Grace is much younger than her husband Kelvar, and their marriage raises her far above her station. She is very aware of this; combined with her youth, she is rather uncomfortable with noble life at first. She finds comfort in adornments like jewelry and perfume, as well as her dog.
King-in-Waiting Verity Farseer visits Neatbay to confront Duke Kelvar about his refusal to effectively arm his watch towers against the Red Ship Raiders. At dinner, FitzChivalry Farseer notices that Grace is adorned with jewels and appears bored and uncomfortable.
Later, Grace's dog gets a bone stuck in its throat, and she takes him to the kitchen to try to help him. She encounters Fitz, who mistakes her for a common maid because of her simple dress. He identifies the dog's problem and uses fat to grease the bone and remove it, an event that had previously been foretold by the Fool ("Fitz fixes feist's fits. Fat suffices.").
Upon removing the bone and sternly telling Grace not to feed her dog scraps, Fitz realizes to whom he is speaking. In searching for a way to curb Kelvar's misplaced spending, he tells Grace that he dreamed of her standing as a great lady and pronouncing the armed watch towers her new jewels. Grace is taken by the image of herself as a confident, capable, and adored noblewoman. She presumably takes this information to Kelvar; before Verity's contingent departs, Kelvar has reallocated his funds to spend on the watch towers.