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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Yes what is it?” Aiden asked, slightly annoyed.
“Aiden, look,” Nellise cried. He turned around to see what had stirred her up so
much, and was shocked to see that there were a number of glowing dots out in the
darkness – the eyes of dozens of onlookers, shining in the reflected light.
“What the hell are those things?” Pacian asked, his daggers drawn. Clavis turned and
peered back at the unknown onlookers, but couldn't seem to make out any more than t he
rest of them.
“They ain't borers, in case ye were wondering,” he whispered. “But I canna see past
the lights. Can ya cover them up, ladies? I'll see a whole lot better without 'em.”
“I am not going to stand here in pitch blackness with those things surrounding us,”
Nellise exclaimed, gripping the staff tightly. Sayana said nothing, but closed the palm of
her hand, extinguishing the flame.
“Just cover it with your cloak for a minute,” Aiden suggested to the young cleric.
“Give Clavis a chance to see what's out there.” By now there were over three dozen pairs
of eyes watching them, effectively cutting them off from the way back up. Aiden's sword
was drawn, but he honestly thought if these creatures had wanted them dead, they would
have already attacked.
Against her better judgement, Nellise brought her cloak over the top of her staff,
limiting the light from her prayer to the immediate area at her feet.
“That'll do just fine,” Clavis said, a catch in his voice. He was clearly just as nervous
as the rest of them, but apparently had a hunch about the nature of the creatures around
them, enough to risk moving in a little closer to take a look.
“How can this be?” he breathed a few moments later. “These are me kin – they're
dwarves!” This incredible statement left Aiden thunderstruck, and judging by their
silence, the others were probably feeling much the same way. All their other problems
flew from Aiden's mind, and were instead replaced with questions, such as how these
people could have survived, and why they were still down here.
Clavis took a few steps towards the group and spoke a few words to them in the
heavy dwarfish language. He received a reply in the same tongue, spoken with an even
thicker accent. One of them stepped forward to speak with him up close. They talked for
several minutes and the tone of their voices didn't fill Aiden with encouragement.
“What the hell is going on,” Pacian whispered nervously.
“I don't know, just don't make any threatening moves,” Aiden advised through
clenched teeth. Clavis was still speaking to his counterpart, but the conversation was
becoming increasingly heated.
Nellise unfurled her staff, shedding its light onto the proceedings and Sayana brought
her hovering torch back into existence. To their mutual dismay, the s ight of Clavis
backing up towards the group with a spear being pointed at his chest greeted their eyes.
“Shit, he's gone and started a bloody war,” Colt growled, drawing his greatsword
from its sheath and holding it in a threatening manner. With their lights shining brightly,
Aiden could see the gleam from several dozen crude spears levelled at them, and the
dwarves holding them slowly moving forward, squinting in the bright light.
They were pale-skinned and clad in rudimentary animal skins. The spears they held
seemed to be well- made, and the dwarves held them with practised hands. But it was
more than just their outright appearance and weaponry that had Aiden on edge – it was
the look in their eyes, a look seemingly devoid of anything close to compassion o r sanity.