Schwangau Fortress

Above the Schwansee

 

The Do’s Series: Segment 4

 

© Grandpa Jim

 

 

“What do you think?” Prince Lohengrin stares off at the blue waters of the Schwansee and the village of Hohenschwangau rising toward them into the green forest.

“He knew we were watching.” Minnesinger HitBolt sets the quill pen down on the desk. “Sir Richard knew we were watching and listening.”

“The scatsglass watches well and true.” The tall youth turns to his teacher. “It is of your design.”

“A good bug. From the Old Days. Of limited life, though. Transmissions have stopped. Nonetheless, I am confident the device itself was not detected.”

“Then why do you say Richard knew we were watching and listening?”

“He said too much.”

“Too much?”

“’Too much wisdom find, Truth be far behind.’ It is an old saying.”

“More likely one you just made up, Minne.” The Prince shakes his head and smiles, the bright green eyes stop in thought on his confidante and advisor. “Sir Richard shared much of his plans.”

“Did he? Or did he play the Sicilian?”

“Minnesinger, you wander again. Explain yourself.”

“There is a scene in an old tale, a movie I think it was called, where a young man is pursuing a princess held captive by a Sicilian named Vizzini. At an impasse, the two engage in a battle of wits for the girl. The Sicilian takes great pride in his reasoning abilities and uses his intellect and tongue to confuse the young man.”

“Does this Vizzini prevail?”

“No, the young man, who is in disguise as the Dread Pirate Roberts, bests the Sicilian at the game of words and frees the girl.”

“My cousin, Sir Richard, seeks a girl. LoveJoy KickStart. Who is she?”

The older scholar rests his bearded chin in a propped hand and allows a thin smile toward his pupil. “She is what is hard to read from the Count’s words, my young Lord.”

“Is she this ‘mercy’ that Richard fears?”

“I do not think it is ‘fear.’ More curiosity.”

“Curiosity?”

“They both, the girl and Sir Richard, have delved deeply into the Old Ways, the old technologies.”

“As we have.” The Prince pauses. “I mean as you have.”

The advisor laughs, almost toppling his tall green hat. “I don’t delve, young sire. I remember.”

“Right. And look what has been done with your ‘remembered’ knowledge. Schwangau stands a mighty fortress, high on this rugged hill above the Schwansee and the wild swans of my remembered ancestors. The Swan Castle is guarded by more than rock and warrior.”

“You are well protected here, Prince Lohengrin. By walls, weapons, strength of arms, and the few small tricks I still have up my sleeve. Even so, would you have the Count and his SCRUMPs reach Swan County and the Shwansee?”

“I would not.” The Prince sighs deeply. “There is something of these ‘SCRUMPs” that I know we must fear, but there is something else. . . .” Lohengrin raises a hand, then drops it. “Richard said the poor creatures are those who opposed him, and he said the girl escaped and her family were his servants.”

“He did.”

“Why did he say this?”

“He is attempting to direct our actions.”

“Richard wants us to go after the girl!” The Prince’s eyes widen. “This is what concerns you, Hitbolt, and why you think Richard knew we were watching?”

“In part, my Prince. Sir Richard gave himself away with all his talk of patterns and limits and buffoons, his and Shakespeare’s. By his own mighty ego, the Count of the Sweeping Lands would limit us to his pattern to chase after his buffoon. But we will not do this.”

“We will not?”

“Not exactly.”

“You have a plan?”

“Glue Days and New Bread.”

“The Great Festival of the New and Free Peoples. An agreed and contracted delegation from the Schwangau Do’s will accompany our Hohenschwangau traders to the fair.”

“And you will find the girl there.”

“Me? The festival is not a gathering of nobles.”

“You will not be nobility.”

“I won’t?”

“You will be in disguise.”

“I will?”

“You will.”

After a moment, the young Prince smiles, spreads wide his arms and bows. “You are right,” Minnesinger HitBolt. “’I’ will not be there.”