Chapter 1: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9127.html
Chapter 2: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9141.html
Chapter 3: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9184.html
Chapter 4: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9263.html
Chapter 5: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9297.html
Chapter 6: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9307.html
Chapter 7: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9356.html
Chapter 8: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9422.html
Chapter 9: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9472.html
“Jack?” Rowen said suddenly, “Why didn’t you want me to leave?”
Jack paused a moment as if contemplating this himself, or thinking of an answer. Abruptly Jack’s horse Dragon trotted out from the woods. Sabor must have gotten another horse and set Dragon to find Jack, for Sabor was not with the mare. Jack patted the horse, then turned back to Rowen.
“Well, I was just planning to free you so you did not have to be tortured… but then you got hit with that arrow, and I couldn’t just leave you…”
“Then why did you keep me after I was healed?” Rowen interrupted. Jack avoided her eyes and was silent in another moment of contemplation.
“Well, to tell you the truth…” Jack sighed as if he had come to some sort of agreement. “Alright, well, Sabor told me a few things-“
“What things?” Rowen interrupted again.
“-and we agreed to keep you with us-“
“Agreed to `keep’ me?” Rowen’s tone got angrier.
“-because…because Sabor said you could be of use.” Jack finished hastily, though it seemed he was not telling the whole truth.
Rowen stood in disbelief.
“Oh, so you were just dragging me along until I could be of use? What, pray tell, would I be of use for?” Rowen shouted.
“I don’t know! Maybe he thought you might be in contact with a Seerganash or something. Look, I didn’t make the decision, okay? So lay off!”
“But you went along with it! Why did you want me to come, if you don’t know why Sabor wanted me to come?” Rowen spat back.
“I said lay off!” Jack shouted crossly. He looked away from Rowen’s livid face and walked a few paces. Something was reeling over in his mind. He seemed to come to a decision, and still facing away from her, Jack spoke again. “Look, if you want to leave, fine. I don’t care. Take Dragon and leave! Just send her back when you’re done. We don’t need you anyway.”
“F-Fine, I will.” Rowen said stiffly after a moment, almost with a hurt tone at Jack’s last statement. She mounted Dragon and tuned the horse about harshly, leading her into the woods. Just before the trees obstructed her view, Rowen looked back. Jack stood on the cliff still. He furiously kicked a stone off the cliff, then sat down and put his head in his hands. The trees closed in around Rowen, and she galloped off.
Back on the cliff, Jack looked up hopefully at the sound of a horse cantering closer. Sabor came out of the woods on his own black horse. Jack’s expression dimmed a little when he saw it was just Sabor, but he got up and greeted his friend anyway.
“Where’s Rowen?” Sabor asked.
“I… I let her go. She wanted to leave, so I let her.”
“WHAT?! You just LET her go? Are you insane, Jack? We need her!”
“For what?! Sabor, you never explain these things to me! That’s what she flipped out about.”
“Have you seen the gold on that girl? She’s from the north, and she must have been to a dragon cave to get that type of gold. We need her to help us with the dragons of the Seerganash. Do you WANT them to get their hands on a dragon?”
“But she could get killed doing that!”
“So? What’s worth more, her life or the life of Middle Earth? You’ve seen the Mist, Jack. Something is stirring up north, and they’re at the heart of it.” Sabor paused suddenly and peered at Jack. “Why are you so worried about her? I hope you’re not going soft on me, Jack, a job is a job and our job is to calm a band of dragons from unleashing their wrath upon middle earth in one force. Got it?!”
“Hey I can handle a job. I just don’t like killing innocent people.”
“Ha! That’s a laugh. You’re the one who’s worked as a mercenary, who’s ruthlessly attacked people and burned villages, killing hundreds of innocent people. Don’t talk to me about killing innocent people.”
Jack spun around suddenly and gripped Sabor’s shirt collar, pinning him up against a tree. Even the strong Sabor showed a tinge of fear glinting in his green eyes.
“If I were you, I’d shut my mouth.” Jack growled slowly in a deep, low tone, his face inches from Sabor’s. He shoved Sabor down and mounted Sabor’s horse.
“What are you doing?” Sabor shouted as he picked himself up.
“Well, Sabor, is she’s so important, someone’s got to go get Rowen.” Jack replied roughly as he turned the strong black horse to the woods. “Yah!” Jack yelled to the horse and galloped through the trees at full speed.