Lewis: Element of Surprise

Fredrick had suggested we split up to increase our chances of success. Accomplishing our mission would be extremely difficult if we all got caught together. The only way to sneak into the garrison was through small windows along unguarded walls. Once inside I didn’t see anybody, even after wandering for a few minutes.

I had almost made up my mind to head to the rendezvous point when Fredrick came around a corner, my heart nearly skipping a beat in the process.

“Thanks for giving me such a fright!” I exclaimed, my open palm over my chest.

“Sorry, my friend.” Fredrick smiled, but his expression quickly turned serious. “You may have noticed that there aren’t a lot of soldiers roaming the halls.”

“You are the only person I have come across,” I said, confirming his statement.

“I did see some soldiers guarding one section. I would guess that’s where our people are being held.”

“We should inform the commander of this.”

“Perhaps,” Fredrick replied. “However, we may lose the element of surprise if we attempt a rescue later.”

I frowned, not preferring the course he was hinting at but decided further investigation was warranted. “How many guards are there?”

“Two that I could see.” Fredrick smiled and shrugged all in one fluid motion as if to say, ‘There could be more.’ I’m glad he didn’t say it, though, for I would probably have turned him down.

“Assuming the location is correct and we can get past the guards, do you know the way out? I’ve turned too many corners personally.”

“I believe so,” Fredrick replied, which didn’t make me feel any better. “I’ve always relied on my sense of direction.”

“That’s outside, not in here,” I noted, and Fredrick shrugged again but didn’t smile. Isn’t this lovely? I thought.

“The state of the garrison confirms what I have heard in the past,” Fredrick told me in a quiet tone as we moved down the hall. “There use to be four garrisons, one on each side of the capital. One burned down hundreds of years ago in one of the early tribal wars. The remaining three provided defense for the city during the Iberan Revolution. Two were destroyed then. Since then, this one has not been used for defense.”

“Sounds like it has been turned into a jail,” I commented as Fredrick put a hand up to silence me. He gestured, indicating that our destination was close, perhaps even around the following corner, which indeed it was.

I had been slightly concerned about how effective I would be in helping Fredrick ambush the guards. In the end, he didn’t need my help whatsoever. There turned out to be a third guard whom could not be seen from the hallway. All three were down within seconds.

“Where did you learn to do that?” I asked. Fredrick stared at me but did not answer. Perhaps it is better if I don’t know, I thought.

Fredrick snatched a set of keys off one of the guards and headed toward the cells where a group of women and children were being held. They had remained quiet during the entire attack.

“Is Jon with you?” one of the women asked.

“We have not heard from him,” Fredrick answered. “However, we don’t have time to worry about that. We need to get out of here.” Opening the cell door, he continued, “All of you follow me, but stay behind me.”

As the group filed out of the cell, Fredrick turned his attention to me. “Lewis, take the rear. I will handle the soldiers at the entrance to the garrison.” Any other time I might have complained, but I knew he didn’t need my help. Besides, we still had the element of surprise.

The End

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