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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

the cell next to him, Aiden saw much of their equipment piled up in the corner, topped
off with Colt's longbow and greatsword.
“My new friend and I are going to deal with Erag, and this „Tald‟ chap,” Aiden said
to them, smashing the lock on the other cell. “Colt, you're in no condition to fight, so grab
your gear and stay here with Nellise and the others.”
“Oh, I'm coming too,” Pacian growled, speaking more to Nellise than anyone else. “I
swear to you, I'm going to kill the rest of this scum and get you out of here, do you
understand?” Nellise didn‟t react for she was still in shock, and the look on Pacian‟s face
was heartbreaking. Pace gently set her aside and left the confines of the cell, daggers
gripped tightly in his hands. “I owe this bastard a red hot dagger in his groin, and
nothing's going to stop me, so don't even bother arguing, Aiden.”
“That goes for me also,” Sayana added, picking up her axe and staggering out to
stand next to Pacian. “Except for the groin thing. If you think you can take on that
shaman by yourselves, you're mad.”
“Yes, I rather think I am,” Aiden muttered softly, causing her to look at him with
consternation. “Fine, let's get on with this before more warriors come. Which way do we
go?”
“There are stairs down, beyond the next room,” Morik replied courteously. “But
there is a garrison of guards that keep the lower floor secure.”
“Let me deal with them,” Aiden said, his voice heavy with determination and
purpose. “Are there any other guards on this level?”
“Most of the warriors in the caves stay downstairs,” Morik warned. “The rest sleep
in their tents out in the camp. If they have not come by now, then they cannot hear the
noise you have been making.”
“Colt, you should be able to manage without us for a little while. If you get in
trouble, grab Nellise and fall back down the stairs, you'll run into us eventually.”
“Don't worry about us, I'll die before I let anyone else touch Nel,” Colt growled,
limping into her cell with his longbow, while the young cleric huddled into a fetal
position and rocked slowly back and forth. Aiden nodded in reply, and then started
walking along the passageway, arriving at the stairwell down after only a few seconds.
With the others right behind him, he casually descended, pulling out one of his two
remaining scrolls from the scroll case as he went.
At the bottom of the stairwell was a large, open area, with several passages leading
off from it. Morik pointed at the correct path to take, and they moved off in that direction,
hearing the sounds of heavy, booted feet from up ahead after barely a minute of walking.
Aiden had become used to the darkness they were walking in, since he could see almost
as well as if it were broad daylight down there, but the others were stumbling along the
corridor, struggling to see where they were going. The lights from up ahead helped, but
unfortunately they were being carried by a horde of their enemies.
Once they reached the next large chamber, Aiden raised his arm to stop the others
from proceeding, and then unfurled the scroll. The warriors turned at the sounds of their
footsteps, and quickly readied their weapons. They never had the chance to use them,
however.
Aiden began reading the scroll, and was just about to raise his other arm to point at
the group when Sayana let out a cry of alarm. She was too late to stop him, however, and
the incantation was completed a heartbeat later.
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