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Bordurians Sighted!

While Syldavians sleep deeply after their Christmas feast, dreaming of their just-eaten roast goose and sugarplums, a patrol of Bordurian cavalry probes Syldavia's mountainous eastern frontier.  These men and their horses are hard indeed, inured to the privation of the trail and to the snow. They ride through the frontier town of Vukaselo, making off with horses, lambs and plum brandy with barely a noise, and disappear into the mountains.   Later, an aged veteran swears that the men were Wallachian light cavalry, feared servants of the Bordurians.   What does this forebode?

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These are unfinished figures which I have been painting in quiet moments here and there during the holidays.  They are 18mm Eureka SYW cossacks, painted to resemble a few illustrations I have of 17th and 18th century Wallachian boyar cavalry, sometime allies/subjects of the Ottomans.   They will, I hope, be finished shortly and then can march to join the rest of my Bordurian force.   The unfortunate villag…

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you from the King of Syldavia and all of his subjects!  Best wishes to you and yours for a happy and productive New Year as well!   Please ignore the "humbugs" coming from the Despot of Borduria!

Jim

Holiday Properties 1

We are now well embarked on the holidays over here in the Kingdom of Syldavia. I am back in my hometown visiting my family with my own young little family with me, and I am anticipating a fine stretch of days with nothing more important to do than read, eat very well, enjoy family time, visit old friends and indulge in a few other pleasures like pints of stout, skiing, skating on the lake and soaking in the hot springs. Busy busy busy! Clearly it is good to be home.

The goal of this post is to do a do a little tour of a recent terrain project. I have been on a bit of a terrain binge in recent weeks, including the purchase and painting of some commercial models from JR Miniatures 15mm European range, the conversion of one of these models and the construction of a couple of scratch-built buildings. All of this effort comes from a decision to improve my townscapes and rural landscapes for my Syldavia/SYW project. The impulse for this upgrade comes from a trip to Paris I made on business…

Jiri receives an unexpected omen on the road to Douma

The morning following his encounter with the returning Syldavian exiles, Duke Jiri set his newly-expanded army marching back toward Douma.  Jiri rode at the head of the column where he chatted with Count Josip Marklin and a few of the other exile leaders who he had invited to join him.  East of Starisveta, Jiri’s route back to Douma brought them through a range of low but rough and rocky hills.  There, the ancient Roman-built road wound along a steep-sided ravine cut by a fast and shallow stream.  Rounding a bend, Jiri’s army approached a gorge created by an imposing cliff on opposite side of the ravine.  Less than a hundred yards down the road, at the far end of the cliff, was a small bridge.  Merely a few yards away, however, was an old woman in ragged clothing at the side of the road above the stream.  Taken by surprise, she turned quickly to look warily at Jiri and his men and then stood aside to give them space to pass.  She had been watching a flock of goats on the opposite side…

The Die is Cast!

Gregor Mihailovic, Velimir Milutin and Duke Jiri rode back to the rebel’s line with Jiri’s standard-bearder and his bodyguard trailing behind, both feeling increasingly agitated.  They headed toward the leaders of the rebel side, a ring of over a dozen two dozen men in all, all of whom had their attention fixed on Jiri.  Velimir, Duke Jiri and his two men reigned up about a fifty yards from the line, Jiri let his horse prance while Gregor continued on and then began to speak with his peers.  A crowd began to gather in a ring around the commanders while sergeants in the battle line adjacent struggled to keep their men in formation; the eyes and ears of everyone were trained on the discussion breaking out amongst the commanders.
A cranky voice called out, cursing, on the fringes of the crowd: "Get out of my way, Oaf!  Who is that riding back with Gregor Mihailovic? Blast it, Mirko, there are too many people, I can’t see past – move over! Is that the precious Duke?   Must be, with t…

11 November, Remembrance Day

Parley

Duke Jiri rode out to approach the two horsemen seeking to parley. He was mounted once again on his favourite horse, his gleaming black mare, which he allowed to prance for effect.  One of the approaching men was Brother Velimir, who was now openly wearing his sword over his clothes.  The other man, an extremely stocky man wearing simple armour, looked strangely familiar to Jiri.  “Hail, my lord Duke!” said Velimir and Jiri nodding in return. “We are grateful that you have accepted to parley.  Allow me to present the spokesman for the returning exiles, Ritter Gregor Mihailovic…”. 
“Gregor Mihailovic?  We have met before, I think”, Jiri interrupted.  Then, as he looked over Gregor’s own fine horse, which he also recognized, he knew when and where.
Gregor replied “Yes my lord, we met on the road a week ago, you were on your way north from Douma on a hunting trip.  You had the great charity to help my father and I with our broken wagon.  We thank you again, my lord”.
Ah yes, that was you? …

Encounter with the Rebels

So, I've been trapped at the desk with a number of big deadlines the last few weeks.  I spent the scarce spare time I had on painting rather than thinking about 13th century Syldavia.  Things will be calmer for the next few weeks (I hope…).  Here is the next scene of Duke Jiri's story.

Encounter with the Rebels 
Alone in the ruined chapel of St. Narcissus, Duke Jiri and his son Konstantin held a whispered but intense conversation about Brother Velimir’s proposition to lead a rebellion and then left to rejoin the waiting army.  Soon the mass of men was put grumblingly back into motion, marching towards a dark hilltop a few miles off to the west.  A few hours later, at the end of the afternoon, Jiri lead his army over the crest of hill, to see the high wooded hill and the rebel army before him across a narrow valley, just as Velimir forewarned.  Jiri ordered his men into battle line and then marched them down into the valley, coming to a halt again on a long low terrace near the v…

A question about site formatting

Hello all,

I recently changed the colour scheme of this site while fiddling about with Blogger's new templates and found that I couldn't replace the original.  The white and green replacement was a bit hard on the eyes and uninspiring, so I have switched yet again to another format.  If you have any opinions about this one (softer colours but perhaps the text is now harder to read?), please let me know in the poll in the right margin or leave a comment down below.

Thanks!

Jim

A Climactic Meeting with Fate in the Chapel of St. Narcissus

Taken aback by the black-clad figure approaching him from across the ruined chapel, Duke Jiri finally recognized him, crying “Who?… Why? …Velimir Milutin!”.  Jiri was somewhat stunned, as he had not seen Velimir in very many years.  Velimir was one of Duchess Franka’s cousins, and he had been a prominent and accomplished young officer in King Wastrelmir’s army that was vanquished by Viceroy Surov.  Following that battle, he had been imprisoned and the Viceroy confiscated his baronial domain of Pivow in Wladruja.  Finally ransomed by his family, he left Syldavia an exile, gaining service with the Duke of Zadar.  That is no coincidence, Velimir surely knows some of these would-be rebels, thought Jiri.  Velimir had finally returned having taken Holy Orders as an initiate of the monastic house of St. Stanislaus, one of several socially and politically-prominent men who had became initiates in recent years.  And this is no coincidence either – these are the men who the Bordurians are tryin…

Jiri marches to Starisveta

The early morning found Duke Jiri and his commanders before the walls of Douma, marshalling up their little army for the march to Starisveta.The force comprised the town’s garrison and the levy from Douma and the surrounding countryside.Enough newly-called up men were present, sleepy and only a matter of hours from their farms, that the organization of the army proved somewhat chaotic.
It was, however, a clear morning and it promised to be a fine day for marching.The light, still a soft gold after the dawn, glinted on the polished metal in the men’s armour, harness and weapons, and picked out the bits of red cloth (the colour of Hum’s flag) they wore .The army, which was otherwise plain in homespun linen and wool, thereby gained a sparkling, dazzling effect for a moment.Duchess Franka rode out from the town and joined Duke Jiri and her son Konstantin once the troops were finally in order.She carried the standard of the Duchy of Hum in her own hands and rode holding it aloft before hand…

Eve of departure

At the end of a long day organizing the levy soldiers and the wagons and mule trains to support them, Duke Jiri found himself at his table in the Great Hall accepting a silver cup of wine from his wife and then offering a toast to the officers and knights who were to ride with him in the morning.  A hearty cheer rising from the throats from the men and women in the hall answered the toast.  A second and more jubilant cheer came as a squad of servitors who were sweating from the kitchen’s heat hauled platters of roasted geese in.  With appetites honed by the imminent prospect of adventure, comradeship and of an encounter with unknown dangers, the Duke’s guests were in a high mood and so feasted grandly. 
Jiri and Franka left as soon as it was seemly to do so and retired to their chambers.  There, the two looked out from a window, onto the castle walls, the town and the harbour, which were illuminated by moonlight.  Waves rolled and crashed on the sandy shore, where a string of small fi…

Stépan Gladic meets the mysterious visitor

Stépan Gladic roused his troop of young knights in training, nearly three dozen men in all, and set them to work preparing their horses and armour.  Those who had made the long and hurried trip back to Douma with Duke Jiri were still tired and stiff, they grumbled to be turned out into the stable yard.  Despite the privileged origins of most of this group, Stépan had forbidden them the service of squires until they completed their training.  Until that time, they had the rank of common soldiers and they had to work alongside the common men tending the animals and their own kit.  Stépan had set a personal example in their training, himself working in the stables and in the mud, training riders, teaching the use of sword and lance, shoeing the horses and seeing to their health.  The regular cavalry troopers, mostly an experienced and competent lot who were used to Stépan’s egalitarian leadership, followed his example and looked at the young blue bloods with a mentoring, if  sceptical, e…

The council hears Jiri's plan

Duke Jiri looked over his group of officers, gathered together on the highest battlements at Douma.  He had their rapt attention.  His just issued words  “prepare…threat…Borduria”  hung pregnant in the air and in the minds of the officers and all went still.  Jiri steeled himself and continued.  “I have called you up here so that we may speak in privacy a few minutes and not be disturbed by Baron Dokovic or some agent of his.  All that I say is in the strictest confidence.”

“The Bordurians are overextended and vulnerable and have been since the Venetians and their Crusade arrived in our lands.  Our “friends” the Venetians have managed to convince the Bulgars to join their expedition against the Byzantines and so Viceroy Surov has had to raise both troops and treasure for his Bulgar overlords, even as he looses Ragusia to his supposed allies.  One could almost feel sorry for him!   Sorov has stripped inner Syldavia and Borduria of men and is raising new taxes.  He must be gambling on a q…