The Markgraaf was restless and could not sleep this night. So he went to his Study to catch up on at least some of the never-ending flow of paperwork.
He sat down at the desk and started to read the first scrap of paper. Some sort of sickness or plague in St. Maurice. Skeletal like peasants spreading the disease, and they were heading for Frankfort-am-Main! Not close, but not far either! The Frankfurters were mobilizing to repel this incursion. The Markgraaf chuckled. Well that should give that smarmy Bastille something to foam about! From what little he knew of Phillip-Louis ( or was it Louis-Phillip?) he was the kind of ruler that would work his people into the ground, feed them next to nothing, and clothe them in cast-off rags! Small wonder that the observers thought these poor souls looked like something the grave had spit back up! He made a note to ask General Schwillensaufenstein about mustering a couple of battalions of Grenzers to strengthen the border patrols in that direction.
He picked up the next report. What in the name of all that was Holy is going on in Sachen-Vindow? The Scandel of the Duchess was the talk of the court, and rumors multiplied like mad march hares! Some of the more outrageous said she was on her way to Stagonia. Others implied she had gone to Gallia. Yet others insisted that they had it, "on the best authority", that she had accepted an Ambassadorship to some postage stamp place down South called, "The Pressipality"! God protect us from wayward women, he thought to himself.
Oh dear! Now Duke Peter is on his deathbed, and wills the Duchy to Treadergar? Good heavens. He wrote another note. This time to Chancellor Weisenheimer. "How will this effect our commercial contracts? Does anybody really know where the Duchess has gotten off to? Is there a chance that she might be able to rally enough support, both internally and externally, to contest the wishes of her husband? In case a civil war breaks out, which side should we support, or should we remain neutral?"
The Reich-Duke's Grand Tour is going well. The "Running Of The Barrels" had been a smash! (Literally and figuratively!) The Markgraaf was pleased that the Beersteiners had enjoyed their stay in Raubenstadt. It certainly made up for "The Fishing Incident" with General Technicalstuff! The Reich-Duke, the Markgraaf, and the Chief Engineer had flogged the water of the Rubberneckar River all day in a vain attempt to get that enormous pike to rise to the bait - to no avail.
General Technicalstuff said to his fellow anglers, "Gentlemen! I refuse to accept defeat from the fins of our gilled foe. Your Grace, if you will apply yourself to the starboard oar? My Lord, if you will be so kind as to man the port oar. I will take the tiller." With that, the small boat drifted with the current to where the fish lurked. As they drifted over the site, the General lit a fuse to a small, sealed, weighted cask, and casually tossed it over the side. He then shouted, "PULL ME HEARTIES! PUT YOUR BACKS INTO IT! ROW LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, BECAUSE IT DOES! PULLLLL!" Needless to say the startled oarsmen dug in with a will at his sudden encouragement.
The resulting geyser was spectacular. The little boat violently rocked back and forth upon the waves . The Reich-Duke looked at the General like he had lost his mind. The Markgraaf wiped the spray from his face, and sputtered, "Carl! Are you trying to kill us?!", but the General's attention was fixed upon their wake. "Ah-ha! There she blows! Quick! Turn us around My Lord. That's the way! The blast has stunned the big bastard and he's floated to the surface! Now pull together! Your Grace, if you would be so kind as to get the net ready? Hummmm....I think a smaller charge of gunpowder for next time...." The Markgraaf was sure that the Reich-Duke would have an entertaining story about fishing on the Rubberneckarfor the rest of the Grand Tour! And the Markgraaf had sworn never to go fishing with an Engineer for the rest of his life.
The next missive caused a sigh to escape. "King" Ludwig of Stagonia is marching to add a Stollen Sawmill to his kingdom?! Well.....if there were any doubts about his sanity before, they were removed now. The Stollen General Drosselmaijer is confident of victory....Yah, yah...I've heard that one before! We'll see. They have pretty uniforms, but do they have spine (or claws) for battle with the Vile Stagonians?
Stagonia. Stagonia. All roads lead back to Stagonia. Perhaps once the territories from Spires have been absorbed into Raubenstaat, new troops could be recruited. Perhaps an alliance or two with other interested parties..., but not yet. Not with Frankfort in an uproar!
It was at this moment that young Bueller knocked on the door, and said, "Excuse me My Lord, but Herr Von Mack is here and wants an audience with you."
"Well...the night has been full of surprises!", the Markgraaf thought to himself. "This should be interesting." "Yes! Ferris! Send him in. I've been most anxious about him!"