“Gently, gently, now. There we go.” With the grace and elegance of a nurse drawing poison from a wound, Nyartha drew the memories from Codswallop’s skull. They materialized briefly as wisps of steam in the air between them before Nyartha breathed them in like the steam off of fresh-baked bread. She let out a shuddering, gaspy sigh of pleasure as the last wafts of vapor–if vapor it was or had ever been–vanished up her nose.

“What a truly brilliant, magical adventure I had in the Grimsby Heights, Mr. Codswallop,” said Nyartha. “The sensations are so real, so vivid, like a strong wine. I was so terrified by the end, granted, but what a rush of life!”

“Grimsby Heights?” said Codswallop, twitching his whiskers. “Hm. Never been. Always wanted to go, though, in my youth.”

That’s what you meant by sharing memories?” Rags cried. “Sucking his life right out of his head?”

“Oh please, don’t be so melodramatic.” Nyartha reclined back in her chair, a golden goblet in her hand. “I’ve not hurt your precious manservant. He’s lost nothing, so far as he’s concerned, and I am able to live the life of adventure I so richly deserve without breaking the terms of my…imprisonment.”

Rags swept the feast off of the table before him. “You won’t get anything like that from me!” he shouted.

“Of course not, boy,” said Nyartha, gently. “You’ve barely had any life or any memories to take, after all. I’ll have to find another use for you. Perhaps a nice fillet, fresh-cut and preserved with a little magic. You might sustain me for the time it will take to scoop out what’s left of your Codswallop and lure in some fresh meat.”

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