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Viscount Sackville-Baggins sat across a small table from a large, well-dressed, walrus-faced man. With nearly clock-like regularity, massive sounds of flatulence escaped from somewhere underneath him. A bottle of excellent wine sat between them. Several empty bottles littered the floor. This was his father-in-law, Reichsgrafschaft Blankenheim und Gerolstein, whose bacon he was supposed so save.

Earlier in the day the Viscount and his delegation had been received by the Reichsgrafschaft in his audience chambers. Numerous hangers-on and courtiers had been in attendance. First his minister and then several apparently important burghers from the local pork guild had railed on about the tariffs being applied by for their products being sent south along the Danube. This was inexcusable and had to be stopped at any measure, up to and including war. After about an hour of this it was finally brought to an end with the solemn promise from Sackville-Baggins that he would resolve this matter, through force of arms if necessary. Incredulous that war could be contemplated over such a triviality, he held his tongue and promised he would see to the matter. The audience proceeded to other topics.

Now in the privacy of the small but well furnished library, the two men sat quietly, each apparently deep in thought, drinking their wine. The Reichsgrafschaft was the first to speak, swirling his wine and looking off to the wall of books. “This pork thing is very important. You must not back down. I know the man who will be there negotiating. He is a pig of a man named Count Andreas Joseph Esterhazy-Hardin.” This was followed by one of his regular eruptions. He waved his hand across his face and waited for the gas to dissipate. “This is very important…” The Viscount looked at him and said nothing, sipping his wine and slowly shaking his head.

After several minutes and two more gassy outbursts, the Reichsgrafschaft looked over at the Viscount and continued on in a quieter voice. “It really is important, but not because of the pork. This man Esterhazy-Hardin needs to be brought to heel.” Sackville-Baggins rolled his eyes and looked back at the large man, currently squirming in his seat.

Another attack of flatulence followed, this time forcing both men to wave their hands to clear the air. “It’s my daughter Katarina” said the Reichsgrafschaft heaving a large sigh. She had become involved with this man, this Count Esterhazy-Hardin. The Viscount raised his eyebrows. He knew of this Esterhazy-Hardin. He was a renowned rake. Having met the princess Katarina, it was inconceivable that a man with such a reputation would have a dalliance with her. In comparison to her sister, (his wife) she was twice as ugly and four times as mean. Sackville-Baggins stifled a shudder and quietly thanked his blessings that he had married Margaret rather than Katarina. He promised the Reichsgrafschaft he would force the issue with this man, Esterhazy-Hardin.

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