Speed is of the essence

Twere done quickly were done well

She sat there and asked the doctor "Is there nothing you can do?"

"I can make him as comfortable as I can, but he is sinking quickly. The infection is ravaging his organs, and he will be gone in hours if he is lucky. If he is not lucky it may take a couple of days of incredible pain

She sat there quietly for a moment. "Doctor, I am going to ask you to make his last days as comfortable as you can. Can you you do this?

The doctor stood up. "I will make his last time as comfortable as I can. I will try and make his time as long as possible, because that is what I am sworn to do. I am not going to needlessly make him suffer, and I will not shorten his time his time in some unethical way to 'end his suffering' that will make someone else the gainer."

"Thank you doctor, that is all we can hope for" she said. "you may go." The doctor left the tent. She addressed the captains "You the cousins know. You me know. The kingdom a queen has never known, but I you ask, as my husband asked, do you a queen more fear than the cousins?"

"The queen is 17 years old and a Grenouilian" said captain Grubo

She reiterated "You me know, you the cousins know. Which fear more you?"

Molodchoyeon said "When you put it like that our way is clear. We can't let the kingdom go into their hands, especially after all the risk we put into this adventure"

"Especially when are necks are at risk as well" said one.

All of them nodded at that. She said "So you are with me?" They looked at each other and nodded again.

She said "Very well. We will have to move quickly. Molodchoeon.. you have the horsemen fastest.. Take 30. You will have to Agore who is the most dangerous and the one furthest away. Get there quickly, arrest him and take him to the blue tower. He may be having one of his bacchanals. That will be to your advantage. Don't be squeamish about who is with him. If he won't come or you can't bring him alive, make sure he is dead. Can you do this? You will cause the death of all of us is you fail.

He nodded. "I know who my 30 men are. My horsed are rested and ready. They all have new shoes. I will get my men and we will be going within the quarter hour. Personally, I don't really want to bring him back alive. Do you have any objection..."

"People don't like murder" she said. "I his death would prefer not raise any hornets. If it is important, do it. If you can him bring quickly, do that by preference Otherwise, just his head bring "

He saluted. She watched him go out. "Captain Grubo.. You know why I chose you for dealing with Saminite?"

Captain Grubo grinned. "I will deal with him in an exemplary manner my liege."

"Don't take your time. Five hours at the most. The head bring . When can you leave?"

"I have 130 men ready in 20 minutes. The hard part will deciding which 30 men have priority for the task. There are so many men with priority that it will be hard to choose."

"The fastest. Please. We have to get this quickly done . Go quickly and to the tower bring the head " Grubo saluted and left.

"You three... You the most men at your disposal have. Take Grubo's and Molodchoyeon's men and take care of the city walls. Leave your wounded and unready here. Move quickly. It will take three days. ...You have the smallest contingent.. you will be responsible for the palace. Tell the chancellor of the kings condition and no one else Tell him to prepare to call yet another Sabor Naroda and no one else ...You will take care of the citadel. I don't have to impress on you the importance of getting control of the city. Get started today and see how much can do. Leave everything unnecessary here. We have to move quickly so anybody who has the smallest thought of stopping us is to be smothered. Any Questions? Good. Go!"

She faced the rest of the captains. "We can't let news of his death proceed them. Pack up as much a you can over the next three days. He will die if he is dead already in the early morning four days from now. We need to get the funeral going the same day. Tell your men we need to get him to the capital. News of his condition must remain a secret. Are you with me?

.... said "If we weren't before, we are now. You know what needs to be done and you don't dither." The rest made noises of agreement.

"Good" she said. "Make preparations. Lets get ready to go on the fourth morning." The captains saluted and left. After they were gone she walked over to the hospital tent where her husband lay. When she got there she saw the doctor standing next to her husband, whose breath sounded harsh and scratchy. She sat next to him and held his hand. His breathing became more measured and comfortable

"They know" said the doctor. "I could have any other nurse, and he would be restless. With you, he is relaxed. He will be comfortable."

"Then I will stay here as much as I can. .. " he became more restless again "when the army is doing what I instructed. " and he quieted down.

The doctor moved to the rest of the men. "You know,"She said "don't you?" He nodded. "I need to hang on for three days, maybe more. Do what the doctor tells you. But please hang on for three days, can you?" He had a determined look. "Good. Keep it up."

The doctor came back. "I can increase his opium if you want..." She looked at her husband. He shook his head.

She said "Not yet. " The doctor went away again. "I have given the army its orders. We go back to the capital in four days.. They are getting ready. But I will be here.


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