The rain was unceasing, and Dabrose’s cloak, though made of oil cloth, could only do so much. It made him uncomfortable, or at least more uncomfortable than he already was. His Queen’s reaction had been unexpected, and the Guardsman’s instructions had been even more ominous.
Mud seeped through the cracks of the cobblestones as Dabrose hastened for the stables, splattering his clothes and forming a slick covering on his boots. He would take his horse, he decided, and find somewhere remote to hide out until this all blew over. There was something going on, something that was clearly far beyond his ken. The key’s loss was a blow to the kingdom, but Dabrose was just a messenger, and the recovery of the key was beyond him.
The mud is what saved him, in the end. As he approached the entrance to the stables, his boot lost traction, sending him sprawling in a manner most undignified. A thunk alerted him to the appearance of a crossbow bolt in the stable wall.
Apparently they would shoot the messenger after all.