AFTER ACTION REPORT 01 : An Epic Poem by Jon Casey

The Great Sea-Fight in the Straits of Yendor

In the Days of Good KING MARTIN, as Men tell,
When He ruled in YENDOR City so Wisely and so Well
With the Advice of His humble Counsellor
LORD DENTISTRI, the GRAND VIZIER,
Servant of the KING and of the Peoples,
Acutest of Advisers, Ablest Administrator,
Balancer of the Budget,
Cleverest of Civil Counsellors,
Defiant Defender of the Diminutive Dwarves,
Eyes and Ears of the Enlightenment,
Fearless Friend of the Free Folk,
Generous Guardian of the Great and Good
Helper of the Helpless and Homeless,
Implacable Indicter of Ill-doers,
Justest of Judges,
Kindest of Kinsmen,
Loyalest of Loyalists,
Mistruster of Mages,
Noblest of Nobles, not a Necrophile,
Organiser of Operations,
Planner of Processes, Popular Politician, Patron of Poets,
Quietest in Council,
Respecter of Religions and of Royalty,
Strongest Supporter of Sword-Slinger SONYA,
Terror of Traitors,
Ultimate Utilitarian,
Vengeance-bringer to the Venal,
Wisdom-bringer to the Warrior,
Xtraordinary Xecutive….

And under the protection of the BARONESS RED SONYA,
Awesome Adventuress,
Barbarian Bodyguard, Bravest in Battle,
Champion of the Crown and of the City,
Death-dealing Destroyer,
Eradicator of Enemies,
Ferocious Fighter, Flayer of Foe-Folk,
Gallant Guard-Captain,
Happiest of Heroines,
Impatient in Inaction,
Justice-bringer to Jealous Jackals,
Killer for the KING,
Lightning-like Liquidator,
Matchless Mayhem-Maker,
Native of the Northlands, Nemesis of Nautical Nomads,
One-time Outstanding Outlaw,
Peerless Protectress of Princes,
Quickest to render Quietus,
Restorer of Royalty,
Supreme Sword-Mistress, Sublime Shield-Maiden,
Terrible in Temper,
Unafraid and Undaunted,
Valiant and Vengeful,
Worthiest of Warriors,
Xpeditious Xecutioner…..

++++ THE GATHERING OF THE SEA_CLANS ++++

The Fame of the City,
With Word of its Wealth,
And of the Weakness of the Wizdome,
Came to the Corsairs;
Aquatic Avaricious Aliens,
Beggarly Barbarian Buccaneers,
Cowardly Cruel Cut-throats,
Dirty Deviant Destroyers,
Evil Envious Easterners,
Filthy Ferocious Foreigners,
Guilty in their Godlessness,
Horrible Hirsute Hooligans,
Ill-mannered Ignorami,
Jumped-up Jackanapes,
Knocked-kneed Killers,
Lowest of the Low,
Merciless murdering maritime Marauders,
Nastiest of the Nautical Nasty,
Olfactorily Offensive Outsiders,
Pestilential Pagan Pirates,
Quivering Quailing Quakers,
Ruthless Rapacious Raiders,
Scurvy Stinking Sacrilegious Sailors,
Terrifying Torturers,
Ugliest of the Unwashed,
Vilest of the Vile,
Worst in the World,
Xtreme Xtortionists……

Then went the Word forth
To summon the Sea-Peoples,
The Sea-Clans of the Sea-Killers,
Sharks, Serpents, Kraaken, Typhoon and Tsunami,
From all five Quarters of the Eastern Ocean…

"Great YENDOR lies defenceless;
"The Mages are Magic-less;
"The GRAND VIZIER is overthrown;
"A beardless KING sits on an idle Throne,
"Hiding behind a Woman's Skirts,
"And worrying how much Taxation hurts;
"Now is the Time to seize the City for our Own!"

"Sail now to many-splendoured YENDOR!
"Burn its Brothels and its Bookshop!
"Torch its Towers, Taverns, Temples!
"Kill the KING and all His Council!
"Loot its Lock-ups and its Lib'ries!
"Cheat its Chandlers, geld its Goldsmiths!
"Desecrate the Dwarvish Dwellings!
"Eviscerate the Elvish Envoys!
"Obliterate the Orcish Offal!
"Wreck the Wealthy, Worthless Wizdome!
"Rape the Livestock and the Women!
"Sell Survivors into Slavery!"……

++++ THE COUNCIL OF THE KING ++++

The deadly Desperadoes' dastardly Design
Is vitiated by the Vigilance of the VIZIER,
Whose Eyes and Ears encompass the Ends of the Earth,
For a Pinnace, like a fluttered Bird,
Comes flying from far away:
"Corsair Ships of War at Sea,
We have sighted two or three!"

In all the long Years when the VIZIER
Ruled YENDOR wisely
In the Name of THE KING (On His Return)
No Foe dared challenge YENDOR'S naval Might,
Yet now the City's maritime Defences
Are sadly reduced in Strength
And few are the King's Ships
To face the Corsair Threat;
Three Ships alone the Royal Navy stands,
The other three are still in Dockyard Hands….

Therefore the Puissant KING of YENDOR,
Acting on the advice of His GRAND VIZIER,
Summoned His Council;
Summoned the Leaders of the Communities;
Summoned the Guilds, the Dwarves, the Free-Folk;
Summoned His Allies and His Vassals;
Summoned the Envoys of the Elder-Race,
Summoned His trusty Champion RED SONYA;
Summoned the Mages from the Wondrous Wizdome,
Summoned salty Sea-Captain RUDGE from the taproom of the Dog and Duck…

The VIZIER begins by proposing a Motion,
To name great SONYA Admiral of the Ocean,
"Although her naval Knowledge may be nil,
"We know we can rely on her to kill";
'Tis passed with universal Acclamation,
And receives the Monarch's gracious Approbation….

Old Sea-Dog RUDGE is named High Captain of the Fleets,
Although to the Wind, he's more than just two Sheets….

The Mages, labouring under Occam's Scissor,
Bring forth their thaumaturgic Barge, the WIZZER…..

The Elder GRUNTHOSS of the doughty Dwarves
Offers two Ships in which they have invested,
Of strange Design, and Armaments untested;
And pledges that each Dwarven Wright
Will labour through the Day and through the Night,
To aid the City in its dreadful Plight,
At Cost plus ten percent (in Gold), alright?….

The enigmatic Elf-Envoy ELERION is here upon
The fairest and fleetest of the Faëry Fleet,
Great golden glorious Galley GLAMMARION….

The Free Folk, so their legends tell,
Promise to provide some boats as well….

Then saith the Fleet's High Captain,
A crafty Man indeed,
Poring o'er Charts that only he,
And DENTISTRI, can read:
"This nameless island,
"Midway in the Straits,
"Shall prove the key to lock our City's Gates;
"For once we strongly fortify this Isle,
"No Foe shall pass,
"Unless it be by Guile;
"Conversely, if the Corsairs seize it first,
"Great YENDOR must expect the very worst."

"But long ere our Fleet can be ready,
"The Corsairs will arrive,
"So we must send out a Forlorn Hope,
"And hope that some survive…."

++++ THE FIRST ENCOUNTER ++++

CAPABLE, DEFIANT, FEARLESS,
GOLDEN RETRIEVER, GLAMMARION,
And of course THE WIZZER,
(With some obsolete light units
Crewed by Free Folk,
Making up the Numbers on the left),
Sail forth to save the City,
By buying it some Time….

Half a League, half a League,
Half a League onwards,
Into the Channel of Death
Rowed the six Galleys
(Not forgetting the Free Folk)…

The Vanguard of the Corsairs
Have entered in the Straits,
When our brave Ships fall upon them,
To send them to their Fates….

The Corsair Squadron's thrown into Confusion,
Some of their Ships collide,
Resulting in many a nasty Cut and/or Contusion….

Behold, GOLDEN RETRIEVER,
That Dwarven Ark so strange;
A reckless Rover rowing into Range
Of its Yendorian Fire,
The Corsairs' Craft converts to funeral Pyre…

Mighty Mages, on the WIZZER,
Call lurid Lightning from the Skies,
Giving the scurvy Sea-folk
A horrible Surprise!.....

GLAMMARION's close-grappled,
Many Elvish Lives are lost,
But her Eagle-eyed Elf-Archers
Make the Corsairs pay the Cost…

At length the Corsairs break off
Action, and begin to make off;
Eastwards the Cowards run away,
Although they've lived to fight another Day….


++++ THE GATHERING OF YENDOR's ARMADA ++++

The battered Hope limps Homeward,
To rest and to refit,
And join the Great Armada,
Even though they've done their Bit…..

Our famous fearless fighting Fleet's
Far more fearsome than before,
For RED SONYA of YENDOR is going to the War!
On big Battle-Galley BRILLIANT,
With her Flag raised at the Fore….

And now arrive the Vessels
YENDOR's Vassals have sent forth;
HEROIC from the South-Lords,
And good GALLANT from the North….

From Dwarven Dockyard cometh forth THE DEEP
Tipped with exploding Ram
(That's not a Sheep)….

At the Centre of the Squadron,
Sits a Transport laden deep,
With Dwarven moving Fortress
The vital Isle to keep….

(Oh, and by the Way,
There were some more Free Folk)…

++++ THE SECOND ENCOUNTER ++++
As the two Fleets draw together,
Separated by a Mile,
Infidel Invaders
Infiltrate the vital Isle….

Famed FEARLESS, foremost in the fray,
Is first to ram a Foe,
But next is rammed herself,
While far from aid of Man or Dwarf or Elf;
Twice boarded, still her hardy Crew fight on;
Fast Arrows fly to find her Foemen's Throats,
While Axes ply to separate the boats,
'Til to her Aid DEFIANT comes in Sight,
Which quickly puts an End to desperate Fight;
Two Galleys taken, there'll be Drinks tonight!...

Bold BRILLIANT smashes and sinks
One luckless Corsair Galley
With her mighty brazen Ram;
Causing the Corsair Admiral
To cry out in Pain
"Oh, Damn!"

Now, for the Corsairs bold
Things fall apart,
Their Centre cannot hold;
But lo! For their Opponents,
The Day is turning fine,
For RED SONYA of YENDOR has broke their Battle-line!

Hapless HEROIC
Forging far forward of the Field,
Too far for Friends to aid,
Is rammed and boarded and is forced to yield;…

The Sand on the Main-deck is sodden red,
Red with the Ruin of a Crew that's broke;
The Ship's been rammed and the Captain's dead
And they can't see nothing in the wretched Smoke;
So faced with Choice of Swim or Slaughter,
The false HEROICS cry for Quarter.

Mage-summoned, multiple-headed Monster
Makes Meals of many Marauders…

Out of the Eastern Ocean,
Toward the dying of the Light,
Come yet more pesky Pirates,
Will their Presence turn the Fight?

But no! For audacious ACTIVE approaches with Alacrity
Out of the Sunset in the West;
If you're needing Reinforcements,
A big Battle-Galley's best…

But now they've rammed the BRILLIANT,
Corsair Galleys, One, Two, Three;
Seeking out High Admiral SONYA,
For to throw her in the Sea…

So all Day long the Noise of Battle roared
Across the Bulwarks and the Blood-stained Sea,
'Til all great SONYA's Guardsmen, one by one,
Were fallen on Deck, or overboard…

Brave SONYA, though twice wounded in the fight,
Continues still to slay with all her Might;
No Corsair stands alive on BRILLIANT's Deck;
They're chopped off at the Knees or at the Neck….

Two Corsairs strike to BRILLIANT
While the third one backs away;
Everywhere the Foe is seeking
To escape from out the Fray….

Even though dark Night is falling now,
The Issue's not in doubt;
The Remnants of the Raiders
Will soon be put to rout!

++++ YENDOR TRIUMPHANT ++++

So SONYA's saved the City from the Sea-Folk,
With help of Men, Dwarves, Elves,
And even Free-Folk.
When word arriveth from the Straits next day,
It maketh many in the City gay;
Even the grim VIZIER is seen to smile,
Saying "The City's savèd - for a while".

Indeed it is certain,
In Truth it is spoken,
That YENDOR's Peril
Of late hath been broken.


(With apologies to G K Chesterton, Alfred Lord Tennyson, H W Longfellow, Henry Newbolt, William MacGonagall, W B Yeats, Robert Graves, J R R Tolkien, Rudyard Kipling and All Anonymous Alliterative Anglo-Saxons)

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