The Eilythry World
Week 4, Hiding in a Closet
We are now a few days before our first arrival and Cantrel's capture. We will now sit back and wait for these things to happen:
On the first day of waiting, a she-knight with a girl squire moved into the room the closet of which we infest. The second day was uneventful. On the evening of the third day, we heard thumping in the courtyard -- us arriving, we suspect. Aphron snuck out into the room in the watchtower, latched the door and had a look. Someone tried to get into the room and was just getting puzzled, when all hell broke loose up on the wall. (The locked door, however, gives a retroactive explanation for why we weren't shot at through the watchtower arrow slots.) Up on the wall, Cantrel had just discovered the hordes of guards. Then a door opened and a guard tripped over Cantrel and off the wall. A second guard fought him and followed the first. Shortly after that, Cantrel was overwhelmed by guards and marched off.
During the night, we looked around for a way to keep track of Cantrel. We inquired if there were any small mechanical fliers in the pantope. The serving system recalled that, years ago, the Captain had had a set of robot songbirds. It rummaged around and found them -- a set of six in a handsome velvet-lined presentation case. The serving system can see through their eyes and guide their actions, but they can also operate in a pre-programmed way. Unfortunately, they are for singing, not espionage, but they are a lot better than nothing.
Next day, we watch Cantrel's trial by bird -- they are obviously impressed by his odd weapons and fighting prowess, but we now have a language barrier -- they took Cantrel's translator and our translators, being psionic in nature, have to have the original voice of the subject to work on; they don't work through the ears of a robot bird.
Inevitably, Cantrel gets marched back to the common dungeon. We start a relay system of birds and keeping a bird's eye on developments in the courtroom, the bedroom with the closet, and the guardroom above the dungeon, in the course of the day. Dame Janith & squire are kicked out of the best bedroom and the bishop is installed, with two of his retinue. Dame Janith fights a practice round with a male knight in the courtyard. We send Cantrel a bird bearing a spare translator, and another bearing maps of the pantope doors in the castle, and yet another with a written account of our dealings, past and past/future, with the castle. (The future message gets lost, as I suppose it had to be.) We also send Cantrel an ultra-blade scalpel, with which he starts to carve his way out of the dungeon, through the wooden ceiling. It beats the Count of Monte Cristo's spoon.
That night, four guards, two drunk and two semi-sober, come into the guard room above Cantrel's dungeon. The drunks hammer on the walls and floors, looking for concealed doors and their missing buddy (the one we snatched) much to Dame Janith's irritation. She summons the captain of the guard, who kicks the drunks out (literally).
Around this time, Cantrel decides to use the spare translator we snuck to him via bird. He shouts up to the guards, demanding to talk to someone in authority. He tries to persuade the guards, then the captain, that he is a landless foreign knight, victimized by a sorcerer, and was mute at his trial due to the blows to the head he received during the fight. No go.
We then send in Dr. Wu, in round-eye make-up and dressed in a stolen habit of the bishop's retinue. He goes to the guards saying he has been sent to talk to the prisoner and figure out his language. Oh, he speaks our language? Then Wu must question him. Wu leans over the trapdoor to Cantrel's dungeon and slips him the flying belt. The guards warn him he dropped something, so he fakes getting it back from Cantrel and departs.
Seconds later, Cantrel flies out, leaving a pair of very startled guards. They run to their captain, who dumps THEM in the dungeon and starts looking for Cantrel, vainly of course.
We continue to send birds to Cantrel. He wants to wait to come in through the closet when things have calmed down. Then, before we can explain or stop him, Cantrel walks out of bird range and beds down in the forest outside town. In the morning, he sees God Gambit, which we were unable to warn him about by letter. He doesn't know what we are up to and runs away. After the God Gambit has failed and we are no longer timelocked, we send him a guided bird, explaining that the doors are still up & he should ignore the fracas. We now wait for the bishop's bedroom to be empty. This isn't going to happen soon, because the bishop is there, recovering from our attack. And the shutters on the window are closed. Two days go by and the Baron's daughter comes in, gifts the bishop with large quantities of flowers and conversation, and throws open the shutters. We send a quick bird to Cantrel, who zips across the countryside, swings out over the bay, over the castle courtyards, and into the window, giving the poor bishop fits. He dives into the closet. One of the bishop's retinue bravely opens the closet and confronts -- and empty closet. He shuts the closet, which opens again as Aphron boils out, rushes to the window, and plucks out the spy-eye we had installed under the sill. And into the closet again. Which is again empty.
Soon, guards come rushing in, find several panicked people, and a closet. It remains an empty closet, but we finally decide to disconnect the pantope, which means that the next time they open it, all the clothes will be gone (they went with the pantope) and the woodwork will be different. We call our birds in through the other door, and are last seen explaining to Cantrel that, despite appearances, the God Gambit was our FIRST attempt to rescue him.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.