Nature Abhors a Vacuum
loose back in the hills, but the tone of his voice suggested he would have been reluctant
to do so.
A minute or so passed and Aiden could only hear the sounds of muffled talking and
wooden boxes being moved from the back of the wagon. He didn't hear any blood-
curdling screams, which was a positive sign. Finally, the guard walked back up towards
the gate, motioning for it to be opened as he did so.
â€œAll well and good, sir. Sorry to see that your hound was wounded.â€
â€œâ€¦Yes, he means a lot to me,â€ Samuels answered awkwardly, trying to cover his
â€œGlad to hear the road is cleared now sir, it was a cause of some concern for us.
Head on through, and get yourselves to the inn.â€
â€œThank you,â€ Samuels replied, flicking the reins and urging the tired horses forward.
â€œA risky business, bringing a wild animal like that into town,â€ the merchant confided to
Aiden after they were out of earshot of the guards. â€œAs soon as it's back on its feet, it'll be
looking to escape, or eat, and your fool ranger friend won't find it so pitiful then.â€
â€œI'll have a word with him about it, but it's in no condition to do harm to anyone at
this point, so don't be too concerned.â€ Aiden didn't think for a moment he'd be able to
convince Colt of anything, but the merchant was starting to gra te on his nerves.
â€œIt is of little concern to me,â€ Samuels shrugged. â€œI won't be staying in this miserable
little town past tomorrow morning, so pray that you are right.â€ Aiden could tell he was
grumpier than normal, and chose not to answer. There was no point.
The wagon soon pulled up outside the Bracksfordshire Arms Inn, a welcome sight to
the weary travellers. Aiden jumped to the ground and helped Sayana down from the high
ledge of the wagon's seat, for the wild girl was still a little weak, despite all the food she
had consumed during the journey. Aiden had never seen anyone so small consume so
â€œSo, this is Bracksford,â€ he told her, his breath misting in the chilly night air. â€œHave
you been here before?â€ The young man could see by the light of a nearby torch, sheltered
from the incessant rain by a veranda, that Sayana was clearly uncomfortable.
â€œI have never been out of the mountains before,â€ she whispered. â€œPeople... react
badly to me sometimes.â€
â€œI can't imagine why,â€ Aiden remarked with a straight face. â€œI doubt anyone would
give you any trouble around here if you're with us. Still, if you want to return to the
mountains, feel free to do so.â€
â€œThere is nothing left to eat back there, so I will stay with you for now,â€ she
shrugged after a moment of thought.
â€œYou don't want to go back to your homelands?â€ Aiden inquired.
â€œI... no,â€ she hedged. Though he didnâ€Ÿt let on, he could tell that she hadn't been
entirely truthful in her response, but he didn't press the issue.
â€œOkay, we've enough money to keep you fed for a while,â€ he said. â€œThe only
question is where we are getting the food from.â€
â€œMoney? What's that?â€ she asked. Aiden gave her his best 'are you kidding me?'
look, but it appeared the wild girl was serious.
â€œI'll have to explain it later. Right now I just want to get some food and then sleep for
a week.â€ He noticed Colt walking carefully to the stables carrying a heavy coat in his
arms, big enough to cover a large, dog-shaped animal. All of the decent horses had been