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| Category: || General Fiction |
Posted:|| October 10, 2020 Views: 13|
Chapter 8 of the book The Search
Lord Darwin alone will continue the search.
by Catherin Elizabet Belle
It was midnight two days following the meeting with Lord Darwin when awakened by Thomas. He entered my quarters with Jonas draped over his shoulders. "Sire, I founded him dumped at the edge of Fantasia's lands, he's barely alive." He lay him on the cot and continues, "I did what I could for him, but he has remained unconscious."
As Seth enters, I say, "Send for my physician at once." Seth turns and with haste exits the door flap. In the time I take to pour Thomas a tankard of mead, Seth returns with the physician.
At once he looks at Jonas with extreme care, then turns and says, "Sire, he is suffering from a severe beating; they bust his arm." He washes his wounds and puts a poultice on the worse cuts, he stands saying, "Sire, we wait."
"Kane, will he regain consciousness?"
Before the words left my mouth, Jonas stirs and in whisper, "Sire"
I move to the cot, touch him on the shoulder saying, "Jonas, I'm here." When he tries to sit up, I push on his shoulder saying, "Rest easy."
Jonas lies back on the pillow whispering, "No, No time." With a labored breath, he continues, "Sire, he will kill anyone trespassing on his lands." In pain, he says, "Lord Grosberg" and passes out.
The physician says, "Sire, let him rest for a few hours. When he wakes, he will need broth."
Buckling my sword around my waist slipping my tunic on my shoulders I say, "Thomas, I must see Lord Darwin at once. Join me." Leaving the tent, we traipse through encampment to Lord Darwin's large quarters.
His captain of the guard halts our approach. "Lord Jonathan, the hour is late. What is your purpose?"
"Gordon, our messenger returns from Grosberg's holdings. Lord Darwin needs the information at once."
"Follow me." As he approaches the tent, he calls out to Lord Darwin, "Sire, Lord Jonathan wishes to speak with you."
From inside the tent a sleep riddled voice yells, "Enter." A light goes on inside as Gordon raises the flap for us to enter. Lord Darwin says, "Jonathan, this better be important for you to be here at this hour."
My eyes adjust to the light, Lord Darwin sitting in his nightshirt on the side of his bed. "Darwin, my messenger Jonas, that I had sent to Grosberg. One of my captains just found him at the property line between Fantasia and Grosberg, unconscious. They severely beat him."
As I spoke these words, Darwin rises pacing the full length of the tent swearing with each step. "Was he able to speak?"
"In a whisper he conveyed that Grosberg will kill any who trespasses on his property. They denied us permission to search for the Lady Lenore." Turning to face Darwin, I ask, "Has your emissary returned?"
As I move toward the tent flap I say, "Darwin, I wish to see to my man." I leave his quarters and walk through the encampment, listening to the men laugh and converse around the campfires. I approach Fantasia encampment as the men are stirring, the cooks have the coffee boiling and breakfast is being prepared. The gray dawn is breaking in the east, the grass damp with dew and the birds serenading the air.
As I enter the tent, Seth offers me a hot cup as I ask, "How is Jonas?"
"Sire, the physician reports he has taken a cup of broth, and his arm shattered and needs removed."
I hear Seth's words and stand in silence. Jonas is an excellent soldier. Turning to Seth, I ask, "When will he remove Jonas's arm."
"Sire, he awaits your return. I fear that he wishes for your approval. He knows Jonas has been with you a long time." I sit the cup on the table and exit the tent.
As I enter where Jonas is resting, I see the physician rise to meet me. I approach Jonas and ask, "How you are doing man?"
With a glance at the physician, I ask, "What have you told him?"
Before he could answer Jonas says, "He wants to cut off me arm. I beg, me Lord, don't let him take me arm."
The physician moves to Jonas saying, "It will be useless, it's busted."
Jonas looks past him pleading, "Me Lord, don't let him take me arm."
I touch his shoulder and nod my head, then motioning for Harry to join me outside I ask, "If you don't remove his arm, will he live."
"Yes, My Lord, but he can never use it."
I return to Jonas's bedside and say, "Jonas, you keep your arm, but you won't be able to use it."
"Me, Lord, I will use it; that I vow." Closing his eyes, he drifts off to sleep. I stand beside him for a few minutes, then turn and leave.
Harry follows out behind me, shaking his head as he says, "Sire."
Before he can say another word, I state, "He keeps his arm, Harry" and continue to my quarters.
As the sun peaks over the trees the eastern sky is a golden brilliance washing the shadows from the land and drying the dew from the foliage. The encampment is a buzz and the smell of coffee boiling permeates the air. Lord Darwin's messenger has not returned; and Darwin has not ordered the march. Outside my quarters, I watched Gordon as approaches, noting he is not in battle dress.
As he reached me he says, "Lord Darwin asks that you join him in his tent."
"Let's go." Striding through the encampment, Gordon keeps pace; the greeting's he receives speaks of the men's respect as he acknowledges each by name. He doesn't hesitate but enters Lord Darwin's tent.
"Thank you for coming, Jonathan. The messenger has not returned, I'm sending out a troop to search along the border. If we do not find him, we will enter the Grosberg's holdings in full battle dress. I will search for my wife where I please." He walks to the table sitting to his breakfast. "Gordon, will you join me?"
"Nay, Darwin. I wish to meet with my captains. So, we will be ready to march."
As he leaves Darwin says, "Jonathan, you deploy your troops along the border of your holdings and Grosberg's preventing his escape. If he fights, you will have his rear covered."
I am relieved. My men will stay on our own holdings. I am not inclined to battle with Grosberg. "Darwin, I will leave a contingent along the border, but I must return to the castle."
Darwin is on his feet charging toward me yelling, "Ye, abandon me in my search for my wife."
"Nay, Lord Darwin, I'm only taking a small force back to Fantasia. It's time for me to go home."
He halts his charge; I see his face relax as he says, "Forgive me Jonathan, you are right. It is I who must continue the search." He asks, "When will you leave, Jonathan?"
"I will deploy my men along the border at dawn tomorrow. The rest will leave for home. Is that satisfactory, Darwin?"
Turning back to the table he slumps in his chair as a grave shadow crosses his continence he says, "Jonathan, I fear I may never find the Lady Lenore. After I find the messenger I may return to Black Shadow. I spoke in haste; I can't risk my army against Grosberg when we have no reason to believe she even came this far."
Following Darwin's outburst, Lord Ranier burst into the tent asking, "What is all the shouting?"
He turns to face Lord William saying, "I was chiding Jonathan for returning to Fantasia, but it's the best thing for him." He stuffs cheese and bread into his mouth chewing he says, "Take your entire army when you leave."
Relieved at his decision, I ask, "Darwin if that is your wish. I shall pull out in the early dawn."
As I move toward the tent flap I say, "God speed, Darwin."
As I exit the voice of Lord William asks, "Darwin are you giving up the search?"
"Nay, William, we shall search both sides of the river for my messenger and any sign of the Lady." Chewing before he continues, "William, it's time for you to return to Devon Shire. We can hope she will return to her childhood home."
Lord Ranier sips the tankard of mead Willie hands him tapping his fingers on the hilt of his sword. "Yes, Darwin, you are right. we will leave at sunrise." Sitting the tankard on the table he stands saying, "Farewell Darwin."
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