Juulsborg, 28th April 1750
This morning, just before daybreak, the harbour at Knudsenhaven was rocked by a massive explosion after a brief but fierce fire ripped through the Aytonian Ship Lucy Tanner, a merchant vessel carrying the stores and families of one of the regiments accompanying our friends from across the water.
A suspect, a certain Duncan MacFarlane, was discovered half-drowned on a nearby beach shortly afterwards, and found to have a parchment in his pocket bearing written orders from the commander of the Dal Riatan contingent accompanying the Grenouissians currently invading our beautiful country from the south.
These savage thugs, well known for their depravities (they force their menfolk to wear women’s skirts, and dance to screams emanating from strange, stiff-legged creatures carried under the arm and squeezed half to death) concocted a plan to massacre innocents whilst they slept aboard a visiting fleet from our much loved friends, the Aytonians. As far as we have been able to ascertain from the authorities interviewing the suspect, the sequence of events was as follows.
A certain Brigadier MacDrum of Dal Riata, frustrated by the incompetence of the commander of the Grenouissian Axis of Murderers, led by the well-known halfwit von Slivovitz of St Paul, and funded by the monster of Grenouisse, King Raoul, became impatient and decided to act on his own initiative to bring mayhem to our shores. Sending a message via secret agents to a team of saboteurs lurking in Dal Riatan spy ships in the Nordmeer, a plot was hatched.
A team of three fanatical volunteers loaded a small craft with boxes of gunpowder and fuses. The process of transferring the powder, inexplicably, from the normal, safe barrels to potentially dangerous boxes nearly caused the mission to end before it had begun, but sadly the merciless thugs survived the process.
Fighting against adverse winds all night, the terrorists sought a harbour with shipping – any harbour, it turns out, because the instigator of the crime had failed to specify which harbour they should attack. Worse, the orders, which have been found and deciphered, stated only that a “large ship” should be attacked, without specifying precisely where and of which type. Realising that dawn was approaching and that the journey had taken far too long already, the vicious murderers spotted the faint outline of a ship near the quayside in Knudsenhaven, set a collision course, roping the tiller, and lit the fuses. It was only at this point they realised their enormous blunder in not bringing at least a rowing boat with them in which they could escape, and thus had no choice but to fling themselves, fully clothed, overboard into the incoming tide and hope for the best.
Two of the protagonists, it seems, have so far evaded capture, but the third is singing like a canary.
The fireship struck the sleeping Lucy Tanner amidships. Being a merchant vessel in a friendly port, it did not keep the same vigilant watches as a naval vessel, and nearby friendly ships who spotted the danger were unable to warn the crew in time. It seems that the gunpowder exploded just seconds after impact and the barbarous enemy had done their work well: the force of the explosion split the vessel from top to bottom immediately, and it sank amid a giant fireball in less than a minute. So far, searches for survivors have proved fruitless and not a soul was saved.
It is estimated that a crew of 30 and as many as 350 women and children have been lost, all related to men of one of the Aytonian regiments currently traversing Borgenmark. Attempts are being made to trace the men widowed, and clearly we must do everything we can as citizens of a friendly nation, not only to comfort them, but also to bring the perpetrators of this outrage to justice.
We call upon the Elector and the Government to immediately declare war on Dal Riata, its scurrilous allies and the Grenouissian scum funding their enterprise. The Monster of Couervige must not be allowed to roam freely in our territory, and we are already hearing more reports from south of the Massif Énorme that this alliance with the Devil is attacking, unprovoked, our brave men in Ofteborg and Bergsborg – we await confirmation from our own correspondent on the spot.
We will bring you updates on these shocking events as soon as we can, but in the meantime, we urge our readers to give every assistance to our friends from Aytonia, Borscht, Cress, Medetia, Granprix and Prunkland, and resist the forces of Hell from Grenouisse, Altefritzenburg, Whyeydia, St Paul and of course the garlicbreaths of Grenouisse. We want revenge!
More bulletins from The Juulsborg Courier coming soon.