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Friday, October 12, 2012

Chapter 2 in the Rechburg Story


To read previous chapters go to the The Rechburg Story

Chapter 2 - New Madrid Capital of the Duchy of Bergatonia.

“You are incompetent fool, I should have you hung from the gallows, my god if I didn’t know you were a bloody idiot I would say you were a treasonous scum, you aren’t  treasonous scum are you General?”
Duke Rupert was almost lathering at the mouth, picking up the ink pot on his desk he threw it at General Guizot in complete frustration, the General quite experienced at the Dukes furies  managed to duck the flying ink pot, turning only briefly to see it crash onto the floor behind him; the trail of ink leaving a pathway of its ill aimed flight.

“No sire I…..”

“Don’t you dare answer me back you traitor, just tell me; what the bloody hell do you intend to do now”
“Well sire our options …..”
“Our options general are nil, do you hear me you bloody incompetent fool, absolutely bloody nil. Good god man you have sabotaged years of planning and preparations”.

“Sire it is not too late I can bring the troops out of winter quarters, it would only be a matter of weeks.” The general quickly added hoping to prevent the next missile being better aimed.
“General you have just placed my army in winter quarters, which means the supply wagons are empty, the ammunition is stored and the troops spread out all over my bloody country and you did this because you are an incompetent idiot or worse a traitor.”

“What are you Guizot?” asked Duke Rupert.

“I believe Sire you said I was an idiot earlier on.”

“Yes quite right and I am glad to hear I’m not the only one who knows that”

“Now get out of my sight Guizot”

“But Sire what about the Rechburg… should we ……”

“What we should do you low life traitorous scum is attack them while they are busy in Ulrichstein, but no because you have put my army in winter quarters I can only stand on the borders and wave them good on their way, now get out of my sight”

The general bowed and quickly made for the door, just making it through and in the process of closing it before he heard a loud crash against the door, looking at the guard at the door he nodded with an embarrassed smile.

“Paper weight”

The Guard merely nodded; after all it was a common occurrence.

Duke Rupert sat back down in his seat, elbows on the desk, head resting in his hands.
He could not believe it, for years he had patiently waited for this very moment, for Rechburg to become committed in a war on another border, too committed to respond to a Bergatonian offensive effectively.
All those years of patient waiting, planning and scheming just to see it pass because his troops were placed in winter quarters.
“Dammit it” he yelled to a empty office, “Every other bloody army is out getting ready for war and what’s mine doing, bloody well sleeping in their barracks.” He again muttered incomprehensible obscenities to the empty office.

He stood up, made his way to the window, stood there hands behind his back, he then slammed the wall beside the French doors in utter frustration. Duke Rupert turned swiftly and stomped his way to the door, opened it  stormed through, once in the hall way he turned to one of the guards.
“Are you capable of understanding a simple order” he asked.
“Yes Sire” the Guard replied.
“Excellent, go find Schaeffer for me and send the officer of the day to me, immediately”
The Guard saluted and quickly marched away, Duke Rupert turned to the Guard on the other side of the doorway, looked him up and down and snorted “Bloody useless” and stormed back into his office.

A few minutes later a captain of the Ducal Guard, knocked on the door and entered, he walked in, avoiding the paper weight, ink pot and ink trail over the floor he approached the desk, saluted and bowed.
“You asked for me Sire”.
“Of course I asked for you, do you think I’m in the habit of having people wandering in and out of here, does this room look like a reception hall captain”
“No sire, it most certainly does not” the captain replied, completely understanding that his Duke was having one of those days.
“You know captain you may very well be the only officer in my bloody army that actually knows where he is and what he is doing.”
The Duke made his way to a side table; he paused and turned to the Captain.
“Well man what is it, why are you here?”
The Captain replied “You asked for me sire.”
“What, why would I do that?” he asked
Then he remembered, “Ahh yes, that’s right, Captain you are to arrest General Guizot for treason take him out and have him shot”
“Treason Sire, shoot him sire” the Captain repeated, then realising he best get out of the office and do as he was instructed before he too was stood at the wall; “Yes sire of course I will do it now”.

Just then there was a knock on the door.
The Duke looked from the Captain to the door
“Good bloody god, this is getting more like a bloody reception room every bloody day, damned people wandering in and out, alright captain you may go”

Minister Schaeffer entered the room, he neatly avoided the fleeing captain, the ink pot and paper weight on the floor.
“Ahhh Schaeffer at last someone who has a modicum of intellect”
“Thank you Sire,” Minister Schaeffer replied. “You asked for me Sire how may I be of help to you.”
The Duke returned to his desk having just poured himself a small brandy, he placed the glass on the table and quietly sat down.

“Have you heard the news Schaeffer, the Rechburgians and the Emperor are likely to go to war; what’s even more delicious it will be a winter war, excellent stuff eh Schaeffer, excellent stuff indeed”.
“It is good news indeed sire, and might I say sire I think it was most cunning of you to place our troops in winter quarters, it means come next spring you and your army being quite fresh will merely have to crush a very weakened Rechburg border guard. Obviously they won’t have much of an army left after a winter campaign. It is inspirational thinking indeed sire, most cunning.”

The Duke quietly drank his brandy, and then with a smiled he eased himself back in his chair.

“Take a seat Schaeffer.”

The Minister slowly sat himself down.
“You know Schaeffer you may be the only one here to understand my plan, you are right of course and I should have known you would see through my plans, winter quarters indeed was the way to go ehhhh Schaeffer.”

He was about to take another drink of the brandy before he realised his glass was empty, the Minister seeing this asked
“May I get you a glass of brandy sire?”
“Yes, thank you Schaeffer, I would like that.”

The minister rose from his chair, collected the Dukes glass and made his way to the side table. Returning moments later he placed the glass on the table and made his way back to his own seat.

“Sire I have a question if I may.”
“What is Schaeffer”?
“Earlier this year you asked me to prepare an operation to assassinate the Herzog, is that operation still going ahead sire?”
“Good Grief, what kill my father, hah Schaeffer good god yes, I like, indeed I do”.
“Well sire that particular operation may not be possible at the moment, we are still working on it; putting the pieces in play so to speak Sire.  However sire, an opportunity has just presented itself to us and I was wondering knowing your unique ability to develop cunning plans whether we should develop this new opportunity further.”

The Duke eased himself forward on his chair, sliding the now empty glass to the side and with a smile he said in a softened voice.
“Yes, Schaeffer, we must work on this plan, indeed we must”

Minister Schaeffer smiled, he knew his Duke.
The Duke slid his chair back, placed his feet up on the desk, hands up behind  his head, the smile on his face revealing his pleasure with knowing secrets, then the smile slowly disappeared and the feet came down from the desk, the arms unfolded and Minister Schaeffer waited.
“Schaeffer, this plan I am working on, what exactly is it about again, you must remind me.”

At last I have him Minister Schaeffer thought to himself.
“Well sire it has come to my eerr our knowledge that the Prince Leopold, that is your youngest step brother has been placed as commander of the Rechburg forces on your border Sire”.
The Duke smiled “Indeed he has, yes you are quite correct,” even though this was news to him.
“Indeed Sire and knowing your desire to strike a severe blow at the Rechburgians I immediately saw that you knew this, after all I reasoned to myself why would the army go into winter quarters if it wasn’t to lull the Rechburgians into a false sense of security.”

The Duke rubbed his hands together, smile the smile of the innocent,
“Haaa Quite right Schaeffer, I cannot pull one across your eyes can I, no you are far too clever.” The duke sat watching his first minister.
“Indeed Schaeffer, you are of course correct, and now that I have fooled them it is obvious I should be ready to spring my trap, yes”
“Oh Sire indeed you should and knowing this I was wondering if we should now pull a small number of troops quietly out of winter quarters and use them immediately. After all sire the Rechburgian spies will have reported your army has withdrawn to barracks for the winter, I doubt anyone will be watching if we were to quietly sneak a few away”.

The Duke was now up on his feet once more, this time he walked around the desk, stood beside his Minister and whispered in his ear.
“Schaeffer you far to cunning for me, I simply cannot sneak anything past you. Indeed, indeed, indeed. So I sneak some units out and the Rechburgians will never know, haaaa; we will surprise them won't we Schaeffer, oh this will be delicious.”

Then a problem occurred to the Duke, he wondered how this marvelous plan of his was going to unfold.
"This plan of mine Schaeffer did I explain how it was to unfold?' 
“Indeed sire, it was brilliant in concept, I believe you indicated, we use certain units namely the 1st brigade to launch a surprise raid on Leopold’s headquarters, capture him and whisk him back across the border, or at least arrange it so he had an accident, perhaps while he was escaping."

The Duke burst out laughing, he slapped Schaeffer on the shoulder,
“Yes, yes I like it, that's right Schaeffer, odd how I often forget some of my more interesting plans. I would love to see that young fool Leopold on his knees before me, just before I ripped his bloody stupid head of his shoulders, you know Schaeffer what I would do then.”
The Minister rose from the Chair to watch his Duke was now pacing back and for rather animated, his arms swinging, face full with a smile, “What would you do Sire?” the minister asked.
“I will place Leopold’s head on a pole outside the Palace gates, indeed; right outside there on the gates”.

Schaeffer doubting the wisdom of having a dried withering head decorating the palace gates was in the best interests of diplomacy, let alone decency but he decided that was another bridge to cross when the time came.

“So my friend” Duke Rupert said” here we are on the brink of a great adventure, so tell me Schaeffer what do you think of my plan.”
“Oh Sire, I stand before you humbled knowing I am in the presence of one with a mind as inspirational and cunning as yours sire, I dare say sire you will have already embarked on the next step”

The Duke was walking back to the desk; he scooped the empty glass from it and made his way to the side table once more. He poured another small brandy and then turned to face the minister.
“You know Schaeffer you must not feel too badly, I know sometimes you feel a little out of step when I divulge my great plans, but in truth my dear friend you are the only one around me who has even the remotest idea of how sharp my mind really is. I am always working Schaeffer, I am scheming, I am planning. You know I see plans within plans, sometime I feel so constrained in this body, my mind and intellect far superior to what this body offers and is capable off. You know Schaeffer I have so many plans and idea racing through my mind, sometimes I forget the details. The burden I suppose of genius.”

Minister Schaeffer realised it was time to bring his Duke back to earth before his great mind started wandering off elsewhere.
“Indeed sire I stand in awe before such intellect, but I beg your indulgence sire and ask that you tell me your mere servant what we should do next”
The Duke returned to the desk, placed the drink on the desk and then walked over to a map and looked at it, for a few moments.
“Yes I am sorry Schaeffer you are quite right, how could I expect you to keep up with the pace and brilliance of my mind. Well my friend here is what we are going to do,” the duke stood at the map looking at it as if an inspirational idea was to leap out from it.

Minister Schaeffer rose from his chair, and joined the Duke who seemed to have slipped into a quiet stupor in front of the map.
“So Sire I expect General Guizot has been ordered to bring the 1st brigade out from winter quarters and placed them near border”
The Duke stood still looking at the map, almost in a slumber; he was jolted by the rattle of musketry fire from outside the Palace.
Minister Schaeffer leapt back with a fright, “Good God what the hell was that?” he asked.
Duke Rupert also shook, the noise of the musketry seemed to have snapped him back to where he was, he looked at his minister who was while still visibly shaken had rushed to the window but was unable to see where the musketry fire came from.

The Duke made his way back to the desk.
“Ahhh my friend I fear we may need a new Chief of Staff, do you have any suggestions”
Minister Schaeffer finally realising what had just transpired.
“If I may ask Sire, why have we just shot our Chief of Staff” asking in almost disbelief.
The Duke sat down, elbows on desk, head in his hands.
“I am very tired Schaeffer, I want you to find a new Chief of staff and get him to work on the plans that I have just explained to you”

Minister Schaeffer realised that the interview was over, but he was quite satisfied with how it had gone, well that was with exception of losing the man who had originally thought of the scheme; General Guizot.

You poor old fool, you just were never quick enough on your feet to avoid or re direct the Dukes fury.

“Indeed sire I will see who Is suitable as Chief of Staff and direct them to follow your plans”.

The Duke still with his head in his hands simply waved the minster away.
As the minister slowly made his way to the door, Duke Rupert wondered at the stupidity of some people, how the hell could that stupid bloody officer of the day just take the General out and shoot him, never even a courts martial. I am surrounded by incompetent fools; obviously the man is a bloody traitor. Who in their right mind arrests a good man like Guizot and shoots him all in the same afternoon. The Duke looked up just as the door closed, the minister having left.
The Minister stood beside the door for a moment, seconds later there was the sound of glass smashing against the door, he whispered to no one in particular
“Brandy glass”.


                                 ************

Next Chapter Rechburg Army moves into Ulrichstein.

4 comments:

  1. Methinks the Duke is not a neighbor that I'd like to have . . . nor the ruler were I in his territory.


    -- Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  2. Totally agree Jeff, a bit on the loose side I suspect.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Methinks there will be anonymous tracts nailed to church doors and tavern windows shortly:

    There is a Mad Duke named Rupert
    Who is as unwise as he is stupert
    So deranged and unhinged
    Upon the brandy he's binged
    He's crazy, doolally and loopert.

    I do like your colourfully drawn characters, Barry
    Cheers,
    Ion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are far too kind Ion

      I think it helps that like Duke Rupert I don't have to deal with reality in the story or elsewhere it seems :-).

      Delete