Once dinner was eaten, the Grand-Pairients called for the meeting to be held in the Gods' Cavern. Brushing Willow banches from her face, Sarah saw Tralee’s body resting upon the grass inside. Two other bodies flanked her and Sarah stopped short as she realized one of them was Mike of Phoenix Troop. Jason squeezed her hand and pulled her on.
“He rests with the Gods now,” he whispered as they started down into the earthen cave.
They were the last ones there and took their places in the circle before the fire. Only Lord Farquard and James, Sarah noted, weren’t a couple. Not that Alara and Gwythryn were either, given they were siblings. Still they were the only two who were a male/female pair. The Grand-Pairents bowed their heads in silence, and everyone else followed suit.
Gods, Sarah prayed, I want to thank you for granting my request. I don’t know how many you plan on taking, but as long as it’s the wounded and Princess Allmarah, then I’ll ask for no more.
A breeze ruffled her hair. “Twenty-one shall be taken; no more no less.” It changed direction, its voice deepening, “Though who should be going is your best guess.”
Sarah looked up and judging by the expressions on everyone else’s face, they had heard and felt the breeze as well. “How many wounded do we have that aren’t likely to make the trek to Verdas?”
“Seven,” Jason spoke to the group.
“Leaving fourteen spots for us to fill,” Grand-Moyther Magdalene nodded.
“Will Princess Alllmarah and Prince Hermanus go then?” Alara asked looking towards the couple.
Prince Hermanus looked at the Princess and gave her a sad smile before turning to the group. “No,” he began hesitantly, “I think...” The breeze sighed around them. “I think they want me to stay here and,” his cheeks flushed slightly in the firelight, “clean up this mess.”
Sarah patted his knee, “I’m sure Lord Farquad will help you.” The Lord nodded his ascent at her glance.
“And I as well,” James added. “But I ask that Katherine and our child go.”
“Yes, but only after tomorrow,” the Grand-Fayther stated.
“For tomorrow we have,” the Grand-Moyther smiled, “a couple to wed and a child to bless.”
“They were having fun with rhymes weren’t they,” Sarah smiled.
It sounded crazy once she said it, but everyone smiled, even if just slightly. Sometimes it was as hard to believe the Gods were real here, as it was to realize that Jason, was not a figment of her imagination. Sarah shook her head of the thought and went back to listening.
“Lord and Lady Phoenix will go as well,” she heard the Grand-Moyther say.
“We will?” Sarah was surprised by that.
“You did not hear?” Princess Allmarah smiled. “Home will go the Phoenixes for their well deserved rest.”
“Oh,” Sarah was surprised, “I didn’t.” She sent silent thanks to the Gods and felt warmth fill her.
Jason chuckled. “So we have seven spots left.”
Alara raised her head from where she and Gwythryn had been talking in whispers. “I’d like to request three of those spots for Skathians.”
“Three?” Jason asked.
Sarah did some quick calculations as to who was on the list. Clearly she’d missed a name, or three. Hopefully someone had been keeping track. Her attention was brought back to the group when Alara and Gwythryn started arguing quietly in Skathain. Gwythryn’s rose with his voice until there were all staring at him. It was his sister’s sudden silence that made him shut his mouth and turn beet red.
“Sorry,” he whispered as he sat down with a thud, looking as though he wished the ground would swallow him up.
“Three spots for the Skathains,” Jason stated. “We only need to know who it is tomorrow evening, so you will have a whole day to sort it out.”
“Thank you,” Alara nodded her head.
“So then four spots are left for you to choose,” the Grand-Moyther looked up and Sarah realized she'd been etching a list in the dirt.
“I will discuss it with Sparrow and Griffon tomorrow.” Jason stood. “For now I think we all should retire and get some rest. Tomorrow we have a memorial, a wedding and a blessing to attend.”
They all rose but the Grand-Pairents stopped Sarah and Jason from leaving. “I know you are not a Knight and Madame,” the Grand-Fayther stated after the others had left. “But we need to ask you to play their parts in tomorrow’s ceremonies.”
“I wouldn’t have a clue as to what to do,” Sarah stated.
The Grand-Moyther smiled. “The tasks are simple, but they are faster done by two. And you are competent in the kitchen and can supervise the feast.”
“We don’t have supplies enough for a feast,” Jason stated.
The Grand-Fayther smiled. “The Gods will provide.”