iii) Abia sings in her first language

Abia sings in her first language, from a land distant and strange, which none of the gang, save Abia herself, can claim to have seen. The words are unintelligible to them, but the melody is light and recursive. The same strain whirls and curls back in on itself, the tangled tune drawn from the stirring air. In response, the magic circle glows brighter.

Berstuun breaks away from Fassn’s talk to join Abia. He sits beside her, closes his eyes. The rest watch as he sways gently in time with Abia’s song. The circle’s light washes over him, and when he smiles, the purple fangs of the lich glow only faintly.

Fassn and Shyan watch the ritual while Cang rummages for material goods now that there’s no one around to stop him. He finds several brass objects that cause his pockets to sag deeply when he loads them in.

Abia’s song builds to crescendo, its power soaring, until she hits a single, sustained note, then lets it fall off to silence. The gang hears Berstuun’s ragged breathing over the circle’s thrum. Eventually, it calms, too, and all that’s left is the unnatural vibrancy of the circle.

Berstuun heaves a sigh, and says, “I’m ready.”

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