v) Cang bursts back into the corridor

Cang bursts back into the corridor just behind the swarm of creatures that’s fallen upon Abia. He uses his low centre of gravity to pull the things off balance, while Shyan helps Abia to her feet. All around them, the hallway is still clogged with shuffling horrors. Fassn hollers and waves from the end of the hallway, turning their attention to him. With a start, he darts away. Shyan and the rest follow.

Again, Ulxurix’s voice rings through their collective heads. “Leaving so soon with Berstuun?” The double doors before them slam shut, crystallize from wood to iron before their eyes. The creatures press up against the gang, grasping at their clothes, raking their skin, until they, too, turn to iron, the transformation making no mark upon their faces, leaving only ugly, brutal statues scattered in grotesque positions.

“See? You’ll never leave!” gloats the voice.

A large window, set with glass in an elborately-filigreed frame, beckons from the wall. Shyan meets Cang’s eyes. He shakes his head no. She shakes her head yes. He mouths the word “rope,” she mouths back “none.”

“You’d better hurry,” rasps Berstuun from Fassn’s shoulder. “She’s only getting madder.”

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