"The Legend of Charlie Grey"
A Flintloque Short Story by Tony Harwood
A young Orc of Albion proudly serves his country in both this life and the next.
It was one of Mystic Mog’s better spells, a full two shillings worth, it was written in blue ink and on real parchment and everything. The spell was a bloody good one too. Eternal and Everlasting Damnation. A long time that. And the target of this venom, a newly enlisted Orc Redcoat who had unwittingly spurned a young She-Orc’s advances.
Contrary Mary, a young seamstress, first met the young Charles at a farmers fayre on the outskirts of Broomcoat - two jugs of rough cider later and half a dozen dances and young Mary thought 'this was the one' and with girlish glee she whispered to some bystanding she-Orcs that Charlie and her were an item. Were in fact soon to be engaged. Were in fact soon to be married!
As the group of musicians - well an old fiddler, a washboard player and an Orc with a banjo - started the final dance of the evening and Mary looked around for her lovebCharlie, the drumming started.
Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump.
The band spluttered and the music stopped.
Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump.
The barn doors flew open and an Orc sergeant took to the make-do stage.
When all eyes were on him, and after a single swish of his swagger stick, the drumming stopped. As the sergeant stood to attention, many in the audience began to look around for their loved ones, Mary included - where had Charlie got too?
Another swish of his swagger stick and the stage began to fill with young Orcs. The sergeant began by announcing with gusto that these fine fellows of Orcs had freely and with some considerable pride 'taken the Kyng's Shilling' and enlisted in the Great Army of Albion.
While many cheered Mary was heartbroken and swore that she would never be humiliated like this again.
Even before the Redcoats had left Broomcoat Mary had sought out Mystic Mog and the spell had been chosen and paid for. All that now remained was for Mary to chant the blue scribbled words within ear-shot of Charlie.
She found him and moved close. Mary started to say the words, but they were difficult to read and she read them without feeling. But Charlie did have feelings for her, but he was shy and allowed her to finish the damning words before he leant closer and swore undying affection 'for the only girl he would ever love.'
A single tear found it's way down Mary's cheek.
Months later on a barren battlefield in Catalucia Charlie stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his brothers in arms. The Ferach columns continued their march towards them and the artillery pounded away in the distance. There was no doubt in Charlie’s mind that this was the day he would die.
Thousands of flintloques fired and thousands of soldiers fell.
The bullet with Charlie’s name on it whizzed through the air and with precious little pomp and no ceremony, Charlie was dead...
...then he awoke.
As he looked over at the carnage of the battlefield he felt strange, light-headed and a little drunk with the atmosphere. Still he was coherent enough to know that he must make his way back to camp and report in fit for duty.
Except Charlie was far from fit for duty.
On his march back to his billet he felt a great weight had been removed from his shoulders and his thoughts turned to Mary. 'What would she be doing at this precise moment?'
As he approached the Orc encampment his attention was taken by how serine the place was – after a big battle this was a common occurrence, but there was also the lack of any sound, any sound at all. He could see Orc Redcoats making their way back, some injured, some shocked and Charlie was conscious of their need. He guided injured Orcs by pointing them in the right direction and chivvied others with shouts of Huzzah and Bang On but not many seemed to heed his words. But he somehow felt his encouragement helped many weary and injured Orcs to make their way back to the safety and comfort of the camp.
As the evening progressed, many more Orcs wandered back, each one weary after the recent battle. Charlie was aware that many more did not return that evening. By nightfall the fires blazed all around the camp. Charlie was tired and soon fell into a long and refreshing sleep, where he dreamed of his life before joining the Army of Albion, he dreamed of Mary.
In the morning the bugle call roused the soldiers and roll call was taken. There were many names called where there was no reply. When Charlie’s name and number were called there was silence. Charlie was present but unable to answer the Sergeant-Major. His voice had gone. He stepped forward in an attempt to make himself noticed and noticed he was.
The whole regiment, well what was left of the regiment stepped back as a ghost. Charlie’s ghost, stood in the early morning light, as if mist, a grey outline against the rising sun.
There are many folk Ttles, stories and songs of similar occurrences; ghost soldiers returning from the dead to offer help and support to his remaining comrades – this is one of those stories. The ghost of Charlie Grey continuing to march with his regiment, offering help where needed and instilling fear in the 'pointy-eared' Ferach who had taken his lifeblood away on that day when he had been shot down.
Many have tried to get to the bottom of this particular legend, why was it that Charlie returned as a ghost? Some say it was the half-hearted spell chanted by Contrary Mary or maybe the love that Charlie still harbours for her. But Charlie (the) Grey continues to act as a regimental mascot as well as savour to his fellow Orc Redcoats all across Catalucia.
Any Redcoated Orc miniature will do, just paint him grey (with glowing red eyes).
Rules for 3rd Edition Flintloque
Charlie acts as a regimental mascot and as such adds (+1) to any morale role.
Charlie can rally any lost, routed or fleeing Orc Redcoat and return them to camp safe and sound.
Charlie has the opposite effect on any Ferach troops within 12 inches, their morale being lowered by (1).
Rules for Slaugterloo
Charlie can rally any lost fleeing or routed Orc regiment and return it to camp.
Charlie will reduce the efficiency of any Ferach regiment within 24inches by -1.
This article was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 2nd December 2012 as part of it's 2012 Advent Calendar.
Tony is a regular writer of fiction set in the world of Flintloque.