“The Story of Jasmine” notes continue:
The stone in Rogan’s trouser pocket became hot enough to burn his leg. The rock had steadily gotten hotter during the past three days. He knew The Fire Queen was getting more and more impatient for his report. He simply had not gotten a large enough chunk of time to give his report. He valiently tried not to focus on the consequences of non-compliance.
To answer Melantha’s burning call, Rogan needed to convince Thorne and the others that it would be best if he went back to Oxted alone as not to arouse suspicion. He’d collect supplies that were needed for their up-coming journey and promised he would immediately join them at any place of their choosing. He used his smoothest voice and manner to convince Jasmine that this was a good idea. She urged everyone to give Rogan a list of their needs and a means of payment. With this simple request, Jasmine proved she had leadership skills. She was so good at her first command, that everyone complied without issue.
As he left on horseback, Rogan shook his head as he mulled over what had just transpired between all parties in the early morn. It was nothing short of a miracle. Who would have thought this motley crew, himself among them, would ever consider traveling together? And for Thorne to offer her sword? What was that about?
If anything had ever surprized him, it was that. He could never have guessed this proud Armildian was capable of demeaning herself to serve another, unless she actually acknowledged the young, naive but somehow wise Jasmine as her superior. Yet, he knew that Jasmine represented everything Thorne detested. Women! With all his experience with them, he still could not fathom them.
Of course, he would need to report to the Queen of Fire most of what happened. He wanted to leave some things out. He planned to spend quite a long time describing how devastated, then furious Thorne was to learn UR had fallen. The Queen would relish that. He would smooth it all out by reporting how he was accompanying Thorne in her travels to find another ruler in the north. But how would he explain Jasmine and her dwarf protector?
About three quarters of the way to Oxted, after Rogan was sure he was not being followed, he turned off the trail to find a remote locale, which served his needs. At a clearing, he quickly collected dried branches and other materials to make a fire. For a roaring fire to appear, all he needed to do was to toss the very hot obsidian rock into a pile of kindling.
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