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“If you actually do know magic,” says Silhouine, “this would be an excellent opportunity to–”

“I’m not a magician,” sighs Yael. “I’m a spy.”




They take a few dozen more steps in silence. The spiral is wide but the stairs around the outside narrow; the light of the candle Sanguoît threw in after them gives no sign of how deep it goes. It’s almost more useful for detecting the little currents of air that whistle from the stone at regular intervals. It’s cool and fresh.

Whoever’s buried here, Yael thinks, was serious about proper ventilation in the afterlife.


“Behold,” says the man in the red cassock, whose name, we’ll find out eventually, is Sanguoît. “Your chance at freedom.”

Yael and Silhouine, dehooded, are busy blinking and making faces in the afternoon sun.

“I said behold!”

They behold it.

“Freedom,” notes Yael, “looks like a cave.”

“A cave wherein the last of the masters of the High Age hid his masterwork: the means to challenge the Iron Heart in its own–” (he continues in this vein for a while here) “–OUR FREEDOM.”

“Wait, whose?” says Silhouine. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.”

After that the cave seems like the safest option.