Climbing up the ladder Sharon disappeared into the ceiling and Sarah followed. As her head peaked through the opening Sarah could see three figures huddled in the attic of the bake house.
“Hush now, it’s only me,” Sharon spoke softly. “We have a new guest, who understands.”
Sarah pulled herself up and into the space in the dim flickering candle light she could barely see their faces. Two girls and a boy returned her gaze. They’re barely adults, Sarah thought, shocked, yet they’ve been subjected to this place?
“Is that the girl James spoke of?” a voice spoke from a dark corner.
“How is your son?” Sharon asked.
“He sleeps.” A woman stepped into the light, smiling at her bundle.
“May I?” Sarah indicated the bundle.
“I’m Katharine,” the woman held the bundle towards Sarah. “This is Brian.”
Sarah looked at the sleeping babe; a peaceful face among the fearful. She dared touch his hair to move it form the child eyes. There was something familiar about the face.
“He is James’s child?” her voice was hushed, hoping not to set off a tirade from Sharon again.
“Yes,” the woman choked on her words. “He was born while James was away, and we’re not really married.” The woman cuddled the child close. “He needs to be properly blessed before he turns a year...”
“Why are you bloody?” the boy piped up.
“She just killed Major Chantey,” Sharon stated before Sarah could reply.
“Did he suffer?” Sarah knew by the girl’s tone that Major Chantey had been the one to force her.
“He was beaten by a girl in front of all the men,” Sarah stated, “though I killed him to spare him death by whipping.”
“Why?” The other girl wanted to know.
“Because,” Sarah sighed, “If I didn’t I’d have to spend a night with Wholawski.”
“Oh ...” All four pairs of eyes widened.
“You’ve been in here long enough,” Sharon spoke, “The guards will wonder if you stay longer.”
Katherine caught Sarah’s sleeve as she made to leave. “You will help us won’t you? James, he doesn’t know about his son yet, and if anyone hears the baby cry ...” The girl swallowed. “They will kill him and do worse to me.”
“Of course,” Sarah glanced back and saw her hope reflected in the other’s eyes. “I will do everything in my power and then some to get you all out of here.” Sarah began to climb down the ladder. “I’m just going to have to do some talking to Phoenix,” she muttered.
“I thought Phoenix was dead,” Sharon whispered as she joined Sarah below.
“Don’t believe everything you hear,” Sarah smiled. “James goes to speak with him tonight.”
Sharon unbolted the bake house door and Sarah strode from it back to the kitchen. From there she went to the Princess’s room.