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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“You're talking to me again?” Aiden answered as they stepped through the doorway.
I thought you were upset with me.”
“Why would I be upset? You told me most of that dream stuff before, remember?”
Pacian shrugged. “And I'm pretty sure Sayana wants to have your children, so she's not
going to stay mad at you, even if she is now. So yeah, we're good. Just give Colt and Nel
a chance to cool down before you speak with them, yea h?”
“I don't think we really need to talk much at the moment, so that won't be a
problem,” Aiden agreed, seeing Colt sitting at the bar nursing a large pitcher of beer.
There was no sign of Nellise or Sayana. “But what about you? You did kind of cross a
line back there in the cabin.”
“I'm sort of counting on the beer to erase Colt's memory. As for Nel, well... she'll
come around. No woman can resist my charms forever. The only question is how will she
survive without me in the meantime?”
Aiden grinned, shaking his head at his friend‟s unshakable cockiness in defiance of
everything they had gone through recently. He looked around, taking in the simple
splendour of the common room and its familiar sights and smells. Even though he'd been
raised in Coldstream, in many ways this truly felt like home.
“Now if you'll excuse me,” Aiden said, “I have to eat everything in this building
right now.” Pacian laughed, and the two friends sat down at a nearby table to enjoy the
first decent meal they'd had in some time. When they were finally finished eating, Aiden
bid his companion good night and went up to their usual room for a proper night's sleep.
As he stripped down to climb into bed, Aiden glanced at his belongings and to the
sack which contained the recovered treasures. He was tired, but the same curiosity that
led him to the depths of Ferrumgaard refused to let him rest until he'd at least examined
the contents. He lit a few candles and then carefully upended the contents of the sack
over the bed covers and sat down to sort through it all.
Back in Ferrumgaard, there hadn't been time to pick and choose what was worth
taking on the old wizard's desk. The largest of the items before him was a metal rod,
nearly two feet in length, and capped with a large, ornate head, much like a small mace.
Like everything else he had taken, it was covered in a layer of dust so Aiden used his torn
shirt to wipe it down.
After only a few moments of cleaning, he could plainly see that the rod was
encrusted with gems near the base and tip, and arcane writing was etched into the metal
along its length. His heart beat excitedly as he began to examine it, eventually drawing
the conclusion that it was a weapon of sorts, able to focus ambient energy into a tiny
focal point. With a little more study, he could probably figure out how to activate it, and
although a valuable find, it wasn't anything that was going to aid his quest for knowledge.
It occurred to Aiden that the real reason he was searching through his acquisitions
this late at night was because he was afraid to go to sleep, as the dragon in his dream
seemed to be changing, becoming more alive since Sayana had shared the vision.
A small pile of delicate parchments drew his attention next. The first one he picked
up was still intact, despite its apparent age. It was folded over several times, and upon
closer inspection, turned out to be a large map of Feydwiir, the name of the vast island
they lived on, and a scrawled note to one side mentioning 'Aeos', an O lde Aielish word
meaning 'world'.
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