As Sarah and the Princess made ready to leave, Lady Miriam suddenly darted out of her hiding spot.
“You can’t go!” she grabbed on to Sarah’s leg. “Please, you have to stay and protect me. What if they come back for me? You said, you said...”
“I know,” Sarah told her as kindly as she could. “See this bar here?” Miriam nodded. “Once we are through the door, you put it back in place and you don’t take it off for anybody.”
“Wha, what if you want to come in?” she asked, quivering.
“There are other ways if I need to.” Sarah took the girl's hands in her own. “Don’t you worry either, my friends will be here in the morning to take you back to your father.”
Unfortunately, the mention of her father sent Lady Miriam into hysterics. Time forced Sarah to pry the girl off and leave her alternating between sobbing and wailing. Looking to the man in the hall as they left, she caught his eye.
“Don’t let anyone into that room aside from me, understood?”
The man nodded and Sarah led the Princess, dressed in layers, out to the Gatehouse. Wholawski and a group of men, including James, were waiting in front of the inner portcullis.
“Are you sure we are doing the right thing?” Princess Allmarah whispered, clearly nervous.
“Absolutely.” Sarah turned her head and gave a slight smile.
The Skathains have been warned, Jason informed her, Eilonwy, will accompany them. She speaks some Errion, which is close enough to Vervellean to be understood.
Wholawski smiled as the two women approached him.
“The Princess, alone, will be escorted to the edge of the drawbridge under a white flag by James and his men,” he told them.
Sarah swallowed and nodded acquiescence. I have faith, she told herself. Stepping aside to let the Princess pass, Sarah gave the young woman a slight bow.
Allmarah drew herself up to full height and acknowledged Sarah’s bow with a nod. Then, with deliberate steps, she moved to stand beside James. His men formed up around them and they began to walk through the Gatehouse.
“LOWER THE DRAWBRIDGE AND RAISE THE OUTER GATE!” Wolawski’s bellow startled Sarah. “Come Goodwoman, let us watch this exchange from the best vantage point.”
There really wasn’t anything left for Sarah to do but follow him. Moving inside they went, to the ramparts above the fortress exit. As she reached the parapet, she saw James stop at the edge of the drawbridge and unfurl the white flag.
“Whose undergarment did you use?” Sarah sneered, “’cause I can’t see a man like you keeping a white flag around.”
Wholawski chuckled. “They have their uses and sometimes I even honor the truce.” Suddenly the man was behind her. One arm wrapped around her to immobilize her arms, the other held a knife to her neck. “Try to yell and warn them and you will die.”
Sarah struggled slightly in his grip. The knife pressed deeper into her throat. She stopped.
“Fine, have it your way.”
Now wasn’t the time to oppose him. Not, she thought as her eyes flicked about, with so many men about. Suddenly she realized something. Jason, she began to panic, I think he means to shoot them...
Precautions are being taken, Jason answered her. Have faith Sarah.
Sarah sighed slightly at his echoing of what she’d told herself earlier. Wholawski kept her in his tight grip as they watched the scene before them unfurl.