WFRP: The Foggy Dew

There are many ballads that stir the hearts and souls of the Empire’s folk and fighters. One such is the newly composed The Foggy Dew, which was written after Reikland troops rallied to defend Altdorf from a vicious Chaos incursion during the Storm of Chaos. Most of the troops were killed, but the attack on the capital was stopped. Those who returned were hailed as heroes, but they had paid a terrible price and are still haunted by their ordeals. So The Foggy Dew is a lament for their great sacrifice.

As down the glen one Sigmar’s morn to a city fair rode I
There Armed lines of marching men in squadrons passed me by
No fife did hum nor battle drum did sound it’s dread tatoo
But the Hammer’s bell o’er the Reik-river swell rang out through the foggy dew

Right proudly high over Altdorf Town they flung out the flag of war
‘Twas better to die ‘neath our Sigmar’s sky than at Khypris or Barak Varr
And from the burghs of Reikland hills strong men came hurrying through
While the Blood God’s Huns, with their long range guns sailed in through the foggy dew

So the bravest fell, and the requiem bell rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Sigmar-tide in the springing of the year
And the world did gaze, in deep amaze, at those fearless men, but few
Who bore the fight that freedom’s light might shine through the foggy dew

Ah, back through the glen I rode again and my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men whom I never shall see more
But to and fro in my dreams I go and I kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead, When you fell in the foggy dew.

The song references the giant bell in the Great Cathedral of Sigmar, and two famous battle sites in the Badlands; Khypris and Barak Varr. The Blood God’s Huns were a Chaos Mercenary regiment, infamous for using the Hochland Long Rifle in combat.

Adolphus Altdorfer
Bezahltag, Sommerzeit 2, 2523 IC

The song I have adapted is of course The Foggy Dew. I have changed the meaning of some verses to fit the Old World and the sometimes more simple conflicts that are played out in this fictitious world. My favourite version of the original is sung by Alan Stivell together with Shane MacGowan, but the Chieftains with Sinead O’Connor also perform a powerful version. The first time I remember hearing the melody though, was with Black 47 in their “Livin’ in America (11 Years On)” from the album Fire of Freedom. I will return to the Irish tradition when adapting more songs in the future.


Karl and Country

Today I happened to go by the Niederhafen docks, and caught sight of a ship sailing out of Altdorf towards Marienburg and presumably farther shores. As the crew worked under the sails, they sang this little ditty that caught my fancy. Stangely enough this song was accompanied on a concert flute by a man capering about on deck, sometimes standing on one leg. An impressive feat indeed, although I’m not sure where he pilfered the flute.

The wind is on the river and the tide has turned too late,
so we’re sailing for another shore where some other ladies wait.
To throw us silken whispers: catch us by the anchor chains –
But we all laugh so politely and we sail on just the same.

For Karl and Country in the long dying day,
And it’s been this way for five long years,
since we signed our souls away.

We bring back gold and ivory; rings of diamonds; strings of pearls –
make presents to the government
so they can have their social whirl

With Karl and Country in the long dying day.
And it’s been this way for five long years
since we signed our souls away.

They build schools and they build factories
With the spoils of battles won.
And we remain their pretty sailor boys –
hold our heads up to the gun

Of Karl and Country in the long dying day.
And it’s been this way for five long years
since we signed our souls away.

To Karl and Country in the long dying day.
And it’s been this way for five long years
since we signed our souls away.

Adolphus Altdorfer
Konistag, Sommerzeit 9, 2522 IC

Since the last post gave the link to the excellent Under the Sails by Leif Ulrich Schrader, I couldn’t resist adapting Jethro Tull’s song Queen and Country to the Old World.

Well, “adapting” is a bit of a strong word. I substituted “Queen” for “Karl”, and that’s about it. It’s a great song, though. In case you’re wondering, that guy with the flute that Altdorfer took note off is the WFRP equvivalent of Ian Anderson, front man of Jethro Tull. I’ll stat him one day.


Children’s games

Pieter Bruegehl, Children's Games

It is impossible to venture out on the streets of Altdorf without being overrun by children. When I say children it is with the greatest of constraint that I chose such a benevolent word. Brats, racals, even criminals often seem a better word for them, and much better reflects their activities. Even though many children in our fair city begin working at an early age, often helping their parents out with various and sundry tasks, there are many, many who have nothing better to do than spend their time playing on the streets with their various toys.

Of these, wooden weapons seems the most common among the boys. Swords and shields are swung at unprotected heads, or indeed even at the knees of innocent passers-by, in furious battles enacting the war against Chaos. I have also observed a not insignificant group with painted tin soldiers, or troops whittled out of wood. They meet in parks and in public squares all over the city to fight out imaginary battles between the armies of the Empire and the forces of Chaos. A worrying amount of the boys involved in these different war games thoroughly enjoy playing Chaos warriors, and some even run bellowing around Altdorf, scaring women and babies, and panicking horses and cattle! A right nuisance, if you ask me!

And speaking of nuisances, the children of Altdorf seem to have made it their holy mission to remind the rest of the world of their existance; for this they use infernal rattles, pipes, bells, drums or whistles, even horns or trumpets stolen from some unfortunate coach driver add to the cacaphony of sounds of everyday life. Some foolish adults even pay children to come and scare off the ill influences of sickness and disease with their instruments of torture to the ear and sensibilities of educated people! The practice of making this noise seems to be most popular among the girls, for some reason.

Apart from the toys mentioned, the children of Altdorf play with balls made from cloth and inflated pigs’ bladders, playing games that involves much kicking and screaming. They also excel at the game called Nine Kings, where you use a ball to knock over as many of nine pins placed in varying patterns as possible in two tries. Very popular in the more affluent parts of our capital. In the poorer parts of Altdorf the children play with marbles, so called even though they are commonly made from stone or scrap glass or metal.

Adolphus Altdorfer
Bezahltag, Sigmarzeit 33, 2522 IC

While doing some quick research for this piece, I came across the painting Children’s Games by Pieter Bruegel. This paints a much better picture of what an ordinary day in Altdorf can look like, so right-click the image above and save it to disk. Then open it in an image viewer of your choice and take a closer look. It is well worth the extra effort!