Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Six

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Six


After following the goat path across what was an area of rising cliffs towering above them, the two emerged into the beginnings of the valley Jonathan had spied earlier.  To their left ran the lower ridge covered in tall trees going off into the distance and to their right was the higher ridge with prominent rock formations looming above the tree covered slopes.  At what looked to be the distant end of the taller ridge was the highest of the rock formations with the castle ruin perched atop it, creating an almost ghostly feel to mirror its abandoned impression.  It was still too far off in the distance to notice more than an initial impression, but the sight of it was something that Jonathan would not normally choose to approach.  In this case, though, Princess Aydreanna’s future was at stake – as was his own.

The area where Jonathan and Sammy were in created a saddle between what was a steep area of rock and cliff faces, and the high mountain valley that opened between the two parallel mountain ridges.  The distant castle ruin was at least two or three days away by foot at this point, so the two of them found a secluded area to take a break in to eat more of their smoked meat.  Their provisions would easily last to the point of their reaching the castle, but after that everything was uncertain.  Beyond where they sat was a small stream running down from the higher terrain they had traversed across and they both took the opportunity to drink their fill before continuing on.  Their biggest problem at this point was the fact they didn’t have a water skin or jug to carry water in and Jonathan realized he’d overlooked several usable containers back in the cottage, but it was too late now.

Before continuing on towards the distant ruin, Jonathan had to make a decision.  There seemed to be a regular path that led up the valley between the two ridge lines, while a barely discernible path led up the slope into the higher terrain of the mountain ridge the castle was perched upon.  The valley trail would be quicker, yet they would be more visible as they approached, while the narrow trail would allow them to approach the ruin unseen as they would be shielded by the trees and cliffs – even though there was no guarantee the trail ran the entire length of the ridge.  As Jonathan debated with himself as to which course of action to follow, Sammy seemed to have made the decision for him, as he had already taken to sniffing the ground and began following the barely visible trail.  It was the easiest decision Jonathan had ever made as he started following his best friend and adventure companion.

The trail they followed was quickly swallowed up in the shadows of the tall trees that covered the ridge’s slopes, and as long as the path took them towards the crest of the ridge and in the direction of the castle, Jonathan was happy to follow it.  He was worried about another two or three days of delay in finding Aydreanna, but realized it was the fastest way they could possibly reach the ruin.  Of course, the thought occurred to him that he had no idea what he would be able to do while standing outside a ruined castle, as far as finding and rescuing the princess, but he’d come up with something – or at least that’s what he told himself…


Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Five

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Five


Sammy easily picked his way up through the steep terrain, as he followed the scent trail of the kidnappers and Princess Aydreanna, finding ways to maneuver around vertical areas of rock and choosing paths he was able to climb.  Jonathan followed close behind his adventure companion, looking for tracks and evidence of overturned stones.  This whole stretch of rising terrain was slow going and took some time, as a slip and fall in this area would not be easy to recover from, so his sense of urgency was replaced by caution and carefulness.  Meanwhile, Sammy was singularly focused on making progress up the slope and eventually reached an area that leveled off into an open area like a sheltered nook surrounded by steeper terrain.

Jonathan was glad to take the opportunity to rest and sit his bag of provisions down for a moment, but just then he was startled to see the opening of a small cave in a fractured rock wall.  This required investigation, Jonathan realized, as the cave might hold evidence of the kidnappers having stayed here overnight with Aydreanna.  Sure enough, once they entered the narrow cave which was only about the size of a small room, there were footprints in the disturbed earth of the cave’s floor that showed people had recently been there.  Jonathan recognized the individual boot tracks of each kidnapper, as well as the soft depressions of Aydreanna’s shoes.

‘Perhaps there’s more to be seen here,’ thought Jonathan to himself, taking the time to look closely at all the features within the cave.  There was a small fire pit surrounded by stones just outside the cave’s entrance where a fire had recently been made, but nothing out of the ordinary.  The floor of the cave was littered with rocks and stones around the edges, and there was clearly a space in the back of the cave where the dirt had been smoothed out to make a sleeping area, with moss and grasses gathered there to make the dirt floor a little more comfortable.

Nothing looked out of the ordinary to Jonathan’s eyes, as Sammy sniffed all around the area, finding a small pile of grass and moss that looked to have been some sort of rudimentary pillow.  Pawing at the pile for a moment, Sammy uncovered yet another small piece of fabric torn from the hem of Aydreanna’s skirt, meaning she was determined to leave a trail of evidence behind for Jonathan and Sammy to discover!  This was a remarkable find in Jonathan’s mind, as not only did they know she had been here, but that the princess was leaving clues behind for them to find.  She was clearly in danger and hoping beyond hope that somehow Jonathan and Sammy would be able to rescue her!

Tracking Aydreanna was one thing, but rescuing her was quite a different matter, realized Jonathan, but just knowing they were on the trail and getting closer to finding her set his resolve.  If they had slept there in the cave overnight, then there was perhaps a hope of catching up to them.  Jonathan picked up the torn piece of fabric and let Sammy take a good long sniff before placing it in his pocket to keep going.  “Come on, Sammy, we don’t have time to wait or stay here any longer, we have to keep going.  Aydreanna needs us to rescue her, so we have to catch up to them.  Show me the way they went from here,” instructed Jonathan.  “We’ve got to find her.”

With that, Sammy exited the cave and followed what looked to be a narrow goat trail that appeared to traverse this area of steep terrain.  It seemed like a logical choice for the kidnappers to follow and take the princess, but where did it lead?  Off in the distance there seemed to be a natural saddle between higher mountain ridges, leading towards the crest of the higher ridge.  The way didn’t seem difficult to follow and continued to climb towards higher elevations.  What could possibly be up here in these mountains that caused the kidnappers to go through the trouble of climbing higher into the mountains with her?

It was then that Jonathan spied the small ruin of a castle perched atop the peak of a mountain far off in the distance and it dawned on him where they were taking Aydreanna – to their castle!  The castle itself looked rather dubious and disreputable, even ominous to Jonathan’s eyes as it seemed to be scarred by previous battles and little more than a ruin, but the main keep seemed to be intact.  It was impossible to tell from such a distance what condition the castle was actually in, but it looked abandoned and in ruins without banners or flags flying above it.  Few people would consider it to be the destination of bandits and kidnappers, yet for that reason alone, it served as a perfect outlaw hideout…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Four

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Four


Once Sammy had finished his breakfast of smoked meat, Jonathan paused to let him get a good long sniff of Princess Aydreanna’s coat and the scrap of fabric from the hem of her skirt, and they set out to track her through the wood.  With the bag of smoked meat carried in his left hand, Jonathan threw her coat over his right shoulder and placed the piece of fabric in his tunic’s pocket along with the small portion of leather bearing the initials of the Kingdom of Nefyn.  Every day seemed to draw him deeper into this entanglement of kingdoms and worlds far away from his home of Hampton, Ohio – and not for the first time, Jonathan wondered if and when he’d ever be able to return home again.

At this point, the kidnappers’ tracks were easy to follow through the soft soil of the woodland floor, only disappearing whenever covered by the first falling leaves of autumn.  Even then, Jonathan was still able to make out where footsteps had disrupted the smooth carpet of leaves which had floated gently down to the forest floor.  There was little wind within the dense stand of old growth maples and oaks, so any disruption of the leaves and moss was easy to detect.  Jonathan thought back to the time he spent with his father on the Spencer Family Farm back in Southern Ohio learning the fine art of tracking animals, as his father insisted that Jonathan learn how to recognize the animal tracks common to the area.

Sammy didn’t need to see the kindappers’ tracks at all, as he seemed to have a good fix on their scent trail, quickly following their route through the wood and up the slope.  Here the ground became increasingly rocky and Jonathan had a difficult time seeing where boot marks had disturbed the dirt between rock surfaces, although every now and then it was clear that a smaller rock had been overturned.  The terrain seemed to be climbing up the backs of a series of fractured rock ridges erupting from the soil like the protrusions on the back of a dinosaur or dragon.  Having dueled with a dragon on their previous adventure, the comparison sent shudders down Jonathan’s spine from realizing how narrow and lucky their escape had actually been!  Sammy didn’t seem to have the same qualms about the surrounding rock formations, as he eagerly bounded across boulders while tracking the men who had abducted the princess.

The rocky outcrops and ridges seemed to have funneled the kidnappers into a narrow pathway between rock ledges, where Jonathan easily saw the disruptions from their boots in the thin soil covering the stone as they made their way towards higher ground.  There was really only one way they could have climbed higher into the rising terrain, so he and Sammy had no trouble tracking them higher up the slope.  It must have been more difficult for them to carry Aydreanna up the steep slope, realized Jonathan, and he knew at some point they’d have to put her down to climb up the steep terrain herself.

As he and Sammy climbed the rising slope into increasingly rocky ground, Jonathan was able to clearly see the sky above them as the trees were unable to root in such vertical terrain with little soil to sustain them.  Thick cloud cover had moved into the area and it was likely that the drop in temperature indicated an approaching storm.  It seemed Aydreanna wouldn’t have wanted to climb the steep rocky areas herself against her will, but perhaps she had been threatened to cooperate as a slip on the rocks would not result in a very pleasant experience for her.  Clearly the solders who had recently passed through the area wouldn’t have pursued the kidnappers into this steep terrain, but the question remained as to why they were taking this difficult route?  Where could they possibly be taking the princess and to what purpose?  ‘These rough men couldn’t possibly know who she was, or even anything about the Kingdom of Arwyall,’ thought Jonathan.  This made Aydreanna’s situation all the more threatening in his mind, because if she wasn’t being held as a political pawn – what exactly was she being held for?

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Three

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Three


A bird’s call at dawn woke Jonathan from his deep slumber.  He needed a good night’s sleep after yesterday’s long search through the wood for any sign of Aydreanna, and fortunately for him he had slept well.   Although they found the cottage yesterday and evidence that Aydreanna had once been there, she was nowhere to be found.  He lay there for a moment gathering his thoughts wondering how they would  ever be able to find the princess, and realized he had to get going because it was the only way they’d ever find her.  Sammy was already up and waiting for a breakfast slab of smoked meat, and Jonathan realized how hungry he was for breakfast as well.

The night had been uneventful and Jonathan could only think that Princess Aydreanna was now hours farther away at this point than she had been the evening before, but there hadn’t been anything he could do about it.  He quickly cut two new chunks of smoked meat for his and Sammy’s breakfast, and then stowed the kitchen knife with the remaining meat for their journey.  He tied the rope belt made of clothes line around his waist to insert his sword into, and then tucked the long knife into the belt of his heavy tunic.  Jonathan took another quick glance around the cottage looking for more clues and anything else they could take with them, but there were no new discoveries to be found.

He took out the scrap of leather he’d found in the back of the fireplace and examined it.  Besides the partial script that ran across it, he recognized in the early morning light a symbol he’d seen before – but where had he seen it?  He racked his memory wondering how he could possibly recognize a symbol from another world when he’d never visited this land before, but he knew he’d seen it somewhere.  The symbol was that of a capital K and N side by side and linked in a fancy calligraphic swirl of ink, set within the outline of what looked to be a country’s borders.  ‘That’s it!’ realized Jonathan.  He’d seen the symbol inscribed on a chart on the Wrexham – it was the symbol of the Kingdom of Nefyn!  Nefyn was not a friendly country to the Kingdom of Arwyall or to the Six Kingdoms for that matter – as it was focused only on themselves and undermining other counties and worse any time it suited them.

Jonathan shuddered to think they were in an unfriendly country to Arwyall at best and an enemy at worst – no wonder they had kidnapped Princess Aydreanna!  They could use her as a bargaining chip in a much bigger political struggle between countries, but how did they find her and how did they know who she was?  This complicated everything now in Jonathan’s mind, as he knew they’d protect her as a highly valued political pawn and prisoner – how could he ever rescue her now?  They were sure to guard her beyond anything he’d be able to get through, making his idea of a rescue attempt a joke, a very dangerous joke indeed.

He finished his breakfast of smoked meat and Sammy was almost finished as well, so he grabbed the bag containing their provisions and cautiously stepped through the smashed in back door to the cottage and took a look around.  In the early light of dawn, he saw a number of overlapping footsteps in what had once been muddy earth, as well as his and Sammy’s tracks from the night before overriding them and filling them in somewhat.  Once he was able to get a bigger perspective, Jonathan realized that the kidnappers’ tracks had come from the grassy meadow probably two days ago when it had rained, and followed the path right to the cottage’s rear door.

When they left, however, they left in a different direction going uphill into the wood towards the next ridge line!  Why that direction?  The tracks appeared to belong to only two men and occasionally a smaller indent was seen from Aydreanna’s footsteps, but it appeared as though she had been carried against her will.  Where were the rest of the estimated 70 men and horses who had earlier traveled the main path, or were they connected at all?  Perhaps the soldiers were after the kidnappers as well, who stumbled across the princess accidentally and decided to use her as ransom for their own safety?  Whatever the case, Jonathan was extremely worried for Aydreanna, and he and Sammy set out immediately with her coat and scrap of fabric in hand to track her scent through the forest…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Two

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part Two


‘First things first,’ thought Jonathan.  He needed to prepare for tomorrow’s challenge of tracking Princess Aydreanna and her kidnappers through the wood, not knowing how much of a head start they had gotten.  Sammy was very used to her scent by now and with the aid of her coat and the scrap of torn fabric from the hem of her dress, Jonathan was confident in his adventure companion’s ability to pick up and track her scent, no matter how long it had been.  He looked through the kitchen drawers and cabinets for anything they would need to take with them, more so by feeling the contents than actually seeing the details with the moonlight no longer filtering through the open window.  Jonathan would have to take another look in the morning to double check if he’d overlooked anything, but time was of the essence and he’d make good use of the evening as long as he could.

He found a section of thin rope in one of the kitchen drawers and determined it might have once been used as a clothes line between trees for drying the wash.  He needed something to secure his sword with so he didn’t always have to carry it, so he halved and halved again the length of rope to make it thicker, and then measured it for fit as a belt that would serve to hold up his sword.  A scabbard would have been nice, but he could just as easily tie the belt below the hilt to secure it – as he’d already done with the knife in his tunic’s belt.  Once the rope was measured for fit, Jonathan placed the rope and two blades on the kitchen table.

He remembered the small kitchen knife he’d used to carve the sections of meat with, and placed it inside the cloth bag so as to not forget it in the morning when preparing the bag with the meat.  There wasn’t anything else in the cottage he’d found that they could take with them, but one last look in the morning might turn something up.  At this point Jonathan had finished his dinner portion of meat and was growing tired from a long day of traipsing through the forest, and decided it was time to go to sleep.  He grabbed the long bladed knife to have with him and made his way over to the straw mattress to crawl under the covers, hoping whoever kidnapped Aydreanna wouldn’t return to find him asleep.  Sammy wouldn’t be caught off guard though, and just in case, he’d have the knife nearby if someone had intentions of doing him harm.

Jonathan made himself comfortable under the covers on the straw mattress, while Sammy continued to chew away at his portion of meat there on the kitchen floor beside the pantry cabinet.  Now that everything was quiet and still, Jonathan had time to ponder the situation they found themselves in.  Earlier, he’d been busy doing things, which had taken away the immediacy of the undertaking before them, but now he was left alone with his thoughts and feeling scared.  ‘What had they gotten themselves in for?’ he thought.  There could be seventy men altogether that now had the princess, and what could a young boy and his dog possibly do to rescue her – let alone whisk her away to safety – for kidnappers were sure to follow after them.  Why did they want her, anyway, and why had they seemed to be in such a hurry?  It didn’t add up.

How would he and Sammy find her?  The kidnappers had a head start with horsemen among them, and it didn’t seem possible to catch up to them – even if he and Sammy could determine the direction they’d taken.  If they were able to find Aydreanna, how was it even possible to rescue her?  All these thoughts swirled around and around in Jonathan’s mind as he worried about the impossibility of the task before them, however, he was responsible for her and would do everything he could to find and rescue her.  ‘It has to be possible,’ he told himself.  ‘There was no choice in the matter, he had to try – even if it was the last thing he ever did…’

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part One – Following Leads

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Eight, Part One – Following Leads


Someone had captured Princess Aydreanna and carried her away!  Jonathan realized he had to get this right, because if he didn’t she’d be lost forever – and what would he say to the king and queen back in the Kingdom of Arwyall?  It wouldn’t do to say, “Sorry, we found where your daughter traveled to, but couldn’t locate or rescue her.”  That simply wouldn’t do, it wouldn’t do at all!  No, they had to find and rescue her.  He and Sammy would do everything they could to make it happen, or they’d never be able to return themselves.

Although they had run out of daylight, there was still enough moonlight shining in through the cottage’s open window to be able to make his way around the one room dwelling.  Jonathan got down on his hands and knees and began searching the room carefully to see if he could find another clue as to what had happened to Aydreanna.  At the fireplace he peered into the ashes and carefully moved the remaining partially burned logs to the side, looking for anything that might help him search for her.  Behind the back log he discovered a scorched scrap of thin leather about the size of his palm with something written on it that he couldn’t decipher, so he put it the pocket of the heavy tunic he was wearing and continued searching the cottage.

At the low platform that supported the straw mattress, he looked through the disheveled bedding that had been thrown up against the cottage’s outer wall, as if a great struggle had taken place.  On the floor in the corner of the cottage underneath some of the blankets and furs, he found the coat Aydreanna had worn the morning she took him to see Castle Tal-y-bont!  That meant she wasn’t protected against the chill night air or rapidly changing autumn weather, and that she must have been taken away in a great hurry and surprise!  ‘She won’t last long in this weather if she’s not protected against the elements,’ thought Jonathan.

He gathered up her coat and placed it on the kitchen table beside his sword, and then returned to check the bedding again.  There wasn’t anything to be found around the bed this time, so Jonathan next checked the floor at the base of the front door – finding nothing until his hand brushed up against the handle of a long bladed knife on the floor, beside the kitchen cabinet to the left of the door.  Jonathan examined the knife, finding it to be more than a foot in length, with two thirds of the length taken up by the slightly curving blade.  ‘There must have been a struggle and the knife fell to the floor, and the kidnapper or kidnappers were in too much of a hurry to stop and try to find it,’ speculated Jonathan to himself.  ‘For some reason the kidnappers were in a great hurry – but why?’

The rest of the cottage provided no additional clues to what had taken place here, so Jonathan began to formulate a plan for the morning.  It was obviously too late to try to follow them in the dark tonight, and besides, he had no idea which way they went.  He and Sammy would have to spend the night in the cottage and start searching for her at first light in the morning.  In the meantime, Jonathan tucked the long knife under the belt of his tunic and set about deciding which of the provisions in the cabinet they could take with them.

The grain was of no value to them while traveling through the wood, so he emptied one of the grain bags into a wooden bowl in order to be able to carry the smoked meats in the bag tomorrow.  After carving off two more chunks of meat for their dinner and giving Sammy his portion, Jonathan pondered how they would go about tracking Aydreanna in the morning.  He took the torn fabric from the hem of her skirt and placed it on the table with Aydreanna’s coat to refresh Sammy’s memory of her scent in the morning, knowing their only hope was for Sammy to be able to track her through the wood to wherever they had taken her…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Ten

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Ten


The light within the small cottage was too dim to see anything, as the only thing Jonathan could perceive was the impenetrable shadow that masked the interior.  Like a blind man who remains cautious so as to not become disoriented in his surroundings, Jonathan remained holding onto the edge of the open door while waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dim light.  In the moments it took for his eyes to adjust, he tried not to focus on negative thoughts of what might have happened here and instead did his best to remain optimistic.  So far it appeared that Princess Aydreanna wasn’t in the cottage, as he hadn’t heard a sound from within the shadows except for Sammy’s patient movements within the murky light, as he waited for Jonathan’s eyes to adjust.

Each lingering moment allowed him to perceive more of his surroundings, and Jonathan’s first action was to walk to the window to his left to throw open the curtains and shutters that blocked out the light.  Opening the shutter didn’t illuminate the interior very much, as dusk deepened in the wood surrounding the cottage, however the rising moon provided just enough moonlight through the open shutters for Jonathan to begin perceiving the environment within the little cottage.  Across the single room dwelling was the closed front door, with its distinctive rounded top, flanked by small shuttered windows on either side.  The only other window in the cottage was the one he opened just moments earlier.  To his left was the kitchen area with a square table and an assortment of individual wood cabinets placed against the exterior walls of the cottage, but a number of drawers and doors were open and appeared to have been rifled through in haste.

In the corner to his left, Jonathan saw a tall cabinet with its single door closed having the appearance of a pantry or closet, where Sammy sat obediently waiting for his master to come over to it.  Jonathan went to the closet cabinet beside Sammy and attempted to open its tall door, but it didn’t budge.  Once he saw there was a keyhole and lock securing the door, he began searching for a key.  He took a chair from the kitchen table and stood on it to feel along the top edge of the cabinet, and knocked off a skeleton key that fell to the dirt floor with hardly a sound.

Once Jonathan found the key, he unlocked the door and opened it to find a pantry with a number of bags of grain, a variety of flasks and jars, and two large portions of smoked meat hanging from hooks at the top of the cabinet.  The aroma and sight of smoked meat was overpowering to the two of them as hungry as they were, and Jonathan set his sword down atop the table and found a small knife in one of the kitchen cabinets, before carving two good portions of meat for them to enjoy as they were famished.  As Jonathan satisfied his appetite eating from the portion of meat he held in his hand, he continued to look around the dim room of the cottage.  At the other end of the small room was a raised platform of sorts with a straw filled mattress and blankets that were all strewn in disarray against the outside wall.

To his immediate right, there was a fireplace and chimney that had been unattended for some time, as the ashes and charred logs remained where they had been when the embers of the last fire died out.  As they continued to eat their fill from the pieces of smoked meat, Jonathan focused on what he had learned from his assessment of the cottage’s interior: they had enough meat to sustain themselves for a week if needed, someone had ransacked the cottage looking for something of value and Aydreanna wasn’t there.  As he pondered the implications of each thought independently, Jonathan noticed a scrap of fabric on the cottage’s dirt floor and stooped to pick it up.  It was a piece of torn fabric from the hem of the dress Aydreanna had been wearing at Castle Tal-y-bont!  The princess was obviously the prize of great value that someone had stolen away, and it was up to them to find and rescue her!

(End of Chapter Seven)

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Nine

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Nine


Sammy didn’t give Jonathan any extra time to think about their predicament, before turning around and running back the same direction he had just come from.  Clearly, Sammy knew something and wanted to show it to Jonathan, but what was it?  Jonathan immediately followed Sammy through the wood with an additional spring in his step thinking that perhaps Sammy knew where Aydreanna was, but he was too hungry and weak to run after him carrying the heavy sword at the same time.  Hopefully, the distance they needed to go now wasn’t that far, as it was imperative to find the princess as soon as possible.

It didn’t take very long before Jonathan saw a cottage in the distance through the trees and his hopes immediately soared with the idea of finding Aydreanna.  As he approached the cottage, Jonathan saw it was heavily concealed within the forest, and difficult to make out through the trees and underbrush surrounding it.  The cottage itself was very small with a thatched roof that looked positively ancient.  At one time the cottage had probably been whitewashed, but since then the wood had taken it over, covering it in moss and surrounding it with ferns, young trees and underbrush.  What had once been a clearing in the old growth forest when the cottage was first built, was now even denser than the wood surrounding it.

‘How did Sammy find this place?’ thought Jonathan.  There seemed to be no way anyone could find the cottage unless they actually stumbled upon it.  The meadow where the animals were grazing wasn’t exactly beside the cottage, but no one standing in the meadow would be able to see it within the trees.  The only possible way for it to be discovered by someone new to the area would be if there was a path leading to it from the meadow.  As Jonathan approached it, he could see that Sammy had disappeared again – could he possibly be inside the cottage?  If so, was Aydreanna there, too?  He couldn’t delay any longer, even if he risked being surprised by someone else in the area, and besides, Sammy seems to have gone back and forth from this area just fine on his own.

He decided to first circle the cottage to see that it was clear of any of the horsemen and troops that had recently passed through the area.  Dusk was quickly setting in and he had to make his way through the dense undergrowth to circle around the cottage, but hadn’t yet seen anything that led him to believe it had been disturbed.  There was indeed a path leading back towards the meadow, and Jonathan figured someone must still be living here – but who?  As he came around the back of the cottage he noted there was a back door to it as well, which seemed unusual for what was essentially a one room cottage.  Looking closer, he saw in the dim light that the door was open and left ajar as it swung on its hinges into the dwelling.

‘This must have been where Sammy went,’ thought Jonathan as he pushed the door wide open.  It was then that he saw the latch had been shattered by some sort of heavy blow, and looking down, he saw a thick tree branch had been discarded alongside the cottage’s stone foundation!  This was an ominous find and one that couldn’t be good for Princess Aydreanna if she had actually been in the cottage prior to someone shattering the door and entering.  Sammy appeared in front of Jonathan from the shadows inside the cottage and again turned to lead his master into the interior.  Jonathan paused for just a second not knowing what Sammy’d found inside and braced himself for the worst, while hoping for the best…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Eight

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Eight


Jonathan couldn’t see Sammy clearly enough yet to try and wager a guess as to what he carried in his mouth.  At this point, all that was discernible was that it was either white or a very pale color.  It didn’t appear to be solid, as there seemed to be movement to whatever it was, but Sammy was running and jumping through the wood back and forth between the ancient trees, making it impossible to figure it out from a distance.  It would only be a few more moments before Sammy reached him, so Jonathan thought it best to try not to guess ahead of time – the answer would be clear enough very soon.

His sword was too heavy to keep holding at this point, so Jonathan leaned against the hilt with the tip balanced on a small log lying on the forest floor.  A cool breeze came up and with it the first golden leaves swirled through the air with it, reminding him that worse weather was eventually on its way.  If they didn’t figure out pretty soon where Princess Aydreanna was, they’d have to consider leaving this daydream and return to the Kingdom of Arwyall.  As it was, they couldn’t go on much longer without food, and Aydreanna was either somewhere nearby or in a place where they couldn’t possibly reach her.  Yet, returning to Arwyall to face the king and queen without her, was an even bigger impossibility – for they’d throw him in prison or worse for losing Aydreanna in a daydream.

Sammy was closer now and as he approached, Jonathan knew what Sammy had in his mouth was indeed white and appeared to be a piece of fabric or cloth that Sammy held by a corner.  ‘A piece of cloth?  How will that help them find Aydreanna,’ thought Jonathan.  ‘They needed more than a scrap of fabric – they needed both food and the princess.’  Sammy bounded up to Jonathan as excited as he’d ever seen his faithful companion, and the piece of cloth appeared to be a handkerchief.  ‘What was a handkerchief doing in in the middle of the forest?’  Sammy stopped in front of Jonathan and held up his prize possession for him to take into his hands and look at it.

It was indeed a handkerchief, but not one he’d ever seen before. He guessed it was a foot square in size and trimmed in delicate lace, with cutouts of leaves and flowers in the body of the material which was all in white.  In the middle of the cloth was a single letter centered within the fabric and outlined in thread – an ‘A.’  Even Jonathan understood the ‘A’ had to stand for Aydreanna and that the fabric and handwork were of such high quality it was fitting for a princess – why, it was Princess Aydreanna’s handkerchief!

So Aydreanna must be here after all!  Of course, Sammy knew the handkerchief had Aydreanna’s scent all all over it, along with a hint of perfume like lavender, but Jonathan wasn’t interested in what the fabric smelled like.  He was only interested in the fact that they had indeed been able to immerse themselves in her daydream after all and somehow arrived in the right location – wherever they were – but where was the princess?

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Seven

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Three, Chapter Seven, Part Seven


Jonathan was eager to follow Sammy towards the meadow to see what he was all excited about, but at the same time, caution was necessary.  There was no telling what Sammy had discovered, and it could run the gamut of anything from good news to bad.  This was not a time to run blindly into something he’d regret later on though – like a scouting party from the troop of riders and foot soldiers that had recently passed through the area.  Jonathan was convinced this movement the day before must have been a large gathering of knights with their supporting troops, as how could it have been anything else?  It was better to be safe than sorry at this point, for getting captured by anyone at the moment would only delay, if not prevent, their finding Princess Aydreanna.

As he made his way through the wood following Sammy, Jonathan was anxious to know what was up ahead.  The last thing he wanted to do was to walk into a trap, yet he couldn’t delay the search for Aydreanna either, as there was little time left without food for the two of them.  His mind kept returning to his hunger, which distracted Jonathan’s thoughts to the point of finding it difficult to do much of anything.  He focused on following Sammy’s last known direction through the trees, as his adventure companion was again out of sight.  The way Jonathan followed was straight enough, and he had little worry about losing the path to where Sammy had gone up ahead.  Keeping up with Sammy was an impossibility for Jonathan, as his legs were feeling the weariness and lack of energy brought on by his hunger.

He came to a small creek bed nestled into a low area that he crossed over using a few stepping stones, before climbing back up a gentle rise within the forest.  The way was easy going if it hadn’t been for Jonathan’s feelings of weakness, as all he could think about was the breakfast he ate the day before in Castle Aberyst.  Aydreanna had to be somewhere in this general area, but where?  Even Jonathan began doubting his ability to meet up with Aydreanna in her daydreams of a cottage, meadow, stream and wood with mountains in the distance.  If this wasn’t the place she dreamed of, then what was?

Jonathan finally reached the top of the rise and looked down into the next valley through the trees, but Sammy was still out of sight.  This perplexed Jonathan to the point of becoming confused, and he began questioning his ability to follow a simple straight line through the wood.  He had few options other than to keep going, for what else could he do?  Sammy wouldn’t have run a zig-zag path to show him what he’d discovered, yet where was he now?  Jonathan became a little perturbed that Sammy hadn’t kept closer by him as he followed, but it was too late to question whatever it was Sammy had in mind at this point.

The sunlight within the forest had been dimming for some time now and Jonathan realized it must be setting behind one of the mountains in the distance.  It would be dark soon and he’d surprisingly spent an entire day traipsing through this wood in search of Aydreanna, but soon it would be too dark to continue on until morning.  He also felt a cooling chill to the air, as the elevation he’d climbed during the day must be taking him into the foothills of the mountains – although he couldn’t tell anything about the surrounding geography due to being immersed within the forest of old growth trees.  It was just then that Sammy came running back towards Jonathan again from the growing shadows within the wood carrying something in his mouth with him, but what was it?