Monday, 25 August 2008

On the Brink of War

Historically, the lake known as the Sea of Ippocriz, marks the tripartite boundary of Mendelstadt, Pelarcona and Hamartia. Mapping water is an uncertain art, so none of the three domains has ever worried too much about precise boundaries.

Until now.

For nearly ten years the seasonal rains on Mount Weisskopf and the surrounding hills whose streams feed the Sea of Ippocriz, amongst many other lakes, have increased. Each year the lake has grown, shrinking the edges of all three territories. Whatever the borders used to be, they have changed.

Now, Mendelstadt has always maintained that the northern border of Hamartia is the southern edge of the Sea of Ippocriz. Hamartia has never disputed this. But the small Hamartian hilltop village of Brink, previously on that lakeside edge, has now become an island surrounded by the encroaching waters.

The Landgraf of Mendelstadt, with precedent behind him, rightly maintains that Brink has seceded to his domain, for it is now north of the southern edge of the lake. However, the mendacious Hamartians maintain the island settlement of Brink as an exclave of their lands. In fact, the more extreme amongst the court of the Duke of Hamartia claim that the Landgraf has somehow himself effected the expansion in the nature of the Ippocriz Sea.

This has been an area of diplomatic debate since the waters began to rise. But this weekend matters came to a head, as the Ducal standard of Hamartia was raised upon the island. So you may know it in the event of future sightings, here it is:

The central image is the knotted vine of Hamartia, for viniculture is a major part of their economy, and the vine knot represents the complexity of their governance. Though Harmatians themselves are said to be generally easy going fellows. Hence it is collquially remarked that a Hamartian, whenever asked to make a decision, always respond with "Vy not?"

Overnight, it seems, the island of Brink has been fortified by a garrison of the Regiment Rubenstein, known colloquially as "the Robins". I have managed to obtain views of them recently parading their new uniforms.

You will see that only the ducal colour is present. I take this to mean that an inhaber for the regiment is yet to be appointed. My understanding is that these fellows have all been provided by that recruiter of ambiguous repute, Herr Minden. I'm not sure the Landgraf will be pleased to learn that his enemies are being supplied by those he thought his allies. However, Herr Minden has promised Mendlestadt some notable upstanding figures in the not too distant future, so it would perhaps be precipitous of me to impugn his honour just yet.

I suspect the Landgraf had early knowledge of this coup. He may even have engineered it. Hence his earlier allusion to Hamartian troops embracing his grand endeavour. For this occupation by Hamartian aggressors has given the Landgrad all he needs by way of excuse to mobilise his still developing army, and throw them the meat of an easy victory.

In my view, this move is too early. One should never move soldiers precipitously. They don't respond well. And, as you know, Mendelstadt's forces are yet in their nascence. The artillery is as yet more of an intent than an achievement, manned more by beggars and scoundrels than trained artillerists. And not one regiment, whether of foot or horse, is fully recruited or equipped.

As far as I can see, at the very best all we can proceed with against Brink will be two under-strength battalions and a depleted battery, supported perhaps by one squadron of dragoons. And can we be certain of our opposition? We know that the Robins are at full strength, recently equipped and armed, so they may be tough opponents. What we do not know is whether they have any other forces in support. We have heard much of the pernicious jaegers of Hamartia, for example, well known for banditry in all the surrounding regions, and there may also be militia within the settlement of Brink itself.

And what about fortifications? We have no knowledge of the protection of that settlement at all.

Is this a wise venture, I ask myself? Will the Landgraf's grand ambition stumble at the first footing?

I have a bad feeling about this..............


Fitz-Badger said...

Lovely lads, those "Robins"!
Anything that commences with words like "I have a bad feeling about this" can readily go awry (of course, the same thing can be said for phrases like "it can't fail" or "it'll be a cakewalk"..., but as Terry Pratchett chronicles in his histories of Discworld 1 in a million chances succeed 9 times out of ten). ;-)

Frank said...

Fantastic Noel. I love that flag and would love to know how you did it?

Only criticism, is the paintbrush hair that has come off your brush and adhered to the NCO's face, which stands out in the close up shot. That would annoy me to death and would have to come off :-)

Keep up the good work. I look forward to more pics and those flags . . . . . . wow!

Stokes Schwartz said...

Hello there Noel,

I concur -- Lovely, lovely figures and flag! What a particularly nice shade of green too. Can't wait to see more.

Best Regards,


tidders said...

Nice flag, deliciously painted Minden figs.

Looking forward to more ..

-- Allan

Capt Bill said...

Love the flag and handsome lads. Do you know how minden figure compare to old glory in terms of size? They appear to be great figures. How are they to paint?
Best regards...Bill

A J Matthews said...

Lovely figures, Major! I'm looking forward to seeing a battle report featuring the Robins.

abdul666 said...

Great figures and flag, and an excellent, just so tongue-in-cheek, background story. Extremely promising, I'm looki,g forward eagerly for more!