Short Stories: To Serve the King

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To Serve the King

He waited behind a small copse of trees, the only shelter in the thin forest. The early-morning light was dim, the air thick with frosty vapor. He tucked the woolen scarf wrapped around his neck into the collar of his coat to ward off the seeping cold wind. The narrow road revealed old coach tracks, nothing recent, confirming he was not too late.

Miles Drake was patient man, a trait he learned over the years serving King William. After years of war, the peace treaty was tenuous at best. The King had many enemies, none more dangerous than Lord Beckingham. The powerful member of the royal family professed his support of the King, but Drake discovered he continued to plot with William’s enemies.

Now Drake sat astride his black stallion, Iron, under covert orders to eliminate Beckingham. The corners of his mouth curled up as he relished the idea of ridding the kingdom of the pompous and dangerous man, who cared only for his own personal gain. An informant on the Lord’s household staff sent word the Lord would be traveling to the palace in early morning, carrying a secret document. Rumor indicated the document was an agreement to overthrow the monarchy. Drake was not going to allow that to happen.

The stallion heard the wagon wheels first, his ears flicking toward the rise. Drake flexed his gloved hands, and pulled his flintlock rifle from its sheath. The elaborate coach, drawn by two horses, and carrying Beckingham appeared. Drake waited until the coach was within range before he emerged from behind the trees. One shot dropped the lone coachman where he sat and Drake galloped to grab the team of horses and halt them.

Dismounting, he strode to the coach door and flung it open. Lord Beckingham cowered against the far side of the velvet bench, his dark sinister eyes wide. Drake drew his pistol, aiming the barrel at the Lord’s sweating brow.

“This is for King William.”

A single shot tore into bone, and the threat from Lord Beckingham existed no longer. Working quickly, Drake found the document bearing Beckingham’s wax seal, then relieved him of what gold coin and jewelry he possessed to hide the execution as a common robbery. He placed the bounty into a leather pouch, which he planned on dropping into the river, leaving no evidence.

The stallion was pawing the ground anxious to run. Drake mounted the horse, placing the treasonous document into an inside pocket of his great coat and turned the reins toward the palace. The mist was lifting as the sun rose in the sky. It was a good day to serve the King.

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Written for Writingeekery writing exercise… 500-word minimum, based on a photo prompt.

(Image from free use site Pixabay.com  )

 

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