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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

of them were laughing and chatting with each other. Aiden led his group towards the bar,
pushing through the crowd a little when required.
Through the din, he managed to negotiate two rooms to stay in, one for the ladies
and one for the gentlemen, if Colt or Pacian could be called such. Pace grabbed the key
for their room as soon as the bartender produced it, and headed on up the stairs near the
front door. Aiden shook his head but said nothing, giving the surly barkeep a long
suffering look.
Aiden handed over the coins and then the three of them eventually followed Pacia n
up the stairs, albeit in a more relaxed fashion. On the way, Aiden took the opportunity to
speak with Nellise for a moment.
“How did your talk with Pacian go?” he began. “We haven‟t been arrested yet, so I
take it things went well?”
“He took some convincing,” Nellise answered, “but I believe with time and
perseverance he can be redeemed. He's my new personal project.”
“If you say so,” Aiden replied dubiously. “Just don't go giving him the wrong idea -
he might mistake your interest for something else.”
“Let me worry about that,” she replied with a knowing smile. “Mine is a subtle art,
Aiden. He won't even know what's happening.”
“As you say. O h, if this is your home town, don't you have some place to stay? A
house, or something?”
“My family home is outside of town, so staying at the inn will be more convenient. I
could also stay at the church, but I'd rather have some time to rest before I report to the
Archioness. These rooms may be small, but compared to the chapterhouse, they're
practically palatial.”
Indeed, their rooms could definitely be considered cosy. The beds appeared
comfortable however, enticing Aiden to immediately lie down and rest his weary body.
Pacian was certainly doing so already – he had a knack for being able to sleep whenever
he wanted, under all sorts of conditions. For now he was content to lie face down in his
dirty leathers.
Aiden relaxed on the bed and heaved a sigh of contentment. He had pressing matters
that would need attending to soon, but considering the week he'd had, one night of r est
was not too much to ask. It wasn't long before the weary young man drifted off to sleep,
still fully clothed.
* * *
Aiden started awake, the nightmare from the cave haunting his dreams once more.
He held his eyes tightly shut for a moment as he slowly calmed down and remembered
where he was. A chill and bitter gale was rattling the shutters on the window, and the
sounds of the bustling community outside were a constant background noise.
The presence of people nearby was comforting, helping Aiden calm down and catch
his breath. Recovering from the intense dream was second-nature to him these days, even
if the initial moment of waking was terrifying. Pacian was snoring loudly, so Aiden
slowly arose from the bed and moved quietly out the door without waking him.
The polished wooden halls of the inn were freezing cold, so he headed straight for
the common room and its huge fireplace. When he entered, Aiden was somewhat startled