Isobel led them down the hall away from the front door. When they reached the solid wall at the end, she turned right and headed down a tight spiraled stairwell of stone that descended two stories. The bottom opened into a small landing with two wooden doors. She pointed to the one on the left.
"That one leads to the dungeon. If you value your sanity, I suggest you do not venture down there. Ever." While her tone was not commanding, the statement sent a shiver down Arthur's spine. He looked at the door to the dungeon. It was just a door with nothing special about it, but he could sense the wickedness hiding behind it. When he tore his gaze away, his eyes met Kay's. Kay wiggled his eyebrows. Despite himself, Arthur smiled. His foster brother never was one for following rules or even casual suggestions. If anyone ended up in that dungeon, it would definitely be the dark knight.
Isobel swung the other door open, letting in a thick shaft of sunlight. The knights stepped out into a courtyard surrounded by stone on all four sides. Thick grass covered the area, a clear sign of its decades of disuse. Isobel strode into the center and spun on her heel toward them.
"This is the training yard. This is the only place you will find it safe to spar." She pointed to the wall opposite the castle. Several of the ephemeral beings floated on top of it, their attention turned outward as they guarded the castle. "No matter what happens in here, they will not come off that wall and no other servants are allowed in this area. These four walls form a sound barrier that cannot reach the outside world. You are safe to discuss anything here without fear of being overheard. This," she spun in a circle with her arms out. "This is your space and yours alone. This is the last time I or any other faery will come in here."
She walked over to a small stone shed along one wall and swung open the double wooden doors. The inside was lined with suits of armor, mail, shields, and weapons of all shapes and sizes. She plucked a bow off the wall and slipped an arrow out of the quiver sitting on the floor beneath it. She nocked the arrow swiftly as she spun and, just as swiftly, it flew, whistling across the length of the training yard to sink with an echoing thunk into one of the several round targets at the opposite end. Nodding with satisfaction, she hung the bow back on the wall.
"You will have no squires to do your bidding this time. You must be self sufficient when it comes to battle. You must carry your own weapons, your own equipment. When the time comes for you to leave and head off to fight, you will be assigned a contingent of servants to care for your material needs. Food, water, wounds, all will be taken care of. But your weapons are your own responsibility. Only you know what will work for you. We are not your trainers. You must choose that equipment which will suit you best and care for it as if it were you own child. When you loose an arrow, no one but yourself will be there to retrieve it. No one will polish your sword or restring your bow. You have only each other."
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish