--Erstein, LORRAINE - August 12, 1744 (Morning Battle)
"Compliments of His Imperial Majesty, Sir!" the adjutant huffed as he passed a sealed letter to FeldMarschall Ernst von Branau. The Marschall slowly nodded and sent the staff officer on his way. Von Branau broke the wax seal and quickly glanced at the note. A frown slowly crept across his face, one which was immediately noticed by his close friend Generalleutnant Karl Pillar.
"Is it something troubling, Sir?" Pillar inquired.
Von Branau stuffed the letter into his coat pocket and replied, "Not at all, Karl. Just new orders I'm afraid." He passed his spy glass to the General, motioned toward the small hamlet of Dieuze directly in front of him and said, "Have a look and tell me what you see."
Pillar looked through the telescope for about a minute and said, "I see nothing, Sir. Just a village whose inhabitants are probably scared out of their wits from the battle."
The old Marschall nodded. "So it appears. But according to the dispatch from the Emperor, the French are firmly dug-in on the far side of the village. Now either their commander is a complete fool or he's simply oblivious to the fact that we've got their rear covered, but in any which case you are to enter the village with your division and lend support to Generalmajor Kurtz's assault."
"I will proceed at once, Sir." Pillar saluted, turned his horse, and galloped toward his command.
After the General had left, Von Branau looked through his spy glass at Dieuze and sighed. "Be careful old friend," he muttered.
--Berlin, Prussia - February 7, 1492
"A New World, you say?" von Losthin remarked. "Why bother about another world when we've still got problems here in Europe to deal with, is what I'd like to know."
Frederick Reinsmarck bit his lower lip and frowned. "It's simply a matter of expanding the State's influence, my dear friend."
Von Losthin laughed. "Influence, eh? I hardly think that we need to worry about that right now! Show me a royal minister who's more concerned with the State than himself and I'll gladly board a ship and pay a visit to this 'New World' myself!" He paused after he finished chuckling and stared at the fireplace. A deep sigh escaped his lips. "Besides, there are other things more pressing for the Fatherland to pursue."
"Such as?" asked Reinsmarck.
Von Losthin rose from his armchair and paced the room. The spasmodic popping of the firewood was the only sound that punctuated the stillness of the chamber. He paced and paused. Paced and paused. He made it as though he was about to speak, opened his mouth, hesitated and closed it again.
"Well then, Leopold?"
"Have patience, Frederick!" snapped Leopold Von Losthin, "We're not going anywhere so we've all evening." His friend shrugged and clasped his cane closer to himself.
"So it begins," muttered Leopold.
Slightly perturbed, von Losthin said, "So it all begins, Frederick!"
"Unification of course. Of the Fatherland!"
Reinsmarck gasped, "You're mad!"
"If I'm mad then so is the King!" von Losthin declared. "Afterall, it was his idea."
"What? You're jesting!" remarked an dumbfounded Reinsmarck, "How in the world does this involve the King?"
"An overheard conversation. I have it from a reliable source," quipped Leopold.
"Who? Tell me! I must know!" Reinsmarck begged.
Von Losthin hesitated and the replied, "Remember Paul von Kleiben-Ostenwald?"
"Generalmajor von Kleiben-Ostenwald's son? Why yes, of course I do. Charming fellow. We spoke briefly at Charlottenburg last year."
"He's been attached to the Staff, you know. That's my source. It's direct!" von Losthin cried.
"All the better if it can be accomplished," said Reinsmarck, "but I don't see how Austria, Poland-Lithuania, Spain and France are going to take the news."
"They'd probably throw a fit, dear friend."
"And what a fit they'll throw!" snorted Reinsmarck, "Once the talk starts to circulate, our beloved Prussia would probably be stomped underfoot before a single soldier of ours can leave our borders."
"It will take time of course."
"A rather large amount of time, I should think. It's likely we won't see a united Germany in our lifetime."
"Nevertheless, my dear Frederick, I say we drink to success!" At that, Leopold von Losthin poured two glasses of wine and passed one to his friend. "To the Unification and the Fatherland?"
Reinsmarck sighed and reluctantly held up his glass. "To success, the Fatherland, Unification and all that it entails."
To Be Continued