Chapter 47: A Welcome Reunion

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But I have seen the future. You all may scoff and laugh at me, but it changes not the facts. I have been given a vision, a glorious revelation. Elysion has fallen, but the Soul has left. And I saw the new vessel. A fair maiden, guarded by a fallen ruler, the new crusader, and the knowledge of a thousand lives.

***

The camp was oddly silent.

By no means was nothing happening, however. Everyone was doing something. Kyra was sharpening her sword the way Karik'ar had shown her, putting a little bit of oil on the blade and scraping the steel with the whetstone. Skaria was checking her armor, dusting it off, and rummaging through her pack for something.

Indra was reading, though not like sh had been before. Instead of one book out, in her hands as she sat upright, three books were stretched out in front of her, and she turned pages between them, searching for something. Karik'ar watched her with a mild interest, before turning his attention to the fire, where a rabbit and two fish were cooking, darkening, and releasing mouth-watering aromas into the air.

Only Thaen wasn't doing anything. He sat a ways away, perched on a large knot of roots, his eyes distant, lost in thoughts Kyra could never guess at. Frankly, she didn't want to. Thaen's thoughts were private to him, and it looked like whatever he was ruminating about was upsetting him.

"Kyra," Skaria growled.

"Yes?"

"Can you come over here?" Skaria didn't even look up from shuffling through her packs.

"What's the word?" Kyra asked, smiling.

Skaria stopped and turned around, glaring at Kyra. "What?"

"You know, there's a word most people say when they want someone to do something for them?" Skaria's eyes narrowed.

"Oh, that word!" The mercenary's voice was dripping with sarcasm. "Pretty please, Kyra, can you come over here, before I take my boot and kick it so far up your arse that you taste these steel studs?" Kyra looked at her boots. Those spikes looked painful.

Kyra set her sword down, after using one of Karik'ar's spare cleaning rags to wipe it free of oil, and moved over to Skaria. "Yes?"

"Hold this," Skaria said, holding out her coat-like main garment. It was separate from her breastplate, and went down to her knees, if Skaria had been wearing it. And it was surprisingly heavy for leather.

Skaria must have caught her holding it and testing its weight. "Its armor. Its going to be heavier than normal leather."

"It seems...too heavy. I've felt armor from my home. Leather armor. But this is too heavy."

"Oh, right." Skaria shook it. "Listen. Can you hear that?" Kyra leaned in. She could hear a faint jangling, muffled by the leather. "Chainmail. Thin steel alloy, of Kai'Draeni make." She looked at Karik'ar.

"He made this?"

"No, a friend of ours did. Caedak, of Saefel Aedhin. Though he had Karik'ar mix the metals." She yanked out a needle and thread from her pack. "This edge is fraying. Like usual. Can you hold it up?"

"What's the word?" Kyra teased.

Skaria glared. "Don't. Just hold it, will you?" Kyra nodded and held the coat draped over her arm as Skaria stitched it back together. It seemed that every pass that Skaria made through the fabric had to be forced. Every stitch had to be stabbed through. That did make sense, Kyra realized. It was toughened leather.

There was the snap of a twig, and everyone sat bolt upright. "What was that?" Kyra asked. Her heart began to beat faster, pounding to get out of her rib cage. Every sense flooded her body with information to help her survive.

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