The Baron was on a coach leaving St. Petersburg to meet with his brother at the dock. It was a long journey. He was alone except for his driver Rudolph up in the drivers space. Two fine horses, black and powerful were pulling the coach to safety.
At this point the Baron although calm realized his worse scenarios were materializing. Izzy had disappeared and that was strange and disconcerting. And then there was the spying.
The Baron felt his moves were being watched. It was more than just a feeling, he had proof. His position in the Russian Duma required him to have a secretary. A person who would aid him in research, keep his papers in order and brief him on events. The person the Duma had assigned to him was Sergi Petrokov. A young man of about twenty five. Thin and slightly on the awkward side Sergi was quite capable. But the Baron had secretly felt he was watching him and reporting back to someone. To get a handle on the situation the Baron had placed a few papers in his unlocked desk. It was the time he went away for a few days. When he came back he found the papers were out of sequence. He knew then that Sergi was assigned to watch and report. He therefore acted accordingly. Now with his plans to escape out of the trap that he felt was about to be sprung, he used this knowledge hopefully for his benefit. He told Sergi that he and his companion were invited to the Bat Mitsvah but his home secretary had mislaid the invitations. He wanted Sergi to report back to whomever that all was normal.
It was four o’clock and the Baron wanted to return for a weekend at his castle. He took his coach and directed the coachmen to return him home. He trusted the coachmen Ivan, for he had selected him. He was loyal to the family. An hour out and with the city of St. Petersburg behind him and fading in the distance the roads became rough and bumpy. Traffic on the road was getting sparce. Baron looked back and saw that his suspicions were correct. He was being followed by four men on horseback. He knew that ahead was a small inn. He needed to think and directed his Ivan to stop so he might get a bite to eat. As he suspected the followers also stopped at the inn. He sat at a table alone while his coachmen stayed with the coach. He sent out some food for Ivan to consume. The four horsemen entered and ate at a table on the other side of the room. They were boisterous and jovial but the Baron knew that was a deception. What they wanted he did not know but they were after him and yet they waited. Perhaps waiting when they were in a more isolate area?
Baron Simon Yakovlevich ordered a lite meal consisting of borsht and black bread and a stein of ale. He tore off pieces of the bread and sopped up the borsht. He slurped this down with swigs of ale. Meanwhile his gaze would on occasion go around the room. He looked at his adversaries. They could not fool him. They took glanced over but avoided direct contact with his eyes. He heard one of them refer to the leader of this troop as Captain. A captain? Why would they be on this road and for what other purpose then to follow the Baron?
The Baron had to make a determination. Did he follow this route to his castle, Konstantin Palace or deter as he had thought he was going to do and go to the sea coast where he would catch his cousin’s boat to freedom? Would he by doing so jeapordize the others that he had ordered to go there for their freedom.The Baron was seventy five years old and although active was not as strong as he used to be. If this would be the end then let it be so. Rather die in the arms of a fight than die in a bed lingering through the night. He remembered his father had said that to him before he went to battle. His father was rewarded and did die a death for heroes and not in bed. The Baron remembered this as he boarded his coach to go to his destiny. He would take the turnoff. This road leading northeast to the coast was rarely traveled. If these men were indeed after him they would surely follow and the chase would be either his last or their last. A mile before the turnoff the Baron prepared. Under his seat were weapons and he now opened the top of the seat to reveal them, take them out and prepare himself for battle if it needed to be.