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Nature Abhors a Vacuum
Stephen L. Nowland
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the only reason they had been able to get this room back was because he was sort of a
local hero now.
Feeling the need to get up and further investigate the strange cube, Aiden began the
delicate process of extricating himself from Sayana's embrace. He was halfway clear
when she emitted a faint whimper and gripped him a little tighter, making the last few
moments just that much more difficult.
Once he was finally free, Aiden dressed himself quietly, noting with mild annoyance
that some of his clothes were damp with water dripping through the roof. The young man
glanced over at Sayana briefly as he picked up his treasured relics and popped them into
the oil sack, noticing that one of her eyes was open, and watching him.
“Good morning,” he whispered with a grin. She smiled back at him sleepily.
“Where are you going?”
“Dale is an early riser,” he explained. “After breakfast I'm going to see what he has
to say about this cube. Why don't you sleep in a bit? I think you've earned it.”
“Mmm, I think I will,” she murmured. “And then I'm going to buy new pants. No...
“Okay, well, have fun and I'll catch up with you later,” Aiden said awkwardly,
blushing as he quickly stepped over and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“My lips are down here,” she whispered, looking up at him with amusement.
“Right, sorry,” Aiden replied, kissing her in the correct location, and then hurrying
out the door as quickly as he could to avoid further embarrassment. Aiden didn't know if
that was just a one night thing, or the signal that they were now together in a more
permanent fashion. He had to believe that Sayana was as inexperienced in these matters
as he was, however confident she appeared.
Outside of the inn room, Aiden looked down the dimly lit hallway and saw someone
slumped up against another door. The shock of blond hair indicated that it was Pacian,
sleeping quite soundly in what Aiden could only assume was a drunken stupor. And
while he wasn't sure, the young man suspected that it was Nellise's door he was outside
of. Only God knew what had gone on out here while Aiden was asleep, but he suspected
it involved drunken apologies met with stony silence.
Deciding to let his friend sleep it off, Aiden went down the stairs and stepped into
the common room, to a familiar sight. Colt was in his customary position, sprawled on
the floor, with three other local men unconscious nearby, sporting several impressive
bruises. Some of the tables and chairs had been broken, most likely having been used as
makeshift weapons during the night.
It was still a little early for patrons to be lining up for breakfast, but Tom the
innkeeper, and his daughter Aislin were already up and about, preparing for the day
ahead. The little girl was standing over Colt's prone form, poking the big man with a
broom in a courageous, yet vain attempt to wake him.
“It's probably better for everyone if you let him sleep,” Aiden advised her as he
“But he smells so
!” Aislin complained while continuing to poke him with great
enthusiasm. “People will be eating breakfast soon, so he needs... to...
“Uh, Tom, why don't you help me carry him some place else before your daughter
breaks something important,” Aiden requested.