Nature Abhors a Vacuum
The brief exchange between Nellise and Pacian highlighted the strained relations
within the group, and was a discouraging start to what, in all likelihood, promised to be a
dangerous journey. Sayana held Aiden's hand under the table - her grip was tight, and a
quick glance at her tense features showed that this was going to be particularly difficult
for her, no matter how much planning went into it.
Shortly after the meeting ended, Pacian took Sayana off to help her get some new
clothes and better equipment for the coming task, while Aiden reluctantly accompanied
Nellise and Colt to the smithy.
â€œHonestly, I cannot fathom the thought process of the man,â€ Nellise confided to
Aiden as they strode along the muddy street. â€œI understand he endured a trauma when he
was younger, but I would have thought it would have made him less prone to violence. I
fear for the future of the K ingdom, should people with his cavalier attitude to murde r and
bloodshed gain more authority.â€
â€œI don't think Pacian is looking to become K ing, much less any sort of authority
figure,â€ Aiden replied, unsure if he should even speak up. She seemed to be more upset
with Pacian than himself at the moment, so he figured it was safe for the time being.
â€œI spent a lot of time trying to educate him on the proper way to deal with things like
this, but it seems like I haven't made any progress at all. Perhaps I was too subtle?â€
â€œIf I had to guess, I'd say you were a distracting teacher,â€ Aiden replied
diplomatically. â€œI think he might have been more interested in you personally, and took
advantage of your time together to get to know you better.â€
â€œI feel duped,â€ she sighed. â€œHe did genuinely seem interested, and I suppose I
mistook that for his desire to learn.â€
â€œIt was worth a try, I mean, who knows? Perhaps you've had some effect upon him,
in spite of everything.â€
â€œQ uite possibly,â€ the young woman agreed. â€œI shall persevere, regardless of his
attitude. It's for his own good, after all.â€ Aiden decided not to reply, silently pleased at
least she was able to forgive people for their flaws.
Chapter Twenty Two
It was late afternoon by the time they'd finished gathering supplies and equipment, so
at Colt's suggestion, they stayed in town that night and resolved to leave Bracksford
before dawn the next day. Aiden had to get his leather breastplate mended, while Nellise
acquired an entirely new steel one, plus a helmet from the smithy whoâ€Ÿd been making
good use of the iron theyâ€Ÿd recovered from the mountains.
Sayana showed up at the crowded common room of the Bracksfordshire Arms
wearing a snug- fitting suit of leathers that caused Aiden to forget his own name for a few
moments. Pacian had been assisting her with purchases, which drew a raised eyebrow
from his old friend.
â€œLook, she's always on the front line anyway,â€ Pacian explained, â€œso I figured she
could use some extra protection. It's no breastplate, but it's better than what she's been
â€œI told him I can use sorcery to armour my skin,â€ Sayana explained, â€œbut he refused
â€œAs I said, your strength is better used elsewhere,â€ Pacian counselled.