Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chapter 28

"That was my foot!" Alroy said from in front of him.
"Sorry." Cayle said to the darkness ahead of him.
"How long is this tunnel?" Cadman asked. "It seems to go on for ages."
"We've been in here for five minutes..." Finn said.
"Shut up." Was the response.
"How on earth do you boys ever get anything done?" Bart commented.
"Slowly." Cayle replied.
"I think I see something ahead." Cadman said. "It's a light!"
Anxious to get out of the dark and dank tunnel, they all hurried their pace, tripping over each other's limbs in an attempt to get to daylight and fresh air.
Finally, they emerged into sunlight, being temporarily blinded by its intensity after the darkness.
"Ouch." Cadman said. "That smarts a bit."
"Just a bit." Cayle agreed.
"Where are we?" Alroy asked.
"I have no idea." He replied, walking ahead a bit. "I think we're outside of town."
"I can't even see anything." Finn said, blinking rapidly in an attempt to regain his sight.
"Aha!" Bart exclaimed. "I know precisely where we are!"
"Lost?" Cadman said.
"Not at all." Bart said. "We're a mile out of town; the stables are over there."
He pointed to a small structure that stood right outside of the giant stone walls that loomed overhead.
"Well, that was easy." Cadman said.
"Where is she?" Finn asked. "Wasn't she supposed to meet us here?"
"Maybe she couldn't get away right yet." Alroy suggested.
"Maybe." Cayle said, though he didn't sound convinced. He started walking over to the stables, the others following behind.
                                                                        * * *
Deanna was escorted back to her rooms and left there, with guards posted outside, while inside she paced, trying to think of how to escape.
There was a knock at the door and a small woman entered, her mouse brown hair cut short. She carried a silver tray with food on it. She bowed and then set it down on the table near the window and left without a word.
Deanna eyed the food warily, was it poisoned? She found that, after being told not to leave, how comfortable she had become here, and how now that comfort is her prison. She laughed at that thought. Who knew?
She sat down and looked at the plate for a minute before deciding that she really was hungry. She picked up the fork and started eating.
                                                                       * * *
He paced back and forth, alternating between looking at the stone wall and the sky.
"Why are you pacing?" Cadman asked.
"No reason, why do you ask?" Cayle said.
"Oh I don't know, because you seem a little on edge." He replied.
"Shouldn't we get going?" Alroy asked. "We don't want them to discover that we're gone while we're still here."
"We can't leave yet." Bart said. "We wait for her."
Alroy sighed. "I really don't understand why everyone is after that girl, what did she do anyway?"
Cayle stopped pacing and stared at him. "You really don't have a clue do you?"
"No." Alroy said.
"Well, let's just say she killed someone very important for a very stupid reason."
"What the hell kind of explanation is that?" Alroy replied.
"A vague one, I believe." Bart said.
"She killed the Prince of Albernath because he supposedly had information on a man named Herndon, who by the way, doesn't exist." Cadman explained. "She ran, and a bounty was put on her head and that's where we come in."
Alroy laughed. "You're bounty hunters?"
"Yes, got a problem with that?"
"No no, it's just, you three? You don't seem like assassins."
"Then what do we seem like?" Finn asked.
"If I had to guess?" Alroy said. "A farmer, a wannabe knight and his wannabe squire."
"Guess you've got us pegged, huh? Mr. Runs-from-bandits." Cadman said.
"Boys, please." Bart said exasperatedly. "Must you keep arguing?"
"It passes the time." Cadman said, glaring at Alroy, who glared back.
"Something must have gone wrong, otherwise she would have been here by now." Cayle said.
"What makes you such an expert?" Cadman asked. "You spent maybe five minutes in her company and suddenly you know everything about her, and now your acting like your...." He trailed off and a look of surprise and amusement came over his face. "No way."
"What?" Finn asked.
"Shut up, Cadman." Cayle said with a warning in his voice.
"No way!" Cadman said, ignoring it. "You fancy her, don't you?"
Cayle ignored him and looked at the stone wall some more.
"Oh my god! You do!" He was laughing now, and Cayle was visibly getting angrier and angrier.
"I agree with Cayle." Bart said. "Something must have gone wrong."
"What should we do?" Finn asked.
"Good question." Cadman said, regaining his composure.
"Should we go in after her?" Finn asked.
"And risk being thrown in the dungeon again? No thanks." Cadman said.
Alroy rolled his eyes, but didn't say a word.
"Yes, Finn, that's exactly what we should do." Cayle said.
"Whoa whoa whoa!" Cadman said. "Don't we get a say in this?"
"All in favor?" Cayle said, and he, Bart, and Finn raised their hands. Alroy and Cadman shared a glance, and Alroy shrugged and raised his arm.
Cadman hung his head. "We are going to die, I just know it."
"With that negative attitude? It's almost certain." Alroy said.
"I'm not going to dignify that with a response." Cadman said. He sighed. "Alright already; when do we go? And how do we get in?"
"Simple." Cayle said. "We walk right in the front door."
He pointed towards a carriage that was just visible in the distance, heading towards the castle.
They were just able to make out the flags that the foot-soldiers carried: a wave crashing onto the shore.
"We are definitely going to die." Cadman said.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chapter 27

Deanna went through her room for stuff that she thought might come in handy at some point, stuffing the items into a saddlebag she'd found.
There was a knock at her door and she jumped. She hid the saddlebag under some pillows on a chair and opened the door.
                                                                          * * *
They followed him down the halls, past the prisoners reaching through their cell bars, grabbing at them, crying out for help and some crying out for blood.
Cayle walked next to Cadman in the lead and, after several minutes of searching and finding nothing, finally broke the long silence.
"Are you sure you know where this is?" He asked. The moment the words left his lips, he wished he'd never spoken them.
"Of course not! You think I'm a bloody bat that can see in the dark?" Came the reply. "All these hallways look the same! How am I supposed to know which way is which?"
"Um, gentlemen." Bart said.
"Well why didn't you leave a trail for yourself?" Cayle demanded, his temper flaring.
"GENTLEMEN!" Bart yelled, startling the arguing men into silence. "Thank you; now if you're done arguing, I believe Finn has just found our way out."
Cayle and Cadman shared a look before following Bart's gaze to where Finn was kneeling next to a hole in the bricks. He was wearing his pride on his face as clear as day.
Cayle knelt down beside Finn and looked out through the bricks. It was a tunnel. He glanced at Finn, who was still grinning.
"Oh shut up." He said.
Cadman knelt next to them and peered into the darkened tunnel a moment before reaching behind him and taking the lantern from Bart and crawling into the tunnel.
"You go next, Finn, then Bart, then you, Alroy; I'll go last." Cayle said. Finn nodded and followed Cadman inside, followed by Bart and Alroy.
Cayle took a look around him at the barren dungeon, the criminals roaring at each other through their bars. How had he not heard all of this racket when he was in his own cell? He shook his head and crawled after the others through the tunnel.
                                                                      * * *
A guard greeted her when she opened the door.
"My Lady," He said respectfully, bowing his head slightly. "The Duke requests your presence."
"Alright." She said, stepping out into the hall and closing the door behind her. "Lead the way."
He bowed and turned on his heel and lead her down the long halls until they reached the first room she ever saw in this castle.
The Duke was sitting on the throne, just like the last time she'd seen him. But what held her attention was what was in front of him, or rather who.
The maid who had shown her the dungeons was kneeling in front of the throne, head down and shoulders shaking as she sobbed, pleads escaped her lips between her trying to catch her breath.
The Duke, who looked like he was enjoying the sound of the maids sobs, looked up when she approached the throne. He smiled at her.
"Welcome, Lady Deanna." He said.
"What's going on?" She asked.
"Oh nothing, just the norm inside the castle." He said and snapped his fingers and two guards approached the sobbing woman and half carried, half dragged her out of the room.
Deanna saw one of the men whisper to her when he was out of the Dukes sight. He was comforting her.
She returned her gaze to the Duke, who was still smiling at her.
"How are you enjoying your stay here?" He asked.
"It's fine." Deanna responded.
"Everything is satisfactory?" He pressed.
"I suppose." She responded, her suspicions being roused.
"Good." He said.
"Why?" She asked. The smile was becoming unnerving.
"I was hoping you would consider extending your stay." He said.
"Thank you, but no thank you." She said. "If that's all, I think I'd like to leave now; thank you for your hospitality, but I really must be off."
His smile slipped. "I don't think you understand,"
"Understand what?"
"It wasn't a request."
Her eyes widened and she stared at him before turning on her heel and making a run for the door. Two guards stepped in her way, blocking the door, she spun again and found that there were now guards on every exit.
She looked around a moment longer before turning her eyes back to the Duke, who was smiling again.
"How could I refuse?" She said.