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HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)

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HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by runsforcelery   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:17 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2425
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

I know some of you guys have been . . . concerned over my silence for the last few weeks. And I also know that I’ve missed a couple of snippet deadlines in that time period. I apologize for that, and I appreciate the queries and the hopes that nothing serious was going on.

Actually, nothing truly serious was going on, but but there was a whole bunch of fairly serious stuff rattling around. Sharon was still coping with the residue of that nasty bacterial cold she came down with, I managed to catch it from her, the kids’ school schedule — especially their sports schedule — was enough to drive anyone crazy (especially with Sharon unable to drive because of the prescription cold medications she was taking), the bad weather’s snow and ice didn’t help, the furnace stopped working at midnight when the outside temperature was about 11°, I am hugely behind on several projects which have been monopolizing what time I had to spare from Pesthouse Casa del Weber :roll: and other Real Life issues, and our Internet connectivity was not good. In fact, it really, really sucked wind, which is why we are changing ISPs next week. In fact, the technician is supposed to be here approximately 44 hours from now, but who’s counting?

Anyway, please rest assured that I haven’t shuffled off this mortal coil and have no intention of doing so anytime soon. And because I have been incommunicado this long, I am giving you a somewhat longer snippet than usual.

I can’t promise that I will be maintaining a regular schedule with snippets from here on, because of those other projects I mentioned, but I will try to be least a little more punctual than this last round.

Take care, everybody.
__________________________________________________

The explosions weren’t simultaneous. That would have been expecting the impossible. But there were over a dozen of them, spread over a window of less than three minutes, which was very respectable timing . . . and a vast relief for all concerned. Especially for the engineers who’d placed the charges. They’d felt a certain trepidation at the knowledge that the fuses inside those charges had been lit even before the ominous, pitch-sealed packages were handed to the men responsible for putting them where they belonged before they blew the hell up.

Ehdwyrd Howsmyn and his minions had provided the engineers with a demolition fuse — a variant on the improved metallic time fuses he’d introduced for smoothbore artillery shells the year before — for those moments when it wasn’t expedient to simply light a length of quick match and run for cover. Essentially, it was a solid, disk-shaped bronze casting whose upper surface bore a spiraling groove or channel packed with a very slow-burning compound that crept along the channel at a rate of only a foot an hour. It was sealed with a special varnish, then covered with a protective tin lid marked in increments, each equal to two minute’s burning time, which followed the line of the channel. When it was time to emplace the charge, an awl was punched through the tin at the appropriate time — up to a maximum of two hours — and flame was applied.

In theory, it provided a reasonably accurate — and reasonably safe — timing device. The only problem was that none of the engineers in question had ever before actually worked with the things, and no one could have blamed them for approaching their task a bit gingerly. Now they stood on the river bank, Sergeant Edwyrds still wrapped in a thick cocoon of blankets and leaning on Platoon Sergeant Tyllytsyn, and cheered each white-and-brown, mud-stained column of water as it erupted in the predawn gloom.

* * * * * * * * * *

“I do believe that’s our signal, Crahmynd,” Halcom Bahrns said, leaning in through the conning tower door as the final explosion roared. “I think we can proceed as planned, assuming that’s convenient.”

“Aye, Sir!” The flash of a white-toothed smile was just visible in Petty Officer Crahmynd Fyrgyrsyn luxuriant brown beard.

“Ahead half please,” Bahrns continued, glancing at the telegraphsman as Fyrgyrsyn turned the wheel, bringing Delthak around in a slow circle to point upstream.

“Ahead half, aye, Sir!”

The telegraphsman swung his polished brass handles and the ironclad quivered as her twin screws turned faster.

Bahrns stepped back onto the bridge wing while she gathered speed and folded his arms atop the bridge wing rail as white water began creaming back from her blunt bow. He could see quite a bit better in the slowly strengthening light — well enough to pick up landmarks on either bank above the mist — and he grunted in satisfaction as he realized Delthak was almost exactly on course. Not that accurate navigation would help a lot if Admiral Hywyt had gotten his calculations wrong. It was entirely possible he was about to damage his vessel severely, perhaps even sink her, although that was unlikely. Even if he did, the river was shallow enough that refloating her should be fairly simple, and it was far more likely those closely spaced explosions had shattered the sunken river barges as planned. In fact, he could already see broken sections of planking spinning downstream to meet him. Given that Delthak displaced twelve hundred tons and would be moving at approximately six knots when she reached the barrier, she should shoulder her way through whatever remained without too much trouble. The biggest risk, actually, was that one of her propeller blades might hit something big enough to damage it, and repairing that would be far more difficult than merely floating her once more. If she cleared the barrier, on the other hand, the Army of the Seridahn would suddenly find itself in what Emperor Cayleb liked to call “a world of hurt.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Ahrnahld Bryahnsyn climbed back to his feet as the deluge of water, mud, shattered pieces of river barge, and dead fish finished thudding down around him. He didn’t remember flinging himself facedown, although it had certainly been the right thing to do. Lieutenant Sandkaran hadn’t, and he lay unconscious, bleeding heavily from a scalp laceration.

Bryahnsyn felt a distant pity for his fellow lieutenant, but it was buried under the sheer shock of that rolling series of explosions. At least he knew now what Kaillyt must have seen the night before, although Shan-wei only knew how the heretics had managed to get boats or swimmers across that icy expanse of riverwater.

He was still in the process of working out why they’d managed it when a fresh thunder — this one the explosion of hundreds of mortar bombs and angle-gun shells — crunched down on the Army of the Seridahn’s defenses like the heel of Chihiro’s war boot. He crouched, wheeling towards the sound of the guns, then jerked back towards the river as something screamed impossibly.

A blazing limb of the sun reached above the horizon, touching the low-lying river mist —swirling in torment from the force of the explosions — with rose and gold. That was all he saw for a moment, but then something moved above the mist, like an island rolling arrogantly upriver, contemptuous of the current which tried to stay its progress.

The ironclad surged towards the cleared gap, huge and black, impossibly long guns protruding from its sides and across the front of its broad casemate, screaming its fury in a thick, white plume of whistle steam. A man in a watch coat stood on one bridge wing, peering upstream through one of the heretics’ double-barreled spyglasses, and smoke streamed from its tall funnels. A growing mustache of white wrapped itself around the ironclad’s stem, and as he watched, its bow smashed a splintered length of wreckage aside.

It went charging past, and he and his men clapped their hands over their ears as the dreadful shriek of the whistle crashed over them.

* * * * * * * * * *

Bugles sounded high and urgent, drums thundered, and Major Failyx Sylvstyr burst out of his hut in his shirtsleeves, hatless, napkin still clutched in one hand. His head whipped around to the southwest, where the bellow of enemy artillery laid a fiery surf of explosions, shrapnel, and shell fragments across the Army of the Seridahn’s deeply entrenched front, and his jaw clenched.

That bombardment was entirely too ferocious to be anything other than the prelude to a serious attack, and he wondered how well the dugouts and entrenchments were standing up to it. They were considerably stronger than the ones which had protected Cheryk, but were they strong enough? The heretics’ rifled guns — of which, thankfully, they seemed to have relatively few — had more penetrating power and heavier bursting charges than anything his own twelve-pounders could produce. The engineers had done their best to dig deep enough and pile dirt and sandbags high enough to give the infantry a decent chance of surviving, but only time would tell whether or not they’d succeeded.

As one of the Army of the Seridahn’s senior artillery commanders, Sylvstyr had been briefed on the new “Fultyn Rifles” which were supposed to become available “any day now.” He’d believe they were coming when he actually saw one, but he hoped desperately that they really existed and might even perform as promised. He was proud of his gunners, of their efficiency and determination, yet that pride only made him even more bitterly aware of how outclassed their weapons were. And if the stories about Guarnak were true, nothing the Royal Dohlaran Artillery currently had could hope to stop the heretic ironclad if it got loose on the upper river. That was a point of significant importance to Failyx Sylvstyr, because it was his regiment that Sir Fahstyr Rychtyr had dug in atop the river bluff to keep just that from happening.

Sylvstyr didn’t know how he’d drawn the short straw, but he’d done the only thing he could: saluted and then emplaced his guns behind the thickest earthen parapets he could throw up. In addition, he’d built four foot-thick walls of sandbags between guns, putting each of them in its own protected bay, and roofed the entire position with heavy logs and four more feet of earth. Building those works in the midst of a cold, rainy South March winter had been no easy task, but at least —

Something shrieked, shrill enough to be heard even through the heretic guns, the drums, and the bugles. Failyx Sylvstyr had never heard anything like it in his life, yet he knew instantly what it had to be.

He turned back to the river, and his mouth was a thin, bloodless line as the ugly black carapace of the heretic ironclad surged through the golden glow of river mist, trailing twin banners of smoke.

“Stand to! Stand to!

He heard other voices repeat the order. Then more bugles were sounding, calling his regiment to war, and he flung himself into the heavily sandbagged battery command post with a silent prayer to Langhorne and Chihiro.

* * * * * * * * * *

“There’s the battery, Sir. ’Bout six points on the larboard bow.”

Captain Bahrns swung his double-glass to the indicated bearing and grunted.

“Got it. Good eyes.”

“Thank’ee, Sir!”

The lookout’s pleasure at the compliment was obvious, but most of Bahrns’ attention was focused on the battery itself. If their spy reports were as accurate as usual, it was likely to prove a tough slabnut to crack. On the other hand, his breechloaders had been designed to crack nuts just like it.

“Clear the bridge!” he commanded, still peering at the raw earthen face of the enormous battery. It was high enough its guns might just be able to score on the thinner armor of the decks and casemate roof, but the angle would be shallow if they did. “Inform Master Blahdysnberg that we’ll be needing his gunners soon,” he continued. “And bring her a point to starboard, if you please!”

Acknowledgments came back, and he felt the lookouts moving past him through the conning tower door. He stood where he was for a moment longer as Delthak swung slightly away, presenting her broadside more fully to the battery. Then it was his turn, and he stepped over the raised coaming and swung the armored door shut. One of the lookouts dogged the latches, and he nodded his thanks and stepped across to the forward vision slit on the larboard side.

The first furious gouts of gunsmoke blossomed from the heavily dug-in field guns, and he raised an eyebrow in ungrudging respect. They were quick off the mark, those gunners, and Delthak’s armor rang like a hammered anvil as twelve-pounder round shot ricocheted from her casing.

“Slow to one quarter,” he said. There was no point dodging about, and the lower speed would improve his own gunners’ accuracy.

“One quarter speed, aye, Sir!” the telegraphsman sang out, and Bahrns

stepped to the voice tube, uncapped it, and blew down it to sound the whistle at the other end.

“First Lieutenant!” Pawal Blahdysnberg’s voice acknowledged.

“I believe it’s time you earned your princely salary, Master Blahdysnberg. You may open fire when ready.”

“Aye, aye, Sir!”

Bahrns let the voice pipe cover snap shut and stepped back to the vision slit just as HMS Delthak’s six-inch rifles spoke in anger for the very first time.

* * * * * * * * * *

Major Sylvstyr felt a fresh, fierce surge of pride. Even surprised by the ironclad’s appearance, his gunners had gotten off their first salvo before the heretics could fire. The waterspouts clustered around the ironclad were proof they’d taken time to aim, as well, and at least nine or ten had scored direct hits.

Which appeared to have been just as effective as the hits Bishop Militant Bahrnabai’s gunners had registered at Guarnak.

He caught his lower lip between his teeth, peering out the observation slit through his spyglass, and his heart sank like a stone as he got his first really good look at his opponent.

Whatever those run-out guns were, they weren’t the thirty-pounders the ironclad had used against Guarnak. Those barrels were longer than any gun he’d ever heard of, which suggested they were even more powerful than he’d feared, but how in Shan-wei’s name did something that long run back in to reload? He couldn’t imagine how it might be done, but however they did, the rate of fire must be incredibly slow. For that matter, how did they swab out and extinguish the sparks from the last round before loading the charge for the next into the muzzle? And —

The ironclad fired.

The muzzle flash was incredible, a bubble of fire raging out above the river’s surface, burning away the mist, laying a ripple pattern of shockwaves across the water. The volcanic eruption of smoke was enormous, and it was brown — dark, dense, thick brown smoke!

That thought had just begun to register when six six-inch shells struck their targets almost simultaneously, and Sylvstyr staggered to their earthquake arrival.

Sweet Langhorne! How the hell much powder are those things filled with?!

The shells drove deep before they exploded, and even black powder could blow an enormous crater when there were eleven and a half pounds of it in each shell. At six thousand yards, Delthak’s armor piercing shells would have penetrated four inches of solid, face hardened steel armor. She wasn’t firing armor piercing . . . but the range was less than two hundred yards, and she certainly wasn’t firing at face hardened armor.

One of her six shells drilled into the face of the bluff below below the battery and ripped its hole harmlessly into the inoffensive dirt and clay. But the other five struck the parapet face, and Failyx Sylvstyr discovered that he hadn’t made it thick enough, after all.

* * * * * * * * * *

Shell bursts erupted along the shore, and Bahrns showed his teeth as the earthwork between two of the gun embrasures blew heavenward in a vortex of fire, smoke, and dirt. The embrasure to the right of the point of impact disintegrated, and he thought he could see the muzzle of that field gun buried in the spill of earth and ruptured sandbags. He wasn’t sure about the second gun; it might have survived, if its crew was unreasonably lucky. But there was no question about one of Delthak’s other shells. It landed almost directly under a third twelve-pounder’s barrel and the explosion ripped open its emplacement and threw the shattered gun high into the air.

Down on the gundeck, the big rifles recoiled, then slid smoothly back into battery under the urging of the hydropneumatic recoil system. Gunners turned the heavy breech blocks and swung them open, and the waiting swabs hissed into the breeches to extinguish any lingering embers, followed by fresh sixty-eight-pound shells and twenty-pound bags of powder.

Twenty seconds later, they fired again.

* * * * * * * * * *

Not possible. That’s not possible, damn it!

Failyx Sylvstyr stared in disbelief. Those preposterously long guns hadn’t run back in at all! They’d merely surged backward several feet, then slid right back into firing position. And then, impossibly quickly, they did fire again. His twelve-pounders’ maximum rate of fire was no more than four rounds per minute — one every fifteen seconds — even with a superbly trained crew. There was no way guns with the massive destructive power the heretics’ had revealed could fire equally quickly! It simply couldn’t be done!

But the heretics were doing it. Somehow, they must be loading the accursed things from the breech end, like their damned infantry’s rifles!

Another hurricane of devastation ripped through his regiment’s position, rending and shredding, setting off ready charges in a cascade of secondary explosions, and Major Sylvstyr’s stomach was a frozen iron ball as he realized just how quickly that demon-spawned ironclad was going to tear his command apart.

And they weren’t even scratching its paint.

Bile rose in his throat. His men were dying about him, and they were dying for nothing. Surely, whatever God demanded of them it wasn’t to sacrifice their lives uselessly when their weapons couldn’t even hope to damage the enemies who were killing them!

Get them out!” he roared, staggering out of his command post and down the length of the earthwork, feeling his way through the smoke, the stench of explosions, and shattered human bodies. “Get the men out of here, damn it!

He collided with Captain Hylmyn, one of his battery commanders, in the smoke and chaos and grabbed him by both shoulders.

“Get your men out, Henrai!” he shouted, his voice frail in the tumult and the madness while he shook Hylmyn. “Get them out — and pass the word! We can’t fight that with twelve-pounders!”

“But . . . but, Sir —!”

“Don’t argue, damn you!” Sylvstyr snarled. “Get them out — now!

Fresh thunderbolts unleashed new explosions and the screams of torn and broken men tore at their ears. Hylmyn stared at him for a single heartbeat longer, then jerked a choppy nod and spun away, shouting orders of his own.

Sylvstyr left him to it, fighting his way down the length of the earthwork through the confusion and the dying, bellowing the order to retreat again and again. Some of his men heard him and refused to obey. Others would never hear anything again, but most of his gunners — those who were still alive, anyway — heard and obeyed.

The major felt the shame of running away. He knew — he knew — it was the right order to give, but still he felt the shame. And he knew his men would, as well. He didn’t know what the inquisitors might say about this day’s work, but General Rychtyr would understand. He’d know there’d been no choice but to —

Another six-inch shell stabbed into the ruins of Failyx Sylvstyr’s regiment. This one found a magazine, and the major felt himself flying through the air. Then he felt a shattering impact . . . and nothing else at all.

* * * * * * * * * *

“Secure the guns, Master Blahdysnberg,” Halcom Bahrns said, and his voice was flat, his eyes dark. “Tell the crews I said well done.”

“Aye, aye, Sir!” Pawal Blahdysnberg’s jubilant voice came back up the voice pipe. “Thank you!”

“You’re welcome,” Bahrns replied. “You deserve it.”

He closed the voice pipe, undogged the conning tower door, and stepped back out onto the bridge wing. The long, brown fog bank of Delthak’s gunsmoke rolled away on the chill, strengthening breeze. More smoke rose in a thick, choking plume above the plowed wreckage which had once been a battery of twenty-four twelve-pounders. There might be as many as five intact guns buried in those ruins, he thought grimly. There couldn’t be more of them.

I wonder how Pawal will feel about those compliments of mine when he has time to come above decks and really see what we’ve done? I know Baron Green Valley’s right. You don’t win a war by dying for your cause; you win it by making the other poor damned bastard die for his. And Langhorne knows the perfect battle from any CO’s viewpoint is one in which none of his people die. But this —! It was like . . . like clubbing baby chicks. They couldn’t possibly hurt us, and we . . . .

He stared at his ship’s handiwork, listening as the thunder of the army’s artillery rolled and bellowed, and then he drew a deep breath and turned back to the conning tower.

“Come a quarter point to larboard and increase to half ahead,” he said quietly.

“Quarter point to larboard and half ahead, aye, Sir!” PO Fyrgyrsyn responded, and if there was any doubt in his voice, Bahrns couldn’t hear it. At the moment, that mattered. It mattered a lot, because Fyrgyrsyn mattered.

Captain Halcom Bahrns squared his shoulders and raised his double-glass again as he looked for the tow road along the top of the western riverbank. The one he was supposed to take under fire to deny it to the enemy and cover the landing of the Marine battalion Earl Hanth was sending upriver in Delthak’s wake. It was unlikely they’d be able to cut off Rychtyr’s retreat entirely. The Dohlaran general had been too smart to dig in on the eastern side of the river. He’d probably believed — hoped, at least — that his barricade of river barges would protect his rear, but it was obvious he hadn’t been prepared to risk his army’s existence on that belief. And their spies reported another barricade across the river five miles farther north. However willing the engineers might be, they wouldn’t be able to blow a gap through that obstacle before most of the fleeing Dohlarans were already past it on their way to Evyrtyn. So, no, they weren’t going to keep Rychtyr from falling back up the line of the Seridahn, but they could damned well make it a costly process.

And that, he reminded himself, glancing back at the shattered defensive battery, was what fighting a war was all about, wasn’t it?







.VI.
Fifty Miles East of Malys,
The South March Lands,
Republic of Siddarmark.


“We’re down eighteen more draft horses, Sir,” Colonel Ahlfryd Makyntyr said wearily. “And another twelve-pounder broke an axle this afternoon, too. I think I can spread the remaining horses to keep the other pieces moving — for a while, at least — but I’ve lost two more dragons, as well.”

Sir Rainos Ahlverez’ expression was grim as he listened to his senior artillerist’s report. Makyntyr wasn’t telling him anything he hadn’t expected. Or anything he hadn’t already heard entirely too many times during the nightmare retreat from the Kyplyngyr Forest debacle. The general commanding what was left of an army which had once counted almost a quarter million men shouldn’t have been worrying his head over the loss of a single twelve-pounder, but he no longer had almost a quarter million men. By the best estimate available to him, he was down to under forty thousand, including over ten thousand Desnairians.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by Dilandu   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:37 am

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2512
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

Thanks a lot! Hope that "fairly serious stuff" would be soon resolved for good.

P.S. Still think that turret design is much better for river warfare.
------------------------------

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by CSB   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:39 am

CSB
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:17 am

Thank you again for posting these snippets; the sneak peek is greatly appreciated by all of us here on the forums.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family--may you all be restored to health and proper internet access!
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by Dilandu   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:44 am

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2512
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

But the heretics were doing it. Somehow, they must be loading the accursed things from the breech end, like their damned infantry’s rifles!


Hm. Technically, the early bombards were breechloaders; so, the concept of breech-loading guns would not be something really surprizing. The main problems was the durability and reliability; up until the middle XIX century, the avaliable metal and technology simply was unable to build reliable breechloading gun of great calibre. But the concept was very well-known, so the surprise seems a bit too... surprising.
------------------------------

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by McGuiness   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:56 am

McGuiness
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1203
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:35 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA

Thanks for the long snippet RFC, and we're all glad that nobody in your household seems about to shuffle off this mortal coil. Our selfish natures are of course wishing you'd hire a full-time handyman/cook/nanny/chauffeur/IT specialist/doctor to solve all those nagging problems, but that's a rather tough resume to fill! :lol:

So now we know how the underwater charges were detonated, and we've seen the six inch rifled breech loaders in action. They did Howsmyn proud, although Captain Bahrns seems rightly nauseated by the ease of inflicting that much carnage. Still, let the other bastard die for his country whenever possible...

Too bad the divers are going to have to place explosives all over again five miles upriver. I hope Evrytyn comes into artillery range soon... :twisted:

I'm fairly surprised Ahlverez has kept it together this well, considering how fast his army is running, the poor condition of his draft animals, and how famished his men must be by now. I thought he'd have lost several thousand men during his retreat due to sickness, injury, and exhaustion. Competent enemy commanders are so annoying! :x

If only Hanth knew about Ahlverez and where he is... hmm, how could someone possibly manage to let him know? ;)

"Seijin Ahbraim Zhevons, report for duty!"

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by Eagleeye   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:30 am

Eagleeye
Captain of the List

Posts: 731
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:41 am
Location: Halle/Saale, Germany

Thank you for this snippet, David - and once more, all the best for you and your family.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by Randomiser   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:21 am

Randomiser
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1440
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:41 pm
Location: Scotland

Great Snippet!

So, exactly where on the map is Malice?

Oh, that's right, RFC hasn't given us that map yet. :twisted:
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:24 am

DrakBibliophile
Admiral

Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:54 pm
Location: East Central Illinois

Thank you for the Snippet and hope everything goes better for the Weber household. :)
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
*
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by Keith_w   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:19 am

Keith_w
Commodore

Posts: 964
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:10 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Thank you very much for the Snippet RFC. Welcome back. I am sure that we are all very glad to here that things are getting back to what passes for normal in Casa Weber.
--
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #19 (I think)
Post by Louis R   » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:52 am

Louis R
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1208
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:25 pm

Of _course_ you gave us an extra-long snippet. You wouldn't have been able to include those last two paragraphs if you didn't ;)

Thanks anyway!


runsforcelery wrote:I know some of you guys have been . . . concerned over my silence for the last few weeks. And I also know that I’ve missed a couple of snippet deadlines in that time period. I apologize for that, and I appreciate the queries and the hopes that nothing serious was going on.

Actually, nothing truly serious was going on, but but there was a whole bunch of fairly serious stuff rattling around. Sharon was still coping with the residue of that nasty bacterial cold she came down with, I managed to catch it from her, the kids’ school schedule — especially their sports schedule — was enough to drive anyone crazy (especially with Sharon unable to drive because of the prescription cold medications she was taking), the bad weather’s snow and ice didn’t help, the furnace stopped working at midnight when the outside temperature was about 11°, I am hugely behind on several projects which have been monopolizing what time I had to spare from Pesthouse Casa del Weber :roll: and other Real Life issues, and our Internet connectivity was not good. In fact, it really, really sucked wind, which is why we are changing ISPs next week. In fact, the technician is supposed to be here approximately 44 hours from now, but who’s counting?

Anyway, please rest assured that I haven’t shuffled off this mortal coil and have no intention of doing so anytime soon. And because I have been incommunicado this long, I am giving you a somewhat longer snippet than usual.

I can’t promise that I will be maintaining a regular schedule with snippets from here on, because of those other projects I mentioned, but I will try to be least a little more punctual than this last round.

Take care, everybody.
__________________________________________________

< snip >

.VI.
Fifty Miles East of Malys,
The South March Lands,
Republic of Siddarmark.


“We’re down eighteen more draft horses, Sir,” Colonel Ahlfryd Makyntyr said wearily. “And another twelve-pounder broke an axle this afternoon, too. I think I can spread the remaining horses to keep the other pieces moving — for a while, at least — but I’ve lost two more dragons, as well.”

Sir Rainos Ahlverez’ expression was grim as he listened to his senior artillerist’s report. Makyntyr wasn’t telling him anything he hadn’t expected. Or anything he hadn’t already heard entirely too many times during the nightmare retreat from the Kyplyngyr Forest debacle. The general commanding what was left of an army which had once counted almost a quarter million men shouldn’t have been worrying his head over the loss of a single twelve-pounder, but he no longer had almost a quarter million men. By the best estimate available to him, he was down to under forty thousand, including over ten thousand Desnairians.
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