Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Scout's Oath - Chapter 19

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Someone is in the supposedly abandoned Aerie.  But who?

It took Nist twenty minutes to complete his approach to the fortress, drifting with the winds and using the propellors to improve steering.  He landed in the shadows, with a tower between us and the lit windows.

We climbed onto the fortress wall as Martin issued instructions to Nist.  "If Stubb's airship gets here before we're back, slip away and get help.  The map shows where the closest pair of my ships is searching."

Nist nodded and the nine of us entered the tower.  We descended the stairs within the tower.  Stone stairs wouldn't creak, but ancient, iron hinges were going to be a different matter.  I'd been prepared to risk the squeal of rusted iron, but Tristan had a better idea.

Using chisels from the Pauline, we dug into the rotted wooden door and freed it from its hinges.  Three of the soldiers pulled the door from its frame and leaned it against the wall.  It was quiet but took five precious minutes.

We slipped from one hallway to the next, watching for guards.  Whoever was in charge in the fortress wasn't expecting company, because we didn't see a single guard.

Minutes later, I peered around a corner and saw a lantern burning at the far end of a hallway.  A lone man sat beneath the lantern, facing in our direction.  He cradled a cocked and loaded crossbow in his arms.  There was no way to sneak up on the guard.  If he was awake, he'd sound the alarm long before we reached him.

Explaining the situation to the others, I asked, "Any ideas for approaching this guy?"

"Yes," Callan said, "but you won't like it."

She was right.  I hated it!

What is Callan's idea and why does our hero hate it?  Find out in Chapter 20, coming Friday!