Today, the entire von Grandin contingent has ventured out en masse for some final Christmas shopping and seasonal cheer in the shops of downtown Krankenstadt, leaving the Grand Duke to his own devices for a few hours. Meanwhile, Hives and the rest of the household are busily organizing the scheduled Christmas ball, to be held this evening in honor of the von Grandin family's visit.
Thanks to this disruption of routine, the Grand Duke has been able to steal away to his private study where he continues painting that regiment of Holger Eriksson cavalry. "Oh, I say, these are fun, fast figures to paint." muses Irwin-Amadeus II, "Hmmmm. . . Maybe I'll try my hand at painting a lobster claw on the obverse side of their standard!"