Nature Abhors a Vacuum
The darkness of the cave was replaced with the near-blinding light of midday, dazing
Aiden as he squinted against the sudden brightness. Gaping in astonishment, the young
man found himself crouched upon a snowy plateau with majestic peaks looming around
He stood amidst a great battle, surrounded by armoured men wearing the gold
dragon tabard of the Kingdom clashing against hooded and robed warriors, with signs of
steel armour hidden underneath their garb. The fallen from both sides of the battle littered
the landscape, and the ringing of steel and the cries of the combatants threatened to
overwhelm Aiden's shocked senses.
His mind struggled to comprehend what had happened to him when one of the
Kingdom soldiers suddenly ran through him, appearing out of his chest as though he were
a ghost. Sayana stood to his left, looking just as shocked as he was, garbed in a tattered
shirt and leather trousers. Her right hand was touching the glowing sphere in Aiden's
hands, but she was too stunned by the vision to move. She must have been just as
insubstantial as he was, for nobody noticed her presence either.
The black-robed assailants, as if hearing some sort of order, disengaged from the
fight and pulled back down the road to Aiden's left. They quickly disappeared below the
horizon, prompting some of the defenders to cheer, but most of them appeared to be
steeling themselves for something else - something... worse.
Sayana tugged at Aiden's sleeve with her free hand, drawing his attention. He looked
at her, unsure of what she wanted. Her mouth was moving, but he couldn't hear what she
was saying. The wind was blowing and the sounds of the army before them were
generating some noise, but not enough to prevent him from hearing the wild girl. He
couldn't understand why she was silent, and presumed she had lost her voice somehow.
She pulled hard on his left arm, trying to drag him backwards, but his feet were stuck
Aiden's attention was caught by one man who stood on the wall of the fort, dressed
in shining, gold-trimmed armour, and appeared to be in command of the Kingdom forces.
He pointed across the field in warning, and as if on queue, the ground started to shake
from what seemed to be a minor earthquake. Aiden felt all this as if he were standing
right there amongst it all, but the soldiers around him paid him no heed. Sayana watched
the scene unfold, glancing back and forth in growing consternation. She had at least given
up trying to move him, and instead clutched his forearm with her left hand.
The shaking of the ground grew more intense until the head of some armoured
creature appeared, revealing more of its body as it closed the distance. It was easily over
twelve feet in height, with shoulders eight feet across and completely encased in ornate
armour. It gleamed with the appearance of burnished steel, and the face etched onto the
front of the helmet was forged into an expression of haughty superiority.
It was joined by another, and another of the massive creatures, and a cry of despair
arose from the defending soldiers. Sayana grabbed Aiden's attention once more, turning
him toward her and practically shouting in his face. As before, no sounds came from her
mouth, and a look of frustration appeared on her fine features. Aiden shrugged at her, and
turned to watch the scene unfolding before them.
The defenders held their swords and pikes nervously, and it appeared that their
morale was about to break when a rallying cry came from one of their number - a huge
man nearly seven feet tall, dressed in black armour topped with a great horned helm