Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kreis Konferenz, Part 2

After the initial shock of seeing Britannian and Gallian officers walking with the Prince-Bishop, the room full of officers settled down into their seats to wait for an explanation.

Adalbert Heinrich was an astute enough orator and politician to know when he had the advantage, so the Prince-Bishop dispensed with the planned elaborate ceremonies and cut directly to the point.

“My lords, generals, and gentlemen: may I introduce two distinguished, but uninvited guests? I have spoken with these two generals about my planned remarks, so do not be surprised if I sound the part of an ungracious host.

“This is Major General Sir Harald Dawes of His Britannic Majesty’s service. And this is General Louis Renault, Comte de Maison-Blanche of His Gallian Majesty’s army.

“Each of these officers commands the vanguard of their respective armies. They are drawn into our Kreis by the presence of the armies of Her Imperial Majesty and those of the King of Germania. And, doubt not my lords, for the sake of feeding their armies off of Our rich lands!”

The Prince-Bishop’s voice rose suddenly and dramatically with the last sentence, and he glared accusingly at the representatives from the warring parties. Norris showed no response at all, even as the heads of assembled officers turned to look at him. But when Adalbert Heinrich’s gaze turned to von Blei-Sammeln, the Imperial general blanched, and then tried to recover his composure with his practiced sneer.

“It has ever been Our policy to support Our beloved Empress. Yet it has also been Our policy to keep the peace within the borders of Mittel-Nirgendwo.

“I am not a lawyer, but I am the titular and spiritual leader of this Circle. I ask the leaders of Homburg and Fedora to reach an agreement and end this quarrel before the blood of any more of our young men is spilt, and before the spectre of war stalks among our green fields.”

Many of the assembled generals wondered if any such agreement were possible. Even if the two Hessian states did end their conflict, the general war was sure to engulf the region. Germanian and Britannian armies were not going to cease their struggles with their Imperial and Gallian counterparts at the request of the ruler of a tiny corner of Uropa.

They were right. Feldmarschallieutenant von Blei-Sammeln rose and bowed to the Prince-Bishop.

“Your Eminence, when the Germanian army withdraws from the lands of my sponsor, the soldiers in revolt lay down their arms, and the rascal so-called Landgraf Bogey and his henchmen are turned over for justice, then and only then will the Imperial and Homburg soldiers march home.”

The silence was immediate and utter. Generalmajor von Stein, sitting by von Blei-Sammeln, visibly shrank away from his chief with a look of disbelief writ large on his face.

The eyes gradually turned back to the Prince-Bishop, who sadly brought his attention back to Norris. The others all did likewise.

Norris rose as if church was over. He bowed to the Prince-Bishop and marched from the hall. As Norris reached the doors, a scraping noise jolted the room’s inhabitants.

It was the chair of Duke Wilhelm Heinrich von Welf-Este. He also bowed to Adalbert Heinrich and followed Norris from the room. As he did so, the other Welf-Este soldiers, as well as those of Germania all rose and filed from the room.

The War of the Fedoran Seccession had not been stopped by the Konferenz…it had been expanded.

After Sir Harald murmured his apologies to the Prince-Bishop, the Comte de Maison-Blanche did likewise and both left the stage. Feldzeugmeister von Dithmarschen was left with his disconsolate ruler, and asked:

“What are your orders, Your Eminence?”

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