2 iii) “Humans,” a voice rasps

“Humans,” a voice rasps. It’s high and light, but rough, as though the creature speaking had damaged its throat. It comes from behind Cang, and he’s first to whirl on his heel to face it. The speaker is about Cang’s height, with mottled grey skin and scraps of leather stitched together to make a tunic. At its belt of rope dangles a cache of wooden darts and a small pouch. Other voices chitter and laugh.

“What would you have of us?” Cang says. “Our companions are wounded and we would see them safe.”

“Speak for yourself,” Fassn says. He staggers a bit, still licking his fingers. A cool breeze rustles the trees.

“Toxin,” the creature rasps. “Body, blood, brain.”

Cang sneers. “Pass over the antidote, then, and be gone with you.”

The chittering laughter rises, but falls again as the leader speaks. “Human,” it says. “First you do favour for us.”

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