Lord of the Sky – Kathryn Le Veque

THEY WERE NEARİNG the Flint Tower. The breach of the Tower of London had thrown everything into chaos and the agents of William Marshal had followed their liege into the bailey on the hunt for one of their own. Sean de Lara, who had made all things possible. It had been Sean’s work for nine long years that had culminated in this moment – the breach of the Tower of London. But in doing so, word had come back to The Marshal that de Lara’s position had finally been compromised and that his role as a spy had been discovered. King John was fighting a losing battle against his barons and the Executioner Knights had moved with their armies to shore up the Tower and force the king into compliance. But first, they had to find de Lara before John’s assassins did. None of them was more aware of that than Kevin de Lara. It was his brother they were hunting for on this inky night, when friend and foe was so difficult to see because of the moonless sky. There were torches all over the grounds of the Tower of London to stave off the darkness, but it was still difficult. Kevin was in a panic. He was looking at every face, every figure, in the hunt for his brother. Around him, his friends and colleagues, were doing the same thing – searching, hunting, for the greatest spy in The Marshal’s stable. Somewhere in the process, they had lost sight of The Marshal himself, for the man seemed to have disappeared. “This way!” Bric MacRohan, the big Irish knight who commanded the de Winter armies, was waving his arm.

“To the White Tower! The king’s men are coming from the White Tower!” He was shouting to the group behind him – Kevin as well as fellow elite knights. And what a group it was – seasoned, powerful, deadly. Men who had been fighting for more than twenty years in some cases. A few had even been to The Levant with King Richard and had learned the more deadlier, deceitful art of warfare. The names hunting for Sean were some of the most feared and respected in England. Dashiell du Reims, Cullen de Nerra, Maxton of Loxbeare, Kress de Rhydian, Achilles de The breach of the Tower of London had thrown everything into chaos and the agents of William Marshal had followed their liege into the bailey on the hunt for one of their It had been Sean’s work for nine long years that had culminated in this moment – the breach of the Tower of London. But in doing so, word had come back to The Marshal that de Lara’s position had finally been compromised and that his role as a spy had been discovered. King John was fighting a losing battle against his barons and the Executioner Knights had moved with their armies to shore up the Tower and force the king into None of them was more aware of that than Kevin de Lara. It was his brother they were hunting for on this inky night, when friend and foe was so difficult to see because of the moonless sky. There were torches all over the grounds of the Tower of London to He was looking at every face, every figure, in the hunt for his brother.

Around him, his friends and colleagues, were doing the same thing – searching, hunting, for the greatest spy in The Marshal’s stable. Somewhere in the process, they had lost sight of The Marshal “This way!” Bric MacRohan, the big Irish knight who commanded the de Winter armies, was waving his arm. “To the White Tower! The king’s men are coming from the He was shouting to the group behind him – Kevin as well as fellow elite knights. And what a group it was – seasoned, powerful, deadly. Men who had been fighting for more than twenty years in some cases. A few had even been to The Levant with King Richard Dashiell du Reims, Cullen de Nerra, Maxton of Loxbeare, Kress de Rhydian, Achilles de Dere, and Caius d’Avignon were part of the group. These were the commanders of The Marshal’s stable of agents, but there were also secondary commanders with them – Morgan de Wolfe, Gareth de Llion, and even Peter de Lohr. Peter’s father and uncle, Christopher and David de Lohr, had the largest combined army currently in battle. As the Earl of Hereford and Worcester, and the Earl of Canterbury respectively, Christopher and David had led the bulk of the attack that night. Even now, Christopher was holding the Byward Tower entrance and David and his men were covering the Traitor’s Gate access point.

They were joined by Sir Gart Forbes and his son, Romney de Moyon, Baron Buckland, and a contingent of war-hungry soldiers from Dunster Castle. In fact, it had been Gart and Romney who had first breached the Traitor’s Gate to gain entrance. After that, everything had been madness. There were so many allies, so many men involved, that it was like a gathering of the clans. Everyone was at the White Tower this night to ensure it fell into the hands of the barons who had been struggling against the injustice of John for the past several years. This was a hard-fought battle in a hard-fought war that had seen strife and casualties on both sides. Years of missions, death, and triumph had come down to this moment. The Marshal’s agents were leading a group of about five hundred men from the de Winter army, their mission to find Sean and to secure the White Tower. But they weren’t moving with confidence – there was too much uncertainty for them to do that. They carried heavily smoking torches with them, but there were shadows in every corner, at every turn.

On this moonless night, every movement was dangerous. Men were dying everywhere. They were over by the Tower now, that enormous structure of stone and wood, soaring into the night sky. As they were running towards it, a woman and two men fled past them. The woman was weeping, in between the men, who were practically dragging her away. As she was shuffled off into the shadows, Kevin and Bric kept leading their group towards the entry to the Tower, but that came to an abrupt halt when they saw men running out of the darkness towards them. It took them a moment to realize it was William Marshal and another man dragging a massive body between them. It was Sean. Kevin thought he might have let out a gasp of panic. He couldn’t be sure.

All he knew was that he recognized his brother’s limp form, even in the darkness, and he ran towards them. Reaching out, he grasped for his brother, but he didn’t have a chance to speak before The Marshal was barking commands. “John is coming from the White Tower behind us,” he said. “Bric, move your men over to the entry immediately. Prevent them from following us. They want de Lara and the man has been mortally wounded.” That was enough for Kevin. He shoved the other man holding up his brother aside, taking the burden himself. He found himself looking into his brother’s half-conscious face as Caius, a man of extreme strength and a close friend of Sean’s, took The Marshal’s place at Sean’s side. Dere, and Caius d’Avignon were part of the group.

These were the commanders of The Marshal’s stable of agents, but there were also secondary commanders with them – Peter’s father and uncle, Christopher and David de Lohr, had the largest combined army currently in battle. As the Earl of Hereford and Worcester, and the Earl of Even now, Christopher was holding the Byward Tower entrance and David and his men were covering the Traitor’s Gate access point. They were joined by Sir Gart Forbes and his son, Romney de Moyon, Baron Buckland, and a contingent of war-hungry soldiers from Dunster Castle. In fact, it had been Gart and Romney who had first breached the There were so many allies, so many men involved, that it was like a gathering of the clans. Everyone was at the White Tower this night to ensure it fell into the hands of the barons who had been struggling against the injustice of John for the past several years. This was a hard-fought battle in a hard-fought war that had seen strife and casualties on The Marshal’s agents were leading a group of about five hundred men from the de Winter army, their mission to find Sean and to secure the White Tower. But they weren’t moving with confidence – there was too much uncertainty for them to do that. They carried heavily smoking torches with them, but there were shadows in every corner, at They were over by the Tower now, that enormous structure of stone and wood, soaring into the night sky. As they were running towards it, a woman and two men fled past them. The woman was weeping, in between the men, who were practically dragging her away.

As she was shuffled off into the shadows, Kevin and Bric kept leading their group towards the entry to the Tower, but that came to an abrupt halt when they saw men running out of the darkness towards them. It took them a moment to realize it was Kevin thought he might have let out a gasp of panic. He couldn’t be sure. All he knew was that he recognized his brother’s limp form, even in the darkness, and he ran towards them. Reaching out, he grasped for his brother, but he didn’t have a chance to speak “John is coming from the White Tower behind us,” he said. “Bric, move your men over to the entry immediately. Prevent them from following us. They want de Lara and the That was enough for Kevin. He shoved the other man holding up his brother aside, taking the burden himself. He found himself looking into his brother’s half-conscious face as Caius, a man of extreme strength and a close friend of Sean’s, took The Marshal’s Together, they had more than enough strength to bear Sean’s burden.

“Go,” William hissed as the sounds of sword fighting began to fill the air. “Your fellow Executioner Knights will buy you time to get Sean away, but you must hurry.” “Go where, my lord?” Kevin asked, his voice full of anguish. “We cannot take him to Farringdon House. It is too far. He needs a physic immediately.” “I am a physic.” The man whom Kevin had shoved aside spoke irritably. “My cart is this way. We can take him out of this place to somewhere safe so long as we can get through the Byward Tower.

” “Take him to Rossington House,” William said quickly. “It is near Aldgate and it is safe. And de Lohr holds the Byward Tower, so he will let you pass. Move!” More sounds of heavy sword fighting, the kind of fighting when broadswords of big knights went up against broadswords of big enemies. It was the king’s men against The Marshal’s men in an all-out battle that had been building up for years. The torches that the de Winter army had brought were illuminating the scene, and Kevin could see Maxton and Kress and Achilles engaging in a massive battle with some of the king’s guard. Cullen, an enormous knight with a heavy sword, was in a nasty fight with a particularly large soldier. Everyone else was fighting for their lives, too, trying to give them time to get Sean away. Kevin knew they had no time at all to delay. With his brother securely in his grip, he began to move.

“Come on,” he hissed to Caius. “Help me!” Between Kevin and Caius, they followed the old man to his cart, which was parked in the darkness near one of the massive, barrel-shaped towers that secured the walls of the Tower of London. The cart was a wooden one, with tall sides and a bed full of straw. A nervous horse was harnessed to it and as they heaved Sean into the straw, someone came up behind them and grabbed Sean’s legs. Kevin and Caius looked up to see Morgan de Wolfe, Caius’ second in command. Between the three of them, they easily situated Sean on the bed of hay. “What do you wish of me, Cai?” Morgan asked quickly. “Shall I go with you?” Caius shook his head. “You are needed to fight,” he said. “Make sure the king’s men do not follow us.

Where is my squire? Where is William?” Morgan pointed in the general direction of the Byward Tower. “He is with his father and the de Wolfe army holding the bridge with de Lohr’s men.” Edward de Wolfe, Earl of Wolverhampton, was tight with Christopher de Lohr and had been for many years. The de Wolfe army had only arrived within the hour, long enough for Caius to lose sight of his squire when the young man rushed to aid his father. De Wolfe and de Lohr, holding the Byward and Middle Towers to protect the drawbridge, made for an awesome alliance. “I shall find him,” Caius said. “Go back with The Marshal and find me at Rossington House when this is over if I do not find you first.” As Morgan nodded sharply and fled, the old physic jumped into the wagon bed beside Sean. “Drive us away from here,” he barked at Kevin as he hovered over Sean. “My job is to “Go,” William hissed as the sounds of sword fighting began to fill the air.

“Your fellow “Go where, my lord?” Kevin asked, his voice full of anguish. “We cannot take him to a physic.” The man whom Kevin had shoved aside spoke irritably. “My cart is this way. We can take him out of this place to somewhere safe so long as we can get “Take him to Rossington House,” William said quickly. “It is near Aldgate and it is More sounds of heavy sword fighting, the kind of fighting when broadswords of big knights went up against broadswords of big enemies. It was the king’s men against The Marshal’s men in an all-out battle that had been building up for years. The torches that the de Winter army had brought were illuminating the scene, and Kevin could see Maxton and Kress and Achilles engaging in a massive battle with some of the king’s guard. Cullen, an enormous knight with a heavy sword, was in a nasty fight with a particularly large soldier. Everyone else was fighting for their lives, too, trying to give them time to Kevin knew they had no time at all to delay.

With his brother securely in his grip, he Between Kevin and Caius, they followed the old man to his cart, which was parked in the darkness near one of the massive, barrel-shaped towers that secured the walls of the Tower of London. The cart was a wooden one, with tall sides and a bed full of straw. A nervous horse was harnessed to it and as they heaved Sean into the straw, someone came up behind them and grabbed Sean’s legs. Kevin and Caius looked up to see Morgan de Wolfe, Caius’ second in command. Between the three of them, they easily situated Caius shook his head. “You are needed to fight,” he said. “Make sure the king’s men Morgan pointed in the general direction of the Byward Tower. “He is with his father Edward de Wolfe, Earl of Wolverhampton, was tight with Christopher de Lohr and had been for many years. The de Wolfe army had only arrived within the hour, long enough for Caius to lose sight of his squire when the young man rushed to aid his father. De Wolfe and de Lohr, holding the Byward and Middle Towers to protect the drawbridge, “I shall find him,” Caius said.

“Go back with The Marshal and find me at Rossington As Morgan nodded sharply and fled, the old physic jumped into the wagon bed beside “Drive us away from here,” he barked at Kevin as he hovered over Sean. “My job is to keep this man alive. Your job is to get us away from this place.” There was panic in his voice, something that threatened to unravel Kevin’s control. He couldn’t even take the time to look at his brother or talk to him. He was afraid that if he did, he would break down and all would be lost. Therefore, Kevin forced himself to focus. He did his best thinking when he was in battle mode, pretending he didn’t have a dying brother to get to safety. They needed to leave the Tower. He had to get them out of there.

“Cai,” he said. “Get into the bed of the wagon and protect Sean with your life. We could not help him earlier, but we can help him now. My brother deserves that much.” Caius nodded as he leapt into the back. Kevin could tell that Caius, too, was in battle mode. He was Sean’s very best friend in the world, so he knew that Caius was as shaken as he was. But they were also professional knights and this was a combat situation. They had a job to do at the moment and collapsing with grief at Sean’s condition wouldn’t help matters. There would be time enough for that later.

Kevin leapt onto the small bench of the wagon, collecting the reins and whistling at the horse to get it moving. The animal was very nervous from all of the battle sounds going on around it, but it worked to their advantage. As they neared the Byward Tower, which had the only bridge across the moat at this point, a soldier startled the little horse and it panicked. It began to run, with Kevin trying desperately to control it, and he managed to steer it through the Byward Tower and across the drawbridge. At that point, they’d reached the Middle Tower and the Lion’s Tower, where actual lions were kept by the king to strike fear into the heart of his enemies, but also to impress his visitors. Kevin managed to pull the horse to a halt because he couldn’t go any further. Crowds of battling men were clogging the tower entrance. Mercifully, the lions had been taken to a safe vault beneath their tower to protect them from the siege, but the Middle Tower had been badly damaged by the de Lohr war machines, specialized catapults that had been brought all the way from the Welsh Marches and reassembled for the assault on the Tower of London. An ally of the king had arrived and was battling de Lohr and de Wolfe for control of the tower. Caius, now standing up in the cart bed, watched with Kevin as de Lohr and de Wolfe men pushed back the onslaught of troops bearing the colors of the House of de la Londe.

A French family with a nasty reputation, who had been given lands near Colchester, had come to the aid of the king. But it had been too little, too late. Kevin caught sight of Christopher and David, standing with Edward near the mouth of the tower, as they watched their men push back the surge. The tower was heavily positioned with torches, so the battle was well-lit. “Look,” Caius said, pointing. “There is my squire in the middle of it.” Kevin could see young William de Wolfe swinging a sword with the skill of a much older man. He was a big lad, having seen fourteen years, and fought as well as a There was panic in his voice, something that threatened to unravel Kevin’s control. He couldn’t even take the time to look at his brother or talk to him. He was afraid that if he Therefore, Kevin forced himself to focus.

He did his best thinking when he was in battle mode, pretending he didn’t have a dying brother to get to safety. They needed to “Cai,” he said. “Get into the bed of the wagon and protect Sean with your life. We Caius nodded as he leapt into the back. Kevin could tell that Caius, too, was in battle mode. He was Sean’s very best friend in the world, so he knew that Caius was as shaken as he was. But they were also professional knights and this was a combat situation. They had a job to do at the moment and collapsing with grief at Sean’s condition wouldn’t help Kevin leapt onto the small bench of the wagon, collecting the reins and whistling at the horse to get it moving. The animal was very nervous from all of the battle sounds going on around it, but it worked to their advantage. As they neared the Byward Tower, which had the only bridge across the moat at this point, a soldier startled the little horse It began to run, with Kevin trying desperately to control it, and he managed to steer it through the Byward Tower and across the drawbridge.

At that point, they’d reached the Middle Tower and the Lion’s Tower, where actual lions were kept by the king to strike fear into the heart of his enemies, but also to impress his visitors. Kevin managed to pull Mercifully, the lions had been taken to a safe vault beneath their tower to protect them from the siege, but the Middle Tower had been badly damaged by the de Lohr war machines, specialized catapults that had been brought all the way from the Welsh An ally of the king had arrived and was battling de Lohr and de Wolfe for control of the tower. Caius, now standing up in the cart bed, watched with Kevin as de Lohr and de Wolfe men pushed back the onslaught of troops bearing the colors of the House of de la Londe. A French family with a nasty reputation, who had been given lands near Kevin caught sight of Christopher and David, standing with Edward near the mouth of the tower, as they watched their men push back the surge. The tower was heavily Kevin could see young William de Wolfe swinging a sword with the skill of a much older man. He was a big lad, having seen fourteen years, and fought as well as a seasoned knight. His talent at such a young age was unmatched, but his father and the de Lohr brothers were keeping a close eye on him. Even Kevin could see that. But he didn’t have time to observe anything more. He began to shout at the three earls.

“Clear the gate!” he bellowed. “I have Sean! I must get through!” They heard him. That drove all of them into the fray, standing around, or near, William and battling the soldiers who very much wanted to claim the tower. There were other de Lohr and de Wolfe knights involved, a very well-trained and experienced crew, and to see their lieges in the middle of the hand-to-hand combat at their advancing ages only made them fight harder. But it was also an inspiration. A clear path began to form. Kevin could see that the de Lohr and de Wolfe men were pushing the tide of de la Londe men back. The little horse, however, was terrified and wouldn’t move forward, so he climbed down from the bench and covered the horse’s eyes with a sash he kept around his neck to catch the sweat. Kevin began to move forward then, leading the horse and cart, slowly pushing through the tide as Caius came out of the wagon bed and fought men from behind who were trying to close in on the cart. Up ahead, Kevin could see William and Christopher fighting side by side, the talented young squire and the seasoned, older earl.

Had he not been so concerned with his brother, he would have thought the sight to be impressive. He was seeing England’s future knights in young William de Wolfe, and it was an awesome spectacle. But there was no time to dwell on it. He was forced to unsheathe his broadsword at one point, hacking the arm from a soldier who had grabbed for the reins. As the man screamed and fell away, Kevin started to run, picking up the pace as he pulled the cart through the fighting. But on his way, he grabbed the tunic of William and yanked the youth along. “Get in the wagon,” he bellowed. “We need your sword.” Young William gave up his prime spot next to Christopher and vaulted into the wagon where Sean lay bleeding. Caius, seeing that he had collected his squire, jumped on as well.

They managed to keep any de la Londe soldiers away from the wagon as Kevin pulled the blindfold off the horse and resumed his seat on the bench. Snapping the reins, Kevin smacked the horse and the animal bolted. The cart plowed through the remaining men until they finally broke free, leaving the siege of the Tower of London and galloping into the city at a frantic pace. There were armies clamoring all around the Tower at this point, in groups that were gathering around the moat. There were clashes, too, as the barons and their armies went up against Crown troops or allies, so there were pockets of fighting. All of this beneath a coal-black sky. Still, Kevin could see enough that he could get through them. There were torches and bonfires everywhere, lighting up the land. Flaming projectiles flew through the night sky as the massive war machines launched them over the walls. He and the pony cart veered onto Tower Street, which ran east and west, paralleling the Thames, but there were seasoned knight.

His talent at such a young age was unmatched, but his father and the de Lohr brothers were keeping a close eye on him. Even Kevin could see that. But he They heard him. That drove all of them into the fray, standing around, or near, William and battling the soldiers who very much wanted to claim the tower. There were other de Lohr and de Wolfe knights involved, a very well-trained and experienced crew, and to see their lieges in the middle of the hand-to-hand combat at their advancing ages Kevin could see that the de Lohr and de Wolfe men were pushing the tide of de la Londe men back. The little horse, however, was terrified and wouldn’t move forward, so he climbed down from the bench and covered the horse’s eyes with a sash he kept Kevin began to move forward then, leading the horse and cart, slowly pushing through the tide as Caius came out of the wagon bed and fought men from behind who were trying to close in on the cart. Up ahead, Kevin could see William and Christopher fighting side by side, the talented young squire and the seasoned, older earl. Had he not been so He was seeing England’s future knights in young William de Wolfe, and it was an But there was no time to dwell on it. He was forced to unsheathe his broadsword at one point, hacking the arm from a soldier who had grabbed for the reins. As the man screamed and fell away, Kevin started to run, picking up the pace as he pulled the cart through the fighting.

But on his way, he grabbed the tunic of William and yanked the Young William gave up his prime spot next to Christopher and vaulted into the wagon where Sean lay bleeding. Caius, seeing that he had collected his squire, jumped on as well. They managed to keep any de la Londe soldiers away from the wagon as Kevin Snapping the reins, Kevin smacked the horse and the animal bolted. The cart plowed through the remaining men until they finally broke free, leaving the siege of the Tower of There were armies clamoring all around the Tower at this point, in groups that were gathering around the moat. There were clashes, too, as the barons and their armies went up against Crown troops or allies, so there were pockets of fighting. All of this beneath a Still, Kevin could see enough that he could get through them. There were torches and bonfires everywhere, lighting up the land. Flaming projectiles flew through the night sky as the massive war machines launched them over the walls. He and the pony cart veered onto Tower Street, which ran east and west, paralleling the Thames, but there were mostly lots of land and manor homes here, belonging to some of the great ruling houses of England. The Marshal had two London townhomes, but they were deeper into the city.

Farringdon House, his primary residence, was near Westminster, while Rossington was on the northeast section of the city. It was smaller, but no less heavily guarded. Kevin knew where it was, though he hadn’t visited it frequently, so he quickly turned off Tower Street and headed north to Aldgate Street, which was a major thoroughfare. He would find Rossington on Aldgate. Because of the siege at the Tower of London, the streets of the city were vacant. The city’s occupants had folded into their little residences, terrified at the unprecedented battle. There were, however, roaming bands of soldiers in the streets as more military support poured into the city gates. At the moment, London was a city under siege and there were soldiers everywhere. Kevin spent a good deal of time avoiding these roaming armies, unsure if they were friend or foe. The little horse had a surprising amount of energy and was not showing any signs of slowing down as they neared the city wall.

Going beyond the city wall, however, was not necessary because Rossington House was located just before a gate in the enormous wall that encircled London. In fact, he could see Rossington up ahead in the darkness, a three-storied wattle and daub structure with dark crossbeams and whitewashed walls. As was common with the architecture of the day, the upper floors were wider than the bottom floor to expand the interior space. The upper floors extended beyond the ground floor by several feet and were supported by large beams dug deep into the ground. The house was also surrounded by a stone wall that rather than having a wall walk, had enormous iron spikes on the top of the wall to prevent men from trying to climb over it. Rossington House had a fortified iron gate built into the wall at the entry. But at the end of the house, it also had a second larger iron gate that was meant for carriages and horses. Kevin went straight to this second gate and began to shout. “Open the gate!” he bellowed. “I have a wounded Marshal man! Open it, I say!” The house was completely dark, meant to give the illusion that no one was inside, but Kevin knew better.

He also knew that they might not open the gate to him at all, so he resorted to the seldom-used password that all Marshal agents used in times of confusion and warfare. It identified men under The Marshal’s command. He began to shout. “Newberry Castle!” Very shortly, he began to see men running out of the darkness, straight to the gate to unbolt it from the inside. As Kevin charged through and into the yard beyond, servants emerged from the house carrying fish oil lamps to illuminate the night. They ran straight for the cart as Kevin pulled it to a halt. “Get this man inside, for he has a terrible wound,” he commanded, unable to say the word “mortal” where it pertained to Sean’s wound. “This horse is to be well tended and well fed, for it has seen a great deal of terror this night.” mostly lots of land and manor homes here, belonging to some of the great ruling houses The Marshal had two London townhomes, but they were deeper into the city. Farringdon House, his primary residence, was near Westminster, while Rossington was on the northeast section of the city.

It was smaller, but no less heavily guarded. Kevin knew where it was, though he hadn’t visited it frequently, so he quickly turned off Tower Street Because of the siege at the Tower of London, the streets of the city were vacant. The city’s occupants had folded into their little residences, terrified at the unprecedented battle. There were, however, roaming bands of soldiers in the streets as more military support poured into the city gates. At the moment, London was a city under siege and Kevin spent a good deal of time avoiding these roaming armies, unsure if they were friend or foe. The little horse had a surprising amount of energy and was not showing any signs of slowing down as they neared the city wall. Going beyond the city wall, however, was not necessary because Rossington House was located just before a gate in the In fact, he could see Rossington up ahead in the darkness, a three-storied wattle and daub structure with dark crossbeams and whitewashed walls. As was common with the architecture of the day, the upper floors were wider than the bottom floor to expand the The upper floors extended beyond the ground floor by several feet and were supported by large beams dug deep into the ground. The house was also surrounded by a stone wall that rather than having a wall walk, had enormous iron spikes on the top of Rossington House had a fortified iron gate built into the wall at the entry. But at the end of the house, it also had a second larger iron gate that was meant for carriages and The house was completely dark, meant to give the illusion that no one was inside, but Kevin knew better.

He also knew that they might not open the gate to him at all, so he resorted to the seldom-used password that all Marshal agents used in times of confusion Very shortly, he began to see men running out of the darkness, straight to the gate to unbolt it from the inside. As Kevin charged through and into the yard beyond, servants emerged from the house carrying fish oil lamps to illuminate the night. They ran straight “Get this man inside, for he has a terrible wound,” he commanded, unable to say the word “mortal” where it pertained to Sean’s wound. “This horse is to be well tended and He was leaping off the wagon as servants swung into action. He rushed to the rear of the cart as Caius and William were getting a good grip on Sean, who had passed into unconsciousness by this time. Kevin took his brother’s legs and, between him and Caius and William, they managed to shuffle him into the darkened manse. The majordomo, a man named Bowes, directed them into a chamber on the lower floor of the manse where a large bed was the focal point of the room. The chamber was cold and dark, but that quickly changed as a gang of servants began to stoke the hearth and light the way. Sean was carefully deposited upon the bed as the old physic once again hovered over him, checking wrappings, checking the hasty stitching he’d done earlier at the Tower to ensure it had held. Caius sent William out to make sure that the manse was secure and they’d not been followed.

When the squire dashed off, he stood with Kevin at the end of the bed, watching the servants crowd around Sean as the small physic tried to save his life. They were still in battle mode, still fleeing with a wounded brother, and it took them both a moment to settle down and realize that, for the moment, they were safe. But battle mode wasn’t so easily shaken. Sweating and twitching with adrenalin, Kevin moved towards the old physic as the man re-stitched the wound under Sean’s right armpit. “What do you need?” he asked. “Wine,” the old man said. “I need wine and boiled linen. Hurry!”

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