The blade sank in to the target and I allowed a small grin to perk up the corners of my lips. Being trapped here, unable to go out in to the villagers for fear of being recognised was torturing me, and it had only been a week. Everyone else came and went, visiting, feeding, taking food parties out... the only thing I had been able to do was go on a hunt. It was trying my patience, but somehow as my blades hit the centre of each target I felt a little better. At least I was in practice. I found myself almost hoping for another raid so I could don my mask and join the others once more.
The camp suddenly became loud behind me and I turned. The young child, Ali, had appeared, breathless. She was talking to Jem and as she finished Jem began to make orders. I slipped over to listen.
"You, you and you, we'll need you to go amongst the villagers, warn them that there may be trouble. We don't want them getting caught up in this. The rest of you follow me; we have to make sure he doesn't storm the castle single handedly, else he's dead for sure."
I grinned and disappeared in to my hut, grabbing my mask and throwing my cloak around my shoulders. As soon as the mask was in place I took my bow and quiver that was filled with newly sharpened arrows, and returned to the group and followed as they made their wayout of the secret tunnel and in to the woods.
We hurried through the trees, silent and anxious. I gathered that Griever, who I had seen leave earlier, was trying to break in to the castle. But why, and why on his own?
We stopped at the edge of the village and Jem took front position. I crept up to join her. She glanced at me and then shook her head.
"Kate, what are you doing here?"
"You're not supposed to be out."
"In normal wear yes, but this is Hawk business. What's going on?"
"The Norida girl has been captured. Griever went after her to find out and now he's planning to storm the castle or something." I saw her roll her eyes through her mask.
"So, we find him and then we save the girl."
"It's broad daylight."
"So? You wouldn't hold back if it was me. Let's go. Now."
"Kate! We need a plan."
"Ok, the plan is, find Griever, get in the castle, save the girl. How did she get captured?"
"Ali said Twynam-"
"Twynam! Good, I've been waiting for a chance to get back at him for taking my mask off. It's his fault I'm stuck there all the time."
"It's been a week."
"A week is a lifetime." I replied. "How're we getting in?"
"I don't know, they blocked the passage we used to use..."
"We could go through the sewers."
"Come on." I glared, and motioned for the others to follow. We slipped out and ran to the nearest building. We made our way through the town, narrowly avoiding guards that were milling around. There seemed to be more and I wondered if this was also Twynam's doing. He seemed to have a lot more control than the previous Marshall.
All of a sudden a guard began running towards the castle. Others followed.
"Guess that's our signal to get a move on. "I muttered to Jem, and we all hurried forward, ignored in the chaos that was insuing as more guards realised they were needed. We slipped round the side of the castle to where the tunnel opened to the sewers. "Hold your breath." I chuckled before taking a deep breath and climbing down.
It wasn't terribly bad. We avoided the true horror by climbing on the ledge the lined the tunnel, and once we reached the place where the holes were placed all we had to do was aim an arrow through and shoot a rope out.
As I climbed out of the sewer and through the hole I grimaced. Castle toilets. Gross.
There were six of us in all, not counting Norida and Griever once we had found them. As we gathered round and helped Kiara, the last of our group to climb through, the door opened and a guard walked in. He stopped and stared at us all, and I grabbed him, slamming the door in to his head and then dragging him inside the room.
"That was close. Hide him. He might raise the alarm if he wakes up so gag him too." I heard my instructions being carried out behind me but kept my ear to the door to listen for other intruders. The corridor seemed quiet.
"Right, let's go. We're going to have to split up, else it'll be obvious we're here." Jem said, trying to regain some order. "Groups of two, the girl will be in the cells. We'll head there." She pointed at myself and her. "Kiara you and Lia go to the courtyard, be ready to help us escape. Man the gates if you have to. And see if Griever is there. You two, take the walls, make sure we're not going to get fired upon as we leave. Oh and if you find any of the Sheriff's money on your way..." She winked. "Right, let's go."
We headed out and Jem and I headed towards the vault where the prisoners were kept. The corridors were strangely void of soldiers, but the occassional sound of metal on metal gave me reason to believe that something was happening in the courtyard, and that something was probably Griever. Or Kiara and Lia.
"He may be interrogating her." Jem whispered.
"Those plans we swiped last time, they show a room next to the cells used for that sort of thing. I would say we head to the cells and if she's not there then we hit that room."
"Agreed," I replied.