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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

The alternative was that the place was so dangerous that nobody had gone near it
since the fall. If that was the case, then it would be a grave risk to even attempt to explore
it. Aiden needed to learn more before he could decide on a course of action.
“I‟m looking for some information,” he quietly asked of the cherubic girl, pushing a
silver noble towards her on the counter. “I'm looking for someone who knows a lot about
the old city of Ferrumgaard. Would you happen to know anyone I could speak with?”
The woman took the silver piece a nd appeared thoughtful. Before she could answer, a
short, bearded man sitting a little further along the bar spoke up.
“Sorry but I couldn't help but overhear. Yer wantin‟ to know more about
Ferrumgaard? I can help ya out with that.”
“Yes, that man right there,” the bartender pointed, quickly pocketing the coin, and
looking as innocent as she could manage in a moment. “Glad to help you out, I'll be out
the back cleaning if you need me. You two have a nice chat!” Before Aiden could protest,
she was already scurrying through the door to the kitchens. The short man laughed.
“Typical woman, takes a man's money, then runs off,” he chortled. “But ya didn't
wants to hear about women now did ya lad. Nay, it's Ferrumgaard what‟s on yer mind,
and I'll tell ya what you want to know. The name's Clavis MacAliese.”
“Aiden Wainwright. Good to meet you,” Aiden said, getting off his stool and moving
over to shake the man's hand firmly.
“So Aiden, what's yer interest in the fallen city of Ferrumgaard?” Clavis continued,
sipping ale from a large tankard. “Nobody goes there and returns the same y‟know.
Changes a man - makes him see his own mortality.”
“I have an interest in the historical aspects of the place,” Aiden said carefully.
“Specifically, some research that was being done before the unfortunate events took
place. Tell me, how familiar are you with the layout of the old city?”
“I'm well acquainted,” Clavis assured him, “having lived there as a lad. Also, I
visited there not two years ago on me own little expedition. Did n't make it past the third
level, afore I ran into some difficulties, but ya won't find anyone more qualified to guide
ya through the depths of ol' Ferrumgaard than I.” Aiden gave him a doubtful look.
“Wait a moment, you said you were there as a 'lad'? Tha t was a century ago!”
“That surprises you?” Clavis chuckled and wiped the foam from his beard. “I'm a
hundred and twenty three years old, I'll have you know! We clansmen are long lived
compared to you longshanks.”
“O h you're dwarven,” Aiden exclaimed, suddenly making the connection. He
glanced down at Clavis's feet, and noticed they were much higher off the ground than his
own. “Sorry about that sir, I haven't met one of your kind before. I was expecting
something... shorter.”
“This must be a real thrill for you then,” Clavis joked, drawing a short laugh from
“So you mentioned running into some difficulty,” he pressed, keeping the
conversation on topic. “What exactly does that mean?”
“Well, ya know, an ancient underground city and all. Not exactly in the best
condition. Ran into a few collapsed sections that slowed down the expedition. We were
just about done cutting through the rock, when we ran out of supplies, so had to turn
back. It won't be a problem lad, if that's what yer thinking. So long as we've got enough
provisions, that rock fall won't be an issue this time.”