iii) The door cracks and gives

The door cracks and gives. Shards of wood tumble to the ground as Abia steps back, her molecules re-aligning.

A small gaggle of townsfolk watch from the bottom of the outcrop. When Abia turns in their direction, they scatter.

Within, the lighthouse is dank and musty. Despite the early hour, the circular chamber is ill-lit, with ragged curtains covering windows no bigger than slits.

“Hello?” Shyan calls. “Wizard?”

Silence. She takes a tentative step inside, peers up the spiralling staircase. Firelight reflects from somewhere above.

Shyan helps her companions lift the cookpot, which is almost entirely absent any residual heat. The surface is still and gummy. They each start to shout, their voices overlapping, cacophonous din bouncing around the cylindrical lighthouse.

From above, a clang. Then, a reedy voice, dripping with disdain, screeches, “What!?”

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