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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“You were on your own a lot longer than six months, weren't you,” he began,
speaking gently so as not to seem accusing. “And you didn't leave Akora because they
were low on food either.” Sayana shook her head meekly, before taking a deep breath and
plunging in.
“As my abilities began to manifest, the people became nervous, thinking I was
cursed,” she spoke quietly. “They do not like sorcery, or those who practice it. My father,
a respected man in the tribe, was pushed into doing something about me, over my
mother's objections. They didn't dare kill me, for it is said that killing a witch brings a
curse upon the murderer, so I was abandoned in the mountains as a small child, eighteen
years ago,” she stated without emotion.
“Eighteen?” Pacian said in disbelief. “But you can't be more than sixteen years old.”
“I'm not entirely human,” she replied softly, pushing aside her wild hair to show her
slightly pointed ears, an act of courage on her part that Aiden had to respect her for. “My
mother was elven, and they age far more slowly than humans. I am actually twenty eight
years old. I was cast out and left to die in the wilderness by my own people, and if I
return, they will surely do worse this time.” There was only silence in the room as
everyone present digested this startling turn of events.
“I, for one, consider the character of an individual over any concerns about blood,”
Nellise stated thoughtfully. “And I think I can safely speak for everyone here that your
heritage is of little concern to us. I can only imagine the fear you must be feeling at the
thought of walking back into your homeland to face your people. I do not think this is the
wisest course of action, but if we can avoid further bloodshed by freeing Morik, then I
believe it is worth the risk.”
“You needn't actually face them if you don't want to,” Tara added, compassion
evident in her voice. “Just guide the others in, then hide and wait for them to leave.”
“I won't let anything happen to you,” Aiden added firmly.
“Very well, I will help however I can,” she finally relented. “Did Duncan say where
their main camp was?”
“Yes, right over here,” Tara explained, pulling out a rolled up piece of parchment
with a crude map sketched upon it. She laid it out on a small table in the middle of the
Sayana pointed out a series of caves in the area she remembered being used by the
akorans years ago, and there was a good chance they were still being used today.
According to Duncan's information, a palisade had been erected around the caves, with
enough room inside for a thousand warriors to make camp.
It seemed like an impregnable defence, except for the hill to the west of the camp
where the palisade ended. With some cautious manoeuvring, they might be able to creep
around the hill and get to the cave entrance from behind, with only minimal encounters
with the guards.
“The inside of the caves is something you will have to figure out yourselves,”
Sayana finished.
“We'll manage,” Pacian said. “If you like, I could sneak in there by myself, free
Morik, disable the guards, and cut the head off Erag while he's sleeping. The only trouble
is, I don't know what I'd do with the rest of my day.”
“Cocky little bastard isn't he,” Tara remarked.