Pirates of Albion
Bernard L'Arbre was not a man used to failure. The brandy took away some of the pain in his side. It was galling, to have made such heavy work of besting a mere Albion pirate. Quite how the man's head had caught fire was a mystery for now. He'd have to set his man Lieutenant Lecuyer onto the case. Smart man, Lecuyer, that was why Bernard kept him around.
As the warmth of the brandy spread from his belly all around his body, he smiled. This wasn't a failure. This showed that he was hitting a weak point in His Majesty's Empire. To force them to stoop to common piracy, that showed they were taking him seriously!
Bernard's Berine Imperial Dragoons were a deadly weapon, fit for the Emperor to command, but the Albions' command of the sea had always been the ace in their pack. You could corner them and their navy would sweep in to spirit them away. You could command the battlefield to find that the damnable navy had landed a pack of marines in the rear of your regiment.
There was an old story Bernard had read about the elephant and the whale. The elephant was master of land, while the whale was the king of the sea. How could the war between the two of them be concluded? Could the whale come out on land? It might be able to crush troops with it's belly on the beach, but sea power could not command the hinterlands. No, the winner could only be the elephant. But to win, the elephant would have to learn to swim.
There were things he'd have to do. Find out which Albion pirate had sent the ships to attack Solrayon's fief. The cowardly attack was a slight on Bernard and Solrayon's honour. It had to be avenged. He would send word to Major Jauncey at the regiment, to command that a squadron of good, veteran troopers ride down to defend Solrayon's fief. With his ally's land secured, righteous vengeance could then be pursued!
Singers would sing in the years to come of Bernard and his ships, a chanson of heroism and service to the Empire. The story of how Bernard, Baron of the Golden Wood, became Bernard, Duc de Berine. A story fit for the finest Empire the world had ever seen. He'd have to ask Solrayon to lend him his troubadour, Megane. She knew how to put together a good tune. Her singing last night had been the best he'd ever heard and Bernard only wanted the best to help make his legend.
A fine brandy, staunch allies, good companions and a dastardly enemy. Soon, he'd put a name and a face to the one who had attacked Solrayon's harbour and bombarded the manor house while a soiree was in progress. Bernard and the Faceless Pirate of Albion. Faceless for not much longer. He hoped they would be a worthy opponent, an Albion Earl at the very least.