There was a moment of silence that dragged into the uncomfortable. Griffon coughed and Sarah noticed him nudge Lynn. Sighing, his daughter rose.
“Like Sparrow I am female though I wear the clothes of a man.” Lynn fidgeted slightly. “Control over weather is an odd magic to bestow upon a woman, especially the daughter of a scout sergeant rather than a farmer. But the Gods,” she glanced at Jason, “the Gods work in mysterious ways. Some of you might remember that Sergeant Phoenix courted me once. Yet before he could propose, the Gods called me to become a master of my magic. My father,” she looked to Griffon who smiled, “helped me shear off my hair and found me mage's robes to wear, though I know it broke his heart.” She smiled at her father before looking to the King. “His questions were numerous but I think it is obvious now why I had to leave.” Smiling Lynn glanced at Sarah and Jason.
“Yes well,” Jay scratched the back of his neck while looking at the table.
Sarah couldn’t help but smile. He looked so much like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Seeing that Lynn had sat down, Sarah stood. Jason quickly followed suit and everyone looked quizzically at them.
“Our tales are entwined, Sarah and I,” Jason spoke before Sarah could. “For it was upon my tenth birthday that I met her, by the will of the Gods. Griffin and Lynn,” Jason nodded to the two, “who have known me longest, heard of her before her appearance here. For she was my,” he looked to Sarah who smiled.
“Tree climbing, pant wearing, girl friend.” Sarah laughed slightly.
“Yes, but, as I think many of you have presumed, she is not from the Areni Plains.” There were indeed a few shocked looks about the crowd. Jason smiled. “As astounding as it sounds, Sarah is from an entirely different world, where men and women wear the same clothing, and work the same jobs.”
“Providing they haven’t blown it up yet,” Sarah muttered. Her face flushed as she felt attention drawn to her. “I left as war had finally made it to where I lived. Except, the war was not being fought with swords. It was fought with bombs,” her nose twitched as she tried to translate, “like giant lightning strikes that could take out this entire city in one go.”
“I know it is hard to believe,” Jason took over again. “But I believe her, for we have developed a deep connection over the years. All those times when I have disappeared, it was to see her because she needed my friendship. Now she is here, when not only I need her, but Vervell as well. It can only have been the Gods doing.”
“Are you sure it’s not some magic trick?” General Hector queried.
Jason looked upon his commander. “Not even the cleverest witch can recreate a Temple, and it was in a small Temple that we always met, no matter what Willow I ducked under.”
“I don’t think,” Sergeant Sparrow also spoke, “that any Arenian in their right mind would do such a thing. We love our horse Lord,” she nodded to the King, “and would only help, not hinder.”
General Hector narrowed his eyes, but the King spoke next. “And how many Nigiri assassinations have you survived Lady Phoenix?”
“Three,” Sarah muttered as she looked at the table, embarrassed.
King Demetrioso looked to his Scout General. “That is something no one can accomplish without the Gods’ support.”
“Gods,” General Hector muttered, reminding Sarah of Lord Robert.
“We are not here to talk faith.” King Demetrioso nodded to Sarah and Jason. They sat down letting the King have the floor. “We are here to organize the rescue of a Princess; my daughter, Allmarah, who was taken into captivity by General Wholawski.” He looked about the table. “I have thought long about the plan that was brought to me from the Sergeants’ meeting. I have prayed for guidance and the Gods’ have responded.” He bowed his head for a moment. “Scout Troops Griffon, Sparrow and Phoenix are to travel into Azure where we hope they can secure the Princess before war begins. All of you with the exception of General Hector and I will be going.”
“What?” Prince Theodoso nearly knocked over his chair as he stood. “Are you mad father?”
“No,” the King looked at his son, his voice stern. “I am not. I trust these men, and women, to keep you safe, provided you listen to them. Consider it practice for when you must listen to advisors when you sit upon the throne.” He smiled grimly. “Or consider it punishment for not telling me of your sister’s penchant for sneaking out of the castle to play commoner.”
Prince Theodoso’s eyes widened in surprise as he abruptly sat down.
“Now the General and I will leave the details to the Scout Sergeants,” the King continued as General Hector rose. “But everyone who is to go on this mission must be trained at the castle until it is time to leave. Use whatever ploys you must to get them there, for this is to be kept as secret as we possibly can.”
Donning his cloak King Demetrioso turned to Sarah. “Thank you for the hospitality, Goodwoman Sarah.” He smiled. “The soup was delicious.”