Sarah's tale continues as she forages ahead to find her place and fulfill her destiny.
The trek to Riverbend, the town in which Griffon lived, was uneventful and even restful. Especially once they got a ride on a farmer's wagon. If he noticed Sarah was female, he didn't mention it. Richard was quiet the whole way and Sarah didn't feel much like talking.
It wasn't fair to finally find out that Jay had feelings for her to then be sent far away. All but Mathew seemed puzzled by his choice. Like good soldiers they did not question their leader but sent her off with a hearty farewell and hopes to see her soon. Sarah shook her head to clear the memories as the landscape began to change.
"Let me out here," Richard suddenly broke his silence. The last time he'd spoken was to arrange for their ride.
"Ho There," the farmer reined in his horse.
They slowed to a stop in front of a path that led to a line of Willow trees that curved around out of sight. Richard jumped off and began to walk toward them.
"Ye be getting off with ‘em?" the farmer turned to look at Sarah.
"No," Sarah sighed. "I'm to find Scout Sergeant Bear's wife and help her."
"Now there's a woman could need the help," the farmer chuckled, "blessed with eight boys, the Gods only know why." He shook the reins. "Giddy-up." The wagon lurched forward.
Up ahead Sarah saw, by far, the largest vegetable garden she'd ever seen. A few men and boys were hard at work hoeing and weeding. Beyond them she heard the sound of sword upon sword in a rhythm that spoke of practice rather than fighting. As they came abreast of the field Sarah could see the men who caused the sound. They fought in a fenced space behind a large two story building. Beyond that was a sprawling town of wooden homes and shops.
"Ho There," the farmer brought his wagon to a stop just past the large building. "Scout Sergeant Bear lives in the third house down," the farmer indicated a row of housing adjacent to the large building.
Sarah hopped off. "Thank you." She fished out the coins she'd earned; wondering how much would be enough. The farmer stopped her as she pulled a coin out.
"Keep your hard earned cash lad."
"But I," Sarah started.
"Scouts be the ones that keep us safe, that's payment enough for me. Giddy-up," He waved as the wagon rolled on its way.
"But I'm not even a scout," Sarah sighed.
She turned to face down the side street. Third house down, she thought. Then she laughed, good thing there were only houses on one side of the street. And, since they weren't very big, it wasn't long before she was at the third one. Sarah smiled as she noticed a picture of a Bear had been tacked to the door. Raising her hand hesitantly Sarah knocked.
Squeals of childish laughter rang out from between the houses.
"Get back here you little Rascal!" A woman's voice yelled out from the back. "If you go into the street, I'll..." her threat hung on empty air.
Curious, Sarah stepped away from the door and to the alley. She was just in time to see a half naked boy streak up the alley. He pulled up short at the sight of Sarah and stared up at her. She looked down at him.
"What's your name?" the little boy asked, oblivious to the fact he had no pants on, though his shirt covered him completely.
"That's a girl's name," he stated in such a matter of fact manner that Sarah had to laugh.
"That's because I am a girl."
"No you're not," he stated.
"I'm not?" Sarah was amused. "Why not?"
"Girls don't wear pants." He stomped one foot for emphasis.
Sarah turned to see a woman, clearly out of breath, standing in the doorway. The little boy, who must be Ryan, scampered past Sarah.
"Get to your bath now, or Gods help me I'll tie you up and leave you out in a rain storm."
Sarah knew that tone of voice well. It was the voice of a parent extended past patience. Like Sarah and her brothers, when they heard that tone and saw that look, Ryan was immediately remorseful.
"Yes ma-ma." He dejectedly walked back into the house.
The woman closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Sarah smiled. The woman's eyes opened and when she spoke her tone was much friendlier.
"Now, what can I do for you?"
"I'm looking for Scout Sergeant Bear's wife," Sarah began, not quite sure what to say.
"Well that would be me," she studied Sarah carefully, "but if you don't mind my being forward, why would you be looking for me?"
Sarah took a deep breath and sighed. "Scout Leader Griffon told me to. He said that I could wear Rosaline's old clothing and help you out."
"Well I could certainly use the help," Martha's face brightened. "Ryan don't you be splashing that water about!" She yelled back as the sound of sloshing water came from the house. "Well come on in," the woman stepped aside to let Sarah into the house. "My name's Martha and I heard you are Sarah."
"Yes ma'am," Sarah stepped into small front hall of the house.
"Please call me Martha," she laughed. "I'm only a Scout Sergeant's wife, not the wife of a Knight."