Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Two
The old man dressed in robes, with his face obscured by the shadow cast by his hood, continued to stand his ground in the middle of the road leaning on his tall staff – preventing the company from continuing straight ahead or going around him. There was something about his mannerism, and his steadfast determination and gaze, that puzzled Jonathan. Jonathan began to think that there might be something to worry about from his confrontational stance of blocking the road ahead. Gripping his Light Sword tightly in hand, ready to do battle if it first came to him, Jonathan noticed the blade was as calm as could be – there was no evil in this man, otherwise the sword would have lit up in a brilliant warning. It was a perplexing situation to be in, and Jonathan really wasn’t sure what he should do, but as the future King of Talgar he would have to learn to make, and stand by, his own decisions.
Once the company reached a point of being about fifty feet from the stranger, Jonathan motioned for them to stop and halted his horse facing him. He was about to call out to the old man to state his intentions and let the company pass, when Alydar brayed with excitement and ran towards the stranger, flinging itself upon him in sheer joy and delight! The company’s horses also had a restless and excited nervousness to them, yet they were reigned in place by their riders and obeyed. Sammy and Tiyall, who had been running in and out of the dense Wood surrounding them, all of a sudden paid attention to what was happening and bolted towards the stranger in great leaps and bounds! What was going on, thought Jonathan, what am I missing here?
The stranger was bent over while embracing Alydar, but when Sammy and Tiyall came running towards him, they leaped at him and almost knocked him over in the road! After kneeling down to rub and greet the dogs, Jonathan overheard the man speaking a strange language, which the dogs seemed to clearly understand. They sat in place at his feet and watched his every action and listened to his every word. It was only when the old man finally stood up to face the company, that his hood fell back over his shoulders and Jonathan could see exactly who he was – Gramps!
Jonathan cried out “Gramps!” and jumped off his mount as quickly as he could, and ran with outstretched arms to greet him at full speed! Arrydor easily stepped to one side and caught Jonathan in full stride and swung him around at full speed in a complete circle before setting him down before him – giving the lad a bear hug and rubbing the top of his head with joy as well. In that moment, Arrydor also called out greetings to Thomar and Jyulia, who had kept their positions alongside the prisoners behind the cart. They returned the greetings to Arrydor in kind, and stood in awe at the sight before them of Alydar, Sammy, Tiyall, Jonathan and Arrydor all enjoying a long overdue reunion.
Arrydor then walked over to Thomar and Jyulia to address the prisoners, asking, “You had intentions of doing harm within the Kingdom of Talgar, did you not?”
The prisoners to a man said, “We did, Sir, but we now have changed hearts. Never had we expected to have been shown kindness as captives, or to have seen the gathered crowds praising the boy for defeating the dragon. We deeply regret our actions, and wish only to do as the crowds do in rejoicing with them, to be part of this new day in Talgar, and make a new start.”
“Then go as free men,” replied Arrydor, “Thank Jonathan for liberating the people from the beast, and pledge to support him as the future King of the Kingdom of Talgar.”
With that, Arrydor cut the ropes that bound them behind the cart, and they immediately fell at Jonathan’s feet praising him. Jonathan had them rise and said, “This is a new day and a new age in the Kingdom of Talgar and in all of Myllanthar. Go in peace, to build a new future for everyone.”
The men, who had once been rogue riders from Nierron, then joined the crowds, and began to work in that hour helping those in the crowd who needed assistance – and never again returned to a life of violence…