ii) Shyan and Cang continue to argue

Shyan and Cang continue to argue over who’s going to carry the bar, while Fassn has opened a bag of Cang’s mylar and is gumming it contentedly. His tooth nubs are coming in stronger, now, and with care he’s able to break apart the crunchy orange snacks. Abia, meanwhile, ascends the brass staircase, and adds her own shadow to those flickering above.

“Fine,” Shyan says, exhausted. “Just keep it in your huge bloody bag, then. We’ll find a blacksmith and have him break this thing into four pieces, and then we need argue no more.”

“Gladly,” Cang says, his smirk oily. He slips the gold bar into his knapsack, then snatches the remaining mylar from Fassn and secretes it away.

Upstairs, Abia finds Ulxurix amidst a wide array of machines and devices, built of brass gears and copper cogs, with straps of treated leather connecting them. At the centre of the room, a healthy fire burns within the confines of a strange, invisible box. Ulxurix is hunched over it, feeding the flames with odiferous herbs which send up a deep smoke when incinerated.

The wizard turns at Abia’s approach. “Ah, wise one. Long way from Hakahersef, this!” Abia falters at the mention of her homeland, which she’s not seen in a decade. “Oh, no need for worryin’, wise one. You’ve got the mark,” the wizard says. “The box of fire,” she continues, feeding more herbs to the flames. “Want to climb inside?”

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