The History of Hofvonstein
Hofvonstein is a tiny kingdom nestled between Austria and
Germany. Formerly a duchy, it became a kingdom in 1601 when Johann,
Count von Waldstein, crowned himself king upon the death of his
father, the Old Duke.
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Maximilian II ascends the throne.
Leopold III born.
Frederick von Stürmburg born.
Friedrich Meier born.
Karl Magnus von Ludwighof born.
Annaliese Meier born.
Catherine [von Stürmburg] born.
Leopold and Sophia are engaged.
Leopold and Sophia are married.
Poetess Emma born.
Franz (Leopold's manservant) born.
Maximilian born. Viktor and Ernst Braun born. Karl Magnus enters
University, meets Friedrich Meier, and through him, eventually,
Annaliese Meier. Karl Magnus and Friedrich join the revolutionary
movement after reading Marx.
Anna Meier born. Annaliese Meier enters the Conservatory to begin
Karl Magnus finishes studies at University.
Karl Magnus enters the government service of Maximilian II.
Annaliese Meier debuts at the Hofvonsteiner Opera. She and Karl
Magnus become lovers. Archduke Carl Philip is born.
Karl Magnus begins plotting with revolutionary group, including
Friedrich Meier, to assassinate Maximilian II.
Sir Anthony Chetwood born.
August: Maximilian II assassinated. Leopold's wife Sophia dies in
the attack. October: Friedrich Meier executed by direct order of Karl
Magnus. Annaliese Meier dumps Karl Magnus, moves to Vienna.
Annaliese Meier marries Rudolf Frankl, director of Vienna
Sophie von Stürmburg born. She is named for Princess Sophia,
who would have been her godmother had she lived.
Crown Prince Maximilian and Viktor Braun enter University. Ernst
goes to Paris to study art. Emma begins to haunt the cafés of
Maximilian and Viktor continue to discuss revolutionary politics,
but Maximilian refuses to see the validity of Viktor's ideas.
Maximilian, still affected by his grandfather's assassination,
becomes more and more conservative. Leopold III and Annaliese Frankl
become lovers. Leopold meets Viktor through Maximilian and begins to
consider liberal reforms.
Anna Meier enters University, meets Viktor, becomes his mistress.
She also meets Maximilian at this time.
Ursula Stegers [Greta] born.
Anna Meier leaves Viktor, becomes Maximilian's mistress. It is
actually a political move, intended to keep tabs on and encourage
Maximilian's growing reactionary tendencies. Emma publishes her first
volume of poetry under her new name. It is a critical success,
outraging the intelligentsia and amusing Leopold.
Sophie von Stürmburg meets Anthony Chetwood at the British
Embassy Ball. They fall in love and it is understood that they are to
Frederick and Katherine Stürmburg die in Paris. Karl Magnus
is in Paris, takes charge of the von Stürmburg's affairs. He
rapes Sophie. She becomes his secret mistress and returns with him to
Hofvonstein. She continues to correspond with Anthony. Leopold III
announces a schedule of liberal reforms, beginning a rift between him
Count Karl Magnus establishes contact with radical Communist
group, Viktor Braun and Anna Meier. Maximilian and Sophie are
engaged. She writes to Anthony, breaking off their relationship. Emma
becomes a regular at palace soirées.
1899: Murder at Midnight
Anna Meier discovers evidence in her aunt Annaliese's belongings
that Karl Magnus was implicated Maximilian II's assassination and was
directly responsible for her father's death.
New Year's Eve, Vienna: Anna Meier shoots Leopold III while
Viktor Braun wrestles Crown Prince Maximilian to the ground, planting
a gun in his hand. Karl Magnus shoots Maximilian, implicating Viktor.
Anna Meier strangles Leopold's manservant Franz, who had been paid to
lie about whom he had seen fire the shot at Leopold. Finally, Anna
Meier convinces Viktor, under arrest, to drink poisoned wine in an
apparent suicide pact; however, she has not poisoned her own
Karl Magnus von Ludwighof assumes power in Hofvonstein as Prime
Minister. He marries Sophie von Stürmburg while continuing an
affair with Anna Meier. Annaliese Frankl returns to Vienna, avoiding
Hofvonstein. Emma emigrates to Paris. Politically, there are no
immediate heirs to the throne. Karl Magnus holds to Leopold's
promised reforms, but manipulates the elections so that he, as Prime
Minister, is virtual dictator. He holds power for the next 23
Edward von Ludwighof is born. It is the 300th anniversary of the
founding of Hofvonstein as a kingdom, but Karl Magnus is unable to
grab the throne that eluded his namesake ancestor. After it becomes
obvious that the Communists will be shut out of power, and that Karl
Magnus means to have her arrested, Anna Meier flees to Paris, seeks
out Ernst Braun.
Anna returns to Hofvonstein for a brief visit; she and Karl Magnus
have a brief fling.
Paul Meier born, son of Anna Meier and Ernst Braun.
Sir Anthony Chetwood, Bart., is appointed Ambassador to France on
the death of his father.
Annaliese Frankl retires from the Vienna Opera.
At Sophie von Stürmburg's 33rd birthday ball, her cousin the
Archduke Carl Philip is in line for the throne of Hofvonstein,
claiming descent through the younger brother of Maximilian II. The
Pan-European Conference in Vienna is about to decide the issue.
Sophie grows increasingly unstable. She is superstitious that,
since Queen Sophia died at 33, so will she. Karl Magnus keeps tabs on
her through her maid Greta, who is actually a German spy.
Anna Meier and Annaliese Frankl have returned to seek revenge
against Karl Magnus, bringing with them Ernst Braun, Viktor's twin
Also crashing the party is Sir Anthony Chetwood, British
ambassador to France and delegate to the Conference. He has come to
rekindle the true love that existed between him Sophie back in
Carl Philip, enraged by a telegram from his agent that says the
Emperor is dumping him in favor of Karl Magnus because of his shady
investment schemes, attacks Karl Magnus, who shoots him. However, the
telegram is a fake, engineered by Karl Magnus and Greta.
Greta stabs Sir Anthony with Carl Philip's sword-cane after he
recognizes her as Ursula Stegers.
Ernst confronts Karl Magnus and attempts to shoot him, but after
KM shows him a letter from Anna confessing to Viktor's death, he
loses his nerve and the plot falls apart.
Finally, Karl Magnus strangles Sophie after she, over the edge,
tells him that she is leaving him. Anna witnesses Sophie's final
moments. A telegram arrives, announcing that the Conference has
elevated Karl Magnus to the throne of Hofvonstein.