Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Attack on Fort St Jacques

Fort St Jacques

Another morning in paradise dawned as the bright sun rose over Fort St Jacques, on the waterfront of St Jacques Town, on the French Caribbean island of St Jacques. Captain Bertrand climbed up to the observation tower to scan the horizon and the still sleeping town. The mist was slowly rising over the land, but the sun was already bright on the Fort's battlements

"All quiet so far?" he asked the sentry on duty.

"All quiet" mumbled teh sentry, clearly just awakened

The Captain extended his telescope and surveyed the sea, the town, and the shore....

 Captain B_ surveys St Jacques Town - and sees something

However, a movement caught his eye - out beyond the rocks on the shoreline, among the palm trees. He focussed his telescope.

Bonny Annie sports a magnificence pair of pistols

There - in his eyeglass - Bonny Annie and her Band of Buccaneers! Scourges of the Spanish Main! Famous from Tortuga to Tahiti for her pair of large.... pistols. She was trying to sneak up on the Fort to free her key henchman, Dirty Dick, whom the Captain had captured earlier that week.

The Governor was adamant that Big Dick would swing later that day from the town gallows, Annie was clearly trying to mount an early morning surprise rescue from the Fort jail.

The Pirates try and rush the Fort while the garrison are still asleep

"Shoot at them" yelled Captain Bertrand to the sentry, knowing that would be the quickest way of rousing the Garrison. The Sentry raised his musket, pulled the trigger, and....pffft. The musket ball rolled out the barrel.

Cursing the incompetence of colonial militia sentries, the captain yelled as loudly as he could for the garrison to wake up, but shouting from the high observation post was lost in their snoring. In desperation he fired his pistol - which woke Lieutenant Quesne (pron. Keen) up, and he and two men stumbled outside and up on to the battlements to see what was going on. The sentry on the docks was also roused by this and climbed onto one of the ships to get a better view

Wiping the sleep from their eyes they all saw the pirates, opened fire, and two shots found their mark, and one pirate fell dead, while another howled as a musket ball hit his (now ex-)parrot.

This noise roused the rest of the Garrison who managed to muster themselves and ran to shut the wide open Fort main gate and after a few desultory shots at the battlements, Bonny Annie and her cutthroat crew fell back.

The Captain was congratulating himself when a runner came down from the Governors mansion up the hill, to tell him that the Governor had been kidnapped! Bonny Annie had just been a diversion. The Governor's daughter had narrowly evaded capture because....and at that point she fell silent, as it was clear she had not spent the night in the Governorial mansion!

(We played a big pirate game on a c 8 x 6 table using Legends of the High Seas rules, this was one of 2 main actions in the game, the other was the attack on the other side of the hill that splits St Jacques Town, by the brewery and tavern. There the town militia had fought valiantly all morning, helped somewhat by the three attacking pirate crews falling out with each other over plunder rights.

My Compagnie Franche de La Marine de St Jacques in the garrison slept soundly through most of the action (my lousy dicing), only rousing themselves then slowly coming out the barracks once the pistol went off, so were ineffective throughout the game. The Mayor would have taken a dim view on such a dereliction in the light of the Governor's capture, but then again, if he made too much noise it may come out, as Captain Bertrand tactfully pointed out, as to where exactly the Governor's daughter had been that night....)

Monday, 7 May 2012

The pirates of St Jacques

Compagnie Franche de la Marine de St Jacques

Salute has kept us South London Warlords busy the last few weeks so not a lot of campaigning or painting has happened -but in the future there will be Pirates (Arrrr) and my contribution is the Compagnie Franche de la Marine de St Jacques* (above)

In focus are our heroes, those characters who Will Have Names. Out of focus are the Extras, the never ending supply of poor sods who always get shot in each episode of the movie.

St Jacques, by the way, is the mythical Caribbean island and town dreamed up by Patrick Leigh Fermour in his novella "The Violins of St Jacques". In later times, St Jacques was a hotbed of culture until consumed by volcanic eruptions. (The island was basically one big volcano...ooops)

But in our time, there are violins (I painted four of 'em) but also lots of piratical violence and derring-do, which the Compagnie has to put a stop to.And protect the Governor, and his daughter, from the evil designs of various blackguards.


*Which, I agree, does look suspiciously like the Arquebusiers de Bergerac in undress, but one should never be confused wth them.