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After traveling several uneventful leagues, you say to Deandra, "Tell me about King Shirra."

Deandra thinks for a moment before answering. "Well, he's a good king; you know, doesn't tax the people more than they can afford, keeps the villages as safe as he can, that sort of thing. He's been well jumpy lately. He and my father used to be really good friends -- they would visit each other pretty often. Now he hardly leaves his castle, and he's increased his personal and castle guards."

"What about his family," you ask. "Is his wife still alive? Any children?"

"The Queen died about ten years ago, and King Shirra never remarried. He has three children. Prince Critus is the eldest and the heir. He's very serious and has a talent for organization. He keeps to himself most of the time. You don't really hear people about him as much as you might expect for the heir. I guess there isn't that much for servants and such to gossip about.

"Princess Reina is the next oldest. She was betrothed to my oldest brother Barius until the tapestry was stolen. She's pretty headstrong but very loyal and concerned with the well being of her country. She's very devout to Athena, and I think she's even more upset about the missing tapestry than her father is.

"Prince Mettick is the youngest. He's very much into the military thing. As a matter of fact, he's an accomplished swordsman and a pretty brilliant tactician. Critus will probably make him head of the army once he becomes King."

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