Well, well…how did you find your way in here? We haven’t even finished unloading the luggage carts – the smell of horse sweat is still salty on the air. Since you’re here, you may as well pitch in and carry something. We’ve a palace to set to rights, a corner of the luscious dark to occupy.
What’s that? You say it doesn’t look like much of a palace? Well, you certainly speak your mind, don’t you? You’re right, of course, the place is a bit ramshackle, a bit…forgotten. It used to be a hunting lodge in the sunny days of the king. It was never meant for more than rustic grandeur, drunken carousal in sylvan splendor. But the king is only a head on a pike now, and the true castle has fallen into the moat. All we have left are the shadowy woods, my shabby court and I. And this, the lodge that would be a palace.
What? You’re full of questions. One might think you impertinent, but this is a new reign, and I encourage open discourse. Yes, I will rule here and be grateful for the timbered roof over my head, too. Cobwebs will not deter me! Give me a little time, and you will see wonders and terrors in equal measure, enough to satisfy even your curious heart. I can hear it beating beneath your cloak, quick and furtive as a rabbit in the brush. Its eager, frightened flutter will set the tempo of our first ball, very soon.
Don’t run away! Help us carry in the last of the finery, then find a place by the fire. You say you’ll stay until the dawn? I’m afraid the heavens can no longer accommodate you, for this is the Palace of Night. The sun has gone down, sweetling, and my forest is full of the voices of wolves.