Erwin von Mack was grateful that the trip from Raubenstadt to Frankzonia had been without incident. The Markgrafin of Raubenstadt, Sharon von Meltzer was traveling to Frankzonia to visit the ruling family, the von Fhartz, and help them celebrate the completed renovation of one of their many estates. Of course, the presence of a platoon of the Markgrafin's Own Guard Musketeers, with their glittering bayonets, and a squadron of the Markgrafin's Own Lancers, with their twinkling lance heads, probably had something to do with the uneventfulness of the journey. It would have indeed been a bold band of highwaymen to even consider hindering the carriage and it's escort.
"If I keep showing up here, they're going to name the road after me.", he thought sourly to himself.
He was not surprised to see his counterpart, von Badmann waiting by the entry portal, as he rode up to the gate. Von Badmann raised his right hand and spurred his horse forward.
"What?! No wandering yodelling instructor cover this time?", referring to their first encounter years ago. "You know, old friend, that we'll have to name the road after you, if you keep popping up!", he said after shaking hands.
"Well...at least I could yodel, unlike those God awful clocks you were trying to foist off as your own work. Besides, I had no choice in the matter this time.", he grunted, and jerked his thumb over his right shoulder towards the carriage. "The Markgrafin and her brothers have come to call."
"Her brothers?!", Badmann's tone and right eyebrow rose.
"Only two of them.", von Mack dryly replied, enjoying his friend's discomfort.
"THREE von Kerns?!!" His left eyebrow joined the right in a mighty effort to reach the hairline.
"Technically only two. The Margrafin herself, her brother David, the commander of her personal Guard Musketeers, and her other brother Paul, the commander of her Guard Lancers. You see, Paul has given up the family name. So...he'll thank you to call him what he goes by these days: Colonel Somerussian Guyovich."
"And he thinks that that is enough of a fig leaf to hide behind?", Badmann inquired.
"He has great faith in the new name, the cossack scalplock, the moustache, his troopers, that he has spent enough time in the Cossack Stiech for everyone to have forgotten why he left, and if all else fails, that weighted Hungarian saber he favors."
Von Mack laughed as he turned his horse around and started to canter back to the carriage.
"I've seen him hack through a fencepost, in one stroke, at a full gallop with that cleaver!"
"We'll talk later!", Badmann called after him, then slumped back in his saddle.
As von Mack neared the carriage, he heard the clink of tumblers and a flask, as the Markgrafin said, "To old scores."
"And their settling!", David replied.
"In a painful manner!!", Somerussian Guyovich chimed in.