Nature Abhors a Vacuum
â€œA young woman, living in the wild, who is clearly some sort of sorceress?â€ Aiden
blurted out loud, exasperated. â€œWho are you?â€ She didn't answer immediately, choosing
to look at Aiden with glinting green eyes for a long moment instead.
â€œI am of the Akoran mountain people,â€ she finally replied. â€œMy tribe lives several
days travel to the east.â€ Aiden recognised the tribal name, having lived close to the
mountains where the native peoples of that region live. Trade was common between the
two peoples, although there was little of that in the past few months for some reason. The
blacksmith at Bracksford was also from Akora, and might even be related to this girl.
â€œI know of a man from Akora, living in Bracksford and working as a smith,â€ Aiden
remarked. â€œHe doesnâ€Ÿt have the knack for our language that you seem to.â€
â€œHe was probably from Akoramark, our city,â€ Sayana suggested. â€œThey have less
contact with outlanders like you than those that live on the border, like I used to.â€
â€œWhat brings you out into Aielund territory?â€ Nellise asked curiously.
â€œI struck out on my own when food became scarce,â€ Sayana responded, gazing out at
the passing terrain.
â€œYou're young to be out here in the wilds by yourself,â€ the cleric observed. â€œHow
long have you lived around here?â€
â€œSix months,â€ she said quietly. â€œThere was a great deal more food around here last
summer, then the soldiers came through and hunted the place bare.â€
â€œAnd what of your abilities?â€ Aiden pressed.
â€œI've always been able to do that. I just... make it happen.â€
â€œYou didn't have to study?â€
â€œStudy what?â€ Sayana asked, looking at him curiously. Aiden didn't have a quick
answer for that, instead exchanging a knowing look with Nellise. Wizards typically had
to study for years to do what Sayana claimed to achieve naturally. He had read only small
excerpts about natural magicians like this before, his knowledge being limited to the
books he had been able to get his hands on. He was about to ask her about her interest in
the glass shard hanging around his neck when the wagon clattered to a stop.
â€œWait here a moment, I'll see what's going on,â€ Aiden advised, jumping down to the
â€œDo you think we need your protection?â€ Sayana said in a way that suggested she
didn't. Aiden glanced back to see Nellise smiling slightly as she readied her crossbow.
The wild girl was right; they were both probably tougher than he was. He drew his
shortsword to make himself feel a little better, and to also defend himself if attacked.
That was pretty important too.
Striding up to the front of the wagon, he could see they had arrived at the wreck of
the merchant's wagon where Pacian had discovered the glove Aiden now wore. The
blond rogue was over at the wagon sifting amongst the wreckage.
â€œWhat's he doing?â€ Aiden asked Colt, who stood on the wagon with his longbow
â€œHe said there was something there he wanted to pick up.â€
â€œHe didn't mention what, exactly?â€ Aiden pressed.
â€œWhy don't you go and ask him,â€ Colt shrugged. â€œI'm busy making sure he doesn't
die when those wolves come back.â€
â€œThis is nonsense,â€ Samuels complained. â€œWe are wasting time and asking for
trouble, and we will run out of light before Bracksford if we delay any longer!â€ Aiden