ii) Cang shakes his head

Cang shakes his head, as though to clear the water logged in his skull. The rain pounds down. “I feel as though I may have been here before,” he says aloud.

“You have. We all have,” Shyan says.

“‘Cept you was running the place,” Fassn adds.

Cang sighs, almost wistfully, despite the obvious dangers on all sides. “Those were the days.”

Ulxurix chuckles contemptuously. “Those days were never yours. You were but a vessel for me. And I must say, I enjoy this form so much more.” Her tattoos glow purple and a moment later she zaps Cang with a tendril of purple energy. He yelps. She laughs again, tickled by his pain.

“Think about that when you’re sitting in your cells, wondering if you can break the bars,” Ulxurix says. She then departs through the front doors of the castle, a nervous Horton holding the door ajar and following quickly behind.

The creatures, their breathing laboured and their movements squelching, urge the shackled gang through the grounds to a banded iron door set into a squat, stone building. One of the things pushes it open with the weight of its figure, its forehead pressed against the bands until the door budges.

A yawning blackness stares back from within.

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