Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sharpe's Pride and Prejudice and Master and Commander and Zombies

I am going to be running a game at Cold Wars in March based on the very funny mashup novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but with additional characters from other popular Napoleonic era novels.  Here's the description:

 In an England overrun by the undead Unmentionables, can the Bennett sisters find suitable husbands? The chances are good since England’s heroes have returned to fight the undead, including a roguish rifleman and scallywagish sea captain together with their mandatorily Irish sidekicks. What hope do zombies have against some of the greatest heroes in English literature?

Here's some preliminary photos:

Table lay-out, the village of Hunsford in Kent with the nearby estate of Rosing Park

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy beset by unmentionables.

Lady Catherine de Bourg and her ninja attendants

The 95th Rifles under Sharpe and Harper

Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin and the crew of the HMS Surprise

A militia encampment

Reclaimers, desperate bounty hunters who capture the unmentionables for the burning fields.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quick and Easy Earthworks and Siege Trenches

I am working on my next convention game, another round of Ben Franklin's War - Weird AWI.  Last time was modified Battle of Saratoga.  This time around will be the war in the South built around a siege operation loosely based on Savannah and Yorktown.  I've done the siege lines and was surprised at out quickly and easily they turned out.

The picture above is of the besiegers' trench line.  It is made of scrap styrofoam and sheets of felt.

I used those small sheets of cheap felt that are sold at most craft stores.  I found a color called "Copper Canyon."  I cut out the plan of the trench with the felt.  

Then I traced them onto the styrofoam and cut them out using a styrofoam cutter.  I then cut the interior of the trenches out and slopes on the exterior.  Then I painted the styrofoam couple of shades of brown craft paint that had sand mixed in and dry-brushed with a tan paint.  Then I glued the styrofoam onto the piece of felt.

Certainly, more details could be added, like some texturing of the trench floor, maybe even some wood reinforcement of the trench walls.  However, for something that took me only an hour or two, I'm pretty satisfied.

Next I did the defender's earthworks.

Here again, I traced out the outline of the defense lines, this time in foam.  However, as I didn't use the foam as a base, you really could use paper or anything else.

 I traced this onto stryofoam and cut it out.   To form the bulwark on top, I cut out thin strips of styrofoam and glued them on.  Then I cut the slopes of the sides. Then I painted it with shades of brown and tan.  Bamboo skewers were then cut to size and inserted.

Finally, I used some felt pieces to make the rural roads.

I used pieces of tan felt and cut the basic outline of the roads out.  Then I painted the roadway using tan paint and sprinkling sand on it.  After that I dried  I filled in the remainder of the road piece with green flocking sprinkled on brown paint while it was wet.

The nice thing about using the felt is that they can be run over hills  and the like.  Also, the pieces, that are about 8" x 11" or so, only cost about 39 cents each.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dr. Sandorius and the Resurrection Men - Chapter VII: Battle and Epilogue

Chapter VII: Battle

The Case of the Resurrection Men in The Natural Philosophy of Crime by Anton Smelchak

As the discussion, turned to strategy, I attempted to excuse myself from Prince Leopold’s presence, offering that there was much to do in preparing the indictments and writs for all the suspects including his brother, the Regent.  I suggested that the only real decision was whether to prosecute them in the ecclesiastical courts as originally planned, or the civil courts, now that they were beyond the Regent’s influence.

Leopold cut me off, saying there would be time enough for such details once the Regent’s army was defeated.  “Aftew aww, Inspektow, we awe aww mawching against him today.”

I had first thought that Prince Leopold’s implication that I would be among the “all” that would be marching was a mere rhetorical flourish.  However, he became very clear that all able bodied men in Strelzov would be marching with him this day.  As the police had some training and organization, many in fact being recruited from discharged soldiers (whether the discharge was of an honorable or dishonorable nature never mattering), they would be leading this Strelzov Division.  We would be joined by Voynich’s enthusiastic but inept student revolutionaries and a host of completely untrained civilians. I asked if there would be any trained soldiers to assist.

General Strakencz indicated that some of the National Guard and one of the two battalions of riflemen would be assigned.  He explained that these latter units were some of the elite of the army, being trained and officered by volunteers who happened to be veterans of the British army.  Commander Fogge’s support of the revolution was perhaps not quite so insubstantial as I first thought.

“Also you shall have a certain sort of artillery support,” added the General.

“Certain sort?” I asked.

“Wockets!” exclaimed Prince Leopold, “Whoosh Bang! “

Apparently, the English volunteers had brought a quantity of old Congreve rockets with them.  This did not inspire confidence in me.

“Who shall command this band of heroes,” I asked.

“Why you, of couwse, Inspektow!  You awe a hewo to the peopwe of Stwelzov who bettew to wead them!”

Despite my protests that the only service I had was as a volunteer in the brief ill-fated resistance to the Allies who overran the Kingdom in 1814, the Prince would hear nothing of it.  Realizing the stubbornness of the Prince, I finally accepted my fate.

I had just left this rather disconcerting conference when word reached me that von Elphberg, who had been transferred along with Dippel to the more secure towers of the Royal Castle, was requesting an interview.  I agreed more as a diversion than anything else.

When he was brought before me, Von Elphberg still bore the look of smug satisfaction that never seemed to leave him.

“Ban Inspektor,” he began, “I wish to discuss a bargain with you.”

“What exactly do want?”  I asked impatient with the man’s arrogance.

“Why, not to be hung.  I was only an accomplice to Herr Doktor Dippel and the Regent but I was present for most of their discussions as well as those with the Countess Krimskaya.”

“I have sufficient evidence against them already for convictions.”

“Ah, yes.  But in order to convict them, you must have hold of them.  Aside from Dippel, the Regent and the Countess are still at large.  Not only that, they are both protected by a strong army defending not only them but their rightful King.  I can surmise that Leopold intends to pursue them but … the gods of war can be fickle.”

“What are you suggesting?”

“Well, do you think that the Royal Army, which includes some of the best troops of the nation, would fight as hard if the King suddenly abandoned them?  As you know, the Queen is my cousin and the King is guided by her.  I can convince her that the safety of the King demands that he leave the field at the earliest opportunity, taking the Guards with him.”

“What do you want in return?”

“I must talk directly to my cousin to convince her.  For that I must be free.”

“Once you are free, how could I possibly believe that you would do as you suggest?”

“Ah Ban Inspektor, you and your associates have proven remarkably resourceful in your pursuit of this matter.  I have no doubt that were I to betray your trust, you would be upon me in no time at all and I would not enjoy the niceties of the courts.”

“That would be a fair assessment.”

“Then, in exchange for my freedom, I shall provide you with a sworn affidavit cataloging all of the Regent’s machinations and I shall also induce my cousin to remove herself and her august husband from their support of the Regent.  After that, I shall voluntarily exile myself from Ruritania. 

“Finally, by sparing me, you will avoid offending our other, more distant cousins, the Hapsburgs.  Well what you do think?”

Although I hated the idea of allowing this miscreant to escape justice, his offer was a satisfactory one and I could assuage my doubts with the thought the greater of the plotters would face the hangman, a prospect that for von Elphberg, given his family connections, remote in any event.

I obtained the assent of Prince Leopold and his advisors.  I then placed von Elphberg in the back of Bogacz’s police wagon which I had had converted into a sort of mobile office for myself.

I sent word to all of the police barracks that ten in every twelve gendarmes was to report to the Royal Castle to be part of the expedition.  They duly arrived along with a vast host of the city population.  By late-afternoon, we set off in pursuit of the Regent.

The march proved to be far easier than I had anticipated given the size of the crowd.  The weather was thankfully mild and the road to Apollograd upon which we marched was one of the better ones in the kingdom.  Leopold’s staff, well experienced in such expeditions, had managed to send water and provision out ahead of us so that we did not suffer privations on the march.  Members of the various city theatres and the National Opera were brought along in wagons, singing patriotic songs and providing inspiring harangues. 

On one of these wagons, I noticed Madame Geneses, singing La Marseilles at the top of her voice, it echoed for miles.  Upon an impulse I rode over and greeted her.

“Ah Monsieur Inspector!  Is it not grand? It is the days of my youth relived!’  With this she flung her arms around my neck and kissed me upon both cheeks and then the lips with surprising passion.  “Bon chance, Monsieur Inspector, Hero of the People!  Vive La Revolution!”

“Quite,” I said as rode away from her, thinking that being a hero of the people might not be such a bad thing after all.

Excerpt from A Man of Many Talents, The Memoirs of Ratko Fisztics

Now my plans had worked far better than I thought.  Frufroque’s boys were very adept at stripping houses of their goods and it was amazing to see them at work when there was no chance of a disturbance, most of the wealthy home owners of the city having fled and most of the police and National Guard having been caught up in the revolutionary fervor.  The best part was that Frufroque was so please with the take, he promised me, or more precisely, Big Saucy, a good five percent of all the loot taken.

Feeling on top of the world, I returned to my offices at the College to begin calculating my new wealth.  The University grounds were filled with crowds of students all clapping themselves on the back at how they were changing the world.

My enjoyment of the day was interrupted.  First I felt a strong breeze pass by my head.  I heard upon the wind a voice like that of Mercurio saying that he was hiding among the Regent’s army which was on the shores of Lake Czud.  Damn Mercurio, he certainly picked inopportune times to interrupt a man.

Before I could decide what to do with this information, I was interrupted once more by Nikolina.  I was surprised by her appearance for she was wearing some sort of opera buffe hussar’s uniform.  I got a bad feeling immediately.

“What is this, my dear urchin?” I asked.

“Oh papa, Jan has been made a colonel of cavalry by Prince Leopold himself!  The Prince even promised him and estate for leading the Revolution.   Jan is leaving for battle this very afternoon and I shall be by his side!”

“Nikolina, don't be a fool.  He’s nearly gotten you killed.  I’ve been in battles, it’s no place for a girl, least of all one as ditherheaded as you!”

A dark thought crossed my mind, “Did it ever occur to you that the reason he wants you to go with him is so that you get yourself killed.  That would free him to marry Mercurio’s daughter.  He’s had eyes for only her since he’s arrived.  He doesn’t love you, he never will!”

There were tears in her eyes then, but she didn’t blubber, I’ll give her that.  She sniffed them back, squared her shoulders and said, “Papa, he didn't ask me to go, I volunteered to Count Leonardo himself.  And I am not going only for him.  I am going for the Nation, the People.  For Freedom!”

God, I thought, how many of my friends had I seen go to a useless death for those noble words.  Still, the girl did make me feel strangely proud.

Then I realized something else she said.  “He’s getting an estate? What else is the Prince handing out?”

I had served under the Prince for over 15 years, had even saved his life on one occasion.  If I can’t wheedle something out of the dotty old man I should have my thief’s license taken away.  Especially since I knew exactly where the enemy army was.

Commission in the Army of the Crown of Ruritania

Leopold, by the Grace of God and the Will of the People, Duke of Leutonia, Protector of the Realm, in the name of Vladislav V Leon, King of the Realm of Ruritania and Prince of Kravonia, make known that We, reposing especial Trust and Confidence in the Loyalty, Valor, and Abilities of our servant, Ratko Nikola Fisztic, commission and appoint him to the rank of March Major of Foot in the Army of the Crown of Ruritania, from the first day of September in the Year of Our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Thirty-Two, that he shall have especial authority over the ordering of the regiments of foot upon the field of battle and shall be second only unto General Commanding upon matters pertaining to the regiments of foot, and that all officers and men subordinate to him according to the Order General of the Army of the Crown of Ruritania shall behave themselves with all due Respect and Obedience to him, their superior officer.


To see into the other realms is not so difficult once one has learned the way.  It is a matter of concentration and formula.  To send one’s anima, one’s spirit is more difficult but can be done with practice.  To travel to the other realms, in a more or less physical form is a much greater matter and may be achieved only by the most experience of practitioners and only after considerable trial.  This is also complicated the further that one travels within the Spheres.  However, it is not so much travel to them but rather the return that is truly problematic.

Such difficulty he considered a virtue twenty years ago, when he had sought the passage to Hy Brasil, part of Briah, the Iconic Realm.  He knew the Countess did not then know enough of the magic needed and her love of the material world so great that she would never be able to free herself enough to pursue him.

His mentor, Dee, had been in the Hy Brasil then, and aided him in the difficult process of crossing the bounds.  Elisabeth had thrived there, running upon the always green sward and swimming in the Pearl Bright Sea, fauns and dryads and mermaids her play companions. 

The fey, however, often took as much as they gave.  In time, he realized that if Elizabeth remained she would lose her humanity and become as one of the fey herself.  So he brought them back and for the past eight years they had lived as normal a life as a sorcerer and a fairy-raised child could.

He thought he would never need to turn to them.  Now he knew, he did not have the strength in himself to defeat the Countess and free Elizabeth. The fey were the only ones to whom he could turn for help.

He sat down beneath the tree and began the spells that would send his spirit’s eyes and voice to find the Court of the Seelie.

The Case of the Resurrection Men in The Natural Philosophy of Crime by Anton Smelchak

We marched a good twenty miles that day, arriving at a well-chosen camp a little after ten o’clock that night.  We were told by the Prince’s staff that the march would resume at five o’clock the following morning.

The Regent’s army had halted and was prepared to make a stand on the shores of Lake Czud which was less than five miles distant.  The battle would likely begin a little after seven o’clock.


What Papa had said had stung her to the heart.  He always said cruel stupid things but they never hurt because that was just him trying to be tough, and the things were never true.  This time it was different because maybe they were true.  Maybe she wasn’t meant to be the girl who gets the happy ending in the story.  Maybe she was the tragic heroine in one of the sad stories that dies so that the hero can have a happy ending with his true love but still have a tinge of sadness to show that he’s sensitive.

She avoided Milna on the march which was easy since there were some many marching with them, ten thousand or more.  In the camp it was even easier.  The fact that Jan did not seem to be looking for her only showed her the truth.

Tsura, the gypsy girl did find her.  She told Nikolina that she and some of her people would sneak among the enemy and get to the castle on the lake where the Countess was planning on bringing back all the dead people to life as ghouls.  This must be stopped.  Since Nikolina was so good at sneaking around, Tsura asked her to help.  They would also place some traps, big kegs of gunpowder with some called alchemic fuses on them that Ban Topicz had made.  So Nikolina really would be a heroine.  But, Tsura warned her, they might not come back, it was very dangerous.

Nikolina knew now this was her fate.  She readily agreed.  Then she went to look for Jan.

She found him with his horse soldiers.  He was wearing the lancer’s uniform and looked very handsome.

He looked surprised, “I didn’t think you were here.  I hadn’t seen you on the march so I thought you had finally listened to me and not come.”

“No, I came and now I am going.  I will go and rescue Elizabeth, so that you may be with her.  I know that you love her and not me.  Your happiness is all that I want…Perhaps it would be easier for everyone if I rescue her but don’t come back.”

She turned and walked quickly away from him before she lost her courage.  So she did not hear what he said next.

Milna was looking at her in shock, not really believing it.  Suddenly he realized how wrong he had been about her.  “Please, Nikolina, come back.  You must come back. To me.”


When his consciousness returned to the material world, the sun was already up.  Sandorius then realized with a start that he was standing nearby.  He was dressed in the black uniform he had been wearing on the road from Moscow.  The face still could not be clearly seen

"Hello my friend," the dark figure said.

"Hello…my friend.  Is this another social visit or are you…"

"Sadly, I am here for professional purposes, as it were."

"I must have a little time.  I have to save my daughter."

"I shall be very busy today.  I shall have a very difficult day. As will you."

"All I ask is to save her.  Can you help, I would do…"

"I am sorry my friend.  I observe many things but I do only one thing."

"Very well. I have help coming from elsewhere."

"Yes, I know.  Hopefully they arrive in time.  You know the Fey, time is an elastic thing to them.  I shall be seeing you later today."

He was gone.  Several riders approached.  He saw the Regent, Prince Narishkin and their staffs.  The Countess was in their midst.

They rode past him without paying him the least attention.  They rode up a small rise that overlooked the trail to the main road.  He followed them to listen. 

The sound of distant band music reached his ears.  The Regent and Narishkin were looking through telescopes. 

"It is Leopold's army, the whole of it.  He's marching to deploy them for battle." Narishkin said.

"Excewwent!  We shaww destwoy them today and be back in the capitaw tomowwow!"
"We shall have a good chance of it,” agreed Narishkin, “By my estimate, he has but a few regiments of veteran infantry and some cavalry.  Good but manageable especially as we shall outnumber him. We also have our surprise for them.”

Here he indicated the Steam Battery, a large fortified wagon armed with a heavy gun that was propelled by its own steam engine.   It had been acquired at great expense to overawe the local population.

The Countess had been quiet, looking nervously about her.  Sandorius knew she could sense him but she was too distracted to find him.

"My god, wok at the muwtitude!" exclaimed the Regent.

Sandorius looked down the trail.  Leopold's army was already forming a line of battle.  Leopold’s small force of regulars were being followed by a rank after rank of enthusiastic civilians, equal to

“We have nothing to fear. Numbers won't matter, they will have to attack us head on along this narrow front.  Most of those are rabble, they'll run at the first whiff of grapeshot!”  Narishkin tried to put on a brave front but he clearly was disconcerted by the numbers they would have to engage.

The Countess finally spoke, "Just hold them off for a little while. I am returning now to the castle to begin my preparations.  When they are completed, the enemy shall have far more to fear than our guns."

An History of the War of the Three Lions by Field Hetman Kasimir Strakencz

The Battle of Lake Czud

The Regent's army was drawn up to the north of the Apollograd road and parallel to it. They sat astride the track leading to the Lake and the Tumulus where the woods that surround the lake had been cleared enough to allow a few small farms.  On the left, the Austrian Brigade of three regiments with light artillery and cavalry support occupied some hedgerows.  To the right, the main body of the Royal Army stood in more open ground.  This consisted of a line of the 3rd, 4th, and 7th Infantry Regiments with the 10th Infantry in reserve.  The Brigade was supported by the heavy artillery and the incomparable Royal Cuirassiers Regiment.  The Russian Brigade of three regiments along with cavalry and artillery stood as an immediate reserve.  The camp which stood between the bridge to Sandorius' Tower and the Tumulus of Czud, was guarded by the two regiments of Royal Walloons, the Regent's Guard, and the Royal Uhlans.  The Tower and the Tumulus were occupied by Kozaki irregulars.

Prince Leopold disposed his regular brigade on the left, opposing the Royal Army.  This consisted of the 1st and 2nd Fusiliers and the Grenadier Regiments along with the Voltigeur Battalion and the army's only artillery placed on high ground to the rear.  In the center, he placed the Volunteer Brigade consisting of the recently recruited 3rd Regiment of Foot and the Leutonian Regiment.  A host of peasants led by the monks of the St. Quadratus Monastery rounded out the Brigade.  On the right, Leopold placed the so called Strelzov Division consisting of two battalions of National Guard, the Police  and Students' Battalions and a huge multitude that had come out from Strelzov after the uprising. This large body of largely untrained civilians had only a small rocket battery in support.

The Cavalry Brigade, three regiments of lancers and the Leutonian Hussars, had taken a long circuitous route around the forests that lay on the left wing of the Regent's army.  Unbeknownst to the Regent was that there were numerous tracks through this wood.  The peasants who had flocked to Prince Leopold enthusiastically led the cavalry by these paths…

Letter from Lady Euphemia Dalhousie to Miss Elspeth Dalhousie, 3rd September 1832

…The good Inspector, or should I say, Minister, Smelchak desired me tae remain in safety in the city whilst everyone else trotted off on the hunt.  As you well kin, this isnae my pure class and I insisted tae be taken along.  I had nae desire tae be away from my new-found beloved while he gaed intae the cannon's geggy.  Also, the Countess and her bloody script had brought muckle misery tae my life and I intended tae be a part of her comeuppance.

I gaed along with the army, riding in the company of my dear Leonardo.  On the day of battle, we had tae rouse afore dawn.  Now this was my first military expedition but I found it nae unlike the hunting trips upon which I gaed with Father. Thus I helped him pack his kit for the day, with extra dry socks, a pack of dainties so he could snatch a bite during the day, and, of course a big flask of the water of life to keep the chill off.  He was most touchingly grateful, so unlike Jamie.  Then we had our farewell for he and Johnny Milna were off to lead the cavalry tae gang at the rear of the enemy.  I wonder how I could feel so close to someone I had kent only a few brief hours and that under the most unlikely circumstances.

Now, you may ask if I was skulking in the rear as a proper lady should but I must say that I did not.  There are two battalions of riflemen with the army modeled on the green jackets of our own army.  They were even a few officers and sergeants from our islands who trained the lads, most whom were wolf-hunters and poachers from the southern bens and braw spry fellows they were.  One of the rifleman, a Sergeant Major named McNab was originally from over by Killin near Loch Tay.  He took me under his wing as it were, telling me to sbade near him and he would show me the way.

We set off afore dawn and moved in wee batches towards some hedges that lined the fields near a wee croft.  I again thought how like tae some of Father’s hunting parties this was.  Soon as we crossed o’er the first line of hedges, we flushed out our quails, a troop of dismounted dragoons we spotted easy due tae the brass pots they wore on their heads.   I popped one of their batch with my Fiona and was pleased to see that her sighting was true.  McNab and the boys dropped several more and the rest went a running, their carbines not having the range of our rifles.

Soon we came upon the main line, white-coated Austrians with a pair of small cannons amongst them.  This might be a wee bit trickier I thought…

Excerpt from A Man of Many Talents, The Memoirs of Ratko Fisztics

Now my readers may wonder why I, who had grown to be the soul of caution, would seek a position of prominence on the impending field of battle.  I thought I had calculated well that it would be to my advantage with only a marginal attendance of risk.

The position of March Major is a traditional one in the Ruritania Army.  Invariably awarded to a senior non-commissioned officer, I was well qualified having finished my fifteen years of service as a sergeant major of foot and having served in over a dozen major campaigns, including Spain and Russia.  In terms of responsibilities, the March Major sees to the order of the line of battle only on the field, a job any competent drill sergeant can accomplish with ease.  The holder of the office also received a very stylish bearskin cap of impressive dimensions.

Upon learning that the Prince intended to take the mobs of Strelzov with him, I was sure that there would be only a modest danger.  I assumed that he would use the untrained rabble of cannon fodder to weaken and exhaust our enemies and when sufficiently reduced, the Regular Brigade to which I was assigned would sweep up the remainder. Oh, I knew that attacking the castle on the lake would be difficult but my job as March Major would be small in this, merely feeding the troops into the assault.

One can imagine my chagrin when I learned that the Regulars would lead the attack, hoping to pin the Royal Army and draw out the enemy reserves.  The mob and cavalry would then strike the enemy left flanks that consisted of the markedly unenthusiastic Austrian regiments.  By then, I had little choice in the matter and so keep my thoughts to myself.

Before dawn, our voltigeurs and riflemen drove in the enemy skirmishers so we would at least not have those gnats to irritate us.  As I directed the three regiments into line, I saw that we faced a like number of the Royal Army.  Knowing how poorly paid they had been these past few years; I hoped they would not put up too strenuous a fight. However, I saw that they were supported by a battery of heavy guns and the large regiment of very large cuirassiers.

Just before the hour of seven, Prince Leopold inspected the Brigade, his two dogs, Wilkes and Barre, yapping at the horses hoofs.  The men cheered as he rode along the line and early morning sun flashed upon the battler flags before it was obscured behind the ever increasing clouds.

“Mawch Mastew, you may begin.”

A band struck up the tune of Leopold’s March, a song that now is heard outside of Ruritania in American circuses as the “Entrance of the Gladiators.” I called out the order to advance.

As soon as we stepped off, the heavy guns of the Royalists began to blast into our line.  Within a few moments, the Grenadier Regiment had been decimated and its survivors were streaming to the rear.  My Brigade had been cut by a third in the first minutes of the fight. 

I sent a runner to our own artillery, ordering all fire to be concentrated onto the hill where the enemy heavy guns lay.  I ordered the lines to be dressed and the advance to continue.  Our voltigeurs held some rocks in the fields in front of us and I hoped to gain the small protection they might provide. 

It was then that I noticed the steam battery rolling forward down the trail toward us, its large gun seemingly pointed directly at me.

Letter from Lady Euphemia Dalhousie to Miss Elspeth Dalhousie, 3rd September 1832

I asked McNab if it would be a good idea tae caw our guns on the men manning the cannons and he agreed that this would be a capital idea.  Soon, the guns were without crews and any that gaed near them were shot down.

There were still two bodies of soldiers lining the hedges in front of us and a third behind them.  Though these were firing at us, they put narry a touch on any with their smoothbore muskets.

Now we had been told tae keep an eye out for something special.  The student tinkerer, Mr. Topicz, had fashioned something he called a fougasse, a sort of barrel filled with black powder and other infernals upon which he had fashioned a target by which the thing could be exploded by a single shot striking it.  During the mirk, Sarah and her gypsy cousins had sneaked in among the trees lining the trail and placed them where they could dae the most harm tae the enemy line.  We had but to seek the sign of an illuminated circle, like a ring of fireflies and shoot intae its center tae explode the thing.

I spotted one of these twinkling circles just after we had done in the cannoneers.  It was in some brush in a tree neist tae the large body of Austrian soldiers on my left.  I dead careful aimed Fiona at the center and easily struck it bulls’ yak.  A great explosion occurred with the tree splintering among the enemy.  Those on their feet began running to the rear.  As I reloaded Fiona, I spotted another in the trees towards which the running Austrians.  I called tae some of the riflemen tae fire at it.  They hit it just as the running Austrians reached it and more slaughter was wrought on them.

Behind me, I heard a great cheer.  When I turned back tae look, I saw that great crowd from the city surging forward intae the fields round us.  When I turned back I saw beyond the hedges, a wee rise crowded with cannons that the crews were turning our way.

The Case of the Resurrection Men in The Natural Philosophy of Crime by Anton Smelchak

The sky continued to darken as we stood in the fields waiting to advance. I was in front line with my gendarmes.  Immediately behind us were Voynich and his most dedicated students.  To our right were the National Guardsman who seemed as nervous as the rest of us.  Behind stood the milling crowd from Strelzov, indifferently armed and completely unprepared for what was to come. There had been cheers when the rifleman prevailed over the enemy skirmishers.  This halted when we saw the heavy cannon fire bursting over the regulars to our left, cutting many of those old soldiers down.  My stomach churned with anxiety.

When faced with such fears, I always turn to technical questions to keep my mind to rational thoughts.  I did so now. The sun had risen so brilliantly that morning that I was surprised to see the storm clouds roll in so quickly.  I saw that lightening had begun flashing over the strange tower on the tumulus.  There was a device, like a huge astrolabe, on top of the tower spinning at a high rate.  This seemed to be drawing the lightening out of the clouds.

Just to the fore of the tumulus I saw a great plume of white steam.  This undoubtedly was the big self-moving steam battery that our scouts had reported.  If only there was some way to bring our cannons or rockets down on this thing before it could reach us.  I feared its power and novelty would be the undoing of our excitable troops. 

I must have said this last thought out loud for Topicz, who was standing near to me, offered, “Sufflay is with the rocket battery, I can talk to him with this.”  He held out a sea shell to which some strange clocks had been attached.

“You can speak at a distance with this?” I asked.

“Yes, the basic principle…”

“Explain later! Now tell him where to shoot his rockets.”

Within a few moments, a number of rockets were flying over the field.  Some went toward the tower on the tumulus but hit what appeared to be an invisible wall, streaks of electric power emanating from several large metal poles that surrounded the tower.

The other rockets streaked toward the white steam cloud.  I heard a large blast and the steam cloud disappeared.  This was followed by the sound of cannon shot fired from the battery.  The shells exploded harmless over the trail. Evidently, our rockets had wrecked its motive steam engine but not put the battery’s guns out of action.

Then a very large explosion occurred in among the trees and hedges immediately in front of us.  It battered one of the big Austrian regiments in the main line.  The survivors immediately fled to the rear where another explosion greeted them, inflicting more casualties.

A great cheer went up from the host around me.  Without orders, they surged forward.  I had to rush to keep at the fore.  I leapt over one of  the hedge, no mean feat in my police dress uniform that Prince Leopold had insisted I wear.  Once over, we rushed over the plowed fields. I could see groups of our riflemen crouched behind the hedges that lined the other side of the field.  No enemy seemed to be defending them.

I called for my men to keep moving.  I did not like how crowded we were pressing through the narrow fields. 

Then the artillery shells began to fall among us.  I heard a blast my left and immediately another just in front of me.  I was knocked onto my back and struggled to keep my senses.  Loncar was leaning over me, saying something but I could not hear it.  There was another burst in the sky above us and a jagged piece of metal struck Loncar in the head and he was gone from my view.

I rolled over and pushed myself to my feet.  Most of my gendarmes were lying on the field unmoving.  I shouted for them to go forward.  I saw Voynich trying to rouse his students to do the same.  There was large numbers of these lying dead as well.

As we struggled forward, I could see a fresh regiment of infantry waiting for us.  They were readying to fire as soon as we crossed the last hedge. 

In the back of my consciousness, there had been a sound ringing in my ears.  I thought it had been from the cannon blast.  Now I realized what it was.

I heard cavalry trumpets sounding.

Diary of Jan Milna, unpublished

Our peasant guides seemed to know every tree in the woods.  The old one, Duro, said that the spirits of the woods didn't like what was happening near the Lake and so were helping us.  Nevertheless, it was full daylight before we reached the end of the woods.  Worse, we could hear that the battle was fully engaged.

We emerged from the woods behind a large farmstead that Duro said was his own.  He offered that we could burn it to the ground if it would help the Freedom-giver, as Leopold had come to be known following his ending of serfdom in the first Revolution.

Count Leonardo said he would take the two regular uhlan regiments to the south of the farmstead and strike at the Austrians there as planned.  Sensing an opportunity, he order me to take the Zendan Lancers and Leutonian Hussars and attack the enemy's camp that lay to the east of the farmstead.  From there I should cut through to the Russian artillery battery and relieve our infantry that was under heavy fire. 

This was the first time I experienced the famed Radziwillian battlefield genius.  In most situations, the member of the House of Radziwill could never be considered of even average intelligence.  However, once engaged in battle, they seemed to retain a preternatural tactical skill.

It was only a matter of a few minutes to arrange our lines and the charge was sounded.  Leonardo's lancers struck first into the flank of an Austrian regiment that had been positioned in reserve of the main line. Already unsteady from the unexplained explosions wreaking havoc on their comrades, these men fled as soon as Leonardo's horseman came within striking distance.  Two squadrons of Austrian hussars rode forward to engage our lancers.  After a brief clash, these two were streaming from the field.  As they scrambled back, another fougasse was exploded in their faces and the entire Austrian Brigade broke in panicked retreat.

In the meantime, I drove forward at the head of the Zendan Lancers.  These were all gentleman volunteers who had crossed the border to join Leopold.  Many were former officers cashiered for their opposition to the Regent's tyranny.

We quickly overran the pickets on the camp perimeter and then charged in among the tents.  One of the Walloon regiments was just forming up in marching order.  They wheeled to face us but before they could fire at us, we were among them.  They put up a brave but brief resistance and were soon broken.

As this brief fight was ending, I saw at the other end of the camp, the King and Queen rushing to their carriage in a hurried escape.  The remaining Walloon Regiment formed protectively around them but they soon began heading eastward off of the field.  Word began to spread that the King had fled.

The crash of cannons to my left demonstrated that the battle was not yet won.  The Russian battery continued to fire upon our infantry as it was coming up.  I could also see that the Russian infantry and cavalry that had been the Regent's reserve was moving to shore up their collapsing left.

I rallied my men and formed them to charge the battery on the hill…

Excerpt from A Man of Many Talents, The Memoirs of Ratko Fisztics

Our artillery was soon blasting away at the Regent's heavy guns.  While of lighter weight than the guns of the enemy, our artillery was manned by very seasoned gunners and the shells flew very fast.  Within a few minutes the crews of the heavy guns were decimated.  The barrage had the added benefit of striking into the Cuirassier Regiment that had been drawn up behind the battery, no doubt in hopes of a sudden charge once our attack had been broken.

I never much cared for cavalrymen and the cuirassiers were the worst of the lot, big louts on big horses who thought they were knights of old just because they wore tin soup dishes over their shirts.  It gave me the greatest pleasure to see that these proud idiots running for the rear after a few pop-gun shots.

Then I saw that the Russian regiments who had been in reserve were turning and moving against our troops that were advancing on our right.  I had been ordered to prevent that.  I was just about to order the two regiments into a charge when I heard a booming voice singing out the Theotoka, an ancient hymn that brought to my mind memories of sore knees and busted knuckles from my days in a parish school run by the Holy Sisters.  The voice belonged to Bobo Drko as he strode quickly over field followed by a big choir of singing monks, icons and religious banners waiving, and then a mob of very angry-looking peasants, brandishing some of the most deadly-looking farm implements I had ever seen.

The Royal 1st Regiment turned to meet this attack.  They leveled their muskets and the order was given to fire.  They hesitated.  Bobo Drko advance alone, his arms outspread.  The order to fire was given again and this time a volley of four hundred shots rang out. 

Now I do not usually give credence to tales of miracles and the marksmanship of the Royal Army in those days was not the highest.  However, I was there and saw with my own eyes that Bobo Drko stood within thirty yards of that volley and not one shot hit him.  Even more amazing that not one of those four hundred shots hit any of the big crowd that followed him.

Those of the 1st Regiment that didn't run immediately fell down on their knees and wept for forgiveness as Bobo Drko and his followers moved forward, driving all before them.


She had gotten them to the foot of the bridge to the castle before it had gotten too light to hide that large a group of people, even considering that they were gypsies.  They would not cross the bridge, it was too heavily guarded by Kozaki savages.  She knew they would be distracted by the battle and so she and the gypsies would be able to cross at the foot of the bridge.  They might have to swim a little bit but that shouldn't be too difficult.  Then they could climb up and get inside.  She would find Elizabeth and stop the Countess and probably die trying.  That was alright.

The battle was very loud, she was surprised at how loud it was.  She was even more surprised when the kegs they had hidden among the trees began blowing up. They were very loud and so many of the enemy were blown up with them, it was very surprising.  Then the thunder and lightning came and it was even louder.  It was strange but there was no rain.

When the battle was at its height, she led them along the foot of the bridge.  The rocks upon which it had been built proved to be very big and so they could walk almost the whole way across with only their feet getting wet.  Tsura said this was good because their powder would be dry; they planned on using their knives but it was always good to have a gun just in case.  Nikolina agreed, she had several pistols in addition to her saber, just in case.

They were half way across when she heard a loud creaking and screeching coming from above.  At the top of the very high tower was a big metal dome.  That was moving and opening up like a flower.  It soon slipped into the stone walls of the tower revealing two big metal posts that lightening was hitting.  The lightening was coming from the spinning top on the other tower, the one on the hill on the shore of the lake.  Then she saw that there was a person in between to two lightening-attracting posts.  The person was screaming in pain.

It was Elizabeth.

 Diary of Jan Milna, unpublished

The Russians manning the battery had not realized that we were approaching until we reached the crest of the hill.  They were not able to turn their guns but did not abandon them.  The entire battery died where they stood.  In the meantime, the Leutonian Hussars swarmed around the wreck of the steam battery that lay at the foot of the hill, its engine smashed.  The hussars cut down the remaining crew manning the still functional guns.

From the crest of the hill, I saw that the Russian cavalry had charged into Leonardo's lancers and these were now heavily engaged.  However, his lancers outnumbered the Russians who were now being completely surrounded by the lighter horseman. 

A Russian infantry regiment was advancing to relieve them when the last of our fougasse exploded in their faces, killing many in the front ranks.   

I saw two horsemen fleeing the hill.  With a shock I realized that one was Prince Narishkin and the other the Regent himself.  Narishkin was riding desperately to get to his remaining troops.  The hussars cut him off and after a brief struggle, he was forced to surrender.

The Regent had better luck or a fleeter horse for he managed to elude pursuit.  He was panicked however, and as he rode, he screamed in fear.  He rode past the cuirassiers and they joined his flight.  The Royal infantry were soon following.  Our regulars now advanced and turned the abandoned heavy guns of the remaining Russians troops.  Leaderless, they too joined the retreat.

At that moment, from the tumulus came a sound like the Crack of Doom.

The Case of the Resurrection Men in The Natural Philosophy of Crime by Anton Smelchak

As soon as the fire from the Russian battery had been halted by our cavalry, I raised my face from the dirt.  The enemy was being broken and was soon in full retreat.  This was my first chance to look at the tower on the tumulus.  More and more lightening was striking the astrolabe at its top.  I saw that the bolts were striking across at the top of the castle on the lake.  With shock I realized that there was a female figure there, seemingly being struck by the lightening but still alive.

I knew that the invisible wall of force prevented any shot from striking the tumulus tower. However, I had the idea that the smaller standard-like posts surround the tumulus might have been the source of this wall.  I observed that one of these was perched on an outcropping.

I went to Topicz and told him to speak through his shell and tell Sufflay to turn his rockets at the outcropping.  Within moments, the rockets were streaking toward the rocks.  When they hit, the outcropping was knocked away, taking one of the posts with it.  The rockets kept firing and several now struck the tower on the hill, the invisible wall being compromised.  It was then that I realized that the rockets must have been treated alchemically for they struck the tower and an odd bluish light crackled over its mass.  With a mighty crash the entire tower collapsed.


He had sat by the tree waiting for the sign from the Fey to know whether they agreed to help him.  He had seen so many battles that the noise and confusion barely penetrated his reverie.  He noticed when the steam battery rumbled past him but that was due to its novelty.  When the rockets struck it, his curiosity had been piqued as to why the whole thing had not exploded.

He felt the power surging around him, being drawn from the air and merging with fire to form the lightening.  He knew that the Countess was using Elizabeth as the focus of these powers to open a door to the Abyss.  She would unleash the qillopth and all the living would die.

He rose up and shouted, "I have no more time!  Will you help me or not!"

Suddenly voices sounded in his head, I am here, Sandorius.  "What shall you give me if I aid you?"  Although it sounded like a multitude speaking to him, he knew it was the Queen of the Fey, Titiania to some, but known by many other names and in many other forms.

"I offer you my life, only hurry."

"You value your life highly.  Do you think it worth that much?"

"I will play no games.  Take what you want only help me save my daughter!"

"So be it.  You shall have the strength of the Nine Worthies and you shall be lifted up on the wings of faerie.  Go now and save our loved Elizabeth."

He rose up and discarded his glamour.  He would face the Countess in his true form.  He felt fire in his muscles and as he moved forward, he seemed to float over the grass.  He charged up the ramp to the bridge.  A portcullis was being lowered.  He grabbed it in his hand and ripped it from the wall.  A troop of Kozaki stood before him.  They fired their muskets at him.  He felt the bullets pluck at his coat, some struck him but he did not feel them.  He raised his sword, the ancient Dacian one he favored.  He barely saw the faces of the men he cut down. 

Soon he was beyond the gate way and rushing across the bridge. He could hear his name being shouted by Leopold's soldiers who were now swarming towards the lake shore, "Sandorius! Sandorius has returned!"

The vampire dressed as a Kozaki he had seen earlier was blocking the bridge.  He crashed into the creature and drove the sword into the thing's heart.  The cold iron of the blade had the same effect as hawthorn wood.  The vampire died.

He was almost to the gate of the manor house.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the girl Nikolina clambering up the side of the bridge, several gypsies following after her.  He heard pounding hoof beats behind him.

A vampire stood before in front of the gate, several more were charging up the steps from a landing at the foot of the castle.  Then the gate swung open with a crash.  A huge creature, over twelve feet tall stood before him, it's large unnatural muscles quivering.  A knife struck it in the eye.  Sandorius saw that it had been thrown by Tsura.  Zoltan and several of his people were behind her and now fired their muskets at the creature and its head exploded. 

"See, just in case," Zoltan shouted.

Sandorius turned to face the vampire.  Suddenly, a horse and rider flew over his head and that of his adversary, through the gateway, and onto the landing inside.

Diary of Jan Milna, unpublished

When the dome receded and I saw Elizabeth being tortured so, I screamed to my men to follow me and charged over the bridge to the castle.  The bridge was empty save for the bodies of the dead.   A dark-haired man was confronting a vampire at the end of the bridge.  Several gypsies were clinging to the bridge with spent muskets in their hands.

Then I noticed Nikolina. She was just behind the dark-haired man a pistol in her hand.  There were several more vampires coming up a set of stairs next to the bridge.  If I left her there, she would surely be killed. 

I called to her and reached out my hand.  I plucked her up and pulled her onto the horse behind me. 

"Hold on!" I shouted. Then I kicked the horse into a leap, clearing the two men fighting at the gate of the castle.  We landed at the foot of the stairs leading up to the high tower of the castle.  I called for Nikolina to keep her head down and urged the horse up the circular stairs. 

There was barely enough room for the horse.  A surprised Kozaki was on the stairs and I rode right over him before he could bring his musket to his shoulder.  Up and up we rode until we reached door. I had the horse kick it open, there was a scream as the person, or thing guarding it plunged off the tower when the door was flung open.

We were now out in the light, a narrow walkway leading up to the pillars where Elizabeth was tied. Nikolina slipped from the horse to guard the doorway. I urged the horse forward along the walkway.  I saw that the dark-haired man was there, fighting with the Countess for Elizabeth.  I drew my father's sword and leapt from my horse.

The Case of the Resurrection Men in The Natural Philosophy of Crime by Anton Smelchak

Our army was streaming towards the lake, the riflemen and cavalry already crossing the bridge.  I had just reached the hill upon which the Russian battery had stood when I saw  Milna's lancers charging the figures formed at the far end of the bridge.  Through my telescope I could see that these figures were Third Section agents, vampires! Since many of the cavalrymen had broken lances in their hands, they easily dispatched the creatures.  The remaining vampires were struck by full volleys from the regiments that now lined the shores of the lake. Then I saw Fisztic leap into a small boat with a few of the men and hastily row the short distance to the castle.  On arrival, Fisztic bolted up the stairs.

I scanned the horizon to determine if any other enemy remained on the field.  I noticed at the foot of the tumulus a large pile of very familiar looking crates.  They seemed to be vibrating with internal force.

I ordered any in range of my voice to man the guns and turn them upon the crates.  Leonardo was soon at my side and called more troops to fire as I directed.

It was none too soon.  The crates broke open and fifty of the reanimated came forth.  They shambled towards the line.  With a single order from Leonardo, everyone fired at the creatures.  Although the creatures suffered grevious wounds, they still came forward.  Volley after volley were fired at them.  At last the things were too mangled to continue any further and collapsed.  We then set about burning them. 

I shuddered to think what might have been the result if they had succeeded in creating their army of the reanimated.


The wings of faerie, he thought, and leapt up.  He went far higher than he thought possible and was able to grasp one of the supports below the tower.  Sandorius easily pulled himself up onto the platform atop the tower.  He was face-to-face with the Countess.

The Countess had a great sword in her hand and struck at him.  He caught the blow on his own sword.  The cold iron absorbed the energy of the blow but he could feel that there was magic behind her stroke.

He riposted and he knocked the Countess onto her back.  He summoned up all his power and sought to cast a elemental of fire within her. 

Nothing happened.  Sandorius fell to his knees, every bit of strength within him exhausted.

The Countess laughed as she rose, “Is that really the best you can do?  You shall die now!”

As she raised the sword, Sandorius heard a shout.  Milna was leaping across the platform.  He thrust the sword into the Countess side.  She screamed but did not lose her footing and brushed Milna aside.  He tumbled over the edge of platform but managed to grasp the edge with a single hand.  He dangled perilously over the lake far below.

Elizabeth screamed.  The Countess turned toward her.  A shot rang out and one the cords binding Elizabeth to the pillars was severed.  Sandorius saw that it had been fired by Nikolina who was running up the walkway towards the Countess. 

Immediately louder shot was fired and the other cord was severed.  Far below on the bridge Lady Effie had fired her rifle with expert skill.  Elizabeth collapsed onto the platform, narrowly avoiding a glancing blow from the Countess.

A third shot sounded and the ball struck the Countess directly in the chest, knocking her back.  Sandorius saw it had been fired by Fisztic who stood panting at doorway to the roof.

Inside his head, Sandorius heard the voice of the Faerie Queen, “You asked for my help, do not rely on you own mortal strength.”  He felt strength returning to his limbs. 

The Countess stood in front of him.  The wound from Fisztic’s bullet rapidly closing but Milna’s sword still protruded from her side.  Sandorius drew the one remaining amber device from his pocket.  He leapt up and trust the device into the wound and activated it.  At the same moment, he pushed on the hilt of Milna’s sword.  The Countess pitched off the tower and fell toward the lake below.   As she fell, she was engulfed in a great mass of amber, freezing her instantly into immobility.  The block of amber plunged into the water below.

Nikolina rushed over to help Milna back onto the platform.  Fisztic was moving toward Elizabeth with bright mist began to swirl around her.

Sandorius heard the voice of the Queen once more, “Now I shall collect my fee.  We love her as our own and will not allow you to endanger her anymore.  She will return to our realm forever.”

The Faerie Queen’s servants swirled around Elizabth, cloaking her in the bright mist.  She looked and Sandorius, knowing what was happening.   She said simply, “Goodbye, Father.”  And she was gone.

Sandorius looked at the spot where she had been and tears began to run down his cheeks.  He had the power to look upon her on occasion and with some struggle might send his anima to her but she would never be his child again.  But she was alive and now safe and, hopefully, happy …forever.

“What happened to her?” asked Milna.  “Is she dead?”

“No,” replied Sandorius, “She has merely gone home.  Some thought her frivolous and shallow,” he looked at Fisztic, “but it was merely that she was not really of this world.  When I found her as an infant in Russia, I called up the Faerie Queen to help me keep her alive.  The Queen provide me with the nectar of Briah to sustain her and soon gave us refuge in Hy Brasil.  Elizabeth was as much a daughter to the Queen as she was to me. Now Elizabeth will remain with her.”

“I am so sorry, Jan,” Nikolina said to Milna.

“No, Nikolina. I realized that I didn’t really love Elizabeth; it was just an infatuation.  I love the woman who has stood by my side thought so many trials and who saved me so many times.  You, Nikolina.  I love you.”

As the young couple embraced, Sandorius and Fisztic moved down the stairs.  “Damn it,” Fisztic said, “I haven’t lost a daughter, I’ve gained that smug bastard of a cavalryman!”

A short time later, the entire army lined the shores of the lake, while a Bobo Drko and his monks intoned the High Rite of Exorcism for the Countess.  At its conclusion, a great waterspout shot from the lake and a horrifying scream echoed over the woods.

Sandorius had been standing back from the crowd.  He realized that the Dark Visitor was next to him.

“So is your business done… for now?”

“Here, for now,” the Visitor agreed, “but, as you know, there shall be work for me aplenty.  I am always busy.” 

“So you were not here for me?”

“No, I was here for the Countess.”

“Why could I see you then?”

“As before, paying a social call on an old friend.”

“Why did you not tell me that?”

“Why now, that would have spoiled the game!”

The Visitor turned to leave, “I must go now. I mustn't keep the Countess waiting.  She has a very interesting time ahead of her.  Goodbye… for now…”


Excerpt from A Man of Many Talents, The Memoirs of Ratko Fisztics

The Battle of Lake Czud was only the beginning of the War of the Three Lions, a three-sided civil war that raged for the next two years.  King Leon and Queen Carlotta retreated to Tarlinsk in the northwest of the country where their Monarchist faction would be supported by the Austrians.  Prince Leobald fell back into the Trans-Ister steppes where, supported by the Russians, he attempted to recoup his losses by allying with the Kozaki and Kalmuki tribes.  Prince Leopold's Constitutionalists would hold onto central part of the nations supported by the English and the French.  The fighting would not end until Leobald's final defeat and death in October 1834.  An agreement was then struck by which the childless King Leon would recognize one of Leopold’s sons as his heir.  Leopold would voluntarily exile himself once more.  Queen Carlotta's agreement was gained by granting her the principality of Gruastark as an autonomous vassal state of the Austrian Empire.

Lord James Dalhousie remains alive, to the extent that such a word can be applied to his condition.  It was determined that removal of his brain would have enabled the creatures to leave the sewers to everyone’s harm. Also religious authorities felt that removal of the brain from the device would have amounted to murder. Therefore his brain was kept in place and functions in the intended capacity. 

Lord Dalhousie’s debts were paid in full by the Royal Treasury of Ruritania.  A large annual stipend was also established to pay for his supply of whiskey.  Title in the estate at Cranliarch was transfer to Miss Elspeth Dalhousie, spinster.

Shortly after the Battle of Lake Czud, the Diet formed a special joint Commission to determine a more permanent solution to the problem. The Commission has yet to issue a recommendation thirty one years later. 

Due to Lord Dalhousie’s continuing existence and the Church’s inability to find suitable grounds for an annulment acceptable under Ruritanian church law, Count Leonardo was unable to marry Lady Effie.

On King Leon’s death on Christmas Day, 1834, Count Leonardo should have been crowned King.  However, upon learning he would have been forced to put aside Lady Effie, he refused the crown, saying he could not carry out the duties of King “without the hewp and suppowt of the woman I wove.”  His younger half-brother, Radomir, became King Vladislav VI Radomir.

Count Leonardo and Lady Effie followed Prince Leopold on his peripatetic fight for liberty.  Leopold died in 1848 serving with Garibaldi. The Count and his lady continued in the Prince's tradition.  As I write this, Leonardo and Lady Effie are in America, engaged in the fight to end slavery there.

Franz Dippel went to the gallows for his crimes on January 10, 1833.  Geli von Elphberg left Ruritania shortly after the end of the war.  He was the cause of a number of troubles for a large number of people for many of the following years.

Anton Smelchak reformed the National Police and made them the model for the rest of Europe in dedication and incorruptibility.  He went on to become the Prosecutor General where he achieved history in 1851 by convicting several members of the Post Office and living to tell about it.  His efforts at reform were so successful that I (and Big Saucy) retired from criminal life in 1839… for the most part.

Tsura along with Zoltan and his gypsies left Ruritania, having been given a 48 hour head start for their services.  Their whereabouts are currently unknown.

Even after the events of 1832, the College of Thaumaturgy has never revived.  It still operates with a few faculty members and students, more as a curiosity than anything else.  Currently fulfilling the thankless role of Dean is Gedrias Topicz.

The Amazing Sufflay may be seen at Theatr Komediko every Tuesday and Thursday nights and twice on Saturdays.  There are usually plenty of seats available.

The Holy Greco-Roman Catholic Church of Ruritania celebrates September 2 as the Feast of Saint Drko the Rugged.

Jan Milna became the youngest (and poorest) General in Ruritanian history.  Refusing material rewards for his service, he has been satisfied with the symbolic honors the nation has given him.  His beloved wife Nikolina has become known as the Angel of the Svenkta Methodi for her innumerable charitable works, accomplished with her husbands meager army pay.  All of their several sons have entered service of the nation.

Sandorius resigned as Dean of the School of Thaumaturgy immediately after the Battle of Lake Czud.  He served Leopold for the remainder of the war but then left Ruritania at its end.  He never spoke of Elizabeth … or the Countess again.  His travels are the stuff of legends.

As for me, I decided I wasn't interested in army life again; I had grown too used to my independence.  At the end of the campaign of 1832, I returned to the College.  However without Sandorius there, I was thoroughly bored. 

One day about a week after my return, I was in my office when I received a visitor.

It was Bogacz, Smelchak's crazy old driver.  I was surprised because I don't think we had ever exchanged more than half a dozen words to each other.  He came in an offered me a sugar biscuit out of a large sack he carried.

"I came to offer my congratulations," he said, as he pulled flask out of his pocket and offered me a sip of brfnish.  "Yes, you did very well.  Far better than anyone had a right to expect."

"Thank you, Bogacz but is that all you stopped by to say?"

"Actually, no.  You did so well, we were wondering if you wanted to come work for us?"

"No thank you, I am done working with the police.

"Oh, I don't work for the police."


"I was wondering how you would feel about being a mail inspector?"