20 May 2007

Tongues Wag Concerning the Whereabouts of General Phillip de Latté

Unconfirmed reports this morning suggest that enemy agents from the Electorate of Zichenau are at work here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen’s capital city, Krankenstadt. Details remain sketchy, but more information continues to emerge by the hour as Stollenian ministers race to gather all of the facts.

During maneuvers yesterday by the Leib Grenadiers, several high ranking Stollenian officers reported spotting three well-known officers from the Electorate of Zichenau in the crowd. The three were conspicuously dressed in dark cloaks despite the warm, sunny spring weather in this little corner of imaginary 18th century Europe. Among the throngs of Stollenian citizens enjoying the review of their newly uniformed troops, were spotted individuals widely thought to be the mercenary General Phillip de Latté along with his two subordinate officers Quintus Albertus Supercilius von Lickschpittel and Anders Gedacht von Glühwein.

If the identities of these men are correct, their presence in Stollen can only be construed as an audacious mission to ascertain the fighting capabilities and readiness of our Grand Duke’s army. The situation is particularly troubling since de Latté, at one time betrothed to neighboring Pillau-Zerbst’s Princess Valerie, is known to have close ties with both France and Gallia. For his part, Irwin-Amadeus II has not issued a comment yet, though he was sighted on the palace grounds early today with a small retinue, taking his usual morning constitutional, dressed once again in his lobster costume, but minus one of the claws.

In any case, how do these events bode for the Grand Duchy of Stollen? Perhaps we have little to worry about given our peripheral location to the events currently unfolding in Central Germany. Stollen is, after all, located outside the Holy Roman Empire, to the northeast of King Frederick’s Prussia and sandwiched between Russia, Poland, and Courland on the other three sides. We are a small territory with an equally small army at the moment. Certainly, then, there would be little strategic gain for other countries by embroiling the Grand Duchy of Stollen in a general European conflict -- and no tangible benefits to enjoy by billeting foreign troops in our fine territory as they pass through enroute to any future campaign area in Central Europe.

On the other hand, the Electorate of Zichenau to the southwest is our traditional enemy. Various animosities, either real or imagined, stretch back several centuries between our two countries. For instance, recent history is riddled with events that led to war. In 1693, there was the royal love affair gone awry between our respective ruling houses. Temporarily misplaced crown jewels, an accusation of thievery, and an embarrassing discovery that a mistake had been made created a second unsavory situation between Stollen and Zichenau in 1707. Then, there was the plagiarized monograph on metaphysics by a dilettante academic that led to war in summer 1729. An expatriate Stollenian artist failed to deliver a suitably heroic portrait to his royal patron in Zichenau in July 1751. And, in the summer of 1766, we can’t forget the utter humiliation of Zichenau’s Prince Ruprecht II at the hands of a Stollenian master tailor, whose garments were so fine that wearing them was almost like having nothing on at all.

The elopement of Princess Valerie a year ago, betrothed to General de Latté at the time, with Zichenau’s Prince Ruprecht II, ultimately did not lead to the outbreak of hostilities in our region of the continent. Valerie and Ruprecht are reportedly living in the American colonies at this writing. Our sources in Zichenau report, though, that General de Latté still burns a candle for his departed fiancée, sinking at time into a deep depression and indulging in various ruminations, fueled by a haze of pungent Gaulois cigarette smoke and absinthe, about his lost love.

More to the point, there are those in Stollen’s government who say quietly that it is only a matter of time before war becomes an issue between Stollen and Zichenau, the latter backed by Gallia and France, who could supply money and troops. Precisely if and when that happens is a matter of some speculation among our ministers and generals. But the consensus today seems to indicate that we could be at war by mid-autumn if the recent turn of events in apocryphal Europe does not change.

Katrina-Bettina von Heffelfinger

Der Krankenstadt Tageblat

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