"What!" Arthur said after they told him what had happened.
“We got the information though” Ira objected.
“That was the easy part.”
"Too easy perhaps?" Leon mused out loud.
"Not really" Ira answered, "he's an idiot, pretend you don't believe them and they'll say anything to make you believe otherwise."
"So he could be making it up?" Ira shrugged.
"Why would he? We know they've got the others, and he wanted to show off, also his body language said he was telling the truth," Leon nodded in agreement. Ira went and sat down next to the map of the tower that Arthur had been drawing into the ground.
"So what do we do now? We have all the information," Arthur thought for a moment before realising a flaw.
"We have a problem, we can get into the tower easily enough, but when we're in there the layout won't allow us to sneak around unnoticed, or at least on the level where the tunnel ends."
"So we need a distraction to remove any bandits on that level" Ira stated.
"We've already decided we're going to take the tower from the inside" both Ira and Arthur nodded. "But to do that we need the rest of the knights" again they both nodded. "If, say, I allowed them to 'capture' me that might draw the rest of them out." Ira was shaking her head.
"If you got captured, they'd just throw you in with the rest of them. So if we were to use your idea it'd have to be Arthur who gets caught."
"Why?" Leon asked angrily, not liking the idea of his king putting himself at risk.
"Bandits like to gloat, and who better to gloat over than the king himself, plus it would give us more time."
"But they'll probably just kill him, if it was me they'd use me for a ransom," Ira put her head in her hands.
"They won't kill him, he's too valuable alive."
"How do you know that though?" Ira let out an exasperated sigh.
"Because I have dealt with people like this before, all they care about is money." Arthur, who had been listening to the conversation spoke up before it turned into another argument.
"She's right" he admitted. "If I go then we stand more chance of rescuing them," Leon looked as if he wanted to argue.
"But what if they just throw you straight into the cell?"
"I can demand to speak with their leader, and, if I put up as much of a fight as I can then hopefully that'll draw out the rest of them," there was silence.
"Looks like it's decided then" Leon said.
Arthur watched as Leon and Ira took their positions by the tunnel entrance, the two bandits looked bored. Seeing the signal from Leon he slowly crept forward, they had agreed he should be spotted by some bandits and then run across in front of the ones guarding the tunnel to draw them away. He heard the shout, looked around to check he had been noticed and then ran. He saw the two guarding the tunnel take up the chase, still running he managed to get another fifty yards away before he got tackled to the ground.
As soon as the bandits were out of sight, Leon and Ira jumped over the rocks they had been hiding behind and sprinted to the tunnel entrance. Entering it they started to make their way silently through the darkness until they saw a light ahead of them. Creeping up to the door, Leon carefully looked through the bars that were letting the light through.
"What can you see?" Ira whispered.
"A lot of bandits" he answered. In the distance they could hear cheering, it was getting louder.
Arthur looked up at the ruin, part of the top had crumbled away and there was ivy growing up the sides. He was pushed forward roughly and started to walk again. The rope was digging into his wrists as they dragged him into the tower and through the corridors. They entered a large room, someone must have gone on ahead as their leader was sitting in a large ornate chair waiting for him.
"Well, well, well" he said as he stood up, Arthur was pushed to his knees, "if it isn't Arthur Pendragon, king of Camelot."
"I have come to demand that you free my knights" he said loudly, looking around he noticed the room was slowly filling up with more and more bandits.
"Very well, you may have them" he answered, Arthur looked up confused, "once you have paid the ransom for them."
"Free me and my men and as soon as I reach Camelot I will give it to you," the leader smirked.
"I know how Camelot works, I know I don't need to free anyone to get the ransom. Your lords will pay it, and now I have their king they will pay more, take him away." With that Arthur was dragged from the room.
Merlin looked around, he wasn't sure how long it'd been since the village was attacked, it could've been hours or days, without a window he wasn't even sure if it was night or day time. He had come round as they were being locked in this small dark cell, and after he had patched Percival's arm up as best as he could there had been some talk about trying to escape but since then no one had really spoken. The sound of a door opening and closing echoed up the passage.
"That better be food, I'm starving" he heard Gwaine mutter without opening his eyes. They heard three pairs of footsteps stop on the other side of the door, it screeched open and the small room was flooded with light, they covered their eyes from the glare. A body was pushed into the cell and the door was slammed shut again.
"Arthur!" Elyan exclaimed getting to his feet, "what happened? Why are you here? Were you caught?" Everyone else stood up.
"No I'm here to get you lot out" he explained quietly.
"And how are you going to do that? You're in here as well" Percival asked, smiling Arthur shook his head.
"I'm the diversion" in the distance a door slammed open and they heard a muffled yell.
"Who else is here?" Merlin asked as they heard footsteps running down the passageway, a key was being turned in the lock.
"Leon and..." The last name was cut off as the door screeched open and light flooded in again, Ira was standing in the doorway, carrying six swords and a big grin on her face.
"Hey" she greeted them loudly, after a moment of shock the knights and Merlin started piling out and taking the swords she offered them. Before Arthur could leave however Gwaine pulled him aside.
"You bought Ira?!" He whispered angrily so no one would hear him.
"Gwaine I'm sorry, I wouldn't have normally but there was no other choice" Gwaine was about to reply before Ira called out for them.
"Are you two coming or not?" With one last glare at Arthur, Gwaine walked out of the cell and took a sword from Ira, Arthur followed and took the last one.
"Where's Leon?" He asked.
"Gone to free the villagers and anyone else he can find, he said he'll join us when he does." They started making their way through the passages taking out anyone they saw, but Arthur realised this wasn't even half the number he had seen earlier. Where is everyone? He thought charging through another door and quickly dispatching another bandit. Before they knew it they were outside and facing a wall of bandits. They were surrounded with no way out.