Nature Abhors a Vacuum
“You been taking baths in this?” he asked with what sounded like sarcasm. “Never
mind, me fix good. Take another one, you will need it. Take sword too, since pretty lady
not use it.” Aiden had made the mistake of assuming the big man was slow-witted, and
brutish, simply by the way he spoke. But the skill with which he had crafted this
equipment, combined with the selfless generosity now evident, made Aiden reconsider
his previous position on the man.
He took the arming sword with gratitude, handing over his plain blade as partial
recompense. The difference in value between the two was immense, however, and it was
a paltry gesture.
When he was done admiring the fine blade, he looked up to see Nellise standing
before them, fully equipped, with a light mace held in one hand and the gleaming shield
in the other. The breastplate had been engraved with a pair of wings on the front, spread
wide like a bird in flight, and the flared shoulder epaulettes accentuated the impression.
“Well, how do I look?” she asked, surprisingly self-conscious. Hadush looked at her
with what could only be described as obvious admiration.
“You look like angel of war,” he said, and neither Aiden nor Colt could dispute that
It was late afternoon by the time they'd finished gathering supplies and new
equipment, so at Colt's suggestion, they stayed in town that night and resolved to leave
before dawn the next day. 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 the wild girl with her
purchases, which drew a raised eyebrow from his old friend.
"Look, she's always on the front line anyway," Pacian explained, "so I figured she
could use some extra protection. It's no breastplate, but it's better than what she's been
“I told him I can use my magic to armour my skin,” Sayana explained, “but he
refused to listen.”
“As I said, your strength is better used elsewhere,” Pacian counselled.
“It sounds like he was very helpful,” Aiden remarked, expecting some sort of trick to
"Yes, Pacian insisted I try on several outfits to make sure I picked the right one,"
Sayana added obliviously. "He was very thorough."
"I bet he was," Aiden stated flatly, glaring at his friend's fake expression of concern.
Sayana still had a lot to learn about the civilised world, and the uncivilised people who
dwelled within. However, he didn't make an issue out of it, instead choosing to ignore his
blond friend’s typical antics so as not to spoil the hot meal being presented before them.
Tom Ballard served them with a magnificent platter of roast pork, potatoes, thick
gravy, with hot-buttered bread on the side. It was a feast fit for a King, and Aiden could
only hope he would remember the taste after days of trail rations soured his palette once
The meal was a strange event for Aiden, as Colt and Nellise chose to sit apart as they
ate, and Pacian, for once, didn't seem interested in talking at all. Sayana was uneasy with