Nature Abhors a Vacuum
â€œIt's been over an hour, in case you were wondering,â€ Sayana mentioned, finding the
surrounding trees to be of great interest all of a sudden.
â€œI may or may not have fallen asleep,â€ Colt replied ruefully. â€œDonâ€Ÿt worry, I had
Faolan to keep me company.â€ Aiden looked into the trees and saw the wolf, sitting in
amongst the greenery.
â€œYou named it?â€ Aiden asked. â€œYou do know that 'Faolan' is O lde Aielish for 'wolf',
â€œSo instead of calling it 'wolf' in one language, you're calling it the same thing in
another,â€ Aiden explained dryly.
â€œSeems pretty clever to me,â€ Colt remarked, quite pleased with himself. â€œOkay you
can look now, but any more remarks and I'm gonna hit someone.â€
â€œPerish the thought,â€ Nellise assured him. â€œI'm so pleased you've finally bathed, I'm
going to refrain from saying all the things I'd written down for this very occasion.â€
â€œI'm touched,â€ Colt said. â€œJust give me a few minutes and I'll be ready to go. I'll even
catch you up if you want to keep moving.â€
â€œActually, there is a small issue we need to address before we continue onward,â€
Pacian said, without a trace of humour in his voice. â€œColt got us into a lot of trouble this
morning because he was drunk. From what Clavis told us, we could be heading into yet
another dangerous situation in Ferrumgaard, and I don't know about the rest of you, but
I'd feel a little more secure leaving Colt behind to sort himself out. A woodsman isn't
going to be real useful underground anyway, if you think about it.â€
â€œI was thinking about this myself on the way here,â€ Nellise added delicately, leaning
against a tree. â€œNot from the perspective of punishing him, merely to give him the time
he needs to clear his mind.â€
â€œHe's had plenty of time to do that over the past few weeks, and he's still a sodding
mess,â€ Pacian complained.
â€œ'Time heals all wounds', as the saying goes,â€ Nellise intoned. â€œAiden, what do you
â€œI spoke with Colt about this earlier,â€ the he explained. â€œI have a sneaking suspicion
that his issue is going to be resolved in the next hour or two anyway.â€
â€œAh, so it is about a woman,â€ Nellise said triumphantly, smiling at Colt.
â€œI know I probably don't get a say in this,â€ Colt interrupted, â€œbut I just want to point
out that Pacian killed Fletcher in cold blood and we forgave him for it. Is my mistake any
worse than his?â€
â€œNo, it isn't,â€ Sayana replied for them. â€œI would remind you all of the times Colt
saved our lives, particularly against the wolves in the mountains. He is brave, and you
should not disregard him so easily.â€
â€œThanks, Sy,â€ Colt grunted. â€œI can promise you I'll be focused and sober, if that's
what you're looking for.â€
â€œThat's good enough for me,â€ Nellise observed. Pacian nodded thoughtfully, then
stepped forward and produced the longbow he had brought with him.
â€œI found this bow in the cabin, above the mantelpiece in a place of honour. If my
guess is right, itâ€Ÿs a quality weaponâ€¦ and it's yours, so long as you can keep your
promise.â€ Colt leaned forward curiously to inspect the weapon, taking the unstrung bow
in his hands to get a closer look.