Walking into town with a new member of the crew was interesting for the whole party. There were plenty of eyes tossed our way while this stately young woman glided through the streets in shimmering gold chainmail.
Members of the party split off as we walked on to various destinations. I expected Bromm to continue on to The Sea Witch with us, but he seemed to want to check in on other business before reaching there.
Before long, it was just Silah and I moving through the streets together.
"We have got to get you into something a little less obvious." I shook my head.
There weren't many people on the road at the time, but the eyes of everyone on the street were unmistakably on her. She locked eyes easily with the passers by and smiled winsomely. I wondered how much of this was learned or embedded in the magic itself. She seemed to be really enjoying herself.
"You don't like the attention?" Silah looked at me sidelong with a smirk.
"No, I'm not one for attention." I ducked my head slightly under a low slung sign, but my head stayed low as we continued. I was trying to hide without making it obvious to her and it seemed to fuel her enjoyment. Hiding was a futile effort for me, who was nearly three heads higher than anyone else on the street.
"Are you jealous?" She prodded, the smirk widened into a sparkling smile. Her eyes regarded the trickle of human traffic on the street, nearly all of them looking at her.
I sighed, straightening up and rubbing my forehead.
She was designed by the gods to torture me. I just know it.
"What is this place?" She mused, mostly to herself, while taking in the shallow bay and the city perched precariously around it.
"Hlofreden. I didn't even know it existed until about a month ago." I said, matter of fact.
Silah raised her perfect chin in a childlike way and nodded with a sort of vague recollection.
"We need to talk, you and I." I said, perhaps a mite too seriously.
She grimaced. It was a patronizing pout that had come to infuriate me over the briefest time we'd traveling. After seeing her expression, I gritted my teeth and stared straight ahead. I lengthened my stride, pushing on more quickly toward The Sea Witch.
"You're young, yet." She called ahead, "There is plenty of time. Why take the fun out of this?"
My mind boggled. I hadn't held her as a weapon since before we broke camp from the mines where we found her. Where I bonded with her. It had been a wearying trip on foot. It wasn't the fatigue of the effort, though. It was her. Her attention seemed on everyone but me. It was maddening. I needed to trust her. I needed to know where I stood with her!
I'm sure this partnership would be unequivocal when our goals aligned, but right now? I sighed loudly. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. She was so infuriatingly inconsistent!
The wound in my side started to throb as she fell behind. I swore I could feel a trickle of blood spring from it. I ached and felt sickly, nauseous with the effort of even walking. I pressed through it as was my way. Pain was pain. Pain could be ignored; Silah? Not so much.
So, that's what this bond felt like.
I heard the jingle of her chainmail and felt a rush of energy from within as she caught up to me. I breathed deeply, the naseousness subsided and the rush of revitalization invigorated me.
"You're in your head a lot today. What's going on in there?" She sidled up beside me and grasped my hand playfully.
"Hey. Hands off." I tried to shake her hold, but she tenaciously clung to my pinky and ring finger on my right hand.
"You shouldn't be so worried." She whispered closely from inside my head while looking up at me, "All will be said in due time. I promise."
I tilted my eyes down to her, giving her a somber look. She gave me a wide smile, still clinging to my hand.
"And you have got to control that temper," she said out loud as she teetered to and fro like an excited child.
I closed my eyes and bowed my head walking blindly forward.
Yes, I do.
I slowed my pace and Silah matched me. She looked down at herself.
"You are correct about my clothing. It no longer feels appropriate." She mused, looking herself over, suddenly discontent with the violently glittering golden chainmail.
"Perhaps we can find something we can both live with." She looked up again at me with those fathomless eyes, "And, maybe, we could have a look at your wardrobe while we are at it. You are no longer on the front lines, soldier."
She nudged ahead, letting go of my fingers and walked backwards for a moment.
"You are dressing for two now, after all." A coy smile curled one side of her lips. She turned forward and continued moving toward The Sea Witch sign that was now clearly visible.
Her look lit my heart on fire and I felt my face flush with the attention. I bowed my head hoping to cast a shadow over my face in light of the overcast sky, smiling in spite of myself.
So, that's what this bond felt like.
(Get the know Akeron.)