Most of the next day, Sarah, James and Prince Hermanus sat twiddling their thumbs. None of them seemed to want to talk about their plan. Sarah knew she didn’t. Talking would only increase her nervousness.
Griffon Troop has been found by a pair of Sparrows, Jason interrupted her fit of boredom. You should expect them for dinner.
Sarah smiled. It took a bit of convincing, first of James to let her go and then of Hermanus to not go with her, but she left ‘Sparrow’s Nest’ to go gathering. While herbs were very scarce, tubers were much easier to find. Laden with an arm load she made her way back to the rock and then proceeded to toss them up, before climbing up after them.
“Are we feeding an army?” Prince Hermanaus asked as he help her collect the one that had rolled under the Willow.
“You’ll see.” Sarah grinned.
James merely sighed and turned back to his post as guard under the Willow tree. Sarah started in preparing both the tubers and the fire for cooking. Testing the rabbit stew, Sarah smiled as she heard Griffon’s voice from under the Willow tree.
“Definitely not a bad location, though it is a bit far from the fortress.”
“Well we Sparrows fly far and fast,” Scout David’s voice came back in response.
“And,” Sarah looked up to see Griffon grin at her, “Ye got tha best cook, presuming she’s made enough for all of us.”
Sarah laughed. “Well when David and Charles found you, Philip told Laura and Laura told Phoenix and Phoenix told me, and voila,” Sarah gestured to a mound of tubers still baking in the embers, “I have made enough.”
“Excellent.” Griffon rubbed his hands together as he sat down.
His troop filed in after him though half of them had to stay under the Willow due to a lack of space. Lynn, however, joined Sarah by the cook fire with a sigh.
“I should have taken lessons from you during our training,” she whispered. “They expected me to know how to cook.”
“You don’t know how?’ Sarah whispered, surprised.
“Well Martha taught me some, but I spent a lot of time with Lady Abigail, or in the Scout barracks. Then I took to sea and, well, no one expects a mage to cook.”
“How’s traveling with Mathew been?” Sarah asked, glancing up to see Mathew look quickly away from the two of them.
“It’s been,” Lynn thought for a moment, “interesting.” She sighed. “I still can’t believe father decided to tell him he’s to be my bodyguard.” Lynn shook her head.
Talk was kept quiet as they ate. Both groups had had similar experiences in the mountains. Griffon’s group set up their tent closer to the Willow, using Sparrow’s as a guide. As a lean-to, it offered more protection for the group and their gear than as a tent.
“Doesn’t get nearly this cold down in Vervell, I’ll tell you that.” Griffon remarked as the two groups began to settle down for the night.
“Sarah,” Mathew hissed as she passed him on her way back from relieving herself.
“What?” she asked as he pulled her aside.
Mathew looked about the camp and then back to her. He ran a hand through his hair with a sigh. “How am I supposed to protect someone who doesn’t want my protection?”
“Issues with Lynn?” Sarah smiled slightly and then held up her hands to fend off his glare. “Well is it you or the protection that isn’t wanted.”
“Uh,” Mathew blinked a few times in response to her question. “I don’t know.”
“Well if it’s you she doesn’t want, then I can’t help.” Mathew’s face fell. “But,” he looked back up at her. “If she thinks she doesn’t need protection, least of all someone who was assigned to protect her by her father, then your best bet is to not protect her, but to fight with her.”
“Right,” Mathew sighed and walked off before Sarah could say anything else.
Shaking her head she went to her bedroll. She hoped the two of them would work things out. Preferably, before they got into combat. As she snuggled down to sleep Sarah reached her thoughts out to Jason. His response was not words, but a feeling of love and encouragement. She wrapped herself in them to get what sleep she could before morning. Tomorrow she would become James’s prisoner and then Wholawski’s.