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The wire brush ran smoothly over Titan’s coat. The warhorse chortled quietly, clearly appreciative of the treatment but too anxious to slip into simple bliss. His immense hoof scraped against the floor, its size dwarfing even the most gracious of noble dinner plates. It was nearly midnight yet Titan acted as if it was the eve of battle. 

Turning his great head, he gazed at Arialynn with one eye, the curiosity plain in his expression. The lady knight did not miss the gesture and met the horse’s gaze, but continued brushing. With another snort, the warhorse relented to waiting a bit longer, albeit with the occasional kick or scrape of an impatient hoof.

Arialynn knew these expressions all too well, eerily so in her mind. As she finished treating his coat, she turned her attention to the thirsty trough that awaited more water. She refilled it with a well-trod rhythm, like a chore performed so many countless times that a blindfold wouldn’t trip in the slightest. Titan knew this as well and set upon his own pattern, which was to immediately immerse his snout into the water and drink plentifully, leaving the trough as thirsty as it was just moments before.

Everything between them was so familiar yet distant, like revisiting an old home years after painful departure, yet finding all things just as they were. Arialynn had long since considered such opportunities impossible and therefore not to be yearned for, as time inevitably marched onward. All things changed in spite of any attempt to remain still. There was no sense in wrapping oneself in the cloak of the past or regrets, as the past was created each time a moment passed and regrets are soon to follow should one keep distracted.

And yet she wrestled with a cacophony of thoughts. Here she tended to a horse that to her was two years dead, yet he breathed and stood as if no time had passed. To her, Theramore was a gaping wound, a pile of ruin that stood stark and painful when compared to every memory. To him, Theramore’s banners still stood tall, the bright dawn lighting them as beacons filled with vibrant flame. 

A nudge on her arm roused her. Turning her head, Titan towered behind her, his eyes training downward and still full of curiosity. He chortled again, perhaps posing the same question as before. Inwardly, Arialynn smiled, recognizing another habit of his. He was a proud, gargantuan creature and certainly not above questioning the confidence and competency of his companion. 

Yes, companion is the word, Arialynn thought to herself, laying a hand between Titan’s eyes; eyes that poured with intelligence. Her forehead replaced her hand, matching hers momentarily with his.

"Let us ride," she told him. No other words needed to be spoken. He immediately understood and turned to the stable door.

Author Ari
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