[Author's Note: this takes place after Phoenix Rising: Death in the Darkness. I actually worte it during my edit phase to better understand Jaosn's reactions upon Sarah's wakening. Also becuase Ryan's written himself into the story much more than the single appearance he originally had.]
Men from Griffon Troop, Bear Troop and Mink’s Troop had all hurried out upon hearing the commotion. Griffon, Bear and his four oldest boys kept the crowd at bay. Martha kept the youngest cordoned in her house. Little Ryan snuck out the front and ran to where Jason held onto Sarah tightly. Tears streamed down his face.
“Is, is, she dead?” Ryan asked mournfully.
Jason looked up and into the eyes of the concerned boy. “Not yet,” he whispered. He buried his head back into her hair. “Not yet. Oh Sarah, what have I done?”
“You have only done that which the Gods have asked.” A man’s hand kindly gripped upon Jason’s shoulder.
“Hold her still, we must remove the dagger,” a woman’s gentle voice instructed him.
Jason looked up. Through his tears he recognized the Grand-Pairents. “H, how?”
“The same manner as you,” Grand-Fayther Jesus helped Jason to hold Sarah against him so that the Grand-Moyther could work.
“Ryan,” Martha hissed, suddenly realizing her son was standing right next to the Grand-Pairents.
“Let him stay Goodwoman, he will be of use.” The Grand-Fayther looked up at the men who had gathered. “I need four of you to help with the man.”
“He was a Nigiri Assassin,” Jason whispered.
“Hush,” Grand-Moyther Magdalene comforted him, “He was a pawn of the General’s, no longer in the service of the Gods. Azer lost too many Knights and Pairents by his hand. You have rid the world of the General’s deadliest weapon. I only wish it had not come at such cost.”
The Grand-Moyther set a hand around where the dagger had hit between Sarah’s shoulder blades. She nodded to Ryan who was at the ready with clean linen to staunch the wound. The Moyther gripped the handle with her right hand. Pulling with more strength than one would expect of an elderly woman, she extracted the dagger and quickly plunged it into the earth.
Ryan hesitated but one moment before pressing the cloth to Sarah’s wound with all his might.
“Lay her down,” Grand-Moyther Magdalene helped Jason to situate Sarah in his lap.
“Wouldn’t it, be better if,” he began.
“This must be done here and now. You are her connection to the Gods.”
The Grand-Moyther took a vial from a hidden pocket. She nodded again to Ryan and he removed the blood soaked bandage. Two drops from the vial she poured onto the wound. Then she bandaged it up with clean linen.
“Take her to a bed,” she beckoned to Martha who hurried over. “In the morning you will need to re-dress her wound.” She handed Martha the vial, “Two drops, no more, no less, should be placed on it, after cleansing with warm water.”
Martha nodded acquiescence as Jason began to rise.
“Shouldn’t she be healed in the Temple?” Ryan asked, puzzled and concerned.
Grand-Fayther Jesus chuckled, eliminating any comment from his mother. He ruffled Ryan’s hair. “Sarah is from a place that is not here. Things are done much differently where she is from. The Gods think it best that she is tended to as she expects to be, so as not to scare her.”
Ryan nodded, though it was clear he desperately wanted to ask why. Jason began to carry Sarah into Griffon’s house and Ryan followed. For the next two days Ryan was Jason’s helper. He fetched water, kept Jason company and any other task he could think of to make life easier. He even followed Jason to the Temple on the third day to pray for Sarah.
Upon reaching the Temple, Jason had strode to the front, gone around the Well and leaned his head on the bark of the Godwood tree. How long would it take he wondered? How long could he stay here with her before Mathew came to fetch him home? Why were the Gods torturing him like this? With each question he knocked upon the wood with his forehead until he realized Ryan was staring at him curiously.
Heaving a huge sigh he turned to lean his back against the huge tree. He stared down at the grass in deep depression.
Jason? Sarah voice echoed in his mind. His heart tugged. She needed him. He looked up, his eyes glazed over.
“Sarah?” His arms reached out and then his vision was blinded by a white light.
Suddenly his vision cleared, he looked down at Ryan. The boy’s expression clearly showed he thought Jason was crazy. Jay couldn’t help but grin.
“She waking up!” He scooped up Ryan so that the boy could ride piggy back while he sprinted back to Griffon’s house with haste. He unceremoniously dropped Ryan off to help his mother before bounding up the steps to where Sarah lay in bed.
For a moment his heart stopped, for she lay still. Cautiously he approached the bed. Placing a hand upon her chest he felt for a sign of life. “Sarah?” he whispered. But she was growing cold. Had the last sound of her voice been that of good-bye?