The history of the Imagi Nation Herzogtum von Rechburg and its people.
This is the developing story of the Herzogtum von Rechburg from late 18th century into a turbulent early 19th century.In Europia there is no French Revolution, just nations in chaos.
Chapter 15 - 16
Chapter 15 - News and Moves
The winter seems to be almost over, Europia is currently
being lashed by heavy rains but the snows are retreating from the Europian
plains, many of the mountain passes are still difficult to cross but overall
the temperatures are warming as the campaign season quickly approaches.
News of the
coming marriage of King Ferdinand and Princess Caroline has had varying effect
within the Hapburgian Empire, there are rumblings of disquiet in the south
east, and as a consequence Archduke Eugene has brought his troops out of winter
quarters in preparation for the coming campaign season and to squash any local opposition
or rebellion in the south.
around the Hapburgian capital the reception of the marriage news is quite
different and already preparations are being made for the wedding which is due
in a few weeks time. There certainly seems to be an air of celebration around
the capital as festivities and galas are being planned and prepared for.
Wartenburg border King Ferdinand has started preparations for mobilisation it
would seem, already the magazines are being checked and supplies moved in,
reports of military units coming out of winter quarters would indicate a possible
early beginning to war, but again here in the border regions the so called King
of Wartenburg’s agents as well as Franconian and Papal provocateurs have been
quite successful at rising up discontent within the population.
Arneth the new Rechburgian Ambassador to Hapburgia moved into his new embassy
in the Hapburgian capital Veronia. In a reception held for the ambassador King
Ferdinand spoke of the years to come of good friendships and strong alliances,
he also promised great changes for his people.
In the last
week King Ferdinand had already received the credentials of several new
ambassadors, these were from the Duchy of Flensburg, the Duchy of Pomona, the
Kingdom of Hollandaise and the Brittanic Empire.
first signs of the relaxing of religious persecution is the new Protestant
Cathedrals being built in Veronia as well as other cities in Hapburgia.
signs of new trade goods are starting to come into the markets in Hapburgia,
though the supply of new goods is slow at the moment mainly due to weather, it
is a sign of improvement for the markets and the economy.
there has been much activity concerning the changing diplomatic situation in
Europia. The King of Vandahalla has promised his support to Hapburgia but has
warned that owing to no changes in their border issues with Pomona there will
not be large amounts of units available to help King Ferdinand.
representative Cardinal Cognazzo once an old friend of Ferdinand’s came to
plead for Ferdinand to change his course, Ferdinand had to remind the Cardinal it
was the lack of support Hapburgia had received from fellow Catholics when it
held the Papal throne had seriously jeopardised the Hapburgian economy and
security; on that basis his first priority must be for now the security of his
He again reiterated
that though one of the Hapburgian realms the Duchy of Wartenburg has openly rebelled and was now
calling itself the Kingdom of Wartenburg the Pope had done nothing to squash
the rebellion, instead it had threatened Hapburgia and declared a papal bull on
the assassination of his betrothed Princess Caroline. In light of these actions
or inactions Ferdinand would act for Hapburgian security and he warned Cardinal
Cognazzo that he would not sit idly by while the Pope casts his vindictive
commands around against his betrothed; on that basis the Pope himself was not
safe from an assassin’s blade.
Rechburgian army was in the process of being realigned; many of the military
units that had been in Ulrichstein were now being transferred to new postings
while units damaged in the last campaign were receiving the first replacements.
had arrived from Gurania as well as those being returned that had been on loan
much anxiety in the Rechburgian capital of Albany over the coming wedding between
their Princess and the Catholic King Ferdinand. Princess Caroline was very much
loved by her people and therefore many feared for her well being, particularly
since the Iberian Pope had issued his latest Papal Bull to have her
Herzog Constantine II was perhaps even more stressed over that Papal bull than
anyone else including the Princess herself, though he would not admit it to
anyone; he was now having doubts over the wisdom of having placed her in such a
precarious situation, he had spoken to her of his worries but she had decided
she would go ahead with the marriage regardless of the Pope and his “waffling”.
likewise were extremely agitated and it would be fair to say had Iberia been a
neighbour they would now be sitting on the remains of the papal throne.
Constantine who reminded his sons that the Pope did have one very accessible
ally, that naturally being Bergatonia and they were already in a defacto state
of war, he went on to add that it was
only a matter of time before that state of war became official either at
Rechburg or Bergatonia’s behest.
also was continuing with talks with the Kingdom of Danemark and the Duchy of
Flensburg, over their issues; namely Danemark reclaiming all of Flensburg back.
The latest suggestion by the Herzog was another dynastic alliance based on
marriage, that being Prince Hans the Flensburg heir and Princess Charlotte the
sister to King Olaf. Constantine had suggested that through such a marriage
Flensburg and Danemark could look at merging in years to come. However King
Olaf was not at all keen to have a situation such as exists in Hapburgia with a
mixed religious marriage so the talks remained stalled.
the difficult negotiations over Flensburg King Olaf was being pressured by his
own Generals to take advantage of the coming campaign season. There was no
doubt in their minds that the Protestant countries would be heavily involved in
Wartenburg and possibly with Bergatonia as well, they saw this as the ideal
time for them to strike at Flensburg and even at Rechburg itself.
was considering his options but was only too aware that a strike at Rechburg
would draw the threat of a naval war with Brittania, something he had to avoid
at all costs, however a strike at Flensburg might be possible if he could be
reasonably sure Rechburg could not respond in time, so it was a case of prepare
and then wait and see.
promising all manner of aid to Danemark if only King Olaf would declare war on
Rechburg, their latest offer was to ship an entire Division to Danemark before
hostilities began, but King Olaf knew once he took that step there was no way
to avoid a total war with Rechburg, Flensburg, possibly Pomona and Brittania;
even with the help of a Iberian Division he doubted his chances of success. So
that offer was being declined simply because Olaf knew if he did not succeed
the Protestant nations would not stop this time until Danemark was destroyed. After
all Danemark only lost the last war because of the inactivity of its allies, and
he had seen the same lack of support with Hapburgia so he would not risk their lack
of resolve yet again.
was beside himself with worry; it appeared he was surrounded by spineless
cowards, both inside his own Duchy as well as his neighbours.
it was only a matter of time before Rechburg came knocking on his Ducal door,
he knew after the ill considered invasion of Rechburg during the winter that
come summer Rechburg would seek retribution.
Of course he
was only too aware that the invasion was the fault of the Iberians and his ex
first minister who somehow was lucky enough to get himself killed before Rupert
could inflict immeasurable pain on him.
had gained everything they wanted from it, they had the Papal throne, the
Danemark King had his sister back and new ships and what did Rupert have, no
allies to help him and a very angry Rechburg no doubt already plotting his
death and the destruction of his Duchy.
Franconians were playing him for a fool, they promised aid but he knew it would
never come while their current favourite pet the new Kingdom of Wartenburg was
being threatened. The Duchy of Neider couldn’t move without asking Franconia
which way to jump; and the Kingdom of Buchenwald would not go to war to protect
The new King
of Wartenburg had sent a envoy to discuss a possible alliance but when the
Franconians got to hear about it apparently they told the Wartenburg puppet
that if he allied with Bergatonia then they did not have his support, so that
path was blocked to him. More than once he wondered about the wisdom of having
Iberia promised the almighty would protect Bergatonia and Duke Rupert, but they
were limited in their own actions by his neighbours; so here he and his Duchy
lay, weak and almost defenceless, well if he had to fight then those heretic
bastards of his damned father would pay for every step of Bergatonian soil.
Then all of
a sudden it seemed as if the almighty may have glanced at the peril of his
Duchy, in the last week he had a straw to clutch too, the Iberian ambassador
had come to tell him Iberian troops were on their way, of course it mattered
little until they actually turned up, but now the worry was who would turn up
first, the Iberian army or the Rechburg one.
was going well for King Juan, the Kingdom of Wartenburg had very easily fallen
into the role of being another Franconian client state, it was totally
dependent on him to keep them in existence. Sadly it would mean he would have
to send sufficient forces to keep Wartenburg in play, he was aware however it
was vital that his army did not become too involved just yet. It was better if
he could draw Iberia and his client states deeper into the quagmire and on that
basis he was looking at ways to get Iberia involved.
common news that Danemark had refused Iberian help, for Juan that showed that
King Olaf was not a total fool, and Juan knew Iberia was desperate for him to
protect Bergatonia, a situation he would never consider. Yet if Bergatonia fell
which it surely would if attacked by Rechburg, Franconia ends up with a
Rechburgian neighbour, something that he could never allow.
Perhaps he reasoned
in discussions with his brother he should allow Iberia to move into Bergatonia,
either by marching through Franconia or shipping troops in via Neider, that way
Iberia indirectly protected his northern borders while sending more troops into
a war they would struggle to get out off.
He had sent
a courier off both to Neider and Iberia, for the first to advise them to allow
Iberian troops to land and quickly march into Bergatonia and to the later that
he saw the wisdom in the Popes pleas to allow Iberian units to move into
Bergatonia, yes I must emphasis that the Pope came begging to me.
happening Juan thought, The Franconian Empire was emerging out of the Europian
dark ages and he would soon become the dominant factor in the destiny of
Europia, but first he must allow the puppets to play their own little games. He
just had to be ready to pull the strings if he thought events were moving away
from his planned path.
came from both Neider and Franconia that they saw the wisdom of the Pope
sending an army to smite those Rechburgian heretics, immediately Emperor
Fernandez had ordered the movement of a infantry division to Bergatonia by sea,
the move was not without issues. First the Iberians had to pay for the access
through the Duchy of Neider; secondly they had to get there without the
Brittanic navy deciding to declare war on his fleet.
Franconians had suggested that if the Brittanic navy blocked them he would
permit them to land at the nearest Franconian port and then after paying for
access they could march overland, which though longer would still allow them to
Fernandez realised he was being used by the Franconians, after all Iberian
troops in Bergatonia protected the Franconian northern border, but of course
the reverse would be true, if he could get the Iberian Division into Bergatonia
before Rechburg moved, it would at the very least force the Herzog to
reconsider such a move, and with that the Emperor reasoned possibly he could
force the Rechburgians to the peace table or encourage the Danemark Kingdom
into attacking Rechburg in a joint north/south invasion.
subdued or conquered Rechburg, Iberia would finally have a province in northern
Europia and it would have broken out of the Franconian bottleneck, it would
have a direct influence on all Europian affairs.
Konstantin these past weeks had been a nervous and trying time, he had
desperately tried to cobble together some alliances to ensure he could survive
the coming Hapburgian/Rechburg attack, but his greatest difficulty was
Franconia, all they would do is promise aid and blocked his diplomatic attempts
to create an alliance that surely would have been as beneficial to him and
them; alas that was not to be. So for now he was forced to wait, the only
encouragement he had received was that the Duchy of Buchenwald (another
Franconian client state) was preparing troops to send to his aid.
had moved his capital back from Dreisden to the more secure Trensburg, he was
busy rebuilding those units damaged in the Ulrichstein fiasco and he had
brought his army out of winter quarters, he was as ready as he could be.
was nervous, there had been signs this week that the Iberians were planning a
large movement of troops, where they were going and how many only time would
tell but the Brittanic Horse Guards had to consider their options, what was
permissible and what was not, because what was not could very easily slip into
Horse guards were confident of controlling the seas, they were far less so of
having any influence on land, so therefore they had to decide before those
troops landed if they were prepared to go to war to stop them. The decision had
to be made before the Iberian fleet sailed so the admirals had time to put to
sea with an understanding of the strategic options, for it was at sea under the
command of those admirals that the decision would be whether war was declared
controlled the seas, but it didn’t own them, that was a Franconian catch-phrase
that surfaced from time to time, but even control had its serious consequences
and after much discussion the boundaries were thus:
If the Iberian
fleet sailed to any colonies they had to be stopped at sea, Brittania simply
didn’t have the strength on land to stop another colonial war.
fleet sailed up the Brittanic channel it had to be stopped before it sailed
beyond the Hollandaise coast line, they could not allow a strong Iberian force
to land in Danemark, that represented too greater danger to their allies
Rechburg and Hollandaise.
sailed to Neider, then Brittania could not really stop them, after all if they
blocked them what was to prevent the Iberians simply sailing into a Franconian
port, and all that would have come out of that was Iberia and possibly
Franconia would be at war with Brittania and the Iberian force could still
march overland to wherever they were going. It was a fine line and the future
did not look bright.
Kingdoms had their issues for Alberto Aldinno the promise of a new spring and
work in Hapburgia made his journey from Italia to the Hapburgian capital much
easier. Alberto was a romantic, he saw beauty in everything and in his work he
tried to reflect the beauty with his trades. Alberto was a man of many trades,
he was first and foremost a renowned sculpture, secondly he was a builder, but
without a doubt his greatest skill was the most less known; he was an excellent
been commissioned to sculpt a bust of the new Hapburgian Queen, he was
determined it would be his greatest work, before he acted on his second
commission, that being the one from a Cardinal Cognazzo.
been promised blessings from heaven but he preferred the purse the Cardinal
gave him that put thalers in the pocket.
The onset of spring, was a time which came with sun, energy
and the vibrancy of a new season, it also brought armies on the march; this
spring more so than any ever.
It was not unusual that in Europia the coming of any
campaign season brought a skirmish or two along the borders of the many realms,
generally however a month or so into the summer the martial spirit lessened and
Kings and Dukes of Europia went back to doing what Kings and Dukes do well,
wenching, drinking and an occasional hunt.
This year, it is quite clear things will be different,
though all the realms were making war noises, whether they transpire into
actions only time will tell. At this stage Europia was split into two theatres
of war, each distinct from the other but with the potential to spread into one
total Europian war.
of 1785 saw two areas in Europia that were bound to draw armies like magnets.
The first being that rebellious province of Wartenburg, the ambitious Prince had
rebelled against the Hapburgian Empire to become the self proclaimed Wartenburg
Kingdom. The newly elevated King Konstantin knew that the Hapburgian Emperor
would come seeking revenge breathing fire and brimstone to reclaim his lost
province, however Konstantin felt now more than ever he had a chance to hold
him off; perhaps even to encourage other areas of the empire to revolt against
had been promised support from several neighbouring realms, some he doubted
would ever transpire into actual soldiers, Kingdoms like Franconia promised
troops to help him, but the word of King Juan I of Franconia was like a mist,
it changed direction with every new breeze. Then there was Wartenburg’s
southern neighbour the Duchy of Badenwald, King Konstantin did not even
particularly care for the prickly natured Duke Bevelar, but it turned out he
was a man of his word and he already had troops crossing over the Wartenburg
helped that Badenwald was a Franconian client state despite that however it was
generally well known that Duke Bevelar was his own man and did not do all Emperor
Juan’s bidding. For years it was common knowledge that King Juan of Franconia
would fight to the last Badenwald soldier, but a few years ago Duke Bevelar had
decided enough was enough and things changed; he had become his own man almost
overnight and for the last few years he merely played lip service to the
On the other
side of the Wartenburg saga was the Hapburgian Empire. Emperor Ferdinand took
over his troubled realm following the death of his elder brother and was immediately
beset with problems. He had a war in Ulrichstein that was not going well, His
brother Archduke Eugene tried to usurp the throne with the aid of the then
Prince Konstantin whose wife Princess Arabella was also regrettably Ferdinand
and Eugene’s sister.
Ferdinand dealt with all those issues and now his old enemy Rechburg was a new
ally as were several of Rechburg’s own allies, Archduke Eugene had been
forgiven and sent to command an army in the backwater of the southern borders,
leaving just the now self proclaimed King Konstantin and his Kingdom to be
was still laboring under many issues, not the least that because of the rebellion
in Wartenburg and his marriage to a Protestant Princess the nation’s morale had
plummeted. Many towns were close to rebelling so Ferdinand had to step lightly
and could not afford to send his entire army racing into Wartenburg, much of it
was required to police the trouble spots within his own kingdom.
after a considerable effort he had gained enough troops together to start
thinking about his plans to regain his lost province and to settle issues with
He was to be
assisted in this by his old ally King Otto of Vandahalla. Otto was Ferdinand’s
first cousin and a very good friend and loyal supporter of his Emperor. As soon
as he heard of the troubles that plagued his cousin, Otto moved large bodies of
troops onto the Vandahalla-Wartenburg border; there under the command of Prince
Christian II Otto’s only son they awaited Ferdinand’s command.
could not expect much help initially from his new protestant allies the
Rechburgians because they were involved in their own war.
A state of
war had existed all winter between Bergatonia and Rechburg. The Bergatonian ill
fated invasion of southern Rechburg had been brought to a halt at the battle of
Briel just a few miles inside the Rechburg border. Following his defeat, Duke
Rupert had fled back to Bergatonia with his army and now waited for the
inevitable response, the Rechburg counter attack.
At least the
winter had given him time to garner some foreign support, the Iberian Empire
had promised large amounts of troops, but getting them there quickly was
impossible, if they march overland the Iberians would take 2 months, by sea it
would still take 3-4 weeks and then there was the Britannic navy to get past.
did not hold out hope that Iberia would arrive in time, the Rechburgians had
already gathered their army just across the border, they were a mere week away
from his own army so there was little chance the Iberians would arrive in time.
Then a few
weeks ago the Duke Anton Louvois of the Duchy
of Neider indicated they would send troops, and it was on these troops Rupert
knew his only hope really relied on, word had been received yesterday that they
were already moving over the border and could possibly be with him in a little
over a week, but then he had also received word that Brittania a Rechburg ally
announced that any nation that interfered in the Bergatonian war would
immediately be at war with Brittania, Rupert now wondered about the resolve of
Duke Anton; would he risk a war with Brittania over Bergatonia. Sadly it also meant
less chance the Iberians may not get there any time soon if ever.
The Empire of Franconia
Franconian Emperor sat reading the Brittanic warning, his finger kept tapping
the piece of paper as he pondered the consequences of the message. He picked it
up once more and read it through; it was a long winded diplomatic and
legalistic message that when shrunk down to few words warned any nation that
interfered in the Rechburg-Bergatonian war would itself have war declared on it
wasn’t the threat that surprised King Juan; It was the mere fact that in the
first time in several decades Brittania has bothered to involve itself in
Europian affairs at all. Normally King Charles would simply sit in his palace
and play whist and enjoy rides in the park, to go from that to actually
threatening war was a massive step, Juan just wondered what it was that made the
Brittanic Emperor so militant all of a sudden.
looked up, across to his brother and smiled,
believe it Louis, King Charles has actually become motivated enough to meddle,
and not meddle in a little way either, the bastard actually threatens war on
anyone who gets involved in the Bergatonian war.”
sniggered having read the missive earlier he was wondering how his brother
“Well it has been about 20 years since he last
woke up, sadly his slumber couldn’t last forever. So what will you do about it
thing I am learning about Europia is that these days everyone wants to be the
top cock, it’s the bloody weather that’s causing all this crap about every one
wanting to make war on everyone else. Back when we all had a common enemy, the
weather; we sat at home and froze our backsides off, all peaceable like. Now
the weather improves and I will damned if every nit picking self opinionated
self and appointed noble, with even the remotest air of self importance is
running around declaring war on every other goddamn nit picking noble. I will
be damned if I am going to leap out of the pan and into the fire, I will wait
Juan but old Duke Anton in Neider is right now sending troops into Bergatonia
at your request, now there is every chance he is going to get more than a
little annoyed with us if we don’t support him at least”
from his chair and walked to the side cabinet, he took his favourite pipe from
the rack and started loading the tobacco, it was a habit he had only recently
started and it was one he found gave him a sense of relaxation.
course you are right Louis; I know that. The problem is if we cast our lot into
the Bergatonia wars we will spreading ourselves thin. It’s bloody well annoying
that Brittania picks right now to get all high and mighty.
Damn them! I don’t want to get involved with Bergatonia
or Rechburg just yet, at least not until I have dealt with Hapburgia. If the
bloody Iberians hadn’t dragged their feet they would already be in Neider, damn
them. I needed Iberia to deal with Rechburg while I put paid to Hapburgia.”
up the document once more, looked briefly at it and then again placed it down,
is certs Louis, if I am to get involved in Bergatonia as far as I am concerned the
damned Iberians can stay home, Bergatonia will be ours and I will be damned if
I will see us do the fighting and then have that senile bloody Pope turn up in
his finery and claim my victory and my prize.”
“So we are
going to get involved then”
back to his desk the smoke from his pipe leaving a path in his wake.
“Yes well as
you pointed out I now have little choice, but first we will try a little double
bluff, I want you to write to King Charles as your role of foreign minister. I
want you to chastise him for sending us such a threatening missive and because
of his unreasonable, undiplomatic manner etc etc we in turn will immediately
declare war on Rechburg should Brittania attack Franconia or any Franconian allies.
Then I want
you to order a division of troops up to the Bergatonia border, just to add
metal to our message, finally this week or as soon as you can before Brittania
decides to declare war I want you to cram as many troops aboard every ship we
have and send them off to Gurania, I would expect we have shipping in ports for
about a Brigade or more. We will see how threatening Charles is when he knows
we have over a Brigade of troops sitting on the borders of his Colonies.”
he like attack our ships?”
“No I doubt
it, first we are not at war with Brittania, at least yet. Secondly by the end
of this week the Iberians will have their whole navy sailing up our coast on
their way to Neider, so the Brittanic navy will be busy chasing after them and
they won’t have the strength or time to deal with both fleets. Our fleet is not
a direct threat to them, where as the Iberian one will be, so no I doubt the
Brittanic navy will worry us. But Louis, it’s all a matter of speed, just get
what you can on board and worry about the details later.”
Herzogtum von Rechburg
Constantine had decided to travel down to Pendalcost where the army had
concentrated under the command of Prince Wilhelm and Prince Leopold as his
second in command. They sat down to an early breakfast; Constantine was reading
through the overnight mail that the couriers had brought down from the capital
remarked “Do any of you feel odd, us sitting down with without Caroline here;
it always feels like something is missing?”
buttering some toast,
“Yes I have
to agree Willy, she sure has a presence when she is around; I wonder how she is
getting along with Ferdinand?”
looked up and tossed a small parcel to Wilhelm while he continued reading his
own mail. Wilhelm recognized Caroline’s writing, he swiftly open the parcel of
letters and passed on those marked for Leopold and slid Constantine’s back
across the table.
Charles has sent diplomatic messages to all nations warning them not to get involved
in our fight with Bergatonia.”
looked up as he was opening his letter,
how that will go down, I mean its not as if Brittania can really threaten
anyone on land, so there is very little he can do except blockade Franconia and
or Iberia, and if he does that, I’m wondering how that effects us.”
placed the letters down and signaled to a waiter to bring some coffee.
appears he has sent a brigade of troops to Hollandaise, they are to remain
there at Memmon as extra security for Frederich II but we are to call on it if
Rechburg is attacked.”
placed his letters from Caroline down on the table.
you any news of Danemark, they are my main worry, we have most of the army here
in the south if Danemark was ever to attack, now would be the time?”
Our Duke Oost Frieze in Pomona have moved troops into Flensburg to help bolster
them as well as a indirect threat to Olaf in Danemark. I don’t think Olaf wants
to get involved yet anyway, if anything he will wait and see how we fare in
Bergatonia, but equally he will be worried about that Brittanic threat as well
as the Pomona implied threat.”
sipped some coffee,
main worry is as you know, what Neider will do, they could cause us real
problems. I have reports that they have crossed the borders and if that is true
next week we could be facing them as well.”
stretched out on his chair as the servant poured his coffee,
father, it means we have to beat Rupert this week so we can beat Anton next
placed his cup down and looked at his eldest son,
admire confidence just like any other man, but it has to be measured to ensure
it doesn’t become simple boastfulness, if, err when we beat the Bergatonions,
our army will be quite disorganised, if Neider’s army arrives before we recover
we will be in real trouble.”
nodded, “Well father I don’t want to split my force, it still won’t be an easy
battle taking those Bergatonions on and to ensure a complete win I need all our
tossed the last of the reports on the table,
“Yes I know Willy;
we have to gamble that at least the Brittanic threat may force Anton to halt
his army until he sorts the wheat from the chaff.”
He looked at
his two sons, once more he was sending them off to war.
when will you move?”
looked at his brother and smiled, he rose from the table and drew the curtains
on the window, in the distance they could long lines of troops moving on the
road that lead from Pendacost to Bergatonia.
at 5am this morning father”, he looked to Leopold; “Leo you best take your
leave and make a move and join the advance guard, don’t forget, don’t take them
all on by yourself little brother.”
and Constantine rose from the table, looking out the window as long columns of
infantry crossed the ridges in the distance, on the other side of those hills
lay Bergatonia, the Duchy of Constantine’s bastard son and step brother to
Wilhelm and Leopold”.
perhaps a little sadly, “This day has been a long time in coming, but I cannot
say it brings me any particular joy, after all said and done Rupert is my son.”
turned to his father, looked at Wilhelm and gave his father a hug before making
for the door, just before he left he turned,
is of our blood, but he has never acted as a son or brother, so don’t waste
your tears on him, Willy and I won’t”.
Leopold left the room to rejoin his beloved Cavalry in the advance guard.
looked at Wilhelm and spoke quietly, “Willy if it comes to the point of
decision I would rather have Rupert dead than alive, I love him as much as I
can but I can’t have him becoming the focal point for trouble in later years.”
how much hurt and anger his father must be feeling right now, after all there
were many nights over the last ten years or so they did nothing else but talk
about Rupert and Bergatonia, he knew his father carried a lot of guilt over the
Rupert may not even be with the army, more than likely he will scarper across
the Neider border before we even find his army”.
turned to the side table, gathering his hat,
“No son, he
will be there, this is what Rupert has lived for; it’s his judgment day.”
out of the room and down the long corridor, stopping on the top of the steps
they get here the distant rumble of artillery, the Advance guard was crossing
the Bergatonia border.
take care of yourself son, and for god’s sake watch Leo otherwise he will be
off looking for more bloody glory than any of us can handle.”
they shook hands and Constantine mounted his horse, giving a salute to his son
he signaled to his escort as he rode off through the gates back home to Albany.
watched his father go, once out of sight he turned to his staff,
get this moving, we have a war to fight.”
The Duchy of Neider forces in Rechburg
It had been
a long and difficult week for Prince Eduard, at the end of last week he had
been issued with orders to ride with the 2nd Light cavalry Brigade
to the Bergatonian capital New Madrid, once there he was to familiarize himself
with the situation and assist Duke Rupert in defending against any Rechburg
father Duke Anton Louvois would send on behind two Infantry Brigades to
reinforce the Neider cavalry.
his cavalry for the journey to New Madrid had taken longer than expected but 4
days ago they had crossed the border and passed through the town of Leinster,
they were surprised to find Rechburg scouts were lingering on the northern
outskirts of the town, after spending an hour so reassuring himself they were
nothing more than a long range scouting patrols his Cavalry brigade continued
their journey. While he was in Leinster he heard that Duke Rupert was now with
his army up near the Rechburg border, so instead of marching to New Madrid he
made directly for Ostwald where the Bergatonian army was reported to be.
the road to the next town from Leinster the Neider patrols reported sightings
of the occasional Rechburg scouts, they didn’t try to interfere with the Neider
cavalry and if approached the Rechburgians they simply vanished.
Bimberfeld and made camp there, tomorrow he would join the “Mad Duke” as he was
universally known, Eduard had heard all the stories and the gossip, there were
so many about the man that Eduard found he was rather looking forward to
meeting the real man.
night Eduard was woken by the duty officer, a courier with a heavy escort had
ridden in with an urgent dispatch from the Duke.
read it in the lamp light on his night table, he couldn’t believe what he was
was ordering him under no circumstances to engage the Rechburgians; he was to
withdraw back to Neider immediately.
looking out off the open door way of the tavern his staff had taken over for
him, the night was quiet, the stars shone and it seemed remarkably peaceful for
a country at war. He picked up the message and read it once more, and then he
asked the captain in command of the escort, was there any thing he could add,
the Captain looked around the room at all the officers gathered around.
has threatened to go to war with Neider if we engage the Rechburgians; Duke
Anton definitely doesn’t want a war with them so we are ordered back with all
Eduard just couldn’t believe it, they were what, no more than 8-10 miles from
the Bergatonian army, so close and then to have to turn around and march away
with their tails between their legs; it was a disgrace, worse it would be seen
by all of Europia as his disgrace. God knows how the Bergatonions would react; but
if this foul deed was to be done it should be with some haste, before the Bergatonions
or the Rechburg patrols knew what he was about.
Eduard threw the order on the floor, turned to his officers.
just bloody well stand there, rouse the men and let’s get the hell out of
outside and in the distance he could make out the faint glimmer on the horizon,
the light of fires from thousands of soldiers who were preparing to fight
possibly tomorrow or the next day, men who were expecting him to come and help,
instead like a thief in the night he was skulking away.
The Duke of Bergatonia
was surprisingly calm, he had joined the army two days ago and still the
Rechburgians had not attacked, and then late yesterday he receive reports that
they had crossed the border, so he guessed the battle would likely be today or
tomorrow. Yesterday he also had received a message from Duke Anton’s son Prince
Eduard that he was billeting in Bimberfeld overnight and would join him tomorrow,
the Neider Infantry would not be here for at least another two days and would
likely be too late for the battle, but at least a damned cavalry Brigade would
be a really good boost to his army and their morale.
Now it was
early morning, Rupert had breakfasted well and then he had walked out and
surveyed what would be the battlefield. He had to fight here, he could not risk
a battle any closer to the capital and here was the best place between Rechburg
and New Madrid.
light he had sent scouts out to find the Rechburg force, they returned within
the hour to report Rechburg Cavalry were only a few miles away, so he ordered
his army to stand to. He wondered where
the Neider cavalry were, they should have been here. His patrol returned from
Bimberfeld not long after, they reported the Neider Cavalry had simply gone,
when Rupert asked the officer in charge of the patrol.
hell do you mean they have gone, gone where?”
handed him a message form the Tavern keeper in Bimberfeld had found on the
floor of his tavern, the message was from Duke Anton ordering Prince Eduard to
return to Neider urgently, not to engage any Rechburgians if at all possible.
the document in the face of the officer,
hell does this mean, why are you showing me this, where is my Cavalry Brigade,
didn’t you look for them.”
stood rigidly still,
“No sire it
was evident that they had left Bimberfeld, the tracks indicated they went west
and then we had this message and I thought it was best to advise you as soon as
“Advise me, advise
me, what the hell good is it advising me that my supposed friends have run
away, I can see that” He stormed to the entrance of his tent and waved his arms
out over the expanse of the terrain before them.
“Do you see
Neider Cavalry out there anywhere, because I don’t, and if I don’t see them I
bloody well know they are not here, what I don’t know is why they are not here.
Did it not occur to you to ride after them and ask or even demand they return?”
“the officer replied nervously “as I said I felt it was urgent to let you know
immediately they had gone”
god man, who the hell made you an officer, you are an imbecile, now I am
expected to fight a battle without my supposed ally and you don’t know where he
has gone, the best you could think of is to tell me what I can plainly see, the
Bloody Neider cavalry are not sitting out there.”
stormed back into his tent, he screamed at everyone present,” Get out, all of
you out, out, you are all as useless as tits on a bull get out of my sight.”
As the last
man left an object sailed out of the entrance of the tent narrowly missing the man
and landing on the ground in front off one of the sentries, one looked down and
whispered to the other
on the edge of his camp bed, he had been deserted by everyone, he was on his
own. He looked down at his hands, they were shaking but he didn’t know if it
was rage or fear.
looked down on the camp table, the scrawled message form was there, there was
also a small painting of his son sitting there, he picked it up and as he
stroked it gently. He stopped for a moment, looking at the smiling youngster,
he realised he wasn’t alone, he had his son and if for nothing else he would
make sure Bergatonia was going to be there for him, his bloody father wasn’t
stealing his son’s birthright away from him; not again. Damn them all, if they
want a fight, then goddamn them it’s a fight they will have.
He walked outside of the tent, his staff were gathered
around the top of a knoll nearby, he strode over and spreading out before him
was the Rechburg Army.