Governor Patrick Kettering has either hatched an incredibly cunning plan, or temporarily taken leave of his senses. He's been seen marching at the head of an Onontakhan delegation - and not any Onontakha, but the very same ophidians who were merrily burning and looting the heartland of the Flembic colony just last season. Some people say that it's part of the same god-bothering nonsense that means Azul-Oso himself gets to station his Turncloak Warband over at Kettering, but at least most of those are Flembic and none of them are snakeys.
Later, you hear the much more ordinary and reassuring news that the good Flembic troops already stationed at Kettering have slaughtered the lot of the Sawnee while they slept in their encampment, thinking they were on the same side as those on watch. Now that's good old-fashioned Flembic revenge, that is - think of all the good men and women the snakes have slaughtered in their beds!
Governor Patrick Kettering, a dashing and well-meaning chap, if caught in a distinctly starry-eyed and idealistic moment;
Chief Standing Crane, a surprisingly okay sort for a snakey, with an equally surprising turn of speed;
Lord Drane Haversham, the Hero of Flambard, although alas not in one of his more swoonworthy moments;
Henry, priest and blessed of the gods, here presented with some distinctly awkward handwringing;
Havelock Fredrickson, bannerman, pistoleer, musketeer, and all-round decent salt-of-the-earth type;
Alexis Weber, War Scout, well-armoured and well-prepared, well, except for this;
Chorus of Angels: the Black Crusader, the Valkyrie, the All-Rounder
Chorus of Flembic Troops: Now with extra Bigotry and Mutual Suspicion! Including two Kamakuran Humans!
Chorus of Unfortunate Snakes: With High Hopes and Distressingly Realistic Entrails!
Act 1: The Triumphant Arrival!
Governor Patrick Kettering enters, stage right, accompanied by Chief Standing Crane and Unfortunate Snakes.
Kettering: Look, my man, Lord Haversham, at what I have brought you!
Haversham: I say, I say, it appears to be green and somewhat scaly.
Kettering: They have come to bravely defend RS2, just as the forces from our greatest enemy came last season. I trust you will accept them?
Flembic Troops: *general muttering*
Haversham: I cannot help but notice, my good Governor, that the forces from 'our greatest enemy' are neither green, nor scaly, nor had they burnt down our actual front garden right in front of us, the season directly proceeding...
Kettering: I'm sure it will all be fine! You will all get along, like good chaps, won't you?
Flembic Troops: *eye each other nervously*
Act 2: The Terrible Betrayal!
Kettering is asleep Stage Centre, in Proper Flembic Nightclothes, as the curtains rise.
Chief Standing Crane enters, stage right.
Chief Standing Crane: Kettering! Kettering! Your men came in the night! They are slaughtering my tribesmen as we speak!
Kettering: What? Huh? Why is there a snake in my tent?
Chief Standing Crane: My people are dying, while you lie there and do nothing! Get up and set this to rights!
Kettering: Oh! You're that snake! And you say the men are killing your snakey brethren, even as we speak? Gosh! We must tell them to stand down at once!
Chief Standing Crane and Kettering exit, hurriedly, stage right.
Act 3: The Dreadful Denoument!
Chief Standing Crane and Ketting enter stage right and look around, frantically; then Flembic Troops enter stage left.
Flembic Troops: And him! Don't let him get away!
Kettering: What? I am your Governor! Explain yourselves!
Lower City Soldier: We have done for them snakey bastards what did all the farms last season, and Lady Harriet Faulconbridge's shrine too, for shame!
Upper City Soldier: And now if you would kindly restrain the snakey gentleman beside you, we will dispense with him also.
Kettering: Where are your commanding officers? This is a disgrace!
Lower City Soldier: We hain't exactly got them involved, like.
Upper City Soldier: Have you seen those god-bothering pillars of piety lately? They would almost certainly say something incredibly tedious, such as, 'the protection of RS2 is more important than your petty everyday grievances against farm-burning scale-faced scum of the Earth'.
Meanwhile, Chief Standing Crane sneaks away.
Lower City Soldier: He's gettin' away! Get 'im, lads!
Chief Standing Crane exits stage right; Flembic Troops follow in hot pursuit, narrowly avoiding Kettering.
Kettering: Oh, what a terrible mess this all is.
Act 4: The Butcher's Bill
Two dead Kamakuran Humans lie centre stage, surrounded by Chorus of Angels, Henry, Havelock, Alexis and Kettering.
Kettering: This really is such a terrible pickle.
Chorus of Angels: Do not concern yourself. These souls have passed into heaven this day.
Kettering: I wonder where poor Chief Standing Crane has got to.
All disperse; Havelock and Alexis carry one Kamakuran Human apiece to stage left and right respectively.
You watch with faint bemusement as Governor Patrick Kettering marches into his eponymous town at the head of an Onontakhan delegation - and not any Onontakha, but the very same ophidians who were merrily burning and looting the heartland of the Flembic colony just last season. Apparently him and Chief Standing Crane have come to an Understanding, but all that the troops already stationed here are Understanding is that they have just received the murdering bastards who tore down Lady Harriet Faulconbridge's memorial shrine on a beautiful cooperation-with-the-natives-over-RS2 shaped platter.
The soldiers are very confused when they get into trouble for slaughtering every last Sawnee they can get their hands on, and maintain that they regret only that Chief Standing Crane got away, and possibly that hurt look on Kettering's face, because he's an alright bloke really, just a little idealistic in places.
Disciplinary Report, compiled by The Viscountess' First of Foot, supposed instigators of The Standing Crane Incident:
We, the undersigned, believe that our commanding officer, Stefano Tito Demeo, would be proud of our actions and commend us for following the expressed will of the Huntress, given the proven and witnessed actions of the Sawnee forces in the preceding season.
As for those who worked with us, we submit that Lysette Cooper's Terino Blues are fresh-faced young men and women who could not be expected to know any better without her guidance; the New Montforte Golemics do exactly what they are instructed, no more and no less, as always; the Expeditionary Forces probably should have known better, but those two poor Kamakuran bastards what got proper shanked were part of them, so best not to speak ill of the dead; some of the New Montforte boys really should have known better, but we got to them through their Malathian comrade what is particularly pissed off on account of no-one giving him a pistol or a decent sword to fight with; the 1st West Colonial Platoon aren't exactly the sharpest tools in the basket yet, and as for the 1st Caldborn Regulars and the 4th Alexandrian Medium Infantry, well, the respected veterans can speak for themselves.
We don't talk about the Turncloak Warband. We especially don't talk about their Merisusi or their Fidelians who are right scary. But we can say for sure they definitely wasn't involved, 'cept maybe for a few that came running to see what was up.
We would like to especially apologise to Alexis Weber and Havelock Fredrickson who we would have liked to include in the plan, as we think they are proper decent sorts, but we thought the risk that Mister Henry would overhear and get Veritas and the No-Fun Squad involved was too great; we would not like to apologise to Lord Drane because we think he should be pretty grateful we left him out of it and gave him plenty of plausible deniability.
(We are also kind of sorry for assuming Svava and Progress are No Fun, because Sho can be a right laugh, but we don't much know them like, and Veritas has kind of a bit of a reputation.)
We do solemnly confirm that we killed every single scaley motherfucker we could get our hands on, except we didn't go after the dracos in the Turncloak Warband because even we have been pretty convinced that would be Bad For Flambard. They called themselves cute names like The Angry Braves and The Naughty Silver Boys and Scout Hunters and The Woodsmen and Tough Uncles and The Keepers of Secrets, but mostly they had bows and we was right on top of them, though a couple turned out to be hiding daggers and little axes and they got the two unlucky kids in Expeditionary Force, Company G, for which we definitely are right sorry.
We are also kind of sorry that Guv'ner Kettering has been pretty down about this whole thing, given he went to the trouble of leading the snakeys here and all, and it would have been an excellent plan if he'd meant us to kill them, and we think he's an okay bloke in general, although he could have done better at not letting Chief Standing Crane get away, which we are also kind of sorry about, by the way.
I am hoping this is an adequate apology and we can go back on full rations and stop cleaning the latrines every day now, but even if it isn't we all totally stand by this and won't budge an inch, it's principles, like.
(There follows some quantity of illegible scrawl as all twenty of The Viscountess' First of Foot have attempted to sign their names, or possibly provide footnotes in the form of crude suggestions about what Kettering might have been doing with the snakes during their journey together.)