Nature Abhors a Vacuum
â€œRegrettably, yes,â€ Olaf conceded. â€œWhen you hear what Corporal Redfurn has to
say, I'm sure you'll understand my reasoning.â€
â€œAlright then, where is this Corporal?â€
â€œI'm right here, and my name is Tara,â€ the armoured woman replied wearily, clearly
used to being overlooked.
â€œAh,â€ said Aiden, trying to cover his embarrassment.
â€œYou all have a lot to discuss, and I have to prepare for the arrival of a very
important dignitary from Fort Highmarch, so I shall leave you to your affairs,â€ Olaf said.
With that, the elderly statesman left.
â€œShifty bastard,â€ Colt muttered. â€œSo, what the hell is going on?â€
â€œLast night, I received word from an associate of yours, who has been keeping an
eye on the akorans,â€ Corporal Redfurn said, getting right to the point.
â€œA ranger? What's his name?â€
â€œHis name was Duncan, if that means anything to you. He was co-ordinating with a
younger woman in the same leathers, though I didnâ€Ÿt meet her.â€
â€œYeah I know him, damn good ranger,â€ the big man nodded. â€œIf anyone can find out
what's going on, it's him. The young lady would be Sally. Sheâ€Ÿs probably been spying on
them for weeks.â€
â€œWhat have they discovered so far?â€ Nellise asked politely.
â€œDuncan relayed a message before heading back out to continue his surveillance,â€
Tara continued. â€œWe've had good relations with the akoran tribal people for decades, up
until about three months ago when they cut off trade and forbade anyone from entering
their lands. We couldn't figure out what had happened, until recently. Apparently, they've
had a change of leadership, and this new chief, Erag, is a brutal, vicious bastard.
â€œThis new leader has a different perspective on the kingdom to his northern border -
that would be us â€“ and has whipped his people into a frenzy, preparing them for war.
Several hundred of their warriors have set up a fortified camp not far south of
Coldstream, and their numbers are growing day by day. Pretty soon, they'll have enough
people to crush everything in their path, and plunder this entire region.â€
â€œSo, what would happen if this 'Erag' met with an unfortunate accident,â€ Pacian
asked delicately. Aiden noticed a flicker of irritation cross Nellise's face â€“ clearly he
wasn't going to endear himself by proposing more bloodshed.
â€œHard to say, really,â€ Tara answered hesitantly. â€œEither the rest of them would go on
a killing spree to honour him, or give you a big sloppy kiss for freeing them from
â€œI don't like either of those options,â€ Pacian murmured.
â€œHang on a moment,â€ Aiden interrupted seriously. â€œWhat exactly do you want from
â€œI would have thought it obvious,â€ Tara replied curiously. â€œAll of you have shown
that you're capable of dealing with situations like this, so instead of sending in what few
people I have at my disposal, you can do what needs to be done. The mayor has nothing
but praise for your team.â€
â€œI think the word 'team' is a little strong, to be honest,â€ Aiden said delicately,
noticing the uncomfortable looks from the others. â€œAnd if you think we're going to fight
hundreds of savage warriors for you, you're a loon.â€