ii) “No stooge,” Abia says

“No stooge,” Abia says, the disapproval ringing in her voice. Ordinarily this tone might chasten Cang, but today he grins that hideous purple grin instead.

“Watch your mouth, Cang,” Shyan says.

“Do not call me Cang,” he says. “Cang is no more. I am the lich.”

“We met the lich already. Tall guy, ashen, creepy. Followed around by a pudgy blacksmith.”

“Ah,” Cang says, as though basking in forgotten nostalgia. “So like the tides, these bodies. In and out.”

“In and out,” Fassn says, chewing at his lips. “Yer the lich?”

Cang bows formally, and when he rises with a flourish, thunder rumbles outside.

The sputtering candelabras send flickering red light through the foyer.

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