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Saffron



Saffron was grateful that the change in topic had worked, she didn’t want to think about stupid Warren with his stupid face and hair and strength. Didn’t want t think about how he’d so obviously beaten her in front of her idol. If she started thinking about him too much then she’d start wondering if Cal secretly wished she was training him instead, taking him out on the rounds with her. Warren was bigger and stronger and clearly more adept at fighting. What use was Saffron in comparison? If she started down that road then she’d start convincing herself she was nothing and then she’d made an excuse to get away. What she needed to do was put that dick and his jeering supporters out of her mind. Sadly, though things like that were easier said than done. Not talking about him was helping though, if she could just put the fight out of her mind, try not to imagine Cal judging her for it.

Instead of thinking about that she tried to listen to Caldera instead, hanging on every word with eyed enthusiasm. The vale, she’d never been but she knew that the river Twinge, that fed the lake in the castle grounds, ran through there. Saffron also knew it was land that belonged to the King and found herself nodding along as Cal explained that they weren’t looking for outlaws. For a moment she felt a twinge, her thoughts drifting to her cousin and then wondering if Cal wasn’t taking her to the forest because she wasn’t good enough. No, that wasn’t how it worked she tried to remind herself. Cal got her assignments the same as all the other guards. It was the captain who chose everyone’s roles and jobs… wait did that mean that he didn’t think she was up to it? That was probably worse. Hopefully that wasn’t the case. This was just standard training, you didn’t throw raw recruits in the deep end. Any time her thoughts wanted to shut the hell up that would be wonderful.

It may have sounded like a dull itinerary to Cal, to Saffron it was the most thrilling of guidebooks. She was going to get to spend the day learning from her hero! Being able to string a sentence together by the end of it without messing it up would be a godsend. She could feel the nervous sweat creeping down the back of her neck. Oh, gods what if she messed up more than her sentences? What if she messed up in front of Cal? That couldn’t happen. Cal couldn’t see her lose that fight and then see her mess up in training, it would destroy her. Chatting to locals sounded particularly terrifying. She couldn’t just chat, she needed five minutes just to work up the courage to get a sentence out. Perhaps if she had some better instruction, “Is there anything in particular were supposed to ask them? The locals I mean. How do we… ‘chat’?” Saffron didn’t want to admit to her idol that she didn’t know how to do that but small talk wasn’t her area; especially not with strangers.

Saffron settled in the saddle, though barely relaxed her hands fidgeting on the reigns in a manner she couldn’t help. Whether the horse sensed her nerves or not it proved to be steady beat that followed after Buddy. The young girl was of course more focused on listening to Cal than noticing her surroundings but she kept the animal on track at least as she tried to absorb the knowledge Cal was putting out there. She noticed the other guards waving as Cal went by and felt both embarrassed, envious, awkward and a little awe. If only she could be like her, have that confidence, the ease. Saffron knew the rules that Cal was reciting but was too enamoured to stop her it wasn’t until Cal asked a direct question that she was forced to find her voice again. “First aid training? Uh some,” she admits it quietly. She wasn’t sure why it shamed her but there were things she found easier than physical training, healing was one of them. The names of herbs of poultices stuck in her head in a flash whereas it took weeks for her muscles to even start remembering certain moves. It had gotten her, her fair share of ridicule. Enough that she didn’t owning up to her intelligence no matter how big or small. “I guess I know stuff. Mostly basics and what stuff helps you get better quicker”. Dumbing herself down was safer even in front of the woman she admired.





Christian Holzinger | html by Merlin



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