Monday, November 19, 2007

So-called Light Troops

There has been considerable buzz in the cafes about "light" troops. According to rumor, these are either troops made out of light, perhaps the mysterious "eighth ray", or some such. Others think they are soldiers who weigh less than other soldiers, and thus cost less to feed or clothe. Finally, though, word has come from the Elector's Palace describing these "light" troops.

Light troops are soldiers who are used for outposting, scouting, and raiding, much like our dragoon squadrons are today. However the term appears to come from the weight of the horses they ride (less than those in the regiments of horse), and for their habit of having "light" fingers, and snatching up everything that isn't nailed down (Count Furioso has noted that most light troops have clawed hammers for those things that are nailed down).

The Elector appointed a panel of experts to study the subject, and they concluded that there might be a use for such "light" troops, but only if they refrain from looting. The Colonel-General of Dragoons has also studied such troops independently, and concluded that their use would be similar to the already well-equipped and well-trained dragoon regiments. Why, he asked, should we duplicate something that already exists?

This valid point was not lost on the Elector. Apparently he modeled the uniform, and found it less utilitarian than gaudy. It consists of tight breeches--the ladies would like that--a tight dolman or tunic with braiding across the chest, a half-jacket that hangs from the shoulder but is insufficient in size for the trooper to close it, and a hat that looks like an inverted flower pot.

The soliders who viewed this were not impressed (and neither were the generals). It reminded some of Zirconi the circus rider, only twice as gaudy.

After much deliberation the decision was made to raise another brigade of dragoons instead.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

St. Mary's

...and of course no visit to Ober-Bindlestiff would be complete without a visit to St. Mary's.

St. Mary's is an old and venerable institution in Ober-Bindlestiff, predating the actual formation of the country. Where monasteries devote themselves to beer, St. Mary's is involved in other things that bring pleasure, all of them quite open and aboveboard, and not involving anything even suggestive of carnal sins or carnal pleasures.

Spokesperson for St. Mary's, Sister Mary Margarita, put it best when she said, "There are a lot of things you a visitor to our halls do, our chapter has devoted itself to one of the more harmless ones."

Echoing her are other sisters of the Order. "Even the most impoverished nobleman, or even those of modest upbringing and means, can stop in our sacred lounge and have a few," Sister Mary GinFizz said. "We provide a restful atmosphere from the cares of the world," Sister Mary Vodka Martini said. "We've decorated with everything a discerning patron could want."

Unlike some other establishments, St. Mary's caters to both genders. At first they kept separate rooms, the women on one side, the men on the other. But in the last few years, with a bow to modern principles, they have allowed the genders to mix. Sister Mary Whiskey Rocks put it best when she said, "It's the natural order of things, and provided they behave themselves, who are we to criticize?"

The Order of St. Mary's of the Lounge was founded in the late 1500s, but really did not flourish until the 1680s. In 1681 the Mother Superior of the Order, Mother Mary Scotch and Soda, discerned a need to end the public drunkeness so rampant in the city. Her Order had produced mixed drinks for over a century, but she helped set up a lounge, complete with ferns and a harpsichord player in the corner. Aware of the needs of a modern gentleman in that bygone era, she even provided a dueling ground to handle any untoward disturbances.

This dueling ground is still in operation, but things have changed with the times. No longer do participants duel to the death. Instead honor is deemed satisfied with first blood. And Sister Mary Menopause, who is noted for her ill-temper, enforces the rules.

Those seeking more carnal pleasures are directed down the street to the Convent of Our Lady of the Night St. Jezebel, which is under the control of Mother Superior Lilly Marlene. Others, who find they cannot navigate the streets of the town due to having imbibed a large amount of spirits, are escorted across the street to the Monastery of St. Ignacius of the Flophouse, where they can be put up for the night.

Let it not be said that St. Mary's shies away from those who wish to merely make a purchase and leave. Many orders are fulfilled to speed people on their way into the evening. The Order has many arrangements with the Yellow Cartage Company to see people home. Truly, what other Order is so thoughtful.

So the next time you are in town, be sure to stop in at St. Mary's. It will truly be a night you may even remember the next morning!