Yorkshire's Rifles

The Monastery, Part 7: The Captain's Mission

Captain Yorkshire resumes command and sets out to retrieve the King's silver.

(The players for Sgt. Cole, Pvt. O’Toole and Mr. Giles missed the game, but Captain Yorkshire’s player returned to the action at last.)

In early 1809 Captain Geoffery Yorkshire was a 22-year-old gentleman of rarified background, fine breeding and very little wealth. His older twin brother stood to inherit everything; Geoffery had to estabish himself on his own merits, augmented of course by all the useful contacts and opportunities for education that a wealthy family could provide.

Somewhat to his family’s dismay he set himself on the Army early on. Not the clergy, even when his family engaged him to marry a young lady of a respectable family; nor even the far more respectable Navy; but the Army, a career commanding Redcoats, the scum of the British earth. He had grown up fascinated by war and heroism. He read every book on command, tactics and strategy that he could find. He signed on as an ensign when the Peace of Amiens fell apart in 1803, served in a support company in the Holland war, and was a captain by 1806, purchasing command of a new company of the rapidly expanding 5th Battalion of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot.

It was not a plum assignment. Founded by a Polish nobleman displaced by the wars of the French Revolution, the 5th Battalion had been formed from Hessian and Dutch riflemen and augmented over the years with other refugees, mainly French light troops who had surrendered and asked to serve Britain instead of rotting in prison hulks. The 5th/60th fought in Ireland to quell the 1798 rebellion, then spent years wasting away in the disease-ridden West Indies. When it was brought back to England in 1805 for recruiting, it needed 866 men and officers to meet regulation battalion strength of about 1,000 men; it was down to skeletons.

Recruiting for a battalion with that history meant scraping the dregs. Its leaders schemed, cajoled and pleaded for sturdy German light troops, but the administration at Horse Guards refused, claiming all Germans must go to the King’s German Legion. So the 5th/60th took on French prisoners of war and British men who could be trained to aim a rifle but were not much wanted, for whatever reason, elsewhere in the King’s army. The scum of the earth, indeed.

Captain Yorkshire, aided by his own contacts and a military reputation not yet distinguished by heroics but at least not marred by any horrible failings, managed to recruit mainly British soldiers into his own company. That meant he had slightly less fear of wholesale desertion when the Battalion went to war.

That strategy served him well. The 5th/60th was the first unit ashore when the army landed in Portugal in 1808. It saw action immediately. And its French troops immediately began to vanish into the countryside. Where two men might have fallen in a skirmish with the French, two dozen went missing. The battalion as a whole was covering itself in infamy; but Yorkshire’s company kept itself in good order in the battle at Rolica and his men performed heroically at Viermo.

The 5th/60th was soon broken up into detachments, the ultimate ignomy, each company sent to augment the light troops of some other, more reliable regiment. Even then, Yorkshire’s men held together and performed their duty.

When Sir John Moore took command of the army in Portugal and was ordered to march into Spain, he sent most of the companies of 5th/60th to occupy Portugal garrisons. To save face, the battalion commander asked permission to send a few detached companies, the ones with the best records, on with the army. Moore acquiesced. Yorkshire’s company was one of those.

Then Napoleon himself led a massive French army over the Pyrenees into Spain and Moore was forced to begin a horrendous retreat through the frozen mountains to the sea at Corunna. Yorkshire’s company was one of the few that kept itself in good order even then.

So in January 1809, Captain Geoffery Yorkshire had overcome the challenges of taking command in an infamous regiment and of seeing that regiment fall apart around him. He had forged a company that performed with a reasonable degree of honor compared to those that surrounded it.

And, most recently, at the height of a crisis, he had fallen from a captured French horse, knocked himself upon the head, and spend days in and out of unconsciousness and delirium, just this side of an ignomious death.

Distant Thunder

At some point on January 13, none could say exactly when, Yorkshire drifted from unhealthy coma, barely alive, to a stunningly deep, healing sleep. He awakened from it, bleary and weak, not to the sound of hundreds of muskets firing nearby but to Spanish voices shouting, angry and excited, and even nearer. It took him some time to get his bearings.

Yorkshire was in a thick pile of shivering, feverish men and women upon a single wagon, the company’s sick wagon, meant for those too badly hurt or too ill to walk. Another wagon a few yards away carried the company’s meager supplies.

The company itself—now more like an abbreviated battalion in its own right—was scattered. His Riflemen were up ahead in the fog and snow, running among tall rocks and stunted trees on either side of a ravine road, regrouping hurriedly after a fight with cavalry.

Two companies’ worth of British Redcoats, most of them unarmed, were marching up one side of the ravine to the right, advancing into a position of Spanish irregulars who soon scattered before the Redcoats’ uphill charge.

More Spanish irregulars were overhead on the ravine’s left, no longer firing as actively as they had when the Redcoats were at the bottom of the ravine. They withdrew and vanished into the hills.

And the Spanish horsemen who had been fighting the Rifles? Surrounding the wagons, riding in disorder, many of them bloody and breathless, including their captain. They grabbed the horses that drew the supply wagon and pulled them along. The Rifles began to fire upon them, but soon they had drawn the British supply wagon with them around a bend in the ravine road and out of sight.

Over the next hour the British regrouped and tended to their wounded, and Yorkshire ate all the horsemeat stew he could stomach.

The Riflemen rejoiced to see their captain back among the living.

Yorkshire’s company was in rough shape. Two of its three officers were wounded — only Ensign Richter had not yet been hurt — but that wasn’t the heart of it; Smithwick’s injuries from his duel with Lt. Leveque were not as severe as anyone had thought, and Yorkshire was pretty well healed if famished. The real trouble was that of 66 enlisted men and sergeants, 27 were wounded, some of them badly. They had lost seven men killed over the last four days.

The ad hoc half-battalion of Redcoats with them had eight dead and dozens wounded just from the morning’s ambush by the Spaniards. They piled the worst onto the overburdened Sick Wagon and the rest would have to limp along.

Lt. Smithwick had held the men together admirably well so far, much better than Yorkshire had privately expected — the ridiculous duel had been a disastrous error in judgment but here the Rifles and Redcoats were, days later. But Yorkshire knew he had a lot of ground to make up. And he could not allow the King’s silver that his men had fought so hard to carry back to England be spirited away by brigands. Particularly since the brigands were positively in league with the French.

He consulted with Smithwick, Richter and Ensign Flagstaff. A few of the Rifles were near enough to overhear, but that was no concern. Yorkshire heard reports, then laid out his intentions. Richter and Flagstaff must take charge of the battalion for a time in the name of Major Higgins, who against all odds was still alive and improving if not yet steady enough to command. They would take most of the Rifles with them to help keep up the pace and keep the assortment of Redcoats in line. Richter would command as the senior ensign. They would have a number of good sergeants to aid them, including Cole if he recovered from his wound. They would have several of the friendly Spaniards as guides. They must keep marching, day and night, and reach Corunna.

Yorkshire and Smithwick would take a dozen men and a handful of the Spaniards, retrieve the King’s silver and rejoin the battalion on the road.

They gathered the healthiest of the remaining horses. That’s not saying much; the horses had been starving for days. The weakest had been slaughtered for the cook fires each morning and night. Those that were left were unhappy animals. But Yorkshire’s men took the best of them.

As they saddled up, the strangest thing happened. From the west, from the direction of Corunna and the sea, came a distinct low rumbling unlike anything any of them had heard before. Something like thunder but deeper and broader; something like an explosion but more diffuse, as if it came from far away but had the incaclulable force to be heard over so many miles. No one knew what it was.

But the men muttered that it did not bode well for Corunna as they began to march toward it again.

Yorkshire and his chosen men rode east, back the way they had come, in pursuit of Iago Cervino.

In Pursuit

(Yorkshire’s player and I worked out his current personal mission, since he’d been gone when the other players decided on theirs. He wanted to improve Yorkshire’s skill as a soldier; he had plenty of talent as a leader but not as much as he could wish in the regulations, traditions and practicalities of soldiering. So his personal mission was to live up to the men’s expectations of him and prove himself a dependable commander in and out of combat. The reward for success would be +2 Soldiering. The penalty for failure would be having his Institutional Reputation with the Regiment (“Beloved by the Regiment”) Maimed. We didn’t work out his four Challenges in detail in advance, but we decided one of them would likely be reestablishing his bond with the men and another wound be imposing discipline correctly in an unpleasant situation. He wanted the final one to be a combat test using his impressive Command skill.)

(Next I worked out with the players the current military mission, retrieving the silver from Iago Cervino. Because the players had been unfamiliar with the Duty & Honour rules and with the genre, up until now I had been doing most of the work on putting together the military missions myself. But they had enough play under their belts that I wanted to build the next mission by the book, which is to say, to get as much input from the players as possible and create the challenges incorporating the kinds of scenes and action they envisioned. I drew up a list of types of scenes and environments, some from my own ideas and some from the players: hills, woods, a village, mountain hideouts, a ruined fort, scouting, sneaking, a fight, a hurried escape. From that I put together a four-Challenge mission: Scouting through the hills with the aid of the Spaniards and following Cervino’s trail through a village to an old abandoned hill fort; getting into the hideout by stealth; fighting the bandits and seizing the silver; and escaping into the hills. The deadline would be four failed attempts, beyond which Cervino would be long gone. The rewards for success and penalties for failure I would tailor to each player character when the time came.)

Yorkshire’s party included Smithwick, private Southgate, private Jones, a Rifles sergeant, seven other Riflemen, Luis Raimundez, Uxia Maria Raimundez, and four other Spaniards.

The Spaniards said the Cervinos had a number of possible hide-outs in the region, but most of the villages were friendly to the Raimundez faction and wouldn’t give Iago much help. If they could find a village where Iago and his guerilleros had passed through, that might point to whichever hideout they meant to use; Iago was hurt and wouldn’t care to spend days riding back to friendlier regions without tending his wounds first.

Jones, an old hand with tracking and woods work, led the way with the Spaniards as guides.

(I gave each player a chance to attempt one challenge — for a personal mission, for repairing health or a Reputation, whatever — before we attempted the first group Challenge for the mission. Jones wanted to combine his test in the military Challenge to also be one for his personal mission, so I said we’d handle that after the others’ personal stuff.)

As they rode, Yorkshire spent time chatting with Jones and the other Rifles about the past few days, about riding, about scouting, ambushes. In most situations those would be awkward conversations, and perhaps demoralizing if it seemed the officer was so weak that he needed to curry favor from his subordinates. But the men loved Yorkshire and were pleased to see him up and about, and it all seemed perfectly right.

(That was the first Challenge of Yorkshire’s personal mission, a Courtesy test to bond with the men. Success.)

Smithwick spent the afternoon trying to talk to Uxia Maria Raimundez, plying her good will with claims of his dream of settling down, starting a family, and raising his little ones in the Catholic Church like proper Christians. She scoffed and stood him off. Perhaps it didn’t help that the nearest Rifles couldn’t help but stifle laughter at hearing all this from Smithwick, notorious first as a womanizer and only slightly second as an anti-Papist.

(Smithwick attempted again to repair his Reputation with Maria with a Courtesy test. Another failure.)

Southgate disliked horses and disliked riding, but even more he disliked the fact that in the fight with the Spaniards that morning the Rifles around him had been handled very roughly. He had killed a Spaniard with a rifle shot in the opening volley and wounded a few Spaniards with his heavy Indian sword, but he had a reputation to uphold for being the most dangerous man in the company — and one the others could count on in a scrap. They went over the battle and compared stories, and Southgate came out of it looking like the man who had kept the enemy at bay when those around him had to run.

(Southgate attempted a Diplomacy test to repair his Institutional Reputation as “the hard man of the Regiment.” He has nil for Diplomacy, but with luck he succeeded anyway!)

The morning turned to afternoon and the sun soon drifted out of sight over the mountains behind them. Jones and Southgate kept their eyes on the trail left by the Spaniards — not hard to follow at first, but gradually snow melted and new snow fell and the new ruts blended in to older ones.

(A Soldiering test by Jones, assisted by Southgate for bonus cards. Critical Success. That counted as two successes in the first round-robin noncombat “skirmish” challenge of the current military mission, tracking down the Spanish bandits. It also counted as a success in Jones’ personal mission, which is to become a better soldier in spite of himself.)

Smithwick tried to anticipate possible trails and ambush sites — “think like a bandit,” he told himself, and he consulted with the Spaniards as well. It passed the time but didn’t add much to the job.

(Smithwick’s contribution to the noncombat skirmish challenge, a failed Intrigue test.)

Nevertheless, they soon found themselves staring down a hillside at a tiny village, in the middle of which sat their battered stolen wagon, its pouches of precious silver gone. They rode down to talk to the villagers, who said Cervino and his men had ridden in a few hours before, stolen every scrap of food and liquor, and ridden off again. The villagers pointed to the north.

(Yorkshire made the final test of the skirmish Challenge, a Command test to see if they succeeded, with +2 cards for successes by Southgate and Jones and –1 card for Smithwick’s failure. Success.)

Luis Raimundez nodded on hearing the news. There was an old, old castle up there a few miles away, mostly ruins, which had once overlooked a vital crossroads in the days of war with the Moors but had since fallen into disrepair and uselessness.

They followed a main road most of the way, then took another trail to approach the fort from the side. They halted on the hillside just out of sight of the fort as night began to fall.

Rifles and Horsemen

The fort itself once was tall and proud, a single tower built against the mountainside, surrounded by an outer wall and a little courtyard. But it had collapsed and now only the basement and the first floor were still habitable. The British and the Spaniards could see the light of fires inside and thin columns of smoke rising. A pair of sentries could sometimes be seen on the outer wall.

With no cannons to batter the walls, they had to gain access somehow. Through telescopes they could see one corner of the outer wall was rubble, with enough of a gap that they could climb through if they could get there unseen.

Southgate volunteered to sneak in. Smithwick and Yorkshire agreed, and Smithwick pointed out a couple of good approaches based on the timing of the sentries’ rounds. Southgate left his rifle with Jones, tucked his Indian sword in a bundle and set out.

In the village Southgate had traded for an old peasant cloak and tunic. In fact he had suggested that the whole group of them forego uniforms so they could go about without attracting so much attention, but Yorkshire had categorically refused to allow any of the men to go out of uniform. When Southgate was out of sight of the group, he shifted into his Spanish peasant clothes, figuring that if he was spotted he could pretend to be a lost shepherd and so distract the guards.

One of the sentries on the wall heard Southgate stumble on rocks and spotted him moving around in the darkness. He called down a challenge. Southgate knew no Spanish, so he shouted gibberish and started making his way toward the front gate. He didn’t get too close, but he made a lot of noise and acted angry, playing the part of a peasant whose goats had been stolen for Cervino’s cook fires. The sentries shouted angrily at him. He shouted angrily back.

(This was another noncombat skirmish challenge for the military mission. Southgate attempted Skulduggery to sneak into the fort and open its front gate; Smithwick gave him bonus cards using Intrigue. That gave Southgate a very sturdy 10 cards, and I called it a typically challenging job with only 5 cards in the Hand of Fate — but Southgate drew awful cards and failed.)

Yorkshire had the men set out while Southgate provided his distraction. Luis Raimundez and another Spaniard came along; the rest stayed with the horses and backpacks.

Jones kept a careful watch on the fort and the sentries so they could time their move perfectly.

Yorkshire had a word with Raimundez to make sure his resolve and his confidence in the British stayed strong. Yorkshire reminded him that even though the British were retreating now, they would return soon with an even stronger army to push Napoleon out of Spain, even if it took years. Friendship between their generals and leaders such as Raimundez would be crucial.

(A Perfect Success at Awareness for Jones and a Success at Coutesy for Yorkshire.)

Then they set out, moving as quickly as stealth would allow. They made good time; Yorkshire led the way and set the right pace. From the front of the fort they heard the sentries, now all gathered there, fire a musket shot at Southgate and laugh, then another; thankfully the distance and darkness were too great for them to have much of a chance of hitting. Yorkshire reached the wall, then led the way through the gap into the courtyard, just around the corner from the tower’s front door.

(Yorkshire’s Command test to see if the overall Challenge would succeed, with +2 cards for his success and Jones’ and –2 for Southgate’s failure and Smithwick’s, since Smithwick was assisting Southgate. Yorkshire drew one Critical Success and one Success to beat the Hand of Fate’s two Successes.)

As the men lined up behind Yorkshire they heard a Spaniard come out the front door to yell at the sentries, castigating them for wasting ammunition and making so much noise. Then Southgate began making himself even more obnoxious, taunting the men, waving his big sword like a lunatic. Even the man who had come to impose discipline couldn’t resist. He had the guards open the portcullis and the four of them ran out meaning to fetch the ridiculous peasant and teach him a lesson. Southgate led them on a chase in the dark.

(The next group Challenge began. This was a combat skirmish, but I let Southgate contribute with an Intimidation test rather than fighting. He drew a Perfect Success and three Successes, so with a draw that good I had all the sentries hare off after him.)

This was the best chance Yorkshire and his men would have. They ran around the corner and one of them flipped the lever so the portcullis slammed closed again while the rest swarmed in the tower’s front door.

The tower’s ground floor was one main hall with several little rooms or closets off of it. In the main hall eight Spaniards were lazing around a large fire where a goat and sizzled and a soup-pot bubbled. They sprang up in alarm and went for swords and pistols.

The British fired their rifles and charged in with sword bayonets. It was a short, brutal exchange between the Spaniards and the foremost of the British while the rest of the British rushed in.

Jones wounded a Spaniard with a Rifle shot and then took a sword thrust and went down.

(Jones drew two Successes against the Spaniards’ two Critical Successes and one Success; he lost the exchange and became Maimed.)

Smithwick felled a man with his pistol and then took a deep cut in his leg before other Riflemen pushed his assailants off.

(Smithwick drew a Critical and two Successes versus one Success. He won and Maimed a Spaniard but was Injured himself.)

Yorkshire shot a man down with a rifle—ordinarily he carried a sword and pistol, but today he carried a rifle too—then warded off the Spaniards with it while his men rushed in.

(Yorkshire drew two Successes against none for the Spaniards, so he luckily came through unhurt.)

One other Rifleman was hurt in the affray but not badly; seven of the eight Spaniards were hurt or killed and the last threw up his hands in surrender.

(Yorkshire’s Command test for victory or defeat in the skirmish, with +3 cards for his, Southgate’s and Smithwick’s successes and –1 for Jones’ failure. Since this represented the other dozen or so British I had each card that Yorkshire drew and they drew count as a hit. He drew one Critical and three Successes and they drew one Success; one Spaniard Maimed and three Injured to one British Injured.)

But that was merely the first part of Cervino’s men. Through gunshot-deafened ears the British heard shouts of alarm upstairs as they reloaded, set men on the prisoners, checked the other rooms, and arrayed themselves to watch the staircase.

Southgate appeared in the front door in his peasant garb. His four pursuers rushed in after him and were taken prisoner.

Jones pushed through his agony to keep alert, but he was unsteady on his feet. He kept his rifle trained on the stairs as Yorkshire signaled the others to prepare to advance.

(Jones had to make a Discipline test to keep functioning despite being Maimed. He passed.)

A Spaniard appeared at the head of the stairs, leaning his head into view long enough to see what was happening. Jones fired and his rifle ball grazed the man’s head and sent him stumbling back out of sight with a yell.

(A Success for Jones in the second skirmish. I let this apply toward the skirmish’s success even though Jones wasn’t wading into battle.)

Yorkshire shouted and charged. He was the first up the stairs and onto the upper floor, where Iago Cervino and another eighteen Spaniards were arming themselves in confusion and alarm in a smaller main hall and a number of makeshift bedrooms. Yorkshire fired; a man went down; the other Rifles came screaming up the stairs, firing through the smoke and charging forward.

(Yorkshire again drew two Successes against none for the Spaniards; again he came through intact against the odds.)

Smithwick carried a pistol in each hand. He fired at close range and missed. The Spaniard lunged forward and ran him through the same leg that had taken a sword a few minutes before. Smithwick’s other pistol fired and he and the Spaniard both dropped.

(Three Successes for Smithwick versus two; he took another Injured result which left him Maimed.)

Southgate rushed in and broke up a clump of Spaniards. A pistol ball hit his side and he brought his huge Indian executioner’s sword down in a horrifying smashing blow that split a Spaniard’s head down the middle.

(A Perfect Success for Southgate versus one Success. He killed a Spaniard outright and became Injured.)

Sergeant Ross and another Rifleman were wounded but the Spanish fell back, bewildered by the rush of the British attack, until five more of them had fallen and the rest were pressed against the far walls. Iago cried out for quarter and Yorkshire called the cease-fire.

(The Command test to win the skirmish, Yorkshire against Cervino. Cervino drew a respectable six cards if I remember right. Yorkshire — with his high skill, four successes in the skirmish, one bonus card for his Student of War trait, and +4 for his “Beloved by the Regiement” Reputation — drew a jaw-dropping 18 cards! He drew five Successes to Cervino’s two, and Cervino could count himself lucky to get off that easy.)

The Ride Back

The Riflemen seized all the Spaniards’ precious shoes, boots, hats, cloaks and food to take back to the company.

Luis Raimundez and Iago Cervino had some heated words. Luis accused Iago of being a traitor to Spain. Iago said to love Spain was not to love every corrupt ruler of Spain, and even the puppet King Joseph installed by his brother Napoleon had been more just and effective in a few short months than had past regimes. If Cervino were healthier they might have come to blows then and there.

The Riflemen found the King’s silver upstairs among Cervino’s things.

Southgate helped see to the wounded; he bound up Jones’ side and Jones began to feel much stronger. He did the same for Smithwick’s leg but not as well. (Perhaps no surprise; there was no love lost between Southgate and the former provost officer.)

(First Aid tests by Southgate. He succeeded with Jones but not Smithwick.)

Yorkshire and his men locked the Spaniards in the tower, led their horses away, and closed the portcullis behind them for good measure. They figured Cervino’s men would break free sooner or later but hoped to slow them down. They divided the silver and loot among the horses and prepared to set off. The Spanish horses were much healthier than the French ones that had been starving for days.

(This was about to be the final group Challenge of the military mission: Escaping the rest of the hostile guerilleros and catching up with the company. But first I gave them another opportunity to pursue their own interests over the next couple of hours.)

Before they started riding, Yorkshire’s first point of order was to take Southgate to task for being out of uniform. He knew he had to walk a fine line since he didn’t really care to have Southgate on charges that would get him a flogging but he’d plainly told the men earlier to stay in uniform. He rattled off regulations and tradition. Southgate stared back, wholly unimpressed. Eventually Yorkshire’s tirade lost its momentum. He closed it off with something other than eloquence and finally told the men to ride out.

(Yorkshire was attempting the second Challenge in his personal mission, a Soldiering test to impose discipline. Southgate opposed it with his Intimidation skill. Yorkshire added 4 cards for his “Beloved by the Regiment” Reputation and Southgate added 2 for his “Hard Man of the Regiment” Reputation and 2 more for his bloody Indian executioner’s sword, which boosts his Intimidation. Yorkshire drew 2 Successes; Southgate drew one Success and two Perfect Successes! That left Yorkshire’s Reputation Injured. His Challenge failed.)

During the ride Smithwick could barely keep upright on his Spanish horse. Southgate and Jones tried to keep his wounds bound and keep him from bleeding — Southgate muttered to Smithwick that he’d do a favor now by keeping him alive in return for a favor later from the lieutenant — but he remained nearly incapacitated by pain and loss of blood. He did find enough strength to smile through the pain as Uxia Maria Raimundez came to see how he was. They didn’t talk much, but she became a touch more sympathetic and cheering.

(Southgate attempted First Aid with a bonus card from Jones, but it failed. However, Smithwick’s Courtesy test to repair his Reputation with Maria finally succeeded!)

Jones, Southgate and the Spaniards led the way again, with Jones finding his way by dead reckoning, following the stars when they showed through the winter clouds, and Southgate keeping an eye and ear open for possible ambush spots. Smithwick moaned and struggled to keep his saddle, slowing their progress. Yorkshire struggled to keep the pace as steady and quick as they could manage and consulted with the Spaniards to avoid the most likely hiding spots of the guerilleros who had helped Cervino before.

They rode on through the night, through ravines and trails that they hadn’t followed earlier, but despite the darkness, the cold, wounds, exhaustion and unfamiliar horses, they found themselves back on the road.

(Yorkshire made an initial Command test and succeeded. Jones attempted a Soldiering test assisted by Southgate, with bonus Discipline cards from Yorkshire; two Perfect Successes and three Successes! Smithwick had to attempt a Guts test to even try to contribute to the group challenge. He failed. Yorkshire’s final overall Command test was at +3 cards for the successes and -1 for Smithwick’s failure for a net 12 cards. The Hand of Fate drew nine cards in opposition considering the darkness, their hurry, the weather and the horses. Yorkshire nevertheless drew one Critical Success and three Successes versus a mere three Successes. That meant success at the final Challenge of the mission, which in turn meant success for the mission overall. As rewards, Jones and Yorkshire each gained +2 Soldiering. Smithwick took another +2 with his Personal Reputation with Maria Raimundez, which brings it up to +4 even though it’s presently Injured. Southgate gained +1 to Soldiering and +1 to his Reputation as the hard man of the Regiment.)

A scant few hours later the Riflemen and Redcoats of their makeshift column cheered to see them return.

Now they faced the last range of Galician mountains between them and the sea, miles away. The sun would rise soon. With it, January 14 would begin — the date that Sir John had set for the British army’s embarkation from Spain.

The Spaniards said Yorkshire’s march still had days to go.

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