Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Union Real de Scandalusia

"Majesty, I beg leave to point out that sooner or later circumstances will force your hand," said Don Diego Halfdane de la Chevrolet-Vega.

"Oh, what the devil are you on about now, Chevrolet-Vega?" said High King Joern Carlos XI in a peevish tone, glancing up from the paper-strewn desk.

"Majesty," replied the Foreign Minister with the patience born of long service and a finely honed sense of self-preservation, "there are at this moment a dozen armies campaigning hither and yon across the lands. Sooner or later la Union Real must take official notice."

The High King glowered a moment, then sighed. "What would you have me do, Don Diego, my old companero? Apart from the handful of regiments with His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, the army has already gone into winter quarters and is spread from one end of la Union Real to the other. I know my son would like nothing better than to bring us into the war, but I intend to restrain him while I can. Major Havelocke is with the Crown Prince's corps in the Plain of the Plain Thanes. The major is aware of my wishes in this regard, and has been able to speak reason to my son where others have failed--so far, at any rate.

"No, mi amigo, I appreciate your concern, but so long as neither hither nor yon are within the borders of Scandalusia, I propose to let well enough alone a while longer. Our own house is not yet in order, after all."

"Do you trust Havelocke, sire?"

"Like most Henrovians, Desmond Havelocke is as honest as a summer day is long. I trust him not to lie outright, Don Diego Halfdane. But I do not know all his purposes...." He paused, then smiled wryly. "In any case, what choice have we?"

Don Diego Halfdane bowed, silent. What choice, indeed?


Stagonian Jeff said...

Koenig Maurice the Vile, King of Stagonia, wondered aloud if there had been any word from their secret agent in Scandalusia.

"Not yet, Your Majesty," replied his Foreign Minister, Baron Gustav von Rumpel, "but the cover identity that selected really pleased your spy chief, Count von Drednoz."

"And what was that identity again, Baron?" asked the king.

"I don't know, Sire. The Count wouldn't tell me. He said if he told me, he'd half to kill me . . . and I got the impression he wanted to tell me."

abdul666 said...

Good to have news from the Union Real: even the Monte-Cristan network was uncharacteristicly ignorant of the situation there...

MurdocK said...

All that paperwork really eats up the time, though it does teach patience.

A story was told of a King of Spain and one of his scribes working late into the night on a series of colonial dispatches (running an empire across the atlantic by pen and paper must have been the ultimate chore) when the tired scribe knocked over the bottle of ink and destroyed the days work. The scribe feared for his life...

The king merely brushed aside the pages and began to dictate the new final copy.

Patience indeed.

Der Alte Fritz said...

Murdock: knocking over the bottle of ink or the glass of wine is always a sign of bad luck. It reminds me of the scene in Robin Hood when Guy of Gisborne and Prince John are plotting to get RH, and one of them knocks over the wine goblet. They both look horrified as they watch the wine slowly dribble onto the floor. Sort of like the old custom of tossing salt over your shoulder for good luckk if you tip over the salt shaker. Or maybe they were just horrified at the waste of good wine.