Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 14
Leonard sat up in bed, rubbing his tired eyes in attempt to wake them up. His heart was racing, adrenaline pumping through his veins, but sleep still clung around him in attempt to lure him back. Shaking his head, Leonard rose from the bed and paused, listening hard for any sound.
The stone walls weren’t exactly thin, but as he approached the door sharing a wall with Wilhelmina’s room, Leonard was sure he could hear sounds of a scuffle and the grunts of someone being bested, a sound he recognized only after his own practice with the dark haired woman in the next room.
A crash that included splintering wood and weight meeting stone with force, accompanied by raised voices and shouts, sent Leonard bursting through the door and into the next chamber, unsure what he would find, or what he would do.
Leonard plunged into a well-lit bedchamber, also lined with bookshelves and tomes like the outer chamber, to find broken bits of chair at his feet and two bodies struggling near the door on the opposite side of the room. He hurried towards the scuffle and saw Wilhelmina in a white nightgown, her dark hair in a long plait, wrestling with the pinned Jerra.
“Now, Masha! Be quick about it!” Wilhelmina called over her shoulder to a pale Masha standing in the doorway. She nodded once, cast a hurt, confused look to Jerra, and then hurried out through the next chamber’s door.
“Where’s she going?” Leonard’s voice surprised Wilhelmina as she was focused on Jerra, who was still attempting to throw the woman off him with more energy and strength than Leonard had believed the elder man capable of.
“The barracks at the gate, so this traitor, can be properly restrained and questioned,” she hissed, her eyes flashing like bolts of lighting, threatening to set fire to what they struck.
“What happened? Can I do anything?” Leonard asked, looking around the room and feeling useless.
“Grab your sword and cover him while I hold him until soldiers arrive,” Wilhelmina answered briskly.
Though he was sure Wilhelmina had things under control, Leonard did as she suggested and retrieved his sword from the adjacent room. It felt more familiar in his grip now as he returned to Wilhelmina’s side and held the blade a foot above Jerra’s neck, ensuring the old man’s stillness in either life, or death.
“What happened?” Leonard repeated, even as he listened for footsteps and, perhaps, the clanking of armor to announce Masha’s return.
“I can’t speak to his full purpose, yet, but he tried to take the amulet while I slept.” Her voice chilled the room, making Leonard aware that he was shirtless and barefoot.
“I bound it to me so that no one can remove it from my neck but me,” she continued, the amulet in question dangling inches below her throat.“It seems I was right to take such precautions.” Her voice grew softer, her eyes harder as she spoke, glaring at the man beneath her.
Leonard was still trying to find more to say, possibly form his next question, when the clink of metal and heavy tread of many feet met them, ushering in Masha accompanied by four soldiers.
“Chains,” Wilhelmina demanded, her hand outstretched to one of the waiting men in light chain mail and gray armor. The closest obliged, passing the irons at his hip to the Fury before him.
Once the manacles had been secured to his wrists, Wilhelmina finally stood, arms crossed, as two of the soldiers grabbed Jerra by the arms and hoisted him to his feet. He looked even older now, withered and dying under the scrutinous eyes around him.
“I trusted you.” The words pierced the air like a bullet as Wilhelmina stared at Jerra. The room crackled with energy and carefully contained ire. “Speak!” her voice rent the air and nearly every soul in the room quivered.
“I-I’m sorry, Miss,” the old voice whispered at last, his head hanging as he stared at the floor.
“You’ve been responsible for the disappearances, haven’t you?” Wilhelmina questioned, looking only for confirmation, which was given by a sullen nod of the prisoner. She closed her eyes and took a steadying breath. Leonard wished he could read her thoughts.
“What else have you told her? How? What was your plan?” Leonard looked at Wilhelmina, his still partially sleeping mind trying to catch up. He felt like he’d walked into the middle of a conversation instead of watching one unfold from the start.
Jerra looked at each soldier securing him to the spot he stood, then to Masha who was silently observing from a corner of the room, to Leonard standing awkwardly still holding his sword, and finally to Wilhelmina. Jerra shifted his arms, attempting to reach into his worn doublet. The soldiers on either side stiffened, hands ready on sword hilts.
The wrinkled hands produced a hand mirror. The chains binding his wrists together clinked as Jerra held out the object for Wilhelmina to take.
Click here for Part 16!