iv) Shyan’s blade exits its sheath a hand’s width

Shyan’s blade exits its sheath a hand’s width and she holds it there. “You see I bear steel. Do not insist I bear it further.”

“Nicely put,” Cang says.

“You don’t need to bear it, sweetheart,” says one of the men, wearing a helmet carved to resemble the gruesome snarl of a boar. “Just put it down and me and the boys’ll take it from here.”

“I’m so tired of ‘the boys’,” Shyan says. Eyeing their numbers, and their newly-repaired gear, she adds, “We don’t need to fight. We’ll bring you back something nice from the castle.”

She can almost hear the blood draining from boarhead’s face beneath his heavy mask. “You’s all is going up to the castle?”

“Got to get paid, you know,” Fassn says cheerily.

“Then, we’ve got to stop you,” boarhead says, looking around at his men, who are suddenly shuffling their feet and kicking at the dirt. “Because, the lich,” he continues, trailing off.

Shyan’s blade clicks home with a sharp sound. “No one likes the lich.”

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