Whatever else is going on, it’s clear that the Aschenbach remobilisation is not going to see them back for at least a year, so we can afford to move the timeline (such as it is) onwards. Those of you who remember back as far at the misty dawning of this site will recall that I had a list of characters, plus plans for them to change over time by means of a spreadsheet. Well, it’s time to open it up, blow off the dust and fire through a new year of events.
As it happens, it’s not that hectic – one death, no births. The poor blighter leaving this mortal coil proves to be… Grafin Rosina v. Hentsch. Yes, the Elector’s one-time ‘bit on the side’, mother to Conrad von Hentsch, is now dead at the middle-age of 42, alarmingly young! The poor elector von Luftberg – fresh after his victory, his opponent proves militarily resilient and then one of the women he loved dies.
However, in political terms it’s a bit of a major development. The other great rival house in Luftberg, the von Hentsch dynasty, is taking some serious knocks. The Graf Felix von Hentsch sat out the last campaign - with my mixed feelings, as he was one of the more interesting figures I’d initially generated, largely on the basis of him being completely – well, evil. Still, he’ll need to do something now. He had two hooks in the ruling Elector to further his family, in the form of his ‘son’ Conrad and his wife Rosina – now the former is an invalid from battle while the latter has died. What to do? Or more particularly, what to do if you’re a power-mad amoral killer bent upon gaining control of the kingdom? I’m not really sure, actually.
First, the long-term appear secure as Felix has a younger son, Max von Hentsch, who could marry one of the Elector’s daughters. Plus, invalid or no, Conrad is still one of the hot contenders for becoming the Elector’s heir. If either one of these claims is pressed, then a von Hentsch will ultimately become heir to the throne. The thing that’s needed is a short-term way to steady the ship of state, increasing the von Hentsch family’s power so a claim can be made. Correspondingly, the last thing that’s wanted is a rival family to emerge onto the scene and threaten an alternative to the von Hentsch marriage or inheritance.
In fact, it might very well be said that if, say, a small province with a powerful ruling family came to attention and proposed itself for absorbtion into the Luftberg electorate, that’d be about the worst thing to happen to Felix von Hentsch. Why, if that was to take place, he’d be thwarted.
Unless, say, somebody deftly opened a possibility for the newly recovered Aschenbach state to intervene, forcing a military confrontation. Then some Luftberg notable like – for example, von Hentsch - could intervene and lead the army to victory, enhancing his own family’s name and, hypothetically, saving the Electorate. Oh, and if the parvenu provincial ruling house should get crushed to dust in the midst of the fighting, then… C’est la Guerre.
But of course, that wouldn’t happen. Almost certainly not.