The gathered traitors looked about them, fear in their eyes. Eyes went to the door, as if the wicked people expected to see the trim form of Sparrowhawk step through it at any moment.
"Why now?" one of the men declared, worried. "When we're so close!"
"Because we are," the leader replied flatly. "We have the information we need. We cannot turn back now."
"And what do we do now?" another asked. "What..."
"We can do nothing," the leader shook his head. "The timetable is in motion. We cannot speed up or delay it. If we run away, they will find us."
Again, there was long silence. People looked everywhere but to the hollow eyes of their leader.
"The operation will go ahead." He spoke softly. "We have no choice. The timetable is in operation." As he spoke, then leader seemed very far away. In his mind, he was in the same place, albeit at the bottom of the hill. But some time ago. Looking down at a fallen figure outside the mighty walls of a great grey chapel.
And he wondered just why she had returned now, after so many years, when he was at the cusp of a triumph.
Outside, on a ledge, the figure of Sparrowhawk waited, listening through a device attached to the wall. She looked out to the sea, shining in the sun. Then up to the cliffs above the town, where she could just make out a figure in green.