Friday, August 27, 2010

Girona surrenders

Northern front, 24th July 1713

In the northern front, French/Gallian forces were also having some troubles. When the garrison of Sant Feliu de Guíxols was seemingly about to put to an end a local uprising, insurgents received the unexpected reinforcement of a volunteer fusiliers battalion –which were not able to turn the tide against the stubborn French Dragoons, but gave some relief to the revolted peasants.

Besides, the population of two towns else (Puigcerdà and the fortified village of Hostalric) had also rised in arms against their respective French/Gallian garrisons –although they were easily suppressed.

Better news for the French/Gallian headquarters at Perpignan was the victory over Girona city rebels who, having suffered a terrible amount of casualties at hands of the veteran Régiments Angoumois and La Marche, finally asked for capitulation terms. The French commander General Fimarcon demanded an immediate, unconditional surrender along with all weaponry seizure, offering in exchange that no sacking, burning or summary execution would occur afterwards. Exhausted, demoralized and decimated, the defenders accepted such terms, in spite of having given no guarantee about trials.

Once the city had surrendered, all their identified fighters and leaders were arrested in the following hours, and are now imprisoned in the local bullfight ring, waiting for being lead in Perpignan for trial.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reception at Palace

Monte-Cristo, 20th July 1713

For the expected reception at Monte-Cristo Presipapal Palace, Marquis of Vilana had required the services of the Ecuries et Equipages coach they had at their disposal, which would take his retinue and himself at a slow pace, escorted on foot by the Royal Catalan Guards in two parallel rows. Simple as such procession was to be, nevertheless Vilana strongly expected it to sufficiently achieve the desired effect of cloning a diplomatic legacy of an already established, fully recognized sovereign state. It was not so a matter of personal pride, as a necessary propaganda staging, addressed to potential friends and foes.

As a mark of attention and respect for her security duties, Vilana also took care in exposing the plan to their attached Gardes de l'Etrier officer, Sous-lieutenant Claire Baizanville, who showed her full agreement as long as she could accompany the legacy inside the coach, all the way go and back. Vilana showed at first some reluctance to such proposal, fearing it might affect the solemnial appearance of the small parade, but in the end had to give up face to the so consistent arguments she exposed.

At the agreed time, the escort soldiers formed in the Hostel courtyard, waiting for the legate. Conscious as they were of the event high significance, these simple and honest men had spontaneously payed most attention to their uniforms and equipment, which they had left flawless, impolute and shiny after a handful of hard work hours. To Vilana’s acute perception, even a subtle soap flavor might be perceived emanating from the platoon...

With nearly everything ready to start the procession, finally Claire appeared in scene again, dressed in a manswear-fashioned costume -accurately cut-to-size coat and vest, of a light iridescent blue, with matching trousers and tricorne. Her only concessions to a genuine coquetterie were a couple of delicate earrings and the tight, tall riding boots she wore. She was plainly splendid, and the legates gallantly hurried to acknowledge her how much they were pleased at the sight. Once inside the coach, Claire then said: -I have just been acknowledged of a couple of events very recently happened in your Principality, Lord Vilana. If my sources are not wrong, the forces invading it have encountered some unexpected... nuisances. I thought you would be most interested in learning it all, before the reception -and then she delivered to the Marquis a written report she had been given before.

Marquis of Vilana hurriedly read the report with undisguised concern, and finally murmured: -A really unexpected problem, not only for the Two Crowns, but for us either... The Imperial garrison of a town has not only rejected evacuating their positions face to the Spaniards, but has even engaged them in fight; local population have joined them, and have even been reinforced by one of our battalions... I should be happy for such gallantry, but this incident can seriously compromise the position of our King Charles face to King Louis, who might accuse him of violating the terms of truce between them... I am most grateful for this key information, Claire -he concluded, and worriedly abstracted himself to reflect on eventual implications the incident might report.

When the Catalan parade finally arrived in front of the Presipapal Palace of Monte-cristo, Lieutenant Leibnitz observed that one of the very first targets of the sage diplomat had been fulfilled: a crowd had slowly been gathering close to the Palace entrance for watching that small yet colourful procession, whose passage was several times applauded; just as themselves were discretely applauded too when descending from the coach. It was a minor goal, however: now it was the turn for their main act, where all their senses and skills should be most aware of the tiniest detail or gesture... The throne room was plenty of distinguished Court personages, as well as some foreign guests, only a few of whom were known to Vilana. There was Sir Robert Walpole, a prominent politician of the Whig Party and a close advisor of the Duke of Marlborough, who discretely greeted Vilana as he passed close to him. The Marquis heart speeded, as his glance fruitlessly started seeking any Imperial representative all around the room, but soon reassured himself when finally distinguished a couple of gentlemen from German States such as Beerstein or Herrschaden, who also greeted him in a discreet way. Vilana was convinced there should be Spanish and French representatives too, but he was unable to ubicate them in the room, if any.

When finally face to the throne, where the Prince Ovationné par le Peuple was awaiting him, Vilana adressed to him these words: -Your Highness, let me greet in behalf of the Principality of Catalonia/Galatea the immense hospitality and courtesy dispensed to this aged, humble emissary who is talking to Your Highness. Let me also express the wishes of peace and sincere fraternity with Monte-Cristo that my homeland has entrusted me to publicly acknowledge. As an undoubtedly humble albeit sincere mark of such wishes, I have also been entrusted to award Your Highness with our highest sign of respectability and nobility: the Cross of Sant Jordi d'Alfama, recently set by our Parliament in behalf of an ancient Military Order of that very same name, as a symbolic remembrance of the indissoluble bond of the Principality with the awarded personage or institution. This is our first ever awarded Cross.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Diezmo de horca

Somewhere close to Cervera town, 25th July 1713

At the headquarters of the Spanish Army Group Center, the Duke of Populi gathered all his officers under the shelter of a wide tent. While the officers readily occupied their designed places, under the solemnial glance of their commander-in-chief, it could be heard far away the rythmical thump of Spanish mortars battering the walls of Cervera town. Once all of his subordinates were seated, the Duke loudly asked: -Major Ordoñez, please explain to us the situation in a few words.

-Ehem, yes Sire -this quickly responded- Not only have the town councils of Cervera, Montblanc and Igualada refused to pay due obedience to His Royal Majesty king Philip V, claiming to only owe allegiance to Charles of Habsburg, but even have been so superb and audacious to rise populace in arms against our troops.

-Inconceivable! -an officer exclaimed.

-What an insolence! -murmured another one. Everywhere, expressions clearly showed deception, disappointment and rage.

-However -then General Vallejo pointed-, we are proud to announce the rebellion to have been smashed at Igualada. We are now mastering the place again, and the rebellion leaders have all been apprehended.

-Good, that's really good news -answered the Duke- And what about the other two towns, may I ask?

-Sadly, I must admit that Montblanc is still resisting our efforts -cautiously informed General Velasco.

-Besides, as you can clearly perceive there out -the Duke then said, while adressing an angry glance to General Torre-, Cervera town is also still resisting. It's only a matter of time, we know; they shall give up, sooner or later. And this is precisely the matter I wished to talk you about, gentlemen: the day after their surrender.

The Duke of Populi then expanded a roll of paper he had been keeping at hand and, after a little theatrical pause, started in a studied loud voice: -I was yesterday delivered this missive straight from His Royal Majesty King Philip V -God bless Him- with His explicite orders on this subject. It reads as follows: "De las gentes de armas de los catalanes, se servirán vuesas mercedes de pasar a cuchillo a los prisioneros, menos algunos más señalados, a los que mandarán ahorcar." ["About the Men-of-arms of the Catalans, shall they be slaughtered by the sword, except those most prominent among them, who shall be hanged on the gallows"] (*)

The Duke then paused to look around. Expectation was high, nobody was moving a muscle or said anything, so that he continued reading: -"De las villas y pueblos que se alcen en armas, espero practicarán el diezmo de horca entre los paysanos, pegándole fuego después de esto a casas y lugares, para que sirva de escarmiento y exemplo." ["In the towns and villages having risen up in arms, it is My will that gallows tythe is practised among their inhabitants, thereafter setting in fire houses and places, to serve as warning and example"] (*)

After these words, a deep silence spread over the wide tent. Only a somewhat puzzled young officer dared to quietly ask to the one at his side: -¿Diezmo de horca?

-Yes, hanging on the gallows one in ten villagers, randomly chosen. That's Diezmo de horca, Gallows Tithe.

-Oh...

-Any questions, gentlemen? -the Duke asked. Nobody broke the silence -Alright, gentlemen. I must understand that all and everyone of you know well what must be done in Igualada, and what shall thereafter be done in Cervera and Montblanc, and in any other village, town or city insolent enough to rise in arms against their legitime King and Lord. Gentlemen, I expect you back to your duties as soon as your horses can.

(*) [Inspired in actual orders issued by Philip V to the Duke of Populi (Archivo General de Simancas, book 143, April 1713) and from this to his generals (Archivo Histórico Nacional de Madrid, bundle 433-1, July 1713, from Populi to Grimaldo), as well as personal chronicles of Populi himself, Marquis of San Felipe, and General Bracamonte].

Friday, August 20, 2010

At the Viceroyalty Palace

Cagliari, 21st July 1713


At the sumptuous Viceroy's own Office of the Palazzo Viceregio in Cagliari, two men of noble appearance silently stood face to a large oak desk, where an aged dignatary was sitting, absorbed in the reading of a long missive. Behind him, in discrete attitude, a fourth man was also reading over the shoulder of his lord, with growing concern.

Andreu Roger Count of Erill and Viceroy of Sardinia on behalf of the Emperor and King Charles VI, finally read the last lines of the missive and raised his eyes to the knights, with a severe expression in face: -Lords Amadeu Calvia and Antonio Serra, you have been most gentle taking this missive into my hands.

-Your Highness, such was the commission received from the Marquis of Vilana, who was most concerned the letter was delivered to Your Highness, nobody else -one of the men answered.

A week ago, an armed xebec ship flying Catalan Ensign had arrived in the north-western Sardinian city of Alghero, carrying on board the Catalan legate Marquis of Vilana, who on his way to Monte-Cristo had desired a short stop in that town. Once on land, Vilana had discretely conferred with some personalities of the Municipality -Lords Calvia and Serra among them. At the meeting's end, he handed over them a sealed envelope, which had to be hand-delivered to the Viceroy in person. This was the document the Count of Erill had just read.

-However, milords -then intervened the fourth man, Viceroyalty Counselor Carlo Doria- you can easily imagine why this Kingdom would hardly be able to perform as desired by Lord Vilana...

-...As desired by the Parliament of Catalonia, Sire -Serra rectified, -empowered as it has been by the Aragonese and Valencian Parliaments to act on their behalf too, Your Highness.

-True, true my friends -the Viceroy then mediated- and this is the reason why this missive is being taken into consideration. Nevertheless, Lord Doria is right in recalling back to our memories His Majesty's directives and priorities with respect to this island. We cannot take a potentially displeasing to Him decision on the Catalan demands, at least in the terms the Marquis of Vilana has suggested.

-Your words make most sense, Your Highness -Calvia conceded-. However, there must be some kind of honourable solution to this painful dilemma, because this Kingdom is not less a constituent part of the Crown of Aragon than Catalonia itself, and it would be most unworthy not to respond to their requests for relief... some way.

-An eventual Crown of Aragon membership re-affirmation wouldn't be any harmful to His Majesy's interests, whenever the decision is not unilaterally taken by You, but with the Parliament of Sardinia agreement instead -the Counselor then reflected, -and this implies by no means any harmless subjection of this Kingdom to the Catalans' will.

-The Council of Spain(*) will not be any happy for this, Doria.

-But they enjoy no actual powers upon our Parliament or Your Highness -Calvia replied.

-Nevertheless, this Kingdom would not be able to go beyond such declarative membership assertion -the Viceroy bitterly responded- No material relief can Sardinia provide to Catalonia, for the troops at my disposal are no more than two infantry battalions, one dragoons regiment and a few batteries -and these must be committed in the defence of the island, as His Majesty ordered.

-And, in case we had troops enough, we would have no fleet to escort them to Catalonian shores -the Counselor added.

-Maybe some kind of unofficial relief might be delivered... -then cunningly suggested Serra.

-An unofficial one? What do you mean?

-One that no way would compromise Your Higness or the Kingdom as such -he replied in a wide smile. -As You already know, I earned some money in the past thanks to my overseas trading activity, so that I'm proud to own a small merchant fleet. However, this long war has inevitably damaged business in such a way that... -adopting then a mourningful, complaining voice- It would be a ruin for Alghero city if I was forced to put my enterprise to an end... Maybe a lettre de marque might stimulate me to keep my ships in business...

The Counselor loudly laughed at the eccentric proposal -but his eyes were shining with excitement, for he also shared interests with Serra: -But you still wouldn't have any troops to carry, my friend.

-Here is were I might humbly assist you, milords -then Calvia quietly replied. -Might I ask for a license or comission to raise a regiment with my own funds? There is plenty of honest and resolute men in Alghero who, sadly empowerished by war, would gladly enlist for an expedition into their ancestors' homeland...

(*) [The Council of Spain was the institution Charles VI had for ruling the former Spanish territories in Italy, up to 1720, when he finally gave up his claims for the Spanish throne]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Doubtful reaction

all across the Catalan front, 24th July 1713

...After having nimbly moved to their new advanced positions, the Catalan forward units were now awaiting for the Two Crowns armies to slowly approach to their designated targets. Just as the Catalan Headquarters had anticipated, the Spaniards' Army Group North detached a strong column that headed back to the revolted city of Balaguer with the aim to regain its control by force, so restoring their cut out, endangered supply lines. In the menawhile, the rest of the Army dispersed itself across a wide area for foraging. The only aggressive initiative taken by the Army Group North was the delivery of a Dragoons battalion into the Pyrenean valleys of Pallars, with the mission of chasing the Catalan forces operating close by Tremp town.

As for the Army Group South, whose advance had been suddenly stopped by the unexpected refusal of the Imperial garrison at Tivissa to give up their position, performed an extremely aggressive approach to that town with all forces at their immediate disposal. A real fire, lead and blood storm was about to fall over the village in revenge for the humiliating retreat of their forward units face to the Imperials. The only garrison of Tivissa (a battalion of Aragonese Dragoons supported by a light battery) had just been reinforced by the gathering of local sometent militiae and a regular battalion of Catalan Mountain Fusiliers, and all together hurriedly prepared for a last stand face to an overhelming enemy.

Quite unexpectedly, the Army Group Centre kept pushing forward towards the very heart of Catalonia, albeit taking some more cautions than the preceding week. Therefore, while a strong force still advanced towards the next Imperial garrisoned town -Igualada-, an equally powerful force stayed in place at Cervera, where the local authorities still were renuent to surrender the town to Philip V's authority, in spite of the Imperial garrison having already evacuated it.

In the meanwhile, French forces were also progressing towards the Catalan held strongholds, although at a noticeably slower pace than the Spaniards. It seemed as if they were taking care to ensure the submission of local authorities in every occupied village before marching to the next town. The violent uprising at Girona city was about to be supressed, while the other one the French were suffering in their occupied area -the coastal town of Sant Feliu de Guíxols- seemed to be turning in favour of the rebels, who had received a strong Mountain Fusiliers reinforcement. With more Catalan units already on the way too, it seemed as if the French had apparently renounced to put their own reinforcements on the march, for these would likely arrive in Sant Feliu too late.

Something in the offensive had gone wrong from the start, and some unrest and disgustement had started to arise at Madrid Court.

I had actually written these Two Crowns' move orders for this 2nd turn at the same time that my gaming mate Jordi wrote theirs for the Catalans, so that none of us knew in advance each other's ones. Dice rolls gave to him the initiative, so that I've had to wait until he was done -with no chance of changing my previously written orders, of course...

Friday, August 13, 2010

A discrete meeting

Barcelona harbour, 23rd July 1713

Loys d'Hauteville nearly repented of having agreed a meeting in that Barcelona harbour tavern, for it was a quite popular one, and at that time it was literally crowded of every kind and class of men. Uneasy for such unexpected circumstance, Loys thought it was not completely unlikely that someone might recognize him, so that he chose to stay by the doorway for a while, closely watching the tavern clients to get ensured there wasn’t nobody known to him.

Then someone sitting alone in the farthest corner made a discrete waving sign, implicitly inviting Loys to take a seat at his table.

-Adieu siatz, Loys -the man said in a quiet voice.
-Adieu siatz, lo bon Paul -Loys responded, using the same Gascon dialect his talker had used before.

-Are you bringing the report?

-Yes I do, although I wasn’t able to complete it until early in this very morning -Loys drew some kind of notebook from his leather bag and gave it to the so-called Paul, who unfolded it and started picking a few pages at random, reading some fragments.

-It seems quite thoroughly detailed -the man said-. Might you give me an approximation of it in a few words?

-Not right now -Loys answered in a whisper, for a waitress was coming towards them. Both men ordered a bowl of soup and, once the waitress had gone away, Loys continued:

-The Catalans had a number of Mountain Fusiliers battalions scattered all around the Spanish penetration lines, which were in optimal situation for a fast reaction, and most of them have succeeded in doing so, thus occupying strategic locations in advance, or exploiting local disorders. Such initial successes have badly damaged the Spanish initial plan, as you can see... Look at the map on page... -Loys stopped for a moment while his interlocutor sought for such map -Yes, that one. There you can see one of the Spaniards' three major armies. -he nodded when the other man located a point on map- Right, their northernmost army. A small Catalan force has been mocking on their vanguard, while at their rear a local uprising has cut off their supply lines. You see? It’s a bad uprising, for the affected town is well defended by strong walls, which are in hands of the rebels... That army is nearly deprived of any initiative until supply lines are restored; they’ll be forced to send a number of troops back to regain control of the town, while the rest is dispersing at place for some foraging...

And this isn't all -he continued-. Now look at South. The advance of a second major army has been stopped by the reluctant Imperial garrison of another town, who have rejected evacuating it. The town is located on a rocky hill guarding a strategic pass, with a steep range at the rear... Local population has joined the Imperials, and they’ve also been reinforced by a whole Mountain Fusiliers battalion, so that defeating them and taking the town by force will delay the Spaniards not less than a whole week, no doubt...

-So that the Spaniards have only one army left to keep advancing -thoughtfully answered the so-called Paul.

-...True, but should they dare keep advancing, with their flanks deprived of the mutual defence from the other two armies? -Loys agreed.

-Good report, Loys. His Highness will be most grateful for it -the other man then concluded- But now I must leave for the ship, for wouldn’t like sailing after sunrise.

-Troubles expected at harbour?

-None. We’re sailing under Livornese ensign, quite unsuspected so far -the so-called Paul replied with a smile- And what about open sea?

-No news about any Spanish fleet so far. As for the Catalans, they're still struggling to gather something similar to a Navy...

-Excellent news! I guess we'll be arriving in Tanger undisturbed -Paul replied while standing up -Take care, my friend.

-You too.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Heading to Paris H. Palace Hostel

Monte-Cristo, 19th July 1713

The carriages swiftly run along the well-paved streets of Monte-Cristo, leading their passengers towards their destination in the luxurious Paris H. Palace Hostel. On the leading coach, Lord Louis-Ferdinand Celine Saint-Gobain accompanied his Catalan/Galatan guests while illustrating them on some Monte-Cristan peculiar traditions. To his undisguised satisfacion, he soon learnt that Marquis de Vilana had personally taken care to acknowledge his retinue about a good deal of these pecularities, and that Monte-Cristo harbour wasn't unknown to most sailors of the legacy.

However, Monte-Cristo daily life still deserved some surprises to the travelers. For example, it happened that, several times during the course, the coach driver had to dodge some small carriages which, to Lieutenant Leibnitz's surprise, were pulled by goats.

-Were'nt you aware of the existance of such means of locomotion? -Saint-Gobain condescendingly asked.

-Oh yes we were, but we couldn't figure it to be so popular here -expressed de Vilana, also simulating surprise.

-Certainly, in other lands they are used only as a form of entertainment for children of the Aristocracy. Here we perceived the benefits of widespreading its normal use among popular classes too.

-These must have been significant, to encourage such artifacts despite the added difficulties posed to road traffic -Vilana concluded in such a humorous tone that caused a discrete laugh of Saint-Gobain.

-Quite an interesting idea to be tested at home -Leibnitz thoughtfully answered-, in not too densely populated areas at least...

-True, please feel free to examine one of them whenever your duties allow you to -agreed Saint-Gobain.

The caravan finally arrived in Paris H. Palace Hostel, where the Catalan/Galatan Legate would be hosted during his Monte-Cristan stay, along with the two officers of his company -lieutenant Leibnitz himself and Joan Ventura, the xebec captain. The rest of carriages -ad-hoc requisitioned mailcoaches most of them- continued their course leading the legacy sailors and soldiers to a large inn in the sorroundings.

-It is the Prince-President's own will that each sailor or soldier of your company, when not on-duty, deserves if not a room, at least a bed purely of his own -Saint-Gobain explained.

-His Presipapal Highness is most kind -Vilana answered, warmly impressed.

-Besides of the on-duty members of your own retinue -Saint-Gobain continued-, you will have a sous-lieutenant of the "Gardes de l'Etrier" and a coach from the "Ecuries et Equipages" at your disposal all day round, for whatever you need.

Leibnitz recognized in the sous-lieutenant that same beautiful woman first watched at the pier, and silently appreciated the lucky coincidence.

-Now I must leave you, my distinguished friends. Once you have appropriately rested and refreshed, His Highness le Prince Ovationné par le Peuple will be most honoured to officially receive your Legacy, let's say tomorrow in the evening -Saint-Gobain concluded -I've also been entrusted to acknowledge you that, thereafter, His Highness would like His distinguished hosts to accept an invitation to a private dinner at Palace. Besides of His Highness, only Mme. Angele de Polihacrilamide and myself will be attending the event.

For an instantly moment, de Vilana felt overhelmed by so many marks of attention and friendliness from Monte-Cristo, which he had expected by no means; so much he was impressed, that his long diplomatic experience wasn't enough to completely mask his more than evident emotion. This didn't pass unnoticed to Saint-Gobain, who diplomatically simulated not to have perceived anything; but to the young female sous-lieutenant accompanying him either, who wouldn't reprime a discrete yet warm smile to the veteran Legate -a smile longly envied by Leibnitz, who was deeply fascinated by her.

-Besides, by a stroke of luck your visit is coinciding with our annual festival of Baroque Music, which is a golden excuse for the most diverse personalities, representatives and emissaries to come in Monte-Cristo, as you can easily imagine -the Monte-Cristan sous-lieutenant added with a smart smile at mouth, this time addressed to Leibnitz, who for sure would be unable to sleep that night, no matter the comforts his room might contain.

This gave to de Vilana a chance to regain mastership of his own, because a name had suddenly come to his mind, so that he instantly took advantage of it: -Before leaving home, I understood that, for this year's edition of the Festival, it was expected the assistance of one of our most brilliant composers and performers, Missenyor Jordi Savall. Our Legacy would be immensely proud to host at this Hostel one of his performances, with His Highness consent of course.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Galatan and Gallian Naval flags

The Galatan National Library is proud to acknowledge the Emperor vs Elector community to have increased its holdings with two new flag plates, partly related to Sea Warfare. As previously announced, the first one contains the Galatan Navy and Merchant Ensigns, as well as their corresponding Land Flags, for the initial period of this Imagi-Nation -i.e. since 1713.

This is not all. There are also good news for all those whose Imagi-Nation has a French-like kingdom either as a friend or foe, for the second flags plate is devoted to the Gallian Ensigns and Flags.

What are such flags intended for? Well, it is commonly said that a single image is worth more than a thousand words, so that please take a glance to the picture below. This one corresponds to a Hispannic/Asturian/Scandalusian/Sepharadan just scratch-built brig or bark, so that her flags do not correspond to any of both plates, but to a third one instead -which is already finished, but I'm waiting for the names poll to finish before having it published...

BTW, if curious about the ship herself, please look at the pictures just posted on my painting blog (sorry it's in Catalan language only; try the "Google Translate" gadget on top right to get an approximate site translation).

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Imagi-Spanish Nation name Poll

As some of you probably know, the adventure of Galatea's Principality birth has been set in the late War of Spanish Succession, during the lapse of time between Utrecht and Rastatt, as a desperate fight for liberty against their closest, victorious neighbours -imaginary clones of France and Spain, the same way as Galatea itself is a clone of Catalonia.

While the current campaign is on, I'm using real geographical names, but my plans were to mask such historical names once the brand new Principality is born. To my taste it's OK using Gallia for France, a name that has the additional value of being widely used by several other Emperor vs Elector settings.

I am quite more doubtful about which name to give to my Imagi-Nation's Spanish adversary: ...I'm feeling so uncapable to decide which name to choose, that I've set up a poll to request other players' opinion on this matter. Please would you mind to vote and help me decide? The poll box is at the right bar top. I've to say that, despite the poll, the particular opinion of any Imagi-Spanish Nation player would be strongly had into account.

[A strong option might be Scandalusia, a name that seems to be quite often used in other settings, so that it would also have the advantage of using a shared toponymy -just as "Gallia" does. However, such is also the name of an existing Imagi-Nation, and I wouldn't like my musings to interfere with its normal development -unless the Scandalusian player explicitly would, or agreed to]

[Another name often used by Imagi-Nationeers for referring to an imaginary Spain seems to be Eiberia. This one offers the above mentioned advantage of shared toponymy too, and besides it is only used as a Non-Player Imagi-Nation, so that this one wouldn't have the Scandalusian inconveniences; however, I'm not excessively fond of this name]

[Other options might be Celtiberia, Sepharad (the Hebrew name for Spain) or Oldspania, for example. A strong inconvenience for all these, from my point of view, is that none of them has been ever used before by other Imagi-Nationeers -so that if adopting one such name I would break the 'shared toponymy' rule (true, there is no such rule in EvE; but I'd like to follow it, anyway). Besides, the two first names are a bit cryptic, obscure -even some of pedantic...]

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The soldiers

Outskirts of Tarragona, 18th July 1713

Not only Mireia herself, but the whole group of travelers stayed petrified in terror while the soldiers started closing to them at a deliberately slow pace. Only old Teresa remained calm, even apparently amused by the situation as her almost imperceptible smiling revealed. -Hey you, young men! -the old woman suddenly rebuked- So upside down are our times now, that the main job of a soldier is no more than frightening a handful of harmless travelers?

Blanca stared at her mother with undisguised astonishment. She couldn't understand how was she challenging the soldiers that way, and seriuosly feared for their lives. However, at that very same time her daughter Mireia had also perceived something in these men that made her raise an eyebow, while her lips started drawing an amused smile too.

-These times are so upside down, that people do not mind traveling with no care through a country at war, old Teresa -one of the soldiers responded, using the Catalan language just as the old healer had.

Then the whole group realized that these men were not soldiers of the Two Crowns, but a detachment of Miquelets instead, who claimed to belong to the Ebro Riverside Mountain Fusiliers Regiment. In fact most of them where natural to either Tivissa or any other of its neighbouring villages, and Teresa had instantly realized it, because not by chance she had helped as a matron to the birth of many of them. Mireia's relatives were well-known and respected all through the Ebro county, as a long living saga of healers and sorceresses.

-You shouldn't be here in the open. You'd better take refuge behind the walls of a town, for War is quickly closing to these latitudes, ladies -the young soldier then continued. He was speaking to the whole travelers' group, although he had eyes for no one except Mireia.

-That's what we had in mind. -Teresa answered- Is Tarragona safe enough?
-Yes it is, by now at least, while the Imperials keep garrisoning it -the soldier replied.
-Are you going in there, too?

-We tried to, for our aim was to replace the Imperial garrison; but they wouldn't allow us to. They had explicit orders not to be replaced by anyone except Philip V's troops -another miquelet sadly answered-. Now we're going back to Tivissa, because the Imperials of your village have refused leaving the place to the Two Crowns, and have even shot them back home! ...so that they'll likely need some help to keep the Castilians away, or to safely withdraw.

-God bless you, boys -Mireia whispered in anguish. She also had eyes for no one else that the first soldier, and Blanca then knew this wasn't the first time they had met.

-Don't worry for these men, Mireia -then she spoke-, they know well their job and know how to take care for themselves in such troubled times, unlike us. So better hurrying towards Tarragona, if you won't to worry them any more about you.

-Take care, Mireia -the miquelet sweetly told her when the group was about to leave.
-You too, Albert -she sadly answered.