Spy’s Mission Option Bb: Trust the Horse Trainer
Master Ham’s welcoming smile convinces you to trust him.
“It’s good to meet the famous Master Ham,” you say. You’re not being overly flattering but just stating facts. Master Ham is well known for his ability to train horses. Opening the left side of your cloak, you flash the Spy Network’s badge pinned to the inside pocket. It’s a circle with a spy glass engraved delicately into the metal.
Master Ham’s smile falters for just a moment and then it’s back, like you were adjusting your cloak and he saw nothing.
“Might I have a word with you about the day’s events?” you ask.
“Of course. Let’s talk in the shade.” He gestures at a large tree on your side of the fence, then hops the fence to join you. The horse he’d been training makes a soft sound and hangs its head over the top rail like he’s begging to come along too. Master Ham just waves a hand back at him as he leads the way to the tree.
“What can I do for you?” he asks as soon as he’s sure no one’s around to overhear.
You explain the situation and then lean again the tree’s large trunk while Master Ham digests the news. The smile’s gone from his face.
“This is not good,” he mutters. “The King isn’t coming to the stables for his horse or the Princess’ new mare. He requested we bring them to the courtyard so he could surprise the Princess and then ride out the gates with her. Their two horses are already gone.” He strokes his beard as he considers. “But the Queen should be here soon. She’ll join up with them by the time they reach Oddfellow Road. I can get you in as her escort.”
You consider for a moment but it appears you’re running out of time, so you finally nod. “That’ll have to do.”
“Right this way.” Master Ham takes you into the stable. He points at a beautiful brown mare that’s already saddled with a side saddle that boasts tiny bells around the bottom edge. “That’s the Queen’s.”
Moving to the next stall, he leads out a slightly smaller, more gangly mare. “You’ll have to take Rush here. She’s already saddled as the escort horse.”
You both turn to find a woman striding toward you followed by six other ladies. You’ve seen the Queen at a distance but never this close before. She’s slender with slight crows feet starting to show at the corner of her eyes but that’s the only sign of age you can find. Her dark hair shines without a gray strand and her brown eyes sparkle in merriment as she approaches.
“Your Majesty,” you and Ham bow in unison.
“Maybell’s all ready for you, My Lady,” Ham brings the beautiful mare out and assists the Queen into the saddle.
You mount as well and bring Rush up beside the Queen’s mare. When the Queen moves forward, you move at her side like it’s the most natural thing.
Noticing you, the Queen looks questioningly at Master Ham. “Not my escort today, Master Ham?”
Master Ham gives an embarrassed bow. “My Lady, if you’ll pardon me today, my leg’s been paining me something fierce.”
She makes a tittering noise and tells him to take the day easy, saying one of the stable hands can care for the horses after the ride. Then she rides out of the stable and waits in the sun for her ladies to mount and join her.
“My Lady,” you say to get her attention. This moment before her ladies find their mounts might be your only second alone with her.
She raises a brow.
You quickly introduce yourself and why you’ve come.
Her face goes still and you start to question if you should have told her.
“You don’t know who this threat is?” she asks finally.
You shake your head.
“I want to tell my family,” she says but it’s not a statement. She’s unsure and from her expression, she’s waiting for your advice. Telling her was a risk in and of itself. Would the entire family be okay to tell?
Do you advise…
Bb1: Tell the family?
Bb2: Not to tell the family?
(Please post a comment with your choice. One vote per post please but comment as much as you like=) This makes counting votes easier. Voting will end at 8pm Mountain Time Wednesday. I’ll post whichever option gets the most votes Thursday and we’ll see how the adventure finishes!)