The Dead Queen’s raiment

For The Queen made a plea unto the Giants, bearing her Sword, Crown, Mask, and Voice on the journey.

The Dead Queen’s raiment
The Undead Queen by Karina Pavlova; For the Queen published by Darrington Press.

“Are you taking notes?”

I freeze. I’m halfway through a bottle of wine, lounging in Beth and Leland’s back yard, in the middle of a game of For the Queen. (You might remember Beth and Leland from my article about Orbital Blues. Soon you will be introduced to my entire social circle via Rascal blogs.) My buddy Caroline is leaning over, looking at my phone. I had, in fact, been taking notes. 

I look from my phone to her, and then back to my glass of wine. “Yes?” 

“Do you take notes all the time? I always thought you were texting.” Caroline said. 

“Or tweeting!” Sara laughs. 

“Why would I text when I’m hanging out with y’all?” I ask, refilling my glass, committed to day drinking on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon. “You guys are my only friends.” 

Sara and Beth both immediately protest, but my deflection worked. I do indeed take notes when I’m playing games with my friends. Often just for me, so I can keep a record of all the good times we have, a personal litany of the stories and laughter we pull together at a gaming table. These stories are precious to me. They are moments of deep genuine friendship and love. I have dozens of notes in my phone that describe various game nights.

This time, though, I’ve been given permission to share with you. Sit at my table. Drink my wine. Lean back and let the sun warm your skin. The sounds of late spring; a dog, buzzing insects, the neighbor’s Latin music in the background. This is the backyard where the five of us are playing For the Queen

Let me tell you about the Dead Queen’s raiment.