iv) Frost drips from Abia’s fingertips

Frost drips from Abia’s fingertips, as though her body temperature has plummeted. Icy flakes form at her fingernails and tiny puffs of white powder drift off the digits. She raises her freezing hand at the oncoming thugs in a dire, wordless warning.

All the same, they come charging.

Cang trips the first one, sending him sprawling at Abia’s feet. She pulls her indigo robes away from the fellow’s clutching grasp and presses her hand into the crown of the man’s skull. The cold burns him in an instant, and he howls with pain. He stays on the floor, clutching himself.

The head thug brings a truncheon down at Shyan, but she catches his arm before he can deliver. They struggle, their strength evenly matched, but Shyan feels her grip slipping, until Cang bites the meat of the thug’s calf and sends him reeling.

Fassn has drawn Berstuun into a shadowy corner, telling him about Old Ajralan. Horton watches the melee, helpless. The two remaining thugs drop their clubs and flee.

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