Cang knocks Abia away from the wriggling, inky antennae. He manages to roll out of the way before they come for him. She comes up hard against a bookshelf, its dusty tomes juddering with the impact. Shyan lunges at Ulxurix, blade bared, but the old woman is fast. Superhumanly so, thinks Shyan.
Ulxurix claps once, a harsh sound. Cang is breathing heavily. “This is no way to visit a friend for dinner,” says Ulxurix. “Here I invite you all, put out my best silverware, but you ruffians can’t help yourselves to tear it apart.”
Shyan snatches a handful of the silverware and throws it piece by piece at the witch. Those that do reach her skin are deflected harmlessly from the glowing tattoos, which seem rather to be metal than ink.
“Horton,” says the witch, gesturing at her guests. “Such barbarism!”
“Yes, sir,” mumbles Horton, before catching himself. “Ma’am. Yes, ma’am.”
“Now Horton,” she replies. “Is this how you would behave in esteemed company?”
He shakes his head dumbly.
“Of course not. We must teach our friends a lesson.”