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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Die horribly,” Aiden deadpanned.
“I will go also,” Sayana said, looking directly into Aiden's eyes. He knew that she
knew the real reasons he was going there, and although she must have been confused as
to why he was keeping them secret from the others, the wild girl was at least willing to
play along. “I would like to see this great fallen city of which you speak, though I care
little for any riches that lie within.”
“You say that now,” Pacian scoffed, “but as soon as you lay your eyes on a diamond,
you'll suddenly find you're really interested in riches.” Sayana gave him a confused look,
which just made Pacian laugh out loud.
“Before you even ask me,” Colt interrupted, “I want to point out that place is cursed,
and a lot of people who go in there don't come out again. I think you're all fools for even
considering it, especially you,” he said, looking at Clavis.
“I did'na twist yer arms, lad,” he replied, chuckling. “If ya don't want to come, ya
don't have to.”
“Except,” Aiden added, “that we're going to help you and your ranger friends in the
Calespurs tomorrow. Not that I wouldn't offer to help for free, but you might consider
returning the favour by coming along.”
“Fine,” Colt grunted after a long moment of thought. “But if the ghosts of ten
thousand dead dwarves suck the life from our bones, you've only got yourself to blame.”
“Good, then it's settled,” Pacian declared, taking a swig of his drink. Nellise stood up
and placed a heavy sack on the table.
“I had a long talk with the Archioness today,” she explained wearily. “I won‟t bore
you with the details, but suffice it to say she said that by helping you, I'm serving the
country and God, so I don't have to go back to doing menial chores around the church.
Part of me was hoping she would prevent me from joining you, I must confess, for this
life you all seem so comfortable with does not sit so well with me.”
“None of us asked for this, Nel,” Aiden reminded her. “I certainly don‟t go around
looking for people to fight, but I hope you realise how valuable your assistance has been
to us. We are helping the Kingdom, in our own small way, even if it is a little outside
your field of expertise.”
“It‟s nice to hear my efforts have been appreciated,” Nellise replied with a warm
smile. “I‟ll continue working with you for now, especially since I‟ve gained the support
of the Church.”
“What's in the sack?” Pacian asked curiously, poking it with one finger.
“Medicines, tinctures, unguents and potions,” she explained in grand fashion.
“Courtesy of the Church of Aielund. Should we run into any difficulty - and our track
record suggests we will – these will help keep us healthy, free of disease and able to
perform to our potential. I'll take this upstairs, and then I have a few errands to run before
we head out.”
“There's no rush,” Aiden said, ignoring the look he received from Clavis. “It's too
late to leave now anyway, so I was thinking we could start out early tomorrow morning.”
“That's all well and good,” Nellise replied, trying to squeeze past the back of Colt's
chair, “but if we're going to be heading into harm‟s way down in the ranges, I want to
buy some better equipment first. Unless Colt can say for certain that we won't be in
peril...?” They all turned to look at the big ranger, who looked unco mfortable under such