Nature Abhors a Vacuum
after a journey that long isn't exactly ideal, and if I felt we had a choice here, I'd be
staying out of this fight altogether. This isn't my war, and for most of you, it isn't yours
“Well, the people who should be fighting this one aren't here, so it falls to us to step
forward and hold the line. We've heard about the King fighting a war in another country,
and didn't think we were part of it. But now the war has come right to our doorstep, and if
we walk away, we may not have a home left to go back to.”
“Things have come between us in recent weeks,” he continued sombrely, speaking
directly to his companions, and more specifically, to Sayana. “Personality conflicts, hard
choices, stressful situations... under ordinary circumstances, we probably would have
gone our separate ways. But remember when we first started working together? We were
a cohesive unit, and we were unstoppable. That's what we need to be here, if we want to
survive the next hour. So we need to put aside our perceived conflicts, and trust each
They looked amongst themselves for a long moment, and in the dim light of the
nearby burning town, appeared to be ashamed of the way they had been behaving of late.
Pacian was the first to speak, and for the first time in many days, Aiden heard his cocky
old friend once more.
“I think I speak for all of us, when I say that the Steel Tigers are in for a very bad
A chill wind blew mournfully over the landscape as Aiden, his companions, and the
men of the Lachburneshire militia moved westward, keeping off the road and remaining
vigilant for any scouts that Colt may have missed on his way through earlier. The sides of
the road were moderately well covered in trees and small bushes, offering plenty of
places to hide, should the need arise. There was still no sign of the dragon, however, and
the young man fervently hoped it stayed that way.
As they crested a rise, Aiden was able to see Culdeny itself in the distance, glowing
red in many places from buildings torched by dragonfire. More immediately, the entire
scope of the battle could be seen from this position, which is probably why Robert Black,
commander of the Steel Tigers, had chosen it for his command post.
Nearby, less than fifty yards away, two massive siege engines could be seen, their
crews winding back the massive wooden arms and placing large barrels of pitch into
position, setting them on fire and launching them into the town.
Positioned to the left of the trebuchets a group of mercenary soldiers stood, calmly
watching the battle take place in the distance, awaiting orders. Of that battle, Aiden could
see little, but he knew the defenders, led by Sergeant Ariel, would put up a good fight. It
would go a lot easier on them, however, once the trebuchets were out of commission,
which is precisely what Aiden intended to achieve.
“Can you hit them from here?” he quietly asked Sayana, crouched down in the snow
next to him.
“Yes,” she assured him. “The blast will be considerable, so it is well that we stay
back from the intended area.”