Missed the beginning? Start here.
Georgette, Betsy, Juniper, and Sabrina arrived at a forested area just outside the village. Sabrina noticed many animals and a few humans were already gathered talking and planning. Georgette immediately took charge of things.
“What have you found out,” Georgette asked.
Tom, one of the men, answered, “I’m afraid the leaders have locked Anne, Roger, and their children in the underground cellar where the roots are kept. There is only one way in or out. And the leaders are planning on a dawn inquisition and speedy execution.”
A small badger spoke up. “It is true that there is only one way in for you, Tom, and your kind, but we have been tunneling into that cellar for just such an occasion and last night I snuck in after the leaders dumped Anne and Roger and I talked with them.”
“Great work, Clarence!” said Georgette. “Can the tunnel be made large enough to get them out?”
Clarence shook his head as he said, “Not in time. The leaders arrested them last night, and then deliberated for much of today, but the plan is now definite. Torture and execution in the morning.”
“That’s horrible,” said Sabrina, and all of a sudden all eyes were turned toward Sabrina and Juniper.
“Who are you?” asked Tom.
Georgette said, “No time for their stories now, but they are here to help. They got caught on the wrong side of the river and I was taking them to the secret tunnel when Betsy caught up with me. Now we have six who need to be saved.”
Tom nodded and went on, “Did Roger or Anne have any suggestions, Clarence?”
“No, they are pretty shaken, as you can imagine. I did get them some food and water and finally both children fell asleep. Little Benjamin cried for the longest time, saying that he didn’t mean to tell about his rescue and he really thought his friend was a good buddy. I felt so sorry for him especially.”
“Well, we have to get them out tonight. Thankfully the root cellar is on this edge of the village, so once we get them out of the cellar, it will be quick to move them to safety, but we need a plan,” concluded Georgette.
Betsy nodded and said, “We have thought of several different options, but they each involve hurting someone on either our side or the other and we’d really like to avoid that if possible.”
“The root cellar is kept shut with a bar that hinges up or down. It wouldn’t take long to get the door open,” said Tom.
“And I can be inside to alert Anne and Roger so that they have their kids in their arms and are ready to run the moment that the door opens,” said Clarence.
“You guys just need a distraction on the other side of the village,” said Sabrina. “Maybe Juniper and I could do that?”
Betsy said, “That would be terribly dangerous. Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes,” said Juniper firmly. “None of the villagers have seen us, and I imagine that seeing a dragon, even one as young and small as I am, would cause a considerable uproar.”
Tom laughed and said, “You’ve got that right! But they have guns and you could get shot.”
Georgette looked around the group and then asked Tom, “Just how many of you villagers are left who don’t believe in the leaders’ agenda?”
“Obviously none of us do,” Tom said, and the other six people nodded vigorously. “After all, we’ve been your link to the village and have helped many to escape. There might be another dozen or so who are leaning our way, but haven’t committed.”
Harriet, a tall woman with long grey hair, said, “I was listening around the village earlier after Anne and Roger had been arrested and there was a lot of dissent. However, I wouldn’t want to trust any of them not to give us away.”
Georgette said, “No, we certainly can’t let them in on the plan or take them with us, but if they are uncertain, then they probably wouldn’t react as fast to harm any of us.”
Everyone thought quietly for a moment and then Georgette said, “We need to wait for dark. By then we can have Sabrina and Juniper in position on the far side of the village. Betsy, I want you to take them and watch over them.”
Betsy nodded and said, “I am happy to do that, and I know a place on the other side of the village where the three of us can hid once we’ve roused the village.”
“Excellent,” said Georgette. “Harriet, could you go with them as well with a bow and arrow, just in case.”
“For sure,” said Harriet. “With any luck, I should be able to injure anyone carrying a rifle, enough so that they are out of action, but not seriously hurt or killed.”
“That’s the plan,” said Georgette. “Now, we need to be able to communicate since the timing will be critical.”
Just then Henrietta landed in the center of the group. “I’ve been observing and listening and I think that your plan has about the best chance of any I’ve thought of. I’ll be your messenger, especially since I want to keep an eye on those two,” she said pointing a wing at Juniper and Sabrina. “I didn’t get them off the mountain to have them become rifle prey.”
Georgette chuckled and said, “Thanks so much, Henrietta. I know you don’t normally get this close to the village, so we are doubly grateful for your help. Now then, we have a few hours until it is dark enough to move. Betsy, I want your group to head out now and find a good spot to await your diversion. Then see that everyone is fed and gets a bit of a rest.”
“Right you are,” said Betsy and she, Harriet, Juniper, and Sabrina began to leave the group.
“Harriet,” said Georgette, and Harriet turned back. “Can you fire a flaming arrow when your diversion starts? Aim it into the edge of the village where it won’t set anything on fire, but where it will start the commotion. We’ll be watching and that will be our cue as well.”
Harriet patted her quiver filled with arrows and said, “Excellent idea. I can do that. I’ll wait until it is completely dark. We are lucky that the moon is a new moon.”
With that, Harriet, Betsy, Juniper, and Sabrina headed out, grabbing some provisions before disappearing into the woods.
As they followed Betsy, Sabrina thought, It all sounds fine and dandy to be a diversion and certainly we are the newcomers and the villagers don’t know us, but can we really do it? I sure don’t want anything to happen to Juniper. She is so young and small and she has become my true friend.