Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Revelations Continue

It never ceases to amaze me that I can totter off to bed, with the drink full upon me, and yet still awaken as fresh as the dawn. Although I do admit that the Lady Katherine's recent Paris shopping excursion may have played a part in today's awakening. I fear that my lovely, yet naive bride, being the gentle countrywoman that she is from the South of Germany, fell in with a group of Louis's courtesans rather than with the more proper "ladies of the court" when she embarked on her expedition. Let us simply say that the designers of women's fashions in Paris, especially those fashions of a more intimate nature, are not to be equalled in this world. But I digress...
Young Shaw has had a look at my notes from last night's dispatch and pointed out to me that I got the dates of the conference totally wrong. Impudent young turnip! I asked him how I was to be expected to attend to Stately Matters, command an Army, share drink and fellowship with my Staff, and attend to Lady Katherine's needs and still be accountable to a common calendar. How indeed? At any rate, I have amended my initial dispatch with the "correct" dates, so that our young Mr. Shaw doesn't have a fit over it. I must admit that he is becoming so valuable to me that I should hate to chuck him into the moat, especially since I do not yet have a proper moat!
Now, back to my observations and discussions regarding the Army. Dear Reader, I feel that I must warn you that I have already been the victim of foul political intrigue. Or so it appears, at any rate. While I was making myself busy at the conference, being Ducal and all, sharing the Mess with my new Staff and their subordinates, our young Mr. Shaw was in serious discourse with emissaries from my two patrons, in Germany and Italy. It seems a price must be paid for their patronage, or at least for their largesse in providing me with suitable recruits and materiale.
The German State, or more properly, Margraviate of Baden-Baden, came into this World in the 12th century, was severely ravaged during the Great Religious Wars of the last century, and has since split into militant hereditary factions. Indeed, a state of "almost war" exists today in the region. My Patron there, the Most Catholic Ludwig Georg Simpert, is the current, and last, hereditary Margrave of Baden-Baden, yet only holds sway over roughly half of his holdings and is under constant pressure from a faction in Wurttemburg controlled by the Protestant Margraves of Baden-Durlach, as well as separatists within his own Margraviate. I am now told that assistance to the Protestants, at least politically and monetarily, is being provided by Georg's neighbors in Bavaria (predominantly Catholic, but always full of intrigue and willing to foment unrest) and the Kingdom of Wittenberg. The Separatist Movement within Baden-Baden itself, is being fueled by aid and encouragement from their neighbors to the North, the Bishophoric of Unter Gruntshuffen (always anxious for the opportunity to increase the Bishophoric's territories and treasury, no doubt). I was well aware of these conditions when I served Georg as a Military Advisor seconded by Louis. What I was not aware of at that time, and that young Shaw has only just apprised me of, is that the real seed of unrest in this region is coming from the vile Kingdom of Stagonia. They are a Northern neighbor of Bavaria and Wittenberg with great territorial designs on the region. I am advised that they have agent provacateurs everywhere in the region and are to be watched very carefully. Indeed, they may even have designs on my own Duchy of M'Uedail.
As to my Italian Patrone, the esteemed Duc di Milan; it seems that he is troubled by both Savoy and Venice's dalliances with the Austrian Monarchy, as well as the support that these dalliances receive from the Papal States to his south. Thus his motive for providing me with primarily rebellious Sicilianos who already have a grievance with the Kingdom of Savoy and the Austrians. The lone Northern Italian of the group, young Bongiovi, apparently has a personal loyalty to the Duc di Milan which he has transferred, at least on the surface, to me.
It seems that both of my Patrons have forwarded to me a collection of excellent soldiers, all of whom are under personal oaths of allegiance to either Georg or the Duc di Milan, and will come to their aid when called upon. How this will impact my ability to defend M'Uedail remains to be seen. At the moment, each of my Commandant de Brigade are secretly training their men, sans uniforme, in undisclosed locations, away from prying eyes. When their new equipage is complete and assembled, they will report to the Duchy from these locations and muster in. I must exercise great caution in assigning their depot locations and territorial responsibilities. I should hate to hear upon awakening one morning that my Italian Command has suddenly deserted their posts guarding our borders and is marching willy-nilly off to attack Savoy. Or that my steadfast Germans have decided to take their leave and marched off to make War on Georg's behalf.
Further complicating this state of affairs is Louis' amendment to my Ducal status and responsibilities. It seems that Mr. Shaw has finally had an opportunity to decipher the flowery court language used in the proclomacion and that the majority of my Irish, at least all of those seconded from The Brigade, are under a similar obligation to France. It seems that Louis, in addition to using me as a "beard" to get around the terms of the Peace of Paris, has concerns about the Kingdom of Frankzonia and the Duchy of Saxe-Huack, both of which present a threat to France's, and my own, northern borders. That bastard sod Louis has truly placed my chestnuts within a vise. It seems that I'll have little time for hunting excursions into the Black Forest or respites in the nearby mountains if I'm to be France's, and apparently everyone else's, buffer and saviour. Where is that cask of Amaretto that I left out last evening? I feel a sudden need for a morning "bracer". Once again, Dear Reader, it appears that your correspondent has been thrust quite unwillingly into the breach. I shall report further after my sensibilities recover.


Respectfully, Sir William


Stagonian Jeff said...

"What!?! . . . Do you mean to tell me that that upstart Dukelet is accusing us of having agents in his backyard?"

"Yes, Sire."

"The unmitigated gall of the man."

"I know, Your Majesty. I suppose his only excuse is that we DO have agents in his backyard."

"Yes, Baron, I know we do . . . but that isn't the point now, is it?"

"Uh . . . of course not, Your Majesty."

"Does this so-called Duke have any kind of army?"

"He is reportedly pulling a small force together, Sire."

"How small?"

"A dozen battlions of foot . . . perhaps 5,000 men . . . and a dozen squadrons of cavalry . . . prehaps 1,500 mounted."

"Our army is bigger than that. We could invade them."

"Yes, Sire. Our army is bigger . . . but we can't send all of it or our enemies would invade us."

"But this petty Dukelet doesn't know that. Call on him for 'protection money' to keep us from invading him, Baron. See to it right away."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

(After all, it is the vile thing to do)

abdul666 said...

To tell the truth (how unwise it may be), Monte-Cristo has certainly as many agents in M'Uedail (as everywhere) as Stagonia does. But they are not 'provocateurs': at most, when the mission required it, 'provocatrices' at the very individual, carefully targeted and locked on, level.

Being suspicious of every member of the Fair Sex (specially if attractive, particularly if claiming *not* to be Monte-Cristan, and even if under the sober dress of a Holly Sister of the Blessed Order of St Jezebel) is not enough. One spectacular success of the SPIDER agency was the infiltration of the Forbidden City in Peking by a 'Centerfold' wearing a false beard and masquerading as a Portuguese Jesuit. She brought back a most precious illustrated manuscript of Sun Tzu's 'Art of War', and all secret recipes of Chinese rockets and exotic weaponry, such as the 'stunning smoke grenade' combining black powder, naphta and dried feces (pig's best, cat's good, human tolerable).

Louys (rather proud his 366 wives' achievements)