The Story of how the Ardchreag Standard was Lost, and of how it was Found Again

Colyne Stewart, November A.S. XXXVI

Not so long ago a great celebration was held in the Canton of der Welfengeu. People from all corners of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, and some from beyond, travelled tot he Land of the Ram to attend. Many folk from the Canton of Ardchreag attended, partaking in various activities and having a jolly time. When it became time to serve feast, the Chreaggers departed, for there were no free seats in the Hall.

As it was the birthday of one of their number, the pilgrims decided to stop at the Inn of the Jackass to celebrate. They loaded their wagons and set off down the highways towards Kytchener, where said inn was located.

Upon arriving, the members of the lead wagon were informed by the others that something had fallen from their load. The others, afraid of becoming seperated if they stopped to investigate, had left the object lying on the road.

Searching their wagon, the Chreaggers found that their standard, and a metal joint from its pole, was missing.

Not wanting the lost standard to stop the birthday celebrations, Stephen Scrymgeour and Thorfinna gra’feldr volunteered to go back in search. The others went into the inn and ordered food and drink, Colyne Stewart nervously pulling at his beard.

The road was dark and deserted as the Scot and Norse woman made their way back towards the Hall. They spent the time in silence, each lost in their own thoughts. When they got close to their destination they stepped down from their wagon, swinging torches left and right, one searching each side of the road.

The ground was muddy, and a mist was rising, making their search difficult. To make matters worse, they could hear howling in the trees nearby.

Going still, Stephen called out to Thorfinna, and she ran to his side. Sitting ten feet away at the edge of the woods, the standard in its jaws, was a tygre. It growled at them, then turned intot he woods and ran. Not hesitating a second, the two Chreaggers charged after it, Stephen freeing his dirk, Thorfinna clutching her axe.

Brambles and thorns ripped at their legs, and Stephen was thankful he had not worn a kilt that day. After a long chase, they treed the tygre, who growled from its perch, shaking the tree as if daring them to climb up after it. Putting his dirk between his teeth, Stephen, who was wise in the ways of lumbermen, began to do just that.

When he got close to the creature he could hear howling from below the tree, but he did not dare take his eyes from the tygre to see what was transpiring. He slowly advanced on the tygre, careful of where he placed his feet, taking the blade from his mouth. The tygre sat still, not moving, not seeming even to breath, until suddenly it lunged.

Stephen whipped up the dirk as the beast crashed into him. They both tumbled fromt he tree, crashing through the branches, and Stephen managed to turn himself so when they hit the ground, he landed on top of the great cat. His breath was knocked from his lungs, and he gasped painfully as he laboured to breath. Hands grabbed him and hauled him to his feet and he discovered that the tygre had been slain. Looking about he saw the carcasses of many garwolves. When he looked questioningly at Thorfinna, the Norse just smiled.

Bending down, Stephen freed the standard from the tygre’s jaws. Other than a fray of two, the standrard was fine, though the force of the tygre’s jaws had bent the metal joint.

Returning triumphantly tot he inn, they proudly displayed the standard tot hei fellows who were all greatly relieved (especially Colyne). The celebrations that followed went long into the night.

(This story, like so many tales, is based in fact. It is true that after Scotchtoberfest on Nov. 3, 2001, many members of the populace of Ardchreag stopped at Kitchener to celebrate a birthday at Jack Astor’s. Upon arriving they did indeed discover that the canton’s standard had been left on top of tone of the vehicles and had fallen off somewhere long the way. Food having already been ordered, Stephen and Thorfinna went back alone to look for it, and did indeed recover it. It had been run over by a car, but the metal joint that it had been packed with had saved it, taking the brunt of the punishment upon itself.)

Flying Turtle Flocking in Record Numbers – Goblins Fear for Lives

Lord Colyne Stewart, April fool’s Issue of the TankArd, 2003

This spring has seen a massive upswing in flying turtle populations, say rangers from Ardchreag.

“There’s always been a lot of turtles in the ‘chreag,” said a head ranger, “but never this many.”

The winged reptiles have been nesting in rooftops and church spires and their sheer weight has collapsed several buildings.

“First I thought it was cute to have one on my roof,” said a local resident. “But they kept coming. Soon I had dozens on my roof. Let me tell you, turtle guano stinks!”

There is another danger represented by increased flock size other than damage to masonry and piles of stinky turtle pooh. The food of choice for flying turtles is goblin, a diminutive cousin of the troll. Once numerous in Ardchreag goblins are now scarce as record numbers are being devoured by the turtle swarms.

“There is a great danger to the Septentrian goblin population, “ said a kingdom expert. “As those in Ardchreag dwindle, the turtles will increased their range. Soon these flying shellbacks will spread throughout the barony.”

Residents of Vest Yorvik have already launched an anti-turtle campaign. Armed with long poles topped with nets, residents take turns standing at strategic locations along their border.

“They have to get past Eoforwic first,” said one Vest Yorvikker, “but we’ll be ready if they do.”

Specialists from Skraeling Althing have suggested importing vorpal bunnies from their barony’s forests to prey on the turtles but Ardchreag’s officers have so far not taken them up on their offer.

The Flying Turtles of Ardchreag (Please Girls Completely)

By Thorfinna gra’feldr MKA Melanie Fischer Ó May 30th, 2002

Sung to the tune of The Log Driver’s Waltz

 

Should you ask any gentle from the High Cliffs around

What the funny round shapes in the sky with the wings are

They’re likely to tell you without much surprise

You’ve probably seen our winged turtles

 

Chorus:

For they go soaring high above the white flowers

That’s where the Ardchreag turtles like flying

O soaring high above the white flowers

In the land of the High Cliffs the turtles fly fleetly

 

Many a land lays claim to a beast

To lead them in war time as champions in battle

A bear and a boar a hare and still more

But none are as fine as winged turtles

 

Chorus

 

A coach may be grand to travel the land

Or you might like a wagon that’s pulled by a donkey

A horse is quite fine but its bound to the earth

And I’d rather fly on winged turtles

 

Chorus

 

If you happen to see lots of Chreaggers about

With their hands on their foreheads, their fingers a wigglin’

You may find it strange to be greeted this way

But that’s just the way of winged turtles

 

Chorus

The Ardchreag Rebellion of AS XXXVI

Colyne Stewart, April AS XXXVI

For the April Fool’s edition of the TankArd

It was on a misty morning that the army of Ardchreag gathered along the Cliffs. Many of the fighters, archers and scouts were young and newly trained, but all had been tested against the Troll hordes that crawled through their lands. Ogres also they had slain, and tri-headed serpents had fallen to their might. Their leaders were battle hardened and wise in the ways of war.

The time had come for rebellion.

Like a green wave they descended from the Bluffs, washing over forts and towns. Septentria rallied its fyrd to withstand the attack but found themselves sore pressed. The Canton of Greenhithe was turned into a churning morass of blood and mud as brave fighters on both sides battled relentlessly.

In the former no-man’s-land between the Chreag and Greenhithe, a final push was made. Septentria, led by the Baron-Gnome himself, had made camp somewhere deep within the brambles from which they would launch their attacks against the “chreagger rabble.” They thought themselves safe, but Ardchreag’s scouts infiltrated their camp, incapacitated their guards and allowed the Ardchreag horde to descend upon the unsuspecting fyrd.

Norse, Celts, Mongols, and the others of the Cliffs fell upon the unsuspecting Septentrians like a plague. The Bear put up a brave fight bu against the over whelming zeal of Ardchreag they stood no chance. Knowing it is better to live to fight another day, the Baron-Gnome fled through the the marshes of northern Ardchreag, evading patrols and slathering beasties local to the area, finally reaching and barricading themselves within the Royal City of Eoforwic. There they waited for reinforcements from Skeldergate to arrive.

The engineers of Ardchreag begun to cut down trees from which to build terrible machines of destruction. The Mongols brewed a potent poison that was stuffed into Troll heads and flung over the walls while the French taunted Septentria mercilously.

By the time the forces of Skeldergate arrived, nothing remained of the city but a smouldering ruin and a purple hat.

The King and the Queen were by this time extremely agitated by this fighting within their borders and gathered a force to quash the rebellion. This large force, led by Dukes and numbering many knights, made haste to track down the Chreagger Menace, and put their heads on pikes.

Ardchreag, being peopled by sly individuals, prepared a trap. A small force was sent out that lured the Royal army into a rock valley with high walls. The skirmishers then climbed up ropes to the heights, cutting them when done, as the main Ardchreag force came out behind the Royals. Their archers kep the Royals penned in as a large Ogre, that had been caged in the valley, was released to wreck havoc.

When the carnage was complete, and the Ogre was re-caged, Ardchreag marched on the capital. The Kingdom had sent emissaries to the Middle and Calontir to ask for assistance, but the Royalty knew it would not arrive int ime. Ardchreag made camp at the base of the castle and demanded parlay.

The King and Queen agreed, but only as a stalling tactic. They met the Ardchreag envoy at the porticullis, surrounded by guards. Ardchreag demanded that the Royals surrender the Kingdom to them, or face annihilation. The King and Queen hemmed and hahed and demurred and the Chreagger envoys knew they were being stalled.

And so the flying turtles, long thought to be nothing but myth, were called upon. The rotund, winged reptiles swooped down from the clouds and carried off the Royalty, taking them deep into conquered territory. The Ardchreag envoy then demanded to speak to the Prince and Princess.

The Heirs agreed to meet, and fearful for the safety of their parents, agreed to consider ardchreag’s terms. Finally, they said that they would submit the Kingdom to ardchreag, only if one of their number could defeat the Prince in single combat. If their champion failed, they would have to surrender their forces.

Ardchreag agreed, and sent out a giant from Germanis to fight in their name. The giant and the Prince fought bravely for hours, then for days, with neither of them claiming the victory. However, the giant finally made one fatal error and was subdued.

True to their word, Ardchrerag gave up their quest. They released their hostages, which included the King and Queen, the Baron-Gnome and numbers of knights and squires, and submitted themselves for punishment.

The Royalty were much impressed by this display, and by the compassion the Chreaggers had shown their hostages. The leaders of the rebellion were punished for propriety sake, but the Royals gave Ardchreag the next best thing to independence. They became the first Duchy of the Knowne World!

Long live the Earth-Pigs!

Training the Flying Turtles

Colyne Stewart, AS XXXVI

For the April Fool’s TankArd

To the fighters of Ardchreag, Greetings,

Our plans to incorporate the flying turtles native to our lands into our fighting force is progressing well. Many test flights have been made, with only a few fatalities. The turtles can fly very swiftly over short distances, or slowly over great. However, once the turtles tire they land and move at a pace slower than their land born relatives. This can be problematic when being chased by knights on horseback.

Feed for the beasts is also a bit problematic, as their number one choice is fresh goblin meat. Goblins are not as numerous in the Cliffs as Trolls or Ogres, and can be hard to find. If on turtleback when they see one however, the turtle becomes unresponsive and will not stop until it has chased down and devoured the beastly thing. Flying turtles will also eat aquatic vegetation, but it must be moist. Turtle Riders must carry a separate bladder of water for the sole purpose of wetting greens before feeding.

In mock battles the turtles handled themselves very well. They have proven quite capable of flying down and grabbing fighters right out of their saddle, as long as their descent is not too steep. Regrettably, Aesop Brown of the Scarlet Bluffs is no longer with us. Even more regrettable is the death of his turtle, who smashed its head into a boulder while swooping after a goblin. The goblin was drawn and quartered for this offense.

Caring for the young flying turtles has been proceeding almost without a problem, under the guidance of the Reptilian Aeronautic Team (or RAT). The young turtles are housed in a domed hut, full of moist sand, with a pool of water in its centre. Perches and treat poles hang from the ceiling. Here the turtles remain until they are three months old, at which time they are the size of large dogs. They are then moved to specially built barns where they will stay unto maturity, at which point they are bigger than horses.

During its youth, the turtle goes through vigorious training where its inborn hostility is curbed (or at least, trained to be unleashed only on certain targets). They get used to being handled and small conscripts (some of Dwarf or Gnome descent) are lucky enough to get to break them in.

Our Flying Turtle Squad was used to good effect in the Ardchreag Rebellion of XXXVI that led to our becoming a Duchy. Soon they will become an integral part of our army.

In Service,

The Knight Marshal