Katrina-Bettina von Heffelfinger
Die Krankenstadt Tageblat
13 Palatz Platz
Krankenstadt, The Grand Duchy of Stollen
28 November 1768 -- Krankenstadt, Grand Duchy of Stollen
Following a short series of small battles during the preceding twelve months (at Zollamtstadt in December 1767 and Pelznikkel in August 1768), the Army of Stollen, still commanded by the disgraced General von Drosselmaier, has retreated into the interior of The Mark of Schleiz, an area rich in timber, game, and various types of ore. The Mark of Schleiz has thus been a historically contested region since it lies on the southern edge of Stollen and is immediately adjacent to the Zichenauer frontier.
A Stollenian possession since 1720, Schleiz has been a semi-autonomous part of that country for most of this century, but the region is also highly coveted by The Electorate of Zichenau. In recent years, the deceased Prince Ruprecht III and his mother, Princess Antonia I, have vowed not only to regain the Mark of Schleiz for Zichenau, but to bring both the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its ruler, Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II, to their knees. Indeed, Zichenau began attempting to do just that when it invaded the Mark of Schleiz late last December, an uncharacteristic move that led to the surprise and withdrawal of a small Stollenian force from its winter quarters around Zollamtstadt on the northern bank of the Lesser Zwischen River.
General von Drosselmaier attempted to staunch the tide of white-coated Zichenauers late last summer outside Pelznikkel. However, a series of tactical blunders and reluctant subordinates at the individual unit level led to a second defeat and a another withdrawal further into the Mark of Schleiz. Von Drosselmaier led his defeated troops along the north-south postal road between the region and Krankenstadt, the capital of Stollen. Since that time, neither army has been particularly active, and the traditional campaign season has drawn to a close. However, recent reports from the region indicate that the Zichenauer army, under the French mercenary adventurer, General Philip de Latte, is once again on the move northward toward the Greater Zwischen River.
That river is currently the only geographical feature of any note between the Army of Zichenau and the Grand Duchy of Stollen proper. Since late summer, General von Drosselmaier has had his forces camped several miles southeast of Pickelhaubewicz, a small but significant postal and coach stop along the road to Krankenstadt. Following an emergency session at Krankenstadt Palace late yesterday afternoon, Stollenian ministers indicated that von Drosselmaier is under new orders to seize and hold Pickelhaubewicz in an effort to stop the movement north by General de Latte. Reports received this morning indicate that von Drosselmaier has dispatched a small force under one Colonel Hans Peter von Grundig, to complete the mission. Von Grundig is reportedly mustering forces at this moment and rushing them toward Pickelhaubewicz just to the northwest of his current position.
Stollenian agents in the region also report movement by a small force of Zichenauers, some miles to the southwest of the village. Although these reports have not yet been confirmed, rumors suggest that a young Zichenauer officer, Major Wolfgang von Hirschbiegel, has been given command of these troops with similar orders, to seize and hold Pickelhaubewicz, securing the village for the transit of additional Zuchenauer troops northward, where they will cross the Greater Zwischen River and, presumably, head directly for the heart of Stollen.
With the approach of the Christmas holidays, the situation looks particularly bleak for the Grand Duchy and its ruler, Irwin-Amadeus II. While his household staff busied itself on Wednesday, packing for a possible rapid exit from Krankenstadt, the Grand Duke allegedly asked a bystander whether Princess Antonia of Zichenau might have plans for engagement or marriage behind the policy she has pursued with Stollen for the last year. While we at Die Krankenstadt Tageblat cannot presume to have the answer to his question, we suggest that the coming events of the next several days might possibly have an effect on Irwin-Amadeus II and his domestic situation.