The rescue party from Ceathair had been successful in their objective. They had gotten the prince free from captivity. But the wounded prince was barely conscious after the loss of so much blood. Nishpini tied Prince Jaras firmly into his saddle, and the prince wrapped his arms around the neck of Gaedilik.
All the men raced toward the border. They made their way westward over the foothills north of the Cymry Peaks, then followed the wide pathway through the Brightwood Forest. After the lengthy journey, when they finally crossed into Tubicia, the men were alarmed that the prince was scarcely breathing.
Arriving in Ceathair, they laid the prince on his bed in the Stronghold. Naamah immediately set about to tend to the prince's bloody wound. The prince briefly awoke to a fitful consciousness at times, then relapsed again into a deep sleep. Kishtia and Jedidah, together with Naamah, watched over him.
Meanwhile, back in Ancient Arapa, King Visath had sobered up enough to gather both his senses and his army commanders. He commanded them to enlist every able-bodied man in Arapa and surrounding regions. "Assemble the largest army possible!" he commanded. “The men may be mostly untrained for war, but our numbers will make up for it! Prepare me an army! Prepare an army to march on Ceathair!"
Two days passed. In the City in the Sky, the prince did not improve. It was the opinion of Rodai that the prince had been poisoned by the blade of the Nimardite. It was an old trick of the Nimardite warriors to taint their weapons with enough toxins to induce blood poisoning - just in case an opponent escaped from the battle with only a wound.
The prince of Cimora slept in a deep sleep - for another day - and yet another day. At last he was only now and then taking a breath, with a very faint pulse. It was now four days, and the prince appeared to be fading.
The queen mother Kishtia entered the prince's room very softly. Her first glance landed on the figure lying motionless on the bed. He was not improving. She saw Rodai standing beside his bed. And she saw Nishpini also standing, near the foot of the bed. In a chair just to the side, sat the preacher Jekamiah.
The only one stirring was Naamah. She held a small towel in her hand. She gently wiped the face of Prince Jaras with cool water. The queen mother of Cimora glided quietly beside the chair of Jekamiah and whispered, "You've been sitting here all night - again."
"I am fine," said Jekamiah. "I am not in need of anything. But my dear niece has been tending to the prince for long hours on end."
"Yes," Kishtia said, turning to the young lady. "It is time for you to go and get some rest. Please, do not come back until you have had some sleep."
Naamah bowed her head low to the queen mother. As she did, her long copper-colored hair flowed over her brow like a waterfall. She swept it back with her hands as she arose, her eyes sadly looking back at the prince.
The young woman walked toward the door with her eyes lowered. Just as she stepped out, she stole one last look at Prince Jaras.
Rodai said to Kishtia, “That young lady is watching over the prince day and night.”
Nishpini said, "She is the balm of Gilead to the ailing prince."
Jekamiah asked Kishtia, "And how is my brother Jeshaiah doing today?"
"He is more downcast everyday," she answered. "I begged him not to blame himself for what happened. But he says since he planned the escape, he must bear the blame that the prince is suffering. Jedidah is with him now, but he will not be consoled."
Outside the doorway of the prince's chamber, Naamah had not gone very far. She leaned against the wall - and wept. Kishtia stepped back outside the door. She had heard the sound of weeping coming from outside the room.
She put her arms around Naamah, embracing her. The young woman rested her head on Kishtia's shoulder. The queen mother said, "Now, now, dear. Cry out those tears."
Naamah wiped her hand across her eyes. She said softly, and very quietly, "You know... I... I...." But no more words would come.
Kishtia said softly, "I understand. You are so very young, Naamah. Some people might say, your young heart is not 'grown-up' enough to love so much. But I would tell them, a large amount of love poured into even a small cup can overflow much."
Kishtia gave Naamah another hug and kissed her wet cheek.