The Reception Ball was closing. As was traditional (or will be, once they do it a few times), President Rapp stood up to make a closing speech:
"Thank you for your silence, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my great honour to announce the founding of the Order of the Republic of Neues Sudland. This great chivalric order will have, as its members, only those heads of state who have proven themselves to be friends and allies of our great republic. Those who have contributed to the growth of this new nation. As you can see, the Grand Star of the Order is now on display at the other end of the hall. Those who wish to view it should pass between the red cords, in an orderly fashion. And please, if your are wondering, the guards do have their muskets loaded and have orders to use them, should anyone think of picking up the Grand Star for closer examination.
Appropriately, in honour of this momentous occasion, the first of member of the Order, and the first recipient of the Grand Star, will be King Phillip of the Holy Mormoan Kingdom of New Wales. It is hoped that this award does bring our two countries closer in friendship.
The Articles of Presentation read:
His Royal Highness, King Philip of the Holy Mormoan Kingdom of New Wales.
It is the wish of the people and government of the Republic of Neues Sudland that you be made a Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of Neues Sudland for your friendship and assistance to the people of the Republic. The Grand Star of the Order is awarded you, so that you may have tangible evidence of the high regard in which the people and government of the Republic hold yourself and your nation.
It is also our great honour to award you a small residence, situated on 500 acres of parkland near the Port of Darwin, that will be available for your use, should you ever wish to visit the Republc.
President of the Republic"
He paused to draw breath.
"The other recipients of this honour, and founding members of the Order, are-
Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II of the Grand Duchy of Stollen
Grand Duke Karl of the Grand Duchy of Hetzenburg
Reich Duke Wilhelm of the Duchy of Beerstein,
Louys, Comte de Montecristo,
Freiherr David von Linienblatt of the Freistadt of Tippelbruder,
Mr William Pitt, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. "
All these worthies will receive an official residence in the Park of the Grand Order, which will be situated to the east of Port Darwin. It is also our pleasure to offer those nations in Europe who are currently at war the use of any single regiment of our army for the nominal sum of one Maria Theresa Thaler. They will also, of course, have to pay the wages and the provisioning of the troops."
Antonio sat rubbing his temples. "IDIOT, IDIOT, IDIOT!" he thought. "He's forgotten their honorifics, hasn't mentioned why they got the awards and mixed up their order of seniority. Doesn't he read briefing notes?"
The crowd filed past the watching guards, making startled comments about the size and apparent expense of the decoration. Lady Amanda, Ambassador to the Republic, beamed as she was presented with the Article of Presentation and the Grand Star.
"Bloody hell, it's heavy enough to put someone's back out! Who designed this?" she thought to herself.
In a far corner, a clinking bag found its way into the pocket of The Minister for Arts. This jewellery design lark may prove to be profitable.