2 Troublesome Neighbours
"I must say, that was a rather genius move by Your Highness, taking advantage of the crowd like that and the people's sentiments to enact a key part of your plan. It had been the lifelong dream of your Father and Grandfather to remove the powers of the aristocrats and yet here you are, with a single speech, the landscape of Erlitz is changed forever. When those old fools hear about this, they will be hopping mad and race here to have you change your mind. But what can they do?"
"Indeed, what can they do? The people have spoken, and I have spoken. Nothing can change this fact. With the people on my side, this time those old farts can't stir up too much trouble. At least I won't have to worry about your family Leon."
"Hah, Frederick, my old man has always been a staunch loyalist, wherever your family points to my family would quickly go. We know our place."
"Leon, don't say things like that. It makes me sound like a terrible friend. We're brothers, no more of that boorish crap, please."
"Fine. Fine. But I do think Count Albert will be a great deal of trouble. There have been rumours he has been flirting with defecting to Pruse in the north. After all, his lands border more of Pruse than the rest of Erlitz and most of it is rather open and flat terrain. So, it makes sense he would have connections with Pruse, yet I don't think he would be so stupid as to throw in his lot with Pruse. After all, they have their own troubles."
"Hmm…Albert to the north, your father to the east. How do you think Sophia would react?"
"That old hag? Should be fine, so long as you marry one of her children or grandchildren I guess."
"Urghh…not this again. Mother's been trying to set me up with ladies from all across the continent ever since I ascended the throne."
"Ah, I almost forgot about the Great Ball, your mother is throwing. She's practically invited the whole continent over to 'congratulate' your ascension. Haha. I heard even the Habsburgs of Styria are coming."
"Don't even get me started. I told her that I can find a wife on my own, but she insists that it is her right as a mother, to find me a worthy bride. And you know how stubborn she can become…"
"Like mother like son aye?"
"Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" Frederick looked at Leon with feigned hurt.
"Quit throwing yourself a pity party, we have important matters to deal with remember."
Frederick let out a sigh before he walked over to the map hanging on the wall.
Erlitz was situated in the centre of the continent, it was bordered by approximately twenty small and large nations. The north faced the mighty Pruse, arguably the greatest threat to Erlitz. To the southwest lay the Styrian Empire, fortunately divided by a vast and treacherous mountain range, with only one traversable pass facilitating travel between the two nations. To the west were a collection of small to medium sized Duchies, Principalities and city states, all buffer states between Pruse and Styria. To the east was a similar situation, except for the existence of the similarly sized nation of Weser.
Erlitz was unfortunately surrounded on all sides by large hostile powers. Areas for expansion were limited and Frederick's dream and plans for the future were predicated on being able to break out from the current impasse. However, he had to deal with his internal enemies and solidify his position as Monarch before he could deal with those outside his borders.
A chaotic world, a chaotic time, but in this chaos existed innumerable opportunities and it was all up to Frederick to seize them and put his indelible mark onto this world's history.
Frederick quickly found Albert's lands. Count Albert von Hart was an ambitious old man, well into his sixties, he was still running around as if he were a much younger man. His lands in the north were granted to his family since the days of the founding of Erlitz, his ancestor had been one of the most ardent supporters of the founding Prince and had been rewarded accordingly. Now, it appeared Albert had a change of heart.
If the rumours were true, then Erlitz would be facing a great deal of trouble. Erltiz simply did not currently have the might to face off against Pruse in a direct confrontation. It also did not help that Weser had been seen fortifying their border by garrisoning more troops recently. Thus, Frederick needed to be wary in making any overt moves against Albert.
Should Pruse intercede and protect Albert then Erlitz would be severely weakened and in that state, Weser might pounce along with other opportunistic neighbours.
"Leon say, do you think Albert can be talked around? Say if I guarantee him certain rights or privileges?"
"Hmm…it could certainly get him to at least talk to you without spitting in your face. But there is no chance he would accept. If anything, he would use it to delay whilst he schemed something in the background."
"But it also gives us the time to do the same, no? My Erlitz no longer has a place for someone like him. Perhaps it is better to be rid of him now rather than later. I think it is time we activated our operatives in the north."
"If this fails, Erlitz will be in a much direr situation you know? Are you sure? There are other ways we can do this."
"No, this is the best and cleanest way. I'm sure Albert is heading towards us right this moment with his army, possibly trying to gather support from the others. Arrange for a summit to be held in four days in Morn, invite Sophia and your Father, we shall have this settled as soon as possible."
"Yes, Your Highness. However, what are your orders for our men in the north?"
"Have them make plans to quickly takeover Albert's lands and resist any attempts of Prusen occupation. We cannot allow them to violate our borders."
"Very well, I will have the orders relayed."
"Oh, and Leon? Could you help a brother out and suggest to Mother that now is not the best time to look for a wife?" Frederick asked full of hope. However, Leon merely pretended he never heard a thing and quickly left the room, to complete his many tasks. Frederick sighed before he returned to the pile of paperwork he needed to look over.