iv) “You’re useless, you know that?”

“You’re useless, you know that?” Shyan says to Berstuun. She climbs the sheet first, dropping to the ground from almost the halfway point, landing easily and rising without effort. She holds out her arms. “Bombs away,” she calls up.

Fassn nods and, grinning, says to Berstuun, “Old Ajralan, may you have your fill,” and tosses him out the window. His gaunt frame makes this pretty easy and soon he’s sailing through the misty, early-morning sky.

Cang is next down the rope. He’s quick, but Berstuun’s falling form is quicker. Cang leaves a slick trail of blood from his wounded hand, but is otherwise unharmed. The noise of the creatures above is deadened, and the day seems almost serene, save for the wailing of the old man, tumbling through the air.

Shyan catches him, mostly, but she’s knocked to the ground. Berstuun, at least, doesn’t break bones upon the cobblestones. He rolls onto his back amongst the shattered glass, breathing heavily, as Shyan scrambles to her feet.

Fassn holds the man-things back while Abia descends the rope. She’s careful about it, slowly working her way down. Fassn, meanwhile, growls and grumbles at the creatures about Old Ajralan. When one of their extended arms comes near him, he grabs and bites it, dragging a juicy chunk of blue-grey flesh away from the forearm. The creature seems undisturbed, and Fassn chews thoughtfully for a moment before descending the rope.

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