As it turns out, the elven ambassador, who happens to also be the daughter of the queen of the elves, has been in the midst of negotiations with the Tibaltan government to treat for military aid against the void threat. However, Prince Richard, who was brokering the deal for them, has recently been dethroned as crown prince and all but disowned by the royal family. The princess wants to know the meaning of this turn of events and the reasons behind it, and so she recruits the party via Argonath and Martin’s visit to infiltrate the palace and speak to Prince Richard about the matter. It is, however, crucial that the elven embassy’s involvement in the matter remain a secret for now. For Martin’s part, he, under the guise of his newly created alias of Septimus Maximus the Third, a minor noble from the south, negotiates for an ironwood ship. This is primarily to keep up his ruse as a noble emissary but also will be a huge asset to the party once it is completed, allowing them to travel more quickly and with less fear of molestation. Argonath also must maintain his ruse as body servant to Septimus because he is a vital piece in the negotiations with the elven embassy, but his elvishness would attract too much of the wrong sort of attention were it to be openly displayed.
Back at the Prancing Pony, the party begins planning their strategy for contacting the prince and gathering the information they need to help the embassy and ultimately the struggle against the void. It is decided that Martin and Argonath will maintain their aliases and use them to enter the palace to petition the king for more aid against the pirate threat to the south. Once inside, they can move openly about the palace with relative ease and would thus be able to speak with Prince Richard directly. Meanwhile, Kiara negotiates with the thieves guild to gain her and Jenner secret access to the palace where they can, hopefully, remain undetected and gather what information Martin and Argonath cannot. It is determined that Vash’s demonic features would be too difficult to hide, and so he will stay behind to avoid attracting more of the attention the party seeks to avoid.
Putting their plan into action, Argonath and Martin successfully play their roles and gain open access to the palace. Before they can freely wander about, they must have an audience with the king, for it is under this pretense that they are there at all. The king is polite, but notably frustrated at the ongoing petitions for aid from the south. He denies them such aid, claiming that he has already sent what he believes to be more than enough money to get the job done, and all but accuses Septimus of personally lining his pockets with what was sent. He clearly does not take the pirate threat seriously.
Kiara and Jenner also gain access to the palace, and manage to remain mostly undetected for the entirety of their stay. They manage to obtain documents from the king’s personal study confirming that he has been involved with preparations for a dark summoning ritual which he hopes will grant him more power by binding a great demon to himself. The odds of his success at this, however, are unfortunately very small, and the far greater danger is in that the demon will enter this plane unbound and be free to wreak much destruction until and unless he can be banished. They also overhear a rather peculiar discussion between the new crown prince, Garith, and a mysterious man by the name of Benneth, about some sort of plan referring to a “he” which is in the way. They are not able to stay and hear much of it, however, because they are soon detected and must make their escape via repelling off of a balcony. Thankfully, they are not identified as anything other than intruders; their faces and other personal identifiers remain secret and so they can still maintain relative freedom to move about the city in the open.
Martin and Argonath also are successful in contacting Prince Richard. The prince is well aware that he is being watched, however, and requests that they attend an upcoming ball where they might be able to slip away for a few moments and speak with him more freely.