ii) Cang stretches his tender fingers

Cang stretches his tender fingers. “I suppose I must give you that,” he says. Fassn nods, a jaunty smile on his face.

“Good, good,” Shyan says. “We’ve all got fingers. Let’s not forget we don’t have any money.”

“Don’t let the barkeep hear you,” Cang says. He quickly gulps down the last of his beer. Then, fishing around in the lining of his vest, he feels the tiny emerald, and with it, a false coin — made of wood, but enough to pay for the gang’s round so they don’t get chased out of the tavern again.

Seeing this act of benevolence, Shyan raises an eyebrow.

Cang shrugs. “May Old Ajralan have his fill, it seems.”

“He always gets it,” Fassn says. “Are we going to the castle now?”

Abia, heretofore staring out the window at the imposing black structure, nods simply.

Shyan quaffs the dregs of her beer and stands. “You heard the lady.”

i) “Shit, shit, shit,” Cang wheezes

“Shit, shit, shit,” Cang wheezes, gripping his bloodied hand.

“Well who didn’t see this one coming?” Shyan says, tightening a tourniquet at his wrist.

“Oh, please. On an average day, I’m quite skilled at this.”

“Tell that to the puddle of blood on the table.”

Fassn straightens his spine and says, “Lemme at ‘im.” He roughly grabs Cang’s arm and holds it aloft, such that crimson drips down his wrist.

“No, Fassn, no, I need not your god’s delusions,” Cang says, but in a booming voice, Fassn speaks right over him.

“Old Ajralan,” he intones, as peasants crane their necks to see what’s going on. “May my wee buddy here have his fill.” Fassn shakes Cang’s hand making his whole body wobble on his seat.

“He needs a doctor, Fassn,” says Shyan.

“He just needs a little lick from the Old Guy.”

The anger on Cang’s face begins to wash away as he feels a tingling in his fingers, as though the flesh were stitching itself together. He revels in the strangeness of the feeling, then shakes Fassn off him. His good hand shaking, he peels the bandages from his hand to find his fingers bloodied but attached, the wound entirely gone.

Fassn beams.