NaNoWriMo Day 25 Part 1
posted at: 11/26/2014

Matilda had opened her eyes and sat up straight, or as straight as she could anymore, when she discoverd that she might not be executed. Her hands were still tied behind her back and she tried to scoot away from the stump, which had now become the scene of combat. The sounds of splashing were quite loud by now, and there was the thumping of many feet on the steps outside the dungeon. Frederick was fighting back the two guards, who had both drawn their swords and closed in on him. When they didn't make headway quickly enough, the prince drew his own sword and joined the battle. They formed a loose triangle around the lone defender and had managed to knock him to the ground at least two or three times. It looked like the three men would finally overpower the Dungeon Keeper, but they never got a chance.

It was all over in no more than a few minutes. A sudden swarm of human beings converged on the dungeon. Some had entered through the castle, others were dripping and looked like they swam across the moat. In the flurry of bodies, Matilda was thoroughly confused. She watched as the wave of them pushed the prince and his guards into one of the cells. It was locked. Forty or fifty other men and women were thrown into cells and the dungeon was suddenly very full.

The next thing she knew, Amaranth was helping her to her feet with Cagil and Captain Herman standing behind him, grinning down at her. Frederick was carried away--presumably to be treated for the injuries he sustained in the final confrontation. There were still people milling about everywhere.

There must have been hundreds of them. Matilda noticed farmers with pitch forks and guardsmen and adventurers in weather beaten armor. One or two looked like they may have been wizards, but Matilda didn't remember having met them before and wasn't sure. Mr. and Mrs. Weisgarber made their way through the crowd, with Pete trailing in their wake. Before they reached her, Pete jolted with a sudden remembrance and hurried off through the crowd.

Jack and Cindy sidled up to the little group and shouted over the noise. "Hello! It's good to see you!"

Cagil shouted. "Let's get someplace quieter!" He turned to Captain Herman and looked a question.

The Captain nodded. "I'll stay here and help get everyone settled down." He shouted. Then, after a brief smile in the Queen Mother's direction, he walked away and began shouting orders to the various guards milling about.

Pete came back just as Matilda, Mr. and Mrs. Weisgarber, Amaranth, and Cagil were beginning to push their way through the crowd and out of the dungeon. He was holding a large brass key in his hand and looking smugly satisfied.

The group made their way out into the Queen's Gardens, on the West side of the castle with the cliffs looming over them. On their way outside, Matilda spotted signs of the mob that had raged through the castle not long before. Tables and chairs were tipped over. Tapestries had been ripped off of the walls and a few mirrors had been shattered. In a few points there were patches of blood, but not nearly as much as the Queen Mother had expected.

As they stepped out onto the garden's terrace, Matilda automatically glanced up at the cliff top towards Herford's odd house and suddenly remembered her old friend. "Herford! Did the trackers get him?"

Cagil laughed. "Oh, no. They didn't even come close. He's sitting in the Blue Pigeon now, probably chewing on my store of onions."