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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“I shall endeavour to do my utmost not to disappoint you, Mister Wainwright,” he
answered laconically. Aiden was glad he had come along; the man was a solid, seasoned
fighter who would keep the younger lads in line.
“Shall I bestow the favour of God upon us now?” Nellise asked, drawing a faint
smile from Aiden.
“I wish you'd say that every time we go into a fight,” he replied. “I can't think of a
situation where I wouldn't want God on my side, to be honest.”
“I always bless us before a challenge,” Nellise corrected him, reaching for her
crystal. “I was simply asking if now was a good time.”
“Go ahead,” Aiden told her, turning to check with Colt that everyone was ready.
When he nodded back, his longbow in hand ready to strike, Aiden repeated the gesture to
Sayana, who raised herself up on one knee, and began to move her arms about
arrhythmically, attempting to channel the vast energy required to invoke the fireball.
“It's not working,” she gasped in exasperation after a long moment where nothing
happened. Sayana threw out a few choice curse words, no doubt learned from Colt, which
shocked both Nellise and Criosa.
“Try again,” Aiden coaxed her, “if you can't get it this time, we'll have to
“I can do it,” Sayana replied stubbornly, “I just need to throw more energy into it.”
Again, she concentrated, drawing in power, focusing it in one place, and this time, a
roaring ball of fire materialised between her outstretched hands, that she promptly tossed
at the nearby siege engines. The fireball blazed through the air and struck the ground near
the closer of the two, detonating with considerable force, and sending the bodies of the
engineers working at the engine flying through the air.
The barrels of pitch, stacked neatly in-between the two engines, ignited with a
flourish, sending a plume of fire fifteen feet into the air. The suddenness of the strike sent
the mercenaries into disarray, the few horses they had tethered nearby in the darkness
pulling free of their ropes and bolting into the night.
“Commence shooting!” Aiden barked to Colt and the militia, who immediately sent
arrows and crossbow bolts into the disorganised soldiers, dropping three of them in quick
order. The primary goal of the archers was to pull defenders away from the second
trebuchet, which stood at the edge of the flames so that Pacian could get in closer.
It was a perfectly executed opening move, but their advantage wasn't going to last
long. Even now, the officers of the Steel Tigers, including Robert Black himself, were
shouting out orders to control the flames, and to start the counter-attack. A dozen
mercenaries led by a brash and loud sergeant formed up beyond the flames, and moved
around the lit area towards Aiden's position.
“This is probably the time, then,” Aiden muttered to himself, pulling out the last
scroll he had left over from the deceased wizard's collection. The young adventurer had
held off using it back in the Akoran lands, because it benefited more than just him –
everyone nearby was going to feel the effects of this one, and it might just tip the odds in
their favour. By the light of the flaming pitch nearby, he quickly read through the
incantation before intoning the words aloud, unleashing the energies that had been stored
many decades before.
A brief tingling sensation covered his body as the scroll disintegrated in his hands.
Aiden looked ahead, and saw that the mercenaries seemed to slow in their advance. But it