Chapter 4

A Horse And A Bird

Daniel's dedication to training the royal falcons has never ceased to amaze me. Who else would've left so early to hunt rabbits using birds? Daniel's sharp eyes, and some heavenly grace, had given us early warning of Blanco's attack.

After Daniel sketched the simple grid to show the position of Blanco's advancing soldier, he approached me with a daring idea. His plan was to use his trained falcons as message carriers. He said we could have our soldiers near the front line tie coded maps of the battle area to a falcon's leg.

Once released, the falcons would return to the aviary outside the castle and the maps could be recovered. This would make it possible for our army to keep an up-to-the-minute record of what was happening on the battlefield. A chance to test this seemingly crazy idea was just around the corner ...

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From the moment Miriam left for the crossroads, Sir Wilbur paced anxiously outside the stables. His chestnut-brown stallion was tied nearby. The horse was hardly recognizable -- he now looked coal black from all the protective coverings Wilbur had thrown over him.

I thought outloud to Daniel "Miriam should be at the crossroads by now. She won't be letting any of their ground soldiers hide where they could ambush one of our horsemen. We oughta have Wilbur make his move now!"

"I agree." replied Daniel. "The falcon's ready -- let's send it out with Wilbur and see what happens."

Within minutes, the knight, his horse, and a hooded falcon had jumped the fence and were headed to an outpost slightly southwest of the crossroads.



Chapter 5

A Black or White World

Ever since Ebonie and I became king and queen, our closest advisors have been two clergymen, Archibald and Zachary. In more ways than one, these men are as far apart as A and Z. As a pair of councilors, they make a colorful team -- because they each view situations as black or white: Archibald sees only white, Zachary only black!

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Although I hope it wasn't obvious, Ebonie and I were probably more anxious than our two advisors to get them out into the field. From past skirmishes with invaders, we'd found that these guys are quick, agile soldiers who can work wonders once they're in the right positions. But if they aren't sent out during the early stages of a struggle and end up being blocked in at home, all they do is sit around and yack, yack, yack, yack and yack!

And it sure doesn't take much for those two to feel like they can't leave our sides. Like I said, if Archibald doesn't see a light-colored path, he doesn't see any path at all. He just stays put and whines. As for Zack, he'd rather go nowhere if going somewhere means having to use one of Archie's routes.

So early this morning I made up my mind to get our councilors out--quickly--where they could roam. Where they could walk the walk instead of talk the talk!

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Read King Gustafon's Speech To His Troops!

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