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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

A massive ball of fire materialised in front of him and shot towards the assembled
warriors. It detonated in the centre of their group, shaking the very foundations of the
tunnels and blasting Aiden and his companions off their feet with a wave of fire. The
effect upon the barbarians, however, was far more pronounced, sending charred bodies
crashing against the walls as the force of the blast shattered bones and ended lives.
Aiden picked himself up off the ground a few moments after the flames had
subsided, and surveyed the effects of the ancient wizard's incantation with cold disdain
before moving onwards with grim purpose.
Chapter Twenty Five
The others quickly regained their footing and pressed forward, for despite the
destruction he had unleashed, the young man knew that there could be dozens more of
them up ahead. Morik, slightly charred from the heat of the blast, pointed in the direction
they should travel, and prompted Aiden to keep moving, carefully avoiding the blackened
bodies of warriors formerly loyal to him scattered around the stone floor.
Glancing at Sayana, Aiden was momentarily concerned about her ability to keep up,
but if her wounds were causing her any discomfort, she was hiding it well. Pacian,
bloodied daggers at the ready, moved ahead of the group, certain that the Akorans were
going to be lying in wait for them, and determined to avoid an ambush.
Aiden had his doubts – so far, they had been charged almost blindly, at every
engagement, and he honestly didn't expect much in the way of tactical brilliance from
such savages. The passage they travelled opened out into a chamber of some sort and was
filled with an assortment of packages, wrapped in deerskin.
“What is all this?” Pacian asked when they had caught up with him. Morik didn't
even take a closer look before answering.
“Dried rations, waterskins, spare axes, bandages... everything a warband needs to
keep fighting in a long battle,” he said. “Erag must want to reclaim the lands of our
ancestors, for there are enough supplies here to feed a thousand warriors.”
“We should destroy all of this!” Pacian hissed. “We'll see how well their invasion
goes when their bellies are empty.”
“If we destroy this food, then my people will starve before the thaw,” Morik warned,
a harsh edge to his voice. “They may choose to attack your town of Coldstream out of
starvation, regardless of what I tell them when I become chief once more.”
“We have our target already,” Aiden decided, moving through the large piles of
supplies. “Leave the food, it won't matter once their leadership is dead-”.
The mound of deerskin packages next to him suddenly toppled over, knocking Aiden
to the ground and half-burying him in dried deer meat. Before he could recover, a group
of Akoran warriors burst out of their hiding places in amongst the supplies and set upon
the small party. Aiden was the focus of one particularly large savage, wielding a mighty
greataxe, five feet in length, which he brought down on the prone novice warrior in a
massive overhead strike.
A flash of light from his spectral armour incantation illuminated the immediate area
for a brief moment as it took the brunt of the blow, but there was so much force behind
the swing it also cut through his chain shirt and into Aiden's shoulder. Without all of his
protection, his arm would likely have been cleanly severed by the axe.