Today a messenger arrived in Schloss Mordenleif craving immediate audience with the Landgraf. Fortunately I was already in attendance upon him (receiving dictation on the trials of his early childhood), so was privy to the confidences conveyed from no lesser place than the Protectorate of Pelarcona itself.
It seems the Lady Protector of Pelarcona, Alyssa Omandra, has somehow learned of the arming of Mendelstadt, and she, having (in the Landgraf's rather ill-judged words) "no more sense than a sponge bedpost" feels our natural desire for modern forces somehow threatens her state. In response, she has appointed one Lord Trovius (it is a sad affectation of Pelarcona to adopt nomenclature from alien states erroneously admired) to strengthen her own armed forces.
Trovius is unknown here in Mendelstadt. However, our brave intelligencer was happily able to appropriate a recent portrait. It is said that the nobility of Pelarcona are so rich they spend most of their waking lives commissioning paintings, posing for them or, poor souls, dabbling in the visual arts themselves. This means, of course, that one purloined painting is unlikely to be missed, whilst there is every chance that future intelligence can be gathered through a careful sifting of discarded sketches.
As you can see, Lord Trovius seems a rather pumped up and overfed fellow. He is spoken of as "belonging to the Front Rank", but this might mean he is no more than available for ready cash.
His first step, it appears, has been to modernise the artillery of the Pelarcona Guard. And, of course, pleased as Punchinello with his successful commissioning of that force, he had to authorise a sketch of his new toys at play. No doubt he believes them to be of the Front Rank, too.
But this is a worrying development, for, if we are to enter a race of arms, Mendelstadt lags sorely behind in the development of the Mistress of the Battlefield, the artillery. We may, it seems, have to resort to remounting cannon from naval carriages of the Fleet as a stop gap, and no Admiral is going to be pleased by that news.
At least this unlooked for information pressed the Landgraf to confirm the structure of the army he wishes to see immediately effected. It will consist of three infantry brigades (one Guard, one Line, one Militia) and two cavalry (one Guard and one Line) with a company of Jaeger, and Artillery company and a further company of Pioneers.
This, it was pointed out, would not of itself be a force sufficient to accomplish the Landgraf's ambitions, especially as recruitment proceeds with less alacrity than ideally would be desired.
At this, the Landgraf raised a hooked finger to tap his nose, down which he squinted and chuckled.
"I have every reason," he said, spitting a peach pit to the floor, "to believe that our armies will soon be augmented, for those dear neighbours of ours, Hamartia, will soon commit their forces to the Mendelstadtian cause."
This remark was received with silence universally across the court of Schloss Mordenleif (and not merely because it had been preceded by a seven course dinner). I may be a naive and ill-informed Englishman, but even I know that the Duchy of Hamartia would never voluntarily submit to the will of the its greater neighbour. Had the Landgraf just declared war? Or is something more subtle afoot?