"Freddy's Daisy Roots"
A Flintloque Tale by Tony Harwood
Photograph and Miniature by Tony Harwood
Regular readers of The Advent Calendar will no doubt be aware of our favourite red-coated anti-hero and his many miss-adventures, but few will have heard the tale of how Freddy obtained his previously-owned-by-an-Ogre boots or as Freddy calls them, ‘His Daisy Roots’.
But first a short fairy tale...
In the days following the advent of Black Powder, when Wylde Magic could still be found in the dark corners of Valon, a huge Ogre could be found terrorising a small town at the foot of some un-named mountains, demanding money, food and drink in return for threats of violence and stealing precious cattle. One day, following a despicable attack when over half a dozen cattle were mauled and killed the Ogre demanded even more bounty which was reluctantly handed over.
Many in the town demanded action, but with no standing army, no black powder to speak of and no hero to take such action against the bully, these cries went unanswered except that is for a travelling shoe maker or traditional cobbler who thought he might have the answer. That night, he crept into a huge cave and set traps to capture some evil were-bats, bats as dark as black velvet on a moon-less night, which when returning to their lair were caught up in huge nets slung across the caves entrance.
For many days the shoe-maker toiled on a pair of enchanted boots stitched together from the still living skins of the bats which jerked and screamed as he worked on them.
When he had finished, he looked down on his handy-work, then called out to the Ogre saying that he had a very special magical gift for him, a gift that would make this Ogre stronger than any in Valon. The Ogre was intrigued and on entering the town demanded to see this gift.
The shoe-maker was keen to let the Ogre see the jet-black boots but would not allow him to touch them. Saying that they would only be his if he swore to leave the innocent townspeople alone and promised to leave the area for good.
Once seen these beautifully finished boots had such of an effect on the simple-minded Ogre that he agreed to the terms straight away.
The shoe-maker handed over the boots which were eagerly accepted by the Ogre who fought to pull the half-living/half-dead boots onto his huge calloused feet. Then standing and looking down at his shiny new boots the evil creature started to concoct a plan to outwit the shoe-maker and renege on his earlier promise to leave the town alone. As the Ogre moved towards the shoe-maker with murder in his eyes, the cunning cobbler said.
“You haven’t asked what magical powers these boots have.”
The Ogre stopped and stood dumbfounded. He hadn’t thought much beyond the beauty of his new foot ware and now a glimmer of doubt started to form in his tiny brain.
“What powers do these boots have?”
Asked the Ogre.
Said the shoe-maker.
“I thought you would never ask. These boots are meant for walking. And that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these boots are going to walk all over you! Start walking boots.”
And the boots did. They started walking and walking and walked right out of town. For the purposes of this fairy tale – they could still be walking now...
So how did our Freddy get his boots?
Well, many have written about the ability of red-coated infantry soldiers to keep marching when other less dedicated Orcs would have given up and collapsed. Indeed, some say that a red-coat’s most prized possession is his ‘Bess’, his Flintloque or as used by some his Bakur rifle. But any student of the common soldier and in particular the common infantryorc (and Freddy is after all the most common of Orc) will tell you that a Flintloque takes second place to a bl***y good pair of boots.
One evening as Freddy bemoaned his lot (I don’t think I need to recount the language used) and rubbed his aching feet he was overheard by a passing Sprite who thought it good fun to ‘play’ with this ‘potty-mouthed’ Orc and gift him a new pair of boots. The next morning Freddy’s old and battered foot ware had been transformed into a pair of new gentleorc’s hunting boots. Pulling them on Freddy was so pleased he was heard to thank the many Gods of Valon for his great fortune before setting out on an early morning march.
Some days later the same Sprite was passing the same Orc and was disappointed to hear even more foul language coming from this very ungrateful Orc sergeant. The new boots were rubbing and chaffing Freddy’s feet and the long days of marching caused the Orc red-coat to hobble and limp as the stiff new leather was still to be fully worn-in.
The playful Sprite removed the offending boots and replaced them with some fine house slippers (as worn by Uncle Rogipoos) which Freddy gratefully accepted and the very next morning he placed them on his still aching feet. Once again Freddy praising the Gods of Valon for his very good fortune.
Later that week the Sprite decided to check-in on our Freddy and was annoyed to hear our sergeant once again complaining - saying how these slippers were too flimsy, allowing Freddy to feel every little pebble or stone on the rough tracks of Valon. Then with even more foul-mouthed mutterings, Freddy cursed his bad luck and his poor choice of footwear.
The irate Sprite thought that our Freddy was unappreciative of the special gifts she had left and set about getting her own back on our hero. The Sprite searched the surrounding countryside for a pair of cursed boots worthy of our sergeant’s foul temper. She found a pair. A pair of boots that fitted Freddy’s personality perfectly - a pair of boots that had once belonged to an Ogre, an Ogre that had terrorised some town or other and had been cursed to walk for an eternity; taking no rest, no break. Just marching on and on and on until he had collapsed through pure exhaustion and then died a horrible dead. Trampled to death by his very own boots in fact!
The Sprite thought, “Perfect. I’ll give these cursed boots to this thankless Orc and watch him experience a similar fate to that poor Ogre. Marching and marching until he passes out from exhaustion.”
The Sprite exchanged the fine slippers for this pair of magical boots and sat back to watch the fun unfold.
The next morning Freddy saw the huge boots and with some considerable effort he pulled on the damned footwear. But our Freddy is made of sterner stuff than any simple-minded Ogre and soon bettered the bat-skinned boots through willpower and curses (I’m not sure you can begin to image some of the curses used by our Freddy in this particular instance). Foul Mouth Freddy took great satisfaction in having a pair of enchanted boots that enjoyed marching for days on end because giving this infantry soldier a pair of never-tiring boots is one of the best gifts he could have ****ing wished for.
The down hearted Sprite sighed and flitted off never attempting any good deed again and Freddy had his beloved once-owned-by-an-Ogre boots. Or as we know them his daisy roots!
Foul-Mouth Freddy Flintloque Profile
Veteran Orc Sergeant.
Armed with Orc Bessie Musket and Bayonet/Short Sword.
Skill: Loud and Foul Mouth – Freddy has a coarse tongue and is not afraid to use it. In melee all mortal enemies suffer a -2 to their melee roll when fighting him. Undead are NOT affected.
Trait: Daisy Roots – Due to the size of his previously owned-by-an-Ogre boots, Freddy gets a +1 impact when he wins in melee. (Cannot become fatigued while marching).
Flaw: Sauce – As per Flintloque 3rd Edition Rules.
This short story uses threads from a number of traditional fairy tales; The Old Woman who lived in a Vinegar Bottle, The Giants New Shoes etc. I have enjoyed tailoring the different stories to produce an original tale featuring Foul Mouth Freddy and set in the land of Valon. I hope that you enjoy it.
Miniatures and Terrain Painted, Based and Photographed by Tony Harwood
This article was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 3rd December 2018 as part of its 2018 Advent Calendar.