Having inspired the Northumbrian football team and their mascot Wade Rune to lose the coveted Holy Roman Empire Cup and to return to their native shores to a rapturous welcome, Dagwald Caedmeron - the Loved and Revered Tosspot and Despot of the Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration - has been fighting and losing battles of his own: not within the football fields of Ultima Thule, but rather within the hallowed halls and courts of the aforesaid Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire).
The bone of contention has been the appointment of the new Emperor and disappointment of the present Monarch, His Holiness Emperor Jose Borracho. The new Caesar-in-waiting is a hitherto unknown council warrior called Claudius Junkbond - a deeply loved and popular unknown among his immediate circle of lackeys.
It would appear that the new chieftain-elect - whose appointment (strangely) doesn't happen to rest upon the electoral support of the hordes of loyal tribes, clans and kingdoms - has a penchant for the finest wines of the Empire. At all times of the day. And night. Every day. All, of course, at the expense of the Holy Roman Empire taxpayer, who is too preoccupied with his survival as well as the latest football results from the soothsayers and other assorted rumour-millers. This is a golden opportunity for him to pass from obscurity to complete oblivion. In luxury and biscuit.
It isn't that Caddy bears any personal antipathy towards the new Emperor-elect, however; he's seized on a vital opportunity to curry favour with his disenchanted disciples back at home, who are rapidly deserting his teachings in favour of the anti-Empire rebel, the plain-speaking, mead-quaffing Nickwald the Forager. The logic is that if Caddy Boy is observed to make a valiant stand against the appointment, he will be perceived to be a Principled Princess of the People, and this will successfully woo hearts and minds.
Success is guaranteed... isn't it..?
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