Thursday, 7 February 2013


     Revenge, they say, is a dish best served cold: and in Rotenburg usually with a side-helping of leech fricasee. Brooding darkly, Landgrave Choldwig of Hesse-Rotenburg plots revenge against King Vlad. The punitive reparations imposed by the Peace of Kayck have ruined the Landgrave's grandiose plans for a new age of Alexandrian splendour. To cap it all, stepping carelessly backwards in the harbour a sailor has knocked over the 'Great Lighthouse of Alexandopolis (Not to Scale)'. And the marble-lined Acropolis Potting Shed leaks when it rains heavily. Utilising the services of Rotenburg's well-oiled Secret Police machinery (though in Rotenburg many things are well-oiled, not least the Landgrave's midriff), contact is made with elements in Vlad's own Royal Guard, disgruntled, it transpires, that they now seem only to do night shifts. Plans are laid to smuggle into the palace quantities of garlic baguettes, of which Vlad is reputed to have a fatal aversion, hidden inside crates of Vlad the Impaler and Swiss Musical codpieces. Still blaming Nabstria for their defeat in the Seven Beers War, Choldwig also establishes secret communications with Nabstria's adversary, Grand Fenwick. Once Vlad is laid low, Rotenburg and Imperial troops will march on Gross Schnitzelring and establish once again a Mittelheimer monarch in Gelderland. Smiling grimly, Choldwig ruminates on the ills done to his Landgravate and looks forward to a time of change. Revenge!

     'Revenge!' cries Burgrave Falco of Nabstria. In Nabstria, the mood has become increasingly febrile. Members of the party known as the Enten Gesellschaft have taken to wearing stuffed ducks as headgear and shouting 'Liberate the water-fowl of Nottelbad!': they receive a major boost when Burgrave Falco is seen at the theatre wearing a stuffed mallard as head-wear. His wife, the Burgravina, has also done the same (or possibly grown  a mutton-chop beard - it seems impolite to ask). Unreconciled to the loss of Nottelbad and its handsome duck pond, Falco comes to the conclusion that war must be contemplated if Grand Fenwick refuses to give it back. Seeking desperately to rehabilitate himself, Bishop Munschrugge consults the most able of Nabstria's legal profession, and declares to his Burgrave that he has 'a cast-iron legal and moral case for the renunciation of the Peace of Kayck': to whit 'I had my fingers crossed.' Upon this sound legal premise, Nabstria plans for war. Falco is clear, however: Nabstria must not be seen to be the aggressor - some way must be found of provoking Grand Fenwick.

     'Revenge!' cries Emperor George of Grand Fenwick. For the fatal wounding of Baron Stensch, King Vlad has ordered that Joachim, heir to the throne of Grand Fenwick, should be arrested 'and then damn well hung'. This edict is met with a refusal from Emperor George and the comment from Joachim that this would be an entirely redundant activity since, as his codpiece surely indicated, he was 'already hung damn well'; Joachim then reportedly made a lewd gesture to the Gelderland ambassador and invited King Vlad to take a most unlikely anatomical excursion with a soup spoon. Announcing  'no compromise and no un-'cod'-itional surrender' to Vlad's unreasonable demands, Emperor George imposes a ban on the import of codpieces, and defenestrates the Gelderland ambassador. In the town of Fenwick, incensed mobs roam the streets searching for Gelderland citizens: however, both have already slipped away, and when the crowd happen upon a vegetable stall with a vaguely suggestive parsnip, thoughts of violence are quickly lost in an evening of traditional Fenwickian 'fnars.'

     'Pigs!' cries Prince-Palatine Rupprecht of Saukopf-Bachscuttel: 'I love them', he declares; 'and I want more'. Having gauged correctly the rather limited nature of Bachscuttel's foreign policy objectives, Bishop Munschrugge is able to secure a secret alliance with the Palatinate at the cost of  forty Nabstrian Old Grunters, peerless porcine breeding-stock, and a large collection of antique pork scratchings, reputedly belonging to Pope Gregory the IX and taken on Crusade against the Saracens: being both holy and pig-related, Rupprecht has the latter placed with reverence in his private chapel.

     'War!' shouts King Vlad. The Rotenburg-Fenwickian plan goes terribly awry. As bad luck would have it, the crates of codpieces arrive at Vlad's palace at the same time as emissaries from the Duchy of Kurland. Unable to resist the temptation of the archaic groinal protruberances, the emissaries help themselves. Sadly more familiar with medieval fashion than with fancy French bakery products, the Kurlanders wear the baguettes as well. In the chaos that follows, Vlad loyalists are able to knock the baguettes into the moat using the butts of their pistols and, once their eyes have stopped watering, the Kurlanders are able to explain the source of their ill-chosen sartorial accoutrements. A search of the crates provides conclusive evidence of the provenance of the plot:  a receipt signed by the Rotenburg treasury; a voucher made out to Choldwig for a third off his next purchase; and  a small greetings card made out to Vlad from Emperor George of Fenwick saying 'Die, you bastard'.
     In Gross Schnitzelring, King Vlad has had enough: dismissing Choldwig's protestations of innocence as an 'infamous concotion of lies, calumny, slander, untruths, half-truths, semi-truths, and mostly-porkies', Vlad declares: 'Who will rid me of this turbulent Landgrave?'; and then, in case no one has heard, he has this published in seventeen different Mittelheim newspapers. Declaring himself to be 'the most loyal of the King's allies,' Burgrave Falco declares war upon Rotenburg! Amidst riotous scenes of enthusiasm in the village green, the Empire of Grand Fenwick asserts its support for Rotenburg and declares war against Nabstria! Nabstria activates its alliance with Bachscuttel, which declares war on both Fenwick and Rotenburg in the name of the King!

     Having completed his limbering up routine in Bohemia, Death takes a practice swing or two. The armies of Mittelheim are again on the march! The Cod War has begun!


  1. Notwithstanding Nabstria's woeful performance in the Seven Beers War, the population of the Burggraviate has greeted the news of renewed conflict with an outburst of enthusiasm. The Enten Gesellshaft now considers itself a political party with real traction and a delegation of its senior members was even admitted to an audience with the Burggrave. Meanwhile, in a strange reversal of Nabstrian dining habits, it is now seen as a patriotic duty to serve the 'traditional' Nabstrian dish 'Enten Apfelsine der Nottelbad' to dinner guests. This is but a poor disguise for the haute cuisine 'Canard a l'orange'. So popular has this dish become that waterfowl of all kinds are becoming scarce in the Burggraviate. However, the merchants of Falkensteinstadt are once again becoming prosperous. The large imports of gunpowder and munitions of all kinds have swelled their coffers while the new trade in the importation of Spanish oranges has almost completely replaced their previous dependency upon the cod-piece traffic. Nabstria is thus enjoying a brief period of elation but much will depend on the result of this new and unexpected war.

  2. Without Luigi Tuutifrutticandi as your commander, your chances of success have surely improved. I shall be interested to see what effect the loss of the 'Great Captain' advantage will have.

  3. While I understand that the Zentian understanding of Gelderland politics is scanty, I beg to remind you, sir, that I am not directly connected to the Nabstrian regime. I have been sent by my monarch, King George II, to observe and report on Nabstrian military manoeuvres. There seems little doubt that the removal of Tonifruttipandi has changed the fortunes of Nabstrian arms. Von Rumpfler may be portly and rather rough of speech but it seems that he can command an army.