"There comes a time in the life of every politician, when the Ruler they serve wants to, 'meet the people'. During this time, it is important for the politician to stress to the Ruler, as often as is necessary, the procedure is -HOLD the baby and SHAKE the hand- not the other way around."
Otto von Weisenheimer
Chancellor Weisenheimer had been summoned to the Markgraaf's hunting lodge, just outside of Heidlebeerenburg. Normally, the new Markgraaf met with the Chancellor in his offices, so such an unusual request made him wonder what was in the wind. The cavalry officer in charge of the escort had offered no hints.
As he was quickly shown inside and upstairs to the Markgraaf's quarters, he noticed that the Markgraaf was not alone. General Schwillensaufenstein, the Army Commander, was also here, and was making sweeping gestures at a map on the wall. "Gott in Himmel," he thought, as he shrugged off his greatcloak and handed it to a servant, "They've been looking at maps again!" As the servant put away the cloak and handed him a hot drink, Otto heard the General say, "Styles himself, 'The Lion of Baden', the arrogant bastard. He's some Franco/Scoto/Irisho refugee, and nobody knows how tight a leash Louis has him on. But one thing is for damned sure. He's recruiting every peasant that might be able to learn his right from his left, and he's getting them into uniforms and carrying muskets as soon as they arrive from Paris. In addition, our report says he's hiring mercenaries....and offering them land!"
The Markgraaf nodded and continued to sip at the stein in his hand. The general turned from the map and said, "My Lord, our country was established under your Grandfather. We had stability under your Father. But if this Duc decides to come our way, he will be looking for easy conquests. I don't know if we will be able to fend him off given our present strength. My Lord, we must expand both our army and our territory, and you know what that means."
"Thank you General. You have given us much to mull over. I will get in touch with you soon. In the meantime, I want to talk to Otto." "My Lord." the General replied, bowed, and left the room. The Markgraaf pointed to the chair opposite his, and the Chancellor gratefully sank down into it. "Otto, how strong are our alliances?" "The Hesse's will support us as long as we don't need their support. Wurttenburg and Baveria will use us as a screen to see which way the threat will develop. The Swiss will go with the highest bid, and the Duke of Baden will use any excuse to reclaim the Kurpfalz." "The times are unsettled, my old friend, but when have they not been unsettled? eh?. We will need friends, Otto. Good friends that will be willing to come to our aid if necessary. See what you can do and let me know your progress."
"Yes My Lord." The Chancellor rose from the chair and prepared to take his leave, while the Markgraaf stared into the room's fireplace. "Otto? One more thing. I want to meet the people."