For this one, you must confess a crime to your father while burying it in good news.
THE HORSE (any gender, mid teens through late twenties)
[breathing hard, exhausted from running]
Forgive my state. I have been running since sunset. But I bear the most wonderful news for your kingdom. For OUR kingdom.
I... your third child, the one you call "mediocre"... I have spotted the ENEMY CAMP!
Not only that, but I saw the colors that the army was adorning-- father it is the most elite of the soldiers of Sonrah. And we KNOW WHERE THEY ARE. If you, if WE are able to launch a surprise attack on them, we shall surely defeat them. And if we defeat THEM, well, father as you know, the war shall be WON.
They are in the caves at the base of cauldron canyon. Yes. That's a good distance away from here and you are right to wonder how I made the journey within a day... or a morning, really.
I... father I confess, I happened upon their camp because... because I was out on a ride. I know, I know. I am forbidden to go riding. But it was such a beautiful morning and I've grown so bored-- but, alright. I accept my transgression and beg forgiveness.
And... and I must also confess that I chose to ride Barnaby. I know he is your cherished horse and no one is allowed to ride him. But... well father, I was quite cross with you this morning, with you telling me I have no role in this war... but FATHER... what I was able to FIND thanks to Barnaby. The camp! And Barnaby's death shall not have been in vain--
...yes, he died on the way back. Forgive me. I think it was exhaustion... he WAS quite an old horse. But I will have you know that he is resting in dignity. For the moment, at least. I had the help of several roadside peasants in hauling Barnaby underneath a plum tree where his body should be adequately perfumed until he can be claimed and given a proper burial at the castle.
But father, I did not let Barnaby's death stop me from arriving here as quickly as I could. I RAN. For time IS short, is it not, father? And perhaps we can let my transgressions rest until the war is won... and you are of a somewhat better temper?
Copyright 2016 by Matt Haynes.
If you would like to use this piece, please credit: "Courtesy of Matt Haynes and The Pulp Stage"