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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Do it again, drop the ceiling!” Aiden shouted. Sayana swayed to one side but
managed to steady herself. Again, the lights surged along her legs, but before she could
finish a spear suddenly appeared out of her back, having just been thrown by a nearby
dwarf. Time seemed to slow as Aiden saw all their hopes crumbling as Sayana staggered
backward from the blow, but with an incredible feat of discipline, she managed to finish
the spell and unleash a final blast of sound.
This time, the ceiling came down, slowly at first, but with larger and larger pieces
tumbling down upon the stairs. Aiden was unable to move – his legs simply wouldn't
respond to any commands as he tried to get forward to grab the wounded girl before she
was crushed to death by the falling rocks.
“Get him out of here!” Nellise yelled over the tumult as she dashed past, pushing
Aiden and Colt backward down the stairs. The young cleric, exhausted as she was,
pushed forward through the rocks and managed to grab the back of Sayana's belt just as
the remaining light from her staff was obscured, and the rest of the ceiling came crashing
down. The sounds of screaming could be heard over the rock fall, just before Aiden was
left in darkness and pain.
Chapter Eighteen
When the noise from falling rock had finally subsided, the unnatural silence of the
dead city returned. Aiden lay next to Colt on the bottom part of the stairwell, both of the
men coughing in the cloud of dirt and dust that had been dumped on them. Clavis and
Pacian were nearby, having been furthest from the devastation. There was no light
whatsoever. Everything Aiden knew about his surroundings was based solely on his
The novice warrior was in tremendous pain, from both the spearhead lodged in his
leg, and the fact that it was broken from the fall. His right arm was practically useless,
and he felt the warmth of blood running down his body from several other smaller
wounds, but at least he was still alive for the moment.
A brief flash of light pierced the stifling darkness as someone started striking flint
and steel to ignite a torch. It took several tries before the sparks caught, and the torch
flared into life. By its light, he could see Pacian holding it, the blond rogue covered in dirt
and blood from the fight but otherwise still standing. Clavis was next to him, searching
through the rubble for signs of life, ignoring the cuts and bruises he'd received from the
falling rock.
“Ah, found 'em,” he exclaimed, spying Colt slowly pushing rocks and dirt off his
body to get to his feet. “Hold still man, ya might have a broken bone or three.”
“I'm fine,” the big ranger choked, coughing some more to disprove his point.
“Nothing broken, though it's not for a lack of trying.”
“What about Nel and Sayana?” Aiden managed to croak.
“I think they're a little further up the stairs,” Colt said grimly, dusting off his leathers.
“Which means they're at least partially buried under that rock.”
“They might still be alive,” Pacian said stubbornly, wedging the torch into nearby
rocks and moving up the stairs to begin excavating.