iii) The stench is abrasive

The stench is abrasive. Creatures have died within, that much is clear to all. The man-things — who share the sickly scent of the air — shuffle and push the team into the damp darkness.

Their eyes adjust slowly to find walls of wide, expertly-cut brick, tied closely together in a labyrinthine sprawl. The only variation is the odd mouldering torch in a sconce, and the hard black iron bars set throughout the complex.

“Are we to sit in the mildew and rot?” Cang asks. No response, beyond their typical laboured grumbling, comes from the creatures. “I think I rather preferred being the lich.”

Soon the man-things stop at an open cell. Several of them push Fassn inside, and a few of them together manage to get the door shut and secured. Shyan struggles against them as they do so, but their numbers are too many.

When the group arrives at another empty cell, she’s next.

It isn’t long before both Cang and Abia are shunted into separate cells, too. Their work complete, resigned to a signal only they can attend to, the creatures shamble out of the dungeon.

Silence falls, broken only by the odd, intermittent drip of water.

“Old Ajralan,” Fassn says after a while. “I’ve had my fill.”

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