Among the many soaring black towers that reached into the sky high above Jordrakenschloss was one that contained the private office of the Herzgraf. The husband of the Slothjemian Empress, Queen Reichsha, the Herzgraf had a number of jobs to do. He was a paladin by profession and training and had put his martial skills to good use as the overall commander of Slothjemia’s military. One thing he was not adept at was orchestrating sabotage and espionage. For these nuanced acts of secrecy and sanctioned villainy the Herzgraf instead relied on the directions given by his wife to her agents in government offices that the Herzgraf found unsavory at best. The Queen was not bound by the same rules of honor that the Herzgraf was, and she could demand far more insidious activities than her husband ever could allow himself to contemplate.
This wasn’t to suggest that there weren’t times when the Herzgraf hadn’t had a clever idea or two. He was an ardent believer in thorough reconnaissance in order to minimize any risks to his professional soldiers and the lands he was sworn to protect. An opportunity had recently arisen that the Herzgraf had been eager to exploit, but unfortunately it required somebody else doing the Herzgraf a favor. This meant that the Herzgraf would have had to make a request.
The person to whom the request was made happened to be one of his sons-in-law. Fortune had smiled upon the royal family of Slothjemia and the youngest daughter, Lersha, had married an ambitious Archduke that ruled an expanding and prosperous land in the center of Partum. The Queen and Herzgraf had approved of this match with the understanding that his beliefs were closely aligned with theirs. On several occasions the Archduke had been of great service to Slothjemia and now there was a possibility that he could help them again.
The Herzgraf had made the request and began to get things in order to have his part if the deal in place and ready to go when the Archduke said yes. Careful plotting had gone into this idea and the Herzgraf had been pleased with how well it had gone so far. All he needed was for the Archduke to give him the go-ahead. But the Archduke had plans of his own and while his reasoning was sound and the Herzgraf couldn’t have found fault with the Archduke’s argument, the chance to have that conversation never occurred. Instead, it was his daughter Lersha that reached out via a magical communication orb to inform her father that her husband had gone a different direction. The request would not be honored.
Now the Herzgraf sat in his spartanly appointed office and tapped his fingers on his desk impatiently. He needed another idea. The Fourth Imperium was doing a fine job of running circles around its enemies and the Herzgraf was determined to bring their rapid expansion to a halt. It now looked as though Slothjemia would have to go it alone.