Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Three, Chapter Three, Part Six
Everything had happened in an instant during the ambush and the guards’ attempt to capture Jonathan and Sammy, so quickly in fact, that he hadn’t even had time to process what was happening at the time. Now that their attackers had been run off, frightened by the haunting voices of Maestyg’s unseen tribe, Jonathan took a moment to pause and reflect. The guards looked more like ruffians and thugs than any sort of disciplined and uniformed force. In fact, had he not known they were the guards of the Fortress of Tyull, he’d have thought they were some sort of pirates, criminals or rabble-rousers of a distant age. A book of his that had discussed the dark side of the Middle Ages came to mind when he recalled the state of the men who tried to grab them – armed with clubs, swords, and dressed in black leather and filthy clothes. Jonathan shuddered as he realized they looked like executioners…
“Come, Jonathan, quickly now – there isn’t a moment to spare,” insisted Maestyg, as he tugged on Jonathan’s arm to keep him moving down the beach. “You can’t rest now. That was a close call, but they’ll be back with hundreds more of their same ilk – we can’t fend them all off the next time!”
Jonathan snapped out of his thoughts and understood that Maestyg was right, there was no time to lose. He quickly realized that Sammy was fine, and he himself wasn’t hurt, just shocked. Taking a deep breath, he said, “You’re right, Maestyg, I’m with you now. Let’s go.”
Maestyg maintained his cloak of invisibility along with the rest of his tribe, as they all accompanied Jonathan and Sammy up the beach. Jonathan really didn’t know where they were heading, except for the fact there was a boat somewhere along the shoreline they would commandeer for his and Sammy’s escape from the Island of Tyull. He was beginning to understand Gramps’ unwillingness to discuss any details about Tyull. If Gramps had been taken into the fortress against his will at the time, he was lucky to have made it out alive. Maestyg had earlier mentioned that he had assisted Myllanthal in escaping a prison cell deep within the sandstone fortress, and Jonathan understood the debt of gratitude all of Myllanthar owed to Maestyg for his bravery – and even now, he was assisting them to escape this cursed Island Fortress of Tyull.
They traveled up the beach for another hour under the light of the stars, until the first predawn glow finally appeared on the eastern horizon above an endless sea. Daylight wouldn’t be their friend, as no doubt the guards had since reorganized themselves for their re-attack against a boy and his dog. Perhaps the haunted voices would give the guards pause enough to delay their reappearance on the beach, buying them time to make it to the boat and escape this foul place. The odds weren’t in their favor though, as prying eyes from atop the fortress could easily track their movements along the beach now, as if watching them endlessly circle this island of rock in their futile attempts to escape. Perhaps the guards were simply laughing at them, and waiting until their prey had spent their last reserves of energy like rats in a maze.
As the first rays of dawn illuminated the desolate rocky beach, Jonathan scanned the distance as they continued moving up the beach as fast as he could. Sammy was actually enjoying the trek, running in and out of the waves on the hard packed sand, while Maestyg and the invisible tribe along with them kept up their relentless pace. There at the water’s edge, perhaps a quarter mile ahead, Jonathan made out the image of masted boats pulled up onto the beach. They appeared to number less than ten he guessed, and each seemed to be the size of a small sailboat with a single mast, nosed into the beach. There wasn’t even a gentle breeze as dawn broke, and sailing off the island appeared to be a non-starter, dooming their efforts to get away.
The closer they got, the more suspicious Jonathan felt, as if a whole host of guards were only just now waiting to pour out of an unseen tunnel to attack them. Another battle with the guards wouldn’t go well he realized, for they might decide to do away with him right then and there, leaving him no hope of ever returning home to the Spencer Family Farm. He shook his head and put away his thoughts of defeat, understanding that the next few minutes held his entire future in the balance…