This week we played For the Queen by Alex Roberts about the retinue accompanying their Queen on a mission to secure peace with a distant kingdom. Our cast includes Loki, the Queen’s erstwhile but gorgeous, part-time husband; Jefferson, a Queen’s Fashion Brigadier and mobile tailor and launderer; Meena, the Queen’s very conflicted councilor and inveterate prankster; and Kelty, the Queen’s Champion and hideously ugly other husband.
As we travel to his homeland, Yalantia, Kelty tells the retinue about Quantus, the sorcerer who rules there with an iron fist, subjugating its people, and his ambitions to rule over all. Kelty fights for the Queen so she can bring peace to the world as she has promised to. We travel through the forests on Meena’s family’s ancestral lands, now ruled by her sibling who has no loyalty for the Queen. When a band of cutthroats ambush the Queen, she willingly hands herself over to them because Loki had asked her go along when he had forewarned her of the attack.
Kelty rides off and outflanks the sellswords deeper in the forests and returns triumphantly with the Queen. This leads to further pranks played by Meena on both Kelty and Loki, as she remains insanely jealous of those the Queen claims to love more than her. Upon her return, the Queen orders Jefferson to make her a new headdress to mark the occasion. Jefferson recalls how when they first joined the fashion brigade, the Queen had complimented the comfort of the shoes they had made her.
The Queen’s imperiousness, arrogance, and cruelty grow the closer we travel to Yalantia. She sends word to Meena’s family to “Remember Zandriya” and keep the path clear for her procession after the ambush. Meena recalls with pain when the Queen had ordered the execution of Zandriya, her lover and friend. She tries to rationalize the Queen’s decision and behavior, but it doesn’t stop her from fingering the radioactive gemstones she carries in her pouch, radiation that she knows the Queen would die from if exposed to. The Queen even says how glad she is to have killed Zandriya when she had the chance. Unbeknownst to all, the Queen is testing them and their loyalty, so she can choose the one who will be her true consort, but has she gone too far?
The Queen is attacked before we’ve reached Yalantia by Meena, an attack in keeping with her habit for trickery: she laces the Queen’s meal with the pulverized radioactive gem. Only Kelty rises to help the Queen once he recognizes her distress, but it is too late and the Queen succumbs. None are as shocked by this as by what happens next, however, for Loki reveals himself to be none other than the sorcerer Quantus. He opens a portal, steps through, and returns with a duplicate of the Queen, who he sets at the head of the table as if nothing has happened. Was our Queen just another of Quantus’s clones all along? He’s not telling.