The Taverns, Townhouses, Farms, and Wharfsides of Pils-Holstein are awash with rumour, gossip and tittle-tattle over the latest royal debacle.
Reports and papers from well-respected sources (and some less well-respected ones too!) are being gathered and pieced together to shed light on the mysterious fall out between sweet King Ferdinand Adolphus and his "belle" Tessa Pepisa, and her subsequent disappearance from the Palace of Altgard on that fateful night (see post of 29 September).
It seems that Tessa (aka Tipsi Pipsi) had over the previous weeks been receiving messages of some considerable urgency from the Astrovian capital (Astrovilla), from no less than Emperor Arnold himself. But why should she be receiving such urgent correspondence? She had had little to do with the Astrovian court for some years. What could possibly have changed?
Certainly the content of the letters had been very confidential indeed, and Tessa's refusal to let even Ferdinand Adolphus know the precise nature of the news contained therein had been the spark that led to their fall out.
His protestations has fallen upon deaf ears, and so Tessa had stormed out and made her way towards Astrovia earlier than she had intended, though it is certain that it was her intention to go to Astrovia anyway.
What was most surprising was that, as she flounced out of Altdorf Palace, the midnight mutiny was completed by her escort... the entire contingent of Pils-Holstein's light horse - The Transvladak Uhlans, and The Holstein Hussars (pictured below)....
The now notorious midnight mutiny had these fine horsemen clattering through the narrow cobbled streets of Pilsner, below the Palace, and out into the night, disappearing at a steady canter towards the south east. Within a few hours, Tessa barely looked back as her steed carried her towards the snow capped mountains lining the borderlands. Now, for her, if what was written in the letters was true, she would need all her wits about her to carry out her true purpose.
Meanwhile, back in Altgard Palace, perched above the town of Pilsner, seat of the Kings of Pils-Holstein since the 9th century, poor Ferdinand Adolphus was trying to piece things together.
Here's what he could deduce...
Tessa was daughter of the wealthy Italian financier, Allesandro Pepisa, and his wife, Isabella. However, it now transpires that his wealth was largely derived from one source -The Astrovian Emperor himself!
Now why would the Astrovian Emperor give so much financial support to this man?
And why, right now, would the elderly Emperor Arnold, in his dotage, so soon after the death of his poor wife Olivia, suddenly want to see Tessa?
And what was in those letters that had made Tessa decide to give up her position next to him, Ferdinand Adolphus, in their kingdom together, and head for Astrovia instead?
Through the anger in his heart, "sweet FA" was starting to piece together a bigger picture.
And his sad thoughts at the loss of his loved one now turned to deep concern at the way he had treated her of late over this whole affair. For he knew that his former flame-haired beauty would be a challenging adversary, and he could ill-afford to incur the wrath of Astrovia.
Next time... all will be revealed, as Tipsi Pipsi arrives in Astrovia and takes counsel with the Emperor.
In the meantime, those of you with a nose for such intrigue might like to offer(in the comments box below) suggestions as to exactly what is behind Tipsi Pipsi's defection! Or you might want to keep your counsel, lest it be a potential "spoiler" for others (or more likely, a better idea than my plotline, in which case I'll have my finger hovering over the "delete comment" button anyway!!)
All of the above is a way of me saying, The Astrovian army is starting to build.
Cheers for now...