The missing Princess Valerie of Pillau-Zerbst, who eloped with the recently deceased Prince Ruprecht VII of Zichenau last year, has surfaced in the court of Zichenau! Moreover, she has been sighted on the arm of General Phillip de Latté, who has also been strangely absent from court for the last several months. It has also come to light recently that de Latté is apparently in the service of the deceased Ruprecht’s mother -- Princess Antonia of Tauroggen-Fiebus.
Princess Antonia, as you will recall, became the Elector of Zichenau and assumed the throne last month, following Ruprecht's sudden and inexplicable expiration after a late-night snack of fresh figs. These had been left in a large ceramic bowl and carefully placed on the bottom shelf of the electoral ice-box. The unfortunate snacking mishap followed on the heels of Ruprecht's return from self-imposed exile in the American colony of Massachusetts where he resided with Princess Valerie for a time, to assume his princely duties in Hissig, the capital of Zichenau. An idealistic dream he was never able to realize thanks to the siren's song sung to Ruprecht by a bowl of tainted fruit.
While we cannot be entirely certain, it would appear that Princess Valerie and Princess Antonia have been consorting with General de Latté all along. The three seem to have enmeshed themselves within a bizarre and confusing love triangle and hatched an elaborate scheme to simultaneously eliminate Prince Ruprecht VII and lure Stollen into war. Their aim seems to be recovery of the historically disputed province of Schleiz through annexation. Schleiz, long known for its dense pine and birch forests, copper mines, and abundant wildlife, sits between Stollen and Zichenau. The remote province is publicly and unashamedly coveted by each.
According to our anonymous source, the plan formulated by Princess Antonia, Princess Valerie, and de Latté is intended to, “Boil that half-witted lobster in his own juices and serve him to the
Accordingly, the Grand Duke has spent the morning in deep consultation with his closest ministers here in Krankenstadt. Rather unexpectedly, he appeared before the sessions dressed in an unmistakably dark blue general’s coat, complete with orders and decorations on the chest, wearing a silver sash around his waist and a sabre hanging at his left side. Several household staff at Krankenstadt Palace confirm the sighting.
Of course, this particular development raises several new and related issues. Perhaps most notably -- might our Grand Duke’s apparent feeble-minded state have been an elaborate ruse? Time will indeed tell. As more details unfold, you can read about them right here on the front page of Der Krankenstadt Tageblat.
Katrina-Bettina von Heffelfinger