When the King’s spymaster heard that Talley, one of his spies, had been captured by Spanish soldiers, he had taken the problem straight to the King. The king was in one of his interminable meetings, but he took a break and the spymaster was showed into a small personal library.
The spymaster stated the problem quickly, “Talley talks in his sleep.”
The King looked surprised. “Then why is he a spy? I thought that not talking would be one of the requirements.”
“It hasn’t been a problem before because the man makes sure he sleeps alone in a magical chamber that eliminates sound. Because of his problem he doesn’t allow his mistresses to sleep over. He has lost a few relationships that way.”
“Oh,” said the King. “Does the enemy know that this particular spy has that problem?”
The spymaster nodded. They both knew that employing this man was had been a terrible idea. But, but, Talley had the best sources of information about the Spanish army. How could they not use him?
“How long do we have before he talks?”
The spymaster looked at the ornate grandfather clock in the library. It stood in the corner. The spymaster thought he could hear the sounds of doom in the clock’s ticks.
“Two hours,” he said to the king.
The king nodded because there could be no words said for this order. The spymaster nodded back. In a few moments he would send his best assassin who didn’t have a sleep talking problem to kill Talley.
The Spaniards liked to display their prisoners before taking them into the torture room or in this case the sleeping room. The assassin would have a few moments to send an arrow through Talley’s throat. If he lived, which the spymaster doubted, the man wouldn’t talk again.
The spymaster didn’t sign an official order. This one would be blamed on Spain. Deniability was the key.
The spymaster’s desk was covered with personnel papers. He looked through each one for a new spy he could use. Before he picked one, he would make sure that part of the application process was a sleep study for a few weeks. He didn’t want another mistake.
No, another mistake like a sleep-talking spy and the spymaster’s head would be on a pole on the castle wall.