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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Why don't you go and get some rest, Pace,” Aiden advised.
“I‟m sure as hell not used to all this walking,” the blond rogue complained,
stretching his arms and yawning theatrically. “Colt mumbled something about waking
him up in a few hours to take watch. ‟Night Aiden.”
“'Night Pace,” Aiden replied as his friend staggered off inside. He turned his gaze
outward to keep watch through the next few hours, eagerly awaiting his chance to sleep
next to the warm fire.
Chapter Four
Aiden awoke to the smell of roasting meat. This was a pleasant change from the past
few weeks of being awoken at the crack of dawn by cold water dripping on his face. He
rolled over and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, noticing daylight streaming in through
the cave entrance. The crackling campfire had been burning all night and was now being
used to cook a brace of rabbits. Colt, looking somewhat rested, sat next to the fire
keeping an eye on the meat as it cooked. The smell was tantalising.
“Morning,” Colt said, noticing Aiden.
“Morning,” he replied with a croaking voice. “You managed to find some game?”
“Yeah, I set a few traps during my watch and got lucky. There's not a lot of meat on
these things, but it's better than more of that bloody cheese. When we get to Fort
Highmarch, I swear I'm going to eat an entire horse. You may need to avert your eyes; it
won't be pretty.”
Aiden laughed aloud and slowly rose to his feet. With the light of day providing
some illumination in the small cave, he was able to see that there was a large pool of
water a little further in. It was probably only a few yards deep, but the plant life growing
around it suggested it was at least fresh.
A rope was tied to one of the low hanging stalactites on the ceiling and stretched
across to an outcrop of rock on the other side of the cave. Some of theior clothes were
draped over it, including Nellise's robe, all drying from the heat of the fire. They were
probably absorbing a good deal of the smoke as well, but it was better than wearing wet
clothing.
“Where are the others?” Aiden asked after noticing the other bedrolls were
unoccupied.
“Cave entrance,” the big man replied gruffly. “I told Pacian to keep watch while I
cooked. Nellise woke up about half an hour ago and went to talk with him. I let her
borrow my blanket as well, since hers was a little too short to use as a dress.”
“You have an objection to looking at beautiful women?” Aiden asked, eyeing him
shrewdly.
“Unlike you and your friend, I don't have trouble remembering that she's a priestess,”
he clarified. “Besides, I've only got eyes for one woman.” Aiden raised an eyebrow,
surprised that any woman would find this half- man, half-bear appealing, until he realised
that he didn't say the woman in question actually had eyes for him. The young adventurer
briefly considered asking Colt more about this, but decided they had enough to deal with
already.
He donned his chain shirt before grabbing his longcoat and making his way out
through the tunnel to the cave entrance. The sounds of hushed conversation could be
 
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