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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

hands about two feet apart. “K inda like moles, but with a hard shell, able to dig their way
through stone given enough time. In the wild, they'd cause all sorts 'o problems with the
tunnels but they're usually not dangerous, 'cause we'd cull their numbers every few
“Clavis, this tunnel is huge,” Aiden pointed out, placing a hand on the hilt of his
sword as he did so. “How many borers would it have taken to do this?” Another tremor
rippled through the stone, this one sustained for over five seconds before it stopped.
Motes of dust and dirt cascaded down from above them, coating them in a fine layer.
“Thing is,” Clavis explained, his voice too calm. “Thing is... without anyone around
to cull 'em, there's no telling how big they could grow.” The implications of this
statement slowly sunk in to Aiden's mind, and the picture it formed was not something he
wanted to see emerging from the tunnel.
“Get your gear, everyone,” he ordered tersely. “We're not waiting around to see -”
He was interrupted by another tremor, this one even more intense than before,
accompanied by a loud screeching noise. Aiden's heart almost leapt out of his chest as his
natural instincts to run kicked in. The tremor did not stop, and instead continued to build
in intensity.
“Run!” Aiden shouted, not waiting to see if anyone was listening to him. He bolted
back over towards their excavation site, still being lit by Nellise's staff and several
flaming torches on the ground. She was already on her feet, using her staff to help her
move across the unsteady ground towards Aiden.
Colt had managed to get his equipment together, just as the rock behind him
exploded outwards, showering him in gravel and dirt. The spray obscured Nellise and
most of the torches, but there was enough light around to see that something big had
“They go after loud noises!” Clavis roared over the immense sound of the rocks
tumbling around them. From behind, the loud screeching sound grew louder, and the
torch Pacian had dropped when he took flight with the rest of them lit up a huge creature,
easily filling out the tunnel it was crawling through. Aiden‟s saw a shiny, dense outer
shell and two beady little eyes, glowing yellow in the torchlight.
He was still half running, half stumbling across the rock-strewn floor towards
Nellise, who was backing away from the borer that had emerged almost right next to her.
She was clearly stunned by what she was seeing and wasn‟t reacting fast enough. One of
the borer's great paws, tipped with huge razor-sharp claws, lashed out and struck her in
the chest, sending her tumbling backwards with the tremendous force.
Aiden drew his sword and spoke the command word to activate his magical glove,
bringing the shimmering force field into existence. He continued moving as fast as he
could towards Nellise, hoping to find her armour had protected her from the slashing
claws. Her staff was still glowing, making it easy to locate her in the dusty mess they
were mired in, though getting there through the shadowy half- light without tripping was
challenging. Nellise was starting to pick herself up as Aiden reached her, a sizeable dent
clearly visible on the lower part of her breastplate.
“I'm fine,” she coughed in the dusty conditions as he helped her up. He didn't get a
chance to say anything, for a second giant borer followed the first one, screeching in
unison, and started shambling their way with alarming speed towards the light sources –
Nellise and Sayana.