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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

anyone more qualified to guide ya through the depths of ol' Ferrumgaard than I.” Aiden
gave him a doubtful look.
“Wait a moment, you said you were there as a 'lad'? That was a century ago!”
“That surprises you?” Clavis chuckled and wiped the foam from his beard. “I'm a
hundred and twenty three years old, I'll have you know! Us clansmen are long lived
compared to you longshanks.”
“Oh you're dwarven,” Aiden exclaimed, suddenly making the connection. He
glanced down at Clavis's feet, and noticed they were much higher off the ground than his
own, the young man just hadn't noticed it while they were sitting on bar stools. “Sorry
about that sir, I haven't met one of your kind before. I was expecting something...
“This must be a real thrill for you then,” Clavis joked, drawing a short laugh from
“So you mentioned running into some difficulty,” the young adventurer pressed,
keeping the conversation on topic. “What exactly does that mean?”
“Well, ya know, an ancient underground city and all. Not exactly in the best
condition. Ran into a few collapsed sections that slowed down the expedition. We were
just about done cutting through the rock, when we ran out of supplies, so had to turn
back. It won't be a problem lad, if that's what yer thinking. So long as we've got enough
provisions, that rockfall won't be an issue this time.”
“Interesting,” Aiden replied thoughtfully. “If I might ask, what's your interest in the
old city?”
“I'm looking for a family heirloom that was lost during the fall,” he explained.
“Much was left behind on that fateful day over a century ago, most of it in the lower
sections of the city. It'd be good to bring it back and return it to Stonegaard, where it
should be.” Aiden recognised the name as the city carved into a mountain where the
dwarven people currently resided, nearly a week's travel to the east.
“I think our goals might be compatible,” he finally replied after giving it some
thought. “I'll have to talk it over with my companions, who may or may not wish to join
“Oh ye've got some friends? That's even better. I thought it was just gonna be you
and me, lad.”
“Well, as I said, I haven't asked them yet so I'll have to get back to you a bit later,”
Aiden reiterated. “Are you in a rush to set out?”
“Well, I'd like to get movin‟ in the next few days,” Clavis replied, tugging his beard
thoughtfully. “But truth be told, I haven't been able to find anyone else interested in my
little underground expedition besides yerself, so I'm thinkin' I'll be available for the next
month, if nobody else comes along. Still, I'd like an answer in the next few days if ya
could lad, just out o' politeness.”
“I am nothing if not polite,” Aiden assured him. “I'll probably get back to you by
tomorrow if all goes well, as I have a few things to attend to. Also, I can be very lazy.”
Clavis roared with laughter.
“Yer all right longshanks, I'll be here, as I have been for the past week, when yer
ready to talk some more.”
“Wait, were you here through last night's brawl?” Aiden asked as he was about to