“That there, is the last boat out of France.” She gestured towards the docks where I could clearly see a ship getting ready to launch. “You best hurry, they’ll be looking for you soon.”
I nodded, and we began to make our way down the long flight up steps and toward the docs. The books, bags, and papers in my arms made it slow going as I couldn’t see the steps below me. Victoria had urged me to leave them behind, but they were all I had left. Stumbling a few times, she muttered to herself about the stubbornness of the English.
“We don’t have time for this. Hurry!” She urged.
“I’m trying! I’m trying!” I responded, doing my best to quicken my pace without falling. As if on cue, French soldiers appeared at the top of the stairs.
“Ils sont là! Attrape les!” They shouted and began to rush after us.
“Drop the trash!” She shouted and pushed me down the stairs making me spill the contents of my arms across the steps. I was only able to hold onto a book and a small bag as I took off in a run. “Don’t look back, I’ll hold them off!”
I kept running and could hear gunshots of her pistol and the clash of swords. Disobeying her, I looked and saw she had wounded one soldier who was on the ground with a steaming bullet wound. Her pistol lay beside her as she was engaged fighting with others more were circling around her, but she fought moving backward, holding them off. I’d never seen anyone fight like that, especially not a woman. Jacques was right, if anyone could do this job, it was her, but even she was no match for five to six of them. I had to help.
Running back I slammed my remaining book down on an unsuspecting soldier’s head, and he crumbled. She quickly turned her riposte from another and slid her blade across one of the soldier’s heads.
“Merde! I told you to run Felix!” She growled at me, parrying the blows of two others. I picked up the rapier of one of the fallen soldiers and tried to distract another.
“Not on your life! I’m not leaving without you.” I had hoped I would sound heroic but instead, my voice cracked. The soldier I was trying to distract cut into my arm and began to pull out his own pistol. She gave him a quick jab and dislodged it from his grasp.
“This is my home Felix, not yours. Now go! There will be reinforcements soon! There’s still hope for you. I can take these three.” She sent another’s sword flying and quickly hamstrung him, facing down the remaining two. “Désolé, trois!”
“Chienne!” The other two yelled and rushed her. Not a fighter, I was clearly outmatched and moved back and at this point only getting in the way. Hastily I stepped back from the whirling blades.
“Go!” She yelled at me again and finally I took off towards the ship. It had already begun to pull away from the port. Down the dock, I saw some other soldiers coming as reinforcements and doubled my speed, letting my remaining bag drop as I jumped toward the side of the ship. They let forth a volley of gunfire, most of it went wild from this distance but one impacted just next to my face, sending a spread of wood into my vision and temporarily blinding me. I hoped temporarily at least. Hands pulled me into the boat, and I breathed easier though I could still hear the commotion on the docks.
“How is she?!” I yelled at whoever helped me aboard, as I couldn’t see them.
“I can’t see your friend, I’m sorry. We’re too far off.” He answered, and the sounds of fighting died down. “You’re safe now,” He said, “We’ll be back in England soon.”
I could only nod and sit down on the deck and hoped to God she was alright.