The person knocked again. “Weapons, for those who fight for Major James!” he yelled.
Something clattered to the ground and Sarah heard the man walk away. Cautiously, she unbolted and opened the door. Peering through the heavy fog she couldn’t see much, but she could hear shouts, screams and fighting. It reminded her a bit of the chaos at Wholawski’s camp in the woods. The only thing missing were the howling wolves. However, she turned her mind from that to the bundle of swords and knives on the ground. The man stepped from behind her and helped to pick them up and bring them inside. Sarah didn’t bother re-bolting the door.
“I doubt there will be any need to defend ourselves, given how chaotic it is out there, but...” Sarah smiled.
Everyone got a dagger, including Katherine and Lady Miriam. Then the man and boy took swords leaving two more. Sarah tried them both, but they were too heavy for her, so she grabbed another dagger. Lady Miriam giggled as she belted one around her waist. Harriet and the man looked at Sarah concerned, but she could only shrug. Miriam was still drugged, with what Sarah didn’t know, but it was working in their favor.
“Alright,” the man looked around. “I’ll take my family and one more, to make things even.”
Before Sarah could nod, the other bake house girl spoke. “I’ll go with them.”
The man looked around his group and smiled slightly. “Through the Kitchen, up the stairs to the right down the hall and outside?”
“Correct.” Sarah nodded.
The man smiled. “I’ll thank you since Sharon has disappeared.”
“You’re welcome,” Sarah smiled. “We’ll see you out back in a little bit.”
After they left, the rest of them puttered about the bake house while Sarah kept an ear out for trouble. She heard a lot of shouts and cries, most of which sounded scared. Looking back towards the group, she noticed that Lady Miriam was starting to droop. If she came off whatever drug she was on now, it might be impossible to get her to the meeting place.
Deciding they had waited long enough, Sarah opened the door. There didn’t seem to be anyone nearby. She looked back and beckoned the girls forward. They gathered about her silently and Sarah could feel their nervousness.
“Chop ti nan ter,” Lady Miriam whispered.
“Lady Miriam you stick by me,” Sarah spoke quietly. “I’d like you next,” she indicated Katherine and her child, “followed by Tralee and then Harriet. You may all want to grab a frying pan or something if you can. They may not kill but you can knock someone out or block a sword.”
There was a little bit of commotion as all but Miriam did so, before they reassembled behind her.
“We’ll go quiet as we can, got it?”
Everyone nodded and Sarah stepped out into the fog. It swirled about her and she could barely see the kitchen door. Crossing the distance Sarah set her back against the door she motioned the others to take their place on the other side of it. She listened intently, but even the wailing kitchen women were gone. Hand on her dagger she opened the door and moved inside. There was no one there.
“Come in,” she whispered.
Her group obeyed; Harriet closing and barring the door behind them. Sarah repeated the same procedure at the other kitchen door. A slight smile played at her lips despite the seriousness of the situation as the Mission Impossible theme played in her head. There were the sounds of fighting here. They were slightly muffled so she cautiously opened the door.
A quick glance to the left showed her that the door to the Great Hall was closed and barred. Sarah motioned the girls to the stairs as she kept a look out down the hall leading to the tower. When they were all up Sarah followed and carefully passed them to the reach the top.
Making sure that all was clear, Sarah began to lead them down the hall. Suddenly they all stopped as a figure appeared in the broken doorway. Lady Miriam screeched and ducked behind Sarah quivering.
“York?” Sarah queried as she took up a fighting posture just in case.
“Not for much longer I’m afraid.” The Nigiri grinned sadly as Sarah and her group approached. “Just remember, when the water flows from the castle gates and the gale buffets the walls, everyone must leave this place and go to higher ground.” He laughed as he raced past them, blowing a kiss to Tralee. “The Gods are bringing the Fortress down!”
His words seemed to echo down the corridor as he disappeared down the stairs.”Come on, let’s get to the boat.”
Sarah urged them to the back door. She didn’t bother listening here, but rather just ushered them through into the biting wind.