The Sad Queens

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  • Within the Royal Palace of the Purple Dragon, in Suzail, there exists a wing of the palace that is haunted by zombie rotters, roaming skeletons, ghostly haunts and worse. (Note to the reader: The matter of freshly decapitated corpses discovered in a macabre pile within the Haunted Wing, their heads nowhere to be found, is a topic for another day.)

    The existence of the Haunted Wing is no mystery to Suzailans, nor the fact that this part of the palace was once home to many Wizards of War, ladies in waiting, palace servants and courtiers.

    To this day the bold and the foolish may encounter the ghosts of court ladies wandering the darkened halls and black passageways of the Haunted Wing. (Darkness being a necessity there, for no torches or lamps remain and all the windows have been covered over in drapes and black cloth, the better to keep the massed undead placated and, to a degree, peaceful.) Should one of these "sad queens" approach you, your best defense is not sword or spell, but music. Specifically, the kind of intricate courtly music performed on harps a handful of centuries ago. A ghastly smile, a nod of appreciation and their soundless withdrawal is the reward given to all who placate a sad queen this way.

    But remain careful. A pair of ghostly minstrels roam the Haunted Wing. Music attracts them. And like bees drawn to flowers they alight upon the living to find sustenance. Some say a tune can repel them if you play badly enough. Others claim just the right tune will turn one or both of the minstrels into a "friendly" guide.

    The swift spread of these and other Haunted Wing rumors in Suzail has resulted in the birth of a phrase meant to alert the listener that the doom of many will be required to complete a task. That phrase being, "How many bards will it take?"