16 i) Abia sighs and silently apologizes to her compatriots

Abia sighs and silently apologizes to her compatriots, each stuck in their own little lovely world: Cang with his riches, Fassn his deity, Shyan her lost master. And Abia, along with the knowledge of the rest. Illumination has its own costs.

First, she approaches Fassn. Her fingers frigid, she stretches them out. The dark skin takes on a bluish hue and pinpricks of frost appear at the edges of her nails, as though her hand was preserved in a block of ice. Abia’s cells throb with arcane potential. Fassn, oblivious, is ill-prepared when her frozen flesh touches his own. All of that cold rushes into his body, jerks his senses alive.

His eyes shoot open, wide with panic and pain. The ice nips and his nerves, and turns the spices and fine silks of his fervent hallucinations back into dust and stone. When his comprehending eyes meet Abia’s, he drops his gaze, heartbroken.

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