Nature Abhors a Vacuum
Four stout men opened the large gates of the fort and the wagon moved forward,
slowly at first but with increasing speed as it clattered down the road. The trip back to
town would take considerably less time than their troubled journey to the fort, so Aiden
tried to relax and keep an eye o ut for trouble.
The freezing wind had abated somewhat and made the start of the journey almost
enjoyable. Their brief look at the clear sky ended as the heavy clouds hanging over the
northern slopes gradually obscured the view. The wagon made good time along the road,
its wheels kicking up a trail of snow in its wake. To pass the time, Aiden began fidgeting
with the enchanted glove theyâ€Ÿd found along the way.
â€œA curious device,â€ Nellise observed mildly. â€œIt certainly came in useful yesterday. I
wonder what that doomed merchant was doing with it.â€
â€œIt was separate from the rest of his possessions, so I assume he was planning to sell
it,â€ Aiden conjectured. â€œThere is a man in Bracksford who deals in such items, so it's
possible it was going to him. I might make a discreet inquiry when we arrive.â€
â€œThere is one thing I do not understand,â€ the cleric mused. â€œGranted, my knowledge
of such things is far from complete, but I recall that it takes a great deal of training to
operate something like this. How did you, the son of a simple wagon builder, make it
work?â€ Aiden gave her a sly smile, for she was a little more observant than he'd thought.
â€œI've studied a lot of books from strange places over the past few years,â€ he
shrugged, not intending to be evasive, yet hearing his words come out that way
regardless. â€œWhat I mean is, during the course of studying various languages, I came
across a lot of information about these sorts of devices. The writing around the gem on
this glove is one of those languages, primarily used by wizards, though it's hardly one of
the easiest to understand. Luckily I managed to decipher it well enough to make it do its
â€œShow me,â€ Sayana said, surprising Aiden. He positioned his gloved hand so that
she could see the writing around the gem, and the wild girl peered at it intently for a long
â€œInvoke it,â€ she ordered. She peered directly into his inquiring eyes without blinking,
making Aiden very uncomfortable. He had seen what she could do, however, and decided
it wouldn't hurt to demonstrate the glove's power once more.
He spoke the command word, and the shimmering shield of force flickered into
existence. Sayana gazed at it inquisitively, and moved her hands in quick, darting
gestures. Aiden watched her keep this up for nearly a minute, before he finally had to ask
what on earth she was doing.
â€œWhat on earth are you doing?â€
â€œLearning,â€ she replied absently. â€œThe energy patterns from that gem are fairly
simple to reproduce. I think I've almost...â€ a moment later she spoke the sa me command
word that Aiden had, and a second shield appeared before them, hovering in mid-air
outside the back of the wagon. Aiden gaped in astonishment, hardly believing what he
With a simple flick of her wrist, Sayana was able to move the shield back and forth
in front of her, then with another gesture the shield vanished. She slumped back against
the side of the wagon, apparently depleted once again.
â€œWho are you?â€ Aiden blurted out loud. She didn't answer immediately, choosing to
look at Aiden with glinting green eyes for a long moment instead.