by Jeff Baker
Polly ran, ran, ran for her life.
The feudal barons of Domainia were this close to being in rebellion, let alone all-out war. Only the information she carried in the hands of Her Majesty could save them and stop the conflict.
Polly was careful with the small warm bundle wrapped in her clothing. Almost as important as the information secreted elsewhere. It would be her ticket into the royal presence.
When she left it had been before dawn. The torches and night-fires were being extinguished. She was grateful she had spent much of her girlhood running in competition with the boys and winning every time.
The palace, a low wooden building but surrounded by guards, was just ahead. She slowed down and put on her most girlish smile.
“Sir,” she said to the guard. “I have come a long way with this gift for Her Majesty.”
Polly held up the bundle. In it was a sweet-faced kitten with bright inquisitive eyes.
The guard examined Polly quickly with his eyes and gestured her inside.
“Your Majesty,” Polly said. “I grant you this gift from your loyal subjects.” She placed the kitten on the floor in front of the throne. The queen bent to examine the purring animal and then Polly quietly spoke the name of her father.
The Queen looked up startled.
“Sewn in the lining of this dress is vital information which may prevent massive loss of life,” Polly said.
The Queen summoned a messenger.
“Your secrecy was very wise,” the Queen said. “There are those, even in this part of the land who would not appreciate your efforts.”
“I realize that,” Polly said with a smile.
“Well, I suppose if this cat may look at a queen,” Her Majesty said petting the gray, warm purring ball of fur that had settled to sleep on the royal foot. “We can perhaps hope that this information may unite the nations with something other than swords.”
“And I hope,” Polly said “that in the future people will recall the deeds done this day and not some trivial and meaningless words we spoke.”