28mm Pirates - 6

'Le Grenouille Frenetique'

San Serif - In the inner court of his palace Governor Don Lardo celebrates

While the hidalgoes of Nuevo Aranjuez show respect Don Lardo poses - in celebration of his extermination of the pirate Arbuthnot he is having his portrait painted by none other than the great Peter-Paul Fatbirds .

Meanwhile there is entertainment - two young bucks of the Muscavado Hussars have found themselves courting the same... lady. Now only blood will settle it.

Given their  dashing reputations both Senor Mortadella and Father Fontanella are standing by

Up on the minstrels' gallery J.S.Clutterbuck and his Rococco Rocksters are on the fiddle as usual.... 

While the Governor's lady, Donna Quibab, too delicate to be present at such romantic butchery, consoles herself with champagne and a few side bets with her ladies-in-waiting. It's tough at the top!

Lost in the roar of the crowd a scarlet coach clatters into the yard - from its depths emerges Cardinal Numero, with a sinister tail behind him - the combatants step apart, the crowd draws back in awe, because - 'Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition!' 

They are here to congratulate Don Lardo - and urge him on to still greater deeds - starting with the 'heretic rabble' that infest RocheMarie 

Founded by Henry of Navarre, Rochemarie lacks the tobacco or sugar that would justify a garrison and so has become a forgotten backwater - a perfect refuge for those who face persecution from Richelieu and Mazarin at home.

A community of honest small holders and traders 

But a refuge also for the likes of Gaspard Le Phew (a fondness for garlic they say), better known as 'Le Grenouille Frenetique' - the Frantic Frog.

A buccaneer in the old style, 'Le Grenouille' favours a fleet of small raiders over the larger vessels used by his English cameradoes.

 

Meanwhile the swordsmen have taken the chance to shed their pelisse and get down to some serious discussion

With the result that one is shortly in the hands of Senor Mortadella, while the other is carried off in triumph

His entertainment ruined, Don Lardo stomps off to begin planning his new atrocity

That same afternoon the Hidalgo Montoya pays his usual visit to Ms Sadie's Home for Indigent Seamstresses

With the result that Ms Sadie shortly finds an urgent need to be elsewhere

There is entertainment too in the courtyard of the Angry Duck. The crew of the Saucy Gladys Trusspot are drowning their sorrows over camaradoes lost at Loom O'Shean

While on the gallery above Ms Sadie holds grim conference with her sister, Ethel Puttle - better known as the  'Baracudda', while Calico Jack tries to keep control of  Esmerelda - sole survivor of Don Lardo's butchery

Some days later the San Cristobal begins another secret disembarkation

The Regimento Irlanda move off through the palm fringe toward the settlement

As the San Cristobal rounds the island to close the harbour a sail is spotted. Don Lardo snarls in pure delight - it is 'The Saucy Gladys Trusspot'; the brig of his arch-enemy, who seems completely unaware of the danger astern. 

As the pirate comes into range she wakes to her danger at last and begins to make sail. Up on the poop her blue coated captain turns - it is indeed The Baracudda herself!

At the sight of her Don Lardo abandons all thought of Rochemarie - this is personal, this is revenge!

Meanwhile, Major Guzman, promoted for his thoroughness at Loom O'Shean, arrives in the plaza of RocheMarie. Surprise is complete, it is Sunday morning, the heretics are all at their prayers, the sound of the women singing in the chapel confirms it. He forms his men to greet them when they emerge.

As the hymns fade to silence Guzman catches the faintest whiff of...  garlic. Some sixth sense draws his gaze upward...

Discipline crumbles as the troops realise their situation.

But the squeal of wooden trunnions behind them confirms there is now no escape. Grinning confirmation Happy Dan Pugh, 'The Scourge of Aberystwyth' lowers his cutlass.

The distant cannon reaches The Baracudda too. At her nod bosun Elzevear Moon, draws cutlass and hacks away the sea drogue. Like a girl to her lover's arms the Saucy Gladys lifts her white skirts and flies.

Some try to fight, others to surrender, some simply despair.

At the insistence of Father Benoit there are survivors - spared by the heaped bodies of their comrades. They are given a skiff to carry them out to the San Cristobal, sent on their way with the taunts of pirates and citizens alike ringing in their ears.

In San Serif Governor Don Lardo succumbs yet again to his gout. While Donna Quibab explains to the Inquisitors the damage they have done.

 

 

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