As the scene shifts from the city back to the tribal lands to the east, I’ve been measuring distances on my map, drawing exciting coloured arrows of who needs to go where, and muttering, “She’s a lousy general, what’s she thinking of?” Z. is not one of the world’s great strategists. She’s leaving herself open to having her supply lines cut. Someone had better notice and do something about it. Of course, she’s got even worse problems in the making, as she left very little authority behind her to keep order, and a revolution is brewing as well. Since D.’s brother is Z.’s main opponent, perhaps he’d better rethink his decision to summon some of the lesser rulers of the tribes to join him; if he left one in particular where she was to start with, she’d be well-placed to cause Z. a lot of trouble. D’s brother, however, may feel that she is better off where he can see her, just in case she forgets whose side she ought to be harrying.
At this point, it occurs me that said queen had better acquire a name, as she’s looking to become slightly more important to the plot … Better yet, Z. should simply make sure said nameless minor queen is suborned to her side before she sets out, which would explain D’s brother’s hitherto unexplained delay at the fords as he waits for a vassal (to use a somewhat anachronistic term) who isn’t going to show up … There, see? I knew what I was doing all along.
Meanwhile, I need to reread all the chapters in which D. is the central character, to get myself back into that part of the world, so that she can take the stage again, with her mysterious and slightly ominous new champion at her side. Rather awkward, in the Blackdog world, finding yourself proclaimed queen of a folk whose goddess is not yours and who really, really does not want you there.