Benign Manipulation

- Verden, a small village near Skeldergate Forest, early evening, 547 DBTR -

Orla watched Nate think it through from thought to thought, until he finally decided to just live a little bit. "You know what?" He turned to look at her once more. "Would you be able to show me where this valley is tomorrow? I would love to see it for myself."

"Sure, and I'd be happy to show it to you," she said, giving him an open, warm look of approval.

Her grandmother used to say paranoia was just as foolish as naivety, and she was pleased to see Nate display the independence to throw off some of the shackles of his royal upbringing. She knew he was of course right to be wary of deadly assassins, but unless one followed him all the way from the city there would be none out here. The sheer denseness of Skeldergate and the almost impenetrable Dalen Alps kept the area mostly isolated from the rest of the Two kingdoms. Besides for the little-travelled one leading to the small village, there weren't any roads at all.

Orla brushed a wheat-blonde strand from her forehead and smiled with genuine enthusiasm. "In the valley there is not much game, but all the beautiful scenery should make up for it. It's probably the prettiest and most untouched landscape in all of Verden. No one has settled anywhere near there, not even bandits because it's so remote and too far from the coast or any towns. With no people around, I've always felt perfectly safe travelling on my own to and from the valley since I was a child. But... I guess you can bring your guards along if you feel you need them," Orla added, not judgmentally, but with subtle calculation to touch off a nerve of youthful pride.

< Prev : Cornered Next > : Rooftop Gardens