ii) Through the haze of glamour

Through the haze of glamour, Abianarin sees the lich. Beneath the protection of a human guise is a twisted, pale thing, tall, narrow, with the stench of death upon it. Violet fire glows in its eyes. Its sharp teeth are a degraded yellow, and Abia notices one fang is entirely absent from the top row of teeth. Then, she slips under.

The lich grins and orders Horton to gather the bodies, prone and yielding. As the blacksmith struggles with the gang’s weight, the lich spots Fassn’s new dental work.

“Ulxurix, the lighthouse witch,” he says aloud, filling the blacksmith with fear.

“I don’t like her, sir,” he says.

“Nor I, Horton,” says the lich. He perks up. “And what’s this?”

Drawn by the heat, the lich crosses the room to Abia, and finds her clutching Ulxurix’s book, residual heat fading still.

The lich smiles.

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