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"Foul Mouth Freddy and The ****ing Kartoffenburg Mash-up"

A Flintloque Story by Tony Harwood

~|~

Valon's loveable anti-hero returns once again to OITW, this time in a full 15,000 word novella, Freddy's biggest adventure to date!

~

1

Freddy sat with his back to a small drystone wall. He was cold, wet and hungry. His mind wandered back to three weeks ago and his time with the 60th Rifles. With hindsight Sharke and Harpy weren’t so bad; at least there was regular food (and Grog)! But there was no way that Freddy was going to wear that green uniform any longer, the bunch of fairies! A true Orc of Albion wore RED. It had its benefits; no blood stains, no ketchup stains and he was always able to see where those scrounging b****y ‘Grunts’ and ‘Toffee-Nosed’ officers were. In The Rifles, officers like Sharke had a nasty habit (a b****y nasty habit) of sneaking up on you when you were taking a nap or having a swift snifter – that’s s****ing Sharke for you!

A b****y huge raindrop ran down the back of his neck.

“S*d it!” grumbled Freddy (he was feeling a trifle refrained – it must have been the time he spent with Sharke was having an effect on him after all). “This weather will be the ***ing death of me.”

Freddy and the 69th Whoresters, or as they had been sometimes referred to ‘The Lays’ – ‘The Easy Lays!’, were now both lost and in disarray. The b****y quartermasters had managed to lose most of the equipment and the useless officers had managed to lose most of the regiment! Freddy continued to grumble to himself, he was good at that – after all he was a sergeant in the Army of the plump Krautian half-breed, Kyng Georgie b****y Porgie.

The 69th was a new regiment, actually an amalgamation of two: The 13th (The Unlucky or as it was known amongst the Orcs, ‘The Luckless Ba***rd’s) and the 22nd or ‘The Shooting ****ing Ducks. It had been hastily raised in time for this latest little picnic: an expeditionary force into the wilds of Northern ****ing Kraut Land. Unfortunately, supplies had been lost some time ago and now the regiment was falling apart due to unrest. Not amongst the ordinary Orc soldier, no they were getting along fine, the problem was with those d****d fine officers who were either green, greener than usual or used to being in charge of a well stocked drinks cabinet. This new regiment – the 69th had caused much bad feeling and sub-groups were conspiring to see it disbanded, even before its first major action. B****y Officers!

A sharp snap behind him brought Freddy back to reality, but too late. A gruff bark was all that Freddy heard before a huge Ostrian hound was pointing a weird blunderbuss at the group. Soon, four more appeared and then a b****y Officer!

“Voo ist in charge?”

Freddy looked around and seeing there were no obvious volunteers stood up and said (through gritted teeth)

“It seems I am. Sergeant Freddy T of the newly formed 69th.” It was at this time that Freddy took and instant and deep-rooted dislike to this Ostrian Officer. We will never know if it was ist vierd accent, his spotty coat (his fur, not his uniform, which was immaculate!) or the manner in which he addressed Freddy. More than likely it was all three things. Freddy is easily offended.

“Zo, dis ist de grate Albion Orcz, zent to defendz the littlest Dwarfz? Not much to looks ats iz itz?” The remaining Hounds growled their acceptance and hollered like, well, like puppies and lowered their weapons.

“Yo ist NOT an offirerz! Where are zee officerz?” demanded the ‘stuck up’ Dalmatian. Freddy inclined his head and spat –

“Over there, down through the tree line and towards the river, just keep an eye out for the smoke and you should be able to smell the aroma of cooked mutton.” The response from the Ostrian was aggressive and Freddy should have expected it.

“Ist dis the vay that you Orcz speak to Offizers? No vonder Mordred has youse on the runz! Stand up straight and salute an offizer – your zuperior in ever way!” Freddy reluctantly stood to attention and with exaggerated, parade ground movement, saluted the Ostrian.

“May I ask whom I am addressing?” Freddy enquired through gritted teeth.

“Very goodz. Capitan Ernst Groober of the 2’ Ostrian Alpine Grenadier Regiment at your service” he said with a clicking of his heels which was heard echoing around the clearing. “Very goodz.” he repeated and then with a simple hand movement, he and his lap dogs were off towards the officers’ camp tramping past Freddy’s bedraggled section.

“S*d it, how come no one saw or heard those fluffed up pooches?” screamed Freddy, but there was no reply. “I hate b****y Dogs!”

(Actually Freddy hated everyone and every b****y thing! Some would call him a bigot. Freddy wouldn’t know what that meant. Freddy wasn’t a bigot. Freddy hated Dwarves, other Orcz, sorry Orcs, Dogs, Elves and b****y Jocians, he particularly disliked Officers, he was OK with Ogres – well, you had to be careful with Ogres they were quick to take offence and likely to tread on you!)

“S*d it! S*d it! S*d it!” screamed Freddy.

Freddy hated being ‘talked down to’ even more than he hated officers. S**t, it was usually the officers that were talking down to him. As any good sergeant knows in a situation like this there was only one course of action…he took it out on his squad by ensuring that sentries were posted and then kicked at least three sleeping Orcs. If Freddy was awake he couldn’t see why anyone else should be sleeping.

Hours later Freddy was called down to HQ. He reported to Sykes, the new regimental secretary, who didn’t even bother to look up.

“Go through, you’re expected.”

“Oh ****! What have I been caught doing this time?” mumbled Freddy.

Inside, Freddy’s worst fears were realized. Not only was Freddy’s nemesis Sergeant-Major Bentine standing behind the desk but there were also three ‘Stunties’ and Capitan Groober, the ‘stuffed shirt’ Ostrian Hound. Freddy stood to exaggerated attention, an action that brought a raised eyebrow to Bentine who was forever trying and failing to instil discipline in the Orcs under his command.

Bentine was just starting the introductions, when Groober held up his paw,

“Is this the BEST you have to offer?” The expressions on both Freddy and Groober faces were a mix of contempt and disgust, Freddy looked like he had just stepped in dog s**t, and Groober as if he’d just shat! To Freddy’s surprise, Bentine gave a glowing recommendation, saying that even though he might be a trouble maker and not always the most structured (yes that was the word, ‘structured’, Freddy made a mental note to check out what it b****y meant) he was, without doubt, the best Orc suited to the task.

Freddy was about to interrupt and object to being talked about rather than to, when one of the Dwarves stood and approached him.

“I seem to recollect a Sergeant Freddy of the 13th being responsible for a successful assault on a cannon emplacement…and some Bier!”

Freddy coughed and was about to pass comment when Bentine interrupted.

“Sergeant, please raise a company of our best Albion Orcs to accompany our ‘guests’ on their little adventure. Report to Sykes in one hour.” Freddy began to protest when he saw the look in Bentine’s eye and the seething looks from Groober, so briskly saluted and turned to leave.

The last memory of that meeting was a comment from Groober who was speaking to the three Dwarves.

“Do ve really need these Orcz.” Orcz - sorry, Orcs was said in such a way that even Freddy felt a tad disappointed.

One hour later Freddy and his group of fifteen Orcs were standing to attention in front of Sykes. The comment from Bentine, ‘Best Albion Orcs’ was not a description that immediately came to mind when you surveyed this motley crew, but Freddy has ensured that they were properly prepared with enough black powder and shot for whatever lay ahead. Some had even managed to pick up food. In addition, he had made sure that they practiced ‘proper salutes’! There was no way that those Ostrian canines were going to be ‘Top Dog’. Both Bentine and Secombe, another of the 69th’s Officers, were on hand and most disturbingly of all – they were civille. Well - as civille as an Orc Officer can get!

“Oh s**t” thought Freddy, “I really am in b****y trouble…”

Within minutes the Dwarves and five Dogs had materialized, Groober nodded to Freddy and then without a word they were marching up into the wooded valley. Freddy bit his lip, not wanting to be the first to ‘break’ and start a conversation. As it happened it was the Dwarves who broke the stalemate and acted as middlemen or peacemakers between the Orcs and the Dog soldiers.

The story they related was quite a surprise, being Brewers rather than soldiers, the Dwarves realised that they were in a very precarious position. With Mordred’s advance showing no sign of slowing, the staff and Dwarf elders of Beckie’s Brewery were forced to leave their brewery behind and embark on a marriage of convenience between Dwarf and Dog, and now Dwarf, Dog and Orc.

The situation was becoming clearer to Freddy. The Dwarf Brewers were on the run from the advancing Ferach and their Allies. The Ostian puppy dogs, were helping but under duress and it was clear that there was a deep distrust between both groups.

Freddy was still not sure how he and his group of Orcs would fit in. What Freddy was certain of was that Freddy and his Orcs were expendable. It was dog-eat-dog out there.

~

2

Dwarf historians will proudly tell you of great battles, grudges and wars. They will recite long (and boring) battle poems where the generations of warring clans fight for Gold, for gems and for rusty old armour. They will not tell of wars fought for Bier, for ale or for lager. Why? Well, every Dwarf will tell you that Bier is too serious a matter to fall out over! Sauerkraut – well that’s a different matter altogether.

It’s been the same for, well, ages and ‘ages’ in dwarf terms is a very, very long time!

In fact, the last Krolsberg War happened so long ago that they’ve made an opera based on the treachery. Not a very good opera, but one that’s been running for over one hundred years. For anyone who has not seen it, I won’t give away the ending, but remember to take a hanky or two if you are a Dwarf! Dwarves take their drinking very seriously, even more seriously than war.

All that is about to change…

The advancing Ferach army is changing the face of Urop, arranging treaties with allies and trampling any one who stands in their way. No more is this truer than with Mordred’s dealings with the Dwarves. The Finklestein Confederation have allied with Mordred, while the Krautian League have banded together to stand and fight, a great cause of shame and animosity to all Dwarves. However, there are some minor principalities, puppet states and even individual townships that have either not yet made up their mind as to which group they should side with or are to weak-willed to make any choice at all and live in fear of being recognised as such. Others, for example the small state of Bremner where Beckie’s Bier is brewed, have decided that a completely different course of action is necessary. Bier is too great an asset to be left in the hands of ‘wine drinking Elves’. In fact, I think this is the core of the problem. Elves just don’t get Bier! Having been brought up on wine, the thought of drinking ‘frothy brown ale’ from tankards when crisp white wine in delicate crystal glasses is available is just foreign to them. Orcs on the other hand will drink anything!

Ferach troops and their Dwarf allies were frustrated at not being able to defeat the smaller Dwarf principalities, in particular, the small town of Bremner where the famous Beckie’s Brewery was proving to be a real thorn in their side. Rumours had already been circulating that the famous Beckie’s Brewery had been closed down and the Dwarf Brewmasters had secreted themselves away during a particularly moonless night. The imperious Ferach were at a loss as to why such a small and insignificant brewery could have such an impact but for some reason various Dwarf allies were now kicking up quite a fuss.

The fact is Beckie’s Brewery has always been more than just a brewery. In the days prior to Black Powder Weapons and the rise of Mordred, Beckie’s Black Ale was a brew which held a real grip on the beer-fuelled psyche of all Dwarves. Beckie’s Black Ale, a special XXXX ale, had been endowed with almost mystic properties and their brewery a place of pilgrimage for young Dwarves about to leave home and go in search of fame and fortune (about 65 years in Orc terms).

The Black Ale had quite a history (see History of Dwarven Breweries, Vol. XXXII ‘The Lesser Known Special Brews, page 366, by Prof. Hughe Jackman). In Dwarf terms the famous Black Ale was first brewed in the late spring in the year of the Red Ruby Gems and on the eve of the famous Dwarf battle of Craggy Pass, where the great Brewer Robberto Locke (great, great, great grandfather to the Robberto Locke, leader of the Princess Juliana Chasseur Elite) stood on the top of a great beer barrel and addressed the waiting Dwarves.
“Friends, Runts and Minermen, lend me your beards…”

A stirring speech that has since been corrupted by historians and some unknown Albion wordsmith! What is not so well known is that Locke slipped and fell into the barrel and drowned (not straight away, he actually got out twice to go to the toilet – the old ones are the best). Later the dwarves stood around waiting to see if Locke would surface for a third time. But when he didn’t, and being stoic Dwarves they decided that it would be a shame to see good beer go to waste and drank the now full-bodied ale!

The Battle of Craggy Pass was a great victory for the now inebriated Dwarves and stories, songs and even another Opera was written. Dwarves, after all, love a good Opera; they find that they can follow the story much easier with a bit of singing involved.

For years, on the ten year anniversary of The Battle, Beckie’s Brewery have commemorated the event with a very special Brew: Beckie’s Black Ale, or Olde Locke’s Full Bodied Ale. There is no longer a need for a drowning Dwarf, although there have been at least three recorded attempts at beating the record set by Locke and trying to drink the barrel dry before having to have a toilet break. Today, although a similar barrel is used, even containing a few of the original staves, the Bier is a (very) strong Wheat Bier or dark brew, but still said to contain the essence of Olde Locke and is very highly prized amongst Dwarves.

Back to the story…

The retreating Dwarves being escorted by our own Foul Mouth Freddy are the Head Brewer of Beckie’s Brewery (also called Locke - but no relation, being the lesser Locke’s and standing shorter than the famous Robberto). Then there is an apprentice Dwarf called Howardo, who is charged with carrying a flask of Beckie’s Brewery Yeast (an important ingredient in all brews, and said to be a direct growth from the Original Barrel). Finally, there is Franco, who carries the two wooden Staves from the Original Barrel. The intention is to set up a new Brewery, far from the warring states and rebuild a new commemorative barrel to celebrate the next anniversary of Beckie’s Black Ale – due in three years time.

Of course Freddy knows nothing of this. However, the Dwarves of The Ferach Alliance – those treacherous Finklesteiners - are all too aware of the plan and have declared their determination to ensure that Beckie’s Black Ale remains a Confederation Brew. Even now plans are being drawn-up to raise a force of Dwarves to secure these traitors, for they are seen as the worst of turn-coat traitors, trying to brew Bier outside of the Dwarven boundaries and with water that has not come from the great Dwarven peaks of Dun Brewing and Dun Drinking.

Just for good measure – the Ferach Spy (lets call him X, but with a silly Ferach accent) and favourite of the Evil Emperor Mordred has got wind of the plans and is securing the assistance of the Emperor himself with plans to capture the three dwarves and control this potent Dwarven symbol. “HeX” is already mustering his forces and will soon have the three Dwarves, the Head Brewer, the Yeast and the Staves in his grasp!

Just as you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, a group of Amorican Gentry and some emigrate Dwarves have decided that a new Dwarven Brewery is just what is needed in the New World colony and are attempting to build an alliance of suitable dastardly rebel Elves and ex-pat Dwarves to tempt the three Dwarves (or steal away) the Recipe, Yeast and Staves and set up a rival Beckie’s Brewery in the fashionable southern states of Amorica. At this moment resources are mixed, they have only a hand-full of troops and followers, but loads-of-money.

~

3

As they continued their march up through the valley, Freddy was checking each of his Orcs, making sure that they were making the most of the meagre b****y rations and provisions that they had been able to pick up. Freddy also did a mental check of the characters under his control. There were some that he had served with in the 13th like Mad Micky Hoolihan (The Hooligan), an Orc of decidedly average stature who has a tendency to go absolutely raving bonkers whenever he partakes of alcohol. Seriously, you do not want to be in the same town as The Hooligan if he’s been drinking. Then there’s Kenny, an Orc with a vocabulary of foul expletives that is only just sweeter than our hero Foul Mouth Freddy. Kenny’s one saving grace is that he can sing and regularly entertains the ladies with his battered banjo. There’s Blewitt, a vegetarian Orc (and anyone who has the slightest knowledge of an Orc’s anatomy will tell you: Orcs are just not built to be vegetarian! Hence the nick-name Blewitt). Finally from the 13th we have Leighty – a huge Orc cook who carries both a flintloque and a meat cleaver and is just as experienced at cutting down Ferach with both.

The amalgamated 69th Whoresters and, in particular, those under Freddy’s command from the 22nd (or ‘The Shooting ****ing Ducks) are still an unknown quantity. The rather dashing Ben and his brother, Tom, are pretty straight forward and, Freddy feels, trustworthy. Then there is a rather strange Orc individual – Doc Doc. A rare Orc, being trained in healing. Not the black-magic, hocuss-pocuss of the past but proper healing with knives and medicines, who keeps talking to his medicine case! Very strange.

The others are still a mystery, but Freddy is determined to batter them into a single unit – he feels that he will need their loyalty before this b****y pantomime is over.

The first day of marching was a sombre affair, with Freddy still not able to enter into conversation with the pack of wet-nosed and stuck-up hounds. B****y canines. But the Dwarves were very talkative making conversation with Orc and Dog alike. They are not like any Dwarf Freddy had come across, most Dwarves need a ‘hello’ crow-barred out of them (unless drunk of course – then you want a crow bar to shut them up). B****y strange if you ask me.

Camp on the first night was set up in the shadow of a small over-hang. Freddy had set sentries on the top of the outcrop and the single fire was set well back so no excess light was seen by unwanted ****ing guests. The Dwarves were already settling down for sleep and Freddy was about to do his rounds when the lurching shadow of an Ostrian Hound caught his attention and gestured for Freddy to follow him. Those pristine white uniforms really stand out at night.

“What ***ing now?” Freddy and the well dressed Hound walked some way off from the main group.

“I ams Vons Beagles, from the Beagles family of Wien, youse have heards ofs mees by chances?” the Ostrian asked in hushed whispers. Freddy, not being from the same (or even similar) social class, had no idea how to respond.

“I’m Freddy T, from the b****y Freddy T’s family. What the **** do you want?” Even so Vons Beagle continued.

“Yous and our offizer Capitan Ernst Groober haves got often to the wrongz feet, ja?”

“****ing right” snapped Freddy.

“Vis ist unfortunates, as ve believes vis mizzions to be importans for bofe Albionz and Orstria. Ves Dwarves ist importentz, ja! Do youse knows why?” Freddy’s answer was full of his usual bluster and blasphemes.

“Groober, he ist drinking and cavorting. Most unseeming for an Ostrian Offizers, Ya?” said Beagle.

But Freddy had lost interest and there wasn’t much to learn from Beagle. Although two things struck Freddy. Firstly – not even the mutts knew all of what was going on and secondly - Groober had some loyalty issues amongst his pack. Well, here was some interesting, if not great b****y news!

Day two was uneventful with, once again, the Orcs keeping their distance and conversation cold. But not as cold as the weather, which had now begun to turn from summer to winter. Or was it the fact that they were continuing to climb?

The third day saw a change in fortune. A group of badly led Ferach were seen tramping along a valley floor and Freddy and Groober were immediately signalling for complete silence. This plan called for stealth and not brawn! Then just as all had thought they had got away with it there was a musket miss-fire from the Orcs, or was it Dogs? With no need for any orders, both Orc and Dog charged down into the group of startled Ferach, who had little chance to react or defend themselves. Even so, two Orcs were mortally wounded. Of the twelve Ferach that Freddy had counted earlier, ten lay dead (or dying) and two were presumed drowned in the fast flowing river. As a skirmish, it really was a one sided affair. However, in their haste to get back and check on the Dwarves, who had been left in the cover of the tree line, the group of jubilant Orcs and Dogs had missed a vital point. One Ferach still lived and this fact would jeopardise the continued success of the mission. On the bright side, the encounter had helped to thaw relations between Orc and Dog. There were even signs of camaraderie and growls of what Freddy took to be laughter from the Dogs! There was no such chance of any tomfoolery between Groober and Freddy –

“B****y stuck up Lap Dog!”

The ‘who fired the first shot’ debate was lost amongst the revelry, but Freddy had made a mental note to ‘discuss the matter’ (a euphemism for a b****y good kicking) with his Orcs later. Meanwhile the lone Ferach, still shaken from the brutal attack, started to make his way down the valley while Freddy, his Orcs, Groober with his puppies and the three Stunties kept moving up the valley, keeping close to the bare rock sides and continually moaning about the deteriorating weather.

The plan, as Freddy saw it, was to make for the first break in the valley sides and then cross over the top and into the next valley. The terrain at the bottom offered adequate cover, while the trek up the sides exposed all to wind, rain and the chance of being spotted. Freddy felt that it was time he had a little chat with Groober, however much the thought made him cringe.

“****y puffed up poodle!”

Freddy found Groober in conversation with one of his white uniformed hounds. Was it the same hound, Beagle, that Freddy had spoken with last night? The problem was that, to Freddy, all these puppies looked the ***ing same!

“I think we should rest now and move up and over the valley side at night – the darkness will cover our progress and we should be able to evade any pursuers.” said Freddy.

“So ve have a specialists in military tacticz, do vees?” was the snubbed reply and this made Freddy’s blood start to boil.

“Keep calm” was the voice in Freddy’s head, but the sound from Freddy’s mouth was completely different and, needless to say, full of Orc expletives and foul language. Not great for Freddy’s first attempt at influencing the actions of this little group! To cut a very long story short, Freddy sulked away with his tail between his legs and the whole squad started the long (and exposed) march up the valley side. The first battle in the war between Groober and Freddy had not so much been lost by Freddy but thrown away. Both Orc and Dog were more exposed due to Freddy not being able to control his mouth - not an unusual occurrence!

~

4

The journey up the side of the valley was slow and difficult, Freddy kept looking over his shoulder and the constant furtive looks put the whole of his section on edge. By the time they had reached the crest of the valley nerves were at breaking point. The fact that it was now dark and still the whole group had not eaten was not helping.

“**** it” said Freddy and a general round of “you can say that again!” went up across all the Orcs.

Groober had managed to stay up front and, to Freddy and the Orcs, was acting as if he was out for an evening stroll. In the distance, about an hour’s march ahead there were signs of life – some stone buildings and a light.

“Dis way” was the curt command and the whole party started to march in the lee of an old stone wall towards the grey farm complex.

Groober was continuing to lead from the front, marching in a direct line towards the buildings, not glancing to his right or his left. Freddy, on the other hand, was doing a very good impersonation of a barn owl, turning his head first one way and then the next, searching both the silhouette of the hill tops and even managing to get glimpses of the valley sides to check for pursuers.

Down in the valley the group of Orcs, Dogs and Dwarves were, in fact, being followed. A small group of Allied Pointers from Saxehaunde were silently shadowing the group, staying low in the undergrowth and following more by instinct than by sight. The leading Pointer was trying to guess the full strength by scent alone and was very close, very close indeed, to getting a 100% correct assessment of the group. The Pointers had picked up the scent some time ago and had been following at a safe and secure distance. The scent was aided by the strong and pungent odour of the Dwarves who, having been Brewers since leaving their mother’s side, were now leaving the equivalent of an illuminated paper-chase trail of bier and hops. A very easy trail to follow, in the day or night!

Freddy’s senses were tingling, but due to animosity between him and Groober an animosity that if anything was growing – any thought of discussing his worries was receding as fast as the distance between Groober and the farm buildings!

The Dwarves were situated between the leading Dogs and the Orcs and were pretty oblivious to any thoughts of trouble. In fact, the main subject of their discussions for the last twenty minutes had been all about what they were going to eat. Actually, what they were going to drink with what ever they were going to eat.

At the entrance to the farm enclosure, Groober marched straight in and without any thought of checking out the surrounding area walked up to the main farm door and knocked three times just as he would have if visiting a neighbour’s kennel.

Freddy was horror struck, *****y horror struck. But being towards the rear of the group was only able to sigh, shrug his shoulders and wish that he had taken his Grand Daddy’s advice and become a ****ing sailor. After all, “all the nice girls love a sailor!”

Freddy made sure that his Orcs were set up with sentries, and a watch rota had been agreed prior to moving up to the main farm house and entering. The sight that greeted him was not one that he had expected. The Dwarves and Dogs were sitting around a huge wooden table that was positively creaking under the weight of cooked meats and crusty bread. They were being served by a buxom She-Orc dressed in the checked dress favoured by the inhabitants hereabouts. A She-Orc, so far from Albion! The room went silent as Freddy entered and everyone looked up at him, almost expecting him to break into song. Freddy mustered some control and refrained from swearing (a real effort on behalf of our hero).

“Is it possible that some of this rich food could be sent out for the Orc soldiers?”

“Of course”, said Groober with a wave of a large chicken leg. “Take what you want, but please do not bother us again with your petty demands!”

It took all of Freddy’s self control not to punch the fool.

Freddy made sure that the Orcs of his company were fed and that some of the raw cider brandy was passed around. After all, it would be a cold night and he retired to the largest out-building – a stone barn where the bulk of the 69th were making themselves comfortable and removing their backpacks. Doc was seeing to the injuries and still talking to his black bag.

Freddy couldn’t sleep that night – something was niggling at him. He grabbed his cloak, picked up his Bessie and moved outside to relieve the sentries. It didn’t make sense to keep a tired Orc awake when he couldn’t sleep. To his right he had Mad Micky, who had been kept outside on purpose; Mad Micky and any alcohol were a dangerous combination. About an hour went by when Micky scratched the stock of his gun, a recognised signal amongst the regiment, for trouble. Freddy was alert immediately and Micky pointed to the crest of the valley ridge with an exaggerated gesture. There, silhouetted against the dark grey night sky, there was definite movement. Someone didn’t want to be seen.

Freddy and Micky moved slowly and silently through the farm and tried to identify who it was that was taking so much care not to be seen. Freddy decided that it was better to be stealthy and signalled to Micky not to open fire. In total, Freddy counted five Dog soldiers, all dressed in dark green hunting jackets and silly grey hats. They were very good, almost silent and always keeping to the shadows.

Freddy signalled to Micky to retreat back to the main farm house. Once there he ordered Micky to get the Orc section prepared (quietly) but to remain in the barn. Freddy moved into the open and, in a manner that was meant to be seen as lax-a-daisy, walked up to the farm, yawned and then urinated against the building side. He then entered the farmhouse.

“That should fool them, and keep them thinking they haven’t been seen.” Freddy thought.

Freddy moved silently to Groober’s side, who was snoring soundly. No sentries on duty, no look outs - what a fool this domesticated wolf is! Freddy woke Groober but the startled pup, just barked aloud like a pinched hyena and within minutes the whole room is awake and looking to see what the disturbance is all about.

“We have visitors. About five green uniformed Dogs have been tracking us through the night and are now situated around the East of the farm” said Freddy. Then before he could say any more Groober was screeching orders, the Dogs were up and peering through the lit windows and there is uproar! The mild-mannered thoughts now going through Freddy’s head are too colourful to be repeated.

“What is this ****ing comic hound playing at?” All chance of catching the stalkers was lost within seconds. And now there was activity in the yard. The Orcs came running out of the barn to see what the rumpus is about. Good lads, thought Freddy. Already setting up a perimeter and acting in pairs, now scanning the open ground that surrounded the farm!

Minutes pass and no activity.

“Vat ist the meaningz of dis?” said Groober. Freddy passed on the news that a group of well trained dogs are prowling around, more than likely tracking the group and not wanting to be seen.

“I zees” said Groober, who signalled to his mutts to move out and search the farm. It took about 30 minutes for them to return.

“Der ist noffingt” was the leader’s reply.

Groober turns to Freddy who by now is nearing boiling point. What an oaf! (Actually there were a number of other names – but you get the meaning).

“ZO, you have been dreamingz and now thinkz that you are seezing phantom menaces in ze darkz, are weez!” Freddy began to reply quite politely, for him, but Groober just dismissed him with a wave of his paw. “Leave, before I getz angry – and dontz disturb my sleepz again!

The situation between Groober and Freddy was now open warfare. Groober had no military nuance, Freddy had no social graces – they might as well have been speaking different languages. To top it all, neither had any respect for one another – things were going to get worse.

“Who were they?” asked Micky.

“How the **** should I ****ing know?” was the curt response as Freddy barged past him into the barn.

The morning sun saw no let-up and both Dog and Orc prepared for the day in silence. By now the atmosphere between Freddy and Groober was icier than the cold wet wind that blew in from the North. The good point was that there was no sign of any lurkers. None at all. Which led to even icier stares from Groober. Freddy was in a foul mood (no, I mean a really foul *****y mood). Freddy had a flaw - actually he had many – but one of the worst was that when things were not going well he tended to clam up. Micky and Kenny had painful experience of these moods and knew that in these situations it was better to keep your head down and stay out of trouble.

Micky took control, ensuring that the Orcs, at least, were prepared for any surprises. He issued orders that the rear guard should keep an eye out for any signs of pursuit as well as geeing up the newer recruits and making sure that they were carrying as many of the provisions that the farmer had allowed them to take (and more). The other surprise was that the She-Orc was now acting as guide, walking arm-in-arm with Groober at the head of the column which continued to head West, the rising sun on their backs and the chill wind to their right. The group marched on for all of the morning, not stopping until the watery sun was overhead and stomachs were rumbling. The lack of food didn’t seem to bother the Orcs, who could be seen shaving, washing and - oh, my God, Kenny was even combing his hair! What had gotten into these numbskulls? A glance in the direction of the Ostrian Pack was enough to give Freddy the answer – that She-Orc was having a very positive effect on the dress sense of his Orcs.

Well behind them the Ferach spy, Hex, was being informed through an interpreter of the strength and make up of the party. The treacherous Dogs had been sent to monitor the group and report back. Everything had gone to plan until that uproar back at the farm house. Buy then they had done their job and were already making their way back – but what a poor show. The Orcs had remained vigilant and well hidden in the barn, while the white uniformed Ostrians had made an embarrassing show of barging out of the house, lanterns and torches waving like a fair ground attraction that could have been seen for miles. It was almost as if they had wanted to be seen. The leader of the scouting Dogs was full of contempt for their poor military planning and training. Hex just stood and smiled – the plan was working.

~

5

Over lunch Freddy spoke for the first time to both Micky and Kenny.

“Did anyone see any sign of the pursuers this morning?”

Kenny gave a short report stating that there had been no sign of any pursuit and that he was certain they were not being followed. Anyway, if there had been an enemy party pursuing them, where were they now? And more interestingly…

“How come none of the Dogs had picked up their scent? It is well known that the Dogs sense of smell is legend” commented Micky.

None of this was helping Freddy’s mood and things were about to get worse.

One of the immaculately dressed poodles marched over to Freddy and in a growl that was only just understandable.

“Capitanz Groober would likez use too reportz to him…imediatlies!”

Before Freddy could reply to the *****y stuck up ******* pompous **** wipe etc. (you know how Freddy is) the pooch had saluted and with a click of his heals, turned and marched back the way he had come.

Freddy had to be physically held back by at least three minor Orcs. Kenny made sure that he was not able to raise his flintloque or go for his sword – or there would have been real trouble.

Minutes passed. Freddy tried to control himself, breathing deeply and mumbling under his breath. Eventually he calmed down – well calmed down enough for the Orcs to feel they could now release their grip.

“OK – OK, I’m alright.” Still there were tentative glances. “I’m *****y alright, now where’s my sword.” All the surrounding Orcs dashed forward to grab Freddy again.“No – I mean, where’s my sword? I can’t ****ing go and see that stuck up **** without being fully dressed – can I?” There was a slight relaxation – only slight and even then the tension was palpable.

“Do you want me to come with you?” said Kenny.

“No, I’ll go with him, and watch his back” said Micky before Freddy could answer.

Once in Groober’s company, Freddy’s neck began to crawl. It was only the presence of the She-Orc that stopped Freddy’s well known tirade of foul language. Even so, a couple did squeeze through.

Groober was contemptuous of the Orcs’ actions the night before. Why had these Orcs been so mistaken about being followed? There was obviously no pursuit and more annoyingly, they had disturbed his sleep.

“Ve will not forgetz your actions last nightz, disgraceful! And how do you accountz for the factz that there was no pursuitz?” Freddy was about to answer. You could see the temper rising and his brain trying to remove most of the profanities before his mouth could spew them out. But Micky was there first.

“Sir, the reports of pursuit are true – a group of between five and seven green uniformed Dogs were indeed following us. They remained hidden for most of the time but I am sure they were a stealth force and were following with the specific aim of reporting our position. They have now returned down the valley and have, no doubt, fulfilled their mission.” With a perfectly executed salute, Micky stood to attention looking Groober directly in the eyes and willing him to doubt his words.

Freddy was as surprised as Groober. It was a perfectly executed flank attack – where Freddy would have gone for a total all-out frontal charge. There were minutes before Groober spoke again.

“Youze is zure?”

“Absolutely” was the single word reply from Micky. Before there was any more discussion one of the Dwarves spoke up. Freddy really must try to learn their names, but all Stunties looked the same to Freddy.

“We will have to move our plan forward.” Groober nodded and Freddy and Micky were dismissed.

On the way back to the barn, Micky turned to Freddy.

“So what is the plan?”

“How the **** should I know? They don’t even tell me where we are ****ing heading!”

“Oh, I know that. Monne says that we are heading to the port of Skree, where an Albion frigate is waiting to take the Dwarves to Albion.”

“Who the **** is Monne?” But even before the words left Freddy’s mouth he knew the answer. Monne was the name of the She-Orc and given the close company she was keeping with that pompous ass Groober, the information should be useful. It also explains the grooming that the Orc company have been practicing lately.

“So, this is why you’ve been washing and combing your hair?” The bright red blush was all the answer Freddy needed. The smile that crept over Freddy’s face was the first in some time.

“Stupid b****y b****ers!”

Back at the Ferach camp things were moving. Hex had sent a group of lancers around the bottom of the valley, keeping to the well managed roads with orders to stop any group of Orcs, Dogs and Dwarves from crossing the main river Axe – at any cost. A second group, this time a full company of 16 experienced Ferach, were to continue the pursuit up and over the valleys. The commanding officer, a Ferach upstart called Miguel Heap-a-ton aka Screaming Lord Heap-a-Ton, was on mission. A mission to clear his reputation. A reputation that had been lost more times than a white rabbit in snow. The reason he had been chosen for this mission was that the senior Ferach command had seen an opportunity to post him to a real back-water, where he could do no harm.

Even with the handicap of Heap-a-ton, the Ferach were quickly breaking camp and within the hour were on the track of the Brewers, the Dogs and the Orcs.

Here we must pause to re-cap. The old Brewers were trying to escape with the recipe for Beckie’s Bier. The Ostrian hierarchy had sent an incompetent ‘stiff-shirt’ to command the expedition and the Orcs had added to this with an ill-equipped and down-right insubordinate Orc Sergeant with a ‘reputation for tipping over the apple cart’. Add to this the love interest, our Monne, and the ‘hares’ were at a real disadvantage. On the other side we have a very well informed Ferach spy who seems to hold all of the cards, two competent pursuing forces, (OK - Heap-a-ton could be a little strange, but the troops were first class). On top of all this, and hidden off-stage, a Dwarven force of very well equipped musketeers were marching forward and preparing for a surprise attack.

Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, there is also another clandestine group: some Armorican Elves who, working against the will of Mordred, are trying to secure the recipe for Beckie’s and set up a rival brewery in the Southern States of the New Continent. They might be few in number but they are exceptionally well financed. If this was a well-known British soap opera – it is about now that we would have the heavy drum beats and closing titles.

By nightfall the two main parties were closing in on one another and Groober had (once again) ignored Freddy’s advice and lit a large open fire making them standout against the dark skies like a lighthouse. Heap-a-ton has his incentive to force march the Elves through the night. By day break they will be within flintloque range.

~

6

As day broke, the Dwarves, Orcs and Dogs were looking down on to the only river crossing for miles. The picture was serene with a small hamlet of about a dozen houses situated to the West of the river Axe. A sturdy stone and wood bridge was the main feature with open fields stretching in all directions. It was obvious to all that this was the crossing point that they must head for.

Just behind them the Ferach soldiers, led by Miguel Heap-a-ton, were preparing to charge. They had marched through the night, they were cold, hungry and tired but Heap-a-ton was in no mood to rest. No compromises, they are going to attack and attack now!

With Freddy and the Dogs still taking in the view before them, there was a startled cry from Monne.

“Look, there!” Within seconds total chaos broke out. The Ferach opened fire from a position well below the crest of the ridge and the Orcs reached for their flintloques.

The element of surprise was definitely with the Ferach. However, they were knackered and attacking from a position of weakness, trying to shoot and attack the group of Orcs and Dogs while still below the crest of the ridge. Heap-a-ton had once again turned a possible splendid victory into a likely spectacular defeat.

Freddy and the red jacketed Orcs were in a position of strength. Ok, it looks like they were out-numbered, but their position on the ridge, plus the hard cover allowed them to pick off the Ferach,

“What a bit of luck!” said Kenny.

“A real ***ing turkey shoot. We should be able to…” At this Freddy and the rest of the Orcs turned around to look at the sight Kenny was staring at. The Dwarves, Dogs and Monne were all high-tailing it down towards the river crossing. Can our group of hearty Orcs hold off the Ferach? Will the Ferach rally and succeed in defeating the Orcs and what will our hero Freddy have to say to Groober when they next meet?

In truth the Orcs, although ill prepared for the surprise attack, were able to not only hold-off the Ferach but comprehensively beat them. The remaining Ferach (Heap-a-Ton included) were currently racing down the side of the valley in complete disarray. Freddy and the Orcs had won the day, managing to defeat the surprise attack. However, the victory was at a price and two more Orc red coats lay dead on the grass and a number of others were injured.

After a short delay, the Orcs made their way down towards the river crossing. It did not seem as if the Ferach sentries were alerted to the gunfight which was mainly targeted over the valley ridge. One piece of luck.

Freddy and the remaining Orcs started the trudge downhill. Doc was able to ‘bodge-up’ some of the wounded with his surgeon’s skills, but the group was reduced and travelling slowly with many walking wounded. It should be noted that tempers amongst the Orcs (particularly Freddy) was foul, even fouler than normal.

The rest of the morning was spent making their way down the valley side towards the river crossing and every step closer to the bridge saw the Orcs becoming more annoyed. Step by step, the foul language and threats of what the Orcs would do to those cowardly snivelling bitches increased in ferocity.

At noon Freddy ordered a break and, one by one, the Orcs collapsed to the ground exhausted and totally fed up, not even bothering to post a watch or look out. There was talk of lighting a fire. Doc was adamant that the wounded needed treatment – a hot drink at the very least.

“No” says Freddy, but still he produces a bottle of brandy from his knapsack and passes it first to Kenny and then Micky. After all, he thought that they all need it. Moral at this stage was rock-bottom and Freddy felt that he had been kicked in the ****ing b****cks.

A quick check saw that most of the group were still alive, although some were badly wounded. They’d live but Freddy was aware that he was in charge and the lives of these poor B*****ds are in his hands. Before moving off, Freddy checked in with Doc, who gave him a full update of the situation but was also in conversation with his black bag.

“OK, let’s get a ****ing move on. We haven’t got all b****y day and I want to find those “&*^$ £*& yellow &£$%^*# Dogs.” I think you get the idea as to just how strong feelings were running.

Just then, there was a snap in the undergrowth and two of the Ostrian Dogs sheepishly moved into view, their once pristine uniforms now ripped and covered in muck. It was more by luck rather than judgement (and any orders from Freddy), that they weren’t shot there and then. Kenny and Micky were the first to speak, but it was Leighty the Cook who, with his meat cleaver in one hand, literally lifted the nearest Ostrian by the neck and off the ground.

“Hold on” Freddy said through clenched teeth. “What’s going on?”

The strangled Dog tried to whimper a response but it was the other pup that spoke.

“Ve waz attemptingz to save ze Dwarvzes, and becamez lost whenz Groober charged down the valleyz. He waz sayingz headz for de bridges and save ze Dwarves!”

“A likely b*****y story” said Freddy and through the corner of his mouth to Cook. “You can put the little pooch down now, and try not to dirty his nice, clean ****ing uniform.” This was enough to break the ice and the whole group, including the two Dogs, allowed themselves a chuckle.

“What direction was Groober heading when you last saw him?” Freddy asked before moving off. The first Ostrian pointed down the valley.

From the vantage point along the valley sides, Freddy could see that there was activity in the small hamlet, a group of mounted Ferach, lancer by the look of them. He also spotted the remaining Dogs, Dwarves and Monne all about an hour ahead. Freddy checked the valley ridge behind him and was pleased to see that other Orcs were also keeping a look out both in front and to the rear.

“Good boys” he remarked.

The plan as far as Freddy was concerned had been simple: get that **** Groober by the neck and slowly ****ing strangle him. However, the build up of lancers near the bridge was cause for concern. Had Groober seen them? If not, he was leading the Dwarves into a trap. Freddy’s strange morals and his military cadre just screamed at him. He had to catch up with Groober and find another way over the river.

The next hour was frantic. Freddy sent two Orcs and the pair of Dogs on ahead. Their orders were simple: catch up with Groober, get him to stop, re-group and wait for Freddy and the remaining Orcs before building a plan to get around the bridge…the trap. The afternoon light was beginning to fade but not set. Freddy estimated it was gone four, but no later than five, when he saw the group of Dogs, Dwarves and his two Orcs. They were resting against a small out-building, at least they hadn’t been stupid enough to light a fire…Oh, he’d spoken too soon. A thin wisp of dark smoke rose in a wavering eddy.

“Get rid of that smoke. Put the fire out now. NOW, for **** sake!” Freddy shouted at Kenny and Micky.

As they ran off, Freddy marched into the centre of the gathering. They were obviously discussing plans.

“Vat ist the meeningsz of this, whos dos youse fink you arz?” Freddy response was simple. Not very eloquent, but simple:

“Shut the **** up.” Freddy turned to the Dwarves. “Firstly, if you want to see Albion you will do as I say and not take any notice of this lap dog. Secondly, there is a squadron of ****ing Ferach lancers in the town, obviously sent there to stop us crossing. How they know where we are heading, I don’t b****y know but they are there and waiting for us.”

Once again Groober started to speak, but Freddy was like a dog with a bone and nothing was going to stop him.

“This Puppy has led you into one disaster after another. I have more military experience in my little ****ing finger than he has in his whole head. The time has come for him to step down and me to take over.” Oh boy was Freddy on a role!

The head Dwarf started to respond but Freddy was off on one again and if Kenny and Micky hadn’t returned at that point, the speech (with all the usual expletives) would have continued for some time. Kenny had hold of Monne and Micky was rough-handling the last of the Orstrians (the youngest, by the look of it).

“Report” was the single word command from Freddy.

“Found these two building a fire just over there – managed to put it out without too much trouble. No damage done” said Kenny.

Then, uproar…Groober had surprisingly collapsed. The Dwarves all started speaking at once, so too did the Ostrians and even Monne had something to say. It seemed that Groober had been injured, a minor wound but enough to ensure that he would no longer be ‘Top Dog’ and command this operation. The Dwarves had already decided that when Freddy arrived they would ask him to take control and Monne was complaining that she needed hot water for a wash.

“Oh ****” said Freddy, and it was such a good speech. One of his best.

For the next twenty minutes Doc saw to Groober, Freddy checked out the Dwarves and issued orders for sentries to be posted.

“Share the sentry duty” Dogs and Orcs would now have to work as a single group and not as two separate parties.

As things settled down, Freddy made his way over to where Groober was lying. Doc looked up and in a conspiratorial way said:

“The injury is strange, Groober is adamant that the shot came from behind him and not from the approaching Ferach. The entry wound is also weird – an Ostrian air-rifle wound rather than the lead shotte of the Elves.”

Groober understood the implications.

“Ve havz a traitorz in our groupz, ja?”

“Ja - I mean yes” said Freddy. Groober raised himself up and whispered into Freddy’s ear.

“Forz the recordz, I agreez with youse, and relinquish commands of thiz operation to youze.”

“B*****d” said Freddy as even here Groober was getting the last word.

“Letz keepz this between uss three.” said Groober and Doc said something about the four of us, but appeared to direct his attention once again at his medicine bag. When Freddy looked at him, he got on with treating the wound.

~

7

As the sun set on day four, Freddy was hatching a plan. It was obvious that the Ferach lancers had been sent to intercept the party and it was also clear that there was a traitor in the group. Freddy allowed his imagination to wander as to what he would do to him when the time came. Him? What if it was … No, it couldn’t be, she was too good looking and - oh ****! Freddy was surely barking up the wrong tree. It was getting complicated and Freddy needed sleep. The remainder of the Orcs were taking turns to either eat or sleep, the Dwarves (as usual) were pretty oblivious to the threat and Freddy just couldn’t bring himself to trust the Dogs. Even so, a plan was forming and he consulted with Micky who grunted his approval.


“Sir” said like ‘hear’ and not sir, “is there any chance that Monne could have some hot water? Sir?” Kenny asked.

“What the **** are you talking about?”

“Sir, Monne would like to wash” was Kenny’s reply.

“What makes you think that I wouldn’t want a wash but given the b*****y Ferach lancers and who knows what ****ing following us, maybe – just maybe - it would be better of your ****ing Monne didn’t light a fire!”

“Sir, yes sir.” said Kenny, and turned on his heels.

“Wait!” was the command from Freddy.

“What’s all this sir business?” Kenny was a little shy in his reply and a bright red blush appeared on his cheeks.

“Monne, hum, hum, doesn’t like me swearing, sir, and had given me this book – Etiquette for Young She-Orcs by Madamme Criniline, sir. Monne says that whenever I feel like swearing I should use a different word. Sir.” Freddy held his head in his hands and shook his head.

“I suppose that sir is your alternative word?”

“Sir, yes sir.” Freddy dismissed Kenny.

“If that Orc had any brains, I hate to think where Albion would ****ing be.” Freddy said more to himself than to anyone in particular.

As darkness fell, Freddy and Micky were leading the four remaining Dogs through a thick tree line and directly towards the bridge. Freddy had not given the Dogs any indication as to his plans. At the same time Kenny, Doc, who was still busy ‘patching-up’ Orcs, Groober with the Dwarves, and Monne were heading towards the river just upstream from the bridge. Earlier, Kenny has sneaked down to the river and spotted a couple of boats, more like small dinghies than boats, but they seemed serviceable and each one could easily carry at least four. The plan that Freddy had passed on to Kenny was to start crossing once the diversion was in place. Freddy had neglected to tell him what the diversion would be.

As the cold night air began to drop even further, Freddy was watching for any sign of movement either on the bridge or the far bank, he was hoping for a change of sentry – just enough to add some confusion. Then there was some movement between the houses. A single officer was making his way towards the bridge, he carried a small lantern. It was enough. As he approached the sentries he began to speak. He was too far away to be heard, but it was obviously enough of a diversion for Freddy.

“Now!” was the command from Freddy and he and the Dogs opened fire. Micky was situated towards the rear and instead of firing was keeping his gun trained on the Dogs. They were still uncertain of who might be the traitor. There was uproar on the other side of the bridge as, by a lucky twist, the first to go down was the officer. Well he shouldn’t have been holding that lantern – that was an easy target.

A quick re-load and a second volley was sent across the bridge, but this time there was a reply and there was activity in the town. Doors were opened and light streamed out, but Freddy had calculated that it would take some time before any reinforcements would come and that they would be wary, not knowing how many enemy soldiers they faced. Freddy gave the order to continue firing and moved back to speak to Micky.

“Any sign of the traitor?”

“None,” said Micky, “but I have set up the fire-cracker surprise.”

“OK,” said Freddy. “Give it another couple of minutes, two or tree volleys and then set it and move back with the others.”

When the first shot went off, Kenny gave the signal for the first boat to cross the river, closely followed by the second which contained Groober. The plan was to take the party across in small groups, making as little noise as possible and then return for the rest. Kenny had planned on three trips per boat - that was if Freddy was quick enough. The gunfire was now getting heavier and the crossing was taking an age, but they couldn’t risk moving faster or making any noise.

Two more shots from the Dogs and Freddy whistled a signal for them to retreat. No injuries – good. As Freddy, Micky and the four Dogs moved back into the tree line, Micky set fire to a small heap of dried tinder and some black powder. It was linked via a sprinkling of powder to a batch of flintloque cartridges; as the fire took hold and reached them, they sparked in to life and random shots echoed through the trees. Freddy, Micky and the Dogs ran back away from the bridge and then at right angles upstream. Micky kept an eye on the rear Dogs, just to check if there were signs of signalling or under-hand activity. Nothing for now. But wait - what was that Dog doing?

Freddy was leading the group, he knew that they had very little time before the sentries would realise the ruse and cross the bridge – plus there were other soldiers and the river crossing would soon be swarming with lancers. Freddy hoped that the trail he had laid back up to their earlier make-do camp and rough stone shed would be enough to tempt them away from the river, the bridge and the hamlet, thereby giving them time to escape.

From behind there was a loud BANG! The Dogs hesitated but Freddy kept them moving towards the boat crossing that Kenny had searched out earlier. As the group broke cover, Kenny and Leighty the Cook were waiting in the two boats.

“Come on, quickly.” Kenny said as the three Dogs and Micky scrambled for the boats.

As they crossed Freddy gave Micky, who was in the other boat, a quizzical look.

“Later” was all the reply he got.

~

8

So far the river crossing plan had worked, they now needed to move unseen past the hamlet and find the main road or they were going to get lost, and more importantly, they needed to get as far ahead of those Lancers as they could before day break.

As they re-grouped and started the journey towards Skree, Freddy turned to Micky.

“What happened back there?”

“That big Dog, Vons Beagle – the two faced son of a b**ch - was leaving tracks with the butt of his rifle. I checked and, when I was sure, I confronted him and shot him.”

“You sure?” enquired Freddy

“Positive” Mickey replied curtly.

“I then went back and scrubbed out the trail. In fact, I did a bit of trickery and led a separate trail off to the old camp.”

“Good thinking, let’s hope it works and buys us some time” said Freddy.

“But I would have liked to have questioned that hyena and found out why he was passing messages and clues to the Ferach.” Micky just shrugged.

When Freddy met up with Groober he passed on the information. Groober growled between huge canines and slowly nodded.

“Strange” thought Freddy.

The full story of what happened that evening was told to Freddy later by Micky. However, why the Ostrian Pooch ratted on both his officer and his companions remains a mystery to Freddy. In this particular case, it was felt better to leave sleeping dogs lie’ and in Vons Beagle’s case lie for b****y good. Groober was better informed. It seems that Vons Beagle’s mother was a founding member of the Canine Abstinence & Temperance Society or CATs and had brought up her litter to believe that all strong liquor and particularly that foul smelling Dwarf Ale was the work of the Devil. Vons Beagle had been trying to stop the export of Dwarven Bier making or brewing spreading any further than the Stunties borders and the thought of a Dwarf Brewery being set up in the new and Virginal Colonies of New Urop were an anathema to this particular puppy. He died for his beliefs and it is reported that a pin badge of a dead beagle (lying on its back with its legs in the air) is now the logo of the New Canine Abstinence & Temperance Society or NoCATs.

Opponents of NoCATs are fond of pointing out the irony of a legless pooch lying on its back being the image of a temperance society.

The group of Dwarves were still blissfully unaware of any issues. In fact, Freddy was sure they thought of the whole outing as a picnic – a b****y walk in the park! Doc was still tending to the wounded. There were now quite a few walking wounded so far minor injuries that if Sentinel was pleased would all survive the adventure. As Freddy walked he thought (always a bad sign) “What’s going to happen now?”

The long night and pressure was beginning to get to Freddy, he was sure that he had just seen Doc’s black back with two yellow duck’s feet poking out the bottom run across his path.

“I really must get some b*****y sleep and soon”.

The new light of day saw the group some miles from the bridge and the skirmish of last night. Freddy estimated that between four to six lancers had been injured and he and the Dogs had got away without a scratch (except for the unfortunate Vons Beagle). The crick in his neck was getting worst – the problem with always looking over his shoulder for signs of pursuit – but so far nothing. He had set up the column with the injured and Doc at the front. After all, the whole group needed to keep pace with them and it made sense to have them at the front dictating their speed. The Dwarves and Monne were next with a rear guard of the remaining Dogs and the Orcs acting as a screening force. Freddy was in the centre, Micky to one side and Kenny to the other. Kenny still insisted in interspersing every sentence with as many sirs as possible. Freddy was beginning to get b****y annoyed.

As with most of Freddy’s adventures, just as he began to think they might have gotten away with it, a dust cloud was seen behind them. A group of Ferach lancers. Almost silently the Orcs closed up, the signal was given to take cover and the whole group was soon hidden in light brush and behind boulders. It was time for another plan from Freddy, but this time he had nothing.

The lancers were making good ground, but riding hard rather than tracking. Freddy looked at Kenny who, with a shrug of the shoulders, uttered:

“Sir, I don’t know, sir – they are travelling too fast to be tracking – maybe just an advance party, sir.”

The next couple of minutes were tense; the Orcs and Dogs had rifles and flintloques ready as the six lancers rode up to them, but before there was any sign that they had been spotted, an elderly Dwarf was seen on the path ahead of the group.

The Dwarf was wearing a battered old uniform and was using his wooden staff for support. He was tall (tall for a Dwarf) and now stood in the middle of the rough path. The lancers, intent on the lone Dwarf, rode past the hidden party and halted just in front of him. It seemed that the two parties were arguing. Freddy turned to the nearest Brewer, Howardo.

“Can you hear what is being said?”

“Something about this being an Olde Dwarven Route and ‘pointy ears’ are not welcome. But there is a problem – I think this Dwarf is deaf as he keeps holding his hand to his ear and the Elves are shouting.”

Just then the leading lancer struck the Dwarf with his sword and the old Dwarf went down like a sack of spuds. The lancers spent some time discussing their options, turned back to the party and back towards the way they had just come. As they rode by, one of the lancers stopped, reigned in his horse and shouted a command to the others who were now studying the road. The tracks that Freddy and the party has neglected to hide were clearly visible.

There was only one option.

“Fire!” said Freddy and the Orcs and Dogs opened fire, cutting down the six lancers in one volley, the pale skinned Elves falling before they could draw their swords. The gun shots and smoke frightened the horses which bolted back towards the bridge crossing.

Back on the rough track Freddy stood over the moaning Dwarf while Doc saw to his injuries. This time Freddy was not imagining things as he saw Doc’s medicine bag walking on two small legs! What was more disturbing (more disturbing than a pair of webbed duck’s feet scrambling across the uneven ground and holding up a black doctor’s bag) was that no one else gave a ***ing fig!

“Uh, Kenny?” Freddy pointed to the bag.

“Sir, yes sir. Olde Gertrude, eh!”

“Gertude?” said Freddy.

“Sir, yes sir.”

“Care to explain?”

“Olde Gertude, Doc Doc’s medicine bag, sir” said Kenny.

This was getting annoying and Freddy was loosing his temper, so the next comment was a little louder.

“OK, Kenny. EXPLAIN. NOW!”

“Sir, Doc’s medical bag – you know – Gertude,..sir.”

“One last attempt before I get violent. Kenny – explain, fully, NOW.” said Freddy.

“When Doc was a young Doc, he visited Glowcestershire.”

“Yes.”

“Yes” said Kenny “and it was raining.”

“Yes” said Freddy (except a little louder and more forceful).

“Yes sir, and he fell in a puddle.”

“****ing YES” said Freddy and this time his face started to turn red.

“Yes sir, and it was up to his middle” said Kenny.

“Oh for ****** sake”

“Yes Sir, and when he turned around Gertrude was there and has been with him ever since.”

“You mean,” said Freddy. “That Doc, our doctor went to Glowcester in a ***ing shower of ***ing rain and fell in a ***ing puddle – right up to his ***ing middle and…”

“Sir, he never went there again. Sir” finished Kenny.

“And you don’t think that this is odd?” asked Freddy.

“No. Well, no sir. I once served under a fine chap called Rogipoos, Hero of the Cornetto Raid, don’t you know, who swore that he had an invisible Armadillo called Jose who accompanied him everywhere. Damned fine fellow Olde Rogipoos, damned fine. Sir. One of the best and, well Doc’s a little strange, but no stranger than many officers, sir.”

“I can’t ****ing argue with that. Let’s not say anything about it eh?”

“Sir, yes sir.” said Kenny.

Freddy pinched the bridge of his (very large) nose, closed his eyes and sighed. Being a leader was not as easy has he had thought it would be.

~

9

Freddy thought about leaving the injured Dwarf, but he had helped with getting rid of the Elf lancers and Doc was already helping him to his feet. Freddy ordered the Orcs to get rid of the Elf bodies and try to cover any signs of a struggle – it had been a mistake to allow the horses to return to the river crossing. It was now more important than ever that they made good time to Skree. They just couldn’t afford any more hold ups.

For the rest of the fifth day the group marched on in silence. Freddy, Kenny and Micky were acting as rear guard and kept turning around and scanning the road behind them. Any minute a group of Ferach lancers were expected to charge them down but as night began to settle in, there was absolutely no sign of pursuit. Freddy wanted to march on through the pitch black night but Doc Doc was adamant that the wounded get some rest. The truth of the matter is - the real threat was ahead of them and not coming from behind.

Just a day out of Skree and within sight of their goal, the party prepared a cold breakfast and the weary travellers got to their feet ready for one final day of marching. The end was in sight.

As they broke camp they were addressed by the leader of a group of blue uniformed Confederation Dwarves who had appeared out of the early morning mist.

“Wait please.”

“**** that!” was the short and obvious reply from Freddy. “Take cover!”

The ensuing chaos saw very little in the way of fighting or shots as the Ferach allied Dwarves were reticent about opening fire on the Brewers, their dwarf cousins. There was also little in the way of conversation, but by sheer will alone the party of Orcs, Dogs and Dwarf Brewers moved slowly, step by step, Westward with the shadowing force of Finklestein Dwarves keeping their distance.

The leader of the Confederation Dwarves, although under strict orders to engage and captures the Brewers, was not happy about opening fire on fellow Dwarves and that elderly Dwarf – the injured one with the staff was very familiar. For the next hour the two groups warily watched each other and the progress towards Skree was painfully slow with only the occasional exchange of words.

Freddy and the Orcs were careful not to cause any undue concern, they shepherded the group while keeping a watchful eye on the shadowing Dwarves.

“Why don’t they shoot? We’re ****ing sitting ducks.” said Freddy. But no one dared answer or break the uneasy truce.

The injured Dwarf elder called for Freddy and through a translator, and much shouting, made it clear that no true ‘Brother of the Mountain’ (Dwarf) would dare to defile this ‘olde and venerable highway’ (road), nor attack ‘master Bierwrights’ (Brewers), especially for ‘some pointy eared fairies’ (Ferach). As Freddy moved away the Dwarf grabbed his arm and through clenched teeth (actually, clenched and rather brown teeth) said:

“Remember Viragio!”

“What the **** is Viragio?” said Freddy.

“His name.” said Howardo, the Dwarf Brewer, with a tear in his eye. “A true Stone Master and great Dwarven hero who will be greatly missed by all Dwarves.”

Ahead of them a group of brigands were waiting. Led by an Amorican Gentle-elf and two foreign Dwarves the group was very well financed and armed. However, the cut throats were more interested in the money than the fine ideals of Revolution that the high and mighty Elves preached. After all, what’s the use of having gold, if you’re dead and can’t spend it?

As Freddy, his Orcs, the Dwaves, remaining Dogs and the traitorous (or allied – depending on your standpoint) Confederation Dwarves moved towards Skree, the brigands had prepared a trap.

A small stone toll house was situated to the side of the road, a sturdy Dwarf structure that had seen better days but still had some defensive capabilities was being used as cover for half the Brigand force while the other was hidden in a hollow to the other side. The plan was simple: to wait until the group of Dwarves, Orcs and Dogs were closer and fire one volley, targeting the Orcs and trying to avoid the Dwarves. Once the situation was clearer the Amorican Elf would barter for a cease fire on condition that the Dwarves were handed over.

As the group of Orcs, Dwarves and Dogs moved closer, still keeping a wary eye on the Ferach allied Dwarves, Viragio the injured Dwarf became frantic. He was screaming something and pointing towards the small building. It was enough to set Freddy’s skin crawling and he was immediately on edge, selecting half of his force to move off the road and into the line of large boulders and towards the semi-ruined building.

What surprised Freddy was that the Confederation Dwarves were also taking up defensive positions. This had obviously spooked them as much as his group of Orc Red Coats.

The position was complicated. A miss-matched group, actually two groups, the Brewers and their defenders were now working together with a group of Confederation Dwarves to assault an old Dwarf tollhouse and half of the Amorican mercenaries. As Freddy was assessing the situation the first shots were fired from the Brigands.

“Not very b****y fair.” thought Freddy, as the first lead bullets landed short.

“Take cover.” He shouted as he pointed to the toll house, ordering the Orcs and Dogs to attack the ruin. To his relief the Confederation Dwarves were acting in unison and soon a firefight ensued.

The first group of Brigands were shaken and if alone would most likely have routed, but then the second group started to fire from the other side of the road.

“S**t!” said Freddy who had not realised there was another force.

The skirmish was going nowhere. The Brigands had obviously prepared their position well and, even with the Ferach Allied Dwarves fighting alongside Freddy and his party, both groups were now well dug in and going nowhere.

As the shooting fizzled out and Freddy was contemplating opening talks, Micky shouted.

“Behind us, b****y pointy ears coming up fast!”

Freddy saw the dust clouds and estimated that at least twelve Ferach lancers were approaching and would squeeze his Orcs and Dogs into a dangerous sandwich: Brigands to his front, lancers to his rear and some unsure Dwarves to his right.

“S**t, S**t, S**t!” was Freddy’s response. “A sticky end to a very promising ****ing career.”

However, things were about to get really complicated. In front of Freddy and now advancing to the rear of the Brigands was a full company of Albion Tar’s – Orc Marines from the waiting Orc Merchantman anchored at Skree and awaiting the Dwarf Brewers.

In order we have Ferach Lancers at full gallop, charging into the rear of Freddy and his mixed group, Confederation Dwarves to his right and in front of him two groups of well dug in Brigands, while behind them a company of Orc Marines were advancing in column. All this in a valley where there is little natural cover and due to the steep valley sides, little room to manoeuvre.

~

10

If this were a multi-player game, then the player briefs would be complicated, conflicting and confusing. My favourite type of game.

To fully understand this encounter, I thought I would give the reader a little insight into the terrain, the different troops and their motivation.

The action takes place in the bottom of a deep valley. A rough track (once a great Dwarven road) which follows the meandering course of a loud and bubbling river which in turn flows East to West. The river is to the Southern side and the road to the Northern edge. The ground is largely barren with just occasional scrub and bushes but is generously covered with large and rough boulders, which affords perfect cover. The Dwarven Outpost is situated to the Western end of the road and to the North of the road. The Brigands are hidden in the ruined Outpost and in a hollow between the road and the river – they are very well hidden.

Freddy is currently pinned down with the undecided Confederate Dwarves using the boulders as cover with the party of Orcs, Brewers and Dogs spread either side of the road. With the exception of the Dwarven Outpost there are no other buildings or ruins in sight.

The Orcs Marines are marching in column from the West and along the road, while the Ferach Lancers are charging along the road at full pelt from the East. There is about to be one enormous train wreck, somewhere around the point where Freddy and Micky are trying to plan their next move.

Freddy, his Orcs, the Dwarves and the last remaining Dogs are all trying to save their bacon; the only way is forward, as being caught between the lancers and the dug-in Brigands is just not an option. Due to some misplaced loyalty, Freddy is still trying to secure the safe passage of all this party: the Brewers, the remaining Dogs, including the injured Groober, and even that noisy olde Dwarf Virago, to the port of Skree. Now that the Orc Marines have appeared this outcome looks tantalisingly near.

Let’s see what happens…

The Brigands were well dug-in and, in fairness, well led. But their hearts were just not in it and with a column of Orc Red-Coats marching up behind them it would be a tough call as to who amongst this tangled mess would break before these well paid mercenaries’ high-tail it!

The lancers entered into the fray hell-bent on reaping revenge for the debark at the river crossing and the death of their compatriots. These Lancers Rouge were really seeing red and a ‘blood-lust’ had descended, causing them to charge at full speed into the ensuing melee.

The Confederation Dwarves were the most confused as they were well aware of their orders but questioning their own minds. After all, Bier is Bier! With the discovery of a venerable Dwarf Hero (Viragio) in the party of Orcs, Dogs and Brewers the leader was now wondering if his name will be remembered, not for all his past great deeds, but as the Dwarf who rekindled a Bier feud.

Finally amongst the groups of soldiers, the Orc Marines were possibly the most difficult to manage as their orders were simple – very simple: secure the three Dwarves, anything else is a bonus, but also a hindrance. So, Freddy would have to watch out. These Marines were not coming to his rescue.

The actual Battle of the Five Armies was a messy affair and although it is often said that in the height of battle things tend to move at a slower pace with life passing before your eyes, in this encounter it all seemed to happen at once. To give a full account of the action I have had to slow things down…

The first notable shooting was in fact by the mercenary Brigands, who in their haste to satisfy their paymasters and fulfil their contract, let off a premature volley towards the Orc Marines. The lead balls fell harmlessly in front of the tramping feet and the experienced Orcs jeered at the now retreating Brigands, who are quite a bit richer having secured a number of additional gold coins from their revolutionary Amorican paymasters. These opening shots were totally useless with not one shot even reaching the Orc ranks. The Brigands made a very hasty retreat. However, the paymaster was heard to mutter comments that sounded like “I’ll be back!”

At the opposite end of the encounter the Lancers Rouge, at full tilt and with lances lowered, were completely ineffective against the Orcs and Dog soldiers under Freddy’s control. The fact is they were far too intent on revenge and charged straight through the centre of the group. They soon found themselves heading for the Orc Marines, bypassing the wildly scurrying Orcs and Dogs. The image of Ferach lancers charging into steadfast Orc Marines was quite a sight – a surprise to both but still quite a sight. As the Ferach lancers closed the gap, a volley of Orc Bessies opened up and when the smoke settled the Ferach’s red uniforms were even redder, this time with Elf blood. Those that survived the initial onslaught fought well and in a valiant attempt to recover the situation managed to kill six Orc Marines before being completely overrun. The truth is that the Lancers Rouge were too ‘worked up’ with thoughts of revenge and due to their momentum (and Freddy’s quick thinking) cut right through the Orcs and Brewers without skewering a single stray Orc, Dwarf or Dog.

To the right of Freddy, the ‘turncoat’ Confederation Dwarves sulked away and it is not known if there were even any casualties. However, Viragio still says that it was through his presence of mind that a disaster was averted and Dwarf Civille War, or any thoughts of a Bier Feud, derailed. There are now plans for another Dwarf opera, featuring the heroic and stoic Dwarf hero Viragio. The parts of Freddy, Micky and Kenny are minor, walk on parts, while there is talk of Monne playing herself. Another opera about Bier – but this one would be probably the best Opera in the world.

Freddy managed to keep his head down throughout the fighting and watched events unfold around him. The Lancers Rouge charge was really quite a sight and if it had not been for the boulder valley floor, there is little doubt that Freddy, the Orcs, the Brewers and the remaining Dogs would have been slaughtered. However, Freddy made sure that his Orcs kept their powder dry and survived to fight another day. Later, Freddy made his way to the port of Skree with no more casualties. The Dwarf Brewers did eventually settle down and the new Brewery of Beckie’s had successfully brewed its first commemorative ale. Although somewhat lacking in character, it is said to be drinkable.

In true Capitalistic style, a similarly names Becky’s Brewery is also founded in the Southern States of Amorica by one of the Dwarf Revolutionaries. The rights to the name Beckie/Becky continues to be a bone of contention with many Dwarf ale houses having to clear up after raucous debates as to the merits of both brews.

Viragio and Freddy became life-long friends. Viragio continues, to this day, to remind Freddy of his part in this famous battle. However, Freddy doesn’t speak Dwarf and what he does speak is, as usual, interspersed with profanities and foul utterances. In addition, Viragio’s hearing is still as poor as ever, so it is debatable if either fully understands one another.

The 69th are still a miss-match of different groups and continue to in-fight. However, life for Freddy, Micky, Doc (and his walking medicine bag), Leighty and Kenny is looking good, at least for now. Monne continues to try and get Kenny to stop swearing and has, in part succeeded, but not completely as the occasional foul word still exits his gob, closely followed by “Sir, yes sir!”

I am confident that further adventures featuring Foul Mouth Freddy and this group will entertain readers for some time.

The Orc Marines carry the legend Rouge on their standard in recognition of their famous defeat of the Grande Armies most feared horsemen. In fact, the flagpole is a Ferach lance and much prized by the seafaring red coats. It is also a matter of some concern amongst the regiment’s hierarchy that there have been a number of strongly worded Ferach threats concerning the recovery of said lance. It is also said that the Emperor Mordred himself has secured a large reward of pure gold which will be paid to anyone who can recover it.

~

Notes on the Kartoffenburg Expedition

In an attempt to sure up the Lesser Dwarven States and to show willing, Orcs Guards, Londinium had agreed to send an expeditionary force to ally with the Dwarf and Ostrians in their attempts to slow the advance of Mordred and his Ferrach troops. The Kartoffenburg Expeditionary Force or KEF was made up of three Albion ships which were to drop off troops, horses and supplies to reinforce the now infamous Kartoffenburg Ridge. However, due to bad planning and atrocious weather only two of the ships made it. The Merry Sealegs, the horse transport ship, was reported blown off course and lost at sea. However, some Orc correspondents have suggested that the third ship was in fact never fully loaded and the expedient of reporting it missing was to save face. The two ships that were landed, the Stout Oak and the Slippery Syd were beset by misfortune, coming under severe gunfire from very early on in the campaign. The Stout Oak carried the newly formed 69th Whoresters as well as a number of Dragoons (dismounted) and quartermasters. The Slippery Syd held supplies and, most importantly, reserve ammunition and six Orc cannons.

Following the initial landing, the Orcs (and our hero Freddy) were able to secure the small port of Totty. However, the Slippery Syd was very badly damaged and very few of the supplies even made it to shore. This put the KEF at a major disadvantage and almost from day one the operation was doomed to fail. A joint force of Ferach and Dwarf allies besieged the port and managed to hold down the Orcs in the town of Totty with few Orcs attempting any sort breakout.

The Ferach and Dwarves forced their attentions onto Totty, and in an attempt to penetrate her defences, conducted nocturnal assaults onto her weaker flanks. These attacks were vigorously defended as the honour of all concerned was at stake. However, given the overwhelming advantage, Totty eventually succumbed and the whole town was harshly treated and laid bare.

Senior Orc officers, both army and navy, were desperately seeking suitable transport to conduct an organised withdrawal and had commandeered a number of smaller ships which were to land at either Totty or the nearby town of Dunkerque. There were also further contingencies that planned for an emergency retreat and evacuation at the larger port of Skree which was situated further up the coast.

Fighting between the Orcs and the Ferach allies was bloody and with the Orcs’ situation being known to Mordred’s senior officers, it was an opportunity for them to deliver a crushing defeat to the interfering Albion Orcs. The small port of Totty became synonymous with failure, a total Cock-up, and later Orc defeats were referred to by the ordinary Orc soldiers as “A bit of Totty” or “a bit of Totty on the side”.

For military historians, the whole KEF debacle has been described as one of the darkest days in Albion joint operations, a poorly equipped force led by a bunch of comedians.

Amongst the heroes of this and associated actions, the Albion Marines still claim it as a victory (of sorts), while the Dwarves, both Flinkenstien and Krautian, prefer to sweep this little action under the carpet. Freddy was returned to active service and still has Micky, Kenny, Doc (and his medicine bag) plus Leighty the cook in his company.

Viragio has been given a number of awards but continues to decline full military service, preferring to act as an up-paid advisor to the Albion army in general and Freddy in particular. Finally, Kenny and Monne continue to see one another. However, Kenny has lapsed slightly and can now be heard spouting the occasional obscenity.

The real hero of The Battle of the Five Armies is Capitan (or now Group Capitan) Earst Groober who, following minor surgery, made a full recovery and now commands a whole regiment of white-clothed Dalmation Dogs in the service of The Emperor Kafflehound. His military career is closely followed by a certain Ferach spy called HeX and it is rumoured that many official Ferach reports to the grand Emperor Mordred concern the military activity and advancement of this particular olde Dog.

Historical Note

Following the Battle of the Five Armies and the chaos it caused with reference to Dwarf Brewing and the supply of premium Dwarf ale, both The Confederation and Finklestien leaders decreed that no New Dwarf Brewery could be established outside the ‘Golden Triangle of Brewswick, Neubier and Madabier or outside of the shadow of Dun Brewing and Dun Drinking. ‘The Bier Order’ or ‘Kartoffenburg Accord’, as it became known, was the first step in determining the rules and regulation for the official brewing and composition of Dwarf Ale in Urop and remains to this day the ‘Bible’ by which all Dwarf Brewers adhere. In addition, the habit of marking Bier barrels with not only the strength but also the nearest Dwarf Highway (road), for example XXX The Straight Way, or XXXX The Long Way Home, is directly linked to the actions taken during the final encounter of The Battle of the Five Armies.

Appendix i: Gaming Scenario Notes

There are plans to include gaming and scenario notes referring to all of these actions in future Alternative Armies or even Orcs in the Webbe postings and files. Full details will be posted on Alternative Armies' Notables Yahoo Group.

For anyone contemplating a refight of the concluding battle, miniatures and rules are available from Alternative Armies.

Appendix ii: Miniature and Uniform Notes

Freddy is already available as a VLE from Alternative Armies. However, to get the right ‘feel’ the rest of the group should be a real mix-and-match of Orc figures. After all, the Whoresters are still a new regiment and examples of both the 13th and the 22nd facing colours are evident in this group. In addition, problem with re-supply and the rigors of campaign have taken their toll. Try mixing in a couple of Obidiah Deserters for that ‘un-washed’ look!

In contrast Groober and his Ostrain Dogs should be pristine, ‘glow-in-the-dark’ white! I would suggest that Groober could be portrayed with the LE 012 Digby Von Klausewitz miniature but any suitably clean uniformed pooch would do.

The Dwarf Brewers, although not soldiers in a true sense, should still be portrayed with some uniform and armament. Try some of the Dwarf miniatures from the VLU box set Juliana’s Chasseur Elite. The ‘brewery inspired’ uniform would make a good contrast.

The Confederate Dwarves wear dark blue faced red and are equipped with the standard mkII Dwarf Musket.

The Ferach lancers – The Lancers Rouge are a beautifully uniformed and turned out regiment of red clad guard Elves, they should be pristine on prized stallions.

Finally the Brigands are basically a band of mercenaries, deserters, but led by at least one well dressed Elf and two similarly dressed Dwarves. After all, they have all the money.

~

Authors Note

This story was originally penned as the basis of a narrative led gaming scenario for the 'Black Powder' skirmish game Flintloque. It was my intention to have the text interspersed with various scenarios and have a rolling outcome based on the skirmish or battle outcomes played out in a linked group of short wargames or skirmishes. However, as the story developed it became obvious to me that a small novella was a better outcome and the whole text was re-written into this short story.

The Character of Foul Mouth Freddy is based on an Uncle – a close family friend who passed away some time ago. I find it amusing to image what Uncle Fred would think of these short stories.

~

Webmaster's Notes

An Orcs in the Webbe Original! "Foul Mouth Freddy and The ****ing Kartoffenburg Mash-Up" was first published on OITW as part of the 2012 Advent Calendar on Monday 10th December 2012.

Foul Mouth Freddy has been a huge hit with Flintloque fans ever since he first appeared here on OITW a few years ago, he has had many adventures published here on OITW as well as three originally published on Alternative Armies' online content portal Barking Irons that can now be found right here on OITW.

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Foul Mouth Freddy Will Return in 2013

~

The Complete Adventures of Foul Mouth Freddy

"Foul Mouth Freddy Spikes The ****ing Gun"
See Freddy take on a heavy gun emplacement armed only with a squad of beer loving Dwarfs. "

"Foul Mouth Freddy Saves The ****ing Sheep"
Watch with wonder as Freddy finds true love in the Welsh mountains.

"Foul Mouth Freddy Fools the ****ing Ferach"
Can Freddy survive as a Ferach unit try and take valuable relics from an ancient tower which Freddy happens to using for cover.

"Foul Mouth Freddy Divides the ****ing Loot"
Freddy and his companions must retreat through hostile territory with a variety of loot 'acquired' from the pointy-eared Ferach B******s.

"Foul Mouth Freddy Scours the ****ing Town"
After a night of debauchery can Freddy find a variety of things he lost in a booze fuelled haze.

"Foul Mouth Freddy Speeds Through the ****ing Forest"
Freddy must race across the countryside on horseback past local bandits and the ever vigilante Provosts using only his wits and a **** load of bribes.

"Foul Mouth Freddy Sneaks Past the ****ing Guards"
After scouring the town and speeding through the forest, Freddy's quarantined camp is in sight. Can he return the items he 'borrowed' and get back to his tent before roll call at 12 Noon?

"Foul Mouth Freddy Takes ****ing Charge"
Having been busted to Private for his excursion to Burrow Port, Freddy must take charge of a green group of Provosts when they come under enemy fire on the way to his Court Marshal.

"Foul Mouth Freddy and The ****ing Kartoffenburg Mash-up"
Valon's loveable anti-hero returns once again to OITW, this time in a full 15,000 word novella, Freddy's biggest adventure to date!

"Monkey Business"
Foul Mouth Freddy and his group of Unlikely Heroes must sneak into the town of Atria searching for urgent supplies whilst Orc redcoats and Elf marines settle an old deep set grudge.

~