At first they stood in absolute darkness and silence. After a while, they realized that while the silence was not absolute, being broken by the quiet patter of rain on a distant roof several floors above and by their own harried breathing, the darkness really was. Their eyes weren't adjusting. It was just black.

“What are we going to do?” That was the sensible voice of the bondsman, asking sensible questions.

“I think it is a good time to introduce ourselves,” said Harun, after a bit of thinking.

“To introduce ourselves? Now?”

“Yes. After all, if we cannot see each other, we at least had better know who is talking. And I would find it considerably tiring to have to call you ‘serf’ all the time, although you can believe me that I do not think of the word in its derogatory meaning.”

“Aye, it would be silly to have to call you ‘heathen’ all the time, even if I wouldn’t use the word in its whatsit meaning.”

“Derogatory,” Harun repeated. “It means ‘not very civil’.”

“Thanks,” he heard the voice of the bondsman from somewhere out of the darkness. “I got that all right. My name is Gundolf. By the way, it’s not as though anyone really needed your name to know when you’re talking. Judging from your accent, anyone can hear you’re not exactly from within fifty miles of Danzig.”

“My name is Harun, Shukran.”

There was a sneeze – a female one.

“Was that you?” asked Wenzel. Not the most intelligent of questions, perhaps, but it made sense from his particular point of view in which one person was at the moment simply ousting the rest of humanity.

“Aye,” the girl sniffled.

“What is your name?”

“Edith.”

Edith…” The word tingled in the guard’s brain.

“We’ll best get you into some warmer place,” he said firmly.

“In case you haven’t noticed,” commented Harun, “that’s what I have been arguing for the last half hour out there. I think it would be a bit more chilly had we remained out in the rain.”

“He’s right, you know,” said Gundolf the bondsman judiciously.

“But she needs still more warmth,” Wenzel insisted. “Or she might catch her death.”

“And damn silly that would be, after having run away from it so energetically,” Harun sighed. “All right, we shall make it warm for the lady.”

“And how?” Jan’s voice was easily recognizable. It was steaming with fury. It had just begun to dawn on him that he had had his live saved by a heathen, which would have been detestable enough without this heathen and he didn't seem to like that thought at all. “Do you think the cursed knight left a pile of wood behind for our use? You fool!”

“No, I had rather reckoned on him not having time to remove his furniture,” Harun responded calmly. “No let’s look… or rather feel, always be precise…”

Cautiously he advanced step by step, until his hands found something hard – but not cold. It was not stone what he ran his fingers over now, but…

“Wood,” he shouted. “There is a table over here, and… yes, chairs I think. I have never felt like burning a leg before, but who knows, perhaps tonight is the night. Wenzel, with all your cookfire experience you have practically become our official fire-lighter by now. Do you have… what does one light fires with?”

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