Mehvaci Ali and his company were posted to northern Macedonia where they enjoyed several months of leisure as part of the garrison of Demir Hisar. Several of the men became attached to local women, others opened shops, and all began to settle into the routine of life of the town. Mehvaci Ali began to hope that the bureaucracy had lost track of them and that they would be left in peace. However in the autumn of 1805 a messenger arrived in Demir Hisar, interrupting Mehvaci Ali as he entertained representatives of the butchers of Thessalonica and of a consortium of Vlach shepherds in expectation of an introduction fee from both parties. This messenger ordered his company to immediate action.
In the hills around Denir Hisar a band of local militia, ruffians who guarded the mountain passes and suppressed banditry, mainly by not themselves taking part, had insulted a tax-collector sent to assess their village. They had refused to co-operate then had shaved part of his beard off and stolen his mule. When the tax-collector returned with a group of armed men from the neighbouring village the two groups conferred and both agreed not to help the tax-collector who then fled.
Mehvaci Ali's men were the nearest reliable troops and the messenger instructed them to teach the rebels a lesson. Mehvaci Ali consulted the leading citizens of Denir Hisar and learned that the rebels were known as Martolos, spoke a sort of Greek or possibly Latin, considered themselves to be good shots, raised good but unruly sheep which they brought down to the town for trade in early summer, and smoked pipes with ridiculously short stems, and was told the way to the rebellious village. However beyond that nothing could be learned.
Lacking another plan Meyvaci Ali gathered his men and arranged that they would march on the village on the following Wednesday. This would give the janissaries time to put their business affairs in order and in some cases replace weapons they had mislaid or traded away. In the meantime he despatched a messenger to a local landowner of his acquaintance asking for the loan of a couple of cavalrymen as scouts and scoured the inns of Demir Hisar for anyone with first-hand knowledge of the Martolos. Such an person was found, in the shape of Modestos Tobromeros, known as the One-legged. He was himself a hillman, of the same sort of the Martolos, but had eked out a living in town as a leather-worker since being brought there by his colleagues following a fall while herding sheep on the steep slopes. The broken leg had had to be amputated and the other shepherds had abandoned him, assuming he would die. Modestos agreed to help Meyvaci Ali for a fee, and Ali secured the loan of a mule for him from a smith.
The day before setting off on the expedition Ali went down with a severe case of diarrhoea which laid him low for a week. His spirits were not raised when a note arrived from the landowner saying he could not spare any mounted scouts but instead enclosed a spy-glass for Ali's use. On the other hand an envoy arrived from the rebellious Martolos, clearly now aware of the punitive expedition being prepared, offering to pay three quarters of the taxes they owed on condition someone collected them in person.
After several days of discussion the janissaries were ready to march. On the day a much smaller number of the janissaries were away on business, or ill, or unavoidably detained, than Ali had feared, and in the event Meyvaci Ali left ten to garrison Demir Hisar and marched with twenty-five men, his loyal assistant, the poet and box-maker Duyal, Modestos, the envoy and a train of mules carrying tents and supplies. Camping out on the first night away from town, Modestos, Ali and the envoy shared more than one bottle of raki. In his cups the envoy confided to Modestos that he was not from the village they were heading for. He was from a neighbouring village, sent to see if they could secure a reduction in taxation by a similar revolt.
Despite setting off late the next morning the janissaries made good time and by evening were approaching the mouth of the pass leading to the Martolo village. Scouting ahead in person Ali saw that the Martolos had erected log barricades across the road and that half-a-dozen men manned the roadblock. Ali gathered his men together and waited for nightfall; instructing them to make as much noise as possible he led them at a trot towards the barricade. Approached in the dark by an unknown number of janissaries singing and shouting war-cries the Martolos abandoned the barricade and fled. Random firing by the janissaries had wounded one Martolo, who was unable to escape. Unfortunately for Ali the prisoner was severely injured and died without speaking while Modestos questioned him.
Bedding down in the open beside the barricades the janissaries passed an unhappy night. One or two of the Martolos had taken to the slopes above the pass and fired down at random in the direction of the camp all night. Only two men were wounded but few of the others slept well.
In the morning Meyvaci Ali mustered his men, grumbling and bad-tempered, for the march on the village, leaving a few to guard the camp, the wounded men and the by now extremely nervous envoy. As the janissaries approached the hamlet Ali, peering through the borrowed spy-glass, could see the side nearest - the western edge - had been strengthened with barricades of felled trees. Modestos borrowed the telescope and after a few moments gave an exclamation of surprise. He indicated to Ali where a stream had cut a gully in its flow from the mountains to the plains. It was almost dry, and offered a route by which the janissaries could approach the village undetected until they were close to a unprotected side. Clapping Modestos on the back and sending him back to the camp Ali and Duyal led eighteen janissaries into the sunken stream-bed.
They made their way quietly up the steam until they reached a point which Meyvaci Ali judged to be opposite the village. Crawling up to the lip of the gulley Ali saw, less than a musket-shot away, the southern edge of the village. He saw less than a dozen armed men, and the village was a chaos of women, children and goats which the men were attempting to usher out the eastern end of the village and so further up the valley.
Martolo chief Q4+ C2 Leader, Marksman, Musket, Sword @ 60
Martolo Q4+ C2 Individualistic, Marksman, Musket, Sword @ 35
Eight Martolos and the chief in the village at the start, with six more to arrive - 1D6-2 at the start of turn two onwards, arriving together at the eastern table edge.
Meyvaci Ali Q4+ C2 Leader, Pistol, Sword @ 45
Duyal Q4+ C2 NCO, Pistol, Axe, Sword @ 38
Janissary Q4+ C2 Individualistic, Unreliable, Musket, Sword @ 23 x 18