Sarah's Phoenix: Departing with Haste

The morning brought the thick fog that Sarah had been expecting. She’d been told it would come, and she guessed it had something to do with the magic workers Jason had spoken of. Now, at last, she could drug these men. At this point Sarah had seen enough of these men’s behavior to wish the drug was more than a hallucinogen. The first dose went into breakfast.  After eating her own bowl, Sarah pulled out a piece of the antidote soaked venison she’d prepared and munched on it.

‘Don’t let anyone catch you eating that,’ she told the boy as she handed him a piece. He looked as though he was about to question her, but she silenced him with a stern look and shake of her head.

The second dose of the drug went into lunch. Again she and the boy munched on the jerky. The fog was still thick and by mid afternoon, early evening, the drug began to take effect. Shortly after dinner was served, with the final dose, the noises began. Even though she’d been expecting it, the sounds still spooked Sarah. Wolf howls came from all around the camp. Some near some far. Along with other noises that sounded very horrific. Sarah listened as confusion took hold of the camp.

Sarah looked to her assistant. The boy stood in the center of the tent, slowly turning. He clutched at his right arm, muttering fearfully to himself. Sarah gently grabbed a hold of him to stop his spinning. He looked at her, eyes wide with fear. ‘I can’t use my sword arm,’ he whispered, sounding as though it was worse than death. Sarah gently felt his arm, from wrist to shoulder.

‘What happened?’ she asked quietly, thinking it felt dislocated.

‘HE grabbed it and yanked it really hard one night, when he caught me trying to escape.’

Sarah nodded, it was just dislocated. She felt the shoulder joint a little more, causing him to gasp slightly. ‘Lie down and relax.’ He looked at her as if she was crazy. ‘It’s just dislocated. I can fix it.’ Slowly the boy lay down. ‘Just try to relax.’ Sarah waited a moment before taking hold of his arm. With one continuous movement, perhaps a little quicker than necessary, she popped it back into place. The boy let out a yell, but cut it short. They both listened. The General was shouting orders and they could hear men running about and blundering.

‘Let’s go, now.’ Sarah put the antidote soaked venison in her pouch. She peeked out the door. Neither guard was there, in fact there wasn’t anyone within sight of the tent. At least not as far as the fog let her see. The boy followed her and they avoided meeting anyone. As they stopped at the edge of the camp, Sarah heard the General.

‘If no one will check on the Prince, then I will.’ He sounded close.

Sarah pushed the boy. ‘Go,’ she said, as he hesitated. ‘You wanted to escape and help the Princess. This is your opportunity,’ she whispered at him. He stared at her, frightened.

‘Stop!’ the General shouted behind them.

‘Go!’ Sarah said again pushing the boy. This time he moved. Sarah guided their direction as the General’s pursuit kept them moving. After a while the sound of pursuit faded and the fog closed in around them.

Listening to the sounds in the fog, Sarah found herself jumpy. She took out two more pieces of the venison and handed one to the boy. He took it gingerly and they both began munching on it. Sarah kept moving, hoping she had directed them correctly. The Prince, Sarah realized that was who the boy was, walked quietly beside her. Every now and then he glanced at her. Finally Sarah heard the sound of running water. As they reached the stream, she handed out the last of the venison. Then, not bothering to take off her shoes or socks she waded into the stream. The boy paused on the bank. Sarah turned to face him.

She held out a hand to him. The Prince stared at it.

‘Are you a witch?’ he asked quietly, not looking at her face.

‘No,’ Sarah kept her arm out stretched.

‘Then what went on back there, what is with the fog, what does this have to do with the Princess?’

Sarah put her arm down and sighed. Struggling with what she could tell him, she wondered if she’d been right to give him the antidote. ‘I drugged them,’ she replied, ‘as to the fog, and everything else,’ she shrugged, ‘I was told it would happen, but I don’t know how.’

‘How did you drug them without drugging us?’

‘The venison we’ve been eating contains an antidote.’

He looked at the food in his hand, as if unsure if he should eat it or cast it away.

Sarah sighed again.  She studied the Prince. He seemed so young, yet already he seemed saddled with great dilemmas. ‘You asked if I was from Vervell, and I am not, but,’ she paused unsure if Vervell was Jason’s kingdom. ‘You may either come with me, or strike out on your own, the choice is yours.’ Sarah turned and began wading downstream. The fog closed in about her as she continued downstream.

After a while she wondered if she’d judged him correctly. She couldn’t imagine a Prince would have all that much knowledge of survival in the woods. Then again, maybe he was mad because she’d never treated him like a Prince. Then she heard a splashing behind her. She turned her head and saw him trying to hurry though the water. Sarah kept her slow pace, as if it didn’t matter which he had chosen. Princes were human too and she thought it best to let him have his dignity.

‘I will continue with you,’ he stated regally as he caught up to her. ‘You gave me back the use of my sword arm, so I shall lend it to your defense, provided you help me rescue the Princess.’

Sarah looked at him. She blinked, but he was not being facetious or overbearing, he was just being what he was; a prince. ‘I will help how ever I can,’ Sarah replied, ‘but I am a stranger to this world, with little influence or knowledge.’

‘But you knew the fog, and the noises would come.’ Now he sounded like a boy again.

Sarah smiled. ‘Because I was told they would by…’ her best friend, her scout sergeant, Sarah struggled with what to call Jason when he materialized in front of them.

The End

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