Monday, 31 October 2016


As the citizens of Mittelheim endure once again the dire vicissitudes of war, a fearful new threat is about to hove into view.

From their moorings in the pirate towns of North Africa comes a squadron of the feared pirates of the Burberry Coast. Their leader is the famed corsair  Amir Rhodri Pasha; known to some because of his constant alertness as 'Amir Kat;' and to others, because of his almost magical ability to survive injury, as 'Amir Fleshwound.' This Burberry Amir actually began his life as one Rhodri Barrabrith of Borth in Wales. After years spent in New Mittelheim fashioning the Welsh colony of Nova Cambria, Barrabrith was unlucky enough to be aboard a small merchant vessel, the Felinfoel, when it was captured by a Burberry vessel off Madeira two years ago .

Barrabrith was nervous, having heard tales of the application by the pirates of the most innovative forms of torture in order to encourage their captives to 'turn Turk' and renounce their faith. Barrabrith held out perfectly well whilst he was asleep, but then gave in when his captors woke him and gave him a particularly threatening: 'Good morning, fellow -  would you like some breakfast?' Keen to impress his new captors, Barrabrith also briefly embraced Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism just so that he could renounce them as well and become Muslim more often. Being then a free man, Barrabrith volunteered to crew one of the many pirate ships, attracted by a life that offered freedom, adventure, and a legitimate opportunity to drink his own urine. Now in command of his own small squadron of ships, the Welsh Amir has led them northwards on a voyage of fighting, plunder, and lavish facial hair with the aim of sacking 'the Constantinople of the North,' the English town of Grimsby.

Sadly for Amir Rhodri, the voyage thus far has produced slim pickings. They landed for a short while in Iceland, but were driven off in some disorder by the local cuisine. One key lesson for the inexperienced pirates seemed to that the phrase 'it's an acquired taste' should actually be taken as some kind of death threat. To be fair, as the Amir himself accepted, if one found a shark lying around on a beach then one would probably bury it. But what seemed less explicable was why one would dig up again later and try and eat it. Perhaps the locals hated their noses, Amir Rodri had mused. Or perhaps it might have been a desire to try and end it all, perhaps as a result of depression occasioned by the grim, dark, freezing environment in which the local population existed. But then again, if ghastly surroundings led one to eat decomposing aquatic predators, they'd be gobbling sharks down by the shovel-full in Grimsby. Indeed, Grimsby itself they didn't bother landing at. A quick look through his telescope told the Amir that it had probably already been sacked, burnt, ploughed with salt, burnt, and then piddled on. Whatever remained was a gloomy, benighted land suitable for living in only if one could build oneself some kind of black tower, command evil minions, and manufacture magical jewelry.

Finally, after a voyage duller than a Trappist singalong, fate has brought the Burberry pirates to the coasts of Mittelheim. Amir Rhodri stands on the upper deck of his  vessel. With the prospect of land-fall and some proper raiding, his spirits are restored. He turns to his second-in-command, Kujuk Huseyin:
'Rejoice, Huseyin! For here we are, prowling this freezing ocean for  infidels like a pair of sharks!'
Huseyin nods miserably. 'There aren't really any dangerous sharks in the Baltic, Dread Lord.'
'Really?' says the Amir. 'Well, then we are a pair of dangerous whales, waiting to tear apart any infidel prey that dares to cross our path!'
'Hmm, no, my Lord,' replies Huseyin, 'the whales in this sea don't really have any teeth.'
The Amir frowns. 'Well how do they eat things, then?'
Huseyin shrugs. 'I think that they sort of ... suck things in. They have huge mouths.'
'They suck things to death?' says the Amir, eyeing the surrounding water with trepidation. 'Harsh.'

'Land ho!' comes a voice from the front of the ship.
Excitedly, the Amir squints through the murky gloom of the morning towards a smear of land on the horizon.
Huseyin consults a chart. 'Mittelheim, my Lord. Notionally, these lands are said to be at war.'
'Notionally?' asks the Amir.
'Yes Dread Lord - apparently they are either at war, or the lands have been overrun by some particularly unconvincing travelling circuses.'
Amir Rhodri frowns: 'How will we know?'
'If it's war then the costumes will be sillier. Apparently we are now approaching the coast of a place called "Rotenburg".'
'How bad is it'?
'Apparently, my Lord, it's an acquired taste.'
The Amir sighs. 'So it's really that bad, then.'


  1. I like the ships where did you get them?

    1. Hi Adam,

      They were from a pirate game that I bought from ebay for a song. I did a small amount of conversion (new masts, bowsprit, and a bit of clipping here and there) and then painted them up. Amongst the other stuff that came in the game there was also a tower which painted up nicely; and also about a dozen plastic cannon which, although they were too big for the ships, work well as fortress cannon once the carriages are painted.

  2. Ah Mercy! Another plague and pestilence to afflict the good people of Mittelheim....(At least they landed near Rotenburg and not on the Nabstrian coast)

  3. Oh, and the ships are from the Pressman 'Weapons and Warriors' Pirate set...good if you can still get your hands on a set.