“Is he dead?” Sharon asked.
“He is only unconscious at the moment, but he will be dead soon enough.” Chester cleaned off the dagger on the hem of Wholawski’s jacket.
Sarah? Jason’s voice broke into her puzzlement. What’s going on?
Chester is apparently on our side... her thought trailed off as James spoke.
Sarah did a double take around the room. No, Chester was not on the floor, and she definitely remembered he had risen to stab Wholawski. Furrowing her brow she looked at the man. He sure as hell looked like Chester, yet there were subtle differences in the way he spoke and carried himself.
“Major James.” the Nigiri smiled. “Lady Phoenix,” he gave Sarah a bow, “and Goodwoman Sharon. Now before I get into explanations, we should get this body,” his face grimaced as he looked to the General, “secured in the dungeon before he wakes up. I believe there is also a Lady down there who needs rescue?”
York/Chester hefted Wholawski onto his shoulder and proceeded to move from the room. Sharon stepped aside to let him pass, a wary look on her face.
“Come now, you need not be afraid of me, with the Gods’ Nectar in my brother’s body, I will be able to control it for a while.” He looked back to where the three of them stood in the door. “At least,” he smiled, “long enough to ensure the fortress’s downfall.”
“So you’ve possessed Chester’s body?” Sarah asked to make sure she was clear what was going on.
“Most certainly,” he glanced at her, “Lady Phoenix. I do hope that you can forgive me for impersonating my brother and trying to kill you. I let brotherly love get in the way of the Gods’ mission.”
“Right,” Sarah furrowed her brow and looked back to the others. Well, she thought, he did stab Wholawski and knock him out, he can’t be that bad...
Just be wary, Jason informed her. She rolled her eyes but resisted commenting.
“I thought you were taking him to the Dungeon,” Sharon spoke up as they passed the stairwell.
“We are my Goodwoman, but we are going to avoid being spotted by the crowds downstairs.”
York leaned against the end of the hall and kicked a board. A door slowly moved open. He smiled and led them through and up a couple steps to the Guard hall. Being the second floor it stretched all the way across form one tower to the other and Sarah could see the murder holes in the floor. Suppressing a shudder she followed York down the nearest tower.
“Let me understand this, York,” James broke the silence. “The fact is, that you are dead, and have taken over Chester’s body. Not, that you have been impersonating Chester this whole time?”
“Believe me,” York smiled as James let them into the cellblock. “There are many things that my brother does that I would not be able to do. To keep up that sort of impersonation would have taken more skill than even I have.”
They entered the torture chamber and Sarah saw Lady Miriam strapped inside the hose clamp. It was hung from the ceiling, suspending her at waist height. She was bent in half, her butt protruding. Sarah didn’t want to think about what the General would have done to her in that position.
“Chop ti han coke nock?”
Lady Miriam spoke as Sarah and James worked to free her. The woman was watching York who, with Sharon’s help, was strapping Wholawski to the rack.
“Yes, the Gods have given me life, for a little while,” York responded.
“Co tux Tralee?” Miriam asked as she stood and stretched.
“Not yet, though I am afraid I may not have time for that.” He checked his knots.
“CHESTER!” Wholawski’s bellow interrupted whatever the Nigiri was going to say next.
“Chester?” York looked about. “Have any of you seen Chester?”
Lady Miriam giggled.
“What is the meaning of this!” Wholawski struggled but York’s knots held.
Lady Miriam stepped forward and poked the man in the chest. “Chop ti sco nan pa coke tap”
“Wholwaski’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t talk nonsense to me,” he growled.
“Ah, but she is right.” The General’s gaze flicked to his Nigiri. York laughed. “The Gods have been watching what you grow.”
“Rap que pah han an sus nock,” Miriam poked Wholawski’s belly button.
“The Gods saw you sow the seed of strife,” York translated again, clearly amused with the message.
“Pa co tux na po ent moke!” Miriam cried as she punched Wholawski in the groin.
Wholawski flinched, but the ropes kept him from doubling over. A smile flitted across Sarah’s face.
“Reap them now give them your life.”
York chuckled as he and Lady Miriam stepped aside to let Sharon forward.
“You are with them sister?” Wholawski’s eyes grew wide and Sarah saw a hint of fear in them. “After all we have been through together?”
Sharon did not look at Wholawski, but rather studied the strange device that she held in her hands. To Sarah it looked as though someone had stuck two grilling forks end to end. As Sharon lifted her head, Sarah noticed the malicious smile upon the woman’s face.
“Yes brother. That is precisely why I am with them.”
Sharon jammed one side of the device into Wholawski’s chest and the other into his chin. Sarah winced. It looked awfully painful.
“How long do I have?” Sharon asked, her eyes focused on her brother.
York pulled out the dagger he’d used to stab the man. He sniffed it, ran a finger along it and tasted that. Then he pricked himself with it and closed his eyes. Sarah looked at James, but he was un-phased by the Nigiri’s actions. Lady Miriam leaned into her.
“Han ork nock Chop ti.”
“Two hours at most, and now I have but four, with much to do.” York spun to face Sarah and James. “Come we must ensure that this fortress falls.”
“Only two hours,” Sarah heard Sharon state as the rest of them left. “The Gods must pity you, for I would rather have two weeks.”