As every evening, Serena sighed with relief when Jerome approached their meeting place. So many people were dying every day."How are you?" Jerome asked Serena.
"I'm well. You?"
He nodded, smiling.
"Hello, you two." The soldier on duty came closer and greeted them. Over the weeks, they'd become friends.
"Hello, Francisco," Jerome answered. "What are our neighbours up to today?"
Francisco sat down. They looked across the Grand Harbour at the Sciberras peninsula. A major section of the Ottoman army lay there.
Francisco sighed. "All quiet. I don't like that. I bet they're up to something."
"Perhaps they're just resting after conquering Fort St. Elmo?" Serena said.
Francisco shrugged. Two days earlier, Fort St. Elmo, formerly guarding the entrance to the Grand Harbour at the tip of Sciberras peninsula, had fallen after valiant resistance. Automatically, the three looked at the bridge spanning the bay between Senglea and Birgu that enabled forces to change swiftly between posts. How much longer could the forts of St. Angelo in Birgu and St. Michael in Senglea resist?
"There's a rumour," Francisco said. "La Valette's councillors advised him to retreat with the garrison to Fort St. Angelo and break down the drawbridge because it's too costly on people and resources to defend fort and city."
Serena's breath stopped.