[Author’s note: I take you now to Jason’s perspective as Sarah is fighting for her life in Chapters 98 and 99, Uneven Odds and Turning the Tables, in Phoenix Triumphant. We also go a little into some of the following chapters. Prepared to have your heart strings tugged at; I know I had tears in my eyes as I wrote this. Poor Jason, I’ve put him through a lot.]
Jason felt himself drawn to Sarah’s conscious the moment Wholawski stepped into the room she was in. He was glad he’d set himself upon the boat, rather than at the pikes with the others. Mistress Laura and Mage Lynn exchanged glances. Jason ignored them.
Treat it like a sparring session, he told Sarah, glad Wholawski had chosen James as Sarah’s first opponent. “Cwmfen,” he glanced up to where the elderly woman sat at the bow of the boat.
“Yes, Sergeant Phoenix?” The woman looked at him mildly.
“Set the boat to rowing.”
The woman nodded and yelled out Skathain commands.
Jason turned to Lynn. “Weathermage Lynn, keep us shrouded in mist as much as you can. And Mistress Laura,” he looked to his other side, “tell the others to start the onslaught. I want a constant barrage of arrows and rocks pelting the Fortress walls.”
“I thought we were going to wait for night fall?” Mathew muttered form behind him.
Jason looked back. “We must adapt to the situation.”
He looked back to the front of the boat, his consciousness with Sarah. She had lost her weapon, but Jason knew she wasn’t defenseless.
One at a time like a boss fight, right? Her thought was clear, but obviously to herself and not to him as he did not understand what she meant by boss fight.
“No.” Jason stood as she was captured. Why hadn’t James turned to fight with her? He hadn’t misjudged the man’s character had he? Unless Wholwaski had found his wife and child.
Jason! Sarah’s call for help shot straight thought his heart, but hands kept him from moving away.
“You won’t last long in the lake,” Lynn spoke kindly.
“Row faster if you can, Cwmfen!” he called out. We are coming as fast as we can, he told Sarah, whishing desperately for a Willow to transport him to her side.
“What’s going on?” Mathew now knelt before him and Jason let out a yelp.
“She’s been wounded,” he managed to get out, “James isn’t fighting with her, but he’s not fighting against her now.” Jason closed his eyes and he felt like a weight was lifted off he’s shoulder. “She has Gods’ Nectar...” he smiled. “James let her force feed it to Chester..."
Come on James. Help me out here, Sarah’s thoughts relayed themselves to him. You could at least take out Chester now that he’s unconscious.
Jason fully agreed with that. He too, wanted to know why the man who had seemed so willing to help wasn’t. Did the man not know how close they were?
“Cousin?” Lynn’s voice broke through his thoughts.
“Sharon has joined them. Chester is unconscious. James is neutral and...” His brows furrowed. Sarah?What just happened?
Chester is apparently on our side... her thought was interrupted.
Holding up a finger he let those beside him know not to interrupt as he tried to listen to the conversation. It was confusing, but, York, the Nigiri he’d killed had apparently taken over Chester’s body and was helping them.
Well, he heard Sarah think, he did stab Wholawski and knock him out, he can’t be that bad...
Just be wary, Jason cautioned her.
He smiled as he felt her roll her eyes. Pulling most of his consciousness back to the boat Jason opened his own eyes. Lynn, Laura and Mathew were looking at him expectantly.
“Wholawski is dead, or at least dying, from Nigiri poison.” He looked back to the bow of the boat. “They can slow down some Cwmfen. I still want to make time, but the urgency is less.”
The woman shrugged. “Sure thing,” she stated before saying something in Skathain that made a couple of the rowers chuckle.
Jason let himself breath slowly for a moment to calm himself. There was no need for Sarah to know how close he’d come to doing something stupid to try and save her. At last he felt capable of contacting her.
Sarah, he felt her consciousness connect to his. I need you to gather those you wish to save and bring them out back. The boat should arrive by dusk.
I thought it was going to be dawn?
We adapted to the situation, was all he told her. Tell James I’d like the draw bridge lowered at about the same time. Jason turned his attention to Mistress Laura, “Let Phillip know they are to storm the castle as soon as the drawbridge is down. There are allies inside, hopefully marked with Lord Farquad’s symbol as they have been before.”
Mistress Laura was silent for a moment, before she responded. “Do we know how many?”
“No,” Jason stated. “But most of the men inside have been drugged. Griffon will remember what we used to capture Prince Hermanus. Our allies ought to be the ones who have been given the antidote.”
Mistress Laura nodded, but no other questions were given back.
“I can’t keep the mist about us anymore,” Lynn spoke. “The Gods wish it to fall upon the fortress.”
Jason nodded. “That works for us.”