Brier led the group into town and then took a very convoluted path to the empty estate, hoping that it would throw the attacker off of their trail. He was one of the most dangerous at her master's disposal and she knew that she could not defend her friends from him. Fortunately, the estate's fields were dead and could offer no cover for the Sneak. That made Brier feel a little safer when they reached the tithe barn. The big doors were locked, but they were not above Brier's lock picking skills. Inside were large piles of stale oats and wilted sheaves of wheat, but little else. It would do for a bed at least. Once she was certain that the entire party, horses included, was inside, she untied herself from the saddle and closed the doors... barely. Whatever strength was left in her body's reserves was nearly gone.
The doctor finally stepped in and made her sit, focusing on her still-oozing hand first. When he hand cleaned it and wrapped it, he took a skin of water from his bag and had her drink it.
"I am amazed that you are still able to stand," he said as she drank, "with the amount of blood that you lost, you should never have woken up. It is well that your friend was able to stall you as long as she did and the young master found me. Were it not for them, you would die within the hour."
He gave an appreciative nod to Christina and Bertram.
"It is probably of little use to tell you to rest for a few days," he smiled.
"If we had more time, I would obey your orders," said Brier, "but as you say, I do owe these two my life. If we stay still too long, I will fail to preserve theirs."
"It seems, then, that I will simply have to come along with you, young lady Caldwell."
Brier stiffened, "How do you know me, sir?"
"I know your father well, and I was there when you and your brother were born. That is all I will say for now, but I swear on my honor as a doctor that you may put your trust in me. If I ever step wrong, you may feed me to whoever it is that chases you. Speaking of food, have you any?"
Brier frowned and shook her head. The old man waved a dismissive hand.
"No matter," he said as he pulled another water skin from his bag and gestured to the piles of oats, "we shall have porridge tonight."
Forrester began with the largest pieces of furniture first, moving one of the beds a little at a time so as not to alert the guards outside. He tried to formulate a means of reaching the windows with the height of only two beds, an end table, and a large trunk to work with.
"I wonder how far we will travel for this tome," he said conversationally, in case the guards were listening.
He used the burnt wood to write, How is your balance? We may need to be creative.
Lachlan sighed, picked up the bag beneath his pillow, and strode to the door. He rapped on it and called to the guards outside, "May I send my bag to lady Stephania? You may search it. There is nothing in it that any of us may use to escape."
The door creaked open and he was met with the blade of a sword.
"Set the bag on the floor and we shall bring it to her room," said one of the hooded ones.
He did as he was told and slid the bag toward the obscured man with his foot.
"All that is within the bag is hers. There is enough money and jewelry in it to stay well dressed and comfortable for a week. If you steal so much as a copper, she will know and she will tell me. I am sure that your master does not take kindly to thievery."
The man took the bag with a curt nod and shut the door. Lachlan heard him rifle through the coin purses and jewelry, and then open a door somewhere down the hall.
"Lady Stephania? I was told to deliver this to you."
Lachlan sighed. Hopefully she had enough sense to keep quiet about the contents of the bag until he could talk to her. It was better in her hands than under the noses of his current roommates.
OOC: Not to worry, Wolfsong. It is quite a rarity with you