Continued from February 7, 2018
“Gailstorm can handle that pace for longer than most horses. He and I have been doing this together for a few years. We’re messengers, remember?” David said as he drew a linen wrapped bundle from Gailstorm’s saddlebag. “Are you hungry?”
“Aida can’t keep up that pace again.” Annabelle said, ignoring his question, “Can we move at a canter when we get back on the road?”
“We are nearly thirty miles out from the King now. If we slow the pace we’ll have to camp for the night. I’m not sure that Father Alden has that long, given where I presume him to be.” David replied putting a piece of dried meat in his mouth.
David watched the internal struggle on Annabelle’s face as she paced back and forth. She began to mutter to herself quiet enough that he couldn’t hear her, but he assumed she was considering going back to Bexley rather than continue forward with him, which was preferable in his mind.
“Alright, I have a plan.” Annabelle said, pointing toward the sky.
“What’s that?” David replied, his mouth full of food.
“We can run the horses faster, but we have to break more often. Aida can handle twenty minutes at most of that speed before she needs a break. If we travel for twenty, then rest for thirty, we should be able to make it to the King before nightfall, as you had originally planned.” She said, not stopping in her pacing.
“Alright,” David agreed, “I can do that.”
“Good!” She said as she walked over and snatched the cheese out of the linen.
“Hey!” He said, failing to stop her.
“What? You asked if I was hungry, then you ate all the dried berries, and most of the meat. That means that the cheese is mine.” She replied with a smile as she sat down on a rock.
The duo waited until the horses had cooled sufficiently and when it came time to go they followed her plan of travel times. They still made incredible time and made it Just outside King Matthew’s castle just before dinner.
“Halt!” A guard cried as David slowed his horse to a stop.
“I have a message of urgency for the king!” David called back, producing the letter from his satchel.
“What post have you come from?” The guard asked as he approached. “Let me see that letter.”
“I have traveled from the Southern Outpost. I am sorry, sir, but this message is only for the King and can be read by no others.” David replied, “It is of grave importance.”
“The Southern Outpost? Why did you not bring the message to Prince Harvey then?” The guard pressed.
“Orders are orders, sir. I only deliver when and where I am told to deliver.” David replied.
“Stand down, guard. Let the messenger through.” David heard a voice that was familiar call out. The blood ran cold in his veins. It was Prince Harvey standing at the gate.