Day after wearisome day had passed with no news of the Markgrafin, her brother David von Kerns, Col. Somerussian Guyovich, Agent von Mack, or the troop of guard cavalry and company of guard infantry that had escorted them to Frankzonia. It was as if they all had fallen off the face of the Earth, leaving no trace behind. Diplomatic inquiries were blandly deflected by the Frankzonian Court. Covert attempts had yielded nothing. Limited cavalry scouting of the common border was done to no avail. The Markgraaf considered himself to be a patient man, but at last he could stand the inaction no longer. He summoned Wilhelm, his oldest son, and Otto von Weisenheimer, the Chancellor of Raubenstadt to the Palace...
"Son, I'm going after your Mother to bring her home from wherever she's gotten off to. I'm leaving you in charge until my return." Startled by the announcement, the Chancellor started to protest, but was waved to silence by the Markgraaf. "NO!
Otto, my old friend! My mind is made up and nothing you were going to say can change it. As a young man I rode into their Court and swept the Baroness von Kerns off her feet in a whirlwind courtship that they still talk about! Thirty years have passed me quicker than the image of the first time I saw her. The Old Duchess disapproved of one of her ladies-in-waiting marrying beneath her and opposed our union."
He reached out and gently shook his son's shoulder and laughed, "Luckily for you, your brothers, and sister we ignored her. I will not go another day doing nothing!"
"But Father", Wilhelm said, "I want her back as much as you. Uncle Ernst and Uncle Johan have been frantically trying to move Heaven and Earth trying to find her! Let me go in your stead."
"Ah? You think I'm too old to play the role of the questing Gallant Knight coming to the aid of his Lady Fair?! Bless you boy for the thought, but there's life in the old dog yet. What was done once, can be done again!"
Leaning in close so he could see his son's eyes, the Markgraaf whispered, "The greatest thing about being the one in charge is that you can have things done the way you want them. Mostly it is a great burden, but there are times when it's very useful. This is one of those times. You will discover this for yourself when you rule this place and have a wife of your own, my son."
With that, the Markgraaf gathered his hat, cloak, sword, and pistols from a series of servants as he headed for the Great Hall. He left the Palace, mounted his horse, and left Heidlebeerenburg behind him. He hadn't felt so alive in a long time. If there was even a hint of a trace of Mad Ludwig's involvement in this affair, the Markgraaf was determined to quickly finish up the business with the Prince-Bishop of Spires and turn his eyes toward Stagonia. Colonel Schieber was going to be very surprised.