For Immediate Release
Katrina-Bettina von Heffelfinger
Das Krankenstadt Tageblatt
Grand Duchy of Stollen
Krankenstadt 30 July 1776 -- Reports from Stollenian agents along the frontier are beginning to arrive at the offices of Das Krankenstadt Tageblatt indicating that the armies of Stollen and Zichenau, after much aimless blundering for the last two weeks in the countryside of the contested Mark of Schleiz, are taking up their initial positions just outside the bucolic Village of Doltz. Although it might be Schtügesdorf. Or it could be the small settlement of Bumpfkinzort. Time will tell.
Long-time readers might recall the The Mark of Schleiz, currently possessed by the Stollenian crown, is a province rich in lumber, wildlife, grain, and lead. It is sandwiched between The Grand Duchy of Stollen to the north and the Electorate of Zichenau to the south. The territory has been the reason for many conflicts between the two entities during the last century, most recently falling under Stollenian dominion two years ago in summer 1774 at the close of the brief War of the Buttons, which was decided by the Battle of the Ellbogenfluss.
The purported excuse for this latest round of hostilities between Stollen's Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II and Zichenau's conniving Princess Antonia III has more to do, however, with a pie fight that broke out between ministers attending the recent Congress of Schmitten in the neighboring Principality of Pillau-Zerbst. That's right. Matters came to a head after Princess Antonia herself received a lemon meringue in the face.
Known all around this end of the continent for her fiery and capricious nature, the Princess hotly declared war on the Grand Duchy of Stollen the following day. "Genetlemen," she shouted to her cabinet members and advisors, "My hairpiece has been mussed, my dress stained, and my décolletage made sticky. We will not stand for such foolish effronteries as these. Stollen and the damnable poppinjay who sits on its throne must be punished. The Electorate of Zichenau is at war!"
The notorious French mercenary-adventurer General Phillipe de Latte is now at the head of a powerful Zichenauer Army, which crossed the Lesser Zwischen river into the Duchy of Schleiz early this week. Facing him is the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II, who, advised by General Alfons von Bauchschmerzen, will command the Stollenian Army. The latter man is reportedly under the weather yet again and rarely leaves the confines of his wicker coach, preferring the comforts of a favorite green lap blanket, a hot water bottle, and his treasured set of Just William stories to the rigors of a full day in the saddle.
While the Grand Duke is excited for the chance to prove his tactical acumen, the precise degree of his talents on the field of Mars remain unclear. His gentleman's personal gentleman, one Gerald Arthur Hives, reports that the Irwin-Amadeus II has browsed a translation of Sun Tsu's The Art of War before bedtime these last few evenings, so there needn't be any worry. The troops should all be home in their barracks before the Autumnal Equinox.
The Prussian ambassador to Stollen, Herr Heinz von dem Salat, when asked for his opinon, commented, "What? Oh, right. Quite right. Yes. There's really no need to worry about packing to leave the capital. Our boys have the matter well in hand. Besides, there is an awfully good series of croquet matches scheduled during the next few weeks before the Stollenian cabinet is due to convene again. I say! Is that a steak and kidney pie on the lunch table?"