Friday, October 30, 2009


"Is this you escape plan, because some how I do not think it will work." Eadward walked over to Hyd and gave him a hand to help him stand up.

"Nice epaulet, brother."

Eadward walked over to Ranee and gave her his hand. She took it and stood.

"I think we should leave," said Eadward. "Sucat and Captain Kennard are not far behind us. They are a bit slow because Sucat did not want to get wet but he did not want to be left behind so he is having Captain Kennard carry him on his back."

"Our cousin is just odd," said Hyd, "which is even more reason to get away."

"The cave is just around the bend. Stephan and John are waiting for us."

Hyd took Ranee's hand and led the way. Eadward took up the rear. Now that Eadward had joined them, Hyd felt some hope again.

The three continued walking in the creek, following its path around a bend to the mouth of the cave from which the creek emanated. Stephan and John stood by the opening on dry ground leaning against the rocks that surrounded the hole in the mountain.

They stood up when they saw Hyd, Ranee and Eadward.

"About time you decided to join us," said John.

"We were about to go in without you," said Stephan. "Your mother's special recipe is calling to us."

"The cave is still stocked from our last visit," said John, "and it looks like you will need an extra dose of Maryn's medicine. There may even be some dried, cured meat left, too."

"This reunion is very sweet, my fellows, but let us save it for when we have the time to enjoy it," sad Eadward. "We need to get secure so that we can take care of Hyd's shoulder."

"Yes, we noticed the addition to your dress," said John.

"Who gave you the gift?" said Stephan, "Captain Kennard would be my guess."

"Actually, this was a special treat from my loving cousin."

"Leave it to you give get caught by Sucat's lucky shot."

"Stop picking on Hyd," said Eadward. "I am sure he feels bad about all of this."

The men all laughed, including Hyd.

Ranee collapsed. She started crying.

"We are in so much trouble and you four stand around telling jokes to each other." She sobbed into her hands. "And now I am crying like a small child."

Hyd knelt down beside Ranee.

"You are right, we should act more concerned, but we joke because we are confident we can escape this mess," said Hyd, "and there is nothing wrong with crying. Eadward cries all of the time."

The men broke up laughing again as Hyd helped Ranee to her feet and she joined in their laughter.

"Rest time over," said John, as he turned and entered the cave.

"I will go next," Hyd said to Ranee. "You hold on to the back of my tunic and not let go. We will not be using light until we get to our hiding place and it is a long walk."

Ranee grabbed the back of Hyd's shirt. He grunted when the fabric tightened around the arrow still in his shoulder. Ranee loosened her grip then let go when she turned at the sound of someone splashing in the water behind them.

Hyd, Ranee, Stephan and Eadward turned to see Captain Kennard come around the bend of the creek with Sucat on his back. Captain Kennard pulled up short when he saw the group.

"Do not stop," yelled Sucat. "Get them."

Captain Kennard shrugged Sucat off of his back, dumping Sucat into the water. He took off running after the group of escapees as they laughed at him and turned to run into the cave to get away. Captain Kennard bellowed as he splashed through the water after them. Several feet into the cave Captain Kennard stopped because it was so dark he could not see his hands in front of his face.

He was quiet and stood still for several minutes. He could not hear any sounds up ahead in the dark tunnel. He would have to go back and get his fellow soldiers and gather supplies. They would need torches if they were to go through this tunnel. He would have to see if he could find anyone who knew the caves. A guide into the tunnel would be helpful. even though this cave was part of Sucat's holdings he doubted if the Baron had ever been here before let alone gone in to the cave.

Captain Kennard turned and went back the way he had come. He used the light from the opening as his guide. He had expected to see Sucat when he got out but he could not see the Baron when he exited the cave. He searched around trying to find him. He found Sucat coming out of the bushes. Sucat's clothes were all wet and he was muddy.

"You idiot," said Sucat, "look at me. I am cold and wet."

"I tried to catch them."

"But you did not, did you?"


"No, what?"

"No, Baron."

"That is better."

Captain Kennard stood in front of Sucat, the Baron Briefadel, at full attention, staring just over the top of the short man's head. Sucat stamped his foot like a small child.

"Well, do something," he said.

"What are your orders?"

"Find them."

"How, sire?"

"If you do not get busy, I will have you flogged in public when this is over. Go find the others and bring them back here so we can get these annoying fleas out of my hair."

"Yes, sire."

Captain Kennard turned from Sucat and retraced his path through the creek on his way back to his men.

Sucat began searching for fire wood. He was all wet so he had no idea how he would start a fire but he would have to prepare. He could not believe that Hyd and his friends were getting the better of him. Sucat needed to calm down and think so he could catch them. He had taken them for granted, underestimating their stamina, especially the girl's. Sucat thought his new wife would have slowed down the escape, but she was keeping up with the men.

Sucat needed to think about the people involved. He knew Hyd and Eadward very well having spent much time with them growing up. He did not know Stephan and John as well but he knew them well enough to know that they were very loyal to Hyd and Eadward and that they were all very good friends and would not leave each other for their own escape. He did not know Ranee at all and had severely underestimated her abilities.

It was clear to him now that Ranee was physically strong, mentally determined and maybe smarter than the average wench. He might even consider keeping her around later. He had enjoyed bedding her. Her struggles and fight had inflamed him, but if he kept Renee he did not think he could keep Jyll too. Another thing he would need to think about. He needed to stop fantasying about his women and form a plan.

By the time he had gathered a large pile of wood, he thought he had a good plan. He sat down by his pile of wood and waited for his men to return. It was now late afternoon so he knew that they would need to wait another day before he could go after Hyd and his group but one more day would not matter for his plan. He was so happy with his idea, that he even allowed himself a smile. He could just picture Hyd and the others, cold and hungry, hiding in the dark and with Hyd in pain from Sucat's well placed arrow shot, it made Sucat all the more happy. The longer they were in misery the better Sucat's plan would work. He lay back on the ground and closed his eyes to wait and he pictured Hyd's situation in his mind.

John was the first to reach the back cave which was well hidden from the front entrance of the cave. The men had found this tunnel system when they were children and were forced to visit Sucat. They had used there tunnels to hide from Sucat and gain some free time from him and their duties. They had used the back cave off and on as they grew older to take time away from their responsibilities. They kept it stocked with supplies that they could use in emergencies and for quick get aways. He found their stash of flint rocks and tinder and struck up a flame that he could use to light a torch.

That one torch he used to light the others in holders around the cave. By the time they were lit, Hyd followed by Ranee, Stephan and Eadward entered the stone room. They all collapsed on the wooden benches that the men had gathered over the years. Stephan, who was seated next to a water barrel that was filled by a dripping from the cave wall, ladled water into mugs and passed them around to everyone. John reach in a cask placed next to him. He broke the hard shell of the salt and dug in the cask to pull out salted mutton strips. The group sat silently chewing on the dried meat and drinking water.

"I think I need something stronger than this water," said Hyd. "I would like to get rid of my cousins gift soon."

Eadward took Hyd's now empty water cup. He pulled a sheep's bladder from a peg in the wall and poured the cup half full of grain alcohol and added some water. He gave the cup to Hyd who drained the cup in one long gulp. He shuddered from the drink but it gave him a warm feeling and the pain in his shoulder began to ease.

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