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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

“I can't work while we're under attack,” Nellise complained, pulling back the lever
on her crossbow and preparing to shoot.
“Nel, take cover and shoot if you're still able,” Aiden advised. “Sayana, you're with
me. Colt, it's up to you if you're going to help out here or not, but I'm not standing around
to get picked off like this.” Without waiting to hear his response, Aiden ran off into the
fog, Sayana right on his heels. The sorceress brought her force shield into existence with
a quick gesture as she moved, in preparation for the coming fight.
Within a few moments Aiden could see the archers standing ahead in the dense fog;
three of them, their weapons drawn and ready to shoot. It took but a moment for them to
recognise Aiden as one of their enemies, and another split second for them to aim at him
and shoot. Putting all his faith in the shield, Aiden lifted his arm and felt the impact of all
three arrows.
Summoning his courage, the novice warrior closed the remaining distance in seconds
and slammed his shortsword into the startled archer's gut with all the force he had built
up with his charge. The bandit went down hard, writhing on the ground with his hands
over the bloody wound and was joined a moment later by one of the other archers as
Sayana's axe split his skull with surprising force.
The remaining archer's eyes were wide as he stepped back, frantically trying to nock
an arrow to take another shot at them. Aiden was about to step in and engage the man
when he felt a sharp pain in his back. He whirled around, slashing down with his short
blade in the hope of hitting whoever had just attacked him. The sword connected with a
cloaked bandit who had been hiding in the brush next to the archers, practically invisible.
The bandit screamed as Aiden‟s sword took him in the chest, and Sayana was quick to
follow through with her axe, finishing him off.
Aiden took a moment to check his back for blood, but thankfully the dagger hadn't
pierced his chain shirt. During this brief time, the other archer had readied another arrow
and loosed a shot at Sayana. Prepared for the attack, she positioned her magical shield
between herself and her assailant with a quick gesture, successfully deflecting the arrow.
Cursing loudly, the bandit dropped his bow and went for his dagger, but not before Aiden
took a swipe at him. The man was too quick though, dodging to one side and avoiding the
blade's edge.
While the initial charge had been successful, the remaining bandits had moved in to
take advantage of their open position. There was no sign of Colt, and Aiden had lost track
of Pacian several minutes ago. Four bandits, armed with a variety of knives and swords,
slowly moved in to surround Aiden and Sayana, feeling more confident with their greater
numbers. Another pair of bandits was moving in the fog behind them, one of them with a
bow trained on Aiden but unlikely to get a clear shot with his comrades in the way.
Aiden stood back-to-back with Sayana, keeping his opponents in sight as the ring of
steel slowly closed in. The archer looked about ready to loose an arrow when the cloaked
bandit next to him drew out a pair of daggers and suddenly stabbed him twice in the back,
then dashed off into the brush. This startled the other highwaymen and gave Aiden the
advantage he had been waiting for.
He stabbed the closest man in the side, running him through the heart and dropping
him to the ground, dead before he stopped moving. The young adventurer stepped over
the body and prepared to strike at the next bandit, who was now facing him and ready to
defend, a shortsword in his hand. Aiden could see Sayana out of the corner of his eye,
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