Nature Abhors a Vacuum
suddenly engulfed the battlefield and a blast of energy engulfed Aiden, who fully
expected to die.
A stillness came over the field. Aiden slowly looked up to see a colossal hole carved
out of the ground, easily a hundred feet across and just as deep. It was almost a perfect
hemisphere, and even went inside the bailey of the castle itself. The outer gate and part of
its walls cleanly sheared off where the hemisphere met them.
Aiden slowly stood, looking at the devastation before him and felt at peace. It was an
odd feeling, considering what he had just witnessed, but there it was, regardless. The
scene around him began to fade and turn a curious shade of purple. Then it was all swept
away in a swirling sea of blue and violet light, a vista that appeared flat and featureless,
yet seemed to stretch on to infinity at the same time.
He could no longer see his body in the dimness, and felt as though he were floating
in water. He simply drifted with the flow, pushed about by eddies and currents of the
great ocean. After an interminable amount of time, a shape began to form from the
formlessness, a piece of rocky ground beneath his booted feet.
Aiden touched down lightly upon the surface and watched as the fog of violet and
blue slowly receded before him to reveal an immense creature. Its great head lifted
slowly and Aiden saw it was the dragon from his nightmare, manifest before him in all its
terrifying size. But it wasnâ€Ÿt quite the same.
Its great wings were wasted away to mere skeletal frames, covered in aged and worn
skin. The golden scales adorning its hide were lacklustre, and the eye that was now
looking down at Aiden from the great head was bleary, and dull. Aiden felt no fear of this
creature and was instead filled with a sense of pity.
Welcome, Aiden, a powerful voice intoned, although the mouth of the dragon had not
â€œWhere...what is this place?â€ Aiden replied, his voice small in the vast emptiness
You are standing on a small pocket of reality amidst the Aether, a dimension
adjacent to what you know of as Aeos, your world. Do not be alarmed, you are quite safe.
â€œHow can you talk without moving your mouth?â€
My jaws are not capable of reproducing mortal speech patterns, the dragon replied
patiently. I am communicating directly with your mind.
â€œI see,â€ Aiden said timidly, struggling to comprehend everything that was
happening. He took a few steps, noting that the great eye of the dragon, only yards away,
followed his every move. The dragon's bulk took up most of the space on the small
pocket of land, but there was a structure of some sort behind it. Peering closer, Aiden
could see that it was a castle gate and part of a stone wall, with crumbling edges that
stopped just short of the edge of the ground. Chains were lashed across the front of the
gate, which appeared to be locked tight.
Do not go too close to the edge, the dragon advised. It was quite an effort to catch
you in the first place, and I do not want you to again fall into the Aether.
â€œIs that a castle I see behind you?â€ Aiden asked, trying to put all the pieces of this
Yes, I brought it with me, the dragon said cryptically. Pay no heed to such things for
now, your needs are more pressing. What is the last thing you remember?