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Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

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Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:39 am

The steep descent into the valley, while causing the normal number of falls of men and sliding horses, at least offered a surprisingly clear view, at first of their next stop. In the light of the setting sun the white fronted buildings - churches, monasteries, palaces, glowed among their smaller neighbours, and spread along the ridge on either side of the town. The valley was rich and fertile, and the Mondego wound between meadows, already a deep rich green, flanked by small fields. The road winding down to the floor of the valley took them between vineyards.

By the time the front of the 62nd reached the pontoon bridge - slung upstream of the old stone bridge destroyed by the French - it was quite dark, and they entered Coimbra with their band playing, competing rather embarrassingly by a peal of bells from every church in the town, and the firing of rockets. The greetings were split between those from the staff of the divisions already in Coimbra, and the town's dignitaries, intent on welcoming Sir Arthur. Both parties assured the General that arrangements had been made for himself, his staff and his officers to be housed within the city, although some of the men would need to bivouac outside...

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:23 am

Wellesley's reaction to his reception had been a mixed one. When initially informed by Bullen he had dreaded the occassion; imagining so pompous ceremony with long-winded speeches and vulgar officials, laying down false flattery as the military representative of His Britannic Majesty. He had not been given a truly independant command since India, and most of his dealings with so-called Allies there had often been unpleasant matches of hollow compliments and unfulfilled promises...

Yet on entering Coimbra at the head of the column with his staff - tired, weary in both mind and spirit as the fireworks soared high, screaming into the darkness to burst as colourful constellations - he was surprised to find it was not the case. The people, both officials and the ordinary townsfolk, were genuinely pleased to see him. They ran forward to greet him, to try and touch his horse, his coat or boots and it was only due to the intervention of a tall sergeant of the 33rd and his men that he was not mobbed. He had been used to sneers and criticism, had been on the brink of having his career broken by the enquiry into Cintra... but the Portuguese, it seemed, had not forgotten his victories, and for a moment it affected him. He schooled his features though, and listened to the major's and Cradock's assurances of that all was well, that he and his staff would be housed and there was dinner prepared.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:55 am

George watched the fireworks, letting Firebird follow the other staff, and felt a little giddy. The cheerful atmosphere pervaded the air and George had to manouevre his horse rather carefully on account of the townsfolk trying to get closer to Wellesley. Those who could not get to the General cheered the gold-laced officers of the staff. George, riding at the back, his uniform muddied, did not get much attention except when someone bumped into his horse. Although, rationally George understood that he has done nothing to warrant any attention on his part, he still felt somewhat left out. He glanced to the side, noticing a young woman with a huge bouquet: no doubt she was trying to get through the crowd to present this small offering to the victorious General. Their eyes met and it seemed like she read every thought that was passing through his head. She plucked out one of the flowers and offered it to him. They both had to stretch their hands so that George could take it. She smiled at him and then was gone, lost in the crowd.

George heard the assurances that were made to the General about the housing and dinner, and hoped that the latter was meant for the General and the high-ranking officers only, and that he would be free to be on his own.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:58 am

The Quadrado Central, the central square of the University Botanical Gardens, where students and well-dressed representetives of rich and, or noble families could be seen strolling at almost any time of the day, except deep night and early morning, was deserted. Fandorin stood quite alone, his evening walk interrupted. Leaning on his cane he watched the sparkles of the fireworks and listened to the church bells and the distant cheering of the crowd. He frowned, his lips twisiting in a disdainfull smirk.

'Fools', he muttered and straightening up, walked briskly to his lodgings, the cane's tapping drowned by the celebratory noise.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:11 pm

By the time the Greys reached the ponton bridge it was full dark and colourful fireworks exploded overhead. Sadly, they could not watch the bright display, they had to dismount and concentrate on leading their horses across the bridge. The men cursed but Sgt. Grey was secretly pleased at the difficult task. He took careful note of the men and horses that had undue difficulty in crossing. Something would have to be done about them. What better test of the cooperation between men and horses than crossing a unfirm bridge under the sudden explosions of the fireworks?

On the whole, the Greys did not disgrace themselves. A few of the infantry officers were not as lucky. Their horses took exeption to the fireworks and prooved unmanagable. Grey wondered how they expected to fare under enemy fire...


Last edited by Sgt. Grey on Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:25 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling and grammar)

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:18 pm

Riding further to the end of the procession the Hussar of the 15th gazed to the sky briefly for the display of firework and lights. He was quick to divert his attention to the steep and narrow road, the town far from being a place of broad and welcoming streets, flat lands where steep was just a word and not a reality. When earlier crossing the bridge he had lead his horse across with a few struggles and protests, on foot. Now again on her back, he was following the procession with some mesmerisation of what the folk prepared.

Already it seemed clear that some would not find to accommodate themselves elsewhere but outside town. Yet in the light of the festivities this could be ignored for the better of the evening.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:56 am

The Dean of the University of Coimbra watched the procession of English officers with the General at its front. He was not going to run and greet the man: it was somewhat undignified for the man of his years and learning. He waited at a distance, surrounded by head of faculties. Brotero was one of them. The Dean turned to him.
'Your guest is not coming to join us?'
'No, he excused himself, but then he is a foreigner, he cannot be expected to possess the same feelings for the affair'.
'Indeed, indeed', the Dean fell silent and waited for their turn to present compliments to Wellesley.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:01 am

Wellelsey, now having been greeted sufficiently by the mayor, turned to the Dean of the University. He felt somewhat shabby in the well-dressed crowd of dignitaries. He had not taken time to pause to make his toilette or change into his best uniform, having been eager to get on and never imagining such fuss would meet him. He no doubt looked tired, dusty and longed more for a small supper in the privacy of his room before bed than a formal dinner - yet he made every effort, standing tall and adopting a dignified smile.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:19 am

The Dean smiled at the General. God, he looks so young, but then compared to me most people can be considered young! He prepared a welcoming speech of great eloquence, but looking over the General's state, he decided to forgo it. Instead he smiled warmly and gave a small bow, everything that his back would allow.

'You are most welcome in our town, Sir Arthur. We are all grateful beyond words for what you and your army are trying to achieve. My only regret is that our university could not provide you with the necessary lodgings. It would have been a great honour'.
The heads of faculties echoed the Dean's words, with Botero offering to show the General his Botanical Gardens, which he was most proud of. That got him a sharp look from the Dean, who then threw an apologetic glance at the General and stepped aside, so that the group could continue it's progress.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley on Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:35 am

"The honour you pay us with your welcome is more than adequate, sir," Wellesley returned politely. He graciously refused Professor Botero's offer to show him the Botanical Gardens, afraid that his duties prevented him from accepting the invitation. The Dean's phrasing; ...for what you and your army are trying to achieve struck him as somewhat odd, and a little discouraging, yet the smile remaind on his face as he moved on to the next set of dignitaries, wondering when he would be permitted to take his leave and fresh up before the dinner.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:45 am

George followed Wellesley and the rest meekly, gaining a disdainful glance from the mayor and his group when they saw the state of him. However, the university dignitaries just smiled and nodded at him, with one of the man throwing a curious glance at the flower in his hand and mouthing something that sounded like Latin.

By now it seemed rather certain that there would be a formal dinner. Which meant Wellesley would be kept occupied for a while, just as George wanted him. With the amount of organizational work that lay ahead of the General, it was likely that George might already be too occupied at dawn to be able to visit von Dorn then, so he would do it while the General dined. At this, he felt the emptiness of his own stomach rather acutely and sighed quietly.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Joe Newbury on Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:33 am

At last. Newbury had never thought he'd be so glad to see the end of a march. His side ached fiercely and his stomach hadn't stopped grumbling since Pombal. Hopefully the 60th would be dismissed soon, so he could find somewhere to curl up for the night. There was some bread and old cheese in his pack somewhere, he was reasonably sure, and that would have to do for supper.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:12 am

'Damn those Hussars!' Sgt. Grey thought. All barns and stables in town were occupied by either the 15th Light Dragoons or the KGL Hussars and the Scots Greys horses would have to be picqueted (when they are standing tethered to a line in the open?) in the meadows near the river. At least the men had decent billets in the homes of portugese peasants on the outskirts of town. Grey sighed. Tomorrow he would see about finding a smithy. Perhaps the Hussars were prepared to share?

For tonight he would have his hands full with making sure all his lads were in their billets and accounted for by midnight. The festive spirit of the townspeople had infected the dragoons, as well, and they were eager to sample the offered hospitality. There would be sore heads tomorrow...

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:55 am

He had left Bella in the safety of Scots Greys, for he was told most if not all other stables have already been occupied before even considering to seek out a place in town. He'd taken care of her, cleaning out the dirt that covered her coat since the ride, and stored away the saddle and the rest of equipment similarly, where others of the Scots Greys had done. He didn't seek out the 15th, deciding a day more would not hurt, and the festivities would most possibly have most of the officers occupied with other thoughts than privates come to life.

At that point in time he was just passing the lines of horses equally unsaddled, glad that his leg was more than cooperative and thanking the doctor for what he'd considered a job well done.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:11 am

Sgt. Grey was just doing a last check of Bunnies hooves before going into town when he saw the stray Hussar limp by.

"Oi! Willoughby! What happened to your leg? You weren't limping that bad when I saw you last. You been in the fight today?"

(OOC privates come to life. *cracks up*)

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:19 am

(OOC - XD OH Shut up! I didn't mean it that way!! halo )

"Not quite, sir." He turned and with a sharp salute walked to the Sergeant. " I wish I was." He gave a small shrug, his rather pleasant mood unspoiled even by that thought.

"Did help around later,.. made Bella's rest a well earned one too. I suppose you were causing quite a deal of trouble to the French, sir." He stopped , glancing at the large horse that was in possession of the sergeant. Quite a mare, with the ears that were a slight deal more prominent than it was usual for horses.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:41 am

(Grey's not an officer, you don't have to sir me. Sergeant or sarge it is)

"Yes, we charged the french leaving the village. They were in colum and only managed a rough rally square... and they were slaughtered. They gave up pretty fast after the first charge and then we just herded them together. Somehow they seemed to be afraid of my little pony here..." With that he gave the huge rump a last slap and started in the direction of the town.

"What have you been up to? You do look a bit worse for wear." he gestured at the hussars uniform, "but I have seen much worse today. One of the staff officers looked like he wallowed in blood and mud. A disgrace, that is. If that was one of us common soldiers he'd be on charge before he could say 'wash'..."

(OOC Freud'sche Fehlleistung, huh? Freudian slip. And did you know slip means panties in german?)

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:49 am

(ah, I forgot that .. I sir everyone, oops ok sarge! thanks fore correction! Right remember now, that one sailor was yelled at for sirring a corporal too.)

"I know who you speak off." Though he wasn't eager to suggest he also knew a part of the reason that the very same man was covered in mud, blood however he was not to blame for.

"As I've said, I have helped carry the dead to our lil' graveyard. Ain't a man who wouldn't get a speck of dirt on him, doing that." He looked at his uniform admonishing. He would have it cleaned as soon as he was able. It wouldn't do to walk that way about. Even with some stains refusing to depart, and a bit of green marring his usually white braiding.

"But I shall make sure all that hasn't yet.. will be cleaned by the time the sun is up again." He shook his head chuckling :" Sarge.. it's officers. So. Planning to go into town?" He glanced at Bunny whom they were now leaving behind to her own rest and munches of grass.

"Any lost to them?" He nodded towards the Scots Greys.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:05 am

"Not many. 12 horses dead and a couple wounded, but walking. And we buried 5 men. We got off light. The french losses were far greater." he shruged.
"Yes, we're headed into town. The people seem very friendly. A tavern, some wine, bread, sausages. You coming?"

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:14 am

"Was intending to. May I be joining you?" He nodded with a broad smile.

" If we are to judge by their reception earlier, we might well be in for a most pleasant evening." He kept walking carefully with even steps to keep his leg most from the stress.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:26 am

Grey noted the careful movements of the hussar and asked: "You need to see the surgeon again? I think I saw his wagon somewhere. What did you do to your leg? It wasn't this bad the day before yesterday."

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:11 am

"No. It's allright, sarge. It is nothing but my worry that I may slip on these cobble stones that makes me walk with it as if it were in worse a state." He grinned and shook his head lightly, waving the state of his leg away.

"Hm.. when did we meet last though?" He looked slight embarrassed: "Were you about when we first encountered the French?" Then perhaps his leg would indeed look worse than at the time, though better than after that time, if that made any sense at all.

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Guest on Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:36 am

Grey stopped in the middle of the crowded street and gave Willoughby a concerned look. "Did you recieve a head injury, as well? Dangerous things, head injuries. I knew a corporal once, he got kicked in the head by a horse and at first he just had a little bump on the head, but he keeled over dead 2 hours later. How many fingers am I holding up?"
He waved his hand at the hussar. "Isn't that what the surgeons ask? Anyway you remember the purging incident? Bella is famous in the troop, now. Day before yesterday, that was. Are you sure you don't need to see a surgeon?"

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:48 am

"... five, sarge. " He shook his head. " No. I'm sure I needn't see one. Please, there has been so many a thing happening I am just straining to follow?" He flushed. "Aye, I remember that incident. Famous in the troop? I'll be damned and worried!"

He couldn't help but chuckle at the concern." I'm sure I'm fine sarge. No head injury, least you count plumettin' down a slope, one."

"I was sure you would've heard something of our army's encounter with the French, efore the present battle?"

"Got my leg a bit under the weather then. Worse for.. then since the surgeon's agon, better again.. and mending." He was careful yes, but more so under the orders of the surgeon and willing his leg to become best rather than worse. Speaking of hich.
" How fairs your horse? She looks a very fine animal. Coping well with the lands of Portugal?" "

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Re: Entering Coimbra and Fireworks

Post  Joe Newbury on Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:15 am

It was noisy around the 60th's campsite. The Riflemen were busy cleaning their rifles and chattering animatedly about the day's action. All the buzzing voices made Newbury's head hurt. His side still throbbed mercilessly, but he thought that the bleeding had stopped at least.

Feeling restless despite being about to clean his rifle, Newbury decided a walk would help settle his mind some. Bidding a nearby Rifleman to watch his pack, he picked up his rifle and headed off, his gait somewhat unsteady. He was headed mostly toward town, even though common sense demanded that he go the other way toward the surgeon's wagon. But, dammit, he wanted a drink first, before he let the surgeon put more holes into him.

Newbury had made it out of camp before he felt a sharp twinge in his side. Another dozen yards down the road and he stumbled over a stone. That was it for his balance. Fortunately, he sank down backward onto his rump instead of going forward onto his face.

"Hmph," he grunted, surprised at his own lack of balance.
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