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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Two of them turned to engage him, and Aiden kept them busy enough to allow
Pacian to get into position. With a flurry of daggers, Pacian made short wo rk of the
unsuspecting warriors. He grabbed Aiden by the shoulder and pulled him aside, just as a
stream of crossbow bolts struck the remaining mercenaries.
The militia fighters were upon them in a flash, taking advantage of the diversion to
overwhelm the soldiers who were being struck from two flanks.
“Keep moving towards the inn!” Aiden cried aloud, hoping the militia would
recognise the order and assist him and his companions in reaching that goal. The main
street ahead of them was a scene of chaos, with townsfolk trying to get to safety and the
wounded defenders struggling to aid them.
As much as Aiden wanted to intercede in every engagement, he knew the real prize
was Princess Criosa Roebec, the K ing's only heir. K illing or even kidnapping a member
of the royal family would have far-reaching ramifications.
They pressed on, moving down the mud- filled street as fast as they could manage
with Aiden trying to ignore his screaming muscles. A townsman trying to defend his wife
and child from a mercenary who had burst into their home cried out for help, and
received it as Nellise and Colt sent a hail of arrows and bolts to cut down the enemy in
short order.
“Barricade the door and do not come out until this is over!” Aiden shouted over the
din of screams and bloodshed as he slammed the front door and kept running for the inn.
The smell of smoke started to fill the air and the glow of fires could be seen against the
twilight sky as they moved onward, until they finally spotted the Bracksfordshire Arms
Inn just up the street.
Four mercenaries were holding the front of the inn as militia crossbowmen attempted
to cut them down. The soldiers held their shields locked together, providing a wall of
steel to protect them against attack. Sensing time was of the essence, Aiden raised his
magical sceptre and spoke the command word.
A beam of brilliant light seared the mercenaries as he swept it across their armoured
bodies. Screams and smoke drifted into the air as their defence crumbled, leaving them
open to attack from the militia. With Colt and Nellise adding their own weaponry to the
task, the four mercenaries were quickly eliminated.
The open door to the inn was slammed shut just as Aiden and the others hurried
forward. Colt crashed into the door shoulder-first but there were others inside holding it
“Open the bloody door!” Colt roared as he futilely slammed into the door once again.
Pacian signalled for him to stop, and took a look at the situation.
“You know, axes are good at chopping into wood,” he mused, gazing at Sayana's
“You're gonna need more muscle than she's got to get through that door, sharp axe or
no,” Colt growled, taking the axe off her back and marching up to the door. “No offence
Sy but you're a dainty little thing, and this needs a big man's touch.” Sayana raised an
eyebrow but said nothing, looking too tired to really complain.
They stood back as Colt heaved the axe at the door, sending great chunks of wood
flying with each hit. The sound of screaming from inside could be heard even over the
din, and Colt redoubled his efforts. With a great roar he brought the door down, revealing