Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Baron Wilhelm was visiting a female acquaintance when suddenly there was an enormous bang that shook the windows. It was followed by a second by which time the Baron had crossed to the windows and could see the cause. The artillery were practising on the Recreation Ground close to the mansion he was visiting, and two more discharges swiftly followed.

Excellent he thought, I expect we will need those skills shortly. Then spotting the Postman striding up the drive he wondered how his report on the events in Pommaine were being received in Vienna.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Final Report

“Well gentlemen, it appears that the Duke of Pommaine’s plan is quite simple” explained Von Barner to the selected members of the Frundsberg assembly. “The intention is that the Duke’s youngest son Konrad will become Duke after a period of regency. This of course is subject to Imperial law, as any change to the natural law of succession is subject to the Emperor’s approval. They know that the Emperor is sure to object, as the current heir Karl is well regarded in Imperial circles. So they have arranged two treaties with Prussia and Alsace to ensure that that even if the Emperor objects it will be too late to impose his views by force as troops from both these nations will be firmly in position to prevent any attempt to unseat Konrad without causing a major war”

"But what’s the benefit for Alsace and Prussia?” asked a member.

"Well for Alsace, it is associated with trading concessions on the Rhine. But for Prussia, it’s a chance for the new their King Fredrick William II to assert himself, and both would like to demonstrate that the Emperor’s influence is waning.” Explained Von Barner. “It also appears that following the bad treatment of its ambassador and the treaty with Alsace Glowstein is likely to support any action decreed by the Emperor” said Baron Wilhelm von Altfeld “I have sent a courier with the information gathered so far to the Emperor so he can decide what action to take, but I am sure he will require robust action”

A general murmur of agreement was heard from the assembled members.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Interrogation continued

The maid knocked on the door and entered “it’s Hans sir”

“Well show him in” responded Von Barner

Hans entered the major’s study, “Sir I have bad news..” Then spotting Ilse stopped. “Is it possible to speak to your daughter sir?”

“Of course, continue”

Hans looked again at Ilse and then exclaimed “You rascal, what have you done, everyone has been worried about you!”

“Yes she sneaked back down river” interrupted Von Barner “but what have you heard?”

“Well sir, a courier turned up in Welle, but had lost the message. He was one of the drivers of the Duke Von Danewald’s coach and they were thoroughly searched before being allowed to proceed.

“It was exactly to the letter of the Imperial protocols so the Ambassador’s portable possessions were not searched, but everything else was thoroughly searched and when they found a message their departure was delayed for a day.”

“Interesting, so they are obviously worried about spies”

“Yes and they have both embarrassed and infuriated the Glowstein Ambassador, who according to his servants was getting information from some lad in the palace”

“That would be that worm, Albert” interjected Ilse

Friday, 5 August 2011

More interrogation!

“Now young lady” said Major Von Barner trying to seem stern “I’ve a good mind to send you off to a proper school somewhere like England, where you can’t get into trouble”

“But!” interject Ilse.

Von Barner held up his hand for silence ”However I am sure that you would abscond as soon as you had chance so it would not be fair on the school. Therefore I am sending you to Frau Wurmser’s academy in Sonnenbad, where you will learn how to act like a lady. If you abscond then the Freishutze will hunt you down”

"But Father!”

Again the hand was raised “No, I am determined. If you are set on becoming a spy then you need to be able to emulate a lady as well as a scullery maid”

“Yes Father. But when did you find out I was Sparrow?”

“Well two ways, firstly that the code in the messages was too correct, most agents seem to have common mistake they make when coding and then it was obvious that Hans was taking too much interest in these specific reports. So tell me again how you managed to get a job in the palace?”

"Quite simple really, the servants talked quite openly about their origins and for female staff the route was via Bishop’s housekeeper. I simply broke into the Bishop’s palace and copied a reference from a parish priest with appropriate changes. Our man in the palace then arranged for some staff to suffer food poisoning so there was a need for more staff.”

“So how did you know about our agents there?”

“Simple the information is in your office, and the idea of sticking a hair across the door as an additional check only works if no one knows it was there! And the lock was easy to pick.”

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The return

“Ilse? How did you get back, what happened to your hair, what…..”

Juli looked up “Father, follow your own rules, I shouldn’t tell anything until someone else assists you in my debriefing. Besides I’m hungry”

A short while later Von Barner returned with Otto von Stupenhagel, his deputy with pens, ink and a large sheaf of paper. “Now young lady tell us what happened”

“Well the important thing is I know what will happen once the Duke dies”

Von Stupenhagel started writing trying to capture every detail and interrupting whenever he felt a detail was missing.

“So how did you escape?”

Ilse described her journey back from Traunsburg

Scarcely had they started on this aspect, but the cook arrived almost immediately followed by by Bettina. They were both horrified, but Bettina immediately took charge, ordering the cook to go to the bakers to get more rolls, then grabbed Ilse and took her away saying “We need to tidy Ilse up before the guests arrive, and you two need to be ready in ten minutes”

As they ascended the stairs Ilse turned to Bettina “I don’t think I can manage meeting the guests, whoever they are”

“I agree, you look exhausted, what you need is some rest”