Nature Abhors a Vacuum
a cry from the other side of the road – someone had witnessed the two bandits fall and
raised an alarm. The forest came alive with the sounds of movement and shouted orders,
and Colt silently cursed at the noise.
“We are in for it now, people,” he growled. “Just stay hidden, as they probably don't
know where we are, yet.” Aiden drew his sword and brought his gloved hand up in
preparation – they may not know where they are, but if anyone came to investigate
closely, it wouldn't take long to spot them. He was proven right only moments later, as a
man in a heavy green cloak crept right past their position, heading towards his fallen
comrades. He was close enough to reach out and touch, and Aiden froze in terror.
A shadow moved past the young adventurer a heartbeat later, and he was surprised to
see Pacian silently creep out of the copse as soon as the bandit had moved past. Aiden
didn't dare call out the many, many expletives that crossed his mind at that moment, for
fear of blowing their cover. The blond rogue, dagger at the ready, matched the bandit step
for step, slowly closing in behind him until he was within reach, and then brought his
dagger across the man’s throat.
He dropped like a rock, with Pacian catching him on the way down and dragging
him back towards the brush Aiden and the others were hiding in before anyone would
notice he was missing. A few moments later, three other men strode into view through
the fog, short bows held at the ready. This time there were too many to take down at
once, so Aiden and his companions had to sit there and watch as the men approached the
two bodies that lay twitching near the trees.
“We can take them,” Colt whispered, inching a hand towards his quiver ever so
slowly. Nellise had already pulled back the lever on the crossbow and put another bolt
into place, but there was no way they were going to bring down three of them at once
without their position being compromised.
“Wait,” Aiden whispered back, wanting to see what the bandits did before they
acted. Two of them were looking around warily, hoping to spot the archers that brought
down the others. One of the bandits was kneeling down to look closer at the arrow and
bolt that were sticking up gruesomely, and as Aiden feared, it was obvious to the man
what direction they had come from.
An arrow shot through the air at that moment, let loose by Colt as it became clear
they were going to be found. He struck one man in the back, piercing all the way through
to the other side of his chest and dropping him to the ground. Nellise let loose a moment
later but only managed to clip the other man’s leg. He cried out in pain as he raised an
arm to point at where the attack had come from.
Colt was already drawing his next arrow to take out the third bandit, but it was too
late. He ducked for cover behind the tree, leaving the wounded man to lie at the base of
it, screaming in pain as he clutched at the arrow. Frustrated, the big ranger decided to
finish off Nellise's target, silencing him with a clothyard shaft to the side of his throat.
Pacian swore and rushed out of the copse, sprinting towards the tree the other bandit
had moved behind while Aiden spoke the word of command to bring his force shield into
existence, and then heaved himself out of the trees to follow his friend. The plan had
failed, so now they would have to improvise as the situation developed.
Pacian had disappeared around the back of the tree and the sounds of a struggle
could be heard. As soon as Aiden arrived he could see that Pace had crashed straight into
the bandit, and the two of them had fallen in a vicious brawl. His dagger was lying on the