Chapter 9 (36th of Elgatan in the year 6198)

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Restless soul

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Restless soul. Tired soul. Baren soul. Troubled soul.

-Earoni's Prayer verse 2

Cassandra's thoughts tumbled like grains of sand caught in the surf

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Cassandra's thoughts tumbled like grains of sand caught in the surf. They awoke her in the middle of the night after a fitful attempt to get some rest and their relentless churning refused to let her sleep.

To soothe them, the young woman decided it was time to impart a fresh round of suffering upon her rebel prisoner. However, after returning to her chambers from The Vault and the impromptu interrogation, she found herself still unable to rest. Just being in that foul place, and dealing with the scum she was keeping locked away within it, caused her mind to race even more.

Frustrated he was holding out, she'd already begun devising additional methods of torture to inflict upon him. All with the sole purpose of breaking his body and forcing his will to follow suit.

When the shadow and its red eyes entered her room early the next morning, Cassandra was already wide awake. "It is not wise to keep Lord Hedric waiting." Its warning contained a needed reminder for prudence.

Cassandra paid the disembodied creature little mind. Lord Hedric had delayed the Weekly Council a few days following the attempt on her life. But this morning it was time to proceed with the ritual formality.

Cassandra donned her light armor. The mixture was an assortment of leather and a padded jacket, along with a few pieces of plate protecting her strong arm; her right arm. It was a hodgepodge that had served her well. The sub-general had never liked the bulkiness of the heavier plate armors Lord Hedric's other commanding officers wore. Her advantage was quickness and agility, and she wanted to keep it that way.

She captured her sword belt from its peg on the wall. Strapping on the pair of identical sabers, she adjusted them until each rested precisely where they should on either side of her waist.

Flipping the saber at her left into her right hand, Cassandra slashed at an imaginary foe. Quick and fluid, the other weapon moved into her opposite hand. They hovered in the air before her. She checked the balance of each on the tips of a single finger then re-sheathed them with fluent ease. It had become a practiced routine for her and made her comfortable knowing that everything was perfect.

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