iv) I grow weary

“I grow weary,” says the disembodied voice of the lich, Ulxurix. “Let’s end this.”

At her command the man-things spring into action. They move suddenly, with a fluid grace not at all suggested by their knobby forms. Their grasping fingers tear at the team’s clothes while Berstuun struggles, helpless. Shyan barrels down the corridor to a single door, still shut. With one arm she pushes aside the moaning creatures, with the other she holds fast to Fassn, who ambles along as best he can under the weight of his passenger.

Cang ducks into one of the opened doors, slipping past one of the creatures. He finds himself in a music room, ornate and dilapidated, the once-grand piano now a mouldering wreck. He leaps through a broken window onto a balcony and sprints along it.

The man-things wrap their desiccated limbs in Abia’s colourful robes, tangle her up in their grasp. Their moaning intensifies as they seem to realize they’ve got her. At the end of the hall, Shyan looks back, their eyes meet, full of panic. “Fassn, go,” she says, wading back into the fray.

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