One thing Phil revised out of this story to leave room for this thrilling land shark chase was an intriguing meetup between Best and Her Grace Pardo, the woman from Chapter 3 who mentioned humans-only districts and then fretted that she might have offended Best. Losing it was necessary, I think, but I do regret not getting to see Best flirt with the upper class. Also, Phil had a different idea of the Pardos’ role in the economy at that time than what we developed later.


1. Wide shot, bird’s eye view. We won’t see every inch of this, but there is a caravan of various animal-drawn vehicles traversing the desert. They are headed south, and it is the afternoon, so the sun will be on their west side. The caravan is host to traders & settlers and other such Oregon Trail types from Gastonia and other Gastonia-friendly nations, with a dozen or so Gastonian soldiers riding along on camels. In the center of what we see in the caravan is one particular carriage that is quite luxurious in comparison to the rest of the cars. It belongs to HER GRACE PARDO, head of House Pardo, custodian of the Textile Industry.

My dearest Payet. Will you not come with us instead of questing yet again?
I’m afraid I can’t, for it’s not within my destiny.

2. Her Grace Pardo reclines sideways on a small pile of cushions. Lunch and tea has been served on a table in front of her (them), and we are seeing the meal’s remains after the two have eaten their fill. The caravan is comfortably dim in light with small lamps or lanterns and overall quite luxurious. She looks past the camera with a warm regard.

Oh, fooey on destiny.
You’ll miss out on the magnificent groundbreaking ceremony for our new settlement on the Glass Coast.

3. We see Best, fully garbed in his new costume (no makeup), likewise reclining (but sexier) as he maintains his gaze with Her Grace Pardo. She’s married, of course, but they enjoy the subtle airs of flirting (Best especially, as it’s an exceptionally easy way to keep in good graces with the powers that be). His guitar sits upright against him/his seating area.

Magnificent as I’m sure it shall be, it is simply not in the cards.
Though I must once again say how impressed with Your Grace’s gutsy move to build around Savage territory.

4. Her Grace Pardo pours herself another cup of tea and smiles benignly, looking down into it.

Well, we can’t let them have everything, now can we?
In any case, I do hope you visit soon, my dear.

5. Best stands, opening the door with one hand and bowing slightly with the other. He is making his exit. He is coming out of the carriage door while the caravan continues, climbing onto his sandstrider, Keirnas (a big running bird like an ostrich, girdled and saddled in a manner that fits with Best’s aesthetic), like he’s getting on a horse from a train in a Western (but not as speedy). We can see Her Grace Pardo waving goodbye through the open carriage door.

Just as soon as I’m done gathering a legion of heroes to stand against the ongoing war, and leading them to victory.
So next week is fine.