iv) Well, what of it, old man?

“Well, what of it, old man?” Cang asks, the steel in his voice palpable. He tries not to let on the tinge of fear he’s feeling, but in the close confines of the cell, all truths are laid bare.

The old man shrugs, as though it makes no difference whatsoever. Maybe it doesn’t. But Cang feels a wave of shame, feels anew the violation of the lich, feels almost as though his teeth are growing long, turning purple…

“Who’s he in now?” the old man asks. His eyes are unfocused, staring straight ahead, as though through the stone and earth to free, open pastures beyond. “Who,” he says again, as his eyelids flutter closed. His chin nods toward his chest.

“Hey,” Shyan says.

Fassn jabs him with his boot, startling the old man awake.

“You know that lighthouse,” Shyan begins, but it’s all she need say. The man’s eyes fill with fear. Shyan catches a faint, purple-y glint in them that quickly fades behind his cataracts.

“Ulxurix,” he says, breathless. “Ulxurix, Ulxurix.”

“That’s right,” Shyan says, concerned by his sudden animation. “You know her?”

He tightens his posture, curling up in himself. “Ulxurix,” he says. “Ulxurix, Ulxurix, Ulxurix…”

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