In The Service Of Princes


Frank Potts did not know how long he had been under the dark spell Bessie Wollherz had laid on him when he did eventually surface. He was still in his chair and there was daylight outside the windows. His companions were also still in their seats, but sagging and unconscious. Why wasn’t he? Sitting cross-legged on the floorboards in front of him was a naked boy child, staring up at him. Blue horns adorned his forehead. Strangely, the boy looked a little sheepish, verging on guilty.

‘Sorry about that,’ he finally said.

‘Er … wha …?’

‘I had no idea the Antonin girl was going to try something that big.’ He sprang to his feet and peered closely into Frank’s eyes. Then he breathed full into Frank’s face. An astonishing scent filled his nostrils, like an exotic spice mingled with sea spray, fresh from shores on which their first ever dawn was breaking. Frank’s mind cleared and he came fully round. Not only that, but his mind seemed clearer and more collected than it ever had before.

The boy shifted to a grin. ‘That should help. Better?’

‘What about these fellows?’ Frank asked indicating his unconscious colleagues in the class.

‘Oh … they’ll be alright … well mostly. But I couldn’t let her enslave your mind the way she has theirs. Not least because she’d soon find out about my involvement. And now we have a real problem. You’ll have a mark on you which declares in big letters “Jonas Niemand was here” next time she meets you. We’ve never met in person but she knows enough about me from old Wilchin to be wary and alert. And she’s already picked up some idea I’m around and active. So I don’t quite know what to do. Well, I could do something really dramatic, but something that unsubtle would cause more problems than it solves.’

‘Something like what, master elf?’

‘Oh … turn her into dust.’


‘Part of my job,’ the boy commented, ‘and not the best part by any means. Oh well, let’s try this …’

Something very odd happened. The world grew around Frank or rather, as he soon realised, he shrank. His clothes fell off him and he stood naked amongst a pool of discarded garments in shoes far too big for his little feet. And as he looked down on himself his gaze encountered a small tube of a penis between his legs rather than the hairy cock of a grown man. ‘I’m a boy!’ he exclaimed in a light treble his throat had last issued well over a decade before.

Jonas grinned happily. ‘Great spell, eh? I’ve been really keen to try it. I started experimenting by turning dogs to puppies, which went alright. I knew it could be done with people. And look! It works. I think I can turn you back too.’

‘How does this help?’ Frank squeaked.

‘Well Mr Potts, the thing is no one ever notices kids like us. Which is why I sometimes quite like this shape, for all I never really chose it.’

‘They do notice if we’re naked.’

‘Oh, easy to fix,’ Jonas shrugged, ‘though uncomfortable for me. But here we go.’

The elf instantly wrapped around Frank a facsimile of the clothing of a respectable urban child, and then dressed himself in a somewhat dated household livery coat and breeches, but without hose and shoes. Then he padded over to the door and cautiously looked out.

‘Things will be stirring soon, so come along. There’s a side door down those steps into the street, so let’s go before everybody wakes up and it begins.

What begins? And what happens when I’m missed?’

‘Oh yes. I am really sorry about that part.’ He indicated with his thumb the pale dead body of man now lying on the floor of the room they were leaving, a corpse that looked very like Frank Potts late of the British Embassy in Munich.

‘Now don’t you worry,’ the elf hastened to say and put his hand on the shoulder of the horrified child Potts. ‘You’ve not gone to join the Dead. That’s not really you there. Ha! That Antonin girl thinks she’s really clever, but when it comes to this sort of thing, it’s me who’s the master. I’m the original trickster! Not even Wilchin could beat me, and he was good.’

‘But, but …’

Jonas took Frank by his shoulder. ‘Trust me, Pottie. This’ll cause her problems.’

‘But … everybody’ll think I’m dead!’

‘Ah, but the thing is that’d be a disaster for her, so she’ll have to manage it so they won’t. It’ll tie her up in knots … You know, this could be just the opening I’ve been looking for. And just when she thought she’d cracked it too! Now follow me Pottie.’



Freddie looked up from his desk to be momentarily taken aback by the arrival in the library of his employer, Prince Henry. Usually the prince dressed in a sober black, bottle green or blue suit. On special occasions he had a rather more elaborate court dress, rich in gold lace, but today was a first in his experience. The prince was in military dress, the dark blue and gold of a Ruritanian general officer, with a red waistcoat and the yellow and red sash of the order of the Red Rose across his chest. He had on tall boots and riding breeches of white chamois, so it was not for the court’s benefit that he was in uniform.

‘You’re staring at me, Freddie,’ the prince observed. ‘Is it the wig that regulations insist I wear?’

‘Well no, your royal highness. I just can’t recall seeing you in uniform before, apart that is from the portrait in the dining room.’

‘Ah, the one in the Leibgarde officer’s uniform. I was all of seventeen at the time, and already itching to get out of the army. But sometimes the blood of my grandfather and namesake demands I conform to my Elphberg heritage. My brother Ferdinand goes to bed in his uniform I truly believe, though perhaps he puts on a night cap just for form and for his wife’s sake.’

‘So what is the special occasion, if I may ask sir?’

‘There’s a review on the Martzfeld, but along with that, my father has summoned me to accompany him on an inspection of the Neustadt Lines. The burgomeister and a number of commercial gentlemen have petitioned him that they should be cleared away and the city opened out. He wants my moral support against the crown prince, who is astounded at the effrontery of the suggestion.’

‘Really sir? I can see the point though. The Südlicher Vorstadt is like a small city itself and entirely cut off from the rest of Strelsau. Also, it’s unfortified and I was wondering at the logic of leaving it undefended while the Neustadt and Altstadt sit behind walls and casemates.’

‘Not just you, Freddie. When was your London last fortified?’

‘Er … I believe in the late civil war, sir. ’

‘Ah, that would be some 130 years ago.’

‘Its fortifications were cleared away even before the restoration of good King Charles.’

‘A gallant gentleman but not a very military king, as I understand. The only battle where he was in command he lost. It was in the boudoir of Venus not the fields of Mars where he made his conquests. Ferdy is apoplectic that Strelsau might lose its walls. It’ll never get past him, but Vater does so enjoy teasing him.

‘Anyway, I’ve decided I need you to accompany me with your notebook, so find your coat, it’s a cool day for May. A horse is in the yard waiting for you, as also is my temporary aide-de-camp, Captain the Baron Wollherz, who suggested you ride out with us. He says you surveyed the Great Citadel and the Arsenal for your book, so you probably know the lay of the land rather better than I do. Though I have to say, as a boy I did love studying the rabbits who made their homes along the scarps of the walls towards the old Marmorpalast. The soldiers encouraged them, and set traps for them in winter to help vary their diet.’

In the stable yard, as well as Bastian, there was waiting a detachment of the royal Cuirassier Guard, of which Prince Henry was colonel-in-chief. So it was quite a colourful cavalcade which trotted down through the streets of the Altstadt, of which Freddie was the least colourful member. Indeed, he felt quite out of place. He was however intrigued to see how the citizens of the Alstadt flocked to the streets to cheer the passing prince with evident enthusiasm. He hadn’t seen much evidence to date as to how the scholar-prince was regarded by the people of Ruritania. He had unthinkingly concluded that Prince Henry’s intellectual life distanced him from his people, but it seemed that was not so. The prince himself seemed a little pleased by the demonstration, and raised both his hat and wig to acknowledge it, to even more cheers. Freddie knew enough Rothenian by now to recognise the constant cheer from the people of the Altstadt ‘Der Cherven Elphberg!’. It was the fact that Henry, like his father and grandfather, had red hair that was attracting their enthusiasm.

The Martzfeld, north west of the New City, was a military camp. When the prince and his retinue reached the low plateau contained in its bend of the river Starel they found a dozen foot regiments already forming. The king and crown prince, and their rather larger retinues of aides, were mounted and in position on an artificial mound raised for the review.

Freddie made himself inconspicuous at the rear of the group. He nonetheless was in a good position to observe the opening parade as the guard and line regiments marched in column and then line past the king. Freddie recognised what Bastian had observed to him on more than one occasion. The army’s drill and its uniforms were modelled on that of Prussia. The first regiment of foot guards indeed wore the same mitre caps as King Frederick’s grenadiers, and high-stepped past their own king to a rousing rendition of Der Hohenfriedberger from the massed bands, the grand march said to have been composed by Old Fritz himself. Only the fact that the predominant uniform colour was the lighter Ruritanian shade of blue challenged the impression that Freddie was at a review in Potsdam.

Bastian had skilfully edged Oliver back through the glittering throng towards Freddie, and leaned across to him from the saddle. ‘You’ll never see a happier man than our crown prince when his clockwork soldiers are out of the box and on parade,’ he commented. ‘Count Lichnowsky looks very much at home doesn’t he?’ Bastian nodded towards the Prussian ambassador, in full uniform next to Prince Ferdinand.

Freddie replied that as a cavalry officer Bastian was just prejudiced against foot soldiers.

‘It’s true, Freddie,’ Bastian smiled. ‘But no one compliments King Frederick’s army on its cavalry. You can’t impose his sort of drill on horses, and our regiments of horse far outclass the lumpen Prussian dragoons. I take full credit for the Wollherz strain that makes our stock a cut above any other army’s.’

The review lasted three full hours, and Freddie was finding the marching, counter-marching and drill exercises tedious after only thirty minutes of it. At the conclusion, the assembled regiments made a royal salute and gave a deafening cry of ‘Lang lebe der König!’ As they marched off, palace servants appeared with trays of wineglasses to offer to the king and his immediate entourage.

At this point the diplomatic guests were ushered to nearby tables set out with a buffet, while the king, his sons and their retinues trotted off the Martzfeld towards the lowering mass of the Great Citadel. They approached the artillery fortress frthe landward side where there was a postern set where the fort joined the city walls, access commanded by enfilading bastions. As the military throng trotted their mounts into the sloping causeway leading up to the postern gate Freddie found himself directly behind Prince Henry and his elder brother.

As usual his employer was chaffing the Crown Prince gently. ‘Oh dear Ferdy, how you’ll miss this old place if Vater has his way and it’s demolished.’

Prince Ferdinand harrumphed. ‘You may well jest, Heinz. But it would be a serious mistake to do away with it. Vater may have a point that such fortifications are getting a bit behind the times, and it’s true that modern mortar fire is a problem. But where would we have been if Vorplatzenburg hadn’t been held against Gumpp back in ’93? A Wittelsbach would be sitting on Vater’s throne today, that’s what. And then there’s what happened here in ’39. I still remember being bundled out of the Residenz across the park and into this citadel in the arms of a grenadier, with musket fire behind us in the city streets.’

‘Dangerous days indeed, Ferdy. That vain ass Vesterborg answered for it. Had you heard he died a couple of months ago in Naples? In poverty they say. Our ambassador had him buried appropriately. He was after all the eldest son of King Henry the Lion, as he told Vater, who commended him despite hating Vesterborg like poison. There was a mass in the Hofkapelle for the old rebel’s soul, though Vater did not attend.’

The Crown Prince growled out something which Freddie imagined wasn’t approval for his father’s generosity, but they entered into the citadel and the king’s party dismounted leaving their horses for the waiting grooms. The king, the princes and their staffs departed into the garrison buildings leaving Freddie and other junior attendants to amuse themselves in the outer court.

Freddie had his notebook and he took a leisurely walk along the walls to enjoy the views upriver where the broad Starel wound east towards the city below wooded river bluffs. He leaned on an embrasure and took some while to savour the beauty of this city where he had ended up, and how right it felt to be here. For a while he dared to feel happy. He loved and was loved. Wasn’t that all that you needed in life?

But then there was the supernatural world that had now intruded into his Rutitanian idyll. Things had been quiet lately but Freddie was not fooled that they had done with him and Bastian. Far from it. This ‘clear sight’ that the elf Jonas said he was cursed with was something he was beginning to recognise at work in the background of his mind. And at the moment it was telling him that something grim was looming.

At that point a polite cough behind him caused him to look around. Two children had appeared on the rampart, naked boys of around ten years old. One of them he recognised and his heart raced, but it sank too for it was what he feared. Jonas Niemand had returned.


The Munich embassy of King George III of Great Britain was in an uproar. Only Herr Mossinger preserved a semblance of calm. James paced his study as his First Secretary stood impassive on his carpet.

‘So there can be no mistake?’ he finally burst out.

‘I fear not, my lord. The Minister of Police was correct. I searched Mr Potts’s desk, and in a locked box, which I took it upon me to break open, was correspondence from agents of the French mission. Worse still, it contained copies of your private letters to Lord Rochford, ready for despatch to the French, I imagine. There can be no doubt from this evidence that Mr Potts was spying for King Louis and likely enough has been for at least the past year.’

‘Good God! I trusted that man implicitly. He’s not only betrayed his country, but his faith. What will our enemies make of a Catholic servant of the king turning traitor to the Catholic powers? It will destroy all the good I’ve been able to do here.’

Herr Mossinger shook his head. ‘I have to say, my lord, that I do not in general take people at first impression, but Mr Potts is a man I always found honest in his dealings, and devoted to your lordship. He defied my natural cynicism about humanity. I have never been so taken in, to the extent that …’


‘Well my lord, only that I am inclined to doubt the simple good nature of the Bavarians in sharing this revelation with us.’

‘You mean that they have an ulterior motive?’

‘Yes, sir. I don’t doubt that the Elector is well-disposed to you and the mission and conceivably might have ordered his minister to pass on the intelligence that it was compromised. The minister might also have done so on his own account. To have us and the French at each others’ throats would suit him, but we are anyway, so what does he gain?’

James frowned for a while and took his seat once more. ‘So you think this supposed treachery may not be what it seems, Mossinger? I’d like to believe you, but the facts are against Potts. The man has disappeared too, isn’t that damning enough?’

‘Well my lord, I would recommend that before we fully embrace our suspicions we trace his last moves and try to find news of him. He was at Ingolstadt at Professor Weishaupt’s symposium. So much we know. It may be time that we deploy some of your … er … greater connections to find out more.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘If I may say, the Ruritanian mission here in Munich is well-disposed to your lordship for certain reasons I do not need to explain. Also for other obvious reasons it is very well resourced – far better than us in fact – and I think it will be willing to assist us. Indeed in several quiet ways it already has been. If anyone can help get to the bottom of this it will be Count Wieland. I have friendly contact with my opposite number in his embassy, and I suggest I take a walk down the street to pay a call on him. Likewise, I would recommend you send Mr Carfax immediately to Strelsau to find our friend Mr Winslow. If anyone might know of Potts’s whereabouts and present activities, it is him. He and Mr Potts are the closest of friends.’


‘Hello, Freddie!’ Jonas Niemand hailed him cheerily. He seemed very pleased about something. His little companion less so, whio was shivering and hugging himself against the cold. It may have been a sunny day and unusually warm for the season, but it was still December.

Freddie sagged against the fortress wall. ‘Who’s this? Another of your spirits?’

‘No, he’s a real human boy … well mostly.’

‘Freddie,’ the sandy-headed child piped up, ‘it’s me!’

‘Do I know you, lad?’

‘You do,’ Jonas laughed, ‘just not exactly like he is now. It’s a great spell I did.’

‘I’m Frank! Really! He turned me into a boy again!’

Freddie gaped, then turned to the elf. ‘You can do that, Jonas?’

‘Apparently!’ he exclaimed in delight ‘Want to try it?’

‘Er … not particularly, Jonas. I put a lot of effort into growing up. Why did you do it? Is this an elf’s idea of fun?’

‘It is fun,’ Jonas grinned, ‘ but I had my reasons. Pottie here will tell you why.’

‘Can you change him back?’

‘Eventually I will, but it’s better that I don’t for a while. Better for him I mean. Now I have to go and see what that Antonin girl has done since we left. I’ll be back soon. In the meantime look after my friend Pottie for me.’

Then Freddie was left alone staring at the child Frank. ‘Pottie?’

The boy Potts shrugged. ‘He thinks it’s funny. I say, Freddie, can you find me some clothes?’ His hands drifted to cover his groin.

‘How come you’re naked?’

‘Jonas doesn’t get clothing. I’m beginning to understand why. But … clothes?’

‘Not sure what I can do about that, Frank. Do you know where we are? The Great Citadel of Strelsau. You have no business being here, naked or not. Er … I’ve a solution of sorts, but you’re not going to like it.’

Freddie took Frank by the ear. He yelped. ‘Sergeant!’ Freddie bellowed.

A soldier pacing the wall walk turned, he looked and came at a run.

‘I found this imp climbing in through the battlement,’ Freddie declared. ‘Says he did it for a bet. His little friends ran off.’

‘Geroff!’ Frank squealed.

‘Where’s your clothes, kid?’ The soldier demanded.

Little Frank squirmed in embarrassment and annoyance. ‘We was … er … playing down by the river and they dared me!’

‘Son, have you any idea what sort of trouble you’re in? Come down to the guard room with me. Thank you, sir, for collaring him. I’ll warm his backside with my cane and send him on his way.’

‘Er … hardly necessary I’d have thought. Can you find him some clothing?’

‘There’s old drummer’s coats and breeches somewhere in the guardroom, I think sir.’

Freddie collected his mount and was waiting at the gate towards the city half an hour later when a barefoot boy came limping out wearing no more than a dirty, ragged blue coat and torn breeches,. His face was streaked with tears and snot ran down from nose.

‘You bastard, Freddie,’ he whimpered.

‘Sorry Frank, ah … he seems to have gone to town on your arse. I’d put you up on the horse, but I’d guess you’d rather walk for now.’


It was a long walk across the city to the Altstadt and Freddie was feeling very sorry for little Frank by the time they got to the Platz. He stopped off at one of the market stalls and the red stripes across Frank’s pale, small backside when he changed into the more respectable boy’s clothing Freddie bought him made him more than a little guilty.

To make it worse, the dealer cuffed Frank as he went on his way. ‘That’ll teach you to behave yer little brat. If I was yer master I’d a-given yer much worse,’ he snarled.

‘Enough, man,’ Freddie rebuked him. ‘He’s learned his lesson, and doesn’t need your contribution.’

‘Drop him off at the Fenizenhaus for all I care,’ the stallholder grunted.

They walked silently through the city leading the horse. Eventually a more collected Frank said, ‘I can’t think why some people like the idea of being a child again. You’re at the mercy of any insensitive thug. I pissed on the floor while that bastard of a soldier caned me. He and his mates thought it was funny.’

‘Oh Frank, I’m sorry. I didn’t realise. You forget what being a kid is like.’

‘For good reason. Look, let’s stop here.’

Freddie settled on the rim of the Platz Springbrünnen, and let his horse drink from the pool behind them. The woeful look on his transformed friend made Freddie take him in his arms, and even attempt to cuddle him. Little Frank didn’t resist, not even when Freddie took a handkerchief, dipped it in the swirling water behind him and washed his dirty face. The boy sniffed.

‘So tell me how you ended up in this state. Am I right that you were in Ingolstadt a week or so ago, investigating Professor Weishaupt and Bessie Wollherz’s connection?’

‘What day is it, Freddie?’

‘Monday the 19th.’

‘So it’s been a week since it happened.’

‘Since what happened?’

Frank took a deep breath and began his explanation of the events at Ingolstadt. ‘… so there I was, transformed into a child and looking at my own corpse! Bessie Wollherz was on her way so we had to clear out. We ran out into the street and the traffic. Jonas was mulling things over as we trotted down the road, then he pulled me into an alleyway and …’

‘And …?’

‘Well it wasn’t an alley we ended up in.’

‘Ah, maybe I know where it was. Sapphire blue sky? Birds of paradise? Clear rushing little river?’

‘You’ve been there too?’

‘It’s called Faërie. It’s Jonas’s favourite place.’

‘We arrived buck naked, and I just stood there basking in the golden sunlight until I got as face full of water courtesy of the elf. The great thing about being a kid is the delight in play. It all came back, and we whooped, splashed and wrestled for … I don’t know how long. Then we climbed a tall tree and he showed me his kingdom. He grew wings and flew me all over the place.’

‘It’s not his kingdom, as several people have told me. But he acts as though it is. Did you swim in the waters of the river? Did you drink from it?’

‘Yes … is that a problem?’

‘Not at all. It’s the River of Life, and Jonas reserves it for humans he really likes, I’m told. I wonder why you? I wasn’t allowed it.’

‘So he took you there too?’

‘Oh yes. Maybe it was because you were a boy and I was a grown up. He really loves playing with other children, though of course he’s far, far older than he looks.’

‘So it’s been a week since I left! I’d reckoned we were there only a day or two.’

‘Its sun doesn’t move and time is strange there. But your meeting at Ingolstadt was on the 12th, yes?’

Frank brooded. Brooding looked rather cute on his serious and pretty boy face. Finally he said, ‘Whatever that witch was going to do, she’ll have it done by now.’

‘Come on, Frank, we’d better get you home to Westergasse. That’s where me and Bastian live now, high up on the Westergasse. Do you think you could sit up on my horse. Let me lift you on to her. My, this is weird. She’s a steady mare, she won’t jog your sore little bottom too badly.’


When Freddie and Frank arrived up on Westergasse he trotted his mare into the stable yard to find someone familiar but unexpected waiting.

‘Good heavens, it’s old Carfax!’ Freddie cried, and leapt off his mount, lifting little Frank off after he got down. He greeted his old colleague with a hearty handshake.

‘When did you get to Strelsau, Teddie?’

His friend shrugged. ‘No more than half an hour ago. I took post from Munich and made the stage from Grossbrückenheim in just today. Damnably saddle sore as a result.’

‘Tell me about it,’ said the child who was standing beside Freddie, looking up at him.

‘Who’s the young feller?’ Teddie asked, regarding the boy curiously.

‘Oh … this is Frank Winslow, my … er … cousin from England. He’s been sent to stay with us here in Strelsau over Christmas, and perhaps for longer. Problems at home, which I won’t go into.’

‘Frank, eh? Well it’s another Frank that’s brought me here. Frank Potts.’

‘What? Is he alright?’

‘Yes, as far as I know. It’s his whereabouts that his lordship is trying to discover. I’ve been sent here to investigate if he’s turned up in Ruritania. It’s imperative to get hold of him. Have you any news of him? Lord Burlesdon thought that if he was to go to anyone, it would be to you.’

Freddie frowned. ‘What on earth’s going on, Teddie? Come inside. I’ll get some refreshments sorted and you can explain what’s up. Come along Frank.’

‘Yes, cousin Freddie!’ the boy piped up, grinning. Something about the encounter had perked him up and put Frank in humour, apparently.

Frank toddled into the drawing room after the men and perched on a chair, looking around with interest. Freddie noticed his feet didn’t come quite down to the floor, and he unconsciously sat on his hands and swung his legs, just as a boy would. He began to wonder if Jonas’s spell was having more of an effect on Frank than the elf realised.

A glass of restorative spirits arrived courtesy of Herr Lossman and Teddie Carfax sipped at it appreciatively. ‘It’s called hrotvast,’ Freddie explained, ‘distilled peach brandy made in the country here. Rather superior to gin in my view, but I wouldn’t recommend more than one glass. Now tell me, only something cataclysmic would bring you here like this.’

Teddie took a deep breath. ‘It’s like this. Four days ago the Bavarian Minister of Police sent his card to Lord Burlesdon and the man himself followed on. He was with his lordship and Herr Mossinger for an hour. He brought with him some pretty dreadful insinuations about our Frank, that he was in league with the French and had been for over a year, taking their money and sending them intelligence and copies of embassy papers. When old Mossinger went to check Frank’s desk he found a locked box and all the evidence to prove the minister’s assertions.’

‘Good God!’ Freddie exclaimed. The boy Frank just gaped.

‘Now I’m supposed to find out his whereabouts. You’d know if anyone does.’

‘And what if I told you, Teddie?’

‘So you do know. I’m to tell him to return to Munich to defend himself from the allegations. Neither Lord Burlesdon nor Secretary Mossinger are giving them credit; there’s more than a few things about them that don’t hang together. But to disprove them we need Frank himself. Running away didn’t do his case any good.’

‘Like why the minister told you them in the first place!’ Little Frank burst out.

A startled Teddie Carfax looked at the prodigy and smiled. ‘Well done, lad. Yes, that’s one problem with the story. You should think of a future in the diplomatic service.’ He turned back to Freddie. ‘Now I know you’d never betray Frank, but I do ask you to convey to him the situation, and urge him to return to the embassy. His lordship is willing to guarantee that no action will be taken against him, and if he can justify himself and why it was he took himself off here, then he will return to his post without prejudice.’

Freddie exchanged glances with Frank. ‘I had no idea about this, Teddie,’ he said truthfully. ‘And I don’t believe it any more than Lord Burlesdon does. I’ll make sure Frank hears all this. I think you may find he’s as stumped by the accusations as the embassy is.’

‘Good. That’s all I’m asking. Now I have to get on to the Residenz down in the Neustadt. I have an interview with Count Neuburg, King Rudolf’s minister of foreign affairs.’

‘Er … how did that happen?’

‘It seems that the Ruritanians have some concerns about Bavaria at the moment … well, more than usual. He’s going to tell me about a bunch called the Illuminati. Apparently they’re mixed up with all this.’