Civyl busied himself with filling his pack and putting his bedroll away, overhearing arguments and conversations but ignoring them for the most part. A few ticks later Fiora returned and came straight to him. It thrilled his heart to feel her embrace him. It was confirmation that she would have welcomed him at the bank, with open arms. But he could not entertain such thoughts now. He could not allow himself to melt into her hold, or even encourage it on her part. Not until he knew she would be safe. He pulled away from her instead, turning to his only comfort in the fire and passed on some of the information he had overheard as he packed. “There are some things for you upstairs. You should go through them and pack for the journey. We leave before the sun passes the trees.” He tried not to see the pain in her face… tried not to think about how it was hurting her. He breathed out a sigh of relief when she slipped up the stairs without argument. When he looked up from the flames, he found five pairs of eyes trained on him. All shown with varying degrees of approval and respect, even from Chink. At least he knew he had their support.
Civyl watched as Fiora was helped onto the back of Alex’s horse and held onto him awkwardly. Even though it was something he had wanted… something he had insisted upon, Civyl still fought a surge of jealousy at her hands on someone else’s sides. She had wanted to ride with him… her hands should be wrapped around his waist. Civyl turned his head away – unable to bear the sight anymore – just in time to watch Nivia climb onto the back of Borris’s horse looking much more comfortable with her hold. Civyl wondered how quickly Fiora would relax and press her body up against Alex just as easily as Nivia did with Borris. He chided himself for the thought and looked straight ahead… right at Demil who made no attempt – now or ever – to hide his fondness for Fiora.
Civyl swore under his breath. There was nowhere he could look that did not remind him of her and the lack of her presence behind him. With a growl, he grabbed the lead reign of the mule knowing that without the animal to slow him down, he might very well leave the rest behind in a gallop. He pulled out in front of everyone else, glad to see nothing but trees in front of him. “Come,” he urged the others. “The mountain pass calls.” Civyl was grateful, for once, to feel the mountain’s hooks pulling at him. Focusing on his goal, he was able to let grief slip to the back of his consciousness. Perhaps if he rode them hard enough, they could reach the pass in just two days… perhaps then he would be free of all the strings that pulled on him.