In the camp of the Azazan raiders in the village of Ardair, Turas was kept under close guard, though half-dead and barely conscious. Tsikar knew that the prince and his small band of men were not far away.
The commander had sent out spies of his own, to investigate the situation in the villages along the lake. When they reported to Tsikar that Prince Jaras had come as far as Tishrum, he told his lieutenants, "Be ready, in case those fools try an attack tonight! We have them outnumbered, and we have the advantage in daylight! Tomorrow we will advance on them!"
Now, Tsikar had found no dwelling in Ardair to suit him. “These houses all smell of stinking fish-rot!” Tsikar had howled to his officers. So he chose to sleep in his tent. And he slept in full battle attire, ready for combat.
Sometime in the early morning hours, before any dawning light had broken, the sleeping commander thought he felt a tickle at his throat. Waking from a deep sleep, he was suddenly aware that somebody was standing over him. And there was the point of a sword flirting with his gullet.
"Don't make a sound, or you are a dead man," the commander heard the stranger say in a hushed voice. Tsikar could see, even in the dim light, that the man held a sword in one hand and a dagger in the other. The commander heard him say, "I think it best that you go back to sleep." The trespasser flipped the dagger, holding the blade in his hand. He rapped Tsikar on the head with the handle, sending him back to the land of nod.
Then the quiet intruder, Prince Jaras, put a gag in Tsikar's mouth. The prince tied his hands and feet with rope he had brought with him in the skiff. He dragged Tsikar through the tent's back door - an opening that the prince had contrived with his dagger.
Down to the water and into the boat they went, silently - so silently. The prince paddled easy in the water, southward, rowing the dinghy back to the fishing village of Tishrum. It was morning by the time the prince reached the camp of his men, exhausted from pulling the oars all night.
He was met at the shore with shouts of joy. His men did not know what had become of him. They carried Tsikar out of the boat, and the prince said to them, "Strip his clothes off, and put them on Mienan. Then tie him back up."
The prince then said to the old fisherman, "When they've done that, I'm going to leave him with you. He will be your prisoner, until I come back. Can you take care of that for me, my good friend?"
The fisherman smiled broadly and scratched his head a bit, saying, "Well now, I've lived many a year to come to this, you see, to be a jailer for my prince! A jailer for my prince, for the prince of the Cimirik! I'll hold him, my lord, yes, I'll hold him, you see, and he'll be right here when you get back!"
When Mienan, the mole from Tsikar’s camp, was clothed in the full battle attire of his commander, the prince said, "Now men, gag this man Mienan - and cover his head and face with cloths. Put him on a horse, and tie his hands. And put a flag of truce between his hands. Let it wave above him."
After all this was done, Prince Jaras said to all his warriors, "Listen carefully to what I say, because the lives of the villagers of Cimora hang in the balance! We must stop these raiders from violating the men and women of our country! The Lord God is with those who must fight - to save and defend others!
"I'm taking this man to Ardair. All you men of faith and men of valor, follow me, but stay behind - a good distance! Keep me in sight! When you see me turn back to you, ride toward me with a fury! When I see you riding to join me, I will turn back again toward Ardair - and lead you into battle! We must win, for the sake of Cimora! Now, mount up!"
Rodai came, and bowed down to the prince, saying, "I failed you before, I know, but I ask this one thing of you! My wound is slight, so please let me go into this battle with you and the men!"
The prince answered, "You have been faithful to the Lord and to me, and you have not failed anyone! My good friend, we will recover Turas, and we will rid the land of these marauders! And you will always be at my right hand, in battle or in the throne room of Ancient Arapa! And now, you will go into battle with me today! I do not believe your wound is slight, but I know your heart, and you could not bear to stay behind!"
So the prince rode out on Gaedilik toward Ardair, holding the reins of Mienan's mount behind him. His men followed at an ample distance, but kept Prince Jaras just in sight - as the prince had commanded.
At last, the prince approached the camp of the raiders at Ardair.
When the Azazans saw the prisoner with the prince, wearing the full battle attire of their commander, his head and face covered, they said, "It is Tsikar! So this is what has happened to our commander!"
"I come to you under this flag of truce!" said Prince Jaras. "I wish to exchange my prisoner for your prisoner!" Saying this, the prince drew his sword, and put the point of the blade next to the heart of his hostage. Prince Jaras said, "If you choose not to trade prisoners with me, I will kill this man right now!"
All the Azazans said to one another, "Let's exchange prisoners with him! The man we are holding means nothing to us, but he has our commander!"
So the Azazans brought out Turas, who was yet alive, but scarcely able to walk. The prince said, "Put him up on my horse, behind me!"
They did as Prince Jaras commanded - because he kept the point of his sword next to the heart of his prisoner. The mighty Gaedilik barely noticed the additional weight as Turas was seated behind the prince.
"Can you hold on, Turas?" the prince asked. "Can you hold on, now, for dear life?"
“I can, my prince,” said Turas.
“Then hold on, my friend!” And the prince released the reins of the horse on which his prisoner sat. Prince Jaras quickly turned his charger about and shouted, "Run! Gaedilik! Run! Run! Run!"
The great horse lurched forward with urgency, and ran with a burst of speed unequaled even for Gaedilik. Arrows streamed through the air toward the riders as they raced down the road. The Azazan archers had only been waiting, with bow and arrow ready, for the moment when the prince released his prisoner.