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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

She had said nothing at all upon waking however, and remained silent throughout the
morning. Nellise had expressed concern that Sayana was looking very tired, and surmised
the late night on watch had been harder on her than she had thought. The young cleric
forbade her to take any watches for the next few nights, which did not meet any protest
from the sorceress. Colt figured she was still just a weak little girl and paid her no further
heed, but Pacian poked Aiden relentlessly, assuming something was going on between
him and Sayana.
“She was lying right next to you, what am I supposed to think?” he chided, keeping
his voice low as the two young men kept to the rear of the group. “And she's so tired, I
mean, you've got to go easy on the poor girl - she's skin and bone.”
“Enough already,” Aiden replied, exasperated. “Look, if I tell you, will you shut
up?” It took Pacian a few moments to decide.
“Probably. There‟s one way to find out, though.”
“Do you remember where I found this?” Aiden asked, lifting the shard on its chain
from around his neck just enough for Pacian to see it. His mocking smile faded.
“You know I do,” he whispered. “What of it?”
“What I never told you is that every few nights since then, I've had a dream about
that day. A really vivid dream, and it's always the same.”
“How come you've never told me about it?”
“I just thought I was a little traumatised, or something,” Aiden replied, fighting
feelings of embarrassment. “Besides, you remember how everyone treated me when I
told them what happened. I wasn't about to go through that all over again.”
“Fair enough,” Pacian conceded. “What's this got to do with Flame Girl?” Aiden
glanced around to make sure nobody else was within earshot.
“Last night, she appeared in the dream. Specifically, right when I was watching the
battle.” Pacian seemed sceptical. “I'm serious - she was standing right next to me,
shouting, but with no voice. She wasn‟t wearing much either, for some reason.”
“O h, well, that explains a lot,” Pacian said with a wink.
“No, no, it wasn't like that at all,” Aiden insisted, trying to keep Pacian on track.
“The dragon looked right at her, and she screamed like it was about to attack her or
something. That dream has been identical every time except for last night, and when I
awoke, she was holding on to this shard thing, and then she collapsed.” Pacian took a
deep breath and appeared to think about it a little.
“She is a strange one, I'll give you that,” he mused. “Who knows what sort of
abilities she has? Maybe it was real enough for her to jump into your head like that, I
don't know. Perhaps you should go and talk to her.”
“I don't want the others finding out about this just yet,” Aiden muttered. “Maybe
when I get a chance to speak with her alone, I'll see what she knows. But you know what
she's like – just about everything she does is instinctive, and she doesn't really understand
how she does any of it. Somehow, I don't think I'm going to get much from her.”
“Worth a try, though,” Pacian replied, both of the young men noticing Colt
signalling them to gather around from up ahead. “Oh look, perhaps our intrepid ranger
scout has located another distillery from which to sup the sweet nectar of life.” Aiden
smiled in spite of himself as they moved forward to investigate.
“This is as good a place to rest as any,” Colt declared when they had gathered around
him. “We'll be at the outpost in a few hours. Get something to eat and catch your breath, I
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