Jay? Sarah called out with her mind. She wished she had a phone or some way of communicating with him other than by Willow. Sarah stopped under a tree. Focusing really hard, she tried again. Jay?


Sarah sighed and returned to her foraging. Mint, mint and more mint, some basil and some thyme. She had no idea what was for dinner, or even if they’d have a hot dinner. Sarah stopped collecting and headed back to camp. Herbing was not keeping her from imagining a thousand things that General Wholawski might be doing or planning.

“Go on get a spit up,” she heard Sergeant Deer instruct as she neared Base camp. “Warm food will take the edge off tonight’s news.”

“Hey Smith,” Reed greeted her as he and his Scout partner skewered two large birds onto the spit.

“You just get back?” she asked as she set about preparing a stew with some tubers Adam dumped at the fire pit.

“I wish.” Reed frowned. “London beat me. Took my flag and the Flag I won from Sergeant Fox.” Sarah nodded as he sat to help her with the tubers. “Sergeant Deer said they were aborting the trials. Think they’ll make us do all this over again?”

“I hope not,” Sarah stated.

“Do you know who our guest is?” Reed lowered his voice. “I swear he looks familiar but I can’t place him.”

Sarah looked surprised at Reed. “That’s the Prince, I,” Sarah nearly stated that she took him prisoner but decided not to. “I ran into him and given the circumstances he decided to come back with us.”

“What circumstances?” Reed asked, “and why’s he not with the King at the barracks?”

“Long story.” Sarah sighed as she dropped the tubers into the pot of water Adam had set over part of the fire.

Sarah? Jason’s voice was but a whisper in her head.

Jay! she responded ecstatically.

I can barely hear you. Find a Willow or something made of Willow like the tent poles.

The tent poles? Sarah looked to where the Prince sat sulking. It didn’t look like he’d moved a muscle; except maybe to deepen his frown as she came near. Sarah sat down in front of the support pole and ignored him. Better? she asked.

Much better, thank you. There was a pause in which there was the vague sound of other voices. Do you know where the Prince is?

Sarah nearly laughed out loud. Sitting next to me and very put out by the fact I beat him in a duel and took him prisoner.

Sarah! Jason admonished.

Hey, he’s the one who wanted to fight me. Anyway we’re at Deer Base camp waiting for everyone else to get here so we can head back to the barracks.

Good, you’ll have numbers to help. But Sarah, Jason paused slightly, guard him with your life.

I’ll try, Sarah replied, not sure she liked hearing his Scout Sergeant tone through this method of communication.

You’ll succeed. He sounded confident.

Sarah wished she had his confidence. Maybe it was his faith. But was it faith in his Gods or faith in her, she couldn’t be sure. She started to get up, but Adam sat down beside her and looked to her. She returned his stare curious.

“Smith, can you make the report?” his voice quivered slightly.

“Report?” she asked.

“Sergeant Deer will ask each Hopeful for reports on their round.” Adam studied the ground. “I know what we found was,” he struggled for the right word.

“Of high importance?” Sarah supplied and Adam nodded. “I’m sure I can.”

“Thank you,” he whispered, eyes still not leaving the ground.

He looked so young and venerable that Sarah found herself reevaluating him. Reaching out she placed a hand on his. “How old are you?” she asked quietly.

“I’ll be nineteen this winter.” He looked at her. “Are you really fe..."

Sarah put her finger to her lips quieting his question. She gave his hand a squeeze then stood. Glancing over at the Prince she saw him watching her. He quickly turned his head away. Sarah shrugged and went to tend to supper.

The End

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