|waterfront at Albadar|
The Gambian Odyssey continues unabated. Running low on all sorts of supplies Captain Marshall of Honest Seaman has been sent to Albadar, the Couronian trading post to gather intel, supplies and collect Doctor Mautrin, Rupert's personal physician. Things go awry when his shore parties clash with locals, the French privateers and discover Mautrin and eight of the ship's company are missing.
Here is an extract from the history of the campaign
By mid-morning on March 11th, Marshall became aware that a party of his men had gone missing ashore and of an incident at the quayside during which Frenchmen had thrown night soil at his men resulting in a brawl. Having completed his business with the Couronians, he sent word to the ship to dispatch a reinforcing party whilst he split his detachment to search for the missing men and in particular, the doctor Stephen Mautrin whose services were sorely needed at the careenage. During the search they encountered various groups including a band of Mandinkan warriors on the outskirts of the settlement, but none would admit to knowing anything about the whereabouts of the missing Englishmen. Mautrin was already well known despite only having been in town for a few days. A man
of habit, he had taken to a regular table at the largest tavern, frequent visits to a popular bawdy house and dining with the Couronian comptroller Valdis Liepins on more than one occasion. His vanishing was the subject of some idle gossip but most who knew of him had assumed he was back aboard ship. Marshall’s men became less circumspect as the fruitless search continued. This was doubtless an indication of their frustration, the heat and being subjected to abuse by local urchins paid pennies by the French privateers to antagonize the arrogant Anglais. An awkward public confrontation with Verot during which he was all but accused by Marshall of abducting the doctor was abruptly cut short when a drunken mob spilled out of the tavern and began berating the English for disturbing the peace.
Blows were exchanged and a running street battle developed as more people surged into the shabby main square. Several revellers had their heads broken and two Englishmen were knocked to the ground. The crowd swelled, French privateers stood by, laughing at the comedic antics but with hands on their sword hilts as a precaution. The drunks became wilder and more unruly and three were killed when things turned sour. The ringleader had accosted the priggish Marshall who promptly drew a pistol and shot him through the forehead. The Couronian town guard which until this point had been looking the other way, was compelled to intervene. Marshall was politely but firmly requested to return to the quayside under the protection of Liepins’s men.
The alternative was an undiplomatic and very public arrest. The Englishman reluctantly complied but insisted that several buildings had yet to be searched having explained to Liepins about their lost chirurgeon. The comptroller reassured Marshall than his men would sweep every building and report back as soon as the activities were concluded. All appeared to be returning to normal until the rambunctious throng reached the quayside. An Arab slave ship lying nearby had raised the suspicions of Marshall’s reinforcements, recently arrived from Honest Seaman. The master had given short shrift to enquiry about the whereabouts of the missing doctor. A warning shot was fired over the heads of the Englishmen and a tense standoff developed. The situation deteriorated rapidly with the surge of humanity onto the wharf. Nervous crewmen aboard the slaver opened fire and two of Marshall’s men were killed. Uproar ensued and the Couronians boarded the slaver, arrested the master and the shooters then confiscated the vessel. The English bundled their wounded into the boat and returned to the ship. A letter from Liepins to Marshall later in the afternoon noted that no Englishmen hale and hearty or otherwise, had been found.
|Call out the (Couronian) Guard! Governor Liepins watches on.|