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…