"The man who can dance has an advantage. The man who dances well is dangerous."
Ritter Hugo von Schwillensaufenstein
Since its founding, Raubenstadt has grown and flourished. The fact that the French had come through and kicked the stuffing out of the region was a great aid to George Frederick, the first to take the title of Markgraaf, and his band of followers in expanding their landgrab from their original starting point of the town of Heidlebeerenburg. To be fair though, the Markgraaf did offer stability, a reasonable tax rate, and ran off (or absorbed) competing gangs, so the burghers and peasants could go about their business. The local economy is booming and trade routes that had been disrupted by the war have been re-established. The only major difference now is that the profits flow into the coffers of the Markgraaf instead of the Duke of Baden's.
We now fast forward to sometime approaching the middle of the 18th Century. The rough and tumble turbulence of the Thirty Years War has been replaced by a peace that has held (for the most part) in the region. The long and mostly peaceful reign of John Henry, the second Markgraaf has come to an end. A new Markgraaf now rules in Raubenstadt. My cast of characters are:
Martin Jacobus von Meltzer: Currently the third Markgraaf. He is the second son of John Henry. His older brother John Henry II refused the title and opted for the life of a recluse.
He is nearsighted and has not yet reached the point where curiousity outweighs vanity. He only wears his spectacles in private. To the people, he is known as "The Farmer", because of his grim determination to diversify his country's main exports - cabbage and hogs. (All that German saurkraut and sausage has to start from somewhere!) His experiments with trying to find a market for casks of "Raubenstadtian Special Fermented Cabbage Brew", could only be labeled "unfortunate", since the common name for it is "Skunk Sauce", and in the vulgar, "What in the name of God crawled in there and died?". He is an excellent dancer.
Sharon Elaine von Meltzer: In addition to being the Markgraaf's wife, she holds the title Baroness Kerns in her own right. Three sons and a daughter she has borne, so the succession is secure. Rumor has it, that far from just being the velvet glove upon the arm of the Markgraaf, she is the iron fist, and a force not to be underestimated.
Chancellor Otto von Wisenheimer: A holdover from the previous reign. He has the total trust and confidence of the current Markgraaf. He keeps the Landtag in line with the Markgraaf's policies. Runs the day to day operations of government that enables the Markgraaf to enjoy his gardens, manage his orchards, breed his livestock, and.... oh yes! supervise the military. The people call him, "Otto, the Long Suffering".
General Ritter Hugo von Schwillensaufenstein: Anytime the forces of Raubenstadt need to take the field and the Markgraaf is not available to lead them in person, the general is in charge. As a matter of fact, the general is in charge of all things military. A soldier of the Old School, his popular nickname of, "Sudden and Painful Death On Two Crooked Feet", is an accurate description.
I'll get to the description of the Army with the next post.