Good morning Sarah, Jason’s gentle mental touch roused her from sleep. When you leave the castle, you must tell me everything you see.
Sarah was about to question why when Chester pounded on her door. Remembering that she was going herbing, as futile as it sounded in the middle of winter, she quickly rose from bed. She smiled at Chester’s disappointed look. He’d obviously been hoping to catch her sleeping.
This morning, they went into the kitchen and out the side door. Grabbing a cloak as they left, Sarah wrapped it around herself against the cold. Following Chester, she told Jason everything she could possibly think of, including how the land sloped down and away in the courtyard. The cold morning was quiet and the air smelled of snow. Looking up Sarah saw clouds massing and hoped they wouldn’t be caught by it while outside the fortress.
As they passed under the first portcullis, Sarah resumed her running commentary. Looking over the edge of the drawbridge she noted that the water ran fast. And cold, she amended, shivering. After that, there wasn’t much to see in the cleared land surrounding the fortress. So, when they hit the tree line, Sarah began to look for herbs.
“This is useless,” she muttered to herself in the late morning. “Everything’s dead,” she shivered, “and gone. I’m not going to...”
He voice was cut off as a hand clasped over her mouth. “I recommend you don’t scream or I’ll cut out your tongue.” Chester was holding her tight. A knife ran across her throat. “Of course if I use this,” the dagger was shown before her eyes, “you’d probably die.”
Sarah’s shivering was of a different sort now. Jason said nothing, but she could feel him close, urging her to use caution.
“Are you going to scream?” Chester hissed into her ear.
Sarah shook her head. She’d rather bash his brain in than scream. Unfortunately, neither one would help her save the Princess. The man spun her around to face him.
“You don’t scare me.” Sarah looked into his eyes.
“You ought to be scared.” He laughed. “I am a Nigiri assassin and I have murdered hundreds and forced their wives.”
Sarah’s eyes narrowed. “I recommend you follow your General’s orders and not force me.”
Chester only smiled wickedly. Keeping a tight hold with one hand, he used his other to toss and catch his dagger. “One nick,” he held it against Sarah’s throat, “and you will die.”
“I haven’t yet,” she laughed, feeling a strange sense of euphoria creeping through her.
“You lie!” Chester spat at her as he pushed her back against a tree, knife pressing, yet not piercing.
“Oh no,” Sarah laughed again, “I’m not.” She smiled, Jason’s worry fading into the background of her mind. “At the trials you killed Marcus when he threw himself before your dagger, but I was the one who knocked you down. Do you remember that?” Her grin grew wider at Chester’s shocked expression. “You managed to get a dagger into my leg, but strangely I’m still here. I thought no one was supposed to survive Nigiri assassinations. At least that’s what they tell me.”
“No one does, it is impossible!”
Chester pressed Sarah hard against the tree. She felt no fear.
“Your Gods are mad, Chester.” Sarah told him. “They brought me here to help Vervell. They have been very sad since their Nigiri turned their back on them.” The words poured out of their own accord as her body began to tremble. “Shameful of you.” Her head shook. “Breaking the Great-Grand-Moyther’s heart as you have.”
Chester took her by the shoulders. “You don’t understand!” he cried, shaking her.
“Don’t understand?” Sarah’s cry turned hysterical and mad. “Don’t understand!” her voice reverberated as anger pulsed through her.
White light flashed before her eyes as she lost consciousness.