“Sergeant Haloran, I know you’ve assigned troops to defend each floor of the Tower if the Demons get in. Here’s my thought. I’d like all of us to help with that. Teams of two, and their Swords of Light, will patrol each level of the Keep with the soldiers, watching for Demons coming through the portals.”
He pointed at each floor on the plans. “Breanna and Cameron, you’re a team on the second level. Evan and Owen, you’re a team on the third level. Marta, you’re in charge of the interior defense. You roam between floors, checking each team.”
“Sergeant Haloran, what do you think?”
The sergeant crossed his arms, and then put his chin in his hand in thought. “It’s a good plan, Lord Thomas. We’ll need everyone, including your Swords, to defend the Tower. I’d recommend assigning six soldiers to the fourth floor. Evan and Owen can check in with them periodically. They’ll need the help when the Demons come through the portals to attack.”
Thomas nodded in agreement. “I like it. Let’s get everything ready. I want to get as many villagers inside the inner walls as possible. The walls need to be manned at all times and the villagers can help with that. Sergeant, can you see to it?”
“All of you need to know we caught Jago communicating through some kind of device with the Demons.” He shook his head and muttered, “I still can’t believe it.”
Stunned silence filled the room.
“Why would he betray us?” Breanna whispered. Aeden stepped over to her side and put her arm around Breanna’s shoulders.
“Some people are weak and think that they will gain strength and be more powerful by serving another master. Some do it for the thrill. It doesn’t matter why. We’ll never know for sure. What really matters is the damage that he has done,” Aeden told her.
Thomas frowned and looked around the table. “We’re going to have to do it again, darn it! Another chore on the list of things to be done.”
“What?” asked Owen.
“Check the whole Keep again for portals and magical traps. Okay. Owen and Evan, take the third floor. Ask your swords to help. Breanna and Cameron, take the second floor. Marta and I will check here and in the undercroft. We’ll meet in the armory and do a sweep there, then through the rest of the Keep grounds. Do you all remember how to isolate and destroy anything you find?” Everyone nodded.
“Good. Let’s go.”
The boys left in a clump. Haloran walked out of the Solar with Aeden.
Thomas gathered the plans and rolled them into a cylinder. He looked out the east windows at the gathering clouds and the dimming light as the sun slowly set, his mind far away, thinking of his parents. I wonder if Captain Mathin has found them yet. No report had arrived since Mathin had ridden out of the Keep.
He shook his head and turned to find the room empty but for Marta.
“My Lord, I wanted to fill you in about the cousins’ training. They are doing really well. Our …” she paused to search for the right term, “sword companions…have been helping them a lot. Even Breanna can defend and attack. I’m pretty surprised.”
Thomas grinned. “Quite a change from trying to teach all alone, isn’t it? HellReaver did the same for me. Teaching Owen actually helped me a lot. Let’s get this floor swept for Dark magic and then check the undercroft again.”
“And call me Thomas when no one else is around. I still look around for my Father when I hear ‘Lord’.”
“Okay, Thomas,” Marta said slowly. She avoided looking at him. “This room at least is clear. HellScream told me that she’s felt something in the kitchen hallway.”
“Lead on. The sooner we start, the quicker we finish.” He gestured toward the doorway with a grand sweep of his arm.
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