Nature Abhors a Vacuum
â€œGet out of here, Iâ€Ÿll just slow you down,â€ Colt grunted, but Aiden was in no mood
to deal with his death wish.
â€œGet on your feet, mister,â€ he shouted, kneeling down to reach around the rangerâ€Ÿs
shoulder. Realising Aiden wasnâ€Ÿt going to give up on him so easily, Colt accepted his
help and did what he could to carry his own weight. The man weighed a ton, and Aiden
was forced to use every ounce of his strength to move him.
With one last check of the area, he saw Criosa and Sayana were helping the equally
wounded Sergeant Evans to his feet, despite meeting similar protests from the tough old
soldier. Somewhere above in the gathering fog, the dragon Robert Black had called
Azurefang headed towards Culdeny.
It was a quarter of a mile to the town gate, and the group was struggling to move as
fast as they could, considering half of them were barely able to stand. The sounds of
Culdeny could be heard through the fog, a combination of cries for help, shouted orders
for soldiers to follow, and the clash of weapons as a few of the Steel Tigers kept on
fighting, not realising their leader was already dead.
â€œGet off the road!â€ Aiden called out to the others nearby, changing d irection to head
into the trees. He hoped it was enough cover to protect them from being spotted. He set
Colt down in the bushes and hit the ground himself, wincing from the pain of his broken
arm as he slid to a halt.
Pacian and Nellise came in next, collapsing onto the ground as they came to a stop.
Sayana and Criosa managed to get Evans into the copse as well, just as the sound of
beating wings passed overhead and the dark silhouette of the dragon could be seen
wheeling through the misty sky.
It roared again, and the fog was illuminated by the blast of fire as it doused part of
the town in flames. Cries of panic emanated from the other side of the wall as Aiden and
his companions sat helplessly, listening to the destruction of Culdeny.
For several minutes, Azurefang circled over the town, sending down torrents of fire
at leisure, but its path through the air was uneven and erratic, and sounds of inspirational
battle-cries coming from the eastern wall brought Aiden to a realisation â€“ the men on that
wall should have been occupied by mercenaries, but since their reinforcements had been
eliminated, the defenders were free to rain bolts and arrows into its hide.
A strange noise came from the dragon, sounding more like a startled yelp than a
roar. Unable to see clearly through the fog, Aiden could only guess what was happening
in the skies above until a small explosion of fire lit up the massive beast for a brief instant
as something impacted its hide. It was accompanied by a shriek of pain and surprise from
the dragon, which circled away from the town as another small explosion impacted its
â€œWhat the hell is hitting it?â€ Colt asked nobody in particular.
â€œIs there a wizard in town I wasnâ€Ÿt aware of?â€ Nellise wondered aloud. Azurefang
was manoeuvring through the skies in a random pattern, blasting fire down upon the town
as more explosions hit its massive bulk.
The dragon snarled and something dropped out of the sky, landing heavily near the
road roughly twenty yards away. A brief glimpse of a massive, serpentine body with
dozens of arrows sticking out of its hide could be seen as it flew into the clear for a
moment, before disappearing back into the fog again.