v) The thug bleeding from his leg

The thug bleeding from his leg drags himself to the door. Horton watches with growing horror the red stream lengthen across the faded floorboards. Cang stands and wipes the blood from his mouth, leaving an ugly crimson smear.

“And then you say, ‘Old Ajralan, may you have your fill,'” Fassn says to Berstuun. They’re in the corner, oblivious. “Hey,” Fassn says, noticing. “You scattered them.”

“Maybe,” says Shyan. She strides with purpose into Horton Belwether’s personal space. “You serve the lich, who’s been a pretty bad guy to us of late.”

Horton nods, an incipient whimper trembling on his lips.

“You’ve kinda been a bad dude, too,” she adds.

He shakes his head in minute denial.

“You’d better go on home to your body-stealing boss,” she says. “We would make crueler masters yet.” Shyan takes a moment to reclaim her breath, then points to the crawling thug. “Fassn, help him, would you?”

Fassn perks up. To Berstuun, he says, “See, I’ll show you,” then crouches by the man to whisper a prayer to Old Ajralan on his behalf. The thug continues his fearful escape before the tendons can begin to regrow.

Horton flees the scene.

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