iv) A band of brigands makes itself apparent

A band of brigands makes itself apparent, its leader at the head, chomping the stub of a cigar and wearing a mouldy tricorner hat. The leader sneers and says, “Empty yer pockets.”

Fassn spots the cigar and says, “May Old Ajralan have his fill.” One of the thugs in the back nods solemnly.

Abia steps out to get a look at the half-dozen grimy men, before Shyan steps in front of her. “We have nothing in our pockets. Nothing of value at all.”

“How ’bout yer blades, yer armour, yer fancy wagon?” The leader turns to his men, who chuckle obediently, as though the leader had made a joke.

“Well, you can’t have those,” Shyan says.

Steel sparkles in the leader’s hands. He props the cigar at the edge of his lips as his fellows start toward the wagon. The boss growls, “Can’t we?”

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