Much had occurred the past weeks, readying for our new adventure. Mother had heard none of it, and supposed when I slipped off with Jon or the girls that I was going for a friendly visit. I hated keeping secrets from her, but I couldn't find the right opportunity to explain. I lay awake at night, wondering what I would finally say, and what she would in response. I was terrified, because I knew she would disapprove.
A cool breath of wind whispered across my face as I stood in Ed's bedroom that afternoon, the golden rays of light waterfalling through his open windows. I was alone with him, a rare opportunity, as usually Annabelle or Mother was lurking by his side. The color was returning to his face, and he could take short walks now, yet by Mother's orders was restrained mostly to his bed until full recovery ensued.
"...shouldn't we, Katrina? Katrina?" Ed's voice drew me from my heavy thoughts of my upcoming departure as I tucked freshly washed clothes into Ed's dresser. It could be days, it could be hours.
"Oh," I turned around, blinking a few times. "What were you saying?
He furrowed his brow. "What is the matter, Katrina? Lately you have been acting unusal, if you are far away somewhere else. What are you thinking of? Jon? I am aware he is in pursuit of you, you know."
I blushed furiously, he had finally noticed my strange behavior. Placing the last of his shirts into the drawer and closing it, I walked over to my chair at his bedside. "Nothing, nothing, I am fine, just daydreaming, is all. What were you saying?"
"I'm not so sure." Ed slyly inquired, holding his determined gaze with my own. I felt he was looking right through me, knowing exactly what I had planned.
I shifted in my chair, looking out the window. Mother, Annabelle, and Jacob were far off in the fields. "Alright," I lowered my eyes, starting to explain our plot. I left out a few of the details, yet I tried to tell him everything I could. He sat quietly, his expession and eyes blank as I finished.
"This is very dangerous, you know." Ed said calmly after a moment of pause. "Surely Jon will not let you go."
I turned my face away from him, raising my chin, "No-in fact, he was the one who proposed this idea."
Ed could not hold back a scoff of disbelief. "Really? Him of all people....I never would believe it."
"Well, it's true, Ed. I assume we will be leaving very soon." I said more strongly.
His voice softened, as if he was recoiling, "Yes? Goodness, Katrina. Have you broken this to Mother?"
I bit my lip, whispering, "No."
He raised his eyebrow in almost an amused way, "Ah. What a show that will be." Pausing, Ed continued, "Well, if you wish it, I shall support you in this insane choice of yours, no matter how insane it may be. Mother shall be a monster about this, I would think."
I smiled mildly at him. "Thank you, Ed."
"That is what you wish, and you are so headstrong, I don't think there would be any stopping you even if Mother chained you in the King of Ibera's prison." he chuckled.
Darkness fell, and soon after came the anticipated knock on the door. Mother reached the door first, a wavering candle in her hand. I was soon over her shoulder as she pulled it open, "Who could it be so late at night?" she muttered.
"Goodness!" she cried, looking at all the people huddling at her door, all cloaked in black. "What are you doing!"
"Mother," I murmured in her ear, drawing her away from the door. Out from the back bedroom, Annabelle led Ed into the main room where the group was gathering. Softly and quickly, I began to explain our situation in the most brief and gentle way I could. All the while, she stood stiff, her eyes and faced stunned.
"Please understand, Mother." I pleaded desperatly. "It is for Father and Luke, I was be alright. This is for the better. I have always been trying to find something to do to assist in this hideous war. You will have Annabelle and Jacob, and Ed is soon close to recovery to run the farm. Please, this is for Father and Luke."
"Dear, must you do this?" she asked, her voice incredibly broken. It tore me apart. "It is terribly dangerous."
I sighed, "I completely understand the danger. Father, Luke, and Ed, and all the men in the line of duty in the war are far more danger, and we are attempting to lessen that danger so that they may come home. Anything to prevent them from being killed, we would do, yes? This is what I must do."
Mother gazed over me, tears in her eyes. She smiled sadly, putting her hand on my arm. "You are such a brave, wonderful girl-I am so proud. There seems nothing I can do to stop you, and no words I shall say shall sway you. My Sweet, please stay safe."
"Oh, Mother," I cried, embracing her. She hugged me tightly back.
"Katrina," I felt Jon's hand on my back, his voice soft and tender, though a shadow of urgency was hidden in it. I pulled away from Mother to gaze at him. "Our chance at the opening is small, we must hurry."
"Yes," I nodded, giving Mother another quick hug and rushing back to my bedroom to gather my cloak and a little bag of things. Returning, I hugged and Mother again, and then Ed, tears in my eyes, and waited beside my new friends.
Mother embraced and kissed each of us again, and lastly took Jon into her arms. From my place, I could hear her hissing in his ear, her voice full of emotion, "You take care of her, you hear? Hear me, Jon? I am leaving her under you now, if anything happens to her....." Her voice cracked and she said more quietly, "Keep yourself safe, and keep her safe, please for me Jon."
He pulled away and nodded, muttering something to her that I could not hear. Turning to us, Jon murmured, "Let us go."
With that, we departed into the darkness, leaving my former life behind and entering a whole new one.