After retrieving a coffer full of gold, platinum and a handful of small diamonds from the cyclopes’ cave, the party lands safely in Queesnport, where their ship the Lucky Tern is delivered to the new owner, Lady Alison in the line of Bethel. Sova gives Captain Bosmun a glowing recommendation. She also asks the captian and his ensign to keep their ears open for the names of any influential Estarians who might be less than happy with the country’s “peculiar institution”: slavery.
Even on the docks they see Dunsarro men with whipping scars on their backs. Jules — the Queensworn who helped them near Rookhaven — arrives with a carriage to escort them to the royal palace for an audience with Queen Beatrice.
Anselmo has no love for this slave-holding monarchy or its queen, so he stays behind and visits the Western Trades , a high end, dockside tavern full of ship captains and other officers. They swap many fantastic tales, including Anselmo’s most recent battle with the cyclopes. The racial divide is evident though, almost all the people of any rank are Arukites, served by an Olivetti and Dunsarro staff who are never openly spoken to or even acknowledged. They may as well be invisible.
Meanwhile at the palace Sova and Kendal receive gifts from the queen: lightweight formal gowns and exquisite lace headpieces which incorporate many fine crystals and semi-precious stones.
While they get dressed Dorn, who is posing as the ladies’ henchman, is free to speak to the servants. Down the hall he watches as the queen’s 3-legged dog Noodles leaves a pile of shite in the hallway. A few minutes later a hobbit slave appears to clean it up. His name is Tam, and he converses under his breath with Dorn and is clearly very nervous. Dorn notices the tops of Tam’s feet are scarred from some long forgotten punishment. Tam confesses he has served the queen’s family for 25 years and it has been 20 years since his wife was sold to another family. He doesn’t even know if she’s still alive. Dorn tells Tam he has freed some hobbits from the slavers and tries to give him hope, but they must hastily break off their conversation when another servant enters the hallway.
Waiting for their audience, Sova realizes Kendal is mooning over Jules, who is just making polite conversation. He explains the ins and outs of the royal family. When his queen stepped down three years ago, he and a few veterans stayed behind to train the new Queensworn. Soon he will retire to guard the prior queen in the dowager mansion. Sova gently suggests that if he becomes free to choose, she could always use a warrior of his skill up north.
The audience is formal and polite. Queen Beatrice is barely 20 years old but has a firm will and little patience for anyone who treats her like a child. She makes a vague offer of help and support for Felleg’Avin should they come under attack by the orc army, which now seems inevitable.
Later at dinner, they are joined by an elven emissary from Anneth Tarryn. Othirion Glad-wind is a formidable warrior and has come to escort Sova and Kendal to the elven citidel. When he learns Dorn is there, dining in the corner with the henchmen Othirion escuses himself from the queen’s table to greet Dorn and pledge his support to Dorn’s quest. The court is rather scandalized to see him treat a servant as an equal but Estaria needs to be on good terms with the elves and Queen Beatrice has not had much chance to make an impression with them, so they all remain polite.