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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“Nellise! We need you!” he cried, at a loss for what else to do. Colt could die from
these wounds, that much was clear. The man was a fool to think he could wrestle that
monster of a wolf with his bare hands.
“Move over, I need to have a look,” Nellise ordered, kneeling in the snow next to
him. Aiden complied, wiping his bloodied hands on his ruined trousers. O n a hunch, he
glanced over his shoulder at Pacian, to make sure he was playing nice with their new
friend. They were eyeing each other carefully, but Pace seemed to understand that his life
had just been saved by this strange newcomer and he was not inclined to start a fight with
her. Shooting fire out of her hands was also probably a factor in his thinking.
Turning his attention back to Colt, Aiden noticed Nellise hadn't bothered trying to
bandage his wounds. She had instead taken out her crystal and closed her eyes, her lips
moving silently. The adrenaline rush was fading and Aiden was starting to feel the cold,
not to mention the ache of his leg, but as he sat in the snow, the warm glow of the
acolyte‟s healing prayer suffused him.
They sat there for several minutes, during which time Aiden's leg started to feel
considerably better, and Nellise's had stopped bleeding. Colt stirred, opening his eyes
slowly. His wounds appeared to have mended somewhat, thanks to Nellise's efforts, but
he still looked like he had been within a hair's breadth of death. Nellise slumped forward,
drained, and pulled her white hood up to cover her head from the bitter wind that was
picking up strength.
“How are you feeling?” Aiden asked, leaning forward so Colt could see him.
“Like I've been mauled by a bloody great wolf,” he croaked. “Is everyone okay?”
“Yeah, we're alive,” the young explorer replied, smiling with something resembling
relief. “Can you move? You're going to get really cold lying there.”
“Give me a minute. Who the hell is that?” Colt blurted. Aiden turned to see the wild
girl standing next to him, looking down at the big man.
“She saved our lives just now, so show some respect,” Aiden explained. “Thanks for
that, by the way,” he added for her benefit. She nodded, but remained oddly silent.
“Help me up would you?” Colt grunted, taking hold of Aiden's outstretched hand and
with a combined effort, hauled himself to his feet. He stood unsteadily for a few
moments, taking in the scene around him. The big ranger towered over the wild girl, who
stood without flinching from his scrutiny.
“What's your name, girl?” he asked of her.
“Sayana Arai,” she replied quietly.
“Sayana, I've got about a hundred questions for you,” Aiden added wearily, “but
we're in a bit of a situation here and we need to keep moving. But thanks for helping us
out back there.” She didn't react, but merely stood with a strange expression on her face.
Aiden thought for a moment that he might have somehow offended this strange young
woman, and cast a worried glance at her. It was then he noticed that her eyes were glazed
over, and her cheekbones stood out alarmingly on her face, right before she collapsed
onto the ground at his feet.
Aiden, bewildered, knelt down to see if she was okay. Sayana was as pale as a sheet,
but not from loss of blood. He put two fingers on her neck to check her pulse, and was
surprised to feel it racing.
“I don't know for certain what's wrong with her,” Aiden said to the others. “But
judging from her gaunt appearance I'd say she hasn't eaten anything in days. What should