It is Time
By Sally Madison
As soon as Alexandria saw the messenger come into the room, she knew it was important news. The messenger had given her an ominous glance. The general dismissed her, and she left the room. She quickly ran to the barn to find Kolya.
The officers were returning to the castle after having inspected the troops on the far hill, where they had been camped for the past four weeks, preparing for battle, while waiting for the other divisions of their army to arrive. A great offensive was planned, only the timing was in question. The messenger had just left the castle when the officers hailed him to join them. “What news have you conveyed to the general, do we move soon?”
The messenger replied, “Yes, the general sent me to tell you that we move, tomorrow.”
Just then, Natalia was seen leaving the castle, going to the well. The first lieutenant noticed her, and commented to the second lieutenant. “It is too bad we will loose the fine hospitality and great meals that we have had here.”
“Can we not enjoy this hospitality, after we defeat our enemy? I would like to enjoy this pleasant time again,” replied the second lieutenant.
“Oh, no, we have orders that there can be no survivors. The woman of the castle understands Turkish, and she could have overheard our plans for the next siege of Vienna. Enjoy the feast tonight, but let no hint of the plan reach their ears, for tonight will be their last on this earth,” informed the first lieutenant.
In the shadows, from inside the barn, Alexandria could hear the conversation. She drew a deep breath. It is time to put our plan into action, she thought. She had prepared her companions, as best she could; now we can only pray that there is enough time for it’s completion.
Alexandria found Kolya in the garden. While picking a few beans for the supper, she whispered, “Tonight”. Kolya closed his eyes for a quick prayer, and nodded that he understood. He was ready.
Alexandria took the apron load of beans to the castle and found Alma. Alexandria dumped the beans on the table and whispered to Alma, “It is time.”
“It’s about time! Replied Alma, rather loudly. “I cannot wait to cook THIS supper; I’ve been planning this mushroom stew for weeks.”
“Hush!” admonished Alexandria. “We do not want to have our plans thwarted. Also, mix the valerian and the St. John’s Wart for the horses.”
Next, Alexandria found Natalia, who had returned from the well, and was pouring a cool drink for the general. From around the corner, Alexandria was able to get Natalia’s attention, and beckon her to come. Natalia, understanding the signal, excused herself from the general’s presence. “The time has come to follow our plan. But try not to draw attention. We will be in for a very long and hard night. I will give the signal when the officers are down.”