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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

to see the scattered remains of several chairs and last night‟s patrons sprawled
haphazardly around the room.
Curiously, a few local patrons were enjoying their breakfast in amongst the
destruction as if nothing were amiss. Seeking to fit into this strange new culture, Aiden
moved towards the bar, picking his way carefully through the comatose patrons so as not
to step on any delicate areas. The bartender this morning was a plump young woman in a
frilly red dress, with a rosy-cheeked smile.
“Morning young master,” she greeted Aiden as he sat down on an unoccupied and
still intact stool. “Can I get you something?”
“A plate of whatever you have for breakfast,” he replied. “So… is this a regular
“Breakfast?” she asked, seeming confused. “Happens around about this time every
morning, last time I checked!”
“Ha, yes, actually I was referring to the wreckage,” Aiden clarified.
“O h that,” she nodded, as if she hadn't noticed current contents of the common room.
“Maybe once a week, depending on how long some crews have been at sea.” A reflective
look crossed her cherubic features. “Not sure what started this fight though. They all
seemed to be enjoying themselves for most of the evening.”
“I noticed they‟re still lying on your floor, and haven't been arrested,” Aiden
“The guards have got better things to be doing than throwing these lads into gaol,”
she smiled knowingly in reply. “They gave up trying to keep the peace in this place a few
weeks ago. But that's fine, the boys are only hurting' themselves. Anyway, let me get you
something to eat, handsome.”
Aiden turned to lean back against the bar while he looked with amusement at a few
of the locals slowly rising like the dead from the grave, groaning and clutching their
heads. From amongst the wreckage of a table, a familiar figure emerged. Aiden cracked a
grin when he saw it was Colt, beaten and bloodied but still in one piece. The big ranger
clutched the side of his chest with one arm, and looked around with something akin to
satisfaction at the sight before him.
“That'll show the bastards,” he croaked, shambling towards the stairs, completely
oblivious to Aiden's presence.
When his plate of food arrived, he focusing on his meal and thought briefly about the
frustration of being unable to send help to Coldstream, let alone Bracksford.
He had no idea what possessed the K ing to strip the garrisons bare and invade
another country, except that history was replete with sovereigns doing exactly that. Aiden
didn't know a great deal about K ing Seamus Roebec, the ruler of Aielund, but he was
apparently subject to the same whims as other K ings, leaving his countrymen to fend for
themselves in the wake of his passing.
In addition to this however, Aiden was also tempted by the close proximity of the old
dwarven city of Ferrumgaard, only a few days travel to the west from Culdeny. The place
must have been looted many times in the last century, especially being so close to a major
human settlement. Part of him still hoped the strange artefact he sought was buried
somewhere in its depths.