Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Chapter Nine, Part One – The Kingdom of Pengarth
“We are always searching for answers, without first defining the questions. Spend more time on the later, and your adventures will not be quite so difficult or dangerous.” – Mark D. Jones
The sun shone brighter, the air smelled fresher, and the views from the eastern slopes of the Tregarron Mountains over the idyllic countryside of the Kingdom of Pengarth were simply too lovely for words. The sensation of freedom after having been lost underground in dark caverns for days was almost too much to bear, as the emotion of the moment was overwhelming. Yet, there was no time to simply relax in the ambiance of the moment, as they needed to sort out a plan for the way ahead.
The underground river they had floated was nowhere to be seen, leading credence to the idea that it fed the Inland Sea of Pengarth from underground. Had they not gotten beached in the shallow waters of the shoreline, it remains conjecture whether they would have ever made it out of the caverns. Regardless, they had survived, and although they remained soaked and chilled to the bone, the sun was making short work of restoring their energy and providing them warmth.
It was Siyall who broke the silence saying, “Beyond all odds we survived the journey under the Tregarrons, but we are far from finished – for beyond us lies the Kingdom of Pengarth that we must now cross. Let us first rest on this ridge for a time, and refresh our spirits with food and drink, and make a plan for the way ahead.”
The company gathered along an outcropping of rocks to dry out their waterlogged gear in the sunshine, and refresh themselves with sustenance while discussing the journey remaining before them. The City of Penmarth and Castle Penmaryll lay on the far eastern shore of the Kingdom of Pengarth. It was Jonathan who innocently asked, “Remember how the rider from Nierron who ambushed us, said he was the last line of defense to keep us from entering the Tregarrons, Dijia? If he was correct, is it now safe to travel openly through your country? How had you imagined we’d travel across your kingdom?”
Dijia was sitting up against a large boulder, thawing out from the bone chilling waters of the river and having a bite to eat and drink. He looked out over the countryside of his kingdom from this idyllic vantage point, and for a moment was totally at peace with the world. Bringing himself back to reality, he turned to answer Jonathan and share with the group, “I really hadn’t thought through the plan to this point, Jonathan. No where is safe to travel openly in these days, for prying eyes and ears are everywhere. The way I had imagined it would happen, was that we would slip unnoticed into the kingdom and then just blend in with everyone, and assume the role of peasants traveling to Penmarth.”
“In Pengarth the people are poor, Jonathan, mostly simple farmers traveling on foot along dirt paths and roads, oftentimes using donkeys and wagons to transport their goods. I imagined our story was that we were from the other side of the Tregarrons, on our way to visit my grandparents in Penmarth, after my parents died from an illness. You were to be another orphan traveling to live with my grandparents as well, whose parents were killed by bandits in a robbery. No one is to know that I am the returning King of Pengarth, until I declare it myself in Castle Penmaryll and claim my throne…”
Jonathan thought about his own family back in Hampton, and hoped they were alright, and that he’d get a chance to see them again someday. Turning to Dijia he said, “If you’re able to travel through your own country without people knowing you are king, then you should be able to see their problems firsthand, and correct them once you sit on the throne. We will not reveal to anyone you’re their king, and do all we can to ensure your safe arrival in Penmarth.”
Ruylan spoke next saying, “There are too many of us now for the original plan to be believable. I think Siyth and Siyall should act as Jonathan’s parents, as the look is believable. I shall take the role of Dijia’s father, for our characteristics are similar. We must find an ass and cart to stow our gear under a bed of straw, and obtain simple robes to cover our clothing. My advice is to procure them from the first farm or peasants we encounter along the way, for I have gold enough to pay them highly for parting with what we’ll need.”
Siyth and Siyall agreed, as did Jonathan and Dijia, while Sammy was simply enjoying the fresh scents of autumn, away from the stagnant and putrid smells underground. The sun set early behind them over the Tregarrons, and they decided to camp overnight in the open where they were, and pursue their plan in the morning. It was still undecided whether they would travel the dirt paths clear across the kingdom, or also attempt to travel by boat down the River Pengarth directly to Castle Penmaryll.