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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“I thought I heard... no, felt something nearby,” Sayana whispered back. Aiden
looked directly at her, suddenly very serious.
“K ind of like a vibration?”
“I suppose so, yes I'm not sure what to make of it,” she shrugged.
“But you definitely felt it,” Aiden persisted. “You weren't imagining it, right?”
“Certainly not,” Sayana replied archly. “I didn't survive for years in the wild, unable
to tell the difference between real and imagined things.”
“Right, sorry,” Aiden mumbled in apology, too distracted to pay much attention to
what she was saying. If the vibrations he'd felt earlier weren't his imagination, then what
were they?
“Hey, you can stop working, I found a better way to get through that rock pile,”
Pacian called out as he jogged back toward s the site where Clavis and Colt were just
starting to really get things moving.
“Don't waste yer time lad,” Clavis replied from his perch near the top of the rock
pile. “The only way through to the tunnels beyond is behind these rocks.”
“Or the bloody big tunnel I found over on the northwest wall,” Pacian replied
smugly. “But you can keep digging if you really want, I'm okay with that. I'll just sit
down over here and -” Colt interrupted his speech by letting a heavy rock drop to the
ground with a loud 'thud', and then dusted off his gloved hands.
“Sometimes you don't know when to shut up, Pace,” he growled, leaning over to
pick up his armour again. “Clavis, are you sure there wasn't another way through that you
missed?”
“I'd think I'd remember another tunnel in me own home,” the dwarf replied, skidding
down the inclined rocks to land on the stone floor. “But if you're sure about it, I'll take
some time to look at it. Is this tunnel 'o yours big enough to squeeze through?”
“Yes, and with room to spare,” Pacian replied. “A lot of room to spare, actually. It's
almost as big as the stairwell we came down.” Clavis paused in mid stride, his expression
slack as he seemed to be struck by a horrible thought.
“There wasn't anything like that last time I was 'ere,” he said slowly and deliberately.
“I think ya better show me lad, and quickly now.” Pacian gestured and used his torch to
light the way back towards the tunnel he'd found. With a feeling of growing dread in his
stomach Aiden and Sayana followed.
It only took a minute to reach the gaping hole in the side of the stone wall, and
despite Pacian's brief description of its size, the walls of the tunnel didn't appear to be
carved by crude tools, or even those of master craftsmen. They were, in fact, completely
smooth, and the tunnel itself was more or less round, and over ten feet across. Clavis
crept forward slowly, his left hand extended to touch the smooth stone, almost in
disbelief. And then Aiden felt another vibration in the stone, this time much stronger than
before.
“By Relnak, did you feel that?” Clavis exclaimed, invoking the name of the dwarven
battle god. He started backing away and Pacian did likewise, grabbing the hilts of his
daggers, just in case.
“What caused this?” Sayana asked, her voice tight with anxiety. “Is it connected to
that tremor we just felt?”
“Back in the day,” Clavis explained, licking his lips with consternation, “we had
these critters we called borers. They grew to about yea big,” he described, holding his
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