An image of a bearded face in a peaked cap swirled into existence in the magic mirror. “I, Rís the powerful, demand to know-”

“Spare me the pleasantries, dwarf,” Lady Spitethorn cut her off. “My scrying ball isn’t connecting.”

Rís turned to look. “I see. Did you take it off the pedestal and put it back on?”

“Yes,” Spitethorn said. “Three times. It won’t connect to Lord Torment’s scryer.”

“Maybe the problem is on his end.”

“No, I can’t scry with anyone! Lady Painmelt, The Thing on the Mountain, Bloodsocket…nothing.”

Rís waved her hands in an incantation. “I’m not showing any obvious problems,” she said. “Have you been upgrading the plinth as new plans are released?”

“Yes, yes,” Spitethorn said. “I have instructed the stonemasons to apply the updates as they arrive.”

“Uh-huh. What about the magical wellspring? Has it been tainted?”

“We’re speaking by magic mirror, aren’t we?” Spitethorn snapped.

“That’s a legacy system, not connected with the scrying network. At least, not since stoneband communication became commonplace.”

“Just get down here, all right?” Lady Spitethorn snapped. “What use is having a court wizard if she won’t show up to fix my scrying stone?”

“Well, okay, but I’m on a call right now,” said Rís. “It’ll be a while.”

“A call? You’re MY court wizard!”

“The demon furnace is broken in the east wing. If you want to deal with it, be my guest. My lady.”

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