4 iii) Cang grabs up a length of branch and puts it through the window

Cang grabs up a length of branch and puts it through the window, shattering the glass. Clearing the sharp remains, he vaults through the opening and into the church. Beyond, he sees the sunny, dusty square, his companions, and the peasants moving toward them. Before him, though, a dais, with the grey princess atop it.

“Cretin,” rises a man’s voice. It’s the preacher, in his brocaded robes, his beard braided, twisted in helices like the fabric drapings about the building. “You dare interrupt our sacred rites?”

“Indeed,” says Cang. “I have not much experience with them, I shall freely admit, but they strike one as rather ghastly.”

The affront is written all over the preacher’s face. His surprise turns to a scowl.

“Please help me,” says the princess. Her eyes plead with Cang. Their sclera is grey, too, a milky, dirty-snow grey, with a curious luminosity beyond the irises.

From within his robes, the preacher draws a spindly knife.

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