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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

nodded brusquely in response, then stepped into the water, tentatively at first to be sure of
its depth, but with greater confidence as he waded out into the city.
“Sayana's awake,” Colt announced at that moment as she stirred in his arms.
“How are you feeling?” Aiden asked.
“I'm starving,” she replied weakly, leaning against the big ranger as she looked about
at their surroundings.
“Yep, she's back to normal,” Pacian chuckled with relief as Colt pulled out some of
their rations for her. Sayana quickly took what she was offered, wolfing down cold
sausages, bread and cheese much faster than she should have. She managed to avoid
choking, despite her best efforts.
“Here's something else you can have,” Nellise offered, shaking a small vial of dark
liquid vigorously in one hand. “I've made enough for all of us, but just take one mouthful
or you'll regret it later.” She took a swig from the vial herself, shuddering as she
swallowed the liquid, then handed it to Pacian who looked at it dubiously.
“This stuff better be good, because it smells worse than this garbage pile we're sitting
next to,” he grumbled, taking his mouthful and screwing up his face in silent complaint.
“Good God, it smells better than it tastes. Your turn, Aiden.”
“Oh, thanks Pace, I can't wait to try it after such a ringing endorsement,” Aiden
commented acerbically, leaning over to take the vial.
“Just swallow quickly and it will be over before you know it,” Nellise offered, her
voice sounding stronger already. Aiden took her advice and drank a mouthful in the
hopes of avoiding the taste, but to no avail. It was a bitter, acrid tasting substance that
made him shudder involuntarily, but almost immediately he felt more energetic.
“Whatever it is, it's working,” Aiden remarked, handing the vial over to Colt, who
took a swig from it without complaint. The big ranger passed it to Sayana, who finished
off what remained in the vial while she was still eating some bread. She displayed the
most benefit from the concoction as her eyes widened and her posture straightened.
“It will last for little more than an hour,” Nellise explained, “but should give us the
strength we need to search this place for a way out. If we don't find one, I guess it doesn't
really matter after that.”
“I feel great,” Pacian exclaimed, leaping to his feet. “I'm going to search around a bit
for anything interesting.”
“And how do you expect to find your way around?” Aiden wondered, feeling better
and better with each passing moment.
“I still have the torch here,” Pacian replied after a moment‟s thought. “I'll just re-
wrap it in some cloth and a little oil and it should give me some light for a little while at
least.” He tore off some cloth from the bottom of his longcoat, while the others rose to
their feet and prepared to wade in to the freezing waters to look for a way out.
Clavis had disappeared from sight several minutes ago, b ut Aiden could still hear his
muttered complaints about the cold, and splashes as he moved around the broken, flooded
floor.
Although their boots and clothing did offer some protection from the cold at first,
Sayana's ruined pants being non-existent below her thighs did nothing to shield her from
the freezing waters as they stepped in.
“Are you feeling alright?” Aiden asked her as they started wading through the
waters.
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