The return journey from the capital of Geldenreich found the band of adventurers that were now known far and wide as the Magnificent Seven fast asleep aboard the little spelljammer “The Troublemaker.” Although the voyage through the skies of Partum was not particularly long the seven stalwart heroes were exhausted from the last three days of being the focus of attention in the Imperial Court. There is only so many times a person can smile and say “thank you” when somebody comes up to you and gushes about how you have finally laid to rest the greatest and most difficult foe that Geldenreich ever faced. How many times were the Magnificent Seven told that the Viceroy predated Geldenreich itself, and that when they took his lands as part of the growing empire, they were unable to catch him? Dozens of times if not more this was repeated and embellished so that finally the heroes had begged Archduchess Lersha von Slothjem-Kovak to just please take them back to Maelonbourg. They really were at a loss as to how to accept such honors.
Crammed in among the sleeping conquerors were chests filled with coins, several cabinets of fine armor and weapons, and crate upon crate of gifts from the emperor and the members of the Council of Schönbrunn. Lersha wasn’t sure she had ever seen such lavish and generous presents given merely for taking down one undead wizard. Clearly the Viceroy had been a rather large blot on the history of Geldenreich that it had wanted wiped out once and for all.
Missing from the treasure trove were the many honors bestowed upon the Magnificent Seven. All of them had been declared “Defenders of Karinthia”, one of the empire’s provinces which long ago had been the realm ruled by the Viceroy. This seemed to Lersha to be a sort of honorary knighthood, and while she hadn’t been privy to everything that had been said and promised to the heroes currently asleep on her spelljammer, she did know that there were a few honors that the seven had graciously declined. One of these was sealed in a black velvet parcel that Lersha had accepted on behalf of the Archduchy with the promise to grant it to the person who had earned it.
The Troublemaker set down in the river right next to the city of Resurrection and its weary passengers disembarked and headed to their lodgings. Dock workers jostled for position to greet them and clamored to be the ones that carried some of their baggage. The spelljammer was unloaded in record time and Lersha made sure the crew had things well in hand before she headed to the capitol that sat overlooking the city on a small hill. She gave careful thought to what she was going to say, and as she walked, she took out her communication orb and began sending messages to everyone she could think of. All that responded agreed to meet at the Archduke’s throne room that evening.
The turnout was good, although not as good as Lersha had hoped. She had dressed for the occasion, and her adopted orcish son Grendel was dressed to match. The many dragons of the realm were present, although most of them had polymorphed into humanoid form in order to more fully take part. There was a small but spirited crowd outside the capitol keep who sang merrily in the cool summer evening and poured drinks from the ale provided by every tavern in Resurrection. At last, the guest of honor arrived, although he had no idea that he was being honored this night.
Trotting into the throne room as was his custom, Jandle the kobold looked about with confusion at all of the well-wishers. The Magnificent Seven were here as well, many of them attired in the new clothes that had been given to them by the many admirers they now had in Geldenreich. Lersha stood from her own throne and raised a goblet in the air, and the crowd fell silent.
“Darlings, we are gathered this evening to pay tribute to a most remarkable man. I have known of him and his reputation far longer than most of you, but I can say this about him, he is a man of action. Dedicated to his very core, deep in his soul and to the furthest reaches his heart can allow, a man who will stand by his Lord and do what must be done regardless of the cost. We all owe him so much and yet he has asked for so little. When a decision had to be made for the betterment not only of Maelonbourg but indeed the entire world, he didn’t waste a moment in deciding to take action. For that we all owe him thanks! Because of his quick and decisive response, the Viceroy has been destroyed!” Lersha motioned to Jandle with her free hand while she held aloft the goblet. “Let us now drink to the health and happiness of our most noble and commendable friend, Baron Jandle von Normand, Prime Minister of Maelonbourg and the Wenigzustand, and as now recognized by Emperor Francis the Second of Geldenreich, the Savior of Karinthia!”
To that the assembled crowd shouted, “To Jandle!” and drank with gusto. Jandle merely stood awkwardly holding his tail in his hand and smiling as he tried to determine what was happening.
Lersha handed her goblet to Grendel, who snuck a long sip, and she walked down the low steps to where Jandle was. Unfolding the black velvet parcel, she gingerly removed a gold and ivory medal with a brilliant white and gold ribbon. Kneeling before Jandle so that she was more closely his height, the Archduchess placed the ribbon and medal around the kobold’s neck and made sure it sat where it could catch the most attention. “Greatest of all kobolds, and a lord among men.” she whispered to him. “I’ve spoken with mother. You are forgiven for all that you did in the service of your previous lord. Of course, in my eyes, it had never happened at all.”
Lersha stood up and began to clap. The rest of the crowd joined in. Out in the courtyard Grungaar the green dragon reared up and roared. Jandle merely looked around and although he could be scarcely heard over the roar of the people there, he said thank you. The Magnificent Seven looked on admiringly. Each of them was thinking the same thing. “So that’s how you do it.”