Nature Abhors a Vacuum
obstructionist secretary to which such people aspire. Her parents must have been very
â€œWe can wait,â€ Nellise conceded, turning to the others with a shrug and indicating
they should make themselves comfortable. Pacian, appearing bored, exchanged a look of
exaggerated suffering with Aiden before he walked past the secretary and into the room
â€œExcuse me, you can't go in there,â€ the young lady protested. Colt laughed softly and
shrugged to the young lady as he followed Pacian. Seeing his attempt to coerce the mayor
with subtlety slip away, Aiden groaned inwardly and followed them, with Nellise right
Stepping into the dining room, Aiden saw his friend standing before a middle-aged
man of means, wearing expensive clothing and sporting a carefully groomed grey
moustache. He sat at a fine table near a blazing fireplace holding a spoon in one hand,
with a bowl of untouched soup before him. His gaunt appearance told Aiden that he
hadn't been eating properly for some time now.
â€œAre you the mayor?â€ Pacian asked shortly.
â€œI am indeed,â€ he replied gruffly, startled at their appearance. â€œWho in blazes are
you?â€ The old man was clearly upset about the interruption to the breakfast he wasn't
â€œI tried to stop them, sir,â€ the lady called from the other room.
â€œYes, thank you Miss Spencer, top job there,â€ the mayor replied sarcastically.
â€œLook, my friend and I are travellers who happen to be stuck in this damp little town
of yours, and we want to leave,â€ Pacian continued. â€œI donâ€Ÿt think anyone else living here
is enjoying it too much either.â€ Despite his initial shock at the abrupt introduction, the
mayor quickly recovered.
â€œI thought I said I never wanted to see you in here again, Mister Colt,â€ he added,
noticing the burly man looming in the background.
â€œRelax Olaf, I'm not here to threaten you,â€ Colt grunted. â€œThese three have
something important to tell you.â€
â€œThree? Oh yes, Nellise and some... friends,â€ Olaf remarked. â€œIs this impertinent
rapscallion an acquaintance of yours?â€
â€œI only just met these two, Your Honour,â€ Nellise protested, raising an eyebrow at
â€œI see. So, you want me to throw open the gates - Iâ€Ÿm sorry, but itâ€Ÿs out of the
question,â€ the elderly man muttered impatiently in the manner of one who was used to
being obeyed. â€œThe town is sealed for our protection. I assure you, I am not insensitive to
the plight of the townsfolk, but it is simply far too dangerous to allow anyone to travel
outside the walls at this time. Thank you.â€ The last was delivered with a note of finality.
â€œIf we can't leave today this town is going to go hungry,â€ Aiden pointed out.
â€œHungry people do desperate things, and I don't think we're the only ones either.â€
â€œHonestly, this could not have come at a worse time,â€ the mayor muttered. â€œI have
something of a personal crisis going on which has me rather distracted.â€
â€œI see,â€ Aiden remarked, not really seeing anything. â€œWell, we're just seeking
permission to leave via the northern gate to Culdeny so -â€
â€œThe north road? Good heavens no,â€ the mayor interrupted, standing up quickly. His
clothing, while rich and fine, hung from his shoulders, giving the impression the man had