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The man awoke to a gruff voice shouting in a language he did not understand. “Festivali koleler ayaga kalk zaman zevk ve sohret icin olmeyi! The words were foreign, but the impatience translated easily. An unpleasantly hard kick to his foot forced the man’s eyes open, revealing a torch-lit rock pen with men tethered to evenly spaced wrought iron rings set into the walls. The rough-hewn walls could be mistaken for a cave, but he recognized them as the shoddy workmanship of a mediocre stonemason. The man could think of several guilds capable of such consistently poor craftsmanship.

He leaned over to a thickly bearded man shackled to the wall next to him, probably a Tamoran dockhand or teamster based on his forearm tattoo of the Eternal Lady, and asked where they were. The Tamoran was rheumy-eyed and mumbled an inaudible reply. “Festivali koleler! Ayaga kalk zaman zevk ve sohret icin olmeyi,” came the shout again.

The gruff voice belonged to a brutish thug, neckless and victimized by childhood pox, who was now standing over the man, pointing at him with the haft-end of a knotted club. When the man did not reach for it, Neckless gargled and spat a wad of yellow-gray phlegm into the mans face. The man tried to speak, regretting his decision on the spot as some of the fluid slipped between his lips. His words morphed into a gag. The thickly muscled man shoved the mans head back into the rock wall with a soft thud, producing the briefest of exhalations. Still eyeing him, Neckless switched to broken Cervian, and shouted to his nose.

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