iii) “What happened to the tall feller?”

“What happened to the tall feller?” Fassn asks, before adding, “No offense.”

“None taken, dear Fassn,” says Cang, the picture of good grace. “That form had grown awfully oppressive, such that this spry young fellow seemed a treat. I’d have had her—” at this he gestures to Abia, who still wears an expression of cold steel “—but the witch had seen to that.”

Abia resists the urge to give Cang a questioning glance. Luckily for her, Shyan jumps in.

“Seen to that? What is all this magic circle nonsense?”

“Agreed, such a dreadful bore, no?” Cang says. He claps twice, the crisp sound ringing through the lushly appointed corridors. Soon Horton Belwether, the blacksmith, appears at a door.

“Yes, sir?” he says.

“Show my friends their rooms.”

From below the floorboards, even over the intensifying storm outside, the gang hears scuffling feet, and low, rumbling groans.

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