Nature Abhors a Vacuum
Although he couldnâ€Ÿt see Pacian in the obscuring mist, Aiden saw the results of his
handiwork over the next few minutes. They passed no less than three bodies on the
ground at regular intervals, a distinctive dagger wound in each of their backs.
When they finally caught up to him, Pacian was crouched against a tree, gesturing
with a finger. Aiden and the rest found foliage to hide behind while Colt took a careful
look ahead. The sound of a deep, irritated voice could be heard not far away, giving out
orders and clearly not liking the news he was hearing from his people.
â€œI wager thatâ€Ÿs our man,â€ Colt whispered, nocking an arrow ready to shoot. â€œI see
half a dozen with him. Just be ready if this doesnâ€Ÿt go to plan.â€ Aiden tightened his grip
on the hilt of his sword and exchanged a tense glance with Sayana, who had the glint of a
wild animal in her eyes. Colt took in a deep breath, then burst into action.
He sprang out of cover and took aim, drawing the string back on his bow and loosing
it in one smooth action. The distinct sound of the arrow striking a tree echoed through the
fog, accompanied by a phrase from Colt that did not instil confidence.
â€œBloody hell, I missed.â€
There wasnâ€Ÿt time to fall back or consider an alternative plan, for the instant Coltâ€Ÿs
arrow had struck the tree Fletcher and his crew whirled around and charged. Aiden froze
at the prospect of facing half a dozen in a straight-up fight, but Colt didnâ€Ÿt hesitate. He
tossed his longbow aside and drew his huge greatsword, standing ready to meet the
As the first of their opponents came around the side of the tree, Colt swung his sword
and cut the man down in one go before the bandit could even get close enough to be a
threat. A second brigand followed immediately after, stabbing at the ranger with a short
sword. Colt sidestepped the clumsy attack and used the hilt of his greatsword to slam the
man in the face.
His nose exploded in a spray of blood as the bandit crumbled to the ground,
clutching at his ruined face in pain. Aiden looked for an opportunity to step in as
everyone else sprang into action.
From around the other side of the brush three more brigands approached, this time
more cautiously after witnessing the quick elimination of their comrades. If they knew
what they were about to face, they might have reconsidered altogether. Sayana stepped
forward and raised one hand from which a burst of flame appeared, engulfing the three
men in fire.
They backpedalled and raised their arms to protect their faces, falling onto the damp
earth where they rolled around to extinguish the flames clinging to their clothing. Pacian
didnâ€Ÿt give them a chance to recover â€“ he dove in and stabbed one man repeatedly in the
chest, while Nellise rushed forward and slammed her quarterstaff onto the head of
another, knocking him out cold.
Aiden hesitated a moment, then followed suit, leaping forward and bringing his
sword to bear on the third man. The bandit had time to recover however, and rolled out of
the way just in time. He then landed a solid kick in Aidenâ€Ÿs side, sending him sprawling
onto the ground, gasping for breath.