ii) With a burst of thunder

With a burst of thunder, lit dramatically from behind like an actor onstage, the door to the smithy slams open, and in stumbles the blacksmith himself, Horton Belwether. His eyes fall upon the dessicated, grinning Cang, and Horton falls down.

Cang laughs. “Horton, you fool. Could there be a worse eternal servant in this pissant town?”

“It’s just,” Horton says breathlessly from the floor, rolling like a turtle to regain his footing. “It’s just, I thought you didn’t want him.”

Sneering, Cang says, “You’re right on that account, Horton.” He wheels to face Abia, points an accusatory finger right at her. “I wanted her. Look at the power that courses through her!”

From the floor, Horton replies, “I see it.”

Shyan helps the portly blacksmith to his feet. “Look, I could see why you might want Abianarin, sure. But Cang? Come on, who needs him?”

The lich within Cang laughs again, a high, crackling sound accentuated by the lightning brewing outside. “You’re right, of course. But this form shall serve in the interim.” He makes for the door, which flies open with a bang, as though the wind invites him out. He says one word before departing in the tumultuous rain. “Ta.”

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