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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Hold still,” Aiden muttered, “I'm just going to make you a little more presentable.”
“Why?”
“Women of society don‟t walk around with smudges of dirt on their…” He was
caught off guard by something odd. While wiping her right cheek he'd brushed her hair
back past her ear, and saw that the top if it was pointed. Her eyes met his and he could
practically see that she was begging him to keep quiet about this discovery.
“There, that's much better,” Aiden murmured, putting away the cloth and nodding
approvingly, trying to ignore what he'd just seen.
“I still don't understand why you need her in there,” Pacian drawled. “Unless you
want to irritate them of course, then it makes perfect sense.”
“Hey, you wanted me to lie,” Aiden winked back at him, drawing a smile from the
blond rogue. Behind his calm features, his mind whirled around at the implications of
Sayana's ears. Pointed ears were a hallmark of the elven people, rare in Aielund, as their
homeland was a long way to the west and they weren't known for travelling.
Although her green eyes were large and slightly almond-shaped, she didn't have the
sharp, angular features, or the height more common amongst elves, however, which led
Aiden to believe she was half-elf, born from a parent of each race, which was even rarer.
He wanted to spend some time speaking with her about this, but like every other mystery
about the young woman, it would have to wait until later.
They walked up the short pathway to the large oaken door. A small sign in elegant
script hung from the door handle – 'open'. Following this sage advice, Aiden turned the
handle and pushed the door inward, stepping into a magnificent entryway that surpassed
even the Mayor's opulent office. Paintings of stuffy- looking gentlemen hung on every
wall, as well as a few smaller pictures of sailing vessels.
An elaborate chandelier hung from the ceiling, casting subtle light around the room
from its myriad candles. A roaring fireplace kept the chill winter air at bay, and the
warmth was more than welcome to the travellers. Finally, a small desk sat near the front
of the room with a slim, well-dressed young woman sitting behind it, writing on a piece
of paper.
“Good afternoon,” she called to them, smiling. “Can I help you?”
“Indeed you can,” Aiden replied, returning the smile as he strode forward to the
desk. “If you could direct me to the entrance to the Gentleman's Club, I would be
grateful.” The smile disappeared from the young woman's face, and she quickly scanned
them all with her sharp eyes.
“I'm sorry, but that's for members only,” she replied. “If you wish to see Mister
Bartlett about a business arrangement, perhaps I can make an appointment for you?”
“I do need to speak with him, but it's quite an urgent matter and cannot wait for an
appointment,” Aiden continued urbanely, drawing upon his few years of experience
dealing with stuffy merchants at his father‟s business. “But don't worry, I have a key so I
can gain access on my own. If you would just point the way to the door...” Aiden noticed
Pacian was casually strolling around the room, ostensibly to take in the pretentious
artwork adorning the walls. He spied something of interest on the other side of an
archway, however, and gave Aiden a quick nod.
“I don't recall seeing you here before,” she said cautiously. “How did you manage to
obtain a key?'
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