Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Two, Chapter Eight, Part Ten
As the company neared the City of Talgarth, the crowds grew ever larger, no doubt due to the news of the dragon’s confirmed defeat that spread like wildfire throughout Talgarth Wood. The people of Talgar wanted to believe in the future, their future, and this was their first sense of hope in almost a lifetime within the kingdom. It was a pent up release of the tension and fear that had been imposed on them for 37 long years under the despotic rule of Vyanthal. The feeling was like a strong, fresh breeze blowing through the Wood, carrying an infusion of joy throughout a people who had almost forgotten what joy was.
Jonathan still rode in the lead position, acknowledging the crowds of well wishers who called out to him as they lined the road, shouting, “The dragon is dead, long live Jonathan!” He understood their need for release and celebration at the spreading news of the dragon’s vanquish, and felt a deep sense of responsibility to the people to do all he could to make their lives and future better. Thomar called out to Jonathan that they were now approaching the city, and that it was down in a valley beside the Inland Sea of Talgar just over the next ridge. So far they had seen little destruction, just the occasional broken and pushed over trees, and minor damage to a few cottages along the road, but it appeared the dragon had spent little time along the road.
Sammy and Tiyall continued their play exploring everything alongside the road, and received many happy hugs and pats from the crowd gathered around the company. There was a small stream running parallel to the road that the dogs like to splash in, sniffing out anything they could surprise in the dense woodlands around them. It appeared the road was now winding through the foothills of the Tregarrons, as this area was growing ever more difficult to traverse. The road wound a circuitous route around rock outcroppings, small cliff faces, ever larger hilltops, and steep gullies. The ridge was clearly visible ahead in the distance, but it would still take some time to climb it with the serpentine undulations the road had to make to get there. Even so, the crowds continued to grow and follow the company.
Jyulia and Thomar were amazed at the crowds following them, recognizing this moment as a truly pivotal time in the history of the Kingdom of Talgar. It was as if this day or two had been the beginning of a new age within Talgar, one they had been hoping for their entire lives. This boy from Southern Ohio and his dog Sammy were a catalyst of hope where only desperation had been known by the people before. It was true that many events had led up to this occurrence, including the Light Bearers having turned back the tide of darkness and fear that had grown over the Land of Myllanthar, leading to the defeat of the axis of darkness between Vyanthal, King Tucar, and King Cyulthar. The dragon’s emergence from the dark tunnels and caverns deep underground Myllanthar was yet another unbearable blow to the people of the Kingdoms of Talgar and Pengarth, that seemed to reverse recent gains and plunge the land into a terrible darkness again.
It was Jonathan who had been instrumental as a Light Bearer in both the victory over the axis of darkness and the terror of the dragon’s terrible reign of destruction, yet this boy from the Spencer Family Farm just outside of Hampton, Ohio, refused to see himself as the hero he was – especially to the people of Myllanthar. He was more concerned for his new friends in Myllanthar and for his dog Sammy, than he had been for himself, and refused to believe that all was lost when others had given up hope. Even now, as he rode in the lead position before Alydar pulling the cart and leading the prisoners, flanked by Thomar and Jyulia on their horses leading the two spares, an old man in robes stood in the middle of the road in the distance. Was this a new challenge for the company to overcome, or would the man be yet another well wisher who hoped to join the gathering throngs following the company?
The answer was only moments away…
(End of Chapter Eight)