Nature Abhors a Vacuum
across a wolf, sitting on its haunches and observing him quietly from roughly twenty
yards away. Aiden breathed a sigh of relief, for he recognised it as Faolan, who
apparently had survived last night's battle with only minor wounds.
Aiden stood still for a long moment, unsure of its intent, until the wolf casually
trotted off into the undergrowth, as if it had deemed the young man to be non-threatening
and hardly worthy of its attention. Even though Colt had at least partially trained it, the
young man was still nervous around the beast, the memory of its jaws digging into his
flesh still vivid within his mind. He continued his search and eventually found Nellise
kneeling down on the other side of the mausoleum, which turned out to be the front,
judging by the outline of a door in the weathered stone.
She was looking quite bedraggled, having slept in her breastplate overnight, but she
gazed up at the stone structure before her with wide, red-rimmed eyes while clutching her
holy symbol in one hand. Moving closer, Aiden could see she was praying, and although
reluctant to disturb her, decided to stand nearby, and wait for her to finish.
It was a peaceful scene, a moment of quiet reflection after the chaotic times they'd
gone through in recent days, something Nellise was certainly in need of. Aiden stood a
few yards to her left, idly pondering Sayana's words and what she could have meant, until
the young cleric spoke up a minute or so later.
“Why us?” she asked quietly, still looking up at the mausoleum.
“Excuse me?” Aiden blurted, having taken a moment to realise she was talking to
“Of all the people who could have dealt with this problem, why did it have to be us?”
“Oh,” the young man said, pondering this weighty question for a moment. “Well,
there's a power vacuum in this country at the moment, as we've learned in our travels. I
didn't realise that the peace of the Kingdom was such a fragile thing, but there it is. Take
away nearly all of the people keeping us safe, and we find out what it was they were
keeping us safe from. Someone has to step into that gap, I suppose, it's the way of
“I read a saying once in my years of research,” he continued after a moment’s pause,
“from a wise man who lived so long ago, his name has been forgotten - 'nature abhors a
vacuum', he said. If we hadn't done it, maybe the Akorans would have taken over. Maybe
callous noblemen like Fairchild would have divided up the kingdom for themselves. We
were in the right place at the right time to make a difference, it's that simple.”
“They could have sent more rangers in, or gathered up some real soldiers instead,”
“If 'they' - meaning Olaf and Tara - could have done that, I'm sure they would have,”
Aiden told her. “It's not like we were completely inexperienced in this sort of thing, a fact
that I'm sure made us look like the answer to their manpower problems. Mind you, I'd be
the first to admit that we were in way over our heads.”
“That is an understatement,” Nellise whispered, wiping a tear from her cheek and
turning to look directly up at Aiden with knowing eyes. “The price was too high though,
for all of us.”
“Oh, I don't know about that,” Aiden replied lightly, trying to cheer her up a little.
“Pacian seemed to come through it pretty much unscathed as usual. Almost made off
with their crown jewels too, as it were.”