Nature Abhors a Vacuum
â€œA nobleman who operates the North Shore Trading Company out of Culdeny, along
with a few other wealthy individuals,â€ she explained. â€œThey have a lot of financial
backing, and could probably afford a mercenary company.â€
â€œSounds like you should pay him a visit and ask him a few pointed questions,â€
Pacian suggested. Ariel shook her head and shifted in her chair.
â€œEasier said than done I'm afraid, he's quite elusive. Doesn't mingle with the
commoners a lot, as you'd expect. But he does frequent a local bar called the Gentlemen's
club, a very exclusive gathering of movers and shakers.â€
â€œOk, so you do know where to find him,â€ Colt said impatiently. â€œGo do your job.â€
â€œI would very much like to do that, but they don't tolerate women in their
gentlemen's club,â€ she replied evenly. â€œIn fact, only ten people in town are wealthy and
powerful enough to qualify for entry.â€
â€œHow can they refuse entry to a commander of the guard?â€ Aiden asked in disbelief.
â€œIt's not so much that they'd refuse entry,â€ Ariel explained, â€œit's that they would
refuse co-operation, because I'm a woman and also merely a temporary commander. And
theyâ€Ÿve enough power and influence to remove me from office, if it came to it. Iâ€Ÿm sorry
to say this, but there's not much I can do with the evidence you've given me. This is only
a hunch we're going on here, and itâ€Ÿs going to take more than a scrawled note to figure
out who's behind the attack.â€
â€œDo you think the Mayor would be rich and powerful enough to be a member of this
club you mentioned?â€ Aiden asked.
â€œWithout a doubt,â€ Ariel concurred. â€œWhat are you thinking?â€
â€œI'm thinking that if he understands the gravity of the situation, we're going to be the
newest members of the Gentlemen's club, even if only for a few hours.â€
â€œI like the way you think, Mister Wainwright,â€ Ariel said, grinning slyly. â€œIf you
manage to get some information of merit, bring it to me, and I'll figure out the best way
to make use of it. In the meantime, Iâ€Ÿm going to investigate this collapsed tunnel you
found, and see if we can find out more.â€
â€œI think I'll sit this one out,â€ Sayana said quietly. â€œI should go and eat anyway.â€
â€œNo, I want you with us,â€ Aiden disagreed. â€œI have an idea.â€ Sayana frowned and
gave Aiden a strange look, but she nodded anyway.
â€œYou want me along too?â€ Colt asked. â€œYou probably know I'm not going to be any
good talkin' with nobles.â€ Aiden considered this for a moment.
â€œI guess it wouldn't hurt to have you looming in the background,â€ he finally decided.
â€œJust don't say anything.â€
â€œI can loom with the best of them,â€ Colt grunted.
â€œAlright, let's go pay the Mayor another visit,â€ Aiden said. â€œWe'll get in touch with
you later, Sergeant, and thanks for your help.â€
â€œThat's what I'm here for,â€ Ariel replied, then noticed Pacian scrutinising her.
â€œWhat are you looking at me like that for?â€
â€œI'm just wondering,â€ he replied smoothly, â€œif you are the owner of all that
underwear hanging off the top rail upstairs? And if so, does that chain mail suit chafe
â€œWhy don't you ask my husband, the Captain of the Kingdom Guard, when he gets
back from fighting a war,â€ Ariel grated, narrowing her sight on the blond rogue. â€œI'm sure
he'll be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding my unmentionables.â€