The Exchange (Part 1)

[Author’s note: Believe it or not I had to write this from James’s and Allmarah’s point of view before I could tackle Sarah’s. It just made more sense to start by finding out what was going on below since I knew essentially what would be happening between Sarah and Wholawski above (think scene from Star Wars, where Lea is being dragged around Cloud City screaming “Luke! It’s a Trap!”), though it turned out differently, by setting this in stone I was better able to figure out what Sarah’s reactions would be. So yes, this is what happens down below during chapter 97, A Prince for a Princes, in Phoenix Triumphant. And yes, I had to use more words to describe it than Sarah's point of view.]


Wholawski was a treacherous man and James knew he wasn’t letting the Princess go easy. James didn’t need to see the archers stationed above him to know what the General had in mind. His only hope was that Sarah saw them and warned Phoenix. He did notice that the Princess looked a bit bulky.

Deciding not to say anything, James lead them forward. They waited at the entrance, wind howling and swirling in the darkened tunnel of the entrance. Soon the swirling eddies of wind streamed past them as the drawbridge clanked into place.

There was immediate action form the pike line. Men and women with bows lined up, ready for action. He heard his own deep breath echoed beside him. He glanced to the Princess with a slight smile as he started forward.

“Hard to believe you are being set free at last, is it not, Your Highness?”

“More likely you are leading me to my death than freedom,” was Princess Allmarah’s stiff response.

James smiled to himself. She still had no idea he was on her side. “I thought you had more faith than that.”

They had reached the end of the drawbridge and James called them to a halt. Taking the lance from one of the men he took out the white flag. Someone had bleached it, for it no longer bore the blood and dirt stains from its last use.

“I have faith,” the Princess startled him as James returned the lance, “in the Gods. Not inHIM.” Her head moved ever so slightly to indicate Wholawski.

James dared a glance back and saw Sarah held at knifepoint, but there was nothing he could do. He had to have faith that she knew what she was doing. He shifted his weight and altered his gaze to the line of pikes.

“Gods preserve us,” he whispered as a company formed at the one break in the pikes.


Princess Allmarah’s eyes flicked to James. Had she really just heard him call upon the Gods? He, who ranked high in General Wholawski’s army?

“May the Gods bless us all,” she whispered in return.

Her sideways glance caught his fleeting smile and Allmarah felt a surge of hope. She was not leaving Goodwoman Sarah alone with General Wholawski. James was an ally, for no true man of Wholawski’s would admit to having faith in the Gods.

Turning her attention back to the party that was making their way forward, her hope fell slightly. She’d never seen people so big. Especially the, woman, she realized, who led them. 

It felt like eternity, waiting there, for them to arrive, but at last the group stopped, ten paces form them. The Princess noticed, that though they were armored and carried large shields, they were otherwise unprepared to fight. The woman stepped forward and bowed. As she straightened, she stepped aside.

The End

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