i) Shyan feels the smooth, heavy weight


Shyan feels the smooth, heavy weight in her hands of the gold bar. It’s dense, solid, far more real to her than the cookpot that once contained it, which now lay on its side, forgotten and empty. She holds the bar close and sniffs it. Vaguely metallic — gold, she supposes.

Cang reaches up to take the bar. “Plenty of room in my knapsack. Luckily I did not abandon it during our mad dash.” When Shyan turns away from him, he opens his bag, gestures for her to place the gold inside. Fassn instead dives in like a puppy, then a moment later exclaims, “There’s more mylar in here.” Cang shushes him.

Abia, meanwhile, watches the wizard closely. Her tattoos seem to move and shift, slightly, whenever the eye glosses over but does not land upon her form. She wears loose, roughspun clothes, and a flat-topped hat over her straw hair, gathered in a bun. The wizard smiles at her.

“Friends, why not come up the lighthouse?” the wizard asks. “I am Ulxurix, magician, ally to all!” Again, she beams at Abianarin. “I know much that can be taught!” She gestures to Shyan and Cang, bickering over the gold bar. “And wouldn’t you like to see the fabulous machinery that enabled such a feat?” She heads up the stairs, calling back as she goes, “Follow me, and be amazed!”


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