At last, the long-anticipated news arrived: Arvergne and Styria were stirring, and readying their armies to seize the Rheinpfalz again. Leopold extricated himself from the Royal Conservatory, in the midst of composing Concerto #17 for Recorder and Quartet, and hobbled excitedly down to the Royal War Room, where he had to kick out four patrons in order to clear a table*.
Die Altenburger and von Lentulus broke up their whist quartet and joined Leopold, as the other generals hastened in at the news. Studying the map spread out on the table, Leopold quickly dictated his plans, sending the bulk of the Kruppfalzarmee south and east to face the Styrians, while detaching Lentulus and Rathenau to cover the southwest frontier, and hopefully link up with the erstwhile allies of Grand Icenia, in the blithe assumption that perfidious Prydin would honour its treaty obligations.
However, while the Elector gathered his army for the descent on Styria, news arrived from the Icenians, that Arvergne had broken the frontiers already, descending on Osnabrueck and with a brigade of infantry seizing the annual Wax shipment just prior to it being sent to Icenia: and Brigadier Clinton had set out in hot pursuit, determined to prevent the Arvergneaux taking the shipment back to their own lands. Leopold threw up his hands, and ordered all his forces to rush to the assistance of the rash Clinton**
First in the saddle, and first to march, was Rathenau with his brigade of dragoons, hotly followed by Lentulus with his infantry, the others straggled behind. Pausing briefly at Kleefeld for a hasty kaffee, the two heard a rumour that the Arvergneaux had seized not just the Waxerie, but also the fair Lady Bernice Witherscomb, which explained the hasty pursuit by the amorous Clinton. Redoubling their efforts, the twain headed south, rewarded by the distant sound of musketry and the occasional thud of artillery.
*In accordance with Leopold's customary frugality, the Royal War Room serves as a kaffeeklatsch and whist room for subscribers while not in more martial use.
** Not to be mistaken for the Clinton Rash, an entirely different affliction.