With the small but deep cut made by the incision bleeding profusely, the man pressed his hands together and then brought them apart. In between, formed as if it had been flash-frozen, was a keen-edged blade, all one piece and falchion-bladed, but entirely of blood held in place by sorcery, uncoagulated but solid.

Rags could see a bright and devilish light in the man’s eyes. “I am the weapon,” he repeated, “and I will cleave your head from your shoulders for Her sake.”

“Look out!” The warning came from Codswallop, the manservant that Eyrie had shackled Rags with. In an instant, he was upon the sorcerous attacker, pulling a sword from his umbrella with the same nonchalant urgency that one would deploy the bumbershoot itself against a squall. The steel rang true against the assassin’s blood-blade even as the airship pitched downward at an alarming rate.

“Hang onto something!” cried Codswallop. “Try to go limp when we hit the ground!”

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