The Boys of Lionshire (Part Nine)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Writing Bunch

Submitted: December 23, 2017

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Submitted: December 23, 2017

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Shane and I filled Sara in on all the details over the last several hours as we walked back to camp.  My fight against Alexander and Freddy, the beating I took from Bastion, the Lionshire counsel decision to defeat the Gatekeepers, Bastion’s dethronement, the snake encounter, and all the things leading up to her rescue.

She listened intently as we helped her along the path and nodded every so often to show us she was following the conversation.  I wanted to hurry up and get back so I could get her some food and water and check on Alexander.  I didn’t know what I was going to do about him, but I felt somewhat responsible for his snake bite.

The wind began to pick up as we neared the encampment and there was a noticeable chill in the air.  I never knew what month it was because we have no way to follow a calendar, but I figured it must be getting close to fall by now.  The summer had been miserable, intense heat drowned only by intense thunderstorms, followed by extreme humidity and more intense heat.  I was ready for the summer to be over with, but I wasn’t ready for the snow that would soon fall across Lionshire.

As we rounded the last corner to our camp, I saw the boys had built another fire pyramid which remained unlit.  Bastion must have stolen it from her when he tied her to the tree and passed it off to the boys to gain good favor for his cruel deed.

The boys continued to wrestle until we were standing nearly on top of them.

“Give me the lighter”, I demanded, “It belongs to Sara.”

The boys immediately stood up and moved back, holding their hands behind their backs to conceal their prize.

“We don’t have anything”, one of the boys lied.

“Besides, it’s finders keepers”, another one chimed in.

Shane and I eased Sara down on the ground and walked up to the boys until we were nose to nose with them.  My bravery was bursting out of my body at the seams and I felt good to finally have the courage to stand up in the face of adversity.  During Bastion’s rule, it may have well been finders keepers, but the rules were changing quickly in Lionshire.

My face was still screaming in pain and my eye felt like it was getting bigger by the moment.  I wasn’t in any position to get in to another scuffle, but I had to do what was right by Sara.  Shane stood poised and ready to fight, but I felt there was a more diplomatic approach to getting Sara’s property back to her.

I placed my hand against Shane’s muscular chest and lightly pushed him back.  “If we are ever going to defeat the Gatekeepers and get out of Lionshire, we’ve all got to be playing for the same team”, I said.  “Please give us the lighter back so we can all go about our business.”

“Bastion gave it to us”, one of the boys said defiantly, “It’s ours.”

“It doesn’t look like you’ve worked out who it belongs to yet”, I said pointing at the mud on their clothes from their wrestling match.

“It isn’t yours”, Shane growled, stepping forward again.  “I don’t want to take it from you so just give it back to her.”

I watched impatiently as Shane and the boys both stood their ground.  The concept should have been simple enough: if it doesn’t belong to you, don’t take it.  It was a code my father instilled in me from a very young age and my integrity was all I had left in this world.  I was about to remove my hand from Shane’s chest when Sara finally spoke.

“The lighter belongs to all of us”, she said softly, “What’s mine is yours and visa versa.  I don’t want to see anyone fight over something as silly as a lighter.”

Shane swung around and looked Sara directly in her eyes, surprised at what she’d said.  “Are you sure?” he asked her.  “If you want it back, we’ll get it from these knuckleheads.”

“I’m sure.  It’s hard to light a fire with sticks and kindling so it will make everyone’s life a little bit easier.  I’ll get it back when it runs out of fluid and then I’ll repurpose it to work as something else.”

Shane seemed convinced at her sincerity and stepped back again.  “That’s mighty noble of you, Sara”, he said as he brushed my hand off of his chest.

Although Shane seemed in agreement with Sara’s decision to have the lighter as a community item, I wasn’t as convinced.  The boys are always wrestling and climbing trees and swimming in the river and I didn’t want it to get broken.  Having the lighter in Lionshire would cut down the time it took to light a fire considerably and I didn’t want to let that fact hang in the balance between Sara’s decision and the rest of the boys.

“Alright”, I agreed, “But only on one condition.”

“What condition is that”, one of the boys asked.

“That Sara is the keeper of the lighter.  Everyone can use it to start the fire pyramid as needed, but they have to ask permission first from Sara.”

The boys all nodded in agreement.

“Fair enough.”

The boy holding the lighter walked up and handed it to Sara before retreating to his hooch in the wood line.

“Thank you”, she said before handing the lighter to me.

“What do you want me to do with this”, I asked, puzzled at the lighter in my hand.

“Start the fire for starters”, she said as she drew her legs in closer to her body, “It’s starting to get chilly out here.”

I walked up to the fire pyramid as giddy as a boy about to open birthday presents and flicked the shiny, metal lid open.  I had been wanting to get my hands on it as soon as I saw Sara light the arrival fire with it and now I had it.  I ran my thumb over the course striker and felt my excitement swell.  I struck the lighter and watched amazed as the flint sprayed sparks on to the wick and easily lit it in to a small ball of fire.  We had struggled with something as simple as lighting a fire for so long, and here in my hands, was the solution to our problem.

I placed the lighter in to the bundle of sap and kindling at the base of the fire pyramid and stood back as it roared to life.  Some of the other boys, including Bastion, moved in closer to the fire to steal some of its warmth from the wind.  I held my hands out for a moment longer to warm them before returning to Sara.

“Here’s your lighter”, I said as I attempted to hand it back to her.

She held her hands up and waved me off.  “It’s yours to hold on to, Ian”, she said, “I already owe you so much and it’ll be safer with you.”

“I couldn’t take your lighter”, I said as I tossed it in her lap, “It’s yours.”

“I wasn’t asking you if you wanted it, I was giving it to you.  It’s no longer mine, it’s yours now.”

She got up and placed the lighter in my pocket and gave me a long, heartfelt hug.  “Thanks again”, she said, “for everything.

I watched her walk off and towards the fire to bask in its heat.  Bastion glared at her as she got near it and she smartly stood on the side opposite of him.  I locked eyes with Bastion to let him know I was watching him and he held up a clenched fist as if to so say “I know.”  Shane stood beside me and shot him a death stare that sent him back to his hooch.  After our first brief encounter with Bastion since the Lionshire counsel, I knew it wasn’t over between us and that the road to unity would be a long and rough one


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