Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Ten

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Ten

~~~~~~~~~~

The next morning brought sunshine and blue skies, masking the seriousness of the decisions that still needed to be made that day.  Everyone understood a journey must be made to the City of Talgarth, but Thomar and Jyulia needed to take things slowly, so as to not rush Jonathan’s preparedness.  After all, he was the future now, and all their decisions were to be based on his readiness to accept his fate.  If Jonathan was rushed too quickly into assuming his future role as the King of Talgar, he might crumble under the pressure of the task and his duties.  Only he could direct the pace of their decision making, so as to preserve both the future of the Kingdom of Talgar, but also, their lives.

For this was a very serious situation, and they all realized how important it was to avoid any mistakes going forward.  The first requirement was to travel incognito to Talgarth, which was easier said than done in the lawlessness and turmoil left behind in the kingdom after Vyanthal’s defeat.  The Kingdom of Talgar had reverted to an unsettling tribalism and individual rivalries, not seen since the beginning of the Second Age.  There was a desperation now in the people to simply survive in the absence of any established rule or ruler, and traveling these lanes through the Talgarth Wood would be perilous indeed.

Although Jonathan was identified by prophecy as the one to fool and slay a dragon, and then go on to rule as the King of Talgar, there was no physical proof of that fact to show the people – especially those with dubious claims of their own to the throne.  That he wasn’t ‘from’ the Land of Myllanthar was substantiation of the one ‘over the horizon’ as pointed out in the prophecy, but his lack of true understanding of the workings of the kingdom could be used against him – after all, he was not even nine years old yet, and from Southern Ohio.  To risk Jonathan by having him claim the throne before he was ready and prepared, would risk everything the kingdom needed.

At the same time, time was truly of the essence.  The vacuum of power within Talgar attracted many who would choose to fill it themselves, and if another power grab like Vyanthal’s were to be made, it would be very difficult to defeat it.  Perhaps only Arrydor could ensure a successful outcome, which might account for his absence now, but there was no way of knowing for sure.  Thomar and Jyulia would have to trust their own instincts and act as quickly and responsibly as possible, hoping that Arrydor’s work behind the scenes was paving their way.  If not, there could be a dreadful outcome for the three of them, and for the kingdom.

Jonathan’s Light Sword was proof of his being anointed to rescue the kingdom, but even Thomar wondered if it was enough to ward off an army of thugs, agitators, mercenaries, and criminals – all focused on their own personal interests of wealth and power – not on the positive future and outcome of the Light and Jewel that was once the Kingdom of Talgar…

(End of Chapter Seven)

Advertisements

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Nine

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Nine

~~~~~~~~~~

“How is it that you know Gramps, Thomar?” asked Jonathan innocently, “And where is he now?  I wish he’d visit us here in the cabin.”

Thomar smiled at the question concerned Arrydor, saying, “Arrydor, or Gramps as you refer to him, Jonathan, has many responsibilities to both the land and its people – not just here in the Kingdom of Talgar – but throughout Myllanthar as well.  That he didn’t stay to greet you, must mean he considers you and Sammy to be in our good hands, but no one knows his mind.  How he came to know both myself and Jyulia is another question, and one that is just as complicated, but I’ll try to summarize our relationship with Arrydor as simply as I can explain it.”

“The throne of the Kingdom of Talgar was once in the City of Talgarth in the years before the takeover by Vyanthal – who declared Talgarth to be a forbidden and abandoned city – forcing everyone to leave, and then moved the capitol to the City of Rhyll north of here, on the coast of the Sea of Tollvar.  The recent terror of the dragon in and around Talgarth was yet another blow to the jewel that was once the finest of cities.  Arrydor himself was once the King of the Kingdom of Talgar at the beginning of the Second Age of Myllanthar, in order to create a respectful rule of law and justice within the kingdom.  Arrydor then turned the Throne of Talgar over to Queen Anallyita, and the kingdom was ruled ever since by a succession of queens – until the usurper Vyanthal seized power by force.  Jyulia is descended from this historic ancestry of Talgar Queens, but her claim to the throne is second to yours, as yours in the more ancient claim dating back to the earliest days of the First Age.”

Jonathan’s eyes grew wide as he listened to Thomar’s explanation, turning to look at Jyulia and bowing towards her, as she curtsied in return to Jonathan.  To be in the presence of future royalty was something that took him completely by surprise.  Meanwhile, Sammy listened with big ears while chewing on his bone beside the fireplace, having been given a deep sense of understanding concerning human nature by Gramps, back in the dwelling of Tywyn.  That’s not to say Sammy understood everything being discussed, only generalities and intention, combined with a greater awareness of responsibility.  Sammy’s loyalty to Jonathan was fast and true, along with his desire to understand and support his master’s needs without being directed to do so.

Thomar continued, “My father was the Lord Mayor of the City of Talgarth when Vyanthal seized power back in the year 4153 – 37 years ago.  He was assassinated along with the Queen and her family during the coup.  Arrydor whisked Jyulia and myself away to safety as very young children, and brought us to live in exile in Castle Penmaryll under the care of King Tyijar.  Once we came of age, Jyulia and I married, and have lived in this remote cabin ever since under the guise of peasants, at the very edge of the kingdom.  We pledge our loyalty and devotion to the Kingdom of Talgar, and to Arrydor – and now to you as well, Jonathan – as the one legitimate and future King of the Kingdom of Talgar,” finished Thomar, and both he and Jyulia bowed and curtsied respectfully to Jonathan, who shyly returned their courtesy with a bow of his own.

“That’s enough background for now, Jonathan, as we should all get some sleep.  There’s much work to be done and decisions to be made in the light of morning tomorrow,” said Jyulia, and with that, they all settled in for the night.

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Eight

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Eight

~~~~~~~~~~

“That’s a very good question, Jonathan, I’m not even sure myself about what just happened,” answered Jyulia, “Maybe, Thomar can enlighten both of us, as he has more insight from talking recently with Arrydor.”

“I think this event is even beyond my understanding,” began Thomar, “But I believe I can explain the basics of what’s happening in the kingdom now.  My last visit from Arrydor was this morning, when he informed me of the dragon’s defeat as a result of your decisions and actions, Jonathan.  He also told me that prying eyes had already begun discretely spreading the news throughout Talgarth Wood, and that evil schemes were brewing in the kingdom – which is exactly what Arrydor means to counter.  What completely surprised me though, was the fact that those plans would be set into motion so quickly and ruthlessly.  That’s not what the Kingdom of Talgar that I know, represents or expects of its people.”

Thomar continued, “Those agitators, Jonathan, had heard of the dragon’s defeat and set out looking for the one that was responsible, meaning you.  They were also aware of the ancient prophecy of a boy who would fool and slay a dragon, and then go on to become the King of the Kingdom of Talgar.  Their intention was to first find you, and then capture you in order to force your silence.  That way, they would be free to claim the crown of Talgar for themselves, knowing you would never show up to claim it for yourself.  I denied knowing anything about a dragon’s defeat or a young boy, other than my own son, Danyar, who after all, is just three.”

“But I didn’t slay the dragon, Thomar, and I’m not a hero – and I don’t desire to be the King of Talgar either!  I only want to see my friends here in the Land of Myllanthar again, and eventually go back to my parent’s farm in Southern Ohio.  That’s all I want,” exclaimed Jonathan.

“While all that is true, Master Jonathan, your encounter with the beast makes you the victor in both deed and appearance.  The prophecy also places upon you a great responsibility to follow through with the aftermath involving restoring justice and the rule of law to the Kingdom of Talgar where you and Sammy now are.  The kingdom needs you to assume that responsibility for the sake of everyone and everything – not only in Talgar – but all of Myllanthar.  Everyone’s depending on you to make the right decision, Jonathan, even your friends.”

Jonathan paused for a moment to let all that Thomar had said sink in, and replied, “Yes, you’re right, Thomar, I’ll accept the responsibility.  What do we do next?”

“First of all, we have to fill you in on all the background information about what you are getting yourself into, Jonathan, and we’ll try to do that as quickly as possible.  While your claim through the prophecy is the most ancient claim to the Throne of the Kingdom of Talgar, there are many other claims that desire to wear Talgar’s Crown – some legitimate, and most are not – although none supersedes your own.  After that, we need to give you the lay of the land concerning the Kingdom of Talgar, and everything that applies to what you will do, or choose to do.  Lastly, we need to protect you from harm until you can assume the throne, as your very life is now in danger…”

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Seven

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Seven

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan slowly and very quietly unsheathed his Light Sword in front of Thomar, and it glowed with a glimmering sheen of light that danced along its blade, indicating a presence of evil nearby.  Without saying a word, Thomar indicated for everyone to remain quiet with his index finger pressed against his lips, and motioned for Jonathan to resheath his sword by moving his hands together.  Jyulia and the children, as well as the dogs, were immediately aware that something was up, and they remained quiet and motionless.  Thomar then had Jonathan and Sammy follow him without making a sound, as he pulled a throw rug aside to reveal a hidden door set into the floorboards.  After lifting the trap door, Jonathan and Sammy quietly descended the staircase, before Thomar closed the hatch and reset the rug, placing a small table and chair on it.

Jonathan pulled out the Talspin pendant from under his shirt, and unsheathed his Light Sword again to illuminate the darkness.  He saw they were in a stone-lined underground chamber like a cellar, with a doorway leading into a dark underground tunnel.  Not knowing what was about to transpire upstairs or where the tunnel led to, Jonathan stood in the doorway with his Light Sword in hand, ready to face any outcome that might materialize.  He heard the cabin’s door open, and a number of deep, gruff voices and heavy footsteps entered the cabin above him.  Thomar was saying something to the visitors, but Jonathan couldn’t clearly make out what he or the others were saying.

Thomar spoke even louder for a moment, appearing to counter vehemently whatever the argumentative intruders were saying.  A short scuffle broke out, with Jyulia raising her voice and clearly ordering the men to leave the cabin in no uncertain terms.  Thomar appeared to have gained the upper hand in the encounter, shoving the intruders out the door and finally barring it again from the inside.  The agitators didn’t leave quietly though, and their loud voices could be heard by Jonathan as they shouted insults and threats while leaving until their voices faded in the distance.

Jonathan didn’t know what to think, and imagined possible scenarios as to what had just transpired upstairs in the cabin.  With the immediate threat above him seemingly diminished, he sheathed his Light Sword again, utilizing only the Talspin’s icy-blue light to illuminate the cellar.  He heard Thomar and Jyulia above him discussing what had just happened for many minutes, as he waited for the doorway to open and return upstairs.  He also looked back over his shoulder into the tunnel, as if he was uncertain as to what Thomar might eventually instruct him to do – wondering where the dark corridor led to.

After a few more agonizingly long minutes, he finally heard the furniture being rearranged and the rug being pulled back.  The trap door in the floorboards came up, and the dim light of the cabin illuminated the stairs.  Sammy made his way up the staircase right away, and made a beeline straight towards Tiyall and the bone he’d been gnawing on earlier.  Jonathan then climbed the stairs, and saw shell-shocked looks in both Jyulia and Thomar’s eyes, while the trapdoor was closed and the rug replaced.  Once everything was straightened and put back into place with very worried and stressed looks, Jonathan broke the silence by asking, “What just happened?”

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Six

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Six

~~~~~~~~~~

Everyone enjoyed their meals as the fire slowly burned down in the fireplace, and once everyone had pitched in to clear the dishes and put the cottage back in order, it was an opportunity for questions to be asked as to how Jonathan and Sammy first came to Myllanthar and had since returned.  Jonathan felt right at home with Thomar and Jyulia, and their family, and for once in a very long time allowed himself to be at complete ease.  Sammy was feeling the same, while spending the evening chewing on bones from the meal with Tiyall beside the fireplace.

Thomar and Jyulia had heard Arrydor’s explanation of who Jonathan and Sammy were, and the events that had transpired that could possibly alter the future of the Kingdom of Talgar forever, but needed to hear directly from Jonathan himself as to his version of events.  During the course of the evening, Arrydor’s explanations were proven to have been correct, but there was little time then in the discussions with Arrydor to cover all the details, as there was now.  The nature of the lawlessness and unrest across Talgar meant that every stone needed to be overturned and understood, before Thomar and Jyulia were willing to bring Jonathan into their confidence, as so much as at stake – including Jonathan’s very life!

Even now, power interests across the kingdom were jockeying against each other to promote various interests, agendas and grudges – and if word had already spread about the dragon’s defeat – these struggles would become all-out battles.  There were many people maneuvering to rule and control Talgar, and few of them were pure and legitimate, with many underhanded and outside the law.  It seemed bloodshed was likely to be involved in such infighting, as few challengers had the best interests of the Kingdom of Talgar at heart – only their own.

So as Jonathan continued telling the stories of how he and Sammy arrived in Myllanthar, of his assistance from Gramps, the challenges he faced with Dijia who eventually became King of the Kingdom of Pengarth, his departure back to Ohio and the return he and Sammy made to encounter and defeat the beast – Thomar and Jyulia knowingly spoke to each other across the firelight with their eyes, as each piece of recent history was confirmed by Jonathan.  It was the first time in ages that Thomar and Jyulia allowed themselves to smile again, knowing that the future, their future, might now come true – not for themselves – but for the Kingdom of Talgar they loved, and hoped one day to serve.

As Jonathan finished up the stories of his adventures with Sammy and Trooper back on the Spencer Family Farm in Southern Ohio, Thomar and Jyulia nodded to each other in understanding, as they mutually came to the conclusion to bring Jonathan into their confidence about their backgrounds, and what the kingdom was now going through.  The fire had now died down to embers, and in the quiet of the night, Thomar listened carefully to the sounds of the Wood outside the cabin.  He needed to ensure nothing unusual was taking place outside the security of the fire’s glow within the cabin.  Just as Jonathan finished up his last story about the cellar of the farmhouse that led to their return to Myllanthar, everyone heard a branch snap outside, and Thomar quietly asked Jonathan to unsheathe his Light Sword…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Five

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Five

~~~~~~~~~~

The atmosphere in the cabin was warm and cozy, as everyone was introduced to one another and a meal served that satisfied even Jonathan’s hunger – as well as Sammy and Tiyall’s need to spend the evening chewing on fire-roasted bones after the meal.  On the inside, the cabin was more of a cottage, being a well-tended and taken care of home, that was much more comfortable inside than the rustic outside appearance hinted at.  Jyulia, Miylia and Danyar, were all very curious about Jonathan, asking him questions about Sammy and what it was like back in Ohio, as the children were now five and three years old respectively.  Miylia in particular asked him about his difference in clothes and accent, and wanted to learn more about the man he called Gramps.

To many, Arrydor was a figure of legend, a Warrior King from days of old – part myth, part conjecture, part legend, and part history – while few ever knew the truth.  Thomar and Jyulia were well versed in the truth, having been first instructed by their respective parents as to their own lineage and the history of the Kingdom of Talgar, and later by King Tyijar who revealed deeper truths few had ever heard of, or actually knew the answers to.  Yet, they couldn’t possibly have known everything about the man called Myllanthal, Illandor, Arrydor, and most recently, Gramps, by Jonathan.

The First Age of Myllanthar, known as Myllanthall, or the Age of Promise, ran from the beginning of time to the year 3287 – a time in Myllanthar before the arrival of man – when the world was calm and the land prospered and thrived.  Myllanthal had just created all that was the Land of Myllanthar, and oversaw the organic purity of the land before the arrival of man.  The Sylth in Sylthar Wood, and the Myull in Myullar Wood, were fashioned by the hand of Myllanthal in the very beginning of the First Age, but except for a slight similarity of resemblance, they were unlike man.  The Sylth and Myull were immortal beings, very much like Myllanthal was – but no one ever knew the tale of his origin.

It was at the beginning of the Second Age of the Land of Myllanthar, or the Age of Knowledge called Ryanthall, when man first dwelt upon the land.  Some say these first men and women arrived from faraway lands, carried over the sea by boat.  Others think they were fashioned by the hand of Myllanthal himself, and yet others say they were born of the union between the Sylth and Myull – denied the gift of immortality because of the differences in the two original populations.  In fact, there is validity to each path concerning the introduction and arrival of man, yet it was not to be a harmonious outcome.

In the beginning, the offspring of the Sylth and Myull claimed title to kingships across the land, which caused resentment within the total population.  Those fashioned within Myllanthar by Myllanthal’s own hand, sought increased knowledge and truth, and prospered.  Yet, those who arrived from distant lands brought with them an entitlement based on a desire for power, and conflict broke out across the land as these travelers from faraway lands sought to take what they believed to be rightly theirs – power.  It was in this time, that Myllanthal realized he needed to make a decision regarding the nature of his creation, the Land of Myllanthar.

Myllanthal understood as Creator, he could dictate the outcome within the land by force and rightful ownership, but believed this to be a slippery slope leading to the ultimate unhappiness of his creation.  He then made the unheard of choice to step outside his power, and participate within his creation, by giving up his rightful place and power as Creator.  He, of course, retained his immortality, which could never be altered.  However, he retained only such characteristics of his immortal nature to maintain his status above that of the Sylth and Myull – while taking an oath to work within creation to be a catalyst of all that was good – through noble actions aligned with his true nature.

It was early in this time of the Second Age, when Myllanthal became a beacon of truth and righteousness as King of Talgar to resolve this infighting and strife between man.  It was during his reign on the throne, that he was called Arrydor or Warrior King by the peoples of all lands, as he served to restore the peace, prosperity and goodness of the First Age of the Age of Promise.  He did so for the benefit of all, working with a nobility of purpose, while taking it upon himself to restore reason to those who didn’t understand what reason was.  Once peace, prosperity and nobility of purpose was restored to the land, Myllanthal turned over the reigns of power to a truly deserving monarch, who preserved Talgar as the Shining Light it had once been.  Jyulia is today a descendant in the historical lineage from that first appointed monarch by Myllanthar, Queen Anallyita, when the Kingdom of Talgar was still in the flower of its rebirth.  The Kingdom of Talgar remained a beacon of hope and Shining Light throughout the ages following Queen Anallyita’s reign – that is, up until Vyanthal seized power, and poisoned it all.

All the men and women of Myllanthar know of this Warrior King in legend and lore, but few truly understand the person, events and history behind what actually transpired in those days.  Yet, the name of Arrydor, or Warrior King, is chiseled in the hearts of all those who yearn for a time of peace and prosperity to return to the land – especially, in the Kingdom of Talgar.

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Four

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Four

~~~~~~~~~~

Thomar grabbed his axe and entered the cabin after Jonathan, Sammy and Tiyall, being careful to take one more sweeping and careful look around the Wood to ensure nothing untoward had observed what had just transpired, before carefully barring the door behind them.  The dragon may very well have been vanquished, Skulvarr Fell might in fact be in complete ruin – with a flood of seawater from the Sea of Tollvar pouring into the underground passageways of Myllanthar where dark and dangerous creatures lived – but he could not discount the fact that other fell creatures were afoot, and on wing, in the land.  The risk was simply too great, and there was so much at stake for the future of the Kingdom of Talgar.

While he hadn’t yet revealed himself to Jonathan, Thomar was well versed in all that had occurred in the City of Talgarth and the Kingdom of Talgar – for he was not the simple peasant living deep in Talgarth Wood at the remote and wild edge of the kingdom that he appeared to be.  Thomar was the only son of the Lord Mayor of the City of Talgarth, who had been assassinated at the end of the Age of Knowledge or Ryanthall in the year 4153.  As the current year was now 4190, and Thomar was only ten years old at the time of his father’s assassination, he was now 47 years old and living an assumed identity all these years deep in the Wood.

It was Arrydor who had rescued the young boy during the turmoil that ended the Age of Knowledge, when Vyanthal first seized power in the Kingdom of Talgar, and declared that the City of Talgarth was to be immediately abandoned and declared to be a Forbidden City.  The traditional seat of Lord Mayor of the City of Talgarth had always been a high title of nobility, passed down from father to son since recorded time, a position second only to the King of Talgar within the kingdom.  Arrydor at the time, also whisked away Jyulia, the young daughter of the second oldest family within Talgarth which hadn’t survived Vyanthal’s uprising.  He brought both children to live in exile in Castle Penmaryll under the protection of King Tyijar in the Kingdom of Pengarth, until the two of them later married, once they both reached the age of majority.

Only since the recent purging of Vyanthal, was Thomar’s dream of one day returning to claim the seat of Lord Mayor of Talgarth even possible.  He and Jyulia had been living under the guise of peasants in this most remote and dangerous of regions under the nearby dark shadow of the Fortress of Skulvarr Fell since marrying.  None had confronted them, as this region was known to be a cursed land, yet their peasant disguises required the utmost of secrecy and caution to prevent their discovery and imprisonment – or worse – by Vyanthal, had their true identities been revealed.  Only Arrydor had known the truth of their noble lineage, especially after King Tyijar’s assassination by the orders of King Tucar of the Kingdom of Nierron – but now neither Vyanthal or Tucar were in power, deposed by their own people rising up against them.

Even though the threat of Vyanthal and Tucar had been removed, it was no easy task to claim the seat of Lord Mayor of Talgarth.  The Kingdom of Talgar was now a lawless state, without someone holding a valid claim to the Throne of Talgar to begin their rule and wear the crown, meaning little had changed in respect to Thomar and Jyulia’s safety – until now.  Jonathan now held a legitimate claim to the Throne of Talgar, based on being the one foretold of in legend, to fool and slay the dragon:

“A people,

To rescue,

A kingdom,

To rule,

A boy,

Becomes king,

A dragon,

To fool…”

If there ever was a people to rescue, it would now be the people of Talgar, and specifically the exiled people of the City of Talgarth who were waiting for a sign to lay claim to their jeweled heritage once again.  For Jonathan was now rightly entitled to claim the Throne of Talgar, and none more fitting nor appropriate than Arrydor to vouch for his legitimacy and crown him as the King of Talgar – however, it wasn’t that simple.  This was still a dangerous time in a lawless land, where dark and fell creatures owned the night, and no trust could be had in a kingdom that had been ruled by an arrogant, cruel and corrupt usurper named Vyanthal – a vile and ruthless man – who poisoned everything in this one time Sparkling Jewel of the City of Talgarth, and badly tarnished the Shining Light that had once been the Kingdom of Talgar…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Three

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Three

~~~~~~~~~~

“Where’s the smoke coming from, Sammy, take me to it,” requested Jonathan quietly, not wanting to risk being overheard by someone if they were nearby.  Sammy immediately headed towards the smoke, and as it was a wind-free evening, locating the source wasn’t that easy.  Eventually, they made their way a short distance to the north through the Wood to where the smoke was coming from, in what was a clearing beside the path.  They both crouched down to hide behind a fallen log, so they could assess the situation without calling attention to themselves, not knowing what they expected to see.

What they saw was an older man chopping wood in the clearing beside a small rustic cabin, where a thin sliver of smoke went straight up from the stone chimney.  The cabin had a few small windows and seemed to be well kept, with curtains in the windows and window boxes full of flowers.  The man had a dog beside him that seemed to be alerting on Sammy and Jonathan’s presence, looking in their direction and trying to attract the man’s attention.  Knowing their discovery was only moments away, and that he didn’t seem to pose a threat, Jonathan decided to stand up and walk towards the cabin.

The man’s dog remained at his side with its tail wagging side to side as Jonathan and Sammy approached the homestead, indicating there wasn’t an immediate threat.  “Hello there,” called Jonathan as the man took notice of them walking towards him.  “We’re in need of assistance, and wondered if you could help us out.  We’re almost out of water and we have no food left.”  The man swung his ax into the tree stump to anchor it deep into the wood, and then wiped his hands against his pants while smiling as if greeting old friends.  As Jonathan approached close enough, the older man extended his hand in greeting to shake Jonathan’s, while his dog eagerly checked out Sammy nose-to-nose.

“You must be Jonathan I imagine, and Sammy, too,” said the man as if he had been expecting them.  “That’s a nice sword hanging at your side, is it silver?”  Jonathan drew the sword to show him and noticed the metal was calm, indicating no presence of evil nearby.

“Yes, it’s a silver Light Sword from Sylthar Wood, a treasure that’s kept us safe in times of danger,” replied Jonathan, wondering how the man knew their names.  “How did you know our names, Sir?  We’ve never been here before.”

“An old friend of ours stopped by the other day, telling me to look out for a boy and his dog by the names of Jonathan and Sammy, and that you’d be carrying a silver sword.  You seemed to be the perfect match to his description,” replied the old man with a smile on his face.

“Who do I know that’s been in this Wood announcing our coming,” asked Jonathan, “Someone we both know?  What is your name?” replied Jonathan rather quizzically, not knowing who their mutual friend might be.

“My name is Thomar, and I live here with my wife Jyulia and our two young children – Miylia and Danyar.  This is our dog, Tiyall.  Let me be the first to congratulate you on your fantastic achievement of slaying the dragon – we’ve all been terrified of being attacked by the beast!  You’re a hero, Master Jonathan, and by now the entire Wood knows of your achievement!”

“I’m not a hero, Thomar, the dragon slew itself by breaking apart the seawall.  Who is this friend we both know?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you knew – we know him by Illandor, Myllanthal and Arrydor – as we have known him since my wife and I were children, but I think you know him by another name…”

“Yes, Gramps…”

“You both must be famished.  Come inside to meet my family, and please join us for dinner as we’re about to roast some meat on the fire, with plenty of bones for the dogs!”

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Two

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part Two

~~~~~~~~~~

“Let’s go, Sammy, it’s time for us to head out.  We can’t just sit here all day, we need to keep going and see how this adventure turns out, and close the chapter of what we just went through.”  Sammy gave Jonathan a knowing look, and waited while Jonathan slung the now almost empty provision bag over his shoulder before setting out to follow the deer trail to the north.  A dog’s place is by his master’s side, mused Sammy to himself, blending his version of dog-speak with his grasp of human language.  Ever since Arrydor had spoken to him in his own dog language back in Glandwr, Sammy seemed to understand Jonathan’s needs and directions intuitively.

They made their way cautiously along the path to the north, and no longer felt they needed to parallel the coast of the Sea of Tollvar.  The Wood was the most amazing forest that Jonathan had ever been in before.  Oh, this wasn’t a magical or enchanted Wood like Sylthar Wood or Myullar Wood, as they weren’t a ‘land’ or ‘enclave’ to a specific people of ancient origin.  No, this Wood was naturally as perfect as a forest could be, full of old-growth hardwoods, open underneath the majestic canopies for good light and visibility, with moss growing liberally on the northern sides of trees, logs and rocks, and carpets of wildflowers everywhere – it was enough to take his breath away!  This was a dream for Jonathan after the nightmare of the encounter with the dragon in Skulvarr Fell, and as the adventurer he was at heart, he couldn’t get enough of the beauty of the forest around them.

Jonathan still hadn’t reconciled the fact they were now in the Kingdom of Talgar, and didn’t even know this was the Talgarth Wood – something Gramps had never discussed with him in his geography lessons about the Land of Myllanthar.  As it was, that didn’t matter at this point, as the two of them didn’t have much of a care in the world, having put the episode of dragon hunting behind them.  As far as Jonathan was concerned, this was now the adventure he had wished for when returning to Myllanthar in the first place, strolling through idyllic woodlands with Sammy at his side.

There was one nagging concern going through Jonathan’s mind though, and that was that they didn’t have anything to eat, and only a single partial water bag remaining of the provisions they set out with from Myullar Wood.  It seemed like a lifetime ago now, when they were with Miylla and Gramps in the Wood prior to the quest, and he longed for some kind of support and contact again – for they were on their own now in this wondrous wood.  After a while of following the deer path, it changed into a barely discernible and disused trail of sorts, before later in the day becoming a more prominent foot path.  It seemed like there had been little reason to follow the path to the south, probably because it headed towards Skulvarr Fell, which was quite a ways behind them now.

The sun was now beginning to set over the Tregarron Mountains to the west, and Jonathan decided it was time to look for a place to camp before darkness set in, stopping underneath a giant oak tree just to the side of the path.  It was autumn now, and the leaves within the forest were just starting to change color, and Jonathan set out to devise a place to bed down between the roots of this massive tree.  As he pondered the best location to make a bed of leaves and moss to sleep on that night, Sammy’s keen nose sniffing the air caught his attention.  Wondering what Sammy might have alerted on, he too, took a moment to sniff the air to find out what it was.  It took a minute, but finally Jonathan caught a whiff of the scent of smoke – and realized, they might not be alone in this Wood…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part One – Aftermath

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter Seven, Part One – Aftermath

~~~~~~~~~~

“Oftentimes, clarity and understanding can only be found in the aftermath, when the veil is finally lifted, revealing that which was always there unseen.  Such is it with life, as well, when we set out on adventures to discover something new about ourselves that was unknown to us then, but revealed to us following the struggle.  It is not so much that we acquired the answer during our quest, but rather, the true nature of ourselves was revealed, once everything else was stripped away…” – Mark D. Jones   

~~~~~~~~~~

As dawn broke that first morning of Jonathan’s waking in the forest, he watched the sunrise filter in through the dense canopy of the wood.  He realized there was much he didn’t know concerning the events of the past days or coming days, but was thankful the two of them had survived their adventure to this point without significant harm.  Oh sure, they were hungry, worn and tired, but intact – which was more than he could have ever hoped for while trapped with the dragon in the underground labyrinth of the Fortress of Skulvarr Fell.  He was simply happy to be alive!

Sammy seemed to have had the easier recovery, for he was now back to his regular self exploring scents within the wood, and investigating everything within a stone’s throw of where they had had been sleeping.  Jonathan called Sammy over to him, where they enjoyed the last granola-like cakes from their provision bag, and shared some water from their last remaining full water bag.  During their breakfast, Jonathan allowed himself only the shortest of time for reflecting on the previous day’s events, before shaking off his thoughts about the encounter with the dragon.  The past is the past, Jonathan told himself, and now he’d better figure out quickly what the future was going to look like…

Jonathan recalled the discussions he’d had with Gramps, and recalled they were just northeast now of Skulvarr Fell at the end of the Tregarron Mountain Range where it reached the Sea of Tollvar.  He hadn’t given any thought about this area north of the Kingdom of Pengarth, although had he had the presence of mind to recall Myllanthar’s geography, he would have recalled this was the beginning of the Kingdom of Talgar, but he was still too overwhelmed by recent events to clear his mind for other thoughts.  If he had, he’d realize they were now in the Talgarth Wood, covering the southern quarter of the kingdom from the Tregarron Mountains to the south, to just south of the City of Rhyll on the Sea of Tollvar.

In the western regions of the Talgarth Wood, east of the Talgar Mountain Range running to the north along the western border of the Kingdom of Talgar, lies the City of Talgarth beside the Inland Sea of Talgar.  Talgarth means ‘Sparkling Jewel,’ whereas Talgar means ‘Light’ or ‘Shining Light,’ describing a kingdom that was once the gem of Myllanthar – that is, before Vyanthal seized control, and ruined all Talgar represented.  In the end, Vyanthal was deposed by his own mercenaries and people who would no longer abide by his wicked rule, and the kingdom became rudderless without a legitimate ruler who could assume the throne.

All this became moot, of course, once the dragon began its reign of terror, emerging first from the underground passageway near the City of Talgarth, before destroying everything in its way.  The dragon was now vanquished, and Jonathan and Sammy now found themselves in the very kingdom foretold in the original prophecy of the tale of the one who was to fool and slay a dragon.  None of this mattered to Jonathan at this point, while watching the rising sunshine filter into the forest.  The only thing he and Sammy needed to focus on at this point, was finding a way to survive, in what was a wildly beautiful Wood.