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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

cracked a grin when he saw it was Colt, beaten and bloodied but still in one piece. The
big ranger clutched the side of his chest with one arm, and looked around with something
akin to satisfaction at the sight before him.
“That'll show the bastards,” he croaked, shambling towards the stairs and completely
oblivious to Aiden's presence. Focusing on his meal, he thought briefly about the
frustration of not being able to send help down to his home town, let alone Bracksford.
He had no idea what possessed the K ing to strip the garrisons bare and invade
another country, except that history was replete with sovereigns doing exact ly that. Aiden
didn't know a great deal about K ing Seamus Roebec, the ruler of Aielund, but he was
apparently subject to the same whims as other K ings, leaving his countrymen to fend for
themselves in the wake of his passing.
In addition to this, however, Aiden was also tempted by the close proximity of the
old dwarven city of Ferrumgaard, only two days travel to the west from Culdeny. The
place must have been looted many times in the last century, especially being so near to a
major human settlement. But part of him still hoped the strange artefact he sought was
buried somewhere in its depths. For that to be possible, he figured Ferrumgaard was
deserted and the item had been overlooked, or possibly hidden.
The alternative was that the place was so dangerous that nobody had gone near it
since the fall. If that was the case, then it would be a grave risk to even attempt to find
what he sought. Aiden needed to learn more before he could decide on a course of action.
“I‟m looking for some information,” he quietly asked of the cherubic girl, pushing a
silver noble towards her on the counter. “I'm looking for someone who knows a lot about
the old city of Ferrumgaard. Would you happen to know anyone I could speak with?”
The woman took the silver piece and appeared thoughtful. Before she could answer, a
short, bearded man sitting a little further along the bar spoke up.
“Sorry but I couldn't help but overhear. Yer wantin‟ to know more about
Ferrumgaard? I can help ya out with that.”
“Yes, that man right there,” the bartender pointed, quickly pocketing the coin, and
looking as innocent as she could manage in a moments notice. “Glad to help you out, I'll
be out the back cleaning if you need me. You two have a nice chat!” Before Aiden could
protest, she was already scurrying through the door to the kitchens. The short man
laughed.
“Typical, takes a man's money, then runs off,” he chortled. “But ya didn't wants to
hear about women now did ya lad. Nay, it's Ferrumgaard that's on yer mind, and I'll tell
ya what you want to know. The name's Clavis MacAliese.”
“Aiden Wainwright, good to meet you,” Aiden said, getting off his stool and moving
over to shake the man's hand firmly.
“So Aiden, what's yer interest in the fallen city of Ferrumgaard?” Clavis continued,
sipping ale from a large tankard. “Nobody goes there and returns the same y‟know.
Changes a man; makes him see his own mortality.”
“I have an interest in the historical aspects of the place,” Aiden said carefully.
“Specifically, some research that was being done before the... unfortunate events took
place. Tell me, how familiar are you with the layout of the old city?”
“I'm intimately acquainted with the design of the city,” Clavis assured him, “having
been there as a lad. Also, I visited there not two years ago on me o wn little expedition.
Didn't make it past the third level, afore I ran into some difficulties, but ya won't find
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