A Foppish Coup, Part 22

Sienna’s eyes widened. She turned and tried to hurry down the stairs. Her heels clicked down the steps, but that was no longer the goal. She had to get back down before…

Yoric opened the door. Light streamed out from behind him, lighting up the lady in the passageway.

He blinked a few times, unsure at what he was seeing.

“Sienna?”

Sienna bent down, picked up her heeled shoes, and threw one at Yoric. He yelped, ducking out of the way. The second stabbed him straight in the eye, unfortunately with the toe instead of the heel. He cried out, clutching at his head.

“Get her!” He shouted.

Sienna ran screaming. Behind her the nobles bolted towards the entrance. They bowled over Yoric, charging down the stairs. Their footsteps sounded like thunder to Sienna.

She threw caution to the wind. Bundling up her skirts, she jumped down five at a time, screaming even faster.

“Children!” She yelled. “Run, children!”

Sienna burst through the bar. Pietr and Sophie stood at the door to the bar, armed with wine bottles and carving knives. They looked at Sienna in fear, not comprehending.

“Run!” She screamed. “Get out of here, they’ll kill us all!”

Pietr gaped open mouthed, but Sophie moved with purpose. Gripping her brother’s hand, she tore out of the bar. The two disappeared down the street.

An instant later the nobles were upon Sienna. Strong, soft hands gripped her by the wrist, the throat. They flung her to the ground. Still she kept screaming. “Fly, Pietr! Fly Sophie! Run!”

Canterwright flung himself out of the passageway. He snapped his fingers, and pointed to two masked nobles. “Two children, the Koskovs. They’ll be moving towards either the Smyth estate or the Konstantin manse. Move!”

The nobles tore their masks off, flying in opposite directions.

Canterwright growled, and picked up Sienna. “Where did they go, girl?” He shouted. “Where!”

“Canterwright,” Sienna said. “This is not what I wanted for a luncheon…”

Canterwright slapped her across the face. Sienna cried out, clutching at her side.

“Insolent! Do you think I will not kill you where you stand? Where are they, what are they planning? ANSWER ME!”

“Save your breath, Canterwright.” Yoric stumbled out of the passageway. Bruised, battered, and sporting a bloodshot eye, he sneered at Sienna. “That is Viola’s pet now. Ready to turn on anything. We won’t get anything out of her.”

The two nobles walked back into the bar, huffing. Sweat drenched their faces. “We lost the children.”

Canterwright’s eyes bulged. “How? How could you lose two children?”

“How doesn’t matter.” Yoric muttered. “They’re gone. And we know where they are going.”

The nobles tittered. Viola, they would go to the countess. She would be here soon, and with the guard. They would be discovered. A few started to point fingers, and set up strategies. Blame was thrown around, and more than one case of mistaken identity was attempted.

“Oh, quit your whining!” Canterwright shouted. He dropped Sienna to the ground, and turned on the nobles. “We are discovered. Suddenly this is all real, and every consequence is upon us. It is time to show our true colors.”

“I’m glad you agree, Canterwright.” Yoric said. “Finally, it is time for revolution.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

A Foppish Coup, Part 21

The passageway was completely dark. No torches, and a secret passageway did not generally have natural light. It had stairs as well, something that Sienna had more than a little trouble navigating through.

Sienna berated herself as she moved upwards. Not for abandoning the children down below for lookout, or the lack of proper attire for such stealth. It was the fact that she had let Canterwright’s escapades go so unnoticed in the past.

He was an unusual sort for the court. Always just…there. A kind voice, a nice word. then he would return to his apartments, where he also generated income. Canterwright was a nice enough sort, but to have such a passageway to his apartment.

What made it all the more unusual was Sienna could not remember being in his apartment. Every noble threw parties at their homes. It was tradition. It was expected. And for someone who had his own tavern beneath, it would seem natural to have such an event planned. But he had escaped all notice. How? And why?

Sienna stopped at the top of the passageway, stuck in shadows and darkness. A single wooden door barred her path, but instead of entering, she listened. And could hear angry voices.

“Insignificant little merchant,” a voice muttered. “Who does he think he is, ordering us about?”

“He thinks he is the one in charge, dear,” another said, muffled by both the door and his lack of irritation. “And he is quite right.”

“And why should that be?” The first asked. “Canterwright did not plan the revolution. He did not set up the charter, or gather our force for freedom. He is nothing more than our glorified landlord.”

“Would you prefer to have these conversations elsewhere, then?”

Sienna gasped. Yoric stood just in front of the doorway. She could hear him, feel him. His arrogant nasal voice, now the voice of reason, just out of reach.

“Hmmm? I ask you, where would we plan this coup? After we were thrown out of the ball, each and every one of us have been scared to breathe in our own homes. What if someone hears, or worse, says something?”

His fist slammed against the door. “Viola has taken everything from us. That little whore of hers turned against me, and now we live in fear. To two girls with nothing more than a whisper between their thighs. I cannot stand it. I want to strike them down where they stand.

“But we need. To. Be. Patient.”

“Quite right,” Canterwright’s voice called out. It was wearied, but still rang through. The other voices hushed, realizing that the lord was there among them.

“I know you all are disappointed with our progress, but I assure you, we are close. A few more days, and the people will overthrow the Ice Countess without us even needing to lift a finger.”

There were more grumbles, but this time there was an assent.

“Now, how about a bottle from downstairs to lighten the mood?”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder