the defenders had the chance to make those "gift" rain on the ship decks or on the crowded longboats, it would have been a massacre. Moreover, the small promontory was surrounded by reefs and shallow waters, which made the approach difficult for bomb ketches... running aground in range of enemy batteries wasn't a great perspective! This was the reason why, the night before the main landing, Tristan and his men were in those small canoes, rowing towards a coast just slightly darker than the night sky. As several other times in the past, darkness was a good friend for them: they couldn't see the landing point, this was true, but they were also hidden from their enemies... and, if everything had gone as planned, they didn't need to find that small beach on their own. Flashes of light broke the pitch-black night, as a man waved a lantern on the coast... two flashes, a pause, two more flashes. The conveyed signal! Their man on Terraversa was telling them that the way was clear... or somebody had captured him, and now was dragging them all in a trap. Trying to be as quiet as possible, the rowers headed towards the shore, while the other soldiers, Rimbaud's Raiders and mountaineers of the 5eme regiment Pride of Guelph, grabbed muskets and sabers, ready to fight tooth and nail if they had been betrayed. The canoes scraped on the shoals, avoided some surfacing rocks and, at last, reached the small beach. Their man was waiting, hidden among the rocks and, fortunately, alone. That beach was too small for a proper landing, with only an old, half-crumbled mule track leading to the top of the cliff. A patrol checked it, now and then, but they were almost outside King's Port defensive system... if they had met a few soldiers, they would have easily got rid of them without noises, with knives or bows: some of the Raiders had spent years living with the natives and could use that weapon quite well. That night, however, they didn't meet anyone, either on the beach or along the trail. After a few hours of climbing, sliding and muffled cursings, the commando reached the top of the cliff. It would have been almost impossible without their local guide, and this explained that little hole in the Terraversan defenses. It was dawn. Below them, on the shiny sea, they saw the spectacle of the Oleander fleet: an endless row of ships of the line, frigates and galleons, with support ships and bomb ketches moving around... sails and flags waved in the wind, and hundreds of cannons shined in the gunports under the morning sun. It was impressive, but it also meant that they were late: they had to take the battery immediately, before it could fire on their comrades. There was no time for a plan, for a flanking attack, for a reconnaissance. A few cannonballs, fired from the distant fleet, stopped right in front of the battery, hitting the low wall with almost no force and sinking in the soft ground... Damn! A frontal assault was a bad perspective even without the risk of friendly fire! Reloading would have taken a few minutes, so that was their chance... hoping that down below they had good spyglasses! The Terraversans artillerymen were surprised as they were loading the first shot, but reacted quickly, grabbing weapons and tools. However, they were only a few, and they were not trained at all for close-quarter engagements... the fight to take the battery would have been fast and relatively easy. At least, in theory, thought Tristan as a Terraversan tried to split his head in half with a shovel. The bluecoats climbed the low wall and charged forward. That cannon would have not fired that day: whatever the cost, they would have taken the battery, and would have held it against the enemy counterattacks. Meanwhile, along the coast, dozens of cannons were blazing, and at least as many had been destroyed by the massive artillery barrage. One of the forts was burning, but also one of the largest battleships was tilting, and the sailors were jumping in the water. That day was going to be the longest in the whole life of hundreds of men. That day they were making history!
  20. The streets of Kings Port is alive with soldiers and civilians running more or less aimlessly around as the church-bells and shouts of alarm alert the Terraversans of Oleon's invasion. Watching his guard running off Cooke ponders what little difference it matters, the door being as unyielding as ever. Cooke had largely been ignored since being brought here from Nola Mar, most likely because a Corlander post-captain under accusation of spying is about as horrible a potential diplomatic case as can be. Suddenly, a rending crash tears through the cell window, as a cannonball hits home. Pushing himself against the wall, debris flies through the cell. As the dust settles, an interesting scene appears. The walls have crumbled, and the iron door shot off its hinges - and outside the cell, Cooke's hat, cape, sword, and documents have conveniently been left for the picking. That's one opportunity Cooke will not be missing out on... ____________________ Nice to finally have my character back again, although he may have moved from the frying pan into the fire, with the way things are going on Terraversa!
  21. After the first wave of brave troops took the beaches, they were soon followed by supplies. Shot, rum, food, money. Everything was needed. A cart had already taken off to bring more ammunition to the men pushing past the beach. A watch tower had been erected, and a captain was looking at his map to see where they would be going next.
  22. Landing Point Charlotte, Terraversa, 17 August 620 (T-DAY) "Hell is waiting where the ocean meets the sand"  The soldiers of the first wave got onto the small rowboats, that were immediately lowered into the water. Somebody whispered a short prayer to Poseidon, others hummed a popular tavern song, most remained silent... only the platoon of legionnaires assigned to the ship continued chatting and laughing till the last moment, as if their assault was nothing more serious than a pleasant walk. The cliffs in front of them started appearing from the morning fog. It was almost the hour. In a few minutes, they would have started rowing as madmen towards Plage Charlotte, one of the designated landing points... not thehardest target, but still well under the crossfire of forts and batteries! Everybody knew that a lot of things could go very, very, wrong: according to the plan, they would have reached the shoreline immediately after the first artillery barrage, overwhelming the shoreline fortifications and opening a safe passage for the second -and more consistent- wave; meanwhile, their artillery would have hammered the remaining forts, turning them into ruins. Suddenly, the capital ship shot the first volley, immediately followed by hundreds of other cannons. On the shore, a battery exploded, immediately followed by another one. With a savage yell, the soldiers started rowing, while dozens and dozens of cannonballs flew over their heads. Small clouds of smoke announced the first return volleys. A few seconds later, jets of water exploded from the sea, and a nearby ship received two blows. As the artillery duel continued, the small boats reached the shore. The bigger coastal batteries continued their barrage against the fleet, but the mortars and the small culverins were waiting for them. One of the boats was annihilated, directly hit by a grenade. After what seemed an eternity, the keels of the boats hit the sand and the soldiers jumped forward. The rain of iron and fire began immediately, as the soldiers arrived in the range of Terraversan blockhouses. Organ guns and wall muskets started firing, giving rise to a hellish concert of bangs and rattlings. In just a matter of seconds, dozens of bullets were flying in every direction.  Some soldiers fell after a few steps, mowed by mortar fire and organ guns, but most charged forward, taking shelter and starting a strong cover fire with their muskets. One of the organ guns fired again, but those damned weapons were inaccurate and slow to reload... with the soldiers moving and scattering along the beach, this time most of the bullets hit only the sand.  An officer of the Zouaves, the tirailleurs from New Oleon, started yelling orders, reorganizing the soldiers for the charge: if they took the fortifications before the Terraversans could reorganize, the first bridgehead would have been taken! Only a few dozen meters and they would have reached the blockhouses... a run through the Tartarus, towards the guns of their enemies, but also the road towards King's Port and the victory!   A few more pics of the battle:   The Terraversan organ gun:   Obvious credit to @Khorne for the foreign legion and the zouaves, something I never had the chance to depict. Ps So it begins... as soon as possible I’ll add a link in the AMRCA thread!
  23. "They shall not pass!" Outskirts of Nola Mar, Terraversa, August 620 After the long calm, after the time of plots and conspiracies, the day had finally arrived. In Nola Mar, weapons were taken from the secret hideouts and passed from hand to hand: in just a few hours, the militias gathered in the agreed locations and marched towards the main strategic points all around the settlement. All the main roads from Sillitholina to Pamu were blocked by barricades and improvised defenses, all the forced passages were occupied by small military units. Everybody knew that there was no coming back: if the plan had succeeded, the whole island would soon have been in their hands. Otherwise, they would have fought to the death... there was no mercy to expect from Oldis' servants or L'Olius' henchmen! The role of Nola Mar rebels during the first days of the war was quite simple, but all the same essential: they had to block any possible movement of enemy troops along the Coastal Road, the shortest connection between King's Port and Westface, or at least slow them down as much as possible. In practical terms, this meant blocking the reinforcements from Westface to King's Port and, if the landings would have been successful, cutting the retreat route from Pamu to Sillitholina and preventing the reorganization of Oldis' troops. Small contingents of Oleander soldiers, mainly light infantry, had joined the local irregulars in the most vulnerable zones: cracking the line of the chasseurs and of the Mousquetaires du Roi wouldn't have been an easy task! Far south, in the last stronghold before the territories controlled by L'Olius, tension rose minute after minute. While the older veterans chewed some tobacco or absently rubbed whetstones on the blade of their knives, the recruits walked nervously back and forth, continuously staring at the horizon. Here, the presence of the Oleander soldiers was a little stronger, with a few small cannons quickly dragged there with horses and oxen. More soldiers and cannons would soon have come from Nola Mar, provided that they could leave the city undefended. However, nobody really knew if they would have seen arrive the blue coats of Oleander soldiers or the dark blue uniforms of L'Olius' minions. In that case, they would have sold dearly their skin. "Horsemen! Horsemen from Sillitholina!" Everyone grabbed his musket and rushed to the parapet. The gunners lit the fuses and loaded the cannons. Nobody uttered a word. "Damn, they are still too far! I cannot see the uniforms. Hold fire until my orders!" The soldiers stood still, looking at the tiny cloud of dust growing bigger and bigger... Just a small prequel of the battle for Terraversa, while the fog of war still covers the island... Overall view-1: Overall view-2:
  24. Citizens of the Brick Seas, stormy clouds are gathering over Terraversa! See besides the lies of the Corrish Empire! See besides the clean facade they built to hide their interest! A military Corrish expedition has landed on Terraversa to make contact with Admiral L'Olius, a local warlord in open contrast with the central government... they claim they want peace, but as soon as another nation peacefully pursuits a commercial enterprise, immediately they arrive, to "keep the peace" with their bayonets! They claim that Nola Mar is in open rebellion and that a foreign nation is funding the rebels, then they brazenly admit that their secret agents are on the island, and that their naval officers have taken contact with the tyrant of Westface, a man who has seized power and keeps it with the constant menace of a civil war! Actually, I see only one foreign interference in Terraversa... and its color is red! They say they want a free and independent Terraversa... Do they consider us all fools? Right now a fleet of Corrish frigates is blockading Terraversan ports, inspecting every ship arriving or leaving... with which authority? They already behave like the masters of the island, deciding who can arrive and who can leave, and they claim they want free trade! Do you remember their lies in Nova Malto? They occupied the settlement, blocking the arrival of Eslandolan supplies, and they claimed they were helping the population! They delayed reconstruction, they willingly prolonged the sufferings of the inhabitants, just to plan the annexation! Does Terraversa need the help of Corrington too, as Nova Malto did? Or are they creating a new crisis, just to feast on the ruins? L'Olius, the friend of the Corries, is imposing tremendous port taxes on the vessels of all the foreign nations. He destroyed the once-flourishing commerce of Westface, and now he allows smugglers to flourish on the island, buying Terraversan goods for a misery... one could guess why, and could imagine a turbid system of bribes. Now the local authorities of Nola Mar are trying to fight those criminals, and what happens? Corrington sends its ships, in a clear intimidatory act. Are they defending peace, or only the pockets of their henchman? Will you submit to Corrish arrogance? Will you swallow their outrageous lies any longer? They behave as masters of the world, sending their soldiers wherever other nations are establishing favorable commercial connections... When will they decide that the Rum Islands need "protection", or that Altonia deserves the same fate they reserved to Balondia, once a free nation, a friend of both Oleon and Eslandola? When will they decide to help the next Nova Malto? A Loyal Terraversan Citizen Credit to @Bodi for the build
  25. Willem Guilder had been in King’s Harbour just two months ago at Corrington’s “Great Ball of Terra Nova.” Now he had returned to talk to his old friend and political colleague, Román Fontonajo. In Fontonajo’s retirement, he had built a lovely house on Cocovia and settled down to enjoy a quieter life, away from politics. Guilder hated that he must ask Román to disturb his peaceful life and return to the political arena, but hoped that Román would embrace the opportunity. Guilder was greeted at the door by Román’s wife, Clarissa, and she led him into the study of their house in King’s Harbour. “Román,” Clarissa Fontonajo shouted through the house. “It’s Admius Legistrad, Master Guilder.” Román went down the stairs. “You should feel free to call him Willem, my dear,” he said. Turning to Guilder, “Welcome, old friend. Come in. Mind if I prepare something to drink for us?” asked Román, and he started walking toward the kitchen. “Yes, please, call me Willem,” said Guilder to Clarissa. “No need for formalities. And thank you, Román; a drink sounds good about now.” Guilder followed Román into the kitchen. “Juice? Wine? A tea? Or just some water?” Román asked. “Tea would be wonderful.” Guilder rubbed his leg above his peg leg. “I’m getting more used to this, but it serves as a constant reminder of the war to me. Tea always reminds me of the rewards of exploration and trade.” “Tea ... Have you ever traded it at larger scale?” Román asked while he started boiling some water. “I haven’t,” Guilder said with a bit of a sigh. “Cotton and indigo, plenty. I must redouble my efforts regarding the indigo we found on Ferro Azure. But with so many varieties of plants on every island we go to, there must be some plant out there with leaves perfect for a new type of tea” he continued wistfully. “I guess we haven’t found it yet, either ... But you are quite right about the sheer quantity of newly discovered islands. When two years ago all we could think about is colonizing and claiming the next island, and then the next after that, today we struggle to properly colonize all those we already own. I feel our collaborative efforts have become rather lackluster. But who am I to blame? I guess that’s not much of my business, anymore. Today I hardly do more than brewing tea. And look, the water is boiling. Which one? I will take my favorite Nellisan Herb Mix -- always feels like home to me.” “I will take the same, thank you. Perhaps I can share your feeling of ‘home’.” Guilder paused briefly, then continued. “And even in your retirement, if that’s the proper thing to call it, our collective efforts will always be your business. You are one of the major architects of colonial Eslandola. You are dearly missed in the council, I assure you, but I think I understand why you stepped away. You and your lovely Clarissa are blessed with a large family and each other; I am a man married to my work by happenstance as much as choice.” “And the Sweet Bardo Peach for Clarissa. Now come, let’s head to my study and have a seat.” Román said, as they walked towards the next room where Clarissa was already sitting and waiting. “And you are right -- marriage is a blessing to me. Just last night we talked about the nothing I would be without Clarissa. And I’d even claim that our colonies would not be what they are, if it wasn’t for her. But I guess you are not here to talk about the love we have found in life, have you?” “No, I have not. You know me well.” Guilder settled into a chair and propped up his pegleg. “I have come to ask a favor -- a favor that will pull you back into political affairs for a bit, but not for too long.” “A bit and not too long ... it doesn’t really sound like you know what this favor will be exactly, do you?” Guilder laughed. “This is exactly why I am asking this favor of you. You are much better at the language of diplomacy than I am.” Román thought for a second before he replied: “I have always felt more like a selfish tactician, with my own hidden agenda ...” “But isn’t that exactly what Willem just said?” Clarissa interjected with a broad smile on her face. Guilder laughed again with a broad grin. “Clarissa, you understand the game well!” Guilder composed himself, then faced her husband again. “Román, I’ll get straight to the point. War is hard, and sometimes keeping the peace is just as hard or harder. We’ve allowed ourselves to relax too much in the aftermath of the war. Oleon is actively courting Mardier and has sent a delegation to Terraversa as well. There are military rumblings from Oleon, and though I discount them for the most part, they remind us that we have work to do. Terraversa, newly independent, is a young nation finding its way. We both fought against Mardier, and now we need to solidify our relationship going forward. We need to make a gesture to Terraversa, and to all the nations of the Brick Seas, to show our recognition ... and support ... of Terraversa’s independence. So, we need someone to go to Kings Port and carry that word to Archduke Oldis. That someone must show everyone how important this is to us. I could think of no one better than you.” “Terraversa ... I’ve always had mixed feelings about their location. The less attractive Terraversa becomes as a halt on a ship’s journey between the worlds, the more likely every single ship is to stop at our most beloved Eslandolan town on the eastern coast of Nellisa. Which is, of course, in my favor more than in anyone else’s. So I assume I wouldn’t benefit much from acknowledging Terraversan independence, would I?” After a quick pause Román continued. “But surely we are not here to discuss the impacts of national politics on my very personal wellbeing. And I surely see some reason behind pursuing an alliance with Oldis. Which brings me to the core of my question: Who are we actually trying to become friends with?” “There is no doubt that Nova Terreli and Nellisa have surpassed Kings Port and Terraversa in importance on the trade routes. But Terraversa is still a strategic location. In the hands of an ally, it can assure that trade continues to flow freely to Nellisa. Furthermore, I can imagine that cooperation between Terraversa and Neliisa could increase trade revenues for both. But in the hands of a foe, it can restrict trade. If Oleon’s RNTC were to gain favor, they might implement taxes selectively to influence trade away from Nova Terreli. And if Mardier were to regain control, we might find ourselves in an undeclared war at sea again. Guilder shifted in his chair as he watched Román turn things over in his head, but continued before Román could speak. “And you have identified the key issue, easily the most delicate: who are we trying to become friends with. Terraversa is a two-sided coin. Oldis is Archduke, but L’Olius essentially controls the navy and is quite popular among the citizenry. We must find a way to be friends with both.” “And so the unborn may do his first grand favor to our nation ...,” Fontonajo mumbled after some seconds of thought. “What was that?” asked Guilder. “Or her,” Clarissa answered in Román's stead. “We are going to be grandparents soon, you know?” She had a dreamy smile on her face. “Oh! I had no idea. Congratulations! Which of your children is expecting?” “Joaquin,” said Román. “With his wonderful fiancee, Poca from Berreli. You get my point?” “I’m not sure,” replied Guilder, puzzling it over. “Other than that keeping the peace is bigger than one island or one nation, or one people, and there is more to it than personal considerations ...” “I guess L’Olius might be more open to the arguments of someone who has crossed the boundaries of races, just like his ancestors did, don’t you think?” “Ah! Of course! I forgot about L’Olius’s Atwi heritage. I can see you’re already developing a plan. Tell me more.” “We should definitely go together. That is: Joaquin, Poca, their baby, Clarissa, and myself. And split up in Terraversa, so that Joaquin can talk to L’Olius -- they are both brave men, seafarer and adventurers, after all -- while Clarissa and myself talk to Oldis. There is no way around winning both, and for now they surely do want the same thing: preserve Terraversan independence. We can aid them in this regard, we are the strong ally here -- and we can negotiate from our position of strength. So our goal is an official military alliance?” “An excellent approach to L’Olius! Your sense of family has always been a strength of yours. ... As for our goal -- goals, actually -- I wish a simple, straight-forward answer was possible. We want to limit any influence Oleon might gain in their talks, at a minimum maintaining the status quo militarily and in trade. We also want to do what we can to make sure Mardier doesn’t return. So how to achieve these goals? Personally, I favor a military defensive pact, and there are others who favor this as well. Of course, any treaty we negotiate will have to be ratified by the council, and there will be opposition -- some fear being drawn into another conflict. You know how the council can be. But I believe there is enough support to approve a defensive pact, and I think that is the surest way to prevent Mardier’s return. There is also support for a trade agreement of some sort, and while what form that would take is less clear, it would probably be easier to get approved. So you have great latitude on where to take things. While I obviously hope for more, even if we just come out of this with improved relations with Oldis and L’Olius, that will be something. Certainly see where they want to take the conversation and take our cues from that.” “And surely we will officially acknowledge them as an independent nation of their own?” “Yes, I have here a statement approved jointly by the Colonial Council and the Continental Council, signed by King Fernando! I was worried it might be difficult to get Fernando’s signature, but once it was explained to him that it would be like throwing night caps at Oleon’s King Philip, he was all for it.” “I hope it has your signature as well? And best those of all Council Members? Fernando’s name may not mean too much to successful revolutionaries, such as Oldis or L’Olius, who have triumphantly unbound from the chains of traditional Continental nations -- while I am rather sure your word or Román’s will,” Clarissa stated. “It does, indeed, Clarissa. I have signed, as have all the members of the council. But the king’s signature is significant. It shows no ambiguity in our stance on their independence. And a king recognizing the rights of such revolutionaries sends a powerful signal to the noble houses of Mardier and Oleon.” “Yet still we have a tough task ahead of ourselves,” Román said. “Oldis is said to be a relentless negotiation counterpart. Shouldn’t we be bringing some gift?” “Do you have something in mind?” “I have heard tigers make for wonderful pets.” “Seriously?” replied Guilder, a bit startled. “I must admit that hadn’t occurred to me.” “If it were you I’d make sure to get you one, because I know you could handle the beast. I guess it might work for L’Olius as well. But Oldis? Not so sure, the tiger might decide to just eat him, and that would be it for our negotiations. What about some fine clothes instead? And maybe Maestro will contribute some apple cider?” Guilder let out a hearty laugh. “I could handle him only because he would take one taste of my pegleg and deem me inedible!” Guilder slapped his leg for emphasis, then worked to return himself to a serious manner. “I’m certain we can get some of Maestro’s fine cider, and I will trust your judgment on what gifts to take. If you need me to acquire anything, just say the word.” Guilder leaned forward a bit, in a slightly softer voice. “If you have a lead on a tiger, that may indeed be a fine gift for L’Olius. It is, however, quite important to make sure Oldis does not feel upstaged by anything we present to L’Olius.” “A good point. But it applies both ways. We will always have to give Oldis more than L’Olius to make sure we acknowledge his rule, but only so much more that L’Olius does not feel upstaged. What a nice word, Willem.” “Or we just bring entirely different and unique gifts to both of them ...,” Clarissa suggested. “I would not think we should give Oldis more, but rather the gifts to each must speak to what each values. Clarissa makes a good point that the gift or gifts to each of them should be unique. To that line of thinking, a tiger would speak to L’Olius’s military role, where fine clothes would speak to Oldis’s taste for the finer things. Or perhaps a fine Eslandian stallion for Oldis? An animal for each, but each representing different qualities and values.” “One of many hard things, certainly. But we will find a solution. Do you see any other obstacles in our way?” “Just communication at this point. We need to send word ahead to let them know you are coming. And simply assembling an appropriate squadron to carry you on your mission. Logistics ... and time. We mustn’t dally, but send you and your family on your way as soon as possible. Oleon has quite the head start on us.” Guilder gave him a sly grin, then said, “I take it this means you accept this mission?” “This seems like a very intense and difficult diplomatic mission...,” Román voiced his thoughts. “Willem,” Clarissa interupted, “even with all the admiration I have for my husband and his success in both trade and politics, isn’t what you are asking for more of a task for a Colonial Grand Ambassador of Eslandola? Who may appoint local ambassadors ...” “... like his son?” Román asked her, innocent as a lamb, to which Clarissa responded with a soft smile: “Yes, for example. Or just anyone else.” “Román, my apologies. I sometimes get so focused on an end result, I forget about some of the necessary tasks to get there.” Guilder reached into his coat pocket and produced a sealed letter. “As you know, that position has been vacant for some time, a casualty of the political upheaval. And the council believes it is high time that was addressed.” Guilder handed the letter to Román. “The Continental Council confers on you title of Grand Ambassador of Eslandola, with all its incumbent powers ... if you accept.” Román looked straight at Guilder: “Powers ... I consider an ambassador more a man of words than a man of power ... But that might be for philosophers to discuss. We are here in this world, where I gladly accept the trust the council has in me. I will make sure not to disappoint you.” Román took pause and circled the room several times, in deep thought, before he continued. “Now there is one more thing that lies heavy on my heart. As you know, I have effectively taken all responsibilities of governing Nellisa. And almost all inhabitants of our colonies know that I am de facto the Governor of Nellisa. But you and I know that there has never been an official acknowledgement from our council to clarify this uncertainty for good. I would be ... very pleased if you could look into this and bring distinctness, once and for all. It would surely make the lives of all Nellisans a bit less burdened.” “You’re right. I must admit, I had forgotten that it was never made official; such is the strength of your governorship that Fontonajo and Nellisa are thought of as one! Such appointments are simpler when the trade company controls the island. I will bring that up with the council and see that it is taken care of.” “That sounds good, Willem. The urgency for the mission must be even higher than I thought, given the little resistance you showed towards my proposals ... I guess I might ask for a palace in every Eslandolan town and you would consider actually making it possible! But both you and I are more than simple bargain-hunters on the fish market. So let’s call it an agreement, be satisfied with the result and keep all the rest in mind for our future meetings. You will stay for dinner?” “My dear Román, you did not ask for anything out of place ... although I must admit that I’m relieved we have reached the end of your list,” Guilder replied with a grin. “And you assess the situation correctly: we’ve been napping diplomatically and let Oleon take the lead, which we must now correct. But I feel better already knowing you are on board for this venture. … And I would love to stay for dinner.” * * * After dinner, Guilder made his way down to the docks, where Captain Ambrose MacMathain of the Eslandolan ship Valiant Phoenix was waiting. “Captain MacMathain, I hope I have not held up your departure.” “Not at all, sir,” said the captain. “My men are having quite the time offloading our cargo.” “Yes, I see that,” replied Guilder, eyeing the scene pensively. “But have no fear, sir, my crew and I are up to whatever task you have for us.” “I’m sure you are, captain.” Guilder then handed MacMathain a sealed diplomatic pouch. “Deliver this to Archduke Oldis’s court in Kings Port. We are notifying the Terraversans that we are sending an ambassador next month.” “I will watch over this letter personally, Admius Legistrad.” The captain hesitated, fearing he should not pry in official matters, but worked up his courage. “Who is our ambassador to Terraversa?” “Román Fontonajo, our former and first Admius Legistrad, has agreed to step out of retirement to represent Eslandola as Grand Ambassador on this mission. He is to officially announce what we should have said to Terraversa and the Brick Seas months ago. He will be sailing to Nova Terreli this month to prepare for his trip.” “Do you need me to do anything for the ambassador?” asked the captain. “No, other arrangements are being made for him,” replied Guilder. “Just deliver this letter to Kings Port.” “I will see it done,” replied the captain. And with that, Guilder was off. Captain MacMathain clutched the diplomatic pouch tight. Not being a man of politics, he wondered to himself what the announcement would be. But for Román Fontonajo to come out of retirement, it must be important.