[Author’s note: We go now to Jason’s perspective and learn form Sharon that Wholawski is indeed dead. We also learn a little bit about what’s going on out front.So again we are basically between Chapters 105 and 106, Chester’s Last Stand and Hidden in the Forest, of Phoenix Triumphant. There is also a bonus conversation between me and Sharon, that I had right after finding out she wasn’t going to board the boat.]
Now that Ryan was gone, Jason turned back to Sarah and stroked her forehead. Her eyes flickered open slightly.
“Jay?” the words were barely a whisper.
“Shh, everything is fine; just rest. We will be on the boat and away from all of this soon.”
He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. Her eyes fluttered shut and he looked to Mistress Laura, but she had moved on to other injuries. He saw that Lynn and Mathew had organized those who were here for loading. Skathains were guarding both entrances. Jason moved to the line of people waiting to board the boat.
One of the women hesitantly caught his attention. He noticed there was a girl cowering behind her.
“Goodwoman Sarah,” the young woman asked, “will she live? She’s the only one Lady Miriam seems to trust, and I’m not sure I can get her to follow me on the boat but if...”
Phoenix nodded. “Sarah will live, thanks to the Gods. I will likely have to carry her on, but we shall see what we can do. I know Lord Farquad will be glad to see his daughter again.”
At the mention of her father, Lady Miriam wailed and sat down to weep. Another woman came up to them.
“We don’t know what HE did to her, Sergeant Phoenix, but she’s been a wreck ever since.” The older woman stated. “But tell us, is Princess Allmarah safe? Sarah said she’d been sent out to our allies, but...”
“She is safe,” Jason looked to Mistress Laura who had just joined them. “How goes the frontal assault?”
“Phillip says that the Skathains are wrecking havoc in the courtyard.”
“Good,’ Jason nodded, “let Phillip know we are loading the boat and once we are away they are to set fire to anything they can.”
“Of course,” she nodded.
“And check on Sarah,” his voice softened. “I would like to get her on the boat soon.”
“Of course,” Mistress Laura smiled.
Phoenix moved forward to Lynn and Mathew, whom Sharon was helping.
The woman looked to him. “So Jakubas was not able to kill you?”
“No, but not for lack of trying,” Jason smiled.
“Two Nigiri bolts while his back was turned,” Mathew muttered. His mouth moved as if he wanted to say more but the only other word he got out was, “bastard.”
“Well he’s dead, of that I assure you.” She smiled. “Got a taste of his own justice too.”
“Will you be joining us?” Jason interrupted Sharon before she went on a tirade.
The woman shook her head. “No, I’ve got to make sure what York set into motion stays in motion. Sides I don’t really belong out there anymore.”
Jason nodded and gripped her shoulder. “You have done the best you could Auntie, and that is all the Gods ask of us.”
She smiled a bitter smile. “No Nephew, there was so much more I could have done.”
She left, but before Jason could go after her Sarah’s called in his mind. Smiling, he quickly strode back to the Willow to help her onto the ship.
“What?” the author stops in surprise. “Why, Sharon?” she asks her character with some concern. “Lady Abigail would take you into her household, I can write you a happy ending...”
Sharon shakes her head. “No. My place is here, ensuring that the castle falls and the giving mercy to those who deserve it. And if I come out alive, I’ll be a hermit in the woods. I’m done with people. I’m too jaded for them. I’d ruin the innocence of young ones like Ryan without thinking. No, I’ll live up here in the woods until I die. That is my penance for letting my brother live for so long.”
“Okay,” the Author sighs, “I understand.” She gives the woman a warm hug. “Go with the Gods’ blessing, and may they watch over you.”
Sharon nods her head, but as she walks away the Author smiles. She knows the Gods will lead Sharon to Sparrow’s Nest and keep her safe. Perhaps they will use her to help instruct Ryan on the ways of the Nigiri, or perhaps they will let her live in peace. But one day they will take her soul as she sleeps and wipe clean her memories that she may find true happiness in the Dogwood Grove*.
*Dogwood Grove is the Vervellean version of Valhalla.