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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Of course,” Clavis replied, quaffing his drink. “I would'na miss a good brawl.”
“How is it you're not injured in any way? Everyone else here looks like they've been
through a war.”
“A good bar fight takes practice lad, and I've had a few extra decades to learn a trick
or two,” Clavis explained with a wink. “Not that I go around starting fights mind you, I
just tend to be the one that finishes 'em.”
“Did you finish this one?”
“Surely did,” the dwarf assured him. “Laid out some oversized drunkard in
camouflage leathers who started questioning the lineage of some of these rowdy seafaring
folk. Why?”
“Oh, no reason,” Aiden replied, struggling to keep a straight face.
Chapter Ten
Aiden was heading towards the front door of the Seaspray Inn when Nellise and
Pacian appeared, walking down the stairs. Her expression was cool as she spoke with the
blond rogue, though Aiden couldn't tell what the y were talking about. He raised a hand to
catch their attention.
“Good morning, I'm going to head over to speak briefly with the Mayor. You two get
some breakfast and I'll meet up with you later. I have something I want to talk to you
about.” Nellise scrutinised the young man carefully before replying.
“Not before you clean yourself up you're not,” she declared. “Go. Bathe. Now. You
too Pacian, you're worse than he is.”
“But I was going to get something to eat first!”
“Why is it so hard to make men take a bath?” Nellise asked, looking up at the
ceiling. “Pace, you're absolutely filthy. You're going to make yourself sick if you eat any
food you touch with those hands. Go and clean yourself up, you can eat later.” Pacian
looked like he was about to protest, b ut the charming young lady gently laid a hand on his
shoulder, and his resistance faltered.
“Okay, but only a quick bath. I've got money to spend.” He cheerfully trotted down
the stairs and headed out the door. Aiden followed, casting a glance at a smiling Nellise
before the door closed behind him.
“I hate baths,” Pacian confided to Aiden for the hundredth time since they'd known
each other, as they walked across the street to the bathhouse.
“Casual bathing, sure, but let's face it, we're way overdue. You can only put it off for
so long before you start turning into a walking natural disaster.” Pacian chuckled, and
didn't contest the point.
After his bath, Aiden did feel a lot better, as if he'd washed away much of the turmoil
he had experienced over the past week. Pacian had finished up much quicker than he did,
leaving early to shop around for anything shiny that caught his eye. The novice warrior
decided to follow Nellise's advice and buy some new clothes to spruce up his appearance.
Fifty copper jacks later, and he had himself some sturdy new boots, a new longcoat and
new trousers. With his hair brushed, Aiden thought he looked good enough to speak with
royalty, should the occasion warrant it.