v) Townsfolk flee the storm

Townsfolk flee the storm. As Shyan, Fassn, and Abia emerge into the rain, doors and shutters slam around them. The gang hears fearful shouts, but the words are swallowed and crashes of thunder.

For a moment, lightning illuminates Ulxurix’s lighthouse, and across from it, the lich’s twisted castle. Shyan imagines Cang jauntily strolling up to it, ignorant of his withered body. She shakes the image away and leads her friends to the lighthouse, where she pounds upon the door with a gloved fist.

They wait a long time, trying not to jump at every crack of lightning. At last, the door swings inward of its own accord, and they step, dripping, into the tiny receiving room.

Ulxurix, her tattoos swirling about every inch of her flesh, and glowing with a serene yellow light, sits in a rattan chair, her fingers tented, patient. When her eyes land upon Abia, her face goes pale, and the light in her tattoos dims.

She stands, moves towards them, squinting. She says to Abia, “It was supposed to be you.”

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