After the seven of you have settled down in your chairs (with some difficulties finding people willing to sit next to each other), Bob comes out and speaks.
"The king is senile, or dying, or both. And so it has fallen to you to lead the kingdom."
Bob squints at his papers.
"I'm sorry, I managed to get one of the pamphlets stuck over my notes. One moment."
Some papers are shuffled around.
"Right. So, the seven of you are going to jointly rule the kingdom. You have access to portions of the treasure and guard, and any events that you need more money or manpower you'll have to clear through me. As I'm sure you're all going to go out questing for princesses so you don't have to bother will all this red tape in the future, I will be contacting you periodically to make sure you don't let the kingdom go to pieces.
"Some magical items that were meant to be parts of each of your inheritences have been delivered to your rooms. Your manservent has been preparing equipment deemed useful for your quests and great deeds. I'm sure you're aware that no coercion of the princesses shall be allowed, and you must convince the princess of her own free will to return to this spot and marry you for the coronation to be legal.
Now, as I'm sure you're all interested, I have a short list of possible Princess targets. I've done my research and a bit of magic and have located the five princesses that are deemed most likely to find. I have included a map and compass in each of your equipment lists, with the general areas of each princess marked. But to summarize,
Princess Violet has been enslaved by a dragon, and is being forced to work against her will in the dragon's keep on the southern coastline. You may want to pack some fire resistant pajamas.
Princess Rose has been captured by an evil ogre and is being held somewhere in the mountains to the northeast. We're actually due for an orc invasion from that area in the next few weeks, so I'd appreciate if somebody could take care of that while they're up there.
Princess Daisy is being kept in a tower in the middle of the wasteland to the northwest. The trek across the wastes will be grueling and punishing, and only the brave and true of heart can make the devastating trip. Be sure to pack plenty of water.
Princess Lily has been enchanted by a witch, kept in the top floor of a tower in the Enchanted Forest, to the southwest. Legend has it that she can only be awakened by the kiss of her true love. Make sure to use chapstick.
and last but not least, Princess Hyacinth is actually somewhere in the southwest section of town. I'm not quite sure why none of you have noticed her before.
Checking your equipment, you seem to have a large supply of standard adventurer's equipment, several horses to carry them with, your intelligent (albeit insulting) chessboard, and a magical shield that looks as if it's seen better days. You suspect your inheritance is not going to take you as far as you'd hoped. Luckily, you scammed a bit off the treasury in your spare time, so you have plenty of gold to spend on your own needs when you get out into the world.
On another note, you notice that a few of the imps you had summoned earlier seem to have escaped the binds you had placed on them. Very exasperating, but they didn't do too much damage to your room, so you pay it no more attention.
You mutter. And grumble. Loudly. "Magical shield!? What do they think I am, a paladin?" *muttermutter*
As you pace around the floor of your room, Druzzel watches you with a careful eye. You really should figure out where he found that, since you're pretty sure all the prisoners you know of still have both of theirs.
"Enough of this! I'm not going to get anywhere at this rate."
Looking around the room, you grab all the materials you need for your summonings. Druzzel sighs and follows you to the prepared circle, hauling the cage with one of his fellow imps trapped inside to the precise location. The imp inside, of course, is less than pleased with its situation, but you couldn't care less. You're already well into the starting phases of preparation.
The ceremony takes half an hour or so, during which the imp in the cage takes every possible chance to screw you up (you have to admit, competing with the chess board for worst insult is a new one. You'll have to keep it in mind for future reference. Worst case you learned some new curses). To no avail, however. You take a moment to pause at the end, savoring the show you must be putting on, with all the dramatic lightning strikes and solemn chanting. Quite satisfying, really. Anyway. When you're certain you have the imp firmly under your control, you open the cage. Instructing it to gather information on Thingo, one of your less... predictable brothers, it heads off.
Smiling in accomplishment, you start again.
You send Druzzel out as well after the second summoning, figuring you're enough in the zone to handle them by yourself for a while. When the imps return from their trips, you spend the last few minutes of command to trap them back in their cages, ready for the next round of coercion.
Right, then. Information you've managed to get so far:
Thiso shot Thuso with a blowgun. Thuso then yelled at Bob for nearly fourty minutes before making plans to head to the northeast with around 10 guards (northeast is the orcs, if you'll recall). Thiso then headed southwest (forest or dragon), as did Thingo, presumably not together.
Thereo and Thato apparently headed to a bar in town, looking for Princess Hyacinth. From what you gather from the imp, Thato attempted to arrest Princess Hyacinth (Thato taking guards for this purpose was what Thuso was yelling at Bob for), Thereo didn't believe she was around, and then Hyacinth showed up and lectured Thato for a while. Thato then give a very, very long speech (Druzzel complains bitterly about having to sit through all of it), which basically consists of 1) Thato is sorry, 2) Hyacinth needs therapy, 3) Thato is leaving for somewhere else tomorrow morning, presumably having to recover from such a long speech.
Druzzel wanders up at some convienent break in the summonings and points out that Thano has sent his manservant to mess up Thuso (a known obsessive compulsive)'s room, thereby requiring Thuso to postpone his trip while he cleans. Thano then proceeded to stick copper pieces in Thuso's door to prevent him from opening it again, and went northeast with Thuso's guards, all the while pretending that he is Thuso.
At this, an idea forms in your head and you smile wickedly. You order Druzzel to steal Thuso's pet rock while Thuso's not looking, and plant it in Thano's riding bag. Meanwhile, you go and find Bob, who is in his study at the moment, attempting to get his papers in some sort of coherent order after dropping them on the stairs earlier. Pitiful, really. Calmly and rationally, you point out several logical reasons why it would be worthwhile to keep the guards around the castle at all times, instead of sending them out with other princes for their bodyguards. Bob looks to be won over by your lecture, and makes a note to remind himself on a piece of paper.
Realizing that Thuso might have cleaned his room by now and may be working on fixing his door, you head back up to your room to be able to catch him as he's leaving.
Much to your amusement, Thuso has decided to take the entire door off it's hinges, spilling copper pieces all over the place. As he's walking out looking rather upset, you walk down the hall and act surprised but happy to see him. "Thuso! I was just looking for you! I think Thano took your guards and is heading northeast to deal with the orcs. He had your rock with him, too. I'm very sorry I couldn't stop him, but he was already leaving when I saw him. I have some urgent business of myself to deal with or I'd certainly help you chase him down, but he shouldn't be too hard to catch, if you hurry."
Up the other end of the hallway, a woman wearing an odd-looking "Ochre"-labelled headband walks up, with a notepad and pencil already out. She seems to be speaking to Thuso, but looks to want to corner you if he's unavaliable. "Excuse me, my name is Lillian, and I was wondering if you could possibly spare some time for an in-depth interview? The citizens of the Kingdom are very interested in your take on life."
Damn reporters. You just hope she doesn't screw up your plans.