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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Ten

~~~~~~~~~~

“We have one more special guest with us to announce,” continued Arrydor as he turned to the side to look down towards where Sammy sat patiently beside Jonathan.  “Jonathan’s adventure companion, his best friend and loyal dog, Sammy!  Sammy has visited Myllanthar three times now, and has crossed back and forth between our world and the distant land called Southern Ohio, more times than even Jonathan – who has only visited us twice to date.  We in Myllanthar are both fortunate and blessed to have received them both as our own.”

Continuing, Arrydor said, “The ancient prophecy from the earliest days of the First Age of Myllanthar reads as follows:

~~~~~

In the days,

Of the dragon,

In a City,

Of Sparkling Light,

Arrives a boy,

To become king,

And a dragon to fight…

~~~~~

 From across,

The horizon,

He comes,

From afar,

A knight,

To do battle,

A soul,

From the stars…

~~~~~

A people,

To rescue,

A kingdom,

To rule,

A boy,

Becomes king,

A dragon,

To fool…

~~~~~

A boy,

Is no match,

For a dragon,

Some say,

But wait,

For one day,

 A dragon,

He will slay.”

~~~~~

“Jonathan is indeed ‘a soul from the stars’ for his world of Southern Ohio is not associated in any way with the Land of Myllanthar, or any world I’ve Created of my own hands.  Their visiting us is due to a convergence of counter-rotating waves, or ripples in the fabric of time where a time and space shift occurred in the Year 3287 called Pulthar Bokkan, within the Great Forest of the Nether Realm, in the Forlorn Crescent Mountain Range or Nefyanll.  It was this precise location, or Seerlyth Cullyan, that allowed Jonathan and Sammy to transition between our two worlds.  These ripples or waves in the fabric of time are never static, but rotate along their leading edges like the curl at the leading edge of a wave.  It is this swirling effect within the very nature and substance of time itself, that fuses these waves in place.  We don’t know how long they will stay fused together, which means we don’t know if Jonathan and Sammy will ever be able to return home again – or if they are able to return to Southern Ohio – if they’ll ever be able to visit us again.”

Arrydor continued saying, “Jonathan was also the one, along with his trusted companion Sammy, who led the dragon to its demise in the subterranean maze of corridors and rooms within the ancient abandoned Fortress of Skulvarr Fell.  His being from a distant world within the stars of the heavens, and having defeated the beast that had been terrifying Myllanthar that resulted in the death of our fellow Light Bearer, Captain Pallamar, makes him the one person who is entitled to be King of the Kingdom of Talgar today.”

Turning towards the table beside the Throne of Talgar, Arrydor asked one of the Palace Guards to bring him the Sword of Talgar.  Arrydor, holding the Sword of Talgar vertically with two hands in front of him, then stood before the throne and asked Jonathan to kneel on the kneeling bench before him.  Once Jonathan knelt before Arrydor, he was asked if he was ready to assume the Throne of Talgar and be its King, to uphold the historic values of Talgar, to be chivalrous towards all, and to support and defend the people of Talgar against all foes within and without the Kingdom – to which Jonathan answered, “Yes.”

“Bow your head Jonathan of Southern Ohio, fellow Light Bearer and Knight of Pengarth.  Your knight’s vow to the Kingdom of Pengarth remains in full effect in allied friendship and support, so long as Dijia remains King of the Kingdom of Pengarth to the south, but you will also become a Knight of Talgar, which supersedes all other titles.”  Jonathan bowed his head and Arrydor recited the following pronouncement while touching Jonathan’s shoulders three times in turn with the Sword of Talgar, and then resting it upon his bowed head, “Jonathan, Dragon Slayer, Light Bearer, Knight of Pengarth, Loyal Friend, and Master to your beloved Sammy, I do hereby and forthwith declare you to be King of the Kingdom of Talgar and Knight of Talgar – rise now, and accept your Crown and Scepter.”

One of the Palace Guards then handed the Crown of Talgar to Arrydor who placed it upon Jonathan’s head, and in turn handed him the Scepter of Talgar.  Arrydor then said, “I personally wish to hand you the solid gold Coin of Talgar as well, a personal token of our friendship, Jonathan.  This coin matches my own, which I received when I was Crowned King of Talgar at the beginning of the Second Age.  It is my personal gift to you, which you should treasure always.”

With that, Jonathan turned to face the crowd as they cheered and chanted, “All Hail, King Jonathan the Dragon Slayer – long live the King!”

(End of Chapter Nine)

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Nine

~~~~~~~~~~

The sheer majesty of the opening minutes of his coronation ceremony took Jonathan by complete surprise, with his realization of knowing it was important for him to be part of something so much larger than himself, listening to the inspiring fanfare of the herald trumpeters, and now seeing the first of the distinguished visitors entering the palace grounds.  It was beyond his every expectation, especially as he had no idea at all of what to expect beforehand.  To think he was the sole focus of this ceremony didn’t compute in his mind, but he realized that everyone here had a personal stake in his coronation.

The people of Talgar and the City of Talgarth saw the chance for a new beginning, and a fresh start with unlimited potential in the future.  Arrydor saw a culmination of a lifetime of work in shepherding his Creation from the very beginning to its present state, with the future riding on Jonathan’s success.  Thomar and Jyulia saw the possibility of a flourishing Kingdom of Talgar and City of Talgarth, that not only lived up to their former glory, but would go on to surpass it.  The invited guests themselves would see a realization of potential, both within the Kingdom of Talgar and the greater Land of Myllanthar – but also in Jonathan himself.

Jonathan saw this moment as his opportunity to live larger than himself, while serving others in a cause that was far more important than anything he, or the rest of the gathered audience, could do individually.  Together they could be so much more, and he was determined to fulfill the promise of the moment, and do everything he could to make the future all that everyone hoped it could be.  Although he realized that he was just a boy from a farm called the Spencer Family Farm, just outside Hampton, Ohio, he knew he could make a difference in this Land of Myllanthar, the Kingdom of Talgar, and the City of Talgarth – and he felt humbled to be part of it all – even if he wasn’t even nine years old yet.

The next invited guest to enter the grounds of Talgarth Palace was then introduced by Arrydor as the great horse Majeka who carried Jonathan to safety at the beginning of his first adventure to Myllanthar; followed by Daylla, the peasant woman from the Land of the Slejuv; Laythur the barge driver and his wife Pyllur from the Kingdom of Pengarth; and his good friend, King Dijia and fellow Light Bearer of the Kingdom of Pengarth!  Dijia was wearing two black armbands – one for his late father King Tyijar, and the other for the late fellow Light Bearer and beloved Captain of the King’s Guard, Pallamar – who lost his life in the defense of others while attempting to battle and defeat the dragon.  King Dijia had a small entourage with him, who took up their positions to the side of the audience in the area designated for them, while Dijia was escorted to his seat beside Thomar, Jyulia and their children Miylia and Danyar.  Jonathan was so proud to have his friend Dijia in attendance, because it meant so much to him – and although Jonathan didn’t know it at the time, Dijia wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Arrydor then announced the entrance of fellow Light Bearer King Errayllan of the Kingdom of Errayllor in the west, with his entourage also taking their positions to the side of the crowd.  Next, it was fellow Light Bearer King Kulthar of the Kingdom of Kardune to the south along with his entourage, followed by fellow Light Bearers King Ellberron and Queen Allantyss of the Kingdom of Ellberron with their entourage.  As the invited guests all took their seats, the crowd turned to see who might be next.  Arrydor then announced the following Light Bearers: Juyall of the Island of Ayall in the north, Rulyan of the Sojar People in north central Myllanthar, and Siyth of the Slejuv People in the high Tregarron Mountains of central Myllanthar.  Accompanying them was also Siyall of the Slejuv People – and while not a Light Bearer, she was a warrior of the Slejuv.

At this point a hush settled over the crowd, as Arrydor introduced fellow Light Bearer Sylth Llaylann of Sylthar Wood, along with his entourage of about fifty fellow members of their community – and it was the first time most of the audience had ever seen these beings of light – so beautiful in their translucence and otherworldly appearance beyond male or female in their wondrous glow.  Immediately afterwards, Arrydor announced Miylia of Myullar Wood – virtual cousins of Sylthar Wood – with the same ambiance, glow and translucence as her fellow beings of light.  She had a similar entourage accompanying her, and as with the Sylth of Sylthar Wood, the audience had neither seen them before, or even known of their existence – only hearing rumors of beings cloaked in invisibility existing in certain enchanted forests.

Finally, Arrydor introduced King Amroth, fellow Light Bearer and King of the Rhayander, the leader of the great golden-brown eagles with their fifteen-foot wingspans of the Glandwr valley.  Arridor let out a shrieking cry in the eagle’s own language, and Amroth and his convocation of one hundred fellow eagles descended from the heavens and made a high speed pass low over the assembled crowd, before rising high into the sky again on their enormous wings.  It was once all the invited guests had taken their seats, and the Rhayander were mere specks in the sky above them that Arrydor continued, saying, “I, Illandor – Of the Wind, Arrydor – Warrior King, Myllanthal – Caretaker of Life, Gramps to Jonathan, fellow Light Bearer, First King of the Kingdom of Talgar at the beginning of Myllanthar’s Second Age, Shepherd of all living things created by my hand, and Creator of all Myllanthar and distant Lands and Worlds beyond what we see here.  Pallnarr, Carrithall, Solltharr, Illanthyl Dynalli – which means Peace, Gratitude, Hope and Godspeed Friends for your arrival and departure journeys.  I welcome you to the coronation ceremony of fellow Light Bearer Jonathan, of the Spencer Family Farm in Hampton, of the region known as Southern Ohio in a world far away, to become the King of the Kingdom of Talgar…”

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Eight

~~~~~~~~~~

“Good,” replied Arrydor, “The people need you to do the right thing by them.  They’ve struggled on their own for 37 long years without any support, while suffering under the oppressive rule of Vyanthal, and they need you – probably more than you need them.”

Jonathan didn’t reply to Gramps’ last remark, instead wondering to himself if that comment was really true, when in fact, Jonathan had never given a thought to whether he needed the people of Talgar more, or if they needed him more.  He clearly understood how they needed him to create the atmosphere within the Kingdom of Talgar that would lead to their personal success, but how did he need them?  This was all the doing of the ancient prophecy after all, and wasn’t he designated ages ago as the one who would fulfill the prophecy?  How could that be interpreted as having needed them?

Arrydor led him out onto the stone terrace of Talgarth Palace, where they stood side-by-side on the red carpet in front of the Throne of Talgar and the kneeling bench, looking out across a great sea of townspeople all the way back to the castle’s perimeter wall in the distance.  As Jonathan took in the vast crowd gathered before him, he could feel the excitement of their anticipation as they all murmured and whispered among themselves.  Perhaps some of them were quite surprised to find a boy standing in front of them, questioning how he could ever lead them into their bright future.

It was while standing on the terrace in front of the vast sea of faces looking towards him, that he began to understand something about what Gramps had mentioned to him just moments before.  In the eyes of the people, Jonathan could see a reflection of his own eyes reflected back to him – figuratively of course – realizing that they fulfilled something in him that was very important to him personally.  These folks gave Jonathan a purpose of being, one that he hadn’t even realized until now.  It was the ability to be part of something larger than himself.  Yes, he was just a boy, and not even nine years old yet, but their support gave him a reason for being – one he hadn’t even considered before Gramps had mentioned their needing him more – and now he knew that wasn’t true at all, although it was when it was first mentioned.

Six herald trumpeters shook Jonathan from his thoughts and brought him back to reality, as they marked the start of his coronation ceremony.  Shivers ran up and down his spine with their fanfare introduction, and he could see how the crowd was just as moved by their performance as he was.  Arrydor then motioned widely with his arms and welcomed everyone to the coronation ceremony, asking them if they supported Jonathan to be their new king.  The crowd erupted in a roar of “Yes!,” that almost knocked Jonathan over by its intensity, as their combined voices reached the terrace – followed by, “All hail King Jonathan, the dragon slayer!  Long live the King!”

With that, Arrydor raised his voice to announce, “Please invite our distinguished guests to now enter through the castle gate, and usher them to the front before the terrace.”

With that, at precisely noon, the guards who manned the gate in the castle’s perimeter wall stepped aside, and ushered the invited guests into the palace grounds – led by Jyulia’s nanny she had as an infant, and Thomar’s tutor from when he was a boy – as Arrydor announced them to the crowd…

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Seven

~~~~~~~~~~

Arrydor arrived at the Lord Mayor’s house after breakfast, and once everyone was ready, he led Jonathan, Thomar and Jyulia over to tour Talgarth Palace and Castle Talgarth in the heart of the city.  The palace was an ornate building within the castle’s perimeter battlements, separate from the castle’s keep, cathedral, great room, study, library, living quarters, guest quarters, staff quarters, kitchen, armory, barracks, outbuildings, barns and storerooms – it was a huge complex!  Jonathan couldn’t believe how beautiful Talgarth Palace was with its wonderful architecture, furnishings and artwork, and noted to himself a few ideas to incorporate later on.

The interesting thing was, that while the castle’s exterior wall also surrounded the palace, the palace itself remained separate in its own extensive grounds of lawns, gardens, a tranquil lake, and a forested parkland of ancient oak trees – which seemed to be acres and acres of green space separate to itself away from the main castle.  Castle Talgarth’s main gate had been opened for everyone to enter, and quite a crowd had already gathered in front of the palace where the coronation ceremony was to be conducted.  The castle proper and all of its associated buildings apart from the palace grounds, were closed off to the general public behind great stone battlements and towers.  A large number of volunteers to form the kingdom’s new army were being interviewed in a separate area beside the castle’s battlements away from the palace, and it seemed to be quite an undertaking to process everyone and get them situated.

Arrydor explained everything as he took them on a tour through the palace and castle, not entering every room and building, but covering the details by reviewing intricate architectural drawings of both the palace and the castle in their respective reception and great rooms.  It seemed as if everything had to be organized, arranged, stocked and filled at the same time – not only concerning Talgarth Palace and Castle Talgarth – but in regards to nearly everything within the city – in order to establish commerce once again, and allow the free flow of goods and services to be made available to the people.  It was quite an undertaking, and Arrydor seemed to have orchestrated it all behind the scenes, as if for the opening night of a great play – and Jonathan was cast as the main character!

The tour came to an end, and the four of them gathered behind the scenes inside the palace, as Arrydor began reviewing the details and orchestration of how the coronation ceremony would unfold.  The public would continue entering the palace grounds throughout the morning, and then precisely at noon, the invited guests would enter through the castle’s main gate and make their way to the front of the grounds just in front of the palace’s outdoor terrace where the ceremony would take place.  The Throne of Talgar had been carried out onto the terrace for everyone to see, and a red carpet and kneeling bench were placed before the throne.  A table beside the throne was covered by a cloth of fine lace, with something atop it covered by another intricate cloth with an exquisite lace border, guarded by a number of guards in the uniforms of the Kingdom of Talgar.

It was now eleven-thirty in the morning, and the coronation ceremony was scheduled to begin in about 25 minutes, just before noon.  Arrydor showed Thomar and Jyulia where their seats were located in the front row of the chairs set up in front of the palace’s terrace, and then took Jonathan inside the palace to have a chat before the ceremony started.  “You know, Jonathan,” began Arrydor, “This is a big responsibility you’re taking on, and I want to know if you’re sure about what you’re about to do.  I think you’ll make a fine King of Talgar, but we have to make sure your heart is in it, because the people are depending on you.  I will always be able to advise you as you like, but I can’t tell you what to do – that will be your responsibility, and no one else’s.  Is your heart up to the task, Jonathan?  You need to be absolutely sure before we begin the coronation ceremony.”

“It is, Gramps, my mind is made up.  The people of Talgar and all of Myllanthar are counting on me to provide a better future for them and their families – I will not let them down…”

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Six

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan was unable to sleep that night, torn between the two extremes of nervous excitement and foreboding thoughts of what the day would bring.  He was excited for the coronation ceremony, because it meant he’d be crowned the King of Talgar in front of the assembled townspeople of the reborn City of Talgarth, but he couldn’t help but think he wasn’t up to the task.  There were a number of initiatives he wanted to implement right away as king, though they weren’t his concern.  How could he possibly be king?  He wasn’t even nine years old, he thought, wrestling over and over again with the situation in his mind, as he tossed and turned the night away.   Gramps had thought he was up to the task, but even he agreed one could never really know before the time arrived.

As Sammy quietly slept at his feet, Jonathan couldn’t turn his thoughts off that night.  He was lying in a bed that hadn’t been slept in for 37 long years, in a city that had once been the Sparkling Jewel of Talgar, and to top that off, he was to be crowned king the next day.  What an amazing turn of events for the people of the kingdom he thought, finally returning home after so many years of wandering, never knowing when or if they they’d ever be able to return home.  Even he had to admit that his participation in turning back the spreading darkness over the Land of Myllanthar, and his vanquishing the dragon, were instrumental in this new day and new age emerging in the kingdom and in Myllanthar itself.  How long would it last, and what if as king, he made mistakes that resulted in this new opportunity unraveling right before the people’s eyes?  How could he possibly be sure the decisions he’d make would be the right ones?  It all seemed to be too much for him to carry atop his shoulders alone.

It was early fall, and the night air now had a chill to it, as Talgarth was located in the foothills of both the Tregarron and Talgar Mountain Ranges.  The Inland Sea of Talgar was nestled between the two ranges in what could only be described as a picture-perfect location.  Both mountain ranges drained into the Inland Sea of Talgar, and the overage flowed into the River Khyll, that flowed northeast to the City of Khyll, on the northern coast of the Sea of Tollvar.  The City of Talgarth was indeed the Sparkling Jewel of the Kingdom of Talgar, and he would do his very best to make it so again.  His only hope was that he’d be up for the task.

The rest of the night was at best a fitful sleep for him, as he tossed and turned in self-doubt and anxiety as to whether he could do the job successfully.  In the end, he finally convinced himself all he could do was his best, and it would have to be good enough.  The ancient prophecy was convinced of his abilities, as were Gramps, Thomar and Jyulia.  As he finally drifted off to sleep in the wee hours of the night just before the sunrise, Jonathan had a list in his mind of what his initial actions would be, satisfied they would be welcomed by everyone in the kingdom – but, only time would tell.

He was fast asleep when the knock came to his door, and Jyulia poked her head in and reminded him that this was his big day.  The sun had already risen above the eastern ridge where they all had spent the previous night along Talgarth Road, and he thanked her for her reminder.  Sammy was alert at Jonathan’s feet, and gave himself a shake and a stretch, before jumping off the bed to follow Jyulia towards where he hoped breakfast would be waiting.  Jonathan smiled, knowing Sammy had his priorities in the right place, befriending anyone who had the possibility of offering him something good to eat.  That realization gave Jonathan all the confidence he needed to face the day, as he realized people really weren’t any different and just wanted to be happy – and enough food to eat and a roof over their heads, was all it really took for them to be happy.  He could certainly make that happen as king, and much, much more…

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Five

~~~~~~~~~~

The rest of the day went smoothly, as everyone either claimed the ancestral homes they had been forced to leave 37 years ago, or were provided with an unclaimed one that suited their needs.  There was no turmoil within the people, for everyone was overjoyed to be returning to the City of Talgarth once again.  One after another, insisted others had the higher priority over their own personal needs, when it came to being assigned a home to live in.  Food stalls had been set up in the central market area of the city, freely distributing food and water to whoever needed it.  Meanwhile, Arrydor took Thomar, Jyulia and Jonathan to the Lord Mayor of Talgarth’s home, and they did the work required to make it clean and livable inside.

The city’s homes had been abandoned literally overnight, giving the residents no time to prepare before being forced to leave with only the clothes on their back.  The remarkable thing, was that once the city had been cleared of its population, it lay undisturbed for all these years, and everything was still there in the homes as they had been abandoned – furniture and all – except for a layer of dust and a few instances of weather intrusion and decay.  There were a few homes that had been damaged by the dragon, but it was believed that once the beast realized the city was abandoned it lost interest, seeking instead to terrorize the nearby Kingdom of Pengarth where it could hunt people at will.

Not everyone had been given the opportunity to depart Talgarth by force, as the Royal Family and the Lord Mayor and his family were assassinated by Vyanthal’s minions.  The only saving grace that day, was that the infant Jyulia was on an excursion away from the palace that day with her nanny when the attack occurred, and that Thomar as the son of the Lord Mayor, was with his tutor that morning studying the architectural details of the city’s gates – and the thugs didn’t notice they were missing.  It was Arrydor who rescued both children along with their nanny and tutor, and whisked them away to Castle Penmaryll for safekeeping under King Tyijar.

Jonathan would spend the night with Thomar and Jyulia in the Lord Mayor’s residence, as the next day would be the coronation ceremony at the palace for him.  The ceremony was a mystery to him, although he had been there for Dijia’s hastily prepared coronation at Castle Penmaryll under extremely trying circumstances.  Jonathan expected a similar situation would occur in the morning, as when he queried Gramps as to whether his friends across Myllanthar would arrive for the ceremony, Gramps had told him there was little time to make those arrangements in light of all that had recently happened, but hoped they would arrive soon at a later date.

With Sammy by his side, Jonathan stood in the Lord Mayor’s courtyard as the sun set over the Talgar Mountains, and he wondered about all that had happened leading up to his coronation ceremony in the morning.  His head was dizzy with the speed, danger, urgency and responsibility of it all, taking the time to think through his having confronted the dragon and lead it to its own demise.  It was all so fast, too fast he thought, and he let himself feel sorry for a moment as a wave of homesickness washed over and through him.  But this wasn’t the time to get all wishy-washy about stepping up to his responsibility to the Kingdom of Talgar and of all Myllanthar, he thought.  After all, an adventurer must stand by his decisions – but in reality, he really missed his friends in this adopted world of Myllanthar he was in, and he missed his family most of all…

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Four

~~~~~~~~~~

They all stood atop the ridge, speechless at the sight before them as the sunset brought out the meaning of what had always been said about the City of Talgarth – that it was the Sparkling Jewel of the Kingdom of Talgar!  The setting sun captured the city’s golden domes, lofty towers, narrow winding cobblestone streets, greenery and open space, and set the Inland Sea of Talgar alight in glorious sparkling illumination.  The entire panorama took Jonathan’s breath away, as it did for everyone else, and he now understood how Thomar and Jyulia could keep their dream for a reborn kingdom alive in their hearts for all these 37 years.  It must have devastated them to see Talgar run into the ground and its people victimized by the likes of Vyanthal, and given them an undying desire to see it reclaimed to become the Shining Light again that it once was.

Arrydor, stood beside Jonathan and said, “We’ve returned the Throne of Talgar to Talgarth where it once was and always belongs, Jonathan.  Are you ready to become King of Talgar?  You’ve seen much and experienced even more in a very short period of time since you’ve returned, and you have a wisdom beyond your years.  I’m proud to recommend you to the people of Talgar to be their King.”

“Do you really think I’m ready to serve the people of Talgar as their King, Gramps?” asked Jonathan almost incredulously.  “The prophecy is one thing, but actually wearing the crown serving the kingdom’s people and their needs is quite another.  I’m not even nine years old yet, Gramps, how do you know I’m ready?”

“One can never really know before the time comes, and there is still some time remaining to prepare yourself to assume the throne, Jonathan – but everything tells me you’ll be not only be ready, you’ll do the kingdom proud as their king!  Do not worry without cause, for the time before us will be very difficult, and you will need all the strength you can muster to serve the people well.  Look before you at the sight of the Sparkling Jewel that is the City of Talgarth – it awaits you!”

The company and people camped  overnight on the crest of the ridge, waiting until morning to travel the remaining distance to Talgarth.  They reached the city gates around mid-morning, and there along the Talgarth Road in Talgarth Wood where the road crossed under the main gate into the city, Arrydor stopped the procession and asked everyone to pause in a moment of silence for those who had been lost over the course of the past 37 years, and who would not be joining them in giving the city new life.  After the silence, Arrydor then addressed the crowd saying, “If you have homes here in Talgarth that you were forced to leave, claim them now and restore them to how they once were.  For those of you who are new to the city, we will assign new homes to you based on your need.  Once everyone has settled into a home, we will come together again tomorrow to usher in a new day and a new age within not only the Kingdom of Talgar, but also in the greater Land of Myllanthar, as your new king, Jonathan, will be crowned!”

The crowds all called out, “All hail King Jonathan the dragon killer – long live the King!”  With the crowd’s chant ringing through the streets, Arrydor offered Jonathan the first step into Talgarth, and he called Jyulia, Thomar and Arrydor to join him as the next to enter the city.  After that, everyone entered the City of Talgarth with joy, and a new beginning was at last realized…

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Three

~~~~~~~~~~

It was an amazing series of events everyone had just witnessed, the reunion with Arrydor, the release of the prisoners, the declaration of a new day and new age within the Kingdom of Talgar and Myllanthar, and seeing the former rogue riders of Nierron serving and assisting those in need within the gathered crowds.  Jyulia couldn’t believe all she had just seen, and realized her dreams of a restored Kingdom of Talgar to its former Shining Light were more than a waking dream – it was actually happening right before her eyes!  Thomar helped her dismount, and then the two of them greeted Arrydor as the lifelong friend he was to them, ever since rescuing them as young children from the evil intentions of Vyanthal, and whisking them to safety under the care of King Tyijar in the Kingdom of Pengarth to the south.

Jonathan was just itching to ask Gramps a question, and couldn’t hold back any longer, asking, “Why were you standing there without moving in the middle of the road, Gramps?  Couldn’t you see it was us approaching you?  I thought someone was looking to cause us trouble…”

“Trouble, Jonathan, why no, not at all.  I’d known you were on the way ever since leaving Thomar’s cabin.  The Rhayander have been following you from the sky ever since you departed Myullar Wood.  I stood in the road so as to not miss your arrival this afternoon, lost in thought about all the work that needs to be done to restore the Kingdom of Talgar and Myllanthar to the garden oasis and beautiful land that it was always meant to be.  My pondering always takes me away from the events surrounding me, and fortunately for me, I had my staff to lean on so I didn’t fall over!” said Arrydor with a grin, knowing he was more than capable of being aware of everything happening around him, while at the same time being miles away deep in thought.

Arrydor then gathered them all together around him, including the vast crowd of people that had gathered alongside the road, saying, “Follow me to the Sparkling Jewel that is the City of Talgarth!  The dragon did little damage to the city and area, as it mostly made its way east along the Tregarrons through Talgarth Wood.  I’ve gathered as many craftsmen and artisans as I could find on short notice, and we’ve been restoring Talgarth to its former glory ever since – however, there is much work to be done, which requires the assistance of many hands.  I put out word for citizens of the kingdom everywhere to gather here along Talgarth Road, to celebrate Jonathan’s defeat of the dragon, and to repopulate Talgar’s Sparkling Jewel – the City of Talgarth!  Come, follow me, as it will take all of us to restore the city and crown Jonathan as the new King of Talgar!

Arrydor turned and immediately began walking towards the crest of the ridge line, pausing to take in the views of the setting sun over the Talgar Mountains, the sparkling waters of the Inland Sea of Talgar, and the shining, polished domes of Talgarth below them.  The trees that had overgrown the city during the past 37 years, were all pruned and neatly trimmed, the streets swept, and as much as could be accomplished in a short time period had already been done.  Yet, the city required a population of willing and able bodied citizens to truly make it the living and breathing garden oasis and Sparkling Jewel that it had once been, and was always meant to be…

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part Two

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The old man dressed in robes, with his face obscured by the shadow cast by his hood, continued to stand his ground in the middle of the road leaning on his tall staff – preventing the company from continuing straight ahead or going around him.  There was something about his mannerism, and his steadfast determination and gaze, that puzzled Jonathan.  Jonathan began to think that there might be something to worry about from his confrontational stance of blocking the road ahead.  Gripping his Light Sword tightly in hand, ready to do battle if it first came to him, Jonathan noticed the blade was as calm as could be – there was no evil in this man, otherwise the sword would have lit up in a brilliant warning.  It was a perplexing situation to be in, and Jonathan really wasn’t sure what he should do, but as the future King of Talgar he would have to learn to make, and stand by, his own decisions.

Once the company reached a point of being about fifty feet from the stranger, Jonathan motioned for them to stop and halted his horse facing him.  He was about to call out to the old man to state his intentions and let the company pass, when Alydar brayed with excitement and ran towards the stranger, flinging itself upon him in sheer joy and delight!  The company’s horses also had a restless and excited nervousness to them, yet they were reigned in place by their riders and obeyed.  Sammy and Tiyall, who had been running in and out of the dense Wood surrounding them, all of a sudden paid attention to what was happening and bolted towards the stranger in great leaps and bounds!  What was going on, thought Jonathan, what am I missing here?

The stranger was bent over while embracing Alydar, but when Sammy and Tiyall came running towards him, they leaped at him and almost knocked him over in the road!  After kneeling down to rub and greet the dogs, Jonathan overheard the man speaking a strange language, which the dogs seemed to clearly understand.  They sat in place at his feet and watched his every action and listened to his every word.  It was only when the old man finally stood up to face the company, that his hood fell back over his shoulders and Jonathan could see exactly who he was – Gramps!

Jonathan cried out “Gramps!” and jumped off his mount as quickly as he could, and ran with outstretched arms to greet him at full speed!  Arrydor easily stepped to one side and caught Jonathan in full stride and swung him around at full speed in a complete circle before setting him down before him – giving the lad a bear hug and rubbing the top of his head with joy as well.  In that moment, Arrydor also called out greetings to Thomar and Jyulia, who had kept their positions alongside the prisoners behind the cart.  They returned the greetings to Arrydor in kind, and stood in awe at the sight before them of Alydar, Sammy, Tiyall, Jonathan and Arrydor all enjoying a long overdue reunion.

Arrydor then walked over to Thomar and Jyulia to address the prisoners, asking, “You had intentions of doing harm within the Kingdom of Talgar, did you not?”

The prisoners to a man said, “We did, Sir, but we now have changed hearts.  Never had we expected to have been shown kindness as captives, or to have seen the gathered crowds praising the boy for defeating the dragon.  We deeply regret our actions, and wish only to do as the crowds do in rejoicing with them, to be part of this new day in Talgar, and make a new start.”

“Then go as free men,” replied Arrydor, “Thank Jonathan for liberating the people from the beast, and pledge to support him as the future King of the Kingdom of Talgar.”

With that, Arrydor cut the ropes that bound them behind the cart, and they immediately fell at Jonathan’s feet praising him.  Jonathan had them rise and said, “This is a new day and a new age in the Kingdom of Talgar and in all of Myllanthar.  Go in peace, to build a new future for everyone.”

The men, who had once been rogue riders from Nierron, then joined the crowds, and began to work in that hour helping those in the crowd who needed assistance – and never again returned to a life of violence…

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Nine, Part One – Destinations

~~~~~~~~~~

“To focus solely on the destination, to the exclusion of the journey, is to place the cart before the donkey.  It is in overlooking the present, that we fail to see the immediate task directly in front of us.  For what should be, can never transpire, if the recipe needed to create it isn’t adhered to.  It is in focusing on the present, on the journey and path to travel, that the destination will take care of itself – for the ingredients will have been folded together, the compass followed, the progress measured, the effort expended, and the destination reached…”  – Mark D. Jones 

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan focused on the old man in robes standing in the distance, as the company moved forward at Alydar’s slow pace of pulling the cart uphill towards the top of the ridge line.  They were all tired after a number of long days of traveling, yet excited at the same time to glimpse the first sight of the City of Talgarth in the next valley beside the Inland Sea of Talgar.  The crowds following them had continued to grow and line the road before them, calling out to Jonathan and praising him for defeating the dragon, but the only thing he could see before him was this old man in the middle of the road.

Was he a threat to them, a warning sign sent by followers of Vyanthal to cease and desist?  The ancient prophecy seemed to be well known around these parts by now, and those who wanted power for themselves in the Kingdom of Talgar would wish to see him disappear – or worse.  However, Jonathan knew his responsibilities to not only Talgar, but also to his friends and the entire Land of Myllanthar to do his best to allow peace and prosperity to flourish in the aftermath of the defeat of the earlier spreading shadow of darkness.  This darkness that had cast itself across Myllanthar, was the doing of the now vanquished despots of Vyanthal, King Tucar and King Cyulthar – but also included the terror and destruction caused by the now defeated dragon.

The old man was still a fair distance away, as the road needed to proceed along a winding and difficult course through the rough terrain before reaching him, yet he was clearly visible where he stood at a much higher elevation.  Alydar was having trouble pulling the cart uphill over such a long stretch of ground, so the company stopped to pause and take a break,  prior to addressing the issue.  A small waterfall created by a stream running out of the Tregarron Mountains and tumbling over a cliff-face greeted them to the left of the road, and Sammy and Tiyall immediately set off to explore the area and splash in the water.  The horses and Alydar were tethered in the lush grass beside the running stream to refresh themselves as well, the prisoners were given rest, and everyone had something to eat and drink.

After a short while, Thomar reworked the cart’s rigging, replacing Alydar with the horse that had been tethered behind Jyulia’s mount.  Once the cart issue had been addressed, the company reassembled as it was, except that Alydar now walked freely beside the horse Jonathan was riding.  There was no need to tether Alydar, for he had been with Thomar and Jyulia ever since he was a wee little foal, and had no intention of going anywhere without them.  Despite the difficult uphill grade from this point to the ridge’s summit, the company made easy progress after the rest stop.  The sun was setting over the crest of the ridge, yet once at the top they would have a perfect vantage point for seeing the City of Talgarth, and another good hour of daylight before darkness fully set in the next valley.

The road finally straightened out for its final push to the ridge’s summit, and despite the steep grade, there was nothing to prevent Jonathan from seeing the old man until they finally reached him.  The crowds still followed the company, respectfully giving them some room while they rested, but folks seemed to come out of nowhere to join this pilgrimage to Talgarth.  It seemed there were thousands of people now gathering to see them – to see him – chanting Jonathan’s praises and expressing their happiness that the dragon was now defeated.  Yet this old man dressed in robes, leaning on a tall staff held close in front of him, maintained his gaze towards Jonathan without expression.  Who was he, and why was he waiting for them?  The company would find out soon enough…