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Spoilers: Skip the Basics summary and go straight to the story sections if you want to bypass spoilers. A story section says what more you know by the end of that story.
AKA: Squire von Dienst, Commander von Dienst, General von Dienst.
Looks: ~5'8", thinning blond hair, blue eyes, fastidious grandfatherly man with reading glasses.
Character: Military discipline fiend. Cultivates eccentricities - ogles pretty boys, puts wiggly eyes on his pencils. Is not casual - considers it sloppy.
Special skills: Military super-genius. Has backup plans for his backup plans, and keeps his paper in order. This guy overlooks nothing - and his soldiers live to tell about it.
Family: He is a grandfather, possibly a great-grandfather. Ruling Squire of the Bielenfeld plantation of Dienst. He has a wife. In peacetime as in the military, his sidekick Griesel helps run the plantation.
Other: He ogles and flirts with pretty boys, but it's probably just an act. Adelbert von Gratz considered him the top military mind in Shin Makoku, and wanted him to take the top General spot instead of Adelbert. But Friedrich von Bielenfeld ordered von Dienst to go home, make himself eccentric, and hold himself in reserve for the next round of the troll conflict, exactly because he was too good to waste on Stoeffel's stupid wars.
When Wolfram was looking for a commander to take over the Bielenfeld Regiment, and train Wolfram, von Dienst agreed, theoretically overcome by Wolfram's performance in the Bielenfeld Beautiful Boy Pageant. This was pure B.S., as per Friedrich's instructions.
FWIW, in Bielenfeld politics, von Dienst is a staunch autonomist, leaning toward separatist. He voted for every motion to withhold Bielenfeld taxes under Cecilie's reign, and several times backed Bielenfeld seceding from the union, most recently during Stoeffel's anti-human campaign. He doesn't consider this in conflict with his job as Yuuri's General. Bielenfeld is part of Shin Makoku, and it's his job to accomplish military objectives at the least possible cost of soldiers' lives. In uniform, he carries out orders, and doesn't chat about politics.
During BoW, and 20 years before
- Wolfram and Axel and Manfred search for a commander to take on the orphaned Bielenfeld Regiment, and train Wolfram as a commander.
- Bielenfeld's lost a lot of good commanders - the others suck. So their target is von Dienst.
- Gregor von Dienst ogles Wolfram outrageously, flirts, and is delighted at Wolfram and his men sweeping the Bielenfeld Beautiful Boy Pageant.
- Von Dienst and his sidekick Griesel train Wolfram and Axel - really well.
The Pirate Wedding
Two years after BoW and Axel
- Adelbert von Gratz mentions how impressed he was that Wolfram got trained by von Dienst - the best of the best, in Adelbert's opinion.
The Trouble with Trolls
half year after Date, sixth year after BoW
- Shin Makoku's current top general, Teodor von Trondheim, walks off the job because Troll Mother tells him he's leading her army now.
- Friedrich, Aldrich's father, has been holding von Dienst in reserve for just this occasion.
- In retrospect, this is why von Dienst trained Wolfram - Ted had just taken over as top General following Adelbert's treason, and von Dienst wished to serve under (study) Ted.
- Von Dienst has complete military contingency plans prepared for a renewal of war with the trolls. Yuuri places Shin Makoku's military in his hands.