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Sunday 29 July 2018

NUTS - Western Union - Game 2

“Hiya Sergeant” - Yep that’s the Captain again, I just know he doesn’t remember my name, but he’s been here 2 weeks and 1 day so hopefully soon, when he is ready to give me the furlough that I and my guys deserve he will say Hiya Sergeant Ryan, but until then !!!!

To cut a long story short, we are to baby sit 2 Engineers, seems the telephone line from somewhere, to somewhere else, has been cut by artillery fire, ours probably, but it needs repairing and so we have been chosen to protect these upright citizens, Tex and Rex, don't know their real names, they're not one of mine so don't count.

Sounds a bit safer than the last mission he sent us on. Mind you if it was safe why would they need protecting.


No issued map so I’ve drawn one for you.

I had McKlusky with the BAR to go wide to the north, into the forest to get a good field of fire to protect us the best he can. See ‘BAR’ on the map, no it's not a place of rest and relaxation. :)
Tex was at the rear protected by Cpl Bolton and a couple of men. Me and 2 of the guy’s led out on point with Rex - also protected by 3 of the guys, following us.

Any of us can find the breaks in the wire but only the Engineers can repair them - so I have to keep them safe.

So I am close up front when disaster struck, we ran into a panzercheck team, they reacted faster than we did, dropping a charge right on top of us, Perrin went down, blood and intestines everywhere, obviously dead even before he hit the floor, Mears was down screaming, I’m hit, I’m hit. Me – well I was bowled over by the blast, hit my head on a bloody big stone but couldn’t feel any other damage. Good God I’m stunned but alive, all I need to do is get up, which was harder than it sounds.

Wilson starts running, fast, off to my left, trying to out flank them and get in a shot, but they dropped back fast through the tall grass and into the trees. Rifle shots and Wilson goes down, oh no, not Wilson too, fortunately he had just dropped prone to avoid the fire.

I was back up on my feet, shouting for Bolton to take 2 men and get off to my right and pull round onto the Germans, we should catch them between Wilson on one flank, me putting some fire into them from the front and Bolton and his men on the other flank, seems under control, hells teeth there’s only 2 of them. Bolton’s men start to move forward when phutt the damn Panzercheck again, Cornwall goes down OOF and Bolton is down also, stunned and with blood running down his face but still alive and looking feisty and really pissed off.

Wilson took a shot and the German loader is hit and goes down, one man left and we are in the clear. Just then 2 armoured cars burst through the grassland and straight at us. They must have been there all the time but we didn’t see them, well things aren’t looking too good at the minute, all we have is grenades and guts, and we don’t want them spread all over France.

McKlusky opens up with the BAR, the bullets bounce off the cars but one driver lost it and pulled to the side, stopping before he ran into the trees and crashed - bugger. I ran forward screaming, and lobbed a grenade before I hit the ground with my hands over my head, although what good that would do I've no idea. As soon as it left my hand I knew it wasn’t going to hit, there was a loud explosion but nothing else. Must have given Wilson the idea though because he did the same, his throw was better than mine and straight into the open top of the A/C bang - you’re dead, the car erupted in a sheet of flame. The other cars driver had seen enough, he wasn’t expecting to be charged by infantry, well who would be, he did a fast turn and drove off, - Welcome to the USA.

The Panzercheck man had picked up his wounded loader and helped him back the way they had come, we never saw them again thank goodness.

While all this was going on the Engineers had found and repaired 2 breaks in the cable. We quickly checked out the rest of it, it was OK so I decided to leg it back the way we had come. This is called a fighting retreat in the text books.

“Move it guys”, I shouted as we pulled back with the wounded into our original deployment area - taking up covering positions “Come on McKlusky”. We covered the BAR team as they ran from their position in the forest to join us.
We were just in the long grass when a full squad of Germans came round the small wooded area in front of us.

There we were, the two BAR lads McKlusky and Smith, Me with Dokes and Wilson, the cream of the squad, the Germans never saw what hit them, 7 of them went down and the other 3 ran. I was the only casualty in the fire fight with a flesh wound in the arm, and had to be helped back to our lines. Not very glorious but we survived.

We couldn't recover Perrins body and had to leave him there in the open with no marker. The guys are pretty quiet about it, I don’t think we had a choice but it sits badly with all of us, me especially because it was my decision.

So we have 3 wounded, Sgt Ryan (me), Mears, and Cornwall, we were all lucky I suppose, nothing serious and were patched up and are back with the squad now, all a bit stiff.

Bernard Perrin RIP. our first fatality.

Wilson did well - I have recommended him for a medal, but better than that, he has gone up from Rep 5 to 6, a good result. Dokes went Rep 4 to 5 and Smith went Rep 3 to 4.

If you are still here - thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and comments you make.

Monday 23 July 2018

NUTS - Bring Em Back Alive - Game 1

The Captain called me in this morning, it’s never good, he never says “you and your boys are having a hard time and I just want to show my appreciation. I’ve wangled you all a 3 day pass in Paris and the beer and girls are on me”.

No he never says that.

The war seems to be going on forever, we are pushing hard but the Germans don’t want to be pushed, and they keep pushing back. Anyway no use me moaning, Sergeant John Ryan’s the name, one of the New York Irish, I landed in Normandy and with a couple of short breaks have been in France for around 3 months now fighting and trying to stay alive.

The squad I lead doesn't really look up to me the way I think they should but I suppose being only 5’ 6” means that’s never going to happen. Oh by the way that’s the other thing I try to do – keep the men alive too.

Back to the Captain, - “Hiya Sergeant” (I don’t think he remembers my name, he’s only been here 2 weeks) Officers, what good do they do. “Hiya” (This sound bad, he’s being too friendly) “The Lootenant seems to have gone missing, he took a patrol out this morning and only one of them has come back.

Young Private – humm forget his name, anyway it’s not important. He says they ran into an enemy patrol, the Lootenant was hit and Private What’s His Name hid him in a hollow tree before making his way back here. Anyway I want you and your squad to go and get him back, here’s a rough map, watch out for the bad guys, there seems to be a lot of them but it’s really important that we get the Lootenant back, I know his mother and I don’t want to have to write one of those missing in action letters to her, she plays Bridge with my wife, it wont go down well in the Bridge Club”.


I was home alone for 3 days and rather than do some decorating I decided to spend the time more productively and play as many games as I could of the linked scenarios The Big Hurt – using 2 Hour Wargames rules Nuts. I don’t actually have the Rule set, but that’s only a minor problem, I have used Chain Reaction their free rules for a couple of years now and I am playing solo so I can resolve all disputes amicably with myself, well usually, me and my alter ego can get a bit ansy with each other at times. Obviously I do have the Scenario book and The All Things Zombie Rules so should be a breeze.

This is the 1st Scenario “Bring ‘Em Back Alive.

Before we push out let me take a little time to introduce the squad,
There’s me on lead Sgt John Ryan, Rep 4 getting to be an old man, veteran I think is the polite term but I can still shake it with the best of them,
2nd in Command Corporal Ray Bolton Rep 4 not been with us long still has creases in his trousers but I think he will settle down.
Big Ken McKlusky Rep 5 on BAR, he plays it like a Double Bass, slow and steady, he is backed up by young Clint Smith rep 3, carrying the ammo and making sure McKlusky is pointed in the right direction, did I mention that Ken drinks!

The lead in the rifles is taken by Private 1st Class Eric Dokes Rep 4 a steady lad from Ohio, somewhere west of New York I think. Mind you most places are.
Jim Samson Rep 4,  Ernest Mears Rep 2 fresh on the last draft pick, it’s hard to say but I don’t think he will make the grade. Bernard Perrin Rep 3 the Joker of the squad, everyone likes Bernard. Raymond Cornwall Rep 3, another recent recruit.
Finaly we have Richard Wilson Rep 5, Dick is the guy you want as your wing man, if only we could fly everywhere instead of walking through this mud. He and I have been together since Omaha and we rub along just fine.

The squad is a fairly mixed bag of veterans and new recruits and it’s going to be hard work to bring them through even remotely intact. I did start this once before and was doing very well until the 3rd mission when I was getting a little careless and ran into a top class German NCO with a SMG, my men were too close together and he took out my top 2 guys in one blast of fire, then me and another guy, OD or Obviously Dead, I don’t think I have ever been so deflated after a game, half the squad was gone and I could not face rebuilding and starting again, that was 2 years ago and I think I am over it, but the nightmares still come back on those cold winter nights.

No Photos – sorry, 20mm and the table was covered in trees nothing really to see.
Here is the map I was given, pretty ain’t it. We pushed on forward slowly, keeping to cover, visibility in the forest is very close and I didn't want to run into the same patrol that had killed the last lads out here, not without being ready for them.
My plan was to do a right hook to the Firebreak, leave a fire team there, then with ½ the squad push on to the Hollow Tree, so that we could then run away due west and if any one was chasing us they would be caught by enfilading fire from the fire team and we would not be in their line of fire. You’ve all heard of friendly fire, well it ain’t so friendly when it’s directed at you.
As we moved into the forest we could hear sound – could be movement, the PEF came straight at us, moving fast.
PEF’s if you don’t use 2HW rules are Possible Enemy Forces, you throw dice - cross reference to a table and they jink around the battlefield until they come into line of sight and are ‘Resolved’, may be something – may not, Infantry in the open move 6”(my rule), these things can move 16”(Ed's rule), maybe less, maybe not at all. Strangely they introduce an amazing amount of tension into a solo game, you have a rough idea of what they may be, something we can kill or something that can kill us. It sure aint the NAFI girls.
Rolled the dice, - nothing, what a relief.
We pushed on. Cpl Bolton, the BAR and a couple of men set up the fire line on the Firebreak, the only clear line of fire in the damn place, visibility was so short we would run into the enemy before we saw them. We moved on, I made sure that Wilson (you remember Wilson – my wing man) was actually at my wing and the other 3 guys just tagged along, I hoped they wouldn’t get in the way if the shit hit the fan.
We arrived at the stream which gave a short open space so I left the 3 guys as back up to give us covering fire if needed and Wilson and I continued on to the Hollow Tree.
At this point the remaining PEF divided into 2 PEFs and came straight at us, - shit there we were, just the 2 of us, we had found the Lootenant and Wilson was busy trying to get him out of the tree, he had his hands full and me facing what could be anything.
Rolled the dice – twice and both times it was nothing just my imagination, by this time I was getting real agitated and just wanted to get the hell out, having achieved my objective without a fight I could see that we could get away without any casualties.
We were pulling back fast when 3 rounds on the trot I threw doubles for activation, I had decided that PEF reinforcements would arrive on a double, these were all low class PEF’s that is they took a bit of getting going. One set off after us, coming fast and just as quickly turned around and went back to join the others.
Come on I shouted to Bolton as we crossed the firebreak - pull back now and by god we all made it out without meeting one of the enemy, but it was tense all the way.
It seems a bit of an anticlimax now writing this but at the time I was whooping the guys on, encouraging them to get out of there before they got embroiled in a fire fight.
This is my squad, Fit A2 means they are good for the next encounter Action 2, you’ll figure this out as we go along.

I'm away for a while, not sure how long but a few weeks at least, I hope to have limited PAYGO internet so should be able to communicate but not game or post, so I have written a series of short stories from some games I played a while ago that I hope you find entertaining, no pictures, they are all 20mm and not very photogenic and the reports are meant to be Sergeant Ryan's personal observations on a war that hopefully will never be repeated.

If you are still here - thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and comments you make and I hope to be able to answer them.

Saturday 14 July 2018

The Vikings - The Saga of Argonor's Bees – The Honey Trap

Argonor is a bold and brave Viking warrior, known far and wide for his mead making and drinking but feared and respected for his prowess as a raider and warrior, you tread softly around this man. Here is his Farmstead viewed early in the Autumn before the winter snows set in.

The long house is to the right where the free folk live and sleep. In the centre is the working complex of 3 buildings where the Ale and Mead is made, cloth woven and most of the food prepared. The Granary and store house, is the wooden building on stone pillars on the far side. The bee hives next to the granary in the far distance and the building with the sloping roof nearest us is the forge and smiths work shed, it's far enough from the other buildings to avoid sparks from the forge setting them alight.

This is a game I posted on the LAF back in Jan 17, so yet again my apologies if you have already read it.

It had been a very successful season for Argonor, his raiding and trading had gone well, he had a beautiful dragon ship and she had come back loaded with plunder and traded goods. He had also brought a few exotic slaves, he was told they came from a large inland sea far to the south, where the sun shone all the time and it never snowed. They pleased his wife it gave them prestige. He did not believe the story – but who would.

In spite of all this he was uneasy. Things felt wrong and he had not lived to a full 50 years without respecting his instincts, he sent his wife and children off to visit her parents and told his warriors to keep their weapons close, but obviously did not tell anyone of his reasons for this, no need to look a fool if he was wrong.

It was early Autumn, the most dangerous time of the year if you were a Viking, your harvest was in, the animals were still in the fields they had not been slaughtered for the winter and so were easy to drive off. The riches from the summers raiding were still in your possession, you were still showing and bragging about them, they had not been hidden or spent.

Worst of all, the weather was still fair, good for sailing if you were a little bold, or maybe a Viking wolf returning home late after a long unsuccessful summers raiding, with little to show the womenfolk when you got back.

Rolf was such a man, he had raided, Anglia and Northumbria, taken some hard knocks with little to show, he had a large ship 50 oars and a crew of 60, but that was down to 50 after the summer, his men were downcast but well armed and still ready for a fight. They grumbled about going West this summer instead of East as usual.

Rolf had met Argonor in the summer, he had arrived late to a village, plundered and burnt by the great warrior and had to listen to Argonor's men boast of his prowess. Argonor the Mead Maker, the Mead Drinker, Argonor the Story Teller, the Weaver of Tales, the Man of many Threads. He had asked Argonor about his mead for which he was famous but all he could get out of him was that the bees liked Argonor, they flourished on his farmstead but no where else in Dane Mark, mead made him famous but also very wealthy. Are you not worried, asked Rolf - no he answered “Raiding the bee-keeper's homestead for mead is an obvious thing to do - but I should probably warn you, that this brewer has swords, shield, mail tunic, and a Gjermundbu-helmet (and a well-sized beard to show his status as an old warrior)”

Rolf lived far to the east and in the late night drunken revels Argonor had revealed where his homestead was and Rolf was sailing past there and decided to pay Argonor a visit, besides he wanted to know what a Gjermundbu-helmet was. Rolf came from Uppsala and a rich Dane was as good a target as a Saxon, except he might fight harder.

Rolfs view down the track into the farmstead.

The scenario is for Rolf to raid the settlement, looting or destroying anything of value, especially the bee hives and to kill Argonor himself, this will give him fame and status. He has to do this quickly and so must be leaving the board by the 10th move to get back to his ship, before too many of Argonor's neighbours arrive.

Argonor and his banner man are watching 2 wagon loads of ale and mead leave on the journey to his overlord. He is sending a small force of 3 warriors and a driver with it.

Rolf has split his force to attack from two directions at the same time. Unfortunately Harrald Horned Helmet got lost and is late. (Bad dice roll, as was the split of the force) Rolf only has 8 men with him, well we are Uppsala men and fear no one he thinks as he charges down the track towards Argonor, some of his men are lagging a little behind, maybe they don’t share his views.

Argonor sees them coming but is so surprised he just gawps.

But only for a minute, "to me" he shouts and runs straight at Rolf.

Their fight - Rolf is Blue Die, Argornor is Red.

In these rules good die for combat are 3 or less, what a bummer for Rolf, he goes down along with 3 of his men, the only success is the 2 warriors attacking Egil who can be seen by the horse, he is rolling on the ground, not a happy man.

The Danes shrieking their battle lust, surge forward over the bodies of the men from Uppsala.

And then they see Harrald Horned Helmet who has finally arrived with at least 18 men, things are looking bleak for Argonor. Probably as bad for Harrald wearing a horned helmet in what purports to be a historical game.

Two of Argonor's men hear the noise and come running back to the farmstead, but they are a long way from the fighting.

It’s carnage on main street.

Harrald has split his forces, Belit the pirate queen leading her men into the work complex, drawn by the food and fire I expect. What that slave is doing sat on the ground tending the food with these wild men all around him I’ve no idea, maybe he’s deaf. The other group lead by the mad Elf is heading north for the bee hives and Granary. Sorry about the alien blue object that has appeared like a Tardis.

Argonor has beaten one of his opponents and the other one ran off but his 2 companions are down, his banner is in the mud and there are 2 enemy to his right and a horde of enemies coming up fast, this is the critical activation of the game. The 2 closest enemy activate 1st but fail their nerve test and don’t attack but don’t retreat either. Then Argonor activates, passes his nerve test and also his brains test and his fast move test and scampers off round the back of the longhouse.

Look he’s on his own, no one is going to see his valiant death fight against huge odds, therefore no one will sing songs of his death and besides he still has mead to drink. Harrald is not so fleet of foot and can’t catch him.

This was the activation roll. If Harrald had got a better roll Argornor would probably feeding the worms by now, but that's the stuff Sagas are made of.

Belits men got bored and broke the unbreakable Viking code, they burned before looting. In case you don't know the code it is - Loot Pillage and Burn, in that order. Anyone who Burns before Looting is going to be poor.

Over by the Granary 2 more of the men working in the fields have arrived, joining up with the sole survivor of the fight by the long house. Argornor is no where to be seen.

This is the 1st of Argornors neighbours to arrive. It was typical of the way the game was going, the number of men arriving was 1D6 and I threw a 1. He roared his battle cry and charged across the field towards about 20 men. Fortunately for him no one heard.

The men from Uppsala break in to the long house, a sleeping hut and the mead and ale store and start looting and destroying stuff. (I was most disappointed that they kept passing their control test and so didn't start drinking the ale.)

There is a fight going on top left of the picture the Danes are trying to protect the granary and the bee hives and with the small group in the middle top is Argornor. You didn’t think he had run off did you, he just skipped round the back of the longhouse and is ready for another fight.

Argornor back in the thick of the fighting but it’s not going too well.

Having taken everything they could carry they set fire to two more buildings. And I spent so long building these.

Here are the plunderers, just getting out of the longhouse in time.

Turn 9 and the tide turns. In the far distance is a banner, this is another of Argonors neighbours, brought no doubt by the smoke, he arrives with 8 men, fully armed and ready for a fight. Harrald calls his men back, some of them have anticipated his every wish and are already on their way.

Argonor – centre stage in all his battle finery, a weary but not unhappy man. He has saved the granary so they will not starve this winter and as importantly his bees so his wealth is assured for the future, on the cart are 2 barrels of his finest mead so there will be feasting to celebrate his great victory and as importantly he will get to hear the songs of his victory. Long Houses can be re-built, but once mead is spilt it can no longer be drunk, an old Viking saying.

Some of the Uppsala men in retreat.

Harrald Horned Helmet shouts his defiance but the words are lost in the crackle of the burning long house. Rolf is on the cart and they are ready to roll. Game over.

I spent a few weeks building the Viking village and posted my endeavours on the LAF Workbench board, and if you look in labels under Terrain you will find a synopsis of the posts here on the Blog. This was the 1st and so far last time I've used the buildings on the table!!! There is another game to be played - Argonor's Revenge, but its a long time coming.

The scenario grew from wanting to make the bee hives as an unusual piece of scenery something that I hadn’t seen on a wargaming table before and so I built the hives, which it turns out have been done more than once. The bees led to honey which led to mead, and that made me think about some comments Argonor a member of the LAF had made and that led to this game.

As Argonor was the unwitting inspiration I felt he had to take part in name at least. However as they say “no resemblance to actual events or characters is portrayed in the making of this game”.

The game was pretty much a draw as Rolf scored 47 points - left 3 men behind injured but 23 got away with loot even though 4 of these were wounded.

Argonor retained 51 points, he lost 1 man dead and 5 hurt and in the end had 19 men un-injured on the table. He held the field of battle and of course gained renown as a lucky leader.

My parcel from the States still hasn't arrived so I'm still in the UK waiting for it, but the sun is out and there are worse places to be. I hope it arrives today because I want to leave tomorrow and catch the ferry on Monday, that's looking very unlikely :(

Well if you are still here - thanks for reading and any comments or thoughts you make are warmly welcome.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Gothic Horror - The Hunt for Mary Scroggins Continues - Part 4

Preparing for a long, cold night’s vigil, the downhearted company await the re-appearance of the Vampire Lord and his paramour Vampirella, those evil blood suckers from the dark.

Following the encounter with the white bear and the Vampire Lord together with the death of some dear friends, Jonathan Hawke decided the much depleted company should not continue the journey but remain here, where their last desperate fight had taken place.

His reasoning was sound, there was a small fenced enclosure that they could defend, night was falling and if the road ahead was as fraught with danger as it had been so far who knows what was waiting for them. That and the thoughts, which he kept to himself, that the village to which they were headed may be just as unsafe as the open road.

Night has fallen, there are two fighting men Jonathan Hawke in his Lobster helmet and steel breast plate and Jasper, who has his trusty matchlock musket. They take opposite sides of the enclosure, the hardest to defend and prepare for a long night wait.

Sister Michaela of the Order of Perpetual Pain with her new companion Inmate 2 take one of the short sides of the enclosure and Sister Matilda of the Order of the Blessed Sacrament with an old horse pistol takes the other.

Maude Porter, together with her husband and Daniel Carters wife all huddle in the centre, praying for daybreak and an end to this nightmare.

They have fires burning to give some small comfort, hopefully keeping away the cold as much as the darkness.

The watchers in the dark, calm and still – waiting, two of the defenders have fallen asleep, exhausted after their recent trials.

Vampirella moves silently forward, gliding through the trees like a wraith.

As the Vampire Lord moves, the moon shines through the clouds and Jasper is awake and alert.

He fires, his musket waking everyone. He is a good shot at the best of times and keyed up like a spring, with his senses alert he aims true.

A large musket ball hits the Vampire in the left arm, spinning him round with the force of the shot and he utters a cry of pain and anguish and fades back into the night.

Jasper starts the long process of re-loading, he hopes for more time but fumbles with the powder, his fingers clumsy with fear.

The camp is awake and alert, waiting, and listening for the slightest sound or movement in the night. There is nothing, but they are dealing with forces they can not comprehend, time is of little importance to one who lives forever on the blood of others.

Hours pass, the Vampires have patience, watching and waiting, they do not want a fight, just to feed, they have time, which the humans do not. The damage to the Vampires arm healed within minutes of him being shot, he is now at full strength and lusting for blood.

There’s still a large force for them to contend with in the camp, they hope for some to fall asleep so they may enter quietly and feast silently before withdrawing un-noticed. Eventually the camp settles down from it’s high state of alertness and the creatures of the night make their way forward a second time, taking full advantage of the cover from the trees and darkness.

They are careless, confident in their superiority and the sound of their approach is heard in the camp but they are unseen, by the tired bloodshot eyes of those watching. Everyone in the camp is awake now.

Vampirella can wait no longer and she glides over the ground at Jasper, so fast, too fast he doesn’t have time to take his shot, he can only defend himself with the butt of his musket, but it is not enough and Vampirella gets over the fence with ease.

The Vampire Lord also moves forward quickly, again so fast that Sister Matilda also doesn’t have time to fire, she doesn’t run though, but faces her fears and fights back as the Vampire attacks.

He is over the fence and bearing down on her.

She uses her pistol like a club holding high her silver crucifix but to no avail, he is at her throat. The wimple protects her like a gorget, he pulls back surprised.

All is confusion in the confines of the enclosure, Daniel Carters wife runs away screaming closely followed by Maude Porters husband. Maude is made of sterner stuff, she has grown fond of Sister Matilda and rushes to her aid as does Jonathan Hawke, but the Vampires onslaught has shaken Sister Matilda’s faith to the core and she turns and flees from him.

Sister Michaela runs to Jaspers aid and Inmate 2 howls but she has fastened him to the fence with a chain and he can’t move but pulls with all his strength at the weak willow fence.

Fleeing the horror behind them.

The Vampire could not chase after Sister Matilda because he was attacked by these two brave but foolhardy souls. Maude and Jonathan should have been a match for the Vampire but the law of the night is there will be only one victor.

The Vampire with fangs and claws rend them into bloody pieces, he howls his victory to the moon.

Sister Michaela wields her staff like a Paladin of old but is taken by surprise when Jasper attacks her in support of Vampirella, he was driven mad with fear, lost his mind for a short while and turned to the dark side.

This is too much for her and she is beaten to the ground. Vampirella prepares to feed.

The horses have broken free, one was able to jump the fence wild eyed and snorting but the black one slipped and has impaled itself on the fence posts.

Jasper comes to his senses realises what he has done and runs off into the forest. Sister Michaela is in mortal peril.

Inmate 2 breaks free from the fence and enraged by the dark haired beauty who has struck down his protector, rushes at Vampirella snarling and shrieking, but he is no match for her.

His sacrifice was not in vain, it allowed Sister M time to recover and stand up, a bit groggily but on her feet. Feisty as ever. She sees Inmate 2 lying on the ground a peaceful expression on his face for the first time since she has known him. She feels a rage inside her she has never known before and attacks Vampirella with all her might.

After an epic battle which she can not win she steps back to regain her breath, she is loosing and can not prevail, but dare not turn her back on the fiend. Sister Matilda, on the far side of the fence, has recovered her wits and returned, she sees all is lost but as Michaela steps back she is able to get a clear shot at Vampirella, her pistol is loaded with a silver bullet.

She doesn’t believe in folk stories of silver having the power to kill the Undead, but after what she saw on the first expedition to look for Mary Scroggins she decided, it didn’t matter what she believed, or her Church taught, it might help and it might not, but she was prepared to give it a try.

We will never know the truth of the old superstition, she fired and missed but Vampirella was taken aback even shaken a little. This gave Michaela a few precious seconds to turn and run and she and Matilda took full advantage of that time.

The Vampires are victorious, they have what they came for and sate their appetites to the full.

An epic but ultimately disastrous last stand, the survivors regrouped in the morning and decided they had to go back and bury the dead, it was not a pleasant task but made them all feel a little better.

Forward or back. Well having found Mary Scroggins was no longer the Mary Scroggins that everybody knew, they decided to return and see how Sister Monica and Sir Marmaduke were faring.

Meeting up again, both parties had harrowing tales to tell and then they returned to Little Piddling in the Marsh. They had no further encounters on the return journey having cleared the area of the infestation of evil.

A sad and sorrowful party, smaller than when they had set out. Sir Marmaduke has lost all his comrades in arms from the uncivil war, who will he share the fireside tales from the old days, when there is only him left from the old days.

As they got nearer to the village there was an acrid smell in the air.

The whole place was smoking, wet thatch and daub and wattle walls don’t burn, they just smoulder for days.

Even the pigsty had been set on fire.

The houses were gutted but no one had lit the log piles. What on earth had gone on?

They hurried into the small village, fearful of finding bodies everywhere.

The Porter tried to enter his house but was beaten back by the heat. Some one or some thing had even tried to burn the village cross.

Sister Monica extinguished that with one glance, she was wondering what this power was she seemed to possess. Was it holy or the devils mark on her.

Sir Marmaduke needs the aid of the horse to be able to walk and he is hanging on to it’s tail as he hobbles along, he is also wondering if he has much longer left in this world of evil.

Where now, - back to Langdale Hall I suppose but it's going to be cold and cheerless there, as for the Sisters, I believe they have adventures to come.

Well – not a very happy ending to a very unhappy story. I don’t think this will be continued, although I'm open to suggestions as to why the village has been burned, my take is that the villagers have just abandoned it to the horror stalking the surrounding countryside, but there might be a better explanation.

I’ll do something a bit more cheerful next time.

I'm planning on being away for awhile - the wine cellars run dry and I can't afford English prices with the amount I drink, so am trying to set up roaming internet and I've been working hard creating a number of posts of simple stories that I should be able to release from where ever I am.

So if you are still here and with a dry hanky - thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and comments you make.