32 iii) The gang’s eyes go wide at the mention of a dragon

The gang’s eyes go wide at the mention of a dragon. Abia is first to speak. “Which dragon?” she asks.

The drummer frowns. “Our damn client, the boss.”

“The dragon must have a name,” she says calmly.

“Yeah, maybe,” the drummer snaps. “You don’t need to know it.”

“Why so rude, Rufus?” asks the flutist of her companion. “‘Tis a perfectly reasonable question.”

Rufus grumbles. “I don’t like these ones.”

“Luckily, you don’t need to,” the flutist replies. To Abia, she says, “Our boss’s name is Xoxxithraxix,” her voice grating and harsh as though she’s swallowing rocks.

Shyan, Fassn, and Cang turn to gauge Abia’s reaction. She replies with a single word: “Shit.”

27 ii) “Er,” Shyan says, looking to Cang for backup. “We don’t really know her name…”

“Er,” Shyan says, looking to Cang for backup. “We don’t really know her name…”

“She’s got a retainer named Old Mossy,” Fassn adds. “His beard is like mine,” he says, brushing at the wiry grey hairs with his fingers.

“Petite grey creature,” Cang says. “Her people shoot darts from the shadows coated with poison.”

“And the poison gives you—” here Shyan catches herself, and course corrects, subtly, saying, “—gives you bad dreams.”

The flutist cocks and eyebrow. “Bad dreams?”

“The worst.”