The new law has turned the King's army from a ragtag collection of feudal contingents and mercenary companies into a professional force, but it has also sidelined many men-at-arms from their preferred line of work. For the lucky like Sir Eugene de Brie, this retirement could mean a job as the steward of a royal castle, a modest stipend, and a comfortable if boring life in an out-of-the way corner of the royal domains. But his quiet little world is shaken when Armand, his former squire, arrives with proof that a crime has been committed within his jurisdiction -- with the aid of black magic.
Navigating the maze of the newfangled bureaucracy and tangling with the ancient customs of the College of Heralds, they uncover clues that point to the involvement of Crown Prince Philippe. The impenitent prince, having fallen into royal disfavor after his failed attempt at rebellion only a few years before, has set up another plot to wrest the throne from his
ageing father. Eugene and Armand must stop the Philippards before they can plunge the war-weary land into another episode of bloodbath.
Weed out all the extras. Start with Sir Eugene and Armand. Then the problem. For inspiration look at this.