The King has survived!
Ti Lao is ill, expected to survive, but will be weak for a while.
Gather 'round, there's news.
The Queen has (secretly) asked that we make all possible haste into the Empire to tell the tale of the attack before rumors do it for us. Obviously, rumor will travel faster than we do, but as the Court's representatives, our word will have more weight.... IF we can get it out before the rumors fester. Therefore, we're skipping lots of engagements and heading deep into the continent ASAP. You were all there when the ninja attacked; you know what happened. Listen carefully to the royal crier when he stops by before we leave. He'll fill in the other details.
Our job is to talk to everyone we meet, and make sure that they know the truth. Royal couriers will take care of the other Kings and various Nobles, but we need to tell the tale to those closer to the soil.
Now, we're delaying just a few days so that we can get the whole story, and so that we can add a bunch of new folks and wagons. Yes, you get that horse handler you were so excited about.
You're going to recognize a lot of the newcomers as folks who helped out on Eclipse day, but keep that quiet. The Queen fears reprisals against them for their service to Ti Lao! In her name, keep their part in Eclipse day quiet.
But don't panic. These folks are also joining us for OUR safety. You'll recall how they put up a fight against the attackers! They'll keep us safe on the road and from the enemies of the Butterfly Kingdom.
So if they give a different name from the one they gave on Eclipse day, well, you know which one to give to anyone who asks. ;-)
(full disclosure on all Circus badness- Akimoto was attacked, fortune teller was poisoned)
So you see, we need these people. Please make them welcome. And please help them learn the ropes- they'll be pitching in.