|The ancient Kings of Nabstria:|
a powerful argument for democracy
It was in the reign of the present Burgrave's great grandfather that the underground passages were found again. Used initially as a place to store salted leeches, they were later converted into a resting place for those foolish enough to believe that, when the Burgrave said that he wanted 'honest, open opinions' on his latest policies, what he wanted were honest, open opinions. It is in this place that Burgrave Falco now incarcerates the enemies of the state: revolutionaries; Italians; anyone that mentions the Burgravina's facial hair. It is here that King Wilhelm of Gelderland is now held: and here he shall stay until he agrees to announce an end to the War of the Spanish Suck Session on terms acceptable to the Burgrave.
Colonel Zeigler arrives in the dungeons and approaches King Wilhelm's cell. Terrible sounds issue from within: strangled cries and sobs: 'No, in God's name I beg you - no more!'. Zeigler turns to the wincing sentry.
'Are we successful yet?'
The soldier shakes his head, sadly. There is more wailing and gagging.
'They are working the King hard, it seems', says the Colonel.
'That's the servants cleaning out the King's chamber pot, Sir: the King is still at breakfast'.
Zeigler is apoplectic: 'God's wounds - this is a prison not a hostelry'.
'We've been quite harsh on him, Sir: nothing but muesli and fruit juice.'
Zeigler storms off. Truthfully, things have not gone according to plan. Despite ingenious forms of torture doled out by the Burgrave's Sicilian Chief of Police, Wilhelm refuses to crack. In fact, there is a suspicion that he might even be enjoying himself. The only words that the King seems able to utter are 'More biscuits, please'. Perhaps the only source of real inconvenience for the King are the regular visits to his cell by Miss Nora Hindquarters, who, having checked that Wilhelm is properly restrained to his bed, then repeatedly kicks him in his conkers, on the basis that, as an activity, 'it never gets old.'
|The dungeons of Falkensteinburg: poor views and no|
tea-making facilities - no stars.
Above the hubbub of conflicting opinions, Bishop Munschrugge calls for silence. 'If we cannot use King Wilhelm in the way that we had planned, my Burgrave, then can we not make use of the information provided by Miss Hindquarters?
'What information is this?' pipes up Graf Decksluder, for once not banging on about the advantages of contingent maritime power in the joint littoral environment.
Second Councillor Hubert von Wornitzdaun, stands. 'I have seen Miss Hindquarters' report: the Gelderland capital may be surrounded by strong walls of the latest military fashion; but there is a weakness. There exists a little used postern gate in the walls on the eastern side. From there, it is possible to reach the mechanism that controls the main gate. A body of elite troops, well disciplined and well motivated, might be able to exploit this.'
'Yes, yes', says Graf Decksluder, 'but what about our troops?'
Wornitzdaun nods. 'If the force were commanded by an officer of vigour and enterprise, then that might suffice. Perhaps Colonel Zeigler, the man who captured King Wilhelm, would be just the man for the job'.
'Have you asked him?', asks Munschrugge.
Wornitzdaun nods: 'I broached the subject with him this morning when I encountered him in the courtyard.'
'Did he agree?'
'I couldn't quite hear what he said, but the hand gestures suggested that he wasn't keen.'
'Could he be incentivised?' asks Graf Decksluder: 'perhaps we could threaten him with Miss Hindquarters - show him the state of Wilhelm's conkers.'
As the debates rage in the council chamber, a dishevelled officer of Hussars hurries in waving a letter.
'My Lord, my lord! News from General von Rumpfler - our forces have engaged those of Bachscuttel!'
Bishop Munschruge takes the proffered missive and opens it, eager to learn who has triumphed: perhaps the judgement of battle has resolved Nabstria's strategic quandary .....