Monday, 7 November 2011

A Punitive Expedition....Part 3

The Amir Abdul Abulbul was not pleased. The previous encumbant had at least had the good grace to shoot himself as his gross dereliction of duty had not gone unnoticed by the Sultan. His error was not in allowing his command to be deployed other than where it should have been - protecting the 'fortress' - but that his lucrative side line in fine wines did not extend to paying a suitable 'consideration' to the Sultan himself. Fezia could go to wrack and ruin (not that the 'Great Powers' would allow that thought Abulbul) but as long as the Sultan received his 'considerations' all was well. The now deceased commader was a fool if he thought he could get away with such a scam whilst avoiding any imperial entanglements. The secret service in the Sultan's employ was far reaching and very effective and with himself as the head would remain so. "Apology accepted, commander…." The tall figure of the Amir pondered momentarily the lifeless body on the floor before him. Without a word he whirled around, his great sable cape swishing about him like a living thing, and strode purposefully out of the room to his waiting staff.
The situation that the Amir found was not as bad as he first thought. The bulk of his infantry was deployed on the escarpment with the artillery and so commanded the main approaches to the village and the fortress in the rear. He was aware of the small wood on the right flank of the Fezian position and the possibility that it could be used to shield a flanking movement. He was not able to cover every possible approach due to the paucity of his command but decided that a good compromise would be to deploy the Bashi Bazouks in the wood where that could happily make a nuisance of themselves at little personal risk. Further back he would keep the cavalry which would be able to cover ground quickly to help with any threatened points of his position. The village and fortress would be left largely unguarded and the main tactic he would employ would be to engage the enemy with massed fire as soon as possible whilst maintaining his positions. If sufficient damage could be inflicted on the invaders then they would have to return from whence they came and if able he would chase them all the way.
The Amir and his staff took up their position with the artillery. A hush of expectation fell over the camp with much nudging and pointing at the figure garbed in black from the assembled soldiery as the Amir rode forward, alone on his great black horse. All eyes were fixed on this otherworldly figure as he came to halt in front of the gun line. He looked from side to side slowly, taking in the expectant soldiery and there was not a man that did not wince beneath that baleful glare. He waited momentarily and then slowly drew his scimitar and raised it to the heavens. The silence was deafening, and even the birds had ceased their morning chorus. "This sword is death! Death to the enemies of the Sultan and death to the man that turns his back on the enemies of the Sultan!" The army watched, captivated, mesmerised and terrified by turns.
"To our enemies I bring death!" he exclaimed and then hawked noisily at spat on the ground. The Amir's openly effeminate eunuch valet tutted beneath his breath at his masters vulgar outburst (he was very fastidious about such things)and heartily wished he was back in the Sultan's seraglio away from all these coarse fighting types.
As one man (and doubtless goaded by numerous terrified junior officers) the army took up the cry "Abulbul, Abulbul!!" with much clashing of weapons and the customary discordant wailing of the ney flute and throbbing beat of the kudun drum.  After a suitable interval (and much to the troops relief as one could only keep up such vigourous cheering for a short while) the Amir turned his terrible gaze on the army again.
Hurriedly the officers settled the men and silence and order was quickly resumed. Abulbul walked his horse back to the gun line just as the muezzin began his call to prayer. He composed himself and was about to offer up a prayer to the heavens when a distant boom was heard followed by the tearing, heart-stopping sound of a shell in flight. Abulbul looked around, his face a cruel visage with sheer hatred etched on his features (he positively hated being interrupted when in the public eye). "These thrice cursed sons of an Infidel swine know no shame! Now they will pay, on the blood of my fathers and the hairs of my beard! I tear my clothes in rage at their sacrilige and by my unsheathed sword I will have vengeance!" With that (and to the valet's further horror) he ripped his fabulously expensive silk jacket in two and hurled it, together with his jewel encrusted scabbard to the ground (at this point the valet fainted and had to be assisted from the field - the subsequent whereabouts of the Amir's jewel encrusted scabbard has never been established).
The attack had started and the battle of Keder Sirt was at last underway.

14 comments:

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Pictures..... please...... :o))

abdul666 said...

Abdul Abulbul... well known from various versions of a song, some very... disrespectful: Russian propaganda, for sure!

No family links with Abdul Alhazred -known in Monte-Cristo mainly as the founder of the Moulabites sect- I guess?

Tim Gow said...

Shocking waste of a silk jacket - but a gripping story!

David Crook said...

Hi Steve,

I shall be working on those this evening!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Abdul666,

How are old chap? Great to hear from you! I am not sure about the family connection but will certainly look into the matter.

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Tim,

The Amirs long suffering valet and costume designer Mustapha Singer is usually mortified at his master's wanton destruction of his wardrobe - have you seen the price of silk lately?

All the best,

DC

abdul666 said...

Hi David,
no recent news from the Grand Duchy of Artois and the Electorate of Kronenburg?

The 28mm 'plastics' now available for the 18th C. (WF, and Perry -Napoleonics with headswaps, soon AWI) prompted the recent creation of Lace Wars Imagi-Nations by gamers reluctant to use 1/72 plastic soldiers.
The imagination and creativity you show here would make marvels in the 18th C.!

David Crook said...

Hi Abdul666,

Artois and Kronenburg will see the light of day at some point in the future and now that all of these plastics are available - who knows?

The 18th century with Fezia and Rusland is an intriguing possibility.

All the best,

DC

abdul666 said...

18th C. Fezia would indeed be rich of colorful possibilities, so much the more as, Fezia not being *exactly* the historical Ottoman Empire, its army could be 'Munchausenian'. You could increase the diversity of its hordes by adding late Renaissance -> late 18th C. Mamelukes, Persians (if available in minis?), *Indians* -too bad nobody resurrected the large London War Room range so far- mailed cavalry, jingal elephants, zambereck camels, pack camels rockets batteries... And, as European auxiliaries, late Renaissance Croats, Pole & Balkanic infantry as well as Greeks of the 1830 and perhaps Late Byzantine heavy horse in scale / lamellar armor -19th C. Circassians still looked very Byzantine (all as proxies of levies from Forbodia and Remania), then as 'European Muslims' some Tatars, Napoleonic Kalmuks...
Of course you'd have to resort to metal figurines; well one can always dream / toy with ideas :)

Cheers,
Jean-Louis

David Crook said...

Hi Abdul666,

I can see my painting assuming mountain-like proportions with even a fraction of that little lot! Very, very true though. At the moment I am considering how best I could use the new Perry plastic Mahdists so you can see where this is heading....;-)

All the best,

DC

Ross Mac said...

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

-Ross

Ross Mac said...

Belatedly catching up, me too! My 1st thought was "I thought he was going to use the A&A maps". Having the few 3d elements, houses etc really accentuated with the graphics for a nice effect. OK on to catch up with the game.

David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

Not half as bad as the Rusland army....;-)

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

I was really pleased at the way the 3d elements worked with the A and A maps - not bad at all for a hastily cobbled together idea!

The overall look is quite effective and I am happy the blocks worked out as well.

I have had many generous comments about the look of the thing and as slow and reluctant figure painter (despite my recent Perry plastics fix!)this was an important consideration.

All the best,

DC