As he cut his meat, a servant stepped up to him. Driscoll noticed that he was not liveried in the same serving attendant apparel, but thought nothing of it, until the man said in a low voice,
“Your Majesty, a pigeon parchment arrived for you.”
Driscoll chewed his meat and then swallowed. “You – are in the wrong place. That goes to my advisors, starting with Pastorn and, if necessary, Hensfeld.” Driscoll eyed the servant’s livery. It was not crisp and fresh as a new servant’s, but worn upon the man easily.
Driscoll sawed off another piece of roast. “You know that, you’re not new here.”
“No, Your Majesty, all pardons, Your Majesty. The parchment is arrived from the Eastern Shield, however, Your Majesty.”
Driscoll’s bite of roast arrested in mid-air. “Let’s have it.” He dismissed the servant and wiped his hands clean of food and grease. A servant stood by for him to cleanse his hands in a bowl of water. Driscoll shook them clean and dried them before he popped the seal and unrolled the parchment.
What he read rounded his eyes. Driscoll sat back in his chair, disbelieving.
Once finally he had digested the contents of the letter, he scraped his chair backward. “You,” he said to the nearest servant. “Find Hensfeld. Tell him to ready a retinue and horses for a week’s stay. And I will be traveling alone.” Driscoll watch the servant scurry off.
Then he threw the letter into the fire, watching as it burned into ash.