There is much to write. Much to write, indeed.
Sir Shagor has been told by his man that there has been a sighting of Lady Nancy with her jealous suitor Prince Phillip. It was a fleeting moment, the man had said, so he could have been wrong. But it was as strong a lead as any for my lord, and here we are, docked in The White Horse Inn near the palace at Westminster. Sir Shagor had dressed as a common man – far removed from his customary soldier's attire – and joined in with the drunken chatter and the surly songs.
To blend in, I had marked.
I sat at our table, watching him weave passed drunkards and ask them questions in a tipsy manner, and getting the answers.
Children and drunk men can not lie.
Not very well, at least.
He had come up to me, later on, and had said, “Ah, Watson,” he sat down at the table, “What’s the matter? Are your drawers filled with straw today?” he sounded very sober all of a sudden.
“I’m displeased to see you act in such a manner,” I remarked.
“Ah, well,” said Sir Shagor, “the things men can do for love.”
I brushed the thought away, “What now, my lord?”
“Several of the Prince’s men have confessed in their… present state that my Lady Nancy is, indeed, within his keeping,” he scowled.
“What will you do about this, sir?”
He gave me a toothy grin.
* * * * *
Our previous adventures are ended, and now another must begin anew.
My lord is overwhelmed by his injuries and his pain, but hopefully he will regain his strength and overcome his grief. He cradles his son now, setting him down to sleep…
Sir Shagor had detailed his plans at the White Horse. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t like it, but I conceded to help. My lord had been a good friend to me, he had saved me from countless attempts on my life, and I had always served him.
I would not forsake him now.
We slunk out of the White Horse, standing in the darkness of an alleyway between it and a loud brothel.
There my lord saw it, and raised a hand for me to maintain silence. Out of the White Horse, zigzagging their steps in heavy intoxication, stumbled the King’s guards. Clearly, they were off their shift and, having drunk their fill, wanted to hang about abhorrent female company before passing out from alcohol poisoning. As the first man came up, staggering his along the path and giggling like an oaf, Sir Shagor stood like a praying mantis – waiting, watching – before lashing out from the shadows: grasping the first man’s head in the crook of his elbow, whilst covering his mouth as the guard panicked and writhed, his wind being cut off by the sleeper hold.
Sir Shagor dragged the body into the shadows with him, whilst I took his example, and did the same.
Only, of course, my attempt wasn’t quite as… meticulous. I grabbed the second guard in a choker hold, all right, but I had forgotten to enclosed his mouth with my hand. He howled out and I had to slam the pommel of my sword into his forehead so that he might shut up. He crumpled in my arms, but it was clear that I had aroused some suspicion. On Sir Shagor’s signal, we dragged the bodies back, deep into the alleyway, where we could hide in the shadows. The bartenders came out, looking with lanterns in hand, shining the light in our direction. For a moment I thought that we might be spotted. But he paused a while, shrugged and went away.
“Watson, be more careful next time!” Sir Shagor hissed.
I just nodded my head in response.
We stripped the guards of their uniform and donned their costumes. They were silly-looking things – an outfit more for show than for practicality.
I looked at the naked guards and asked, “How long do you think they will stay sleeping?”
“Not very long,” said my lord, as he got down and looked with pity at the men, “I wish there was some other way… to bind their hands and gag their mouths and tether them to the gutters – alas, we’ve no time for that. I suppose this is what they are paid for anyway,” he drew his dagger and slit both their throats – their blood black in the darkness, pouring onto their chests.
He stood up, taking a moment to wipe the dagger clean with a rag, and then stepped out of the alleyway. I followed him, as he made for Westminster Palace.