"I love your daughter. Nothing will befall her," I whispered to Mrs. Elliot. Turning to the girls, I told them it was time to go. We departed without another word spoken.
I knew there was much more that Katrina wanted to tell her mother, and the reverse was probably true as well. I hoped with all of my inner being that each of them would have the chance to do so in the future.
I hated the thought of anyone in this group - especially Katrina - dying in our little masquerade. We would do our best to keep each other safe. But, let's cut to the chase here, I told myself. We are going into a battlefield.
Katrina was the last girl to be picked up. Perhaps she should have been the first. We could have avoided her mother if she slipped out during the day. But, after I thought about it, this way was much better. Her mother would worry either way, but hopefully the worry won't be as much this way.
I kept telling myself that as we rode on. The girls chatted with one another quietly, leaving me alone for the most part. I appreciated that. There was much I needed to think about as well.
We were headed to a townhouse that Eliza had arranged. Eliza and Moira would stay there, and the rest of us would disembark before getting there. After that, the plan was kind of fuzzy.
We each had cover stories. I was to be an ambassador from the north, escorting some of the girls to the opposite side to serve as maids and servants to some of the officers. Thankfully, there was no language barrier or cultural barrier to worry about.
The people of Ibera and Handrin desended from the same group of settlers many generations ago. We only split into serparate countries about two generations ago, and hostilities had only been on the rise for a few decades. So, we still had much in common.
That made our little masquerade easier ... hopefully.
Just before we reached the townhouse, some of the girls came up to me with a question, one I did not know the answer to. I hoped someone could come up with a solution.