A Rude Awakening

Duchess Lilith tightened her grip on the windowsill, knuckles turning white as she gazed out into the night. From the Tower of St. Haskel she could hear the sounds of fighting breaking out across the capital. In the courtyard below she could even see several of her men attempting to hold back a score of enemy soldiers.

"So much for 'continued discussions'" she spat.

There's no way he would attack now, unless… she thought to herself.

Cursing, she strode across the bedchamber to a large wooden chest and threw open the lid. Inside was a vast assortment of beautiful clothes, pouches full of coins, ornate trinkets, and a large bundle of objects wrapped in dark green cloth that dominated one side of the chest.

"Chaz!" the Duchess shouted as she grabbed the bundle, heaved it out of the chest, and carried it to the bed.

A moment later the door to the chamber opened and a tall guard wearing a green uniform entered the room.

"M'lord," he said, "Sir Rurik has—"

"Fuck Rurik." Lilith cut him off as she unfurled the bundle, "Get Isabella. Have her pack the essentials. Have everyone else ready to leave should I give the order."

Wrapped inside the green cloak was a set of exquisite plate armor, now exposed by the dim candlelight that illuminated the room. Lilith grabbed the dull-brown gambison from the pile and shoved her arms through the sleeves. Belting it closed with practiced hands.

Chaz gave a slight bow "Yes M'lord" and quickly exited the room. Almost running headfirst into another soldier entering the bedchamber.

"Sir Horst," Lilith nodded at the armor clad man before grabbing her mail hauberk from the pile, searching for the neckhole. "What's the situation? Xanrath?"

"Aye, and what's left of the Crownsmen. We just got a crow from Lady Bruna, seems the Dragons hit the Flaming Tower and the Old Barracks first. Sir Rurik and his men are holding the courtyard here. For now. We lost half the unit in the initial confusion. No word yet from the Hall of Remembrance or Sir Arkereen."

"She's survived worse than this, she'll be fine." Having found the openings for her head and arms, Lilith slid into the hauberk. The steel glittering in the candlelight, "What news of the southern gate?"

"None. The Dragons would be hard pressed to have made it that far already."

"Good," Lilith paused while picturing the game board in her mind, moving the pieces accordingly. A tense moment passed before she continued at last, "We're leaving."

"Leaving? You can't just abandon our hold on the capital in the first battle!" Sir Horst exclaimed.

"I can." she replied flatly, as she retrieved her sword from beside the bed and belted it on. Ignoring the rest of her armor; there wasn't time to put the full suit on. Isabella would be sure to pack it, "The rest of the men won't arrive for another three days. There's no way we'll be able to hold out until then. Xanrath has the Temple backing him now, the people will turn against us in an instant."

Sir Horst was caught off guard, "The Temple? His Holiness hasn't backed anyone yet!"

"If the Crownsmen are with Xanrath then it means His Holiness has chosen him." Lilith glanced out the window towards the citadel, "The Crownsmen fight only for the king."