Nature Abhors a Vacuum
Nellise was fighting as well as he'd seen anyone swing a sword, despite her earlier
protests that she hadn't really been trained for this. Her blessed mace was breaking arms
and crushing limbs, and for a moment, Aiden thought they might even outlast their
enemies, until he saw another wave of them ready to step in afterwards.
He hadn't seen Pacian in amongst the fight at all, but then, he'd started to lose track
of all his friends, consumed as he was by his own struggle to stay alive. Although he'd
had some experience at fighting, he was hardly an expert, and was struck over and over
as his reflexes began to slow from exhaustion.
Finally, one heavy blow to his chest staggered him backwards, and time seemed to
slow as he struggled to regain his footing. The last thing he remembered seeing was
Nellise looking at him in despair, right before a throwing axe hurtled into his field of
view, aiming straight for his eyes, and then everything went black.
Chapter Twenty Four
The darkness was replaced with the near-blinding light of midday, causing Aiden to
squint against the sudden brightness. The young man crouched on a snowy plateau that
seemed very familiar, although he couldn't place exactly where. His boots c runched over
the snow as he took a few tentative steps, looking down upon a scene from his worst
He stood amidst a great battle, surrounded by armoured men wearing the gold
dragon tabard of the K ingdom clashing against hooded and robed warriors, with signs of
steel armour hidden underneath their garb. The fallen from both sides of the battle littered
the landscape, and the ringing of steel and the cries of the combatants threatened to
overwhelm Aiden's shocked senses.
One of the K ingdom soldiers suddenly bumped into him, giving him a dirty look as
he yelled in Aiden's face to get back on the line, or be tried for cowardice. Gaping with
surprise, Aiden looked down at his body, wondering what had happened, when he noticed
he was wearing the armour and uniform of an Aielund soldier. His mind raced, trying to
remember how he had come to be in the middle of this fight, rubbing his head trying to
figure out why it hurt so much.
The black-robed assailants, as if responding to an order, disengaged from the fight
and pulled back down the road to Aiden's left. They quickly disappeared below the
horizon, apparently down the side of this mountainous terrain to regroup. Some of the
defenders gave a weak cheer, but most of them appeared to be steeling themselves for
something else, something... worse. Aiden knew what was coming, but he didn't know
how he knew, and he staggered several steps as if in a dream.
There was a large fort to his right, with stone walls fifteen feet high stretching across
the field behind the defenders. These walls were lined with archers and large siege
engines loaded with massive bolts of wood and steel. O ne man in particular stood out
among the others, dressed in shining armour he appeared to be in command of the
He pointed across the field to where the attackers had fled, and as if on queue, the
ground started to shake from heavy footsteps. Aiden felt every tremor of the ground, and
could practically smell the fear of the soldiers around him.