James led Sarah out the left side door. They passed a stair well and turned left down a hall.
“James,” a voice hissed urgently from a door behind them.
James stopped and pivoted, locking gazes with the woman. Looking back and forth between them, Sarah wondered what was going on. The woman was clearly a servant.
“Do I get an introduction?” Sarah broke the silence.
The woman raised her eyebrows, but James shot Sarah a glare. “There’s clothing in the Hall that needs burning, Sharon.” He emphasized the name. “They are to be burnt in the fireplace, and I will personally over see it.”
“Of course Lieutenant...” Sharon began.
“Captain now,” he corrected her, but ignored her curious gaze. “I’ll be up for Sarah’s rags once I’ve dropped her in a cell.”
Pivoting once more James led Sarah to the other end of the hall.
“Now that’s a pretty ass,” a man whistled they entered a dark corridor.
“Shame she has no hair,” a second guard stated. “I like to pull on it when I...”
“She’s not to be touched,” James commanded, “under penalty of death.”
“Now that’s a pity,” the first one pouted. “We could use some new ass around here.”
“Well maybe if you didn’t abuse it so much you wouldn’t use it up so quickly.” James opened another door and shoved Sarah through it. “General Wholawski left the order to not touch her, so you best see to it that you don’t.”
The door slammed shut and they made their way down a dark stair deep into the ground. They passed one level only to continue down to the next. The floor here was hard packed dirt and Sarah shivered from the cold. Occasional groans came though from the door on the right, while occasional sobs came from the door on the left.
“Jailer!” James pounded on the right door. “Jailer, I have fresh meat for you!”
There was a scream and then creaking as the door opened to reveal a stereotypical beefy guard. Sarah suddenly felt vulnerable as the man’s eyes perused her body.
“Not that kind of meat!” James snorted.
The guard turned to James. “Ah Lieutenant...”
“Captain,” James corrected once more. “Promotion for bringing this one in.” he explained. “Additionally; General Wholawski wants no one to touch her. At least; not yet.”
“Boss knows best,” the man grinned in a displeasing manner, exposing three teeth, black with rot. “There’s a free cell on the left side of the West block. Third one up.”
“I’ll put her in, then I’ll be back with some rags to keep her warm.”
“Oh there are lots of ways to keep her warm,” the guard grinned again.
“And rags was the manner I was ordered to provide.”
“Suit yourself, but there’s a man I’ll be lashing over near the east cell block.” He winked at James.
James snorted once more.
Shivering, Sarah was shoved through the left door into a short cellblock. Torches flickered high on the wall casting harsh shadows. She was not given time to look into any of the cells, though she heard the occasional sobs. Too soon she was in front of the third cell. Tossing her in, James cut her bonds and pulled them off. He gathered them up before shutting the door. For a moment his face lingered at the barred window, and then he was gone.
Sarah closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against the bars. Tears began to form in her eyes. She was alone; stripped of her willow cloth with no chance of finding a willow tree. Jay couldn’t help her now. He couldn’t even comfort her with his mental presence.
Moving to the wooden bench that lay upon one wall, Sarah curled up. She had no mattress or blanket. Not to mention the place stank of human refuse and death.
“I can do this,” she whispered to herself. “I can do this...”
But, no matter how many times she whispered those words she knew she couldn’t. Not alone; she’d never get out alone. Someone had to have helped Jason, but Sarah had never asked who. She was not prepared.
“Oh Gods,” she sobbed softly, “help?”
A pound on the cell door, made her sit up. James was back and she tried to swallow her sobs enough to glare at him. He opened the door and tossed something in towards her.
Slamming the door shut, James left. Sarah stared at the rags where they lay upon the floor. At last, she reached forward and grabbed the shirt.
Sarah! Jason’s voice was clear as a bell in her head.
“Oh thank God. Thank Gods. Oh...”
The relief that flowed between her and Jason was almost palpable. Sarah quickly put the shirt on and then the pants.
Seems James is on our.... but her thought was interrupted as James’s face appeared once more at the door.
His eyes bore into hers as his mouth moved, but she heard no sound. Sarah walked towards him. She leaned into the bars, trying desperately to hear what he was saying.
“I am Captain of the General’s elite men." His voice was barely audible. "If I do not use some of my knowledge, everything will fail.”
Shit, Sarah wasn’t sure if the thought was hers or Jason’s. You can have Laura warn Philip; right?
There was no answer, though she felt Jason pulling away from her. Curling up on the bed, Sarah tried to make herself comfortable. Eventually she gave up and just stretched out and looked at the ceiling.
Sarah? Jay presence came back to her.
What am I supposed to do now? she queried. I’m locked in a cell with barely anything for clothing and...
Keep faith, Sarah, Jason soothed her. I brought my men out of that dungeon. I can bring you and the Princess out of the dungeon. Just keep faith, he repeated more to himself than her.
Sarah closed her eyes and curled back up, trying to get some rest to keep up her strength.