Far flungMature

Viceroy Thomas raised his spyglass examining the planes before him. Arrayed across the battlefield in a defensive line was the rebel army, most mere peasants and poor town workers, the entire region had risen in defiance to the empire. The Viceroy had just received information that the forces were supplemented with supplies and leadership by the New Ottoman Republic, dire enemies of the empire. This was just the news which could persuade the Parliament to sail an armada to the shores of the republic and obliterate it.

“Colonel how many would you say were out there?”

“My scouts report at least a division, maybe more, but only a single regiment of Ottoman infantry, though their flag holds many awards and I could see officers spread through the rebel ranks.” They were horribly outnumbered; the Viceroy had only brought two regiments, 9500 men in total.

“I think this calls for a testing don’t you?” The colonel saluted then turned his horse galloping away through the lines of entrenched infantry. The Viceroy examined the valley. The enemy had been cornered, forced into the flat terrain of the valley. They had kept retreating, obviously expecting the imperial army to merely be a forward unit. The viceroy had been lucky so far. Now the enemy were doomed. His army had entrenched themselves across the moraine which crossed the valley. While his fore was small, only three divisions to police this entire region, the funding he had was massive, and he hadn’t wasted a penny. Industry had boomed here, the rich mines supplied valuable iron ore and coal which was shipped to the capital, Thomaston, named after himself, where the massive factories refined the resources. Here they were shipped to Britain.  Of course while he used the income from home to utilise the African colony he still required a military. And he supplied it well; all the men were equipped with rifles and training as opposed to the conventional musket. His artillery was state of the art and of course he’d had his younger brother, an intrepid inventor, lend him one of his prototypes, his train of thought was cut off when the colonel returned.

“The battery is ready sir.”

“Very good” he held out his hand, and a flare gun was placed in his hand by a beaming colonel. “Let us see what Edmund’s toy can really do.” He held the gun up and fired, the single red flare reaching into the clear blue sky. A few moments passed, and then the ground shook under a roar of cannon fire. The shells raced towards the enemy lines, which were obliterated in a torrent of fire, explosive shells. The genius didn’t end there; more shells followed in seconds, the cannons were repeaters. The battery continued until the viceroy fired another flare.  

The cries of the rebels could be heard across the valley, then harsh shouts and the trumpeting of beagles and the roll of drums. The guns had done damage but not enough to break the sturdy ottoman commander and his troops. Bolstered by the morale of their leaders the peasants followed.

The Viceroy sighed. Then fired another flare, the barrage continued, but all the while the enemy approached, thousands must have been killed in the barrage but soon they came to close for the cannons to be able to fire over the moraine, and they ceased. The colonel looked nervously at him.

“Sir what are your orders?”

“Have the men prepare for defensive combat, they’ll be in the mine fields soon we can use that disorder to sweep the cavalry into them as they emerge. Prepare your forces, once you’ve slapped them disengage and fall back to the flanks, and attack where you deem reasonable.”

“Yes sir, good luck sir” The Viceroy, rubbed his temple, what to do what to do. He hoped his men could hold the line. He turned his horse and returned to his command tent where his brother waited, his clothes were greasy, and goggles sat on his forehead, in his dirty blond hair. The overalls were torn. His brother as always was a mess, he ruffled the 17 year olds hair, making him scowl. Scribbling out a hurried letter he spoke.

“Freddy i need you to take this message to London, to the Duke; he has to know of the ottoman involvement.”

“But Gregory what about you, i can help you fight.”

“No the battle is lost, it is only a matter of time, ride fast, take your men and sail home, don’t pack anything apart from essentials there is no time. Burn your workshop take the blueprints if you must but destroy everything the colony is lost. Fredrick stifled tears, he was a man now. Hugging his brother he left the tent, the letter safely in his pocket.

Two days of hard riding later he walked entered his workshop, his men had returned home to evacuate their families. A heel clicked on the stone floor, making him look up.

“Oh it’s you, I’m afraid there isn’t time to talk I have a...” He was cut off by the cocking of a revolver. “No please, I have to...” the bullet silenced the boy. The heels clicked away, aboard a steamer bound for London.

The End

1 comment about this story Feed