Battle of Little Happens
The Constable was worried as he sat astride his mount in obvious discomfort. Anxiety gnawed at the pit of his stomach as he wriggled about in his saddle before releasing a loud fart. ‘Prunesquallor!’, he yelled to summon the Army Physician. One of the good Doctor’s tonics would put him right, he was sure. Unfortunately, no elixir or balsam could cure the Constable of his present melancholia. No, the root of the problem was that he had been let down and was forced to fight yet another defensive battle. This time it had naught to do with Master Barquentine; although, Lord knows, he could happily strangle the foolish one-legged dwarf and burn his precious book. No, this time, he had been let down by the Ministry of Intelligence or ‘the Carnival’ as it was known colloquially. Perchance it was his own fault, he mused, and perhaps he should never have agreed to employ their foremost spy, Master Georges Grynne. The spy was a peculiar fellow; fat and owlish he had the annoying habit of continually cleaning the end of his eyeglass on his cravat. As was typical of his sort, he spoke with a peculiar turn of phrase replete with idiomata particular to his profession. Despite Grynne’s talk of dead letterboxes, honey traps and ju-ju men, the Constable was given to understand that the Covonians were NOT on a war footing, did NOT have an army on the frontier and certainly were NOT planning to invade Gormenghast. Yet there they were; an army of the ‘Gobbers and Hocklers’ encamped before them on the Plains before the tiny hamlet of ‘Little Happens’.
With a heavy heart the Constable arrayed his forces. The hamlet, and a small wood to its rear, gave the Constable somewhere to anchor his left flank, releasing his small cavalry force to cover his open right flank; by God he would not be caught out again. Uncalled images of ‘Notspokenof’ flittered annoyingly through his head as he deployed about half his infantry in two lines, to the right of the hamlet, with the remainder in columns to the rear. With his dispositions finalised the Constable could do naught but await his foe.
The wait was mercifully short as the Covonians advanced into sight with uncharacteristic speed. The Constable scrutinised the Covonian march with bemused bewilderment; ‘they’re doing it all wrong’, he muttered to no-one in particular. Indeed, the Covonians were advancing with individual battalions in parallel columns and were obviously struggling to keep station and allow enough room to deploy into line.
The Constable dismissed any lingering doubts concerning the threat from the Covonian infantry and turned his attention to their cavalry. To his consternation, it was obvious that they had employed mercenary cavalry for this engagement and had massed their whole mounted force on their left flank. Once again unbidden images of ‘Notspokenof’ flittered through his head. ‘Steady man, steady’, he muttered to himself, as he wiped sweat from his brow and expelled another enormous fart. Still the Covonians advanced, yet the Constable did naught, biding his time.
Eventually, the Covonians reached volley range of his infantry line and advanced with a strong body of horse on their flank. ‘By God, that will do’, cried the Constable and launched his cavalry and infantry reserve forward in a fine display of Coordinated Manoeuvre. Within moments, the Gormenghastian horse were facing off their opposite numbers whilst columns of infantry deployed into line threatening the Covonian flank.
Several rounds of Lethal Volleys later and a regiment of Covonian horse and several infantry battalions had been destroyed. At this the ‘Grand Hockler’ himself galloped forward offering his surrender. The Constable was only too pleased to accept, doffed his fine cocked hat and with the expulsion a final flatulent effusion the battle was over.