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                                  Chapter 2                       The Unexpected Assignment                                      l            When Queen Louise requested an audience, there     was only one answer, so Lord High Chamberlain turned     and headed toward the throne room, and Jacob fell into     step behind him.  In the three years he had been at the     palace, Jacob had never known the queen to receive nor     request audience of anyone at this time of morning.  She     never dealt with anything at that hour of the day unless it     was absolutely urgent.  He assumed she must have heard of     the attack and was calling him in to find out more.            But, he considered that she had never called him in     before.  She was content to trust an individual to handle the     duties to which he was assigned.  Every time there had     been a breach in security, he had discussed it in great detail     with Lord High Chamberlain, and others on the security     council, but never with the queen.            By the time they reached the door into the palace, his     breath was coming quickly, accompanied by the pounding     of his heart.  His mind was racing as he tried to think of     what he could say to put the queen’s mind at ease about the     security situation.            As they proceeded down the long hall to the throne     room, everyone seemed to stop and stare.  Jacob didn’t     know if he was imagining it, or if they were talking about     him.  The farther they walked the more somber everyone     seemed, from the oldest noblemen gossiping, on down to                                        8
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