Shouted orders and the sounds of chaos woke Sarah in the early hours of the morning. She quickly dressed in the clothing she’d worn on the previous day. None of the other outfits were ready to wear. It would also be a good test for her anklets.
Jay. Jay! JAY! Sarah mentally shouted to get his attention as she belted on her knife. Jay can you hear me?
She felt his presence as he spoke. You are very faint. Are you in danger?
No, not yet, she told him, but something’s going on outside and it seemed a good moment to test my anklets.
Your what? Obviously, he’d never heard of anklets either.
Bracelets for my ankles, she explained, we made them from Willow cloth last night, but it’s the only bit of Willow I’m wearing right now. I figured that would be the easiest way to keep Willow cloth on me at all times.
A surge of approval came from Jason before he hardened his tone. I need you to get Lady Miriam out of the dungeon.
Me? Sarah queried. How?
I don’t know, Jason stated, but James seems to think you can.
Right, she sighed. I don’t suppose you know why I’m hearing craziness going on outside.
Jason was silent on that and Sarah growled slightly in frustration. She splashed some water on her face and looked out to the Lake.
“Goodwoman Sarah?” A soft voice made her turn around. The younger maid stood nearby her face very worried.
“Tralee, right?” The young woman nodded. “What is it?”
“The commotion, do you know what it is about?” she asked.
Sarah shook her head. “I was going to go find out.”
“But what of us?” Sarah turned to face the Princess who had risen.
Sarah thought for a moment. “Tralee, you and Harriet should go to the kitchen. I’ll take you down. Princess,” she turned to where Allmarah was rising from her bed, “best you stay in here and barricade the door from the inside if you can. Don’t let anyone but us in.”
“And how will I know it’s one of you?” Princess Allmarah asked.
Sarah tapped out ‘shave and a hair cut... two cents’ gently on the wall. “We can knock like that.” Tapping it out again she encouraged the two maids to try.
“Do it again,” Princess Allmarah commanded
They complied before Sarah led them to the door. “Work on the sewing you began yesterday to keep up appearances.”
“Why are you taking my maids?”
Sarah wrinkled her nose. “Wholawski’s ordered them to work the kitchen. I’ll make sure they are put under mine and Sharon’s protection.”
“And what are you going to do?” the Princess queried.
“I’m going to find out what's going on and fetch Lady Miriam out of the dungeon.”
“May the Gods prevail,” her Highness whispered as they left.
It wasn’t long after Sarah had closed the door that she heard scraping coming from behind it. She and the maids made their way to the stairs. Taking them into the kitchen, Sarah noticed it was already full of activity. Sharon glared as she entered.
“They should have been down here before dawn to help,” the woman stated, hands on her hips as she looked over Tralee and Harriet. “Like as not they don’t know how to cook.”
“But surely they could be of help in the bake house,” Sarah suggestion before the girls said anything. “At least they can bring breakfast up to the Princess.”
Sharon snorted, “You’re not going to have your maid follow you about?”
Sarah shook her head. “Pointless, I need her to sew and if you don’t have use for these girls I’ll send them back up to sew as well.”
“Well if they can sew then they can mend and be sure the bread doesn’t burn.” Sharon turned and pulled a tray that had just been laden with food. “And you best serve the General. There’s enough for you. He’ll be in the hall or his room.”
“Do you know what’s going on outside?” Sarah asked as she took the tray.
“I try not to listen to what the men are doing unless it involves one of my girls, you best do the same.”
Like hell I will, she thought as she smiled at the nervous maids and left.