Monday, January 5, 2009

Characters: Wee Willie Fraser

Willie Fraser, was born in 1845 in Edinburgh. He was the son of Simon Fraser, a redoubtable soldier in the 93rd Regiment. The elder Fraser, following in the footsteps of his father was killed in the Crimea in 1854 at the Battle of the Alma assaulting the Russian batteries on Telegraph Hill. The boy Fraser was left to be raised by his mother and grandparents, raised on stories of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the disastrous retreat from Corunna, and the glorious rout of the French at Toulouse.

When the boy grew to be a strapping youth, a veteran of the woollen mills of the city, he enlisted in the Auld Regiment. Unfortunately the 93rd was not recruiting in Edinburgh, and Willie instead chose the 91st Regiment. No longer a kilted highland infantry regiment due to regimental misbehavior, and not the Sutherland Highlanders, Willie vowed to make a name for himself. Enlisting in 1862 at the age of 17, Willie quickly earned his nickname "Wee Willie." By that age Willie was a behemoth at six feet two inches, 225 pounds. He showed himself a prodigy with Enfield rifle-musket, able to load and fire rapidly and with accuracy. He was a master with the bayonet, and could fight equally well with highland broadsword or sabre. However, his true genius appeared somewhat by accident, when he cleaned out an Edinburgh pub of Sutherland and Seaforth Highlanders, as well as the military police come to arrest him.

Willie was soon posted to India with the rest of the Argyllshire Regt. He served with distinction in the Zulu War, single-handedly holding a Gatling gun position when the supporting Naval Brigade troops fled. Ripped by no less than a half dozen assegai wounds, two of them serious, Fraser piled a mound of no less than twenty corpses around him-shot, bayoneted, or necks broken.

When the 93rd was posted to India, and the 91st and 93rd merged under the Cardiff Reforms to become the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Willie was already an "Old Sweat" bearing sergeant's stripes together with his new kilt. Unfortunately he was also beginning to feel the physical effects of his many exertions, wounds and demands of the Queen's service. When the Argylls were posted to Syrtis Major in 1885, Willie, recovering from a broken leg received while chasing bandits through the Khyber pass, was beginning to feel every one of his forty years. Retirement from the army loomed as a possbility when his enlistment ended in 1889, together with the 93rd's rotation to Mars.

Upon his arrival on Mars Willie noted that the slightly reduced gravity had a rejuvenating effect on his aches and pains, and he felt ten years younger. He learned that he also loved the Martian folk as he enjoyed no terran culture so when his the end of his enlistment neared, he chose to remain on the red planet. He found work as a bodyguard on survey missions and liftwood expeditions, singlehandedly driving off an ambush by Kraag warriors.

The Bowel’s agents sought him out in a pub in Syrtis Major to secretly train militias in Shastapsh for revolt against the Oenotrians. Knowing this might bring him in conflict with his mates, Willie took the job anyway. He knew the story of “Baron” von Steuben in the American Revolution, and how the proper training could turn the tables on even the best adversaries. He recruited the finest material he could for his Black Flag battalion, equipping them with surplus American rifle-muskets and bayonets, providing some with a bit of 93rd Highlander tartan. They developed a reputation of an elite formation in the City army.

Fraser is often seen in native dress glowering beneath his tartan cloak clutching his highland broadsword to swat a trainee or decapitate an enemy.

Fraser is represented by a "dead earthman" figure from the Barsoom range by Bronze Age miniatures. The rest of the miniatures are from the range of single Martian figures by RAFM.

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