Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Two, Chapter Five, Part Ten
As Jonathan pondered the greater issue of having to outwit and slay the dragon, Sammy paid close attention to the fact that the bow wave had somehow gotten the raft moving again. The process of being freed to float again caused the raft to slowly spin in circles as it found its way back into the current, before finally stabilizing in the flow of water moving them downstream. Sammy nudged Jonathan to roust him from his thoughts, and once he was aware of what was happening, he realized they were now facing upstream as the raft continued moving downstream. Once the two of them moved to face downstream with the direction of the current, Jonathan had an opportunity to turn his attention to what had just happened to the raft.
After a moment of reflection, he realized the raft must have been grounded on a shallow sandbar, not visible in the dense fog just below the river’s water level. His hope was that the bow wave had shoved the raft closer to the north shore of the River Myuthall, to allow them to exit the raft at the proper time once they reached the coastline of the Sea of Tollvar. Jonathan used the long pole to easily reach the river bottom now, and gently pushed the raft to the left, or towards the north shore – finding the water to be quite a bit shallower in this spot of the river than earlier. The river was only about three feet deep here, and Jonathan realized they were probably close to the north shore already. The shallow sandbar most likely had been the dividing point between the deeper channel in the middle of the river, and a series of similar sandbars in shallower waters along the riverbank.
The sounds of seagulls alerted both of them to the possibility that the Sea of Tollvar wasn’t far away at this point, and that the raft had reached a tidal area of sandbars and mudflats near the mouth of the river. It was possible that it was now low tide, and in a few hours the mouth of the river could deepen significantly as the tide came in, so Jonathan though it best they exit the raft now in shallow waters and safely land themselves ashore. Knowing their scents had been masked by the raft’s enchantment, and visibility by the dense fog that seemed to be sticking around, Jonathan decided it best if they walk at the river’s edge in the shallowest waters to help mask the trail of their scents and footprints, along with the dragon’s ability to feel the impact of their footsteps from far away.
After pushing the raft as far towards the shallow water of the coastline as he could with the pole before the raft became stuck again, Jonathan took both the bag of provisions, and Sammy into his arms. He stepped off the raft towards the north shore in water that was only knee-deep, and after going only a short distance, he began seeing marsh reeds and feeling firm ground underfoot. Looking back a short way towards where the raft had been grounded along the shore, Jonathan realized it was gone, and must have returned itself to Myullar Wood to regain the essence of where it belonged. He continued to hug the edge of the river towards the coastline with Sammy and provisions in hand through ankle-deep water, trying not so splash or slosh with each step he took.
It wasn’t long before Jonathan realized they had reached the coastline of the Sea of Tollvar, as the sound of breaking waves grew louder and louder in front of them. Jonathan hoped the sound of the waves would help mask their own movements, and as long as the dense fog remained along the seashore, he hoped their scents wouldn’t travel far towards the dragon’s nose – wherever it was. He sat Sammy down in the shallowest water and readjusted the bag of provisions for easier carrying, with the plan to hug the water’s edge up the coastline to the north until reaching the Fortress of Skulvarr Fell.
This approach seemed to be the safest way to travel towards the fortress, and they couldn’t possibly miss finding it. With any luck at all, the dragon wouldn’t suspect their approach along the seashore, and instead focus on the inland area between the River Myuthall and the fortress. Jonathan wasn’t going to allow themselves to be caught in open terrain with nowhere to hide, and instead chose to blend into the breaking waves along the sea – and if needed, wade out to hide from the dragon among the waves…
(End of Book Two, Chapter Five)