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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Are you injured, Highness?” Aiden continued when no other reply was
forthcoming.
“I'm... yes, a little,” she replied in a shaking voice. “I am more concerned about you
at the moment, sir. Your chest...” Aiden looked down and saw that his breastplate had
been torn open and his shirt was soaked with blood. Strangely, he didn't feel any pain,
probably because the adrenaline from the fight was still pumping through his veins.
“Yes, I'm sure that's going to hurt in a few minutes,” he remarked distantly. “I think
we'd both better have our wounds looked at.”
“Oh it's nothing, I assure you,” she gushed, trying to fix up her dress in places where
it was a little too revealing. The entire skirt had been ripped at some point, leaving tatters
covering her thighs. “One of those cads tried to tear off my dress and… that's how my
clothing came to be in such a state. Their commander stopped him, however, and even
slapped him with his mailed glove, informing him that I wasn't to be touched in that
fashion.”
“Who, this bloke?” Aiden asked, looking down at the fallen officer. “He didn't seem
all that honourable to me.”
“No, he is just one of their lieutenants,” Criosa informed him. “Their commander left
here a few hours ago, making for Culdeny. Something dreadful is going to happen there.”
The sounds of heavy footsteps approaching could be heard out in the hallway and within
moments, Colt and Nellise entered the small room.
“Your Highness,” Nellise breathed, offering a formal curtsey to the young princess.
“Oh, please don't,” Criosa replied, “this is hardly the time or the place. Just call me
Criosa.”
“Certainly, Highness,” Nellise said, apparently not having heard the previous
sentence. “Your dress... did those men try to -”
“Tried, yes, but I'm quite alright, I assure you,” Criosa interrupted. Aiden looking
warily at Nellise, seeing a familiar look in her eyes as Criosa's appearance brought back
unwanted memories. Nellise appeared to be struggling to maintain her composure as she
ran a gloved hand through her long hair.
“Nellise, stay with us now,” Aiden gently assured her, trying to keep her focused.
The poor woman had been thrown into this situation with hardly any time to recover, and
it seemed like the constant challenges had actually do ne her some good, keeping her
mind busy. But in all the confusion and conflict, Aiden had almost forgotten that such
traumas are not so easily forgotten.
“Are you not well?” Criosa asked with uncertainty, looking back and forth between
Nellise and Aiden, trying to ascertain what was going on.
“Nellise will be fine, because we‟re safe, and nothing will hurt her ever again,”
Aiden said in a soft voice. These words were aimed at Nellise, and had the desired effect
of calming the acolyte and bringing her attention to the pressing needs of the moment.
She looked at him with fond appreciation and a little blind faith Aiden knew was keeping
her going.
“Let me take a look at that,” Nellise said, wiping a stray tear from her face and
kneeling beside him as Sayana jo ined them.
“Where‟s Pace?” Aiden asked.
“I‟m not sure,” Sayana answered as she inspected her wounds, “but he was okay
when I last saw him.”
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