Chapter the Eleventh The Flight of the Enemy
When Jaylon awoke his mind was spinning and for a moment he could not recall the previous events. There was a great pain in his right side that had been bound in white linen cloth and he felt weak. His armor had been removed and his head throbbed agonizingly. At length, he forced himself to rise to a sitting position and noted his surroundings. At first, he could not tell where he was but gradually he realized that he had been laid upon a rough couch inside the guardhouse against the wall of the inner gates. He strained his ears for signs of the battle but all was silent. At last the silence became unbearable and the prince struggled to rise to his feet but failed for his wound weighed him down. He called out for his father, for Galimir, for Eradrim in vain until at last he gave up hope of being heard and endeavored to pass the time in sleep.
Sometime afterward a soft voice by his side awakened him. He slowly opened his eyes and looked up. Eradrim and Galimir stood before him. Galimir knelt and kissed his hand as he rose to a sitting position. Eradrim's troubled face bent over him and his questioning eyes searched Jaylon's countenance for any sign of distress. Then he asked quietly and sternly, “What did you see?”
Somehow the prince understood what the Arakun meant and he forced his lips to form the words that he had dared not speak at any other time. “I am not sure. I think it was the lan-“
“That is enough. I know of what you speak. But the case is not so terrible as you may believe.”
“Then tell me, though I can well imagine, what wounded me and how I have come to be here. And I hear no signs of battle. What was the outcome of it?”
“The creature struck thee again even as my Lord Elaran came to thee. Your spirit would have been destroyed had you tried to resist. Even so, thou wast well nigh slain when the Lord Elaran came. Your servant Galimir came to you also and strove to shield you from the creature. If he had not, the Zarahut would have slain thee. Lord Elaran then destroyed it. Nevertheless, you have escaped with little hurt. You are truly favored by the Unnamed One, Jaylon, son of Thargon.”
“Lord Elaran destroyed it?” the prince asked.
“Yes,” Eradrim lowered his voice, “He struck it down with the light of the Neratir. Need drove him.” The prince did not fully grasp the meaning of the words, but he could tell that Eradrim spoke of great deeds.
“The Neratir,” the prince repeated softly. “I do not understand.”
“You will, in time.” Jaylon accepted the answer but his heart was troubled and he contemplated Eradrim's words for many long hours after.
“Then what happened in the battle?” asked the prince. “Is it over? Have we driven the enemy away? How many hours have I lain here?”
“Three days you have been under the creatures spell. I have attempted to wake thee but in vain. I did not wish for thee to be moved to the castle for I wanted to watch thee and neither could I leave the battlefield. Galimir has been by your side faithfully with me since you first fell.
What happened to the enemy? Surely you did not drive such a vast army away in three days.
That is what troubles me. Jaylon, we did not drive them away. They were summoned.
Summoned? The prince lowered his voice to a whisper. I do not understand.
Yes, summoned away from the battle field. Even I do not yet know why. When you fell, the earth trembled and shook and the enemy fled. They did not fly out of fear. They have gone back into their mountains for a time, but I do not believe they will stay there long. Tomorrow I ride out to pursue them. Eradrim turned to leave.
No. I will tell you later. Galimir looked from his young masters face to the Arakuns and his countenance showed he was mystified. Eradrim gave a slight nod and left the room.
What does it all mean? Galimir asked as soon as he was alone with Jaylon. The prince looked up wearily.
I am not sure yet. But I know it means one thing. Everything is changing from the way I have always known it. Galimir looked down at the floor and his eyes welled with tears.
My liege, he said quietly. I have something to confess.
Jaylon turned abruptly round, What is it? he asked.
My liege, when the tower was besieged, my lady Raora wished to send messengers to call for aid. Knowing they would never be able to break through the enemies ranks, I refused her and she, believing it was the one way to save the castle, took the duty upon herself. She tried and has slain herself.
Jaylon paused for a moment before answering, wondering what the captain meant. Then it dawned on him. No Galimir! cried the prince, imagining the sorrow the captain felt, She did not fall. She rode to the forest of Losia, and though she is sore wounded, I do not doubt that she will recover, and she is at the moment in the care of the Arakun. I saw her there. We could not have known of the citys danger had it not been for her.
Galimir looked up and his tear-stained face broke into an ecstasy of relief.
But, he cried, How could she have ridden through such a great host?
That I do not know. I think no, I will not say. Galimir did not press Jaylon to continue, for he knew well what the prince was thinking.
It is indeed wonderful. When will she return?
Neither do I know that. I believe she will be escorted back when her wound has fully healed. But where is my father?
He is at present in converse with Elaran in the tower. They endeavor to discover the meaning of the occurrences of these past three days. It is all so strange. I will not attempt to understand it. That is a task even the wisest will never complete.
Yes, the prince went on. It is even so. Leastwise you and I shall not.
Come, my liege. You are weary and you need not lie upon this couch longer. Come with me to the tower and take refreshments for you have had nei
ther victuals nor water for three days.
Then, pray, bring my stallion for I believe I can yet ride, Jaylon said. Galimir left the room and went behind it to the stables. He soon returned leading a black horse behind him.
Jaylon became quite still for a moment and gazed out after Eradrim. His figure could just be seen disappearing out through the gate. Galimir followed the princes eyes and said quietly, He will come again.