v) She lets the word drop

She lets the word drop. The clatter of silverware and the wet mulching of mastication fills the room. The magic circle thrums.

Ulxurix puts down her utensils and looks up, meets Cang’s eyes directly. “You’d better leave that boy,” she says.

Cang pretends offense, but malice rides in his eyes. “He is no mere boy, witch,” he says. “Besides, I rather like him, low to the ground as he is.”

Shyan slams down her fork. “This is sick.”

“Hm?” Fassn says, chewing slowly. Around a mouthful of food, he says, “I think it’s quite good.”

Shyan stands in an instant and draws her blade, levels it at Cang’s throat. His dark creatures react with confusion and irritation, but he remains impassive.

“Go ahead,” he says. “Cut your comrade’s throat. I have far less need of it than you.”

The tip of her blade wavers.

“Not Cang,” says Abia. “Lich.”

Suddenly Ulxurix rises jerkily to her feet, begins stumbling towards the magic circle. The lighthouse fills with her screams.

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