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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

peered over to try and see from a distance what his blond friend was doing, but then gave
up and walked over to have a closer look.
“I know what you're going to say Aiden, so just shut up and give me a hand with this
stuff,” Pacian muttered as he approached.
“What 'stuff'?”
“The iron! We can sell it to the blacksmith in town and make some money. There's
not all that much of it, I-” he stopped talking and staggered backward when he spotted
something on the other side of the ruined wagon. Fearing wolves, Aiden stepped forward
cautiously with his sword raised before him. And there, lying in snow stained with blood,
was a grey wolf. A crossbow bolt gruesomely poked out of its side, yet it was still alive,
its chest rising and falling with each ragged breath. He recognised it from the fight
yesterday – this was the one that had mauled him badly before Nellise had shot it with
her crossbow.
But Aiden's fear disappeared at the sight of the poor animal, replaced by pity. It was
clearly suffering, and had been through the night. The only thing he could think of doing
was giving it a swift death to end its misery, but it wasn't something he'd ever done
before. Pacian had drawn his dagger, but Aiden held up his free hand to signal him to
hold. Aiden took a step towards the wounded wolf with the intention of taking care of his
adversary himself, until he noticed that Colt had come over to see what was taking so
“I know what you're thinking Aiden,” he said calmly, observing the scene, “and
usually it'd be the right thing to do, but let me take care of this one for you.”
Aiden nodded, silently grateful that he was spared the grisly task. He scanned the
nearby tree line while the big ranger moved in to deal with the wolf. There was no sign of
any others about, but he remained vigilant. Colt emerged from the other side of the
battered wagon carrying the body of the wolf in his arms, for some reason. Aiden was
trying to figure out what he was doing when he noticed the animal's chest was still
“What are you-” he began to say, but was cut off by the big man.
“I told you I'd take care of it, so shut up,” he growled as he strode past, being careful
not to jostle the wolf too much. Aiden looked at Pacian, bewildered, but he had nothing
to add. He merely shrugged, and gestured for his friend to give him a hand with the iron.
There wasn't a great deal of it there, but the iron ingots were heavy, and it would take the
two of them several trips to move it all into the wagon.
Aiden picked up two ingots, one in each hand, and headed around to the back of the
wagon in an effort to avoid the p iercing glare of Mister Samuels. He found that Nellise
had joined Colt with the wolf just outside the back of the wagon. Although he could
hardly believe it, Colt seemed to have enlisted Nellise's aid in healing the wolf.
“Hold it still,” she was telling Colt. “The quarrel doesn't appear to have struck
anything vital, but he'll bleed out if I don't do this right.”
“Just do what you can, I'm not expecting any miracles,” Colt replied evenly, his eyes
on the patient.
“That‟s an odd thing to say, since miracles are sort of what I do,” Nellise mumbled
absently, focused upon her work. They were clearly very busy, so Aiden held his
questions in check. Pacian gave him a quick nudge as he went past, prompting him to get
back to work making his blond friend richer.