Something's Rotten in Dalen

Dalen Capital, The Royal Palace, Night, 2 DSTR-

"Good evening, Kalena," a tall man said in a gravelly voice as he entered the opulent parlour. The man was white-haired with tanned skin, wearing red baroque armour. His stature was impressive, and his bearing erect and stately, and befitting his supreme rank as head of Thalia's elite Royal Guard.

“Good evening to you as well, Archer,” Kalena replied soberly, standing from the plush velvet couch that she'd been seated on with Hemlock waiting. “Although given what brings me here to the palace this evening, good is not exactly what I would choose to call it. Is Her Majesty available at the moment? It's necessary that I speak with her at the soonest opportunity. She needs to be made aware of certain disturbing events that have transpired over the past couple of days. Matters that severely affect the well being of the kingdom, and that endanger her rule.”

Kalena did not think she was overstating things. The Queen maintained her throne through the perception of undisputed strength. If Thalia was being undermined and her powerbase compromised—if members of the nobility and the criminal element were free to brazenly flout her authority and the laws of the land —her days on the throne were decidedly numbered.

Kalena continued, “I also wish to express my gratitude to Her Majesty for loaning me the use of her Royal Hounds, and request the urgent services of the Royal Healer to administer to the injuries of His Excellency Baron Kline Lowson. The Baron is staying as a guest at my home and was badly wounded not an hour ago in a battle with the Queen's enemies.”

She noticed Crain looking at Hemlock with a lack of recognition. Sweeping her arms out, she gestured towards the mysterious self-admitted necromancer. “This woman is a key witness – and a victim – to the criminal conspiracy I speak of. She also claims to have on occasion worked on behalf of the Queen, something perhaps only Her Majesty can confirm. I don't know how much Count Soldor has been keeping you apprised, but he's uncovered multiple nobles engaged in seditious acts, and-as Chiren puts it-that are colluding with highly unsavoury characters. Everyone from the forest bandits to a band of Drow elves calling themselves the Emerald Scarves, who claim the entire Lower Quarter as their own personal domain, and thumb their nose at any attempt by the Queen to exert authority over them. Only within the past few hours they broke into my estate, grievously injured Baron Lowson, members of the City Watch and one of the Queen's own houndsmen. They're guilty of murder, kidnapping, thievery, the attempted sexual assault of the Lady Telsana, as well as-of all things-highly forbidden acts of necromancy.”

Kalena released a long breath, shaking her head in righteous anger. “It goes without saying these criminal reprobates need to be dealt with immediately and in the harshest, most severe manner, along with their secret benefactors. I do not know who all their benefactors are, Chiren didn't have a chance to mention any specific names to me, but I do have evidence that your former subordinate Tyreth Cartagan is in league with the bandits of the Longford forest, who he hired to kill Baron Lowson. I suggested to Chiren that Tyreth be arrested at once, which may be already under way. I do not know. Is the Count here with the Queen now? What about Estalla?”

The Black Witch was one of the few individuals in Dalen who Kalena found somewhat intimidating, but she'd welcome the woman's icy cold presence now when there was such a great many that needed killing, and so many who felt themselves safe and untouchable from the Queen's justice.

<Tag Crain, Hemlock, and optionally Thalia and Estalla>

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