Lugh glanced back behind him as he gained the cover of the servant’s quarters. Good, nobody should have seen me cross, he thought. Likely word would go out at some point, and his hair was likely to give him away as much as anything in the dark. The ornate broach that held his brat at his shoulder might give someone pause in the servants quarters and above all he must not draw attention.
Once again Lugh undid his sword belt and rolled the lot together. Instead of kilted around his middle, Lugh cast his brat over his head and shoulders turning his ornate belt and weapon into a shapeless bump where his normally well proportioned shoulders would have been and with it up over his head, concealed his fair hair as well. This at least gave him some hope of being mistaken for someone else in the dark.
The beginnings of a crowd moved toward him out of the shadows of the hovels where he hid. “What’s all the commotion?” asked someone from the group of servants drawn by the noise of fruitless pursuit. “Good folk are trying to sleep, what might the trouble be?”
“There’s someone on the roof of the queen’s house,” trilled Lugh in a fair approximation of an old crone. “See, there he is.”
There, on the roof, finally, came one of the Maines who had, no doubt, been struggling to gain the metal grill-work and then exit out the reeds as had Lugh. There seemed to be more guards now, also they were better equipped with torches, while the Maines rushed wildly about looking for their prey, swords waving in the torch light. Lugh drifted back in the crowd while the rest pushed forward for a better look at the follies of their betters. Helpful cries of, “He’s there on the roof, can’t you see?” and “He’s going around there, he’s on the queen’s roof!” Gave Lugh confidence that he had a good chance at escape with everyone’s attention diverted while he made his way through the shadows toward the queen’s stables.
At first Lugh hobbled like the hump backed crone he wanted to appear, but the farther he got from the queen’s house and the closer to the stables and escape, the more he traded stealth for speed until finally he gave up the charade and took his things under his arm and made as good speed as he could. Soon the feasting hall was behind him as well, and between Lugh and the excitement at the queen’s house. If only Gol had not seen too quickly to the horses they might still be sitting fully harnessed and ready by the stables. Could I have that good fortune? Lugh wondered.