Sarah is back again, hoping to at last marry Jason and live comfortably ever after, but the Gods have other plans...
Meeting in the Grove
Light penetrated Sarah’s eyelids, but when she opened them, instinct told her she was dreaming. Looking around the only thing she could see was wheat, rows and rows upon wheat, waving their golden heads above hers.
“Hello?” she called. There was a strange familiarity to this field. “Hello?” she called again.
There was no response.
“Alright, it’s like home, maybe I’m dreaming of home, so if I’m dreaming of home,” the words tumbled from her mouth as if saying them would kept her from panic, “then... “
Closing her eyes Sarah lifted her face to the sun. She didn’t know if it was rising or setting but, “if I put it to my left then...” She opened her eyes and gazed above the wheat. A smile spread across her face. “Willows,” she whispered.
Still smiling she used the towering trees as a guide. At last, she reached the small cleared area around the tiny copse of trees. The size had always been misleading for beyond the veil of boughs Sarah knew the Grove waited. Reaching out to part the leaves, she had a sudden thought. The last time she had been here, she’d ended up in Jason’s world and there had been a time after that though her head pounded just to think of it.
“I’m either waking up from a coma,” she told herself as she began stepping through, “or dying.” She took one last step to emerge from the trees. “Oh God, I hope I’m not dying.”
“You did not last time,” a familiar voice stated, “though I thought you had.”
“Jay!” Sarah rushed to embrace him.
“Watch the back please, it is a bit tender.” He winced slightly.
“Sorry,” Sarah pulled back. Jason wiped tears from her eyes that she hadn’t even known were there. “It was the General,” she continued, “wasn’t it? Mathew told me he shot you in the back while you were helping King Demetrioso and...”
Jason kissed her upon the lips. It was a simple brush of lips to lips, but it quieted Sarah’s babbling.
“Let us not sully this place with that man’s name shall we?” He smiled at her.
“No, let’s not,” Sarah smiled back. “But Jay...”
“Yes?” he asked as he led her to the Dogwood tree.
“You’re not dying are you?”
Jason spun to face Sarah. He stroked her cheek as he studied her face. She unconsciously held her breath afraid of his answer, yet needing to know.
“I do not think so,” he stated with slight hesitation. “The Gods did not take you from me, so why should they take me from you?”
“I have no idea,” Sarah sighed as she sat down to lean against the Dogwood tree.
“I am quite certain,” Jason sat down beside her, “that the Gods have a plan for us.”
“I wish...” Sarah sighed as her head pulsed at the mentioning of Gods.
Jason wrapped an arm around her shoulder and she lay her head against his. Closing her eyes she let her thoughts wander where they would. He leaned his own head against hers and pulled her closer.
“Seems funny to be able to actually touch you in the Grove,” Sarah spoke at last, tilting her head to look at him.
“It does, indeed,” Jason responded his head only turning slightly to look upon her. “But I do not think this is the same Grove. There is a different feel to it.”
“I know,” Sarah sighed. Déjà vu of her previous visit plagued her, but thinking hard about it only resulted in a headache. Sighing again she shifted to face him. “How bad off are you?”
“What do you mean?” Jason asked, though she knew that he knew what she meant.
“You know what I mean,” Sarah gave him her ‘I mean business’ stare. “Are you sure you’re not dying?”
“I told you I do not think so,” he stated, but Sarah only raised her eyebrows at him. Jason sighed. “I seriously do not think the Gods would take me from you because they did not take you from me, though I thought you had died.” His brow furrowed as his gaze fell upon her leg. “Unless…” his voice trailed off.
Sarah noticed where he was looking and she examined the bandage under which her wound throbbed. “Nothing more than a flesh wound.” She snorted to herself. “Well aside from the fact it was one of those Nigiri daggers again.”
“What?” Jason stood though he wavered slightly.
“Seriously it's nothing compared to your wounds,” Sarah tugged him until he sat down. “I mean the first one didn’t kill me so why should this one right?” She smiled, but it didn’t take away Jason’s frown. “Look, even Prince Theo bet on my surviving. He made them carry me on a stretcher all the way back to the Training Barracks after the ambush.”
“So you were ambushed?”
“And Prince Theodoso lives?”
“What of the King?”
“He seemed to be doing well, at least he was able to stand and greet us, though Prince Theo was quick to stand and support him.”
“Good.” Jason thought for a moment. “But Sarah?”
“You really ought to call him Prince Theodoso and not shorten his name.”
“I know,” Sarah sighed as she leaned back against the tree. “According to Reed and Aaron I’m probably due for a royal beheading for the way I treat him. But...” She threw her hands up in frustration. “People are people and I treat them the way they treat me, though I suppose,” she took a deep breath and let it out, “I ought to treat them the way I want to be treated.”
Jason took hold of her hand. “I know Vervell is different from where you grew up.”
“Very, very different,” Sarah laughed slightly.
Sarah started at an unknown voice. Looking around she could see no source for it.
“Sarah?” Jason questioned her. “You are fading.”
“I know,” she responded desperately trying to hold on to him.
It was no use. She was being torn from this dream or vision, or whatever you wanted to call it, despite her intense desire to stay. Feeling his hand squeeze hers, she looked into his face.
He smiled lovingly. “Finish the Trials, Love.” Sarah blinked in surprise and Jason laughed. “I will heal. I promise. Now go.”
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it before gently pushing her away from him.