Friday, 23 January 2015


Nabstria - the dungeons of the Burgrave's fortress, Falkensteinburg. Dank. Deep. Drowned in darkness. This place has an evil reputation. Legends tell that this was an ancient fastness of the nibelungen, or dark dwarves: these dwarves mined the shadow places of the earth for precious things. But they delved too deep, and they delved too greedily; and they broke the plumbing. And a great evil flooded up from the depths; and it smelt really bad, and it flooded all of the floors, and the dwarves left because their wives nagged them until they moved somewhere nicer.

The ancient Kings of Nabstria:
 a powerful argument for democracy
Later, these dark passages were used by the ancient Kings of the tribes of the Nabstiri as a secret place to hide unspeakable things that were 'Best Not Seen By Man', or at least, best not seen by their wives. But then their wives, searching for towels, found these passages and the dirty things within, and they wailed, gnashed their teeth, and called the Kings of the Nabstiri 'Dirty old men who would go blind and whose bits would drop off' and the Kings were forced to dispose of these things, and the passages were blocked up, and they were lost to history.

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. 
In the Burgrave's council chamber, a fractious debate is in full flow: there is little agreement on how things should now precede. Arguments that the King should be ransomed back to Gelderland for his weight in gold are rejected as 'ludicrous' on the basis that such a sum of gold does not exist in the whole of Europe. It is not entirely clear, in any case, that anyone in Gelderland actually wants him back. Following Nabstria's announcement of the capture of the King, both Bachscuttel and Rotenburg issue strenuous denials, arguing that all Nabstria has done is to create a ridiculous facsimile of the King by putting a walrus in clothes. Nabstria's response of showing Wilhelm in public seems in the minds of most actually to confirm, rather than undermine, this assertion. In Gelderland, the failure of the King to appear in public for a week initially piques the curiosity of some, but the Royal Chamberlain then announces that the King is fit and well, and has merely become wedged in a doorway - and that as soon as he has slimmed down enough to free himself, he will return straight away to the business of government. Indeed, the news that Wilhelm might be unable to exercise the reins of power for a spell has seen a dramatic rise in business confidence within the Kingdom and the sudden hope that the War of the Spanish Suck Session might be brought to a more speedy conclusion.

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 .....


  1. Excellent as usual! I specially enjoyed the Tolkienesque twisted quasi-quote!
    Some at least of those 'ancient kings of Nabstria' come from Fritz Lang's Niebelungen, but I'm curious about the -spectacular- archer in the left upper corner?

    1. Hi Abdul,

      Glad you liked the post! The archer is also from Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen. They don't make helmets like they used to.


  2. The news of the King's rescue has caused a sensation throughout Nabstria. I have petitioned the Burggrave to pay court to the King but he has informed me that he is still resting after his long and tiring journey. Col Zeigler has been awarded the highest Burggravial award for valour, the Blue Falcon; all of Nabstria awaits the lavish award ceremony. Although some scurrilous wood cuts and pamphlets have suggested that the King was kidnapped, these can hardly be believed. They mention dungeons and the ancient tribe of the Nabstiri - mere fairy stories. I have to hand the official Nabstrian bulletin regarding the affair and I see no reason to doubt its veracity: 'Wilhelm, King of Gelderland, beset by dark and evil counselors, asked our Burggrave Falco for protection. Col Zeigler and his band of heroes rescued the King from the clutches of the harmful factions of the Gelderland court. The King is now safe and well and enjoying the hospitality of the Burggrave in his ancestral seat of Falkensteinburg.'

    1. I hope that the seat is a large one, for the King is quite likely otherwise to get stuck.

  3. Darn good work, most enthralling and rather thrilling.... really inspiring stuff :)))

    1. Cheers! Thanks for leaving a comment!