Miles sat in his chambers, two drained bottles of ale next to his quill and parchment. He had not left the castle in a week, still poring over lengthy but ultimately useless reports time and time again. The resources of both the Royal Court and their allies in Ter Mur had been unable to identify the dissenters that had cost Britannia a swift victory over the relentless armies of the Void. Thus far it had only been discerned that they, thankfully, had acted outside of the influence of the Court and this meant the Queen was, relatively, safe. Miles had conducted a short investigation on his own, but seeing as how these traitors were likely outsiders and thus outside of the jurisdiction of the Queen's realm, this meant that he carried zero authority when among the independent kingdoms, even with Queen Dawn's allies. Unfurling an unread parchment, pulled from a stack of another dozen, he had received only a few hours ago and rubbing his eyes in a losing struggle to stay awake, Miles realized that it was only of late that the burdens of his position threatened to overwhelm him. Void manifestations had begun to resurface and several caravans had been attacked, though none were lost. The war between the mysterious Bane Chosen and the Ophidians had begun to escalate and some within the Court believe it is connected to the recent attack on Britain. Juka scouting parties were spotted near Despise and as well in the woods surrounding the cities in Trammel and even harassing travelers in the nearly lawless Felucca. Contacts among the usually silent Meer report Juka raids upon the ruin of Lakeshire (occupied by the Meer) and the disappearance of two prominent Meer elders. Evidently clear now, this new Juka Warlord will press in from all sides, thinking the kingdom weakened by its internal ordeal. But despite all of this, there still remained the larger task at hand. The resurrection of the Banishing ritual. For the most part, passages or incantations from the Red Scripture and otherwise could simply be reused. However the ingredients necessary to perform the main body of the ritual were another matter entirely. Miles knew what he needed, the question was finding it. Many of the ingredients used the first time did not need to be collected and were already in the possession of the Royal Mages from some years before that. Miles knew more or less where to acquire several of the ingredients, but the questionable loyalties of a number of the Guard and other citizens gnawed at him. Many could have already been approached by the Juka and indeed, if they were not acting of their own accord, may have already acted in the interest of the Warlord when they turned on and murdered the most powerful of the Royal Mages in Despise. The Queen needed allies more than ever now. But how to know who to trust? The Britannian Kingdom had suffered from internal dissent several times before, but never at such a crucial point, and much less against two formidable and all consuming enemies. How to weed out the wolves from the sheep? Perhaps a test? Miles smiled. Stumbling as he half drunkedly rose from his chair, Miles opened the door to his chambers, pointing at and rushing over a scroll-laden scribe that was passing nearby. "Get me Royal Adjutant Algar!"