Bang, Bang, Bang! Queen Astra awakes to the sound of banging. It must be the early hours of the morning. She puts on her shawl and goes to see what all the banging is about. There’s one of her boat builders at the palace door.
“Your Majesty. I come bearing Bad news. King and Queen Parucha have been shipwrecked. The Shalapoon has sunk!” – “What do you mean? Why was the King and Queen on the Shalapoon?” – “Your Majesty not only them but your grandchildren too.” What? Have they survived? How do you know all this?” cried the Queen.
“Your Majesty we were just returning from a maiden voyage when we found two men in a small boat. It was them who gave us the news. We returned as fast as we could to tell you. It has taken us 3 days at full speed.” The Queen looked up she was in shock. “Where are these two men.?” She said sternly. “How did they come to survive and where is The King, my daughter and grandchildren? ” – “Bring them to me at once. I want to Question them.”
Two shivering wet and badly bruised men were brought before her. “Get these men a blanket! and a warm drink.” She commanded her servants. At once warm blankets and a drink of warm milk were brought for them. “Who are you and how do you come to know this news of my Daughter, Grandchildren and the King.” Through chattering teeth, one of them spoke up. ” We are the King’s map plotters, your Majesty, we were off the boat measuring the depth of the water and surrounding sandbanks. When a whale hit the shalapoon. it took water into the lower cabins and almost instantly sunk.”
The Queen listened intently. ” So where are the survivors?” – “There wasn’t any your Majesty.” “Hmmm, I don’t believe you!” said the Queen. “Did you even look for survivors? A big ship like the Shalapoon doesn’t sink with NO survivors.”
“Your Majesty, we tried to look for them. The water was too cold, then a pirate ship appeared from nowhere and started to beat us. They captured us and we managed to escape with only a small rowing boat. We were adrift for days when your ship picked us up.”
The Queen eyes filled with tears. She was so distraught. Thinking for a while, she looked at the two men. “So you don’t actually know if they’re dead or not?” – ” No your Majesty, but the water was freezing and as we said, we did try to look for survivors for many hours before the pirate ship arrived.” She looked at them. Her gut was telling her something wasn’t true about what they were saying.
After they had finished their drinks the Queen invited them to stay for a while in the palace. She said she wanted to thank them for their bravery. She requested the servants to prepare rooms for them in the guest wing. At once the plotters were taken to their rooms. The Queen then summoned her Generals.
Two guards were placed outside each of their rooms and their doors were locked. Guards were sent to waken her nephew Rerhud The Knight. He was to report to her with an army ready to send to Gistlidia.
The Queen was distraught but before she could grieve she needed to know without a shadow of a doubt that there were no survivors. She didn’t believe that the King, her daughter and grandchildren were dead. She knew the Shalapoon and wouldn’t accept that all was lost.
The Queen met with her Generals and Rerhud. Plans were drawn and put into place before the break of dawn. Boats were to search the seas for survivors and to find out the truth of what happened. Rerhud was to ride to Gistlida with Queen Astra’s army to take over as ruler until she sent word for him to step down.