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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

that they could see within the range of their light sources, so Aiden assumed this was the
collapse that Clavis had spoken of.
“Here it be,” he muttered, looking up towards the unseen ceiling somewhere above.
“This?” Pacian remarked incredulously. “This is what stopped you last time you
were here?”
“Aye lad, and I barely escaped with me life to boot.”
“I see, so, how exactly were you planning to get around it this time?” Pacian
accused. “It's just as big as the pile blocking the big doors upstairs.”
“Ah, this time I came prepared, with tools and knowledge,” Clavis answered, giving
the others a wink. He took off his backpack and pulled out something wrapped in hessian.
He withdrew a few things from the wrapping, and then carefully assembled a heavy
pickaxe, with a flat bladed shovel on the back end.
“You're going to dig through all that, with a bloody pickaxe?” Colt asked flatly. “I
don't suppose you brought enough for all of us?”
“By me calculations,” Clavis said, oblivious to the pessimism brewing in the group,
“the uppermost rock will be the thinnest, and will only take a day or two ta clear. Ye can
help me move some 'o the looser rock, and to be sure that'll speed our progress. I'd ask
that one of ya keep watch on our little excavation site though, just to be safe.”
“I'll do that,” Pacian volunteered. “The rest of you can move rocks around all day
long if you like.”
“Ever the gallant gentleman,” Nellise remarked dryly.
“Well I would assume that Clavis isn't asking the women to do heavy lifting, am I
right?” Pacian pressed.
“Only if'n they feel like it,” the dwarf replied. “But no, I was thinkin‟ our big ranger
friend might help me out.”
“Fine by me,” Colt shrugged, stripping down his equipment and the top half of his
armour, and placing it all into a pile nearby. “Don't go stealing that or I'll knock your
teeth out.”
“Sure, like I'm going to steal a bloody greatsword,” Pacian retorted. “Where would I
even stash it?”
“I'm sure you can find some place big enough to stow it,” Colt grunted.
“Okay, patrolling now,” Pacian stated flatly, then walked off to look around the local
area. Clavis was already carefully ne gotiating his way to the top of the rock pile, so
Aiden took off his leather breastplate and shirt so he could help out as well. Nellise took
out a few torches from her pack, lit them up, and tossed them around the site to provide
them with more illumination.
“What's that over there, sticking out of the rock?” Sayana said, appearing beside
Aiden suddenly. He turned and peered in the direction she was pointing, and saw
something other than rock at the bottom of the pile, close to the edge of the light. It was
yellowish-white, and seemed to be sticking out from the stone at an awkward angle.
Curious, the two of them moved in for a closer look
“Is that what I think it is?” Aiden asked, suddenly finding the object taking on a
disturbing shape.
“It looks like bone to me,” Sayana answered clinically. She knelt down and moved
away some of the rock and dirt with her free hand, to reveal the forearm of a deceased