Knowing, full well, the consequences of her warrior way, Sarah let it out. Here it was useful. Here it was survival. If she did not beat this man, show that she was a force to reckon with she would be used and abused by every man in this camp, Wholawski’s protection or no. That was something Sarah had vowed she’d never let happen again.
At first, the Major managed to keep her at bay with his sword. But, eventually Sarah managed to duck under it and twist the sword from his arm. It fell and clattered against hers where it lay. She gave him no chance to remove his own dagger from its sheath.
Chantey’s attempts to best her were valiant but he hadn’t the training she had. Nor was his motivation for winning as strong as hers. Once, he tried to blind her with ice and dirt, but Sarah managed to avoid it. At last, she had him pinned, face down, upon the ground. He struggled until he felt her dagger upon his neck.
“Kill me” he whispered the lust in his eyes long since replaced with fear. “Show me mercy...”
Sarah almost let him up, his voice sounded so pitiful. Then she remembered that if she didn’t kill him, Wholawski would whip him to death. Strange how it was saving him from whipping which made her decision easier, not the avoidance of sharing a bed with Wholawski. Knowing what had to be done Sarah loosened her grip, spun the man face up and drove her dagger into his heart.
Standing up, Sarah staggered backward slightly as adrenaline left her body. She pulled herself erect. Now was not the time to show weakness. So, Wholawski had made her kill a man in cold blood. She was still Sarah and she was still in charge of herself. Turning her eyes upon that General, she dared him to challenge that fact.
Wholawski clapped; once, twice, and then more quickly. He stopped. “Well done!” The smile that spread across his face gave Sarah chills, but she wouldn’t back down her stance. “I do believe you are a pale skinned Arenian, given that display.” He snapped his fingers at James before raising his voice to the others. “Any man who dares touch the Goodwoman shall die by her hand. She has earned her right to carry a dagger and wear her skirt-pants that she might beat you back into place. Understood?”
“Yes General,” the men responded with one voice as James pulled the dagger from Chantey’s chest.
He whipped the blade clean on the man’s shirt and handed it back to Sarah. She sheathed it and strode forward to pick up her coat.
“Come,” Wholawski placed her hand upon his arm, “let us dine.” He led her on, “James, be sure the Goodwoman’s clothing is returned to the guest room. You can inform our guest she’s being replaced.”
“Replaced?” Sarah spoke before she could think.
“Why do I need a Princess to raise my brood?” he queried. “When I have a warrior woman to ensure that no son is raised a wimp?”
“Why not make her my servant?” Sarah asked her mind racing with ways to keep the girls safe.
Wholawski pondered this in silence as they made their way up to the dais. He sat her down and then pounded on the table. Sharon appeared in the doorway and he beckoned her forward.
“Goodwoman Sarah is now in charge of the women. The Princess shall be her Lady-in-waiting, the other two shall move to the kitchens. Any other changes she wishes to make shall be done.”
“So you replace me, brother?” Sharon kept her voice low, for the hall was filling with men.
The General chuckled, deep in his throat. “She killed Major Chantey whose secrets you have kept from me, be glad I don’t have her kill you too. Now serve us dinner!” He banged his fist upon the table.
Sharon bowed her head, but not without a glance to Sarah. There was a fire burning in the woman’s eyes and Sarah hoped to the Gods Sharon was still on her side.