iii) The old man, Berstuun, whimpers

The old man, Berstuun, whimpers, says again, “My fault, my fault.”

“Cang, relax,” Shyan says.

“The lich was in me, too,” Cang replies with a pout.

Fassn, meanwhile, crouches beside Abia and the man, brushes his fingertips along the rivulets of fossilized skin that make up the man’s hands. “So bumpy,” Fassn says.

“The blame is mine,” whispers the old man, insensate. His eyes grow milky. Abia shakes him, gently, speaks in her first tongue to soothe him. Her words seem to have some effect, as the old man stills, some of the spirit returns to his eyes.

“Tell us about fangs, Berstuun,” Abia says.

“I loved a girl in the village,” he says. His voice seems imbued with hope glimpsed across a scarred and smokey battlefield. “But I suffered,” he says, his face clouding. “I suffered, I suffered. Blame me.”

“We should leave him to this awful place,” Cang says. He’s pacing the cell.

“He might know something useful,” Shyan replies.

“Blame me, blame me.”

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