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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Okay, look, I don't want any trouble,” she replied with a tremble to her voice. “I can
see you're clearly not as stupid as your friend there, even if you do smell a lot worse.”
Colt clenched his gloved fist and seemed ready to do as he promised, but Merin quickly
changed her attitude. “Just take the documents and go, please. They're in the drawers
behind you, just... don't hurt me.”
“That's more like it,” Colt growled, nodding to Pacian who immediately walked over
towards the drawers. Aiden frowned, looking down at Merin cautiously. Certainly, Colt
was an intimidating presence to the tiny woman, but she seemed to give in a little too
easily, especially after her earlier defiance.
Pacian reached out and attempted to open the top drawer, but found that it was
locked. At this moment, Merin called out „Now!‟, and Aiden noticed movement out of
the corner of his eye, turning to see another Raelani - this one male – suddenly appear
from behind a cupboard on the opposite side of the room, and throw a small dagger in the
direction of Colt‟s head. Reacting instinctively, Aiden lunged forward and pushed the big
man out of the way, sending Colt sprawling on the floor.
Merin glared at Aiden, now standing right in front of her, and weaved her fingers in
an intricate pattern, whispering words in a strange language. Before he could figure out
what was going on, a stroke of electrical energy crackled from her fingertips and hit
Aiden‟s left arm, sending him reeling backwards as he clasped his now numb and burned
arm with his right hand.
Aiden‟s backpedalling crashed him into a stunned Nellise sending them both
tumbling to the floor, the young man‟s eyes glazing over from shock. Colt regained his
footing and drew his massive sword, taking a swing at Merin's tiny frame, forcing her to
duck underneath the clumsy attack as she pulled a dagger out of a small scabbard
attached to her right boot. All signs of her earlier levity had vanished, and the Raelani
woman now moved with practiced speed and skill.
Merin moved deftly under the table in an attempt to stab Colt in the crotch, but Colt
responded by kicking it over and then swinging his sword down in a massive overhead
strike just as Merin dived out of the way, striking the spot where she had been standing
moments earlier, splintering the wooden floor. Merin sprang back to her feet, the pleats in
her dress affording her excellent maneuverability.
Pacian, quickly recovering from the surprise, pulled out his knife, but Colt‟s
impromptu kicking of the table in his direction blocked his immediate approach. Neither
he nor Colt had yet noticed the other Raelani in the room, over near the fireplace, which
had now pulled out another knife and was preparing to throw again.
“Pace, over there!” Aiden slurred, silently wishing that he had a weapon. Pacian
snapped his gaze around, saw his new target, and ran at him as fast as he could. The little
man threw his dagger at the blond rogue, but Pacian, expecting the throw dodged left and
the small dagger only put a gash in his right shoulder instead of catching him in the chest
as the Raelani had planned.
He leaned forward as he ran and would have slammed into the Raelani with his other
shoulder had his target not rolled out of the way. Pacian came to an abrupt halt when he
connected directly with the wall and fell backwards, clutching at his injured arm in silent
pain.
Colt recovered from his overhead swing to find Merin about to invoke another
incantation. She may have been able to get away with it once while they were surprised,
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