~ The Rain ~ pg 7

He had never heard Alex speak well of Kavaccet or its cultural practices, but there was no edge to his sincerity now. Perhaps there may have been a time when he believed in them as Fiora did. The silence stretched on as the men settled into more comfortable positions. It was Alex, again, who broke the silence. “Why do you allow her to come with you?” Civyl did not respond right away. He had not tried to explain her tether before… he did not know if he could do it now. Alex continued to speak into the silence with his thoughts on the matter. “You obviously want to protect her or you would not have insisted on keeping your distance.”

“Except for tonight?” Civyl asked mockingly.

“I do not blame you your moment of weakness,” Alex laughed at his jibe but then sobered. “Yet this quest… it is perilous, yes?” Civyl only nodded. “A real threat to her life and yours?”

“I expect so.”

“Then why? Why lead her into untold danger? What is the use of protecting her from yourself if you are leading her to her death anyway?”

It was Civyl’s turn to sigh. “I have no choice.” Alex gave him a confused look. “The quest,” he attempted, “It pulls me to the mountain pass. I know not what I will find there, just that I must go and that I must reach it by…” he struggled to calculate the date, “…I need to be there by the fourth suntick from now.”

“Plenty of time,” Alex interjected.

“Yes,” Civyl nodded. "The pull is very mild right now. But the mountain is not the only thing that pulls me. I cannot explain it, but I am also drawn to Fiora. It would not let me leave her side when I began this quest seeing her as a stranger. And while it allowed me to search for the cure to my curse with Nivia, it now drives me to her to the point of obsession. I can think of nothing else. Even the mountain pales. You say I am leading Fiora towards the danger, but the truth is, I am following her.”

“But she only goes to the Pass because you say you must.”

“And yet, if she were to refuse, I would be forced to abandon my quest. I cannot leave her, which I can only take to mean that I would fail the quest without her. Fiora is the key to success. Without her, all is lost and reaching the Pass is useless.”

Alex seemed to take it in and asked no more questions, but Civyl soon found it too difficult to keep his eyes open. As sure as the pull of the mountain or the pull of Fiora’s tether, sleep was pulling down on Civyl’s eyelids and he was forced to close them. Even though it was a wooden floor, Civyl slept soundly through the rest of the night. The woman he loved was safe. Safe from the rain, safe from the sorcerer, and safe from the quest for the moment. Even if he couldn’t trust himself to keep her that way. The Birchwoods would fight to keep her safe, he was sure. Even the surly one. That was comfort enough to sleep well tonight.

The End

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