POV: Tomas Mirwell
Ereal delivers a message from the king to Lord Mirwell; it is sealed with his clan seal, not the royal one. He reads it, then hands it to Beryl. It was an invitation to King Zachary's annual spring hint and accompanying ball. Lord Mirwell asks what other messages she is carrying. She tells him that she is carrying invitations to other Lord Governors. Mirwell sends her off for provisions while he writes a reply. Beryl opines that Ereal is not looking for a spy, and that there is no spy. Mirwell thanks of the interrogations. Beryl is revealed to be a fearsome and creative torturer.
A guardsman is summoned. Mirwell sends him to tail Ereal. Beryl offers to watch the rider, but Mirwell tasks her to write the letter for him. Mirwell thinks unfavourably of a scholarly ancestor. Mirwell makes plans to attend the Annual hunt and Ball in Sacor City. Mirwell fondles her hand when he takes the letter from her. Beryl is creeped out, but businesslike.
Mirwell moves pieces on his intrigue board. He places a red soldier and a red governor in the green court.