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From the previous chapter –
They came in the blackest of night, moonless, the clouds hiding the stars, the wind blowing through the trees to mask their approach. Their numbers were small, more would descend once the castle doors were opened, once Captain Porter was under their control. And she would be, they had no doubt of that. They had the advantage of having lived in the castle, knew the passages and the tunnel entrance on the east side. The oldest Bates led, Sir William was his name and if you knew him you uttered it with respect or you paid a heavy price.
He brought Andrew with him, who was practically salivating at the opportunity to be the one to force Bette to her knees, to submit. To him. He had spent months living in the castle while they waited for Bette to return for her wedding. Months courting and making Melvin believe he could be trusted. And this time, he had the blessing of the King. The Captain was to answer for her crimes. In his bag he carried a summons from the King himself.
William’s plan was simple, gain access with a small crew and take the family hostage before the guards had any notion of the breech. Days ago they had rowed to shore with covered oars, careful to mute the sound of their passing, no lanterns to light the way.
Their ship was docked at the far end of the island, disguised as a merchant ship, even loaded with crates of cloth, animals to trade. Boarding the rowboats, they made their way silently to the beach and had since been making their way to the castle with stealth, traveling only at night, hiding during the day. Security on the castle looked tight but was of no consequence, he was optimistic about his chances. She had killed his younger brother Eric, gelded Andrew. The Captain would never see them coming. And she would pay for the insults to his family. Dearly.
RESCUE AND CONNECTION
The three children slept in one large bed, Ella in a crib in the corner. All blissfully asleep, their cheeks pink from the warmth of their bodies and the coziness of the blankets, a fire in the fireplace keeping the chill at bay. Bette checked on them quietly, covering an exposed foot, picking up a fallen doll to place it back in bed, all was well here. The children were thriving, clean, happy, such an integral part of their life that Bette hardly knew what it was like before they arrived. Quieter, cleaner, less sticky she thought with a smile.