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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

covering her thighs. “O ne of those cads tried to tear off my dress and… that's how my
clothing came to be in such a state. Their commander stopped him, however, and even
slapped him with his mailed glove, informing him that I wasn't to be touched in that
“Who, this bloke?” Aiden asked, looking down at the fallen officer. “He didn't seem
all that honourable to me.”
“No, he is just one of their lieutenants,” Criosa informed him. “Their commander left
here a few hours ago, making for Culdeny. Something dreadful is going to happen there.”
The sounds of heavy footsteps approaching could be heard out in the hallway and within
moments, Colt and Nellise entered the small room.
“Your Highness,” Nellise breathed, offering a formal curtsey to the young princess.
“O h, please don't,” Criosa replied, “this is hardly the time or the place. Just call me
“Certainly, Highness,” Nellise said, apparently not having heard the previous
sentence. “Your dress... did those men try to -”
“Tried, yes, but I'm quite alright, I assure you,” Criosa interrupted. Aiden looking
warily at Nellise, seeing a familiar look in her eyes as Criosa's appearance brought back
unwanted memories. Nellise appeared to be struggling to maintain her composure as she
ran a gloved hand through her long hair.
“Nellise, stay with us now,” Aiden gently assured her, trying to keep her focused.
The poor woman had been thrown into this situation with hardly any time to recover, and
it seemed like the constant challenges had actually done her some good, keeping her
mind busy. But in all the confusion and conflict, Aiden had almost forgotten that such
traumas are not so easily forgotten.
“Are you not well?” Criosa asked with uncertainty, looking back and forth between
Nellise and Aiden, trying to ascertain what was going on.
“Nellise will be fine, because we‟re safe, and nothing will hurt her ever again,”
Aiden said in a soft voice. These words were aimed at Nellise, and had the desired effect
of calming the acolyte and bringing her attention to the pressing needs of the moment.
She looked at him with fond appreciation and a little blind faith Aiden knew was keeping
her going.
“Let me take a look at that,” Nellise said, wiping a stray tear from her face and
kneeling beside him. Sayana, carrying a clearly injured Pacian entered the room.
“When you have a moment, Pace needs tending to,” Sayana suggested, carefully
depositing him onto the couch.
“Everyone just sit back and relax,” Nellise instructed. “I shall perform a group
healing. Please, Your Highness, sit down, and your head wound shall be mended.”
“O h, you're that proficient?” Criosa remarked, sitting down at a small desk. “How
fortunate, I didn't realise Lachburne had any gifted people at their local chapel.”
“No, I'm from Culdeny,” Nellise clarified. “Perhaps Aiden can explain while I heal.”
“Sure, it's not like I'm in terrible pain, or anything,” he muttered, with more than a
little sarcasm. “I'm sorry, Your Highness, but we don't represent a large, armed force that
was sent to rescue you. We're just a group of people caught in the wrong place at the
wrong time, but with the right skills to make a difference. I'm Aiden Wainwright, and this
talented young lady is Nellise Sannemann. Over there is Pacian Savidge, Sayana Arai,
and Dante Colt.”