Re: The English Row [M]

#91
Every move with her is an adventure, he speculated... at least when it came to getting her daughter back... in Sasha’s thinking, he would have killed as many as he could and blame it on the baby daddy... and he smirked knowing full well, that plan was a bit out of reach... they just needed to hide the balloon in the deepest, widest ravine they could find, then ride in, take the babe, and ride out... and under the covering of darkness, fly out of there as fast as the winds could carry them. At least, according to Malcolm, it would be a faster return trip than coming due to wind currents.

He just wanted this done... and return home... to begin a life much more settled than the one they had lived for the past few weeks. But now, this very moment, they were moving toward their goal... to get her daughter... and she looked the more like a man that his beautiful Biatta... but that was the ruse, was it not? This land was her birthplace, and many could know her... to recognize her would be the unfortunate result... but this way, she was not the demure Lady, but the destruction the winds would blow across the land. As for him, it mattered not. His language would not be as recognizable as it had been in France, but his gruff voice, his aggressive appearance would be enough to make the normal folk look down, or away.

The balloon was readied, the supplies loaded and the vessel was heavier than before... but it still lacked that finite weight of the babe... soon Biatta and Sasha would change that.


@Crymson
word count: 281
"Speak lightly to an enraged Dragon...
Image

... for he, who possesses that Gem, possesses Wealth.”

Re: The English Row [M]

#92
Darkness.

It was far darker in the countryside than near the city. And only well thought logistics made the landing of the basket seem as easy in the dark as it might have been in the day. That was in part due to Sasha and the other to Malcolm as they had ran over maps for the right spot to set the balloon down.

The stamp of shod hooves, the breathe of restless beasts en-wrapped in a blanket of nights veil, sprinkled with pin pricks of light that lacked the golden gossamer of moon beams; the men and the beast converged. Nary spoke. Nor beast neigh. But he creaks of leather and the thud of heel to flesh to spur beasts into action. The rhythmic beat of hooves to packed ground, soften when met with grass or echoed when struck on rock filled ears and could be felt through bone astride.

Soon hollow hoof beats turned to sharp claps on cobblestone and the four made way to the small estate in Mayfair. Biatta swore her heart was beating louder than the hooves on the pavement. And all would know her for it. They rounded the furthest corner and the first set of eyes gave them the signals. An all clear and number of persons still within.

If those who had departed were spotted returning they would hear another signal indicating number and pace. It were all something Sasha and the youth had struck up. And the loiterers’ men so far thought it were a great game. Oh she were sure that they honest thought it were more, but, they made it all a passing entertainment. Which helped her to feel better about tossing them into her trouble. Now it all hinged on the house, getting in and getting out.

The estate was a modern three story manner. Having one main entrance and one back servants entrance. No major garden or yard attached to it. The nursery was usually on the top floors and that were the concern; to get up to and back down from with haste and without incident. All accounts had proven the house to be a normal one. No fortified staff, no regiment of patrol, just a normal family enjoying London during the season. And Biatta hoped that they would cower in fear rather than try to stop them.

Dismounting was barely a thought. One lad stayed to keep the mounts at the ready. Sasha was at the lead, Biatta in the middle as she trusted no one else to watch Sasha’s rear and the third. Masks tied on before they neared the door. The servants’ entrance was chosen to hopefully corral all the servants in one room. Rather than rush the main entrance and only catch the door man.

Sasha had said he would do the killing if needs. And Biatta desperately hoped there was no need. People were unpredictable when stressed. The door was not locked solidly, just latched and there were low light coming from it as it were pulled open. A small ante chamber for cloaks and shoes then a hallway leading left and right with a kitchen straight across. Servants stairs to the right and likely servants hall to the main floor on the left. The left were dark. The right had low light. The kitchen had light and noise. Someone was still working.

They knew that the master and mistress plus one servant were out. Which left two servants, two youths and her infant, likely two infants for the wet nurse would have her own child in tow. The boys set out in the streets would warn them if the others were returning. They quiet and listen for alarm from the kitchen and hear nothing out of ordinary. Just someone at task quietly working.

Biatta point to the stairs. She wants to get in and get out quickly. And she point to the door and set their paid hand to watch it. Sasha could handle what is before them. No one would come up the back without their knowledge. And those returning would come through the main door—not the servants door.

They make way up the servant’s staircase slow and careful listening for noise from others within the estate. Her heart is hammering in her chest, in her ears and in her throat. Her hand on Sasha back as they move, if he pause, she pause. They are missing one servant and two young people ladies.


@William
word count: 750
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Re: The English Row [M]

#93
Flying was enjoyable to him... for could the Russian ever be Earth-bound again? Only time would tell... and ever more unexpected was the evening; that time of day where flying was becoming more and more rewarding to him... to watch the sun set in the west, and darkness envelope them as the balloon, and the countryside below disappeared... and only the constant hum of the stoves, and the loud burst of the burners to split the silence.

As the lights of the city below gave way to darkness... Sasha would look over the rail of the basket and see a dim light below, and wonder what that person’s life was like. Light after distant light, he would choose one and wonder.

And as Malcolm nudged Sasha’s arm, the pair began to manage ropes and bags of dirt to maneuver the basket beneath the large balloon to go where they wanted it to... and at the speed of descent they needed to safely set it down.

Within half an hour, the members of the party took to horse and was riding toward destiny... toward her daughter... and the group was an ominous gathering, for none could tell which one Biatta was. The group, made up of greedy men, and a woman wanting something more valuable than gold, her daughter... and the man who loved her deeply, with no regrets... all rode together... and as the signal was given, they slowed to a cantor... then a walk... not on a road, but grass, to move as quietly as possible, as close as possible..

There before the small group, the estate... from the group, the people... one to stay with the horses, three to move to the manor. And as usual, Sasha was leading the small masked band. And at the building’s rear entrance, Sasha pointed to the shadows where the third member would watch for arrivals... meanwhile the pair would move deeper inside.

As he entered, his finger was ready on the hammer, but he’d not cock it... not unless things seemed to get hairy... or they were abruptly discovered, or threatened. He could feel her hand upon his back... Damn she was smart... and they eluded the kitchen worker and headed up the stairs where she pointed... and he stepped carefully, and slowly, not to cause a creak.

His heart thudded soundly in his chest, but he was able to control his breathing, and remained calm. He’d peer to the hallway upstairs before revealing himself, then with a flick of his wrist, he motioned her to the landing, and he moved beside her as they began to quietly search rooms.

There he saw a dim light, and he heard a woman singing softly... a lullaby... but to whom he knew not. So he motioned to Biatta and pointed to the door, and he stood with his back against the wall between doors and watched the dark hallway, and stairs.





@Crymson
word count: 495
"Speak lightly to an enraged Dragon...
Image

... for he, who possesses that Gem, possesses Wealth.”

Re: The English Row [M]

#94
Sasha at her side and they were checking doors and he paused and motion to her the light under one door. And he put a finger to his mouth and then to his ear and she listens. A lullaby. She hears the woman singing and it stops her heart. So close. A door between them but she breathe deep and slowly. No emotional flights of fancy, it got her in trouble twice over. No Elizabeth. Be calm. Be sure. Breathe.

When she had gathered herself she nodded to Sasha and let him take the lead to secure the room. It was his experience and he would know how to do it best. Plus orders in a male voice are better than a female to throw off the trails. They move as two, she directly behind him as they had when breaking into the hostel in France. If he were to be struck she would defend and kill the offender. She did not like that he would take the point, but, it was the training that he knew and she trusted him. Trusted him with both their lives.

The room was lit by an oil lamp and the woman, younger than Biatta was seated in a rocking chair with an infant nursing. A peaceful scene erupted by intruders with weapons and dressed nefariously. Undecorated porcelain all white drama masks hiding their features. Biatta looks about the room there should be another child. Usually the wet nurse would bring her own child on such a trip. She paid little mind to the woman, only the child that the girl now pulled to her chest in fear.

Blue eyes scanned the room over, only one cradle only the woman and the infant. A little ball of white gown and a bonnet. Biatta makes sure Sasha has the room, closes the door quietly behind them before moving from his rear. She walks cautiously toward the pair and puts a finger to the front of her mask.

Silence.

The girl were obviously scared and clutching the baby to her. Biatta is worried that the girl may hurt the small being in her arms. She reaches out, careful, her hand she has to still from shaking as she reaches. The woman shakes her head no and covers the child more so. Her gloved fingers barely touch the bonnet to pull it back. The infant still, sleeping or so she hoped as the girl leaned away from her gloved hand. Streaks of gold flash in the light and the infant is pulled so close to the wet nurse that she cannot see much more of its features.

“donne moi le bébé. donne moi le bébé et personne ne sera blessé.”(Give me the baby. Give me the baby and no one will be injured.)

Using the deepest voice she can make and still be understood. She reached with both hands for the child a pistol held loosely in her right hand. Her left folded to cradle the child. The girl tries to push back only pushing the chair, trying to rise and falling back on her rear in the seat. Biatta reach and take the infant, the girl’s hands not wanting to let go of the child. Biatta only has eyes for the baby but she back away and look up to retake her aim.

“est le seul nourrisson dans la maison?” (is this the only infant in the house?)

The girl was shaking her head ‘no’. No that she did not understand? Or ‘no’ that this was not the only infant of the house? Or just ‘no’ because she were so scared?

It did not matter they would know in a moment. Biatta’s arm shook and her breathe were hitched. Her eyes trained on the woman until she was back far enough for some safety. Sasha now in control of the room. And the girl is crying, trying to be silent as she sobs. Biatta’s blue eyes look at the stirring infant, the color of its eyes nondescript as they blink in the low light. But the hair was golden tinged at least when the light touched it. And she raised the baby and removed the bonnet to look at the infants scalp.

The little child starts to fuss mightily at being so held. And Sasha can hear the inhalation of Biatta’s breathe at the realization that the child has the birth mark on its tiny scalp. It was all he needed to know. No words. No more. They needed to leave. She tucks the baby in her side wrapped by her left arm. Nothing else mattered but getting out now.

As she turn to open the door the girl finally screams.

@William
word count: 793
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Re: The English Row [M]

#95
In all circumstances of this nature, it seems that time itself slows down, and everything around you speeds up, to such a hectic pace... a pace that allows neither misstep, nor miscalculation... that death could be a high priority, either for the invader, or the invaded...

For Sasha, his only concern was for Biatta and the baby... all else could go to hell... and if need be, he was ready to send them there. He leaned against the door, and both arms raised, a pistol in each hand... and with a thumb, he cocked them... and he inhaled deep as his beloved Biatta checked the babe... He could see the relief upon her face as she now held her daughter... and he smirked; that scarred lip retracting to form an arch of sorts...

And as Biatta reached for the door, the girl screamed, and Sasha cursed... He just pointed the barrels at her, and shook his head. He was attempting not to say anything to prevent revealing his accent, which would be a dead-giveaway... Could that stop the wailing girl, or would Biatta be able to stop her? He just looked at her and canted his head, whispering in his native tongue, well below the loudness of the girl screaming.... “She needs to stop or others will die...”

@Crymson
word count: 220
"Speak lightly to an enraged Dragon...
Image

... for he, who possesses that Gem, possesses Wealth.”

Re: The English Row [M]

#96
A scream that was much like the peel of a crystal chalice or the single ring of a bell on a clear cool morning seeming to pierce ears and surely to alarm all within the estate. Russisch under breathe and Biatta nod to Sasha looking back to the youth. The babe fussing and cradled with an arm against her torso. She re align her aim at scalp of her baby. In the same gruff voice she speaks.

“Silencieux. Êtes-vous fidèle au bébé ou à la famille?” (Silence. Are you faithful to the baby or the family?)

The girl could see the masked intruder talking to her turn the weapon unto the infant. And they would not know that the girl thought of the infant, Elizabeth, that she had nicknamed Els, was akin to her as her own child might have been had it survived. Nodding enthusiastically, rather hysterically back and forth her voice falls away. Reaching with clenched hands towards Biatta. And she near whispers.

“Le bébé. Oui Mon bébé.” (The baby. Yes my baby.)

Biatta nods, the words hurt that another would know her infant far better than she but it were the truth. She got to the woman, nay young girl and hand the fussing infant back to her. Then point her gun at the girls head. Only Sasha would know that Biatta had never cocked the flint hammer. She’d not be fool enough to risk a misfire and kill her daughter by accident.

“Montrez-nous le chemin de la porte d'entrée et vous pouvez rester avec le bébé.”( Show us the way to the front door and you can stay with the baby.)

It was the only way to avoid the servants who likely now were curious or alarmed and turning to the servant’s stairs. The girl rocked and cooed to the infant and paid little mind to anything else while franticly trying to soothe both herself and the child. Biatta shrug at Sasha as she had originally intended to kidnap the wet nurse anyhow and now to shut the girl up they were taking her. Would they leave her before long?

They could hear the alarm note from within the estate. Their hired man set to watch the kitchens telling them someone were on the way up. And when they hurriedly entered the hall taking another right rather than the left that led to the servant stairs they were enfolded in darkness as the Masters Hall and Rooms were dark.


@William
word count: 424
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Re: The English Row [M]

#97
And the suspense never stopped... and now they had another person to deal with... but to facilitate their escape unfettered, what did it matter?!

And Sasha moved his head sharply indicating the girl with the baby was first, then Biatta, and he would follow close behind... as they passed by the Master’s Hall, Sasha pointed to the room... Entering he closed the door, and locked it... then he found a lamp and lit it with one of the matches nearby. Rummaging the desk, he shoved the pistol in his belt, and found a blank paper ... then he looked to the girl, pointed to her, imitated to write and stepped back. Looking to Biatta, he made the sign that they would leave after she wrote. In her ear he whispered... “Have her leave a note saying she went voluntarily with the baby. Then get us out of here...”

He canted his head, his sharp green eyes with pinpointed pupils moved to the door and listened. Pushing the carpet against the door bottom to prevent light from escaping. They NEEDED more time and not be caught.

Meanwhile, the hired man watching the kitchens saw people moving about and got scared... then out the back door, he proved Sasha right by being the coward and leaving them after too much time elapsed, and chances of discovery were increased.

Once they left the Hall, and found their cohort absent, Sasha could only hope that the horses were where they were supposed to be. He truly did not wish to fire guns around the babe, nor get into a swordfight... all they wanted was the baby, not gold.


@Crymson
word count: 275
"Speak lightly to an enraged Dragon...
Image

... for he, who possesses that Gem, possesses Wealth.”

Re: The English Row [M]

#98
A hand on her shoulder and she see Sasha jerk his masked face at the masters room, she redirect their guest to the room. Quick enough Sasha rummaging with low light through drawers and find parchment and quill. She hear him speak after showing the girl to make a note. She point at the paper with the gun and reach for the infant once more.

“Laissez une lettre. Vous ne pouvez pas vivre sans bébé comme votre propre. Et vous craignez qu'ils enlèvent le bébé de vous.” (Leave a letter. You can not live without the baby as your own. And you are afraid that they will take the baby away from you.)

She take the infant Elizabeth from the girl. And then push her to write the letter. Reading as she write making sure that there is nothing more in the wording. Then she nod to Sasha that it is written correctly. Biatta is not sure what he is thinking. No one would be fooled by it. Not her Father, Not her Mother and would they investigate further?

But it would give everyone an out on what happened to the baby. But who would ask? Who would push to find her? God it were still all a fucking mess and they needed to get the hell out of the estate. Out of the city. And Home. Things were falling apart on them and if they did not change it they would be caught up in bloodshed or more trouble. God damn it.

She pulled her mask down about her neck, pulled the hat to show her hair. Then made the girl look at her.

“If I lie then you know my face and you can send them on me, on us. I tell you here and now that I mean the baby no harm, and that if you want to stay with her then you have to help us get out. In two days time you know they were expecting the Lord Earl and he would not keep you on as the baby’s nurse. You know it. I know it. Now help us.”

Biatta replaces her hat, and with one hand tries to replace her mask. The girl, she with shaking hands help replace the mask. Looking at them then the baby. She nods. It was a truth that the baby was going to be taken if she were recognized. And the woman, now holding the infant had looked first and foremost for the tell tale birthmark. Simone was no fool child. Young woman, yes. In service, yes. But no fool. She knew shortly after she was hired that this was not a normal family situation. And heard more when the bill for caring for the infant were not paid. She were nearly fired when they thought they’d not get any more money to tend to the wellbeing of the infant.
Only a mother would come in person in such danger to take a child. Simone look at Biatta now her face covered once again by the drama mask and she knows. Would they really keep her on as Els’ nurse? What did she have if she stopped them? The baby would only be taken from her by another claimant. So only a few more days with little Elizabeth. She place a finger to her mouth and rather than reach for Els she show them with quill and parchment the way through the house.

Biatta look to Sasha and leave it to him to make the next moves. Do they trust the girl or not? They leave by the front or confront what may be coming up the back stairs. By hook and crook or blade and blood. She care not. Just so long as they – He, Herself and their child leave whole and together.


@William
word count: 643
Image

Re: The English Row [M]

#99
Sasha peered thru the mask at what the girl had written. Beneath it, he gnawed his teeth a bit... Trust or nay? And his green eyes looked at the young woman’s eyes... as if to peer into her very soul... and entranced by him, she moved not... not until he looked to Biatta and then she looked down with a reddish tint to her cheeks, probably never having someone stare so hard at her, or a variety of other reasons.

And Sasha nodded... then he moved toward the door, lifting the mask and blowing the candle out... and onward to the door carefully, he unlocked it quietly, and opened it to allow the corridor lamp to provide some illumination. Waving the pistol, he got the young woman to go first and look around. He now trust his life, Biatta’s life, the fate of all, in this young woman’s hands. But if she failed them, she would be the first to die; if she helped them, then he would take her with, and care for her... that was his silent promise of the future.

As the girl peeked out the door, one way then the other, she moved out into the corridor, Sasha close behind her.


@Crymson
word count: 209
"Speak lightly to an enraged Dragon...
Image

... for he, who possesses that Gem, possesses Wealth.”

Re: The English Row [M]

#100
Biatta had trusted, she had to or simply to put the young woman down. And the woman was the only person who would know her infant. Know if one cry meant hunger or another were an alarm for them to be weary over. She would know what she ate, or could not eat. All things Biatta should know as a Mother but lacks because she were selfish. Now could she take the infant, her bebe, from the only ‘Mother’ she had known?

No.

It were the reason she had wanted to kidnap the wet-nurse outside of needing a staple way to feed the child. But snatching away free peoples was not a thing commonly accepted under the Crown, not of free English persons. They knew nothing of the girl or her origins, only that she were the mothering figure to their infant.

And she knew the way out.

Sasha stare unmoving at the woman-child even in his non-descript mask his gaze pierces the girl. Biatta could only imagine the string of Russian curses he lipped when she expose herself. And she loves him for it. For his protections in all manners. But they need the help and it were the only way she could think to secure it at present. It was to the point of knocking the woman out and taking flight—or secure her assistance getting out in the only way she could think.

Now. Hopefully all on the same page and not being misled by their co-conspirator they leave the Masters suites. Lights snuffed, doors opened, heads swiveling and ears turned to any sounds. Biatta kept the infant Elizabeth and protected the bebe cradled in her left arm. Her right still ready with a non-cocked pistol. They like three shadows trust the wet-nurse and follow quick as sure placed feet can do. They leave the main corridor and hear someone on the servants stairs behind them.

They need to move.

And so they did, down the barely lit corridors. The master was out as yet and it were evident by the darkness they were not expected back just yet. The main hall was vacant, but the girl she stops and point. Knowing a door man was ever at the ready.


@William
word count: 380
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