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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

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
don't want you to embarrass me when we arrive.” Aiden raised an eyebrow at this
statement, but deduced it was probably bluster.
The six of them found moderately comfortable fallen logs on which to sit while they
ate a cold meal of cheese, sausage and bread. When nobody thought he was looking, Colt
threw a piece of sausage over his shoulder that landed in amongst the trees, only to be
snatched up moments later by the wolf, who quickly disappeared back into the scrub with
his prize.
Pacian and Nellise sat together away from the others, talking quietly. Aiden
wondered who was trying to change whom, and which one of them would give in to the
other's point of view first. As he chewed his meal, the young adventurer glanced over at
Sayana every few moments. His desire to ask her more about the dream last night was
almost overwhelming, tempered only by his desire to keep this strangeness a secret from
the others.
It was possible they might be able to understand what was going on, but they might
also dismiss it as nonsense, which seemed the most likely result. Aiden wasn't even sure
if he really believed it, despite having borne witness to the vision.
He finished his meal faster than the others, gulping down his food as quickly as he
could without choking, and then sauntered casually over to the tree Sayana leaned
against, the wild girl eating her cheese and bread slowly.
“Can we talk for a moment?” Aiden asked quietly. “There's something we need to
discuss.” She nodded silently, picked up her bread and followed him a little distance from
the others where they could talk amongst the cold forest without being overheard. He
gestured to a tree with moss-covered roots that seemed to be the least uncomfortable
thing for her to sit on, and then crouched down next to her.
“First of all, I want to apologise for saying something that offended you last night,”
he began. “I obviously touched upon a delicate subject, and I should have chosen my
words more carefully.”
“Don't feel bad, you couldn't have known,” she whispered in reply, pulling her warm
cloak tightly around her to keep the chill at bay. “It isn't something I have talked about
with anyone before, ever. It's hard to open up...”
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