Underneath the Willow Tree

A woman in white hurried to where Sarah was laboriously trying to climb over the railing of the fence. It was a hard task given that Sarah’s body didn’t want to cooperate. It didn’t help that her right leg felt as though a thousand fire ants had bitten it.

“Goodness me child, what are you doing?” the woman asked as she helped Sarah over.

“Trying to go see Phoenix,” Sarah stated through clenched teeth as pain shot up her leg.

“Lord Phoenix isn’t in any condition to be seen right now,” a man in white came up to them, “though you look as though you ought to be given a spot. I didn’t think the wounded would be here until later.”

She let them help her towards the Willow. The closer she got the more she sensed Jay. The more she sensed him, the more she felt the need to be near him.

“Please,” she begged when they stopped with her at one of the outer rings of wounded. “Please you have to let me go to him.” She looked from the man to the woman, who exchanged puzzled glances. “Please,” Sarah held  up her right hand with the ring, “he’s my fiancée, I have to go see him.”

The need to be near Jay was nearly unbearable. He needed her more than she had ever needed him. She knew exactly where to find him. It was as if she was being pulled to him. She took a stumbled step forward, away from the couple in white.

“He is not in any condition to respond to you now,” the man quickly placed a shoulder under Sarah’s arm.

“I know,” Sarah tried to keep her tears at bay. “That’s why I have to see him. He needs to know I’m alive.”

A breeze rustled the Willow and the man stopped. He looked back at the woman who nodded. “It seems,” the man helped her continue forward, “that you are drawn towards him by the Gods will.”

Together they navigated through the wounded. Curious stares of those soldiers who were conscious followed them. Sarah didn’t care. She could feel Jay’s shallow and labored breathing echo in her head as they stopped before him.

“Jay,” she breathed as she slowly dropped to her knees beside him..

Jason lay propped on his left side. The blood soaked bandages on his back indicating where the two arrow bolts had entered his body. Sarah hesitantly reached out to touch them. Both locations, could have pierced a vital organ and even if they hadn’t there would still be internal bleeding. Even with the technology of her world internal bleeding could be fatal. How then, with their limited technology, could they heal him, she wondered. A sob escaped her throat as tears began streaming down her face.

Sarah knew she shouldn’t let herself go like this. She ought to try and keep up the guise of being male, but it no longer mattered to her. Not to mention Prince Theo had been generous in using the female pronoun when talking about her. She had proved herself out here. She proved his boast. Hadn’t she? A sob broke free from her throat.

“Why?” she cried out. “Oh god why?” she whispered.

Lying down to face him she studied his face. It looked blurred through the tears, the way he had sometimes looked in the Grove. Hesitantly Sarah reached out to place a hand over his heart.

“Jay,” she whispered. “If you die,” she choked on the words, “my life will be the King’s to command. I swear I will protect him as you have.” Sarah swallowed. “But oh Jay, if you live, I don’t ever want to be so far apart from you ever again. If you fight I want to fight by your side. If you die I want to die with you.” Sarah leaned her head to touch his forehead. “Jay, don’t die. Please Jay.” She kissed his lips. “I love you.”

Jason’s chest heaved in a sigh. Sarah’s heart stopped until he began to breathe again. Rustling the leaves of the Willow above a soft breeze caressed them both. She fell into blissful sleep, her head dropping onto her arm, her hand dropping onto his. Though unconscious a smile crossed Sarah’s face as Jason’s fingers entwined themselves in hers.

<END PART II: PHONIEX RISING>

The End

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