Saturday, 28 September 2013


And so the Cod War comes to end. Having lost all of their battles, the Palatinate of Saukopf Bachscuttel folds faster than an origami Grand Master. The Burgraviate of Nabstria holds out longer, but the combined threat of the Rotenburg and Imperial armies finally forces Burgrave Falco to sue for peace.

The army of Grand Fenwick, known now as the 'Spartans of Mittelheim', remain undefeated. On the foundations of this military victory, Emperor George's troops occupy Grosschnitzelring and install a new King, George's second cousin,twice removed, Wilhelm Penwick-Fuppet. In Gelderland, celebrations break out. Garlic is on the menu again; mirrors are re-installed in the palace; and virgins are free once again to wander the corridors of the palace with only the usual feelings of mild anxiety. The ex-King Vlad is nowhere to be found.

In the small Gelderland village of Minde, the representatives of the various protagonists meet to thrash out a peace settlement, or, in some cases, just to thrash out. Baron Woffeltop and Prince Franz serve the interests of Rotenburg and Grand Fenwick respectively. Reinhardt the Bishop of Munschrugge attends in the name of Nabstria. Saukopf-Bachscuttel relies once again on the scholar-pig farmer, Baron Albrecht Steinhagen. Few are happy to meet in Minde. The local landowner, Duke Otto von Track-Minde is well known for his avarice. Charging exhorbitant prices to the representatives of the various protagonists, the Duke becomes quickly known as 'Grand Theft Otto'. Over preliminary beverages of port and absinthe, the peace negotiations begin, but the portents are gloomy.

The representatives from Nabstria and Bachscuttel can barely stand to be in the same room together; in truth, given the port and absinthes, they can barely stand at all. In Bachscuttel, Graf Barry-Eylund publicly has blamed the Nabstrians for their alliance's defeat in the recent war. Lambasting Nabstrian strategy, the Graf argues, on the record, that the Nabstrian approach 'lacked the necessary sophistication and sensitivity to the inevitable frictions of war', and off the record that it 'sucked dead donkeys.' In turn Nabstrian sources have placed the Graf at the centre of the lamentable performance of Bachscuttel's army. Focusing on the rumours of the Graf's supposed indiscretions with an English actress named Henrietta Mellons, Nabstrian sources claim that at critical moments at the war Barry-Eylund was not, as he claimed, hard at it at the front, but was instead round the back, getting a little bit on the side.

For Bachscuttel, the peace negotiations turn out badly. The plenipotentiary from Bachscuttel, Baron Albrecht Steinhagen, has struggled to compose a meaningful strategy for the peace negotiations. Cognisant of previous criticisms that, in focusing on the acquisition of pigs, Saukopf-Bachsuttel pursued goals that were too narrow, the Baron has now relented and has extended the Palatinate's goals to include the pursuit of pigs and also any pork-related products. Baron Woffeltop makes claim to the border village of Lowenfaht. Baron Steinhagen's opposition to the claim is bought off partly by Woffeltop's moving speech on the beauty of peace and the value of Mittelheim brotherhood; and partly by promising Steinhagen two dozen pork chops and a wagon-load of chipolatas. Woffeltop's pleasure at having concluded such an advantageous peace settlement is tempered by the stress at having to deal with Steinhagen, a man that he later describes as a 'window-licking loon' with 'independently targetable eyeballs'.

Nabstria fairs little better than Saukopf Bachscuttel. Bishop Munschrugge makes a valiant attempt to bargain a return of the village of Nottelbad, with its famous rococo duckpond. But the threat of a resumption of war forces Burgrave Falco formally to relinquish the place. Emperor George immediately begins to secure Fenwickian control of the village by encouraging the migration into it of Pogelswood Marsh Warblers. Soon, flocks of oppressed Nabstrian Mallards are scuttling across the border seeking sanctuary in the Burgraviate.

And so the Peace of Minde is finally concluded. Waving his chipolatas at anyone that will still make eye-contact with him, Baron Steinhagen declares the peace agreement a triumph for Bachscuttel interests. In truth, the peace settlement is a glorious moment for Rotenburg and Grand Fenwick. With effective control over the Gelderland throne, Emperor George contemplates an extensive programme of legislative reform that will rid Mittleheim of poverty, ignorance, and rudely shaped vegetables. His ally, Landgrave Choldwig, looks forward to another wave of Alexander-inspired development for Rotenburg, placing a large order for extra-virgin olive oil, and another order for some oiled extra-large virgins.

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