[Author’s note: Wholawski is a treacherous leach and here is where he hatches his plans after Sarah chooses to send the Princess out to the ‘barbarians’. Basically it takes place between Chapters 95 and 96, A Second Proposal, in Phoenix Triumphant. You can see his nasty plotting in action, not to mention his suspicion in James and his over confidence! Oh yes and Sharon’s plans that are quite key for later.]
Wholawski smiled all the way back to Great Hall. “You will lead the Princess up to the edge of the drawbridge, but no further, under the flag of Truce,” he told James. “Take five soldiers to back you up in case they decide to try and get inside.”
“Yes General,” James nodded and left.
Wholawski smiled to himself as he looked about. “CHESTER!” he spotted the Nigiri on the balcony above. “In my chamber, NOW!”
Striding off to his left, he went up the stairs and into his room. He was looking out upon the lake when Chester knocked upon the door.
“Come in,” Wholawski turned to face Chester.
The two studied each other like lions.
“York is dead,” Chester spoke first.
“That has now been proven to my satisfaction.” His eyes glittered as he continued to study the man.
“James is in plotting with the Goodwoman.”
“Do you think so?” Wholawski mused, interested to know that Chester was having some of the same misgivings he was. “James still brings me vital information. He’ll take his turn in the dungeon soon enough.”
“Don’t you think promoting him to Major wasn’t the wisest thing to do?”
Wholawski snorted. “His sieging friends, if indeed they are that, will not last long out there. I expect the Colonel here in three days or less, not the seven I told them.”
A smile slowly crept upon Chester’s face. That was why Wholawski trusted the Nigiri, despite his short comings. The man had the same sense of humor as he.
“Find out who is on the wall atop the gate house,” Wholawski ordered him. “Make sure they are my loyalists. Arm them with your bolts...”
“I am running out of those,” Chester interrupted.
“Then poison their arrows.” The General glared at him.
“I am running out of poison too,” Chester growled. “I won’t be able to make any more till spring.”
“York never ran out.”
“York,” Chester returned Wholawski’s stare, “never let anyone else use his poisons.”
General Wholawski growled a sigh. “Fine then; just be sure they are the ones who are loyal and the best shots. I do not want the Princess leaving our castle unharmed.”
“Shall I go harm her now?” There was delight upon the assassins face.
“No! Goodwoman Sarah shall watch with me from the parapet as her mission fails. See to it that you don’t fail your task of making sure that happens. And when it is done, I expect you to bring Lady Miriam back to the dungeon.”
Wholawski breezed past Chester.
“Oh, you’ll need to move the Jailer to the wall and clean the rack first.”
Jackobus smiled to himself as he walked away. Though he’d heard Chester grumble about such a menial job, no knife lodged itself in Wholawski’s back. Like Sharon, Chester knew his place and didn’t dare kill him. He hoped Goodwoman Sarah would put up one hell of a fight. It’d been a long time since he’d had the chance to break such a fiery spirit.
Sharon watched from the chicken coop as Sarah led Princess Allmarah to the front of the Fortress. She saw her brother greet the two women. He led Sarah into the gatehouse, while James and five men escorted the Vervellean Princess through the gates.
What was her brother up to, she wondered. Without much thought she moved from the coop to the stairs leading to the parapet. The men were focused on the grounds outside and paid her no heed. From her new vantage point Sharon did indeed see a siege had been set up.
She would have to make sure the gates were left open, just a crack. The day watch was obviously doubled, which meant the night watch would be sparse. Sparse and they would lack sleep and be drugged. Smiling Sharon slipped back down and returned to her duties.