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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Aye, there's always a chance lad,” Clavis said, keeping his voice neutral. “You two
can make a start on it, I'll tend to Aiden's wounds a bit.” The dwarf came in closer and
carefully examined Aiden‟s leg, and took a cursory look at the rest of him too.
“I'm broken up pretty badly, aren't I,” Aiden breathed, already knowing what Clavis
was going to say.
“There's no foolin' you,” he replied, taking off his belt and folding it over, then
leaning forward and offering it for Aiden to bite down on. “Me belt might taste like dirt,
but it'll do the job. Just think of it as a really tough steak, and I'll put you back together as
best I can.” Aiden reluctantly did what he was told, knowing that this was really going to
“I gotta take out this spear first, and then I'm gonna to set your leg,” Clavis informed
him, clearly not a proponent of the 'ignorance is bliss' line of thought. The dull ache
numbing his senses became a sharp shock, causing Aiden to stifle a scream as the
spearhead was pulled out of the broken leg. His breath came in short gasps and he was
covered in sweat, but at least the spear was out.
“You're doin' real good, lad,” Clavis assured him, taking out a small flask and
splashing its contents into the wound. Aiden bit back another scream as the burn from
what must have been alcohol, cleansed the wound. “When we've dug Nellise out, we'll be
using some 'o those healing flasks she was given back in town to fix you quicker, but
right now I need to spend a few minutes to clean ya up a bit before I set this leg in place.”
Aiden nodded, resting his head back against the least uncomfortable rock he could
find as he caught his breath. A few seconds later, his leg exploded with pain as Clavis set
the broken bone back into place with one swift, sharp move. Aiden's last thought before
the blackness rolled over him, was 'lying bastard'.
* * *
It was almost completely dark when he finally came to, a headache pounding behind
his eyes and sharp pains throughout the rest of his body. The nearby torch was burning
low, with its flickering tongue of flame no larger than that of a candle. A strong smell
was in the air, a kind of damp, musty odour that reminded Aiden of rotting vegetables.
His leg still ached, but it was a dull throbbing pain as opposed to a sharp, spear-
sticking-out-of- my- le g sort of affair, which was something of an improvement. The leg
had been splinted, with the handle of an axe no less, and had been wrapped with a
combination of torn clothing and regular bandages. Turning his head slightly, he could
see a lot of the rock had been removed, and was replaced by Nellise's prone form.
“Took an hour to dig them out,” Pacian said to Aiden quietly, sitting on the other
side of her. The blonde rogue looked unusually sombre, and didn't take his eyes from her
when he spoke, and his words were heavy with emotion. “Nel took a blow to the head,
obviously from a bloody big rock. She's lucky to be alive at all, although there's no telling
how long she'll be out. After all that effort to armour herself up, she couldn't have bought
a helmet too?”
Aiden slowly raised himself up to rest on his elbows, wincing at the various shooting
pains that sparked throughout his body at the slight movement. Nellise's breathing was
shallow, and the parts of her body that weren't covered by armour were torn a nd cut or
wrapped in bloodied bandages, though it wasn't as bad as he thought it might be. Clavis,