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Serena and the Knights of St. John (Part 10)

A warm wave washed over Serena and she felt that she was blushing. Jerome sat down beside her and took her hand.

"We will always be friends. No war or Grandmaster will ever separate us. My duties may have changed but I'll still have my share of leisure time."

However, not only did Jerome's duties change, but soon nobody had any free time. In the morning of 18 May, the alarm guns rang out from the forts of St. Elmo and St. Angelo that flanked the entrance to the Grand Harbour. The first ships of the Ottoman armada had been sighted on the horizon.

From all over the island peasants with their cattle streamed into the fortified cities of Senglea and Birgu. Soldiers and Knights helped them bring in the remaining crops from the fields and provisions from their cellars.
In the hinterland, a small reserve garrison took shelter behind the walls of the island's capital, Mdina. The gates were closed and barricaded. People crowded on the wall crests around the cities. With apprehension they gazed out towards the east. Thousands of enemy sails dotted the sea as far as the eye could reach.
(To be continued)