I’ve gone and written myself into a corner in a story I’m writing. I need to figure out how two thieves can escape from the grounds of a castle.
There are two gates: one at the front, and one at the back. The front gate would be suicidal to attempt – it is brightly lit, overlooked by a gatehouse and only accessible across a wide expanse of gravel which is too noisy to walk on without being heard.
The back gate is a far better prospect. The back gate stands between two guardposts, each of which contains windows looking out over the surrounding area. The angle of the windows means that each of the guardposts is partially overlooked by the other. The gate itself opens using a lever inside one of the guardposts. There are two guards in each guardpost, and they are on alert, since one of their colleagues was killed the previous night by an intruder. The guards are armed with swords and crossbows. The outside of the gate is lit by torches, but the inside (where the thieves are currently stuck) is dark. There are no guards watching the inner courtyard, so unless they make too much noise, they’re safe until they open the doors to the guardposts. I’ve drawn a basic sketch of the plan in case the description is unclear
The only other possible way out is to scale the wall and rappel down – this being the method they used to get in earlier. They have a one grappling hook and one climbing rope between them. However, one of them is badly injured with a concussion, and anything acrobatic is out of the question. Other equipment they have with them includes two blackjacks, one dagger, a bow with a supply of broadhead and blunt-headed arrows, an assorted collection of shiny valuables they stole from the Castle, and one Maltese toy dog
(which belongs to the lady of the castle, but which decided that the thieves were its new best friends after they fed it to keep it quiet and it’s now following them around).
My problem is that given that only one of the thieves is in decent enough physical shape to get into a confrontation, they can only infiltrate one guardpost at a time. If they turn the lights off in one room, the guards in the other will see the light go out and come to investigate. The same goes if they get into any kind of fight in either of the rooms.
Both thieves are experts at sneaking. They would strongly prefer not to kill anyone, but will do so if they have no other choice. The best outcome would be for them to escape without anyone raising the alarm, but they could probably lose a pursuit if they had to.
What would be a reasonable plan for escaping through this gate? Please help me rescue my thieves!