A Historic Escape

Every wall sounded to the clash of swords and cries of help in Vavard’s own tongue as Barcus skimmed past them with the hood of his black cotton garment covering his face. Quintilius held his hand and pulled him to a quicker pace. “We need to hurry, Barcus,” he whispered in an urgent voice as he pushed the doors of the servants’ quarter open.

As they entered the kitchen, servants rose to greet them and the butler looked at them with surprise, not expecting the little lord and the grand chevalier there, and especially not expecting the young dul Naevius wearing cotton rather than his usual lavish garments. “Everyone leave us for a moment,” Quintilius’ voice commanded. The servants complied and they were left alone. Under the central tower, the battling outside couldn’t be heard here; the room felt peaceful and silent for once, no shouting of chevaliers, no shouting of warriors, and definitely not the shouting from Father making everything worse. “It’s all going to be alright!” he barked at Mother, trying to soothe her crying. “Shut up, woman, you’re making me nervous!” Then he commanded the guards to take her away to her chambers.

“Barcus, listen to me,” Quintilius knelt in front of the heir to the barony of Vintrius. “I don’t know what is going to happen now. Everything is not going to be alright after this; those are lies. Don’t let -anyone- lie to you, Barcus.” The closest friend of his father clutched his hand and tried to look in his eyes; the gentleman’s eyes were crowded with tears and Barcus did not understand why. “You shan’t give up. We need you to rule Vintrius. We need you to–” The loud ram of something wooden against the gates of the castles startled him. “—we need you to remember this day and take it to your grave. My men will be outside; they will get you somewhere safe.”

Barcus couldn’t believe what this man was saying. “Why would I go away without Father?” he asked with confusion; it didn’t make sense and he felt that maybe this man was an enemy of his father trying to give him as hostage. “Bull,” that’s how his friends and Barcus liked to call him, “what is this?”

“Barcus, they have our retinues,” he whispered in a desperate tone, curling a hand around his wrist to try to encourage the boy into the catacombs through the old wooden door at the kitchen. “Your father won’t win this. They will capture the castle and everyone in it.” The ramming at the doors of the castle continued and the desperation in the halls of the castle invaded that peace he found for a few seconds. “Go, Barcus! You have to go!”

“My father won’t lose!” he cried back at the man with his own tears, trying to shake out of his hold and run towards the door. “You’re— you’re a traitor!” As he opened the door, however, the ramming sound felt much nearer together with a loud *boom* of a wooden door. The sound was so close and so familiar that it was obvious that it was not the gates outside of the castle but rather the gates that lead to the underground. Quintilius’ face paled. “Barcus, they’re here,” he whispered and Barcus understood that his words were the truth; both of them exchanged looks and both of them agreed in the midst of desperate, erratic running towards the doors of the catacomb that they would escape the castle together, a castle no longer of the dul Naevius.

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