Friday, November 7, 2008

The Vices of Peace Are the Vices of Old Men

Touring the grounds at Herzog Kristian's palace, Kanzler Gottfried Graf von Schirnhausen sized up his Waldrecker counterpart with some concern. Although Herzog Kristian had vouched for Baron de Montglace as a sober intermediary and a widow's son on the square, nonetheless, von Schirnhausen still found the ease with which the conference had been arranged troubling; hard experience taught that Prinz Friedrich was not a man to squander any advantage nor long to suffer in his service any man who would.

The preliminary rehearsal of genealogical claims, counterclaims, acts of Imperial Diets and Imperial decress had been accomplished during the morning session. Neither party's opening demarche had presented an obvious avenue to a satisfactory resolution to the current conflict or the status of the Herrenschaft von Dolmen which lay behind it. De Montglace had with particular force emphasized the claims of blood linking the defunct Bishopric of Dolmen with von Waldreck's dynastic linkages with the Wittgensteins, and offered little concession to the significance of the perpetual cession of the Moselzoll, the primary source of Dolmen's revenue, to the Duke of Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn in the Imperial decrees ancillary to the creation of the Duchy in the reign of Leopold.

Meditating upon this genealogical concern, as well as the unpleasant, but ultimately unsubstantiated charges made against him by the Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria the day after her calamitous debut, von Schirnhausen ventured upon a new line of discussion.

"His serene highness is of course correct to emphasise the importance of the claims of blood and birth in the settlement of this unpleasant conflict, but I wonder, perhaps, if Prinz von Waldreck has devoted sufficient thought to the security of his own succession, and the salutary effect of a, ah, matrimonial resolution to many of the questions with which we have had to struggle here this day?

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