After breakfast, once the reply to the Colonel’s message was received. Ilse was put on the post-coach to Pappenheim that had been deliberately delayed.
“At last” exclaimed a clergyman as they departed “I hope you were not the cause of our delay?”
“No, I was just lucky the coach was still here, there might have been some problem on the road ahead”
With that the clergyman turned to his colleague and recommenced a discussion on ethics of rulers”
Ilse felt she should explain more, but then remembered the coded message, so she took it out to study. She knew something about codes, but there was nothing obvious that stood out, especially as both Pommaine and Prussia should be mentioned so the double letters should be an indicator.
Sitting back and just looking vaguely at the letter, she suddenly spotted a pattern in the writing, the letters seemed to have been written in groups of four. Grabbing a fresh sheet of paper and a pencil she started rewriting the letter reversing each set of four letters. Moments later she stopped as the clergymen switched to speaking in Latin and started discussing local gossip and then speculated on her presence.”
“No I am not a whore of Babylon, I am the daughter of major Von Barner and I am travelling on state business and have not had chance to dress myself in suitable attire!” exclaimed Ilse in Latin to the shock of the clergymen. A stunned apology followed and Ilse was left in peace for the rest of the journey.
Once the message had been rewritten Ilse rescanned it for obvious clues and they gradually appeared. It was a simple transcription using a key word, in this case “kraut” and then realigning the other letters. The message was clear it was a protocol between Prussia and Alsace on how they would divide Pommaine between them if “all other claimants” were to die.