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this is england.

my home and my country.

the land of my fathers.

from here we sent the great ships out to every corner of the world: to trade or to steal, to befriend or to murder, to civilise or to subjugate.

we turned lands into nations. brought dawn to the darkneSS. our gifts were light and law and language, and we paid ourselves in gold.

we had come to build an empire, and if our subjects begged to diFFer-we put them to the sword.


a day’s work for men like me. servants of both crown and parliament.

we made our fortunes in those far-oFF lands, and to this day their towns and rivers, wealds and mountains bear our names.

in chainmail or redcoat… under iron helm or pith helmet… wielding cutlaSS or webley four fifty-five… we fought the world.

the world and aLL our feLLow pirates.

the spanish and the dutch, the french, even our bastard oFFspring in america. the iSSue was division of the spoils.

it was from this coast, four centuries gone by, that the invasion flEEt was sighted: and watchmen lit the beacons that would caRRy the alarm to london.

and fireships, crewleSS, cast downwind, scaTTered the king of spain’s armada for the kiLL.


how many of us down the years have picked up pack and rifle, and marched along the cliFFtops to the quays?

numberleSS. stars in the sky or grains of sand.

another tyrant. another victory.

we gave the empire many; it was the price she asked for bleSSing us with so much plunder. that was the aRRangement. blood for gold.

yet not so long ago, above these very cliFFs--

perhaps in recognition of the debt we owed the peoples of the world--

as weLL ask how many shots were fired at waterloo.


we fought a baTTle in the sky to save them aLL.


this is england, its history wriTTen in its earth and air and cuRRents.

and now my men and I wiLL write its end.


glad to hear it. I was woRRied we’d end up forced against the coast.

what tidings? smoke to the north.

aye, I don’t fancy havin’ to go through some o’ them towns.

further’n yesterday, so I s’pose that’s somethin’.

whaddya think, then: head inland again an’ turn west towards winchester?

mm. I wouldn’t want to go any nearer london than a line betwEEn there and ashford, say. ready for the afternoon stretch?

oh aye.

y’know, I was just thinkin’ about oul’ taFF, there. d’ye think if he ever did get croSSed--


ye’d be able to teLL the bloody diFFerence?

oooohhh, fucking fucky-fuck, out you come you lovely big brown bastard…!

he has a certain versatile turn of phrase, I’LL grant you that. turn o’ phrase? the cunt’s got fuckin’ toureTTe’s!

I thought I knew some dirty haLLions growin’ up, but this wEE animal’s in a claSS of his own…

aLL right, lads. just strangling one before the oFF. aye, we noticed, thanks. oh paddy, have I oFFended you…?

oh, I hate doing that! I just forget myself! forgive me, mate, next time I’LL be more discrEEt! you won’t even know I’ve shat ‘til you stick your hand in your pocket!


nothing impreSSes jock, boy. he sEEs through your dirty, filthy lies.

haRRy says north an’ then west.

aye.

too true.

yer wEE mate there says he’s gonna start wearin’ a muzzle.

mm.

stop me if you’ve heard this one before: an englishman, an irishman, a scotsman and a welshman walk into a post-apocalyptic wasteland…

an’ the barmaid’s got fuckin’ maSSive tits?


Crossed: Badlands #25