Monday, July 11, 2011

Headhunting

Palma of Majorca, 30th September 1713

Little after the arrival of the British fleet carrying back home the last Imperial units in the Peninsula, some of the ships anchored in Palma Bay and disembarked a handful of men and women -civilians most of them, former authorities and other pro-Charles signified people from Tarragona city, along with their respective families. Among them, our intrepid girl Mireia as well as her mother Blanca and grandmother Teresa.

Some time before the fleet's scheduled sailing time, a small boat rushed to the ship carrying Second Lieutenant Blasco Copons and the rest of Cordova's Horse Regiment heroic survivors. A Catalan official swiftly got aboard and asked for Lieutenant Colonel Francesc de Portolà (1) and Major Ramón Lanuza, stating to have an official message for both from the Catalan HQ at Barcelona. When the requested military finally met the courier, they were told that, if agreeing to stay instead of being evacuated, they both would be promoted at the head of a new Hussars Regiment still in formation.

Both men felt tempted enough by the proposal to finally accept: thanks to this, Gaspar de Portolà became Colonel of the new Queen Violant Regiment, while Ramón Lanuza was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of that same unit. About half of its force came from already active independent hussars and volunteer horse companies -currently in service close to Igualada town under General Bellver's command, but the rest of had to be sought yet. Their first option was easily predictable, so that they in turn proposed to the rest of members of their own former unit to get enlisted, with an acceptable degree of success. This way, in a few days Portolà and Lanuza were able to gather in place a fourth company. As for the rest, a conscription table was opened at Palma city.

(1) As for this one Francesc de Portolà, he was an actually existing character: a signified Catalan fighter in the War of Spanish Succession, father to the widerly known Gaspar de Portolà who some decades later would become Governor of California. He's to be born in 1716 (in three years' time according to our campaign's clock, then) and I've thought of this somewhat tricky scene to rescue for our Imagi-Nation's future this historically key character, who otherwise would have been given to birth in Vienna as an Imperial subject -or even worse, in Hispannia after his father's eventual pardon, as historically happened.

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