[Author’s note: Continuing on with James in the woods we start with Jason’s perspective on things before switching back to James. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such an emotional reaction from James before *grin* So anyway, this takes place between chapter 86 (Plans Set to Motion) and chapter 87 (The Siege Begins)]
It was nearing midnight when the last of the Skathains came back from their wood scouting. It also was near midnight when Jason returned, by boat from the village.
“They killed ten and brought back five,” Gwythryn told Phoenix as they returned from the boat. “They hurt two of them, as they nearly forgot their orders,” His teeth gnashed in annoyance.
“So long as one of those isn’t James,” Jason sighed, “we will be fine.”
He wasn’t happy with Sarah’s statement about there being others to save, yet he ought to have expected it from her. Mistress Laura’s insistence upon taking one of the villages biggest boats confirmed, at least to him, that this was all according to the Gods’ plan. Thankfully, Skathains that had accompanied Alara were skilled rowers. Jason found it funny that she had more respect from her people than her brother who was supposed to be the leader.
Soon, they were joined by Lord Farquad. “The wounded ones are being tended. James waits in the main tirug.”
Jason nodded. “Has he ever mentioned having a son?”
“No,” Lord Farquad looked puzzled. “I received a letter from him saying he’d taken a wife, but we didn’t find her when we entered the village.”
Jason nodded again. “Let me speak with him alone first.”
Lord Farquad and Gwythryn stood aside as Jason passed them and moved into the wooden circular hut.
“Phoenix!” James rose and bowed. “Your Lady Sarah fares well this evening,”
“She is Scout Smith,” Jason corrected.
A look of slight confusion crossed the man’s face. “Scout Smith fares well. She has gotten away with more than any other I have seen pass through those walls.”
“I care not for that right now. I have spoken with her recently and know she is well.”
“Of course,” James sat down.
Jason did the same and studied the man. “And of Lady Miriam? What of her?”
“She lies in the dungeon, broken,” James whispered, “I have not told my Uncle anything yet.”
“You will want to, but after our interview.” Jason pondered his next question. “Would you be able to get the Lady Miriam from the dungeon to the Princess’s room without trouble?”
“I might not, be able to, but it is possible that Scout Smith might.”
“Is that so?” Jason suddenly wondered what exactly had happened while they were out of contact.
“Yes,” and without prompting James told Jason what had transpired when Sarah had gone outside to witness the whipping of Major Chantey.
While Jason did not like the fact that Wholwaski had set her to kill the man, he smiled to himself. Once more the Gods proved that she was the right person for the job.
“Now, let us talk of this rescue, for we must get the women and your child out...”
“My child?” James interrupted without thinking. He stared at Phoenix unbelieving.
“Yes James,” Phoenix reached out a hand to grip his shoulder, “Lord Farquad told me you had taken a wife, but that she was not found among the villagers.”
“She,” James felt the color fade from his face, “she never told me she’d born me a child.” He felt like an utter failure. He should have tried harder to get her out. If Wholawski found the child; James did not want to think about what would happen.
“Sarah says that Katherine is doing fine and both she and your infant son Brian are under Sharon’s care.” James looked up to see Phoenix’s critical stare. “I must say Sharon is an interesting choice of ally, being Wholawski’s sister and all.”
“She has suffered the most from him and has grown tired of seeing others go through the same fate,” it was an automatic statement. He paused and then once more queried, “I have a son?”
Phoenix chuckled. “Yes James you do and congratulations, but,” his face became serious, “we need to plan on how to get your son and the others my Fiancé deems fit to rescue out of that Gods forsaken castle.”