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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

The Gentlemen's Club was located in the north-east of the town, above the North
Shore Trading Company's offices in one of the larger houses. Ronald Bartlett was
apparently the wealthiest man in town, and it wasn't much of a stretch to assume he set up
the club for his rich friends to compliment each other on being rich.
It was a brief stroll to the very elegant manor house with a well-tended garden and an
imposing metal fence. The gates were open, and a sign declared this the offices of the
North Shore Trading Company, open for business. Three expensively dressed men were
leaving the house, talking amongst themselves as they walked.
“Well, let's head inside and see what we can learn shall we?” Aiden said, looking up
at the building before them.
“I'm wondering how you're going to go about this,” Pacian asked hesitantly.
“I was going to head in and ask Mister Bartlett a few questions about any deals he's
done with mercenary companies lately,” Aiden explained slowly.
“You mean... be honest?”
“Mostly, yes,” Aiden replied dubiously. “I have a little diversion in mind though.
What are you getting at?”
“If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion?” Pacian asked delicately. “Lie. A lot.
If this bloke is indeed involved somehow, then he's not going to be straight with you.
Confronting him directly isn't going to get us the answers we need, so yeah. Lie.”
“I wasn't exactly planning to stride in there and point my finger at the man, accusing
him of treason,” Aiden replied with a raised eyebrow. “But I'll take your advice into
consideration.”
Aiden walked along the short path that ran through the front gate, and past a water
fountain with a fish carved from stone on top of a small column. The fresh water gave
Aiden an idea. He reached into his belt pouch and pulled out a piece of cloth, then leaned
over and dipped it into the water.
Then he reached over and started dabbing the wet cloth on Sayana's face, attempting
to remove the smudges of dirt that seemed to be ever-present on the wild girl's features.
She pulled back against him reflexively, not sure what he was doing.
“Hold still,” Aiden muttered, “I'm just going to make you a little more presentable.”
“Why?”
“Women of society don‟t walk around with smudges of dirt on their…” He was
caught off guard by something odd. While wiping her right cheek he'd brushed her hair
back past her ear and discovered the top if it was pointed. Her eyes met his and he could
practically see that she was begging him to keep quiet about this discovery.
“There, much better,” Aiden murmured, putting away the cloth and nodding
approvingly while trying to ignore wha t he'd just seen.
“I still don't understand why you need her in there,” Pacian drawled. “Unless you
want to irritate them of course, then it makes perfect sense.”
“Hey, you wanted me to lie,” Aiden winked back at him. Behind his calm features,
his mind whirled around at the implications of Sayana's ears. Pointed ears were a
hallmark of the elven people, rare in Aielund, as their homeland was a long way to the
west and they weren't known for travelling.
 
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