Today I’m posting what would have been my entry for the #BlogBattle on Tuesday (this week’s word was Loop), but I was otherwise preoccupied with several other exciting posts! So here we are on Thursday instead.
Last week, everyone seemed to enjoy the introduction to Clancy and Tanya and the pair was voted to have their story continued this week. Those of you who voted for Frankie and Fyrn, fear not! They will return with next week’s #BlogBattle. Due to some suggestions from readers and a thought or two in my own noggin, I’ve decided to make both pairs (they’re not couples…yet…) contenders in each weekly battle. I’ll start to alternate them and maybe occasionally give you a fresh story if we all tire of their various shenanigans.
So, here we go! Part two of the Knockout Dessert!
Tanya heard a muffled clang! through the door and hoped Clancy hadn’t been on the receiving end of whatever had happened. The guards stared back at her impassively. She sneezed and pulled a handkerchief out of a pocket in her skirt. She pressed it to her nose and mouth as she uncorked a flask from the same pocket and exposed its contents to the air. The guards looked at her in confusion and then tumbled unconscious to the ground. She stepped over their prone forms and rapped lightly on the door. It opened a crack and she slipped in.
Lord Brooke was slumped and neatly tied in a chair and Clancy was looking rather pleased with himself.
“Help me get out of this ridiculous outfit,” he said as he tossed the veil aside. Tanya cut the laces on the back of the dress as Clancy pulled the braid out of his hair. He stepped out of the confining dress, rolled down the sleeves of his shirt, and buckled his sword more comfortably around his waist. Tanya meanwhile began to unravel the loop of braid, in reality a disguised rope, for their escape from the manor. Clancy began to snoop through the study. Lord Brooke would never leave the letters out in plain sight. If they retrieved the letters then Brooke would have no grounds to accuse Isabelle of treason in front of the current king of Verica. The princess had been in communication with the rightful, exiled king and a few of those letters had been intercepted by Brooke. Clancy was going to have strong words with Isabelle’s head of security. If one loop of the web they were spinning was disrupted then the past five years would have all been in vain and Verica would never see her rightful ruler restored.
Tanya tied the rope around the base of an elegant fluted pillar, one of a pair that looked more for decoration than serving any real function. But Lord Brooke seemed to prefer displaying his wealth in any means possible. She fed the rope over to the nearest window, cracked it open, and shoved the remainder through the frame.
Clancy perused the bookshelves looking for anything that might give a clue as to the letters whereabouts. He came upon a small silver wolf figurine; Brooke’s sigil. It was sitting on a shelf that was empty of all but one book. There were some faint scuff marks around the wolf’s paws. Unless the figurine was walking around in the middle of the night, he guessed it had a different purpose than just decoration. He nudged it to the side. The wolf pivoted on its hind paws and the piece of wall behind it disengaged with a click. He opened with a smirk and fished out the letters after a brief inspection to stow them in a leather satchel that Tanya tossed to him.
Brooke began to stir in his chair. He forced his eyes open to see Isabelle’s maidservant stuffing a dress in a bag.
She looked past him and there was a chuckle that Brooke recognized in fury. Clancy came around to stand in front of him.
“Clancy Mc’Clarrah!” Brooke spat. Clancy gave a little bow.
“At your service!”
“What are you doing here?”
“Well you’ve never invited me, so I thought I’d drop by and see the place for myself.”
Brooke struggled against his bonds and hurled not a few imprecations against Clancy.
“Such language,” Clancy tutted.
“Where’s Lady Isabelle?”
“Oh, she’s safe at home. She was never really here to begin with.”
Brooke slowly realized how he had been duped and rage flooded his features again.
“I’ll make you pay! I’ll make you all pay! I’ll go straight to the king!” he raged.
“I think that will be a little difficult without evidence, don’t you?” Clancy patted his satchel. Brooke’s jaw nearly hit his chest before he recovered and began to thrash and scream for his guards. Clancy only laughed.
“Until next time, Brooke!” he bowed again. Tanya allowed herself a smile. She had also worn breeches and shirt under her dress, previous attempts at trying to climb out windows in skirts not having gone so well. She folded her dress into the bag made from her cloak and tossed it out the window to the courtyard below. She pulled on gloves before climbing out the window and sliding down the rope. Clancy was right behind her as shouts filled the mansion and the heavy tread of guards was heard. Their escort was still waiting with their mounts. Tanya mounted as Clancy vaulted onto the back of the tall white mare whose side saddle was nowhere to be seen. Clancy’s laugh echoed in the courtyard as they galloped away.
Hope you enjoyed! Get ready to welcome back the singular Captain Frankie Baum and his mysterious new cargo next week!