5 The Prusen Threa
Frederick spent the day touring Morn and conversing with David over his ideas for the continued prosperity of his town. Frederick was delightfully surprised to hear David's well-developed thoughts on the state of Morn's economy. It appeared he had stumbled upon the concept of competitive advantage, as he had overhauled Morn's local economy and had them specialise in one area rather than the traditional goal of self-sustainment.
Frederick had always been a proponent of specialisation, after all if someone was good at something why force them to do something else. That would simply be a waste of talent. Morn had always been well-known for its frothy beers which had been largely spread across several small family businesses for the past few hundred years.
Other than its beers, the people of Morn had subsisted as a semi-agrarian community, that grew wheat and fished from the river, there were relatively few productive activities in the town. That was until David was appointed Mayor where he embarked upon an ambitious programme to centralise efforts on beer production. He bought out the small businesses and combined them into a larger enterprise that could realise the benefits of economies of scale and had the people switch from fishing into producing beer.
This had generated a significant increase in economic activity both from increased exports and better paying jobs for the locals, turning Morn from a sleepy town where not much happened into a primary beer exporting location. The people of Morn were happier and so were those in Erlangen as the increased taxes should have shown, had the incident not occurred. However, in the end the state of Morn was clearly heading into a much better direction.
Although the world Frederick arrived in was very similar to the seventeenth or eighteenth century, there were still some major differences, things like economics in its modern form did not exist. There were no equivalents to renowned economists and thinkers such as Adam Smith. In fact, the ideas on governance and governments in general were still very antiquated, especially given the nature of despotic monarchies spread across the continent.
In addition, the education levels of the general peasantry were still very low with barely anyone outside of those that could afford tutors, who knew how to read and write properly. However, this did not mean people's lived experiences could be discounted and written off purely because they were uneducated. In fact, David was surprisingly someone who only learnt how to read and write fluently after becoming Mayor.
Before that he could read and write his own name and was at a basic level in literacy. Which was enough to pass the Court's interview and be formally appointed Mayor of Morn. The tests were rather arbitrary and merely needed to demonstrate that they were not criminals or harboured some disloyal inclinations towards the Crown. It was ultimately up to the Prime Minister or whoever he appointed to oversee it.
Of course, this only occurred in locations that were under the direct control of the Crown. After all with the way feudalism worked, the central government in Erlangen had no powers over the internal affairs of the fiefs of Albert, Franz and Sophia. Except now that Frederick was in the process of abolishing landed titles and centralising control over the country, perhaps it was time to overhaul the government system. To rid it of its inefficiencies, overlapping responsibilities and essentially gather more power for himself.
Without a strong central government, Frederick did not believe he could overhaul the nation and strengthen it against its enemies. After all, if every time he wished to make a decision regarding troop deployments to taxation and had to run it by all three of the major nobles, then what was the point of being Prince. What would be the chances he would be able to enact the radical policies such as free education and a professional standing army or the creation of a strong and separate judiciary. Frederick strongly believed that without getting rid of the old, he would not be able to make way for the new.
Which was why this summit was critical for his plans for the future. It would decide whether he could surpass his predecessors and truly put Erlitz on the path to reform. Without reform, without progress, it would only be a matter of time before Erltiz would be swallowed by its hungry and ambitious neighbours.
Frederick had returned to his residence after inspecting the camp his men had setup on the other side of the river, which would allow his men to intercept Albert before he reached Morn. He was in the middle of reading over a dispatch from Leon, with an update on the Third Prince of Weser.
Otto von Weser, was the Third Prince of Weser and Frederick thought he was an interesting figure. From a young age, he had made it very clear to everyone and anyone that he had no interest in the throne of Weser. Instead he had dedicated all his time into reforming and strengthening the military of Weser. In fact, he had studied at the Royal Prusen Military College as an exchange student for five years. It was well-known in the circles of nobility across the continent that he was close with the Crown Prince of Pruse, who managed the college there despite their eight-year age gap.
Of course, Frederick like many other members of the royal families across Agenor also had the opportunity to study at the Royal Prusen Military College. However, his family had declined the invitation for obvious political reasons, in fact Otto's acceptance of the invitation was the first in a very long time. Ever since Pruse proved itself against its northern neighbour Svea and stopped its southward expansion only fifty odd years ago, it had been praised by all across Agenor as the greatest military power of its time.
As a result, many small-time nobles had their children shipped off to Pruse to learn from their ways and Otto as curious as ever followed suit despite the disapproval from his family. It should be noted that Weser had always been a rather backward country, in fact it had always been hampered by its multi-ethnic population. Although everyone on Agenor spoke and wrote the same language, each nation's customs, traditions and religions varied by location. This made it difficult for successive Kings of Weser to strengthen their control over the state and wrestle power away from those regional strongholds.
Despite all of this, Otto had made strides in modernising their military by borrowing the military technology and strategies of Pruse. Along with his elder brother the Crown Prince, they had slowly eroded the powers of the regional lords. In fact, it had only been a year ago that they had to put down a bloody rebellion led by several regional lords who could no longer stand the oppressive tactics utilised by the Weserian Royals.
It would now appear that Weser had managed to put down its internal enemies or at least scare them enough that they were confident in engaging in a conflict with Erlitz. Fortunately, from Leon's update and information from the spies in Weser relayed through Phillip, Weser was not currently planning on making any moves at the moment. They appeared to be waiting for an opportune moment to strike.
After all, every nation in the centre of Agenor was locked in a precariously balanced equilibrium and it would take only one spark to engulf the entire continent in a bloody series of wars. Each and every major power was surrounded by others that sought to take their place or their lands and for the last fifty odd years peace had been strenuously maintained.
Although the implosion of the Great Frankish Empire to the west had come at a great shock to the other major powers. None had dared to intercede openly nor blatantly swallow up any of the lands of the former Empire. After all it would be akin to painting a big red target on the back of that country and be just cause for any ambitious enemy to rally a force together to bring them down a notch.
As a result, the chaos in the west had been largely confined to those around the former Empire. Styria and Iberia had borne the brunt of the fall, with swathes of refugees flooding their borders all demanding asylum or refuge from the civil war.
Amidst all this chaos, Frederick had plans to overhaul the world order. But first he still had to deal with Albert.