Seriously. Hippy Beef Stew and fresh baked bread. If others wanted to bring drinks, snacks, or desserts to supplement, that would be awesome and cut down on prep time.
Since the stew is already in the crock pot, cooking as of 9AM, there will be no dinner delay. I'd like to start promptly at 6pm.
The Nightstone Palace. The seat of power for the Kings of Kardia and one of the oldest structures in the kingdom. It was built by the great grandfather of Lyros Kardiff of dark basalt, quarried from the Titan's Wall, atop the even older ruins of a ancient shadestone fortress. The first King of Kardia strengthened the fortress and added annexes for the halls of governance and needs of state. Within the inner walls are expansive residences for the ruling families of the Kingdom. Bounded on the west by the Wydrun Sea and on the south by the River Lyrraine, protected by canals and fortified bridges, the Palace is surrounded by the richly appointed high estates of the Baronial families (though most also have personal holdings in other parts of the city). The Palace overlooks its own personal harbor, brimming with royal couriers and ships of war.
A small army of servants scurry back and forth, preparing the palace to receive the influx of high ranking mourners who now accompany the body of Kamryn Lyros to the Palace. By tradition, the king's own wine cellar has been breached and kegs rolled out to the crowd gathered on the city side of the Isle's bridges. Empty kegs are rolled back in, clattering over the cobblestones. One of the servants, a slender man with a slightly sardonic cast to his features, pauses a moment near one of the palace guard to adjust the hem of his cloak. The guard lounges carelessly against a stanchion, singing a bawdy song while gesturing wildly with a half-full flagon.
The servant hisses under his breath "Knock it off Ethos. You're drawing attention. Can't you act like you're drunk without acting like you're acting?"
The guard pauses in his ribaldery for a moment. "Come off it Parthos. Nobody's noticing anything right now. Every guard in the palace who isn't with us is as drunk as a skunk, the seaward gates are open, and the beacon fuel's been replaced with horse piss. When the shit hits the fan, all we have to do is close the doors and hold the place against an army for a few hours."
"Stop being such an optimist. Anything goes wrong now and if we're very very lucky, we'll die in a messy fight. If we're not so lucky, we'll be a very long time dying, and it's not going to be pretty."
The large guard reaches up to thoughtfully finger an ornate metal necklace at his throat. "My friend. This whole plan was your idea. It's a good one. Stop worrying and remember why we're here. If it works, we'll rid ourselves of a tyrant and help place an honest man on the throne. If it fails, at least we'll have friends waiting for us on the other side."
The slender man's face lights up in a crooked grin. "Oh right, I forgot the silver lining was death. Since you put it that way, how could I have any hesitation. You've got a funny sense of humor my friend."
The guardsman looks mildly surprised. "I wasn't joking".
"I know, that's what makes it so funny!"
"And you say that *I* have a funny sense of humor. It's almost time. Get that barrel into position and make sure your crew is ready. And for Mother's sake, loosen the stopcock on that barrel before Aeric suffocates in there!"
The guard resumes his off-key singing as the slender servant rolls the empty barrel back into the depths of the Nightstone Palace.