"The Masay Coast Guard"
A Flintloque Background Article by Roger Wilcox
Gaston Minion, secretaire to the commander of the "Masay Gardes du Cote Milice" tells all about Masay's militia, his commander's run in with an Albion hero and the crazed plan to take Albion by sea...
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Gaston Minion, secretaire to Colonel Sant-Ders who is now, Buon Partee preserve us, commander of the "Masay Gardes du Cote Milice" or in Albionish "The Masay Coast Guard Militia". I will have to smuggle this out to you because if he finds it, mon Colonel, will take great delight in bashing me around the head with his latest favorite toy, a rubber chicken that he calls "Monsieur Chuckie"! Sacre bleu!
The Masay Coast Guards were formed at the time of the Nookie Crisis when naughty Orcish sailors from Albion were stealing Dark Elf ladies from Catalucia. We were, at first, meant to be a "free company" that would go to Catalucia and give "Jean Bullie Albioneesh" a right good kicking. Then it was decided that we must guard our own coast near the port of Masay.
This was fine with the volunteers. They could stay at home, report for duty, go home again and get on with their usual jobs. Tres Bon!
Volunteers for the Coast Guard had to be Armorican Elves who lived (or imprisoned, volunteering secured release) within the old walls of of Masay and be available for duty within a quarter of an hour (well really half an hour, who's in a hurry, especially if you are having your siesta) of an alarm being raised. You also had to go for training for an hour or so about four or five times a week, but nobody was too worried if you weren't on time, or if you had something more important to do like go fishing or play boules. Mind you, most turned up to get away from their wives.
Ah! What is it about women? When they are young they are so beautiful! You get married and at first you can't wait for siesta. The light, dimmed by the shutters makes your wife look so....hey hon! You know. Don't try to tell me you don't know ...eh? We Elves of the world, non? That's why there are so many Elves in Masay! Then one day, phoum! she turns into her mother! Ah! Mais non!..... Zut alors!.....Time to volunteer!
After duty, the volunteers went to the corner cafe, drank some wine, ate sardines, crab, langustine, hard cheese, or jambon and bread, maybe a bowl of Bouillebaise, whistled at the girls and smoked cigarillos. Those that could read might even look at the news broadsheets from Lyonesse. Usual rubbish! Sometimes one, two, or more would get into a fight with a regular soldier. Pah! regulars, stupid boys more like! Ma foi! They should have told them to stay away from the docks. Keep a knife ready (just in case) and remember, mes amis, nobody saw a thing!
Not bad eh? They even got paid!
The uniform was supposed to be blue but the supply officer discovered that if he bought undyed cloth it saved a few sous which he put in his pocket. So the coats were anything from white to mid grey. The facings were sea green. The waistcoats and breeches were also supposed to be sea green but, more often than not, problems of supply led to grey, white or off white ones being issued. Some didn't bother with the waistcoat, or even a shirt under the coat. Hose, if they could be bothered to wear them were white or grey. Shoes of black leather with a whitemetal buckle were given to the volunteers but some decided that straw or leather sandles, or even bare feet would do. (Especially if they'd sold the shoes!). The coast guards were given black tricornes with (supposedly) sea green feathers, however due to a foul up (or perhaps "Fowl up") red ones were issued to all but a few. Hey! Made them look like grenadiers. Good for attracting the ladies, mais non? Belts and straps were white leather, black leather cartridge boxes and plain canvas bread bags were authorised but equipment wasn't exactly a major priority with the guards. If it got in the way chuck it, or even better, sell it. A standard Charredville infantry musket was issued which every volunteer was supposed to keep clean and in good firing order. So, it didn't get done. If the sergeant was too drunk, or couldn't be bothered, to check, who cares? N.C.O.s were issued with a boat hook instead of a halberd. The coast guard were supposed to be trained for amphibious operations but nobody could be bothered to find any suitable boats. So the N.C.O.'s (rank chevrons, rose pink, they were red but the cheep dye faded) instead of using the boat hooks as they should, grabbing hold of boats or volunteers floundering about in the water, they use them for hooking Coast Guards who, for reasons of their own, decide that the firing line is not for them!
In the interests of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, N.C.O.'s were elected. As you can imagine, this produced a cadre of bullies, or easy going types depending on which company you happened to be in.
They were supposed to have a cannon, but it was so old, covered in rust (oui, that old!) and didn't have a carriage so they never bothered. Too much effort anyhow.
The overall appearance of the Masay Coast Guard was one of dirty, badly dressed, fishy smelling, unshaven, ill disciplined layabouts with bad breath and bad attitude.
Orders, after a couple of moments consideration, were usually obeyed if they weren't too bothersome. Any N.C.O. who thought that bullying might get things done quicker, or better, often ended up having a terrible accident to do with a dark alley and several knives, followed by a one way trip to the bottom of the harbour.
"Poor fellow, stabbed himself twenty three times, then jumped off the dock. We all saw it didn't we mes amis?
How did I, Lieutenant Gaston Minion, graduate of the Sourbonbon in Lyoneses end up ere? Pah! Colonel Sant-Ders! That's how! I come out with my qualification, the ECWD (Extremement Cleveur, Well Done) and where does the Centre des Jobs send me? Secretaire to a Colonel of dragoons who is obsessed with eating chicken, thinks he is a military genius and who then gets himself transferred to a regiment of coast guards because he lost his regiment's eagle to some Albionish aristocrat called Rogipoos!
Now what is he doing? He thinks he will lead this heap of Masay doodoo to victoire! The mad Elf dreams that he will invade Albion, start a revolution there and that L'Empereur will make him a Marshal of L'Empire! Buon Partee! Ma fois!
I remember the "Glorious triumph" the lunatic claims to have gained at the Cornetto Fort! The "Uncle Rogipoos" and his Fencibles. Oui! Fencibles, not even regulars!, captured half of our first company who were asleep, kicked the derrier of the rest of them and took prisoner the whole of the Todoroni Reimente Gelato! The fort blows up and what does he do. Tells me to get him more chicken! We didn't leave Masay until the next day after he'd had his afternoon siesta! According to him his, "rapid advance" frightened the Albionish away! Oh yes! He was eating chicken and looking at the red glow in the sky while the Albionish were casually rowing back to their ship and making of the rude gesticulations in the direction of any Elf back on the shore!
Please, if you read this, do something! If you have any influence please use it to get me out of here! Oh Non! There it is again!
"GASTON! I want some fried chicken!"
Forgive me. I must go. That rubber chicken hurts.
Yours in desperation,
Gaston Minion (Lieutenant et secretaire to........un great big steaming nincompoopy!!!!!!)
Ah! I want my mamma!
We here at the museum contacted the referenced Albion orc, a certain Uncle Rogipoos, to confirm if the details about Masay were in fact accurate. He kindly favoured us with this reply...
Well Met my Good Friends,
Regardin' your enquiry concernin' Masay may I refer you to Mr. Thomas Crooke`s guide...
The ancient and picturesque city of Masay can be found on the East coast of Armorica, on the "Cote Fylthie" almost exactly half way along the coastal route from Venis in Neopolise and Bilbo in Catalucia.
Visitors who stop at Masay will be enthralled by the lively Masay Elves. The males with their vibrant coloured headscarves, sashes and long knives and the vivacious ladies in their traditional colourful skirts, red or black shawls, blouses, and concealed weaponry.
The traveller can experience the wide range of fresh fish, lobsters, octopus and other strange and exotic "fruits de merde" from the sun drenched open market which helps to give Masay it`s unmistakable "aire". Witness also the ragged urchins practising the traditional "way of the invisible hand" or "robbe le touriste" as this charming local art is sometimes known.
No stay in Masay is complete without an excursion into the fascinating narrow twisting alleyways of the old town, or "Les Slummes" as they are known,where dark eyed young ladies may offer to entertain the curious with their fortune telling and other interesting skills.
Later in the day what could be more thrilling than an evening at a quayside "taverna" where the visitor will be warmly welcomed and entertained, perhaps by two of the local "bravos" enacting a "combat de canif". These young fellows are extremely convincing as they slash and hack at each other with their daggers. It is quite easy to imagine that the blood is real and that the vanquished participant is actually dead when the winner's friends dump his "corpse" off the dockside.
Two of the local ladies may suddenly engage in a lively "Chattefyte" seeming to tear at each others hair, bite, scratch and wrestle as they demolish the furniture in this lively traditional dance.
Finally, there will almost certainly be a sturdy fellow who, for a coin or two,will be happy to guide the visitor through the maze of narrow dimly lit streets back to their hotel. Male travellers are most likely to be invited by one of the many young ladies, who frequent these dockside tavernas, to spend the night at a hostelry run by her mamma, or "Madame" as she is usually known.
A visit to Masay is something that any traveller will be sure to remember for a very long time."
I should say so! Been there once. Bit of a dump actually, all fallin' down an' smellin' o' fish. Full o' thieves crooks an' mountebanks. Harry an' I spent a couple o' days there in our youth. Ho ho what fun! Got into a bit o' fisticuffs with some scruffy Johnnie Ferache fried chicken seller wallah called Santers or summat like that. Not only was 'is "deeleeshuss" fried chicken distinctly off, the bounder pulled a knife on me when I demanded me money back! The cad! Anyway, taught 'im a bit of a lesson. Stripped to the waist, put me fists up. Bop! Right on the ol' beezer Gosh, you should 'ave seen 'im go down! Crunch! Blood streamin' from is conk! Huzzah! Teach 'im to take on a student of that great Notnumm pugilist Bendy Gow. Bet 'e's never forgotten that ! Still brings a smile to me ol' "visage" as 'twer.
Love to tell you the whole story but must go, stuff to do an' all that. Anyway I do hope that this is of some use. Put it with the ol` letter if you like. Must make sure the ice on the lake isn't too.....oh! Too late, Willy has just flown by the window. Ah! the ice isn't too thick. He enjoys it you know, entertains the ducks too!
Better go help pull 'im out. Bye for now,
Cheers an' Huzzahs!
An Orcs in the Webbe Original! Gaston's letter and Thomas Crooke's guide to Masay were written by Roger Willcox exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe's 2010 Advent Calendarand was first published on Thursday 9th December 2010. Roger is a regular contrubuter to Alternative Armies' official Yahoo Group, The Notables, where you can find many more stories by Roger featuring cast of characters including Uncle Rogipoos and Colonel Sant-Ders.
The Masay Coast Guard can be represented in games of Flintloque by using codes 51526 Elf Militia Command and 51034 Elf (Republican) Militia.
The map section is taken from Flintloque: War in Catalucia (5025) but you can in fact purchase a full a3 Map of Urop from Alternative Armies' website.