The two men sat at a large semicircular desk, talking intensely and pointing at the documents scattered across the surface of the desk. Just by looking at them, one could tell that they were hardly ordinary men. One of the men was in his mid forties, though he looked somewhat older. He was military looking, with a vaguely cruel face and greying hair. The other man was younger, just about twenty years old, but he did look like the man sitting opposite him. He resembled him just a little, enough to say that they must have been related. Being young and rebellious, he had discarded the white wigs of the time and his dark brown hair was stark against his face. They seemed to be arguing over something. “Fritz, you must be prudent in these matters. Do not be idealistic, young fool. Marriage is simply a political tool, you can keep as many mistresses as you want afterwards…” the older man rambled on, obviously not thinking much of his younger companion. “I know, father” Fritz spat. “What do you take me to be? What political gains can…she” and he pointed to one of the documents, which like all the others had a small picture of a woman attached. “What gains can she provide to the Kings in Prussia?” he continued, raising his voice. “I don’t want to marry her. The prospect disgusts me.” He shuffled the documents about and picked up one of them. “I want to marry her.” The father took a look at the document his son was holding. “You can’t!” he exclaimed. “She’s…” he hesitated, not knowing what to say. “She’s Catholic. You can’t marry a catholic.” “I can convert” said Fritz. “I was never a religious fanatic, was I? Vienna is worth a mass.” “Vienna?” wondered the father. Then realization dawned on him. “Vienna… Charles is in need of a male heir… the Pragmatic Sanction…” “Yes, father.” Fritz now smiled. “Surely, some prestige might be lost through conversion, but wouldn’t it be all worth it to have a Hohenzollern on the throne? Imagine it… the joined dominions of Habsburg-Hohenzollern will rule Europe.” The father smiled too, but to conceal it he attempted a fake sigh. “Alright then, Fritz, you win. I will contact Charles. I doubt this will work, son, but it if does…” Without continuing the sentence, he left the room, leaving Fritz alone. He took another look at the document, and smiling read the title aloud. “Archduchess Maria Theresa Habsburg of Austria. Not bad. Not bad at all.”--- From the creator of Just one stroke of a pen... Comes a new tale of love, scheming, diplomacy and war... That's right, guys, a new TL. I simply preferred a slightly more dramatic introduction for this one. Now, I am in the middle of the longest school term and have lots of work to do, but I will try and update weekly, at least. As you may see, the main PoD is that Frederick of Prussia marries Maria Theresa of Austria, but the origins lie in the death of Francis Stephan along with his brother of smallpox. I must thank ImperialVienna a whole lot, for always providing suggestions, corrections, and his patient proofreading, as well as constant support. Thanks. As always, comments and suggestions very much appreciated, as well as the odd bit of praise. Now, without further ado... --- Zwei Adler, Ein Kaiser Europe in the early eighteenth century was in a state of change. In the west the great Bourbon dynasty grew in power through colonial proceedings, in the east the once powerful Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was faltering and seemed a mere Russian satellite. In the heart of the continent, the mighty Habsburg empire was left without a male heir, while in the north Sweden’s power had collapsed and the emerging Brandenburg-Prussian power looked about for territory. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, knew that the lack of a male heir put his domains in a bad situation, and so he was eager to marry his daughter, Maria Theresa, to a suitable husband. His favourite for the post was Leopold Clement of Lorraine, a suitably controllable man from the borders of the Empire. But unfortunately, he caught the smallpox in 1723 and, along with his brother Francis Stephan, died horribly of the disease shortly. This of course left the Emperor in an even worse position, but some hope was presented when Frederick William of Prussia came with a suggestion. He informed Charles about his son Frederick’s ‘desire’ to marry Maria Theresa and his willingness to convert to Catholicism if necessary. This intrigued Charles and he agreed to let young Frederick come down to Vienna to meet him and Maria. Rebellious ‘Fritz’ put aside his usual non-conformism and looked his best when he arrived in Vienna in 1732. Charles obviously saw the great political advantages to such a marriage, as indeed Frederick William had back in Berlin. In fact, at first the King in Prussia was hesitant to allow his son to convert to Catholicism, but Fritz talked him into it, and though he would hate to admit it, this instilled some admiration and rare fatherly love for his son. In the few times that Fritz and Maria Theresa did meet, they appeared to get on very well indeed. Frederick later wrote of Maria Theresa: “She is astonishingly informal with her manner of speech, and though fair and pretty, she has a certain charisma about her and comes across as a caring person.” The negotiations went well, and after some deliberation and a hasty conversion to Catholicism for Frederick, Charles announced the engagement between the Prince of Prussia and the Archduchess of Austria. The two were wed in Austria soon after, and the news astounded most of Europe. In the meantime, ‘Fritz and Maria’, as they were called, took up residence in Breslau, a city in between Prussia and Austria where they lived a private life for but a few months till the next war would crop up. But evidently, a few months relatively alone were enough for the new couple, and rumours soon began to spread that Maria Theresa was pregnant. A note- The Treaty of Vienna of 1727 took place ITTL, but the Second Treaty dissolving the Ostend Company has not been signed and the seven years will be allowed to relapse in 1734 before a follow-up treaty is created.