Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ingredients added to the stew ...

Events Speeding Up?

Scene I: In the Tannes Mountains near Ausfhart:

Inside the hut, the other woman picks up a sewing basket and starts stitching on some cloth while the men argue about possible routes from the various Resistance camps onto the Frankfurter plan. The forces covering Russelheim are clearly a threat in the field. Should they be bypassed or struck first. Hans argues that the over all strength of Frankszonia must be conserved, and a mere demonstration might keep them in place long enough for depot strike to succeed. Lord Bleah disagrees as his Cheezer forces will have to march past the Frankszonian posts to join in the strike and on their withdrawal.
“Not if you come through this valley and turn towards Hesse Fedora,” Rausen Mariah responded. “The Alte Vater will keep the men in this pass out of the action either way.”
“A friendly neutral?” Emil wonders.
“Nein, Miene Herr,” the unamed man responds. “Even more than the Hurtshog, the Alte Vater has no desire to see Fhartzen hurt in strangers’ quarrels.”
“And,” the seamstress intrudes, “the gold that the Crown of the Britscherwurst will contribute to ameliorate the damage caused by the passing armies will be a great incentive to behave.”
“I thought so!” Emil exclaimed. “We were sure that this invitation would be a request for subsidies for your Resistance forces. Good, we’re prepared to offer ...”
“Nein! Nein!” almost all of the Frankszonians exclaim. “The funds really will be directed to the restoration of the old family seat and for the family reunion.”
Bleah and Emil exchange disbelieving but puzzled glances.
“Germania and the OysterReich are struggling to dominate Deutschland,” the nameless man begins to explain. “The Fhartzen favor the OysterReich and the Merry Teaser, but there are much greater issues which this struggle will pull into the fire.”
“Already, Russian Cossacks and Swedish pirates are moving into Poland,” the seamstress continues, “and the Porte is mobilizing forces. Whether the Trucks go after the Carzina or the Merry Teaser is really a moot point right now. The Merry Teaser will be forced to divert the Hungryones away from Germania and Hesse Seewald.”
“I hardly see how that would motivate we Britischerwurst to worry,” Emil complained.
“Where do you think the armies to hold Bohemia and Prague will come from then?” Rausen Mariah snapped. “The Gallians have already intervened there twice. Do you want a de facto Gallian province to appear all along your southern border?”
“So, you want our help to strike the Frankfurter depot,” Lord Bleah nods.
“And our money and perhaps a little activity to give you a place to run too,” Emil concludes.
“And confusion to the Gallians!” the nameless man exclaims.

Scene 2: a suite in a quality hotel in Frankfurter:

A merchant stands by a table on which he is examining several very fancifully dressed dolls. A valet enters and says, “A person to see you, Meine Herr.”
“A person?”
“I cannot rightly call him a gentleman, Meine Herr.”
“Oh, very well, but give me enough time to put these away first.”
“Sehr gut, meine Herr.” The Valet leaves, and the merchant swiftly places the large dolls in a well padded trunk and locks it. After a minute, a dirty, stinking, ragged relic shambles into the room.
“Teuffel!” the merchant exclaims. “Don’t sit down on these fancy chairs! You’d double the rates we have to pay for this dump. By Wotan’s blind eye, what have you gotten into?”
“Und eine Guten Abend to you, Graf Putzenhoel,” the human wreck responds with a surprisingly well inflected baritone. “You wouldn’t happen to have anything “vile” to drink around would you?”
“Nor to smoke,” the Graf grunts. “You know I have to smuggle these play pretties past the Germanian outposts. Getting caught with them would be expensive enough!”
“Ah yes, the Parisan fashion doll gimmick again?”
“Jah. They provide a nice introduction to Mistress Ewewarp and some of M’Lady’s entourage.”
(For the incognosci, they used to make big dolls with the latest Paris fashions and ship them around Germany so that the local ladies could copy the outfits ... the more anti-French potentates always tried to prevent this).
“Mistress Ewewarp? I know you’re a lecher, but fat old ladies are hardly my cup of tea,” the tramp laughs.
“You’ve not been in the service long, have you, Gummibaher?”
“Just since I made the mistake of playing with that vixen from the Baltic.”
“Playing?” Putzenhoel laughs. “The way I heard it, it was more like being eaten alive.”
“It was okay until one of the king’s girls came in without knocking,” Gummibaher grinned.
“Ha! Was gibts?”
“First of all, as you probably already known, Frau Ewewarp is absent from the city.”
“Humph!”
“And a carriage from the Margravate of Raubenstein has been recieved at the palace.”
“Raubenstein?”
“Jah, und there is a strange cavalry officer in their entourage.”
“The Kerns! Have they asked any questions yet?”
“Nein, but I’ve never heard of the officer before some affair in the Balkans last year.”
“Well, well,” Putzenhoel muses. “I may have to delay my urgent trip to the Bar Line for a bit ...”

Scene Three: A country inn somewhere in Hesse Seewald ....

M/Lord Bastille steps out of the common room into the courtyard and lights a pipe. He looks up at the clouds and the light snow falling with a smirk. He had that scheming petty Frankszonian Duke wrapped up nice and tight and away from making any trouble! His pleasant reveries are interrupted when a tipsy teamster bumps into the shrubbery and shakes some snow onto Bastille’s fine coat.
“Be careful, man!” the Intendant complains.
“Your pardon, m’Lord,” the teamster apologizes. “I seem to be a little dizzy,” he laughs and turns to look up into Bastille’s face.
“Mon Dieu!” Bastille swivels around quickly to be sure no one is watching. “What are you doing here, Master Peter?”
“Working overtime,” Peter answers. “This is a tough gig when all the apprentices and journeymen suddenly leave town.”
“Eh?”
“And I asked for charity from the Anglericans, but they’ve suddenly gone to all short form services and are buttoned up for the cold.”
“Ah,” Bastille nods knowingly, “So the Germanian tyrant is finally playing the religion card.”
“Perhaps,” Peter nodded, “but one of the Frankszonian generals who deserted to Germania was seen talking with Mistress Ewewarp, and she’s missing now too.”
“What is that silly Boche doing now?” Bastille was beginning to get irritated.
“Possibly nothing,” Peter responded. The Intendent waved that off angrily, but Peter pressed on, “the only dispatch rider I saw was coming here, and I’ve not spotted much traffic back to Frankfurter other than wounded and prisoners.”
“Wounded and prisoners?” Bastille’s eyebrows merged with his feathery hat. “Just how many wounded and prisoners and in what size groups?”

Scene Four: A chilly vault under the Frankfurter Cathedral:

A Cathedral Cannon is carefully sorting candles when another priest enters the room.
“Monsignor Virtu!” the Cannon greets him cheerfully, “What brings you here?”
“We need to get the lay brothers together,” the visitor responds with a heavy Italian accent.
The Cannon crosses himself anxiously. “Are you sure? They can be hard to control and can cause some terrible trouble when they’re set loose.”
The Italian is silent for a moment, casting a grave look outside the room. He returns to the Cannon and whispers in his ear, “The Apostate Prince Returns.”

Scene Five: A comfortable suite in a country inn in Hesse Seewald.

The Hurtshog and Beauphaup play chess beside a cheerful fire while General Hottatrot watches the snow fall outside.
“Close that window!” the Hurtshog cheerily orders the General. “Do you want to give your sovereign pneumonia?”
“Not really,” the general responds. “I just thought I heard the sign of a Frankszonian Ritter.”
The chess players both look at him and fall quiet. Outside, the steady clump of heavy boots rapidly approaches the door. At the knock, Hottatrot challenges, “Who goes there?”
“Hauptman MooseHunter, mein Herr.”
The chess players quickly rise while Hottatrot hustles the officer into the room swiftly.
“What’s happening?” the Hurtshog demands bruskly.
“Rose Marie has another crazy scheme going, Sir,” the copper skinned giant responded. “And with most of our reliable forces out of town and going in different directions, this could prove very embarrassing.”
“Does the Intendant know yet?”
“I passed one of his agents just outside of town, and stalled long enough to let him go in ahead of me.”
“Good.”
“But ...”
“Well?”
“Roquefort has gone to ground, Sir,” the Indian said. “We’ve lost track of him.”
“Perhaps the Gallian court has finally decided to reign him in,” Beauphaup suggested.
“They have, but he appears to have skipped even before his assassination scheme went sour,” Moosehunter cautioned.
“And we saw some Cheezer officers posing as wounded being “taken” south after the battle,” Hottatrot noted.
The Hurtshog made an abrupt gesture and walked to the window. He opens it and watches the snow for a minute. “Comte Beauphaup.” he said.
“Oui, your Highness?”
“Please find m’Lord Bastille. Inform him that he is summoned to an immediate conference with the Hurtshog Fhartz von Frankfurter.”
The other men stiffen at the tone and the word “summoned.”
“At once, your Highness,” Beauphaup responds and leaves.

1 comment:

. said...

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