Jarl Vegard has died. The word is sent out from Dag Skien, Vegard’s brother. The family is all returning to the Ruvar system. When they arrive at the L5 station, they meet up, and in comparing notes, determine that Dag is making a play to take over as the Jarl. Astrid and Kari return to the surface with a Guard Escort, while Kath and Gunnar stay in orbit to set up some alternatives, by initiating contact with neighboring Jarls in the Wercheg and Odasan systems.
Once in the main compound outside Ruvar City, Kari and Astrid see that everything has changed. The household staff is almost all different, and there are MANY Household Guard troopers present. None of them, however, are familiar.
Astrid demanded an audience with Uncle Dag, but was relegated to the Seneschal, Jorgen Fascim. He explained the funeral arrangements, and that mother is taken by grief, and in seclusion for her safety. He refuses to discuss succession or any other business, as he deems it “inappropriate” under the circumstances.
Meanwhile the boys have been detained by a detachment of the Household Guard, and are awaiting a shuttle to the surface. In a bid to escape, Gunnar sets off a smoke detector in the bathroom…is this the opportunity they are waiting for?