The man looked at him in surprise. “A diversion?” he whispered. “How?”
“I’m not sure,” Layke admitted, “but it’ll be the only way we can get past those guards.”
“We will get the strongest to create the diversion, because then if something goes wrong they can always run,” Layke said.
“They’ll need to run even if nothing goes wrong, anyway, because they need to get away from the sentries after creating the diversion.”
“You’re right,” Layke said. “Do you know anyone who’s fit enough to be in our diversion team? I’ll go.”
“I’ll go too,” the man said. “I think the person in the cell beside me should go. He was dragged into the dungeon relatively unharmed, so I think he should be alright.”
“Do you know his name?” Layke asked. The man shook his head.
“But I do remember he had black hair, a neatly-shaved face, and was medium height.” The muscled man thought for some more. “He was also wearing a tattered blue coat that looked rather expensive. It had gold cuffs.”
“Thank-you,” Layke said. “I’ll ask Linda whether she knows who he is.”
“The old stubborn bat that refused to climb the wall.” Layke smiled at his description of her.
“What a charming description,” Linda said from behind him. Layke whipped around to face her.
“I have a question for you,” Layke said. “Do you know the man in the cell beside...” he trailed off, realising he didn’t know the burly man’s name.
“Lucifer,” he provided.
“Lucifer’s cell?” Layke finished.
“Which one?” Linda asked. “There were two sides.”
“I’m not sure,” Lucifer admitted. “They disorientated me. I think it was the cell to my right. The rich-looking man.”
Linda’s eyes narrowed. “Was he wearing a blue coat?”
“Yes,” Lucifer answered. Linda said nothing for a while.
“No, we can’t use him.”
“For the diversion?” Layke asked. “How did you know?”
“That doesn’t matter,” Linda waved it away. “What matters is the man in the cell beside yours. Do you know his name?”
“No,” Lucifer said.
“Good. He is an evil being that does not deserve to live.”
“Was the the one in the last cell?” Layke asked. Linda nodded, a faint movement.
“He was something horrible, that one. Don’t talk about him, ever.”
Layke didn’t know how to reply, so he said nothing. Instead, he went over to Waiye’s women, who were crouching, tensed, on the top of the wall.
“Are we going now?” one of the women asked.
“Not yet. We need a diversion, otherwise the sentries will catch us.” Layke looked over the wall to check where the sentries were. They were on opposite sides of the wall, now, and were about to start coming back the way they came. “We’re going to be spotted very soon. Who wants to be a part of the diversion team?”
Two hands went up. Layke nodded at them. “Good. Come with me.”
The two women made their way around their friends until they were next to Layke. They looked fit and healthy enough.
“Can you run?” Layke asked them. One nodded but the other one hesitated.
“How fast?” she asked nervously.
“Fast enough to not get caught by the sentries. They can’t go very far, because then they’d be leaving their posts. We just need to distract their attention and send them running to one side of the wall. Then we’ll have to run for it. Do you think you’re up to it?”
The woman bit her lip. “I think so.”
“If you aren’t, don’t go. We can’t afford to leave someone behind,” Layke said.
“Are you going?” the woman asked. Layke nodded. “Then I’m going too,” she said firmly. “I’m not going to be beaten by a mere boy.”
Layke was still slightly offended by this, but managed to ignore it this time. “Come with me.” He made his way back over to Lucifer, who was watching the sentries.
“They’re coming this way now,” Lucifer said.
“I know,” Layke replied. “We’ve got our diversion team.”
“Good. We’ll create our diversion to the left side of the wall and get everyone else to the right,” Lucifer said. “I’ve observed the sentry’s routes and I think that is the safest way to go about it.”
“Ok. I’ll tell everyone else. You two stay here,” Layke said, addressing the two women. They nodded at him and Layke went over to the rest of the group.
“You’ll all have to go, single file, to the far right side of the wall,” Layke told them. “You’ll have to crawl on your bellies and when you pass the sentry going to other way, be extremely quiet. If the sentry happens to hear you, go back down the side of the wall that faces the dungeon door. But only go down halfway with your fingers still hanging onto the top of the wall, because there might be guards on the other side, too, and you want to be able to make a quick getaway if you have to. When the diversion is made and the sentries go to the left side of the wall, climb down and run into the trees just there.” Layke pointed to the trees just in front of the fortress wall. “Don’t go too far, though, because the diversion team will have to find you.”
There were nods and ‘yes’-es. “Start crawling now,” Layke said.
He went back over to the diversion team. The sentries were nearly onto them now.
“It’s nearly time to go,” he whispered to Lucifer. Lucifer nodded.
“On three,” he whispered.
“One, two,” Layke said, “three!”