Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Chapter Seven, Part Eleven
The evening was full of discussions by the light of the oil lamp and the dimming embers of the fireplace, as Dijia and Jonathan described their journey in roundabout terms. Both boys understood it was important to not say too much, but also to be truthful and forthcoming at the same time, which was a difficult balancing act considering their situation. The story they told was roughly one of escaping from the riders, and their hopes of seeking refuge in the Kingdom of Pengarth after crossing the Tregarrons.
Daylla, meanwhile, was a wise woman who had seen many things in her life, and intuitively understood there was more to their story than the boys were letting on. Dijia, the exotic boy, was too well versed and displayed an air that spoke of nobility, while Jonathan was clearly not from anywhere in Myllanthar. He had a simple, open book honesty about him that was unmistakably foreign to this land. Together they were a mystery, and Daylla began to understand that their journey was far larger than they had openly revealed.
She talked of the riders, and how they had terrorized this area of the Tregarrons for the past year, and of the pain and suffering she had endured after losing her husband and sons. What had once been a productive and beautiful valley was now a total ruin, where nothing worked as it had before. The markets were all closed down, farms abandoned, people killed and missing, and even the wildlife was staying away. It was a chill wind indeed that blew through the land.
Dijia had to bite his tongue, for he wished he could promise her as King of Pengarth that he would destroy the riders who terrorized this land, but he couldn’t reveal his status without compromising the very promises he silently pledged to keep. Daylla continued on with the story of how her husband had been forced by the riders to turn over most of his crop to them as payment for their protection, and when he refused, they killed him. Her two sons were taken into slavery and hadn’t been heard of since, and Daylla feared the worse for them.
Left to fend for herself alone on the farm, she was too proud to give up her land and leave as so many others had already done. If it hadn’t been for the occasional help of local farmers who did what they could to help her amidst their of own struggles, she wouldn’t have survived at all. Now that winter was fast approaching, there was little hope for her survival until spring.
Looking at her two young visitors with a firm, steady resolve in her eye, Daylla said, “I will never give up! Do you hear me? I will not give up – as long as I have an ounce of strength left in my body I will fight back. I want you boys to promise me the same thing right here and now, that you will not give up either! You are the future of this land, boys, whether you realize it or not. If you don’t fight the riders, then who will?”
Dijia was the first to speak in reply. He didn’t want to speak as King of the Kingdom of Pengarth until he had successfully ascended to the throne, yet at the same time he needed to reassure Daylla that he would do all he could to defeat the riders, and return peace to the land. “I promise you, Daylla, that Jonathan and I will do all that is possible, even at the cost of our lives, to defeat the riders and once again restore this land to peace and prosperity. I give to you my oath of honor, that what I say is true, and that one day the rightful heir and King of Pengarth will protect this land. I give you my promise!”
Then Jonathan added, “What Dijia says is true, Daylla. He is my friend, and together we will do all that we can to help the people defeat the riders. You can count on us.”
“You two boys are remarkable,” replied Daylla. “There’s something bigger about you than your age, and I clearly understand if it’s not for me to know. If you seek to travel through the high country of the Slejuv People and beyond to Pengarth, your horses are not a help to you for much longer. The trail continues east for about two day’s journey on foot, and then it is impassible by horse. I suggest you board your horses here on the farm until your return, for they will be well looked after here with me.”
“Thank you for your kindness, Daylla, but they are not our horses, as they came to us along the way. We will give them to you to keep, and here are five gold pieces for your trouble, and to provide for yourself through the winter,” said Dijia, reaching into an inside pocket of his robe and handing the woman five bright, shining gold pieces reflected in the light of the oil lamp. It was more money than Daylla had seen in her entire lifetime.
Staring at the gold pieces in her hand, and pressing her other hand to her breast, Daylla was shocked beyond speech. The horses were a valuable gift on their own accord, but the gold was more value than she had ever seen before. She may not know their full story, but Daylla was determined to do what she could to help these boys cross the mountains.
“Two young men not much older than my own grown sons stopped by recently, and asked about you two the other day. I told them the truth, that I had no information about two boys traveling through this country, as that was before you arrived. They said they were looking for you based on a common friendship – a man by the name of Gramps they said had sent them.”
Daylla leaned forward for emphasis as the light from the oil lamp flickered across her face, “They said their names were Siyth and Ruylan. Their aim is to help you cross the Tregarrons and reach the City of Penmarth in the Kingdom of Pengarth. I needed to know you two were the ones they spoke of before I shared that knowledge with you for safety sake. They said they would be waiting for you at the Slejull Pass, about five days journey east of here. That is the only pass into the high country of the Tregarrons and the Land of the Slejuv.”
Jonathan couldn’t contain himself saying, “Gramps, did you say Gramps sent them? I didn’t think I’d ever see or here of Gramps again, Daylla. You’re right, Dijia – there’s always hope!”
(End of Chapter Seven)