Friday, October 19, 2007

The Ambassador Reports

“So they finally got married, Peter?”

“Yes, Your Excellency. The ceremony was on the 14th.” The Ambassador Extraordinaire of the Court of Hesse-Fedora partially hooded his large eyes, trying to judge his Landgraf’s reaction.

“Any news from Zolms-Rottenwald or -Gruenewald?”

“No, Excellency. However, if I may be permitted to pass on a matter of rumor?”

“Meaning, yes there is news, but you cannot confirm it?”

“Yes, Excellency, that is an excellent summary of my…source.”

“And this rumor is?”

Ambassador von Lorre rolled his eyes to the other men in the room. Lieutenant General Linus von Larrabee, Deputy Minister for War, Quartermaster General and holder of various other crucial positions, folded his arms across his chest and looked impatient. Major General von Marlowe, the realm’s cavalry commander, was pretending not to listen and shammed looking at a muster return. Oberst von Leland, the army’s chief gunner, simply returned the Ambassador’s gaze.

“They are trustworthy, Herr von Lorre,” Landgraf Bogey said into the uneasy silence.

“Of course, Excellency. I simply do not wish to alarm anyone unduly.”

Bogey glanced at Marlowe. “Out, General von Marlowe. You too, Herr Oberst von Leland.” He turned back to von Lorre. “Minister von Larrabee stays.”

Marlowe rose slowly, looked distastefully at Lorre, and saluted Bogey. “As you wish, General,” and then he stalked from the room. Oberst Leland, unsuccessfully hiding a smile at the old hussar’s pique, gave his own salute and followed the general out the door.

Bogey turned to Lorre. “What is so secretive and important that you just insulted two of my highest officers?”

“Excellency, Solms-Rottenwald and the now united grafschafts have been ordering uniforms from the mills, and placed orders for additional soldiers to be recruited. Numbers for at least,” Lorre interrupted long enough to pull a scrap of paper from his breast, and to adjust a pince-nez, “two battalions, a squadron of cavalry, and battalion guns.”

“And the reason for this armament?”

Lorre shrugged. “Perhaps a wedding gift, Your Excellency?”

Larrabee spoke. “If I may, your Excellency? It will take months to reorganize the army after the last battle.”

“I know that, Linus. And Norris is off chasing those Dutchmen out of the northwest of the Landgrafschaft.” Bogart tugged at an earlobe.

“Thank you, Peter. See what else you can learn. Linus? Draft an order for Major General Marlowe to relieve Major General Norris in command of his column, and for Norris to report back to here with the hussars and jagers.”

No comments: