IV

After barely one day, Heddwyn felt like he had lost a part of himself. Often, he found himself either repeating orders or asking for someone to repeat what he just said. He caught himself on multiple occasions searching for Jacey through the tents, all the while knowing that Jacey would not be there.

“Sir?”

Heddwyn shook his head again to clear it and turned back to the map on the table.

“We’re going to Rotlyn gap?” Major Pauldor asked.

Heddwyn glanced over the map and nodded. “Through Rilgros plains. Like so. We’ll send out a small attachment to Isrian and another to Soray on the while.”

Major Pauldor nodded. “Do you have anyone in particular in mind?”

He rubbed his chin for a long moment and sighed. “Yes. Trent will take Isrian and Balrot will take Soray.”

“Only ten men each?”

Heddwyn stared at the map for a long moment, finding for once it difficult to remember the reports about each of these towns. “They are small towns. I only want enough to scare them. No need for anything more.”

Major Pauldor nodded and rose. “I’ll ready the camp for leaving in the morning.”

Heddwyn nodded and stood as well. Horse’s hooves pounded  through the camp, stopping outside his tent, followed immediately by a man’s feet hitting the ground.

The rider pushed back the flap. “Commander.”

“Yes?”

“Sergeant Conward’s troop was attacked. They did not hurt us much but–they captured your wife.”

Heddwyn stiffened and motioned to the map. “Show me.”

The man took two steps across the room and knelt next to the table. Without any extra words, he pointed out where they were when the attack came and the direction the soldiers rode after they finished.

“I would not put this down as a real military attack. More likely a disgruntle town militia. But they still put up a fair enough fight.”

Heddwyn nodded and grabbed his cloak. “WAlk with me, Major.” With that, he shoved the tent open.

Major Pauldor followed him. “What are you doing?”

“I’m going after her.”

“Alone? You know nothing about what they are doing or how they are armed or trained. You don’t even know who they are.”

“There is enough anger that the longer I wait, the more likely they will harm her. I will not allow that. I’ll meet you at Rotlyn gap in two days. If I’m not there, you are in charge.”

“No.”

Heddwyn looked at him. “Are you disobeying an order?”

“REspectfully, yes. You need someone to go with you. Allow me.”

“Two travel slower than one.”

“But at least then I can watch your back.”

“We need to move.”

“We’ve moved enough that Lancey oversee it. No skirmishes would create just as much tension as two small ones.”

Heddwyn allowed himself to sense Major Pauldor’s emotions for a moment and he knew determination when he saw it. “Fine.”

“Thank you.”

“Meet me there in five minutes or I ride alone.”

“Yes, sir.”

Seven minutes later, Heddwyn and Major Pauldor rode away from the camp.

–Next

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