Rising through the darkness to consciousness, Sarah felt pain. Her left side burned. Taking a deep breath made her sit up, cough and then gasp as pain shot through her left side. She lay back down to regain control of the attention her actions had gained.
“What in the Hate of the Gods is going on!” General Wholawski’s voice pierced the veil that lay over Sarah’s ears.
Sarah winced as his pitch and volume only increased the headache that pounded upon her temples. An argument broke out between him and Chester, punctuated occasionally by James’s sanity. Listening without hearing, she lay, eyes closed, until her stomach began to heave.
“Oh God,” Sarah moaned.
Rolling over she purged her guts upon the floor causing Sharon to jump out of the way. Three heaves later and Sarah was done. Looking at the mess, she wondered how her stomach could hold so much. Her eyes flicked to Sharon who gazed upon her in amazement. The head servant wasn’t the only one, for the three men had fallen silent.
“Clean her up,” the General commanded as he left. “Then throw her in the room with our other special guests. She’s just promoted herself above scullery maid.”
Sarah fervently hoped that her promotion was a good one and that one of the special guests was the Princess she been sent to rescue.
“You heard him,” Chester growled as he stormed away.
Sarah struggled to sit up as Sharon heaved a sigh and left. Standing guard in the door, James watched Sarah. His face betrayed no emotion as it had since they’d gotten here. Still, since there was no one else around, Sarah gave him half a smile. The man shook his head ever so slightly, before side stepping over the vomit by the bed.
Leaning close to her James whispered, “Can you still speak with Phoenix?”
Jay? Sarah reached out her thoughts as Sharon entered with mop and bucket.
Busy, was all she got for a reply along with the sense that he was arguing.
“Yes,” Sarah nodded.
“Good,” James stated, betraying only the vaguest amount of relief.
He stood up straight and impassive as Sharon entered and began to clean up the mess. James’s eye flicked about before he leaned back in.
“No Vervellean Scouts have been found yet, but there is something happening at the village. The General suspects Prince Hermanus is behind it. But, with his daughter in here, I suspect Lord Farquad has decided to take action.”
Standing James strode back to the door. Once he was away, Sharon handed Sarah a basin and cloth to wash her face
“Senior Captain Chester!” James bellowed, startling the two women.
“What?” The Nigiri snarled from the hall.
“Carry her up to her new room,” James ordered him. “You have not yet been relieved of your guard duty.”
James left, leaving Chester to grumble and glare at Sarah. Feeling as if walking would be better than being carried, she tried to stand, but it was no use. Sharon caught her before she fell over.
“Stupid fucking Nigiri,” Sarah muttered, returning Chester’s glare.
“Well you heard the Captain’s orders,” Sharon stated helping Sarah move closer to the man.
“Fine!” The next thing Sarah knew Chester had draped her over his shoulder. “This is the third time I’ve had to carry you, wench,” he grumbled as he left the room and strode across the great hall to the hoots and hollers of the eating men. “I swear if I have to carry you a fourth time you’d best be dead.” He headed with her up the stairs.
“I’m sorry to inconvenience you, Senior Captain Chester,” Sarah’s sarcasm flew out full force, “it’s been such a picnic always in your company.”
Chester put her down harshly in front of a door. If there hadn’t been a wall behind her for support Sarah would have collapsed. She watched as he deftly undid the wooden bar that kept the door closed. Opening it he shoved her in.
“Enjoy your new company, but if you miss me, I’ll be right outside,” he sneered.
Using every ounce of strength she had, Sarah stood and sauntered into the room. As soon as the door closed, she grabbed the nearest thing she could. Unfortunately, that thing happened to be a curtain and Sarah found herself unwittingly drawing it back to reveal two women huddled around a third in a bathtub.
Sarah swore softly as her strength gave out and she fell. She reached for the bed as pulled herself up as one of the girls came around and drew the curtain closed again.
“You are not Lady Miriam,” the woman in the tub stated.
“No, that I’m not.” Sarah sat upon the bed.
The two girls exchanged worried glances, but quickly attended to their mistress as she rose from the tub. Sarah lay down and fought to keep conscious. She at least owed them an introduction.
“Do you know who I am?” The clean one stood staring down at Sarah.
Struggling to keep her eyes open, Sarah looked at the woman, no she was a young woman, about the same age as Hermanus, and there was something vaguely familiar about her.
“No,” Sarah said and the woman’s face deepened into a frown. “But, by that look I’d say you must be Prince Theo’s sister.”
The girl’s eyes widened in surprise and she sat down, but before she could ask a single question darkness took over Sarah’s mind.