Friday, October 11, 2013


First Journey
Point Six

"Can we stop and rest?" Brenda wheezed.

"We don't have time!" growled Sir Icmath.

"Why the rush?" demanded Brenda. She still felt bad for leaving Hoe behind but she kept telling herself it was for the best. After all, he was safe at the cottage in a warm bed with a roof over his head. An uneasy feeling flooded her thoughts. He is safe, she continued telling herself. The only thing she did not understand was why she could not tell him goodbye.

"Done resting?" Sir Icmath glared at her impatiently. " We need to hurry!"

"But why?" Brenda wanted to know.

Uneasy lines spread across the knight's forehead, as he briskly muttered, "I don't want to run into some old friends."

"Friends or enemies?" pressed Brenda, beginning to walk on slowly.

"You can't stop asking questions, can you?" he complained.

"Nope!" laughed Brenda grinning from ear to ear.

"Remember what I told you before? I used to be knight for an evil group. The same group who ruined  your village. When I realized their real intentions I escaped. Now I'm taking you to the City of Fire so we can defeat them once and for all. You want to know why we're in a hurry. I think I'm being followed," he said the last bit in an undertone.

Shivers ran down Brenda's back.  "Followed?" her voice trembled.

"Yep!" Sir Icmath charged ahead with hardly a glance at Brenda.

Squaring her shoulders, Brenda charged after him determined not to show her fear. She looked behind her for one quick minute but saw nothing but the thick walls of trees and heard nothing but the breeze whispering. Sir Icmath must be mistaken, no one was following them.

They came to a dangerously fast moving river and Brenda expected Sir Icmath to turn around but he did not show surprise. A sharp wrinkle of defiance spread across his brow.

"We are not going to cross are we?" demanded Brenda hoping to hide the panic in her voice.

"There should be a raft somewhere around here!" Sir Icmath growled running back and forth along the rivers edge. "Where is it?"

"Is that your raft?" questioned Brenda pointing at wood object that peaked out from under a tangle of moss at the side of the river.

"That's it! I was starting to worry but sure enough, there it is," exclaimed Sir Icmath as he dragged it from the tangled mess.

Brenda gasped, "That thing is usable? It looks like it is about to fall to pieces. I am not going to get on that!"

"It is perfectly safe!" argued Sir Icmath motioning her to get on. "Now stop grumbling and hurry!"

"I can't!" Brenda wailed.

"I told you it was safe!" Sir Icmath was clearly not going to stop and recon with her. Before she could resist he pushed her onto the floating raft and jumped on after her.

From then on Brenda was fighting to keep her balance as cold water raced by under her finger nails. Inside she was battling the current of anger that Sir Icmath had stirred in her heart. Who was he who thought she was at his beck and call? The sickening reminder of how they had left Hoe behind kept growing. Ice cold water splashed against Brenda's cheek and stung her left eye. She blinked and dug her nails into the rough surface of the raft.

"You alright?" shouted Sir Icmath fighting the current with his paddles.

"What do you think?" Brenda yelled back.

The water dragged them down river but Brenda shut her eyes and clang for her life. When she felt the raft jolt to a stop her eyes flung open. She could not believe she was staring at firm ground.

"We're alive!" moaned Brenda.

"You had your doubts?" A mixture of amusement and shock stole across Sir Icmath's eyes.

"I thought we were dead!" Brenda cried her exasperation giving way.

"What were you scared of?" hissed Sir Icmath.

"Drowning! What did you think?" Brenda snapped wiping her wet face.

"Drowning!" Sir Icmath threw back his head and shook with laughter. "I guess in my haste I forgot to give you a life jacket. I had mine on."

Debating on whether to be mad or not, Brenda noticed for the first time Sir Icmath was wearing a bright red life jacket. She shot him a stony glare. He shrugged nonchalantly.

A splash and cries cut into there silence. Sir Icmath dragged Brenda behind the cover of some bushes and vine. From there they saw a tiny figure fighting the waters and shrieking for help. For a while Brenda did not recognize and then it hit her. He was Hoe.

"It's Hoe! We have to save hhhhmmm!" before she could finish Sir Icmath muffled her voice with his hand clamped over her mouth.

"Shhhhh!" he growled. "It is to dangerous. We would be to late!"

Brenda fought to get lose. She tried to wave her arms and kick but her limbs fell limp under his resistance. There she watched helplessly as Hoe sunk underneath the water. Tears filled Brenda's eyes.

"Hold on!" something shouted.

Brenda heard splashes. She tried to twist herself around to see what was happening but Sir Icmath had pulled her back.

"Hoe is being rescued by our follower!" hissed the knight gravely."Maybe he has become useful after all."

"How?"squeaked Brenda sighing with relief.

"He distracted us from the enemy," whispered Sir Icmath.

Brenda tried to wriggle out of the knight's grasp but he held her still. "I meant how is he being rescued?"

"The enemy dragged him to safety. Listen Brenda," the urgency had returned to the knights face, "We need to make a move on. Your little friend is alive."

"But..." wailed Brenda uneasily"...if he is with the enemy then he is not safe! Sir Icmath, Hoe is in danger!!!"

"The enemy should not hurt Hoe! Now come on Brenda!" Sir Icmath urged.

"No!" declared Brenda. "I will not forsake Hoe! We have to rescue him! Sir Icmath, I will help you and so will he, if we save Hoe."

The knight's brow darkened. "Brenda, it is to risky!"

"Listen!" Brenda sighed. She felt panicky but determined not to leave Hoe's life in danger. She had to save the little boy. "Sir Icmath, if you help me save Hoe I will help you defeat the enemy whatever happens!" She tried to gather up courage. "I will help you even if it costs me my life." If she could only save him.

"That's not good enough!" Sir Icmath scowled. "If we rescue Hoe you must promise to be my slave for the rest of your life."

Brenda gasped. She knew the cost of being a slave in this country. Slaves wore a black permanent stamp on their right arm. It never wore off. Once a slave, always a slave. She was desperate, so the words slowly escaped in one breath. She promise to be Sir Icmath's slave if they rescued Hoe. In those few moments she whispered goodbye to freedom. If Hoe's life could be speared it was worth it, she persuaded herself.

"Common then!" Sir Icmath grunted and they started after Hoe.

A heaviness settled in Brenda's stomach.  

to be continued

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