Pon’s half-unconscious monologue cut off with a gasp. In rising dread, he cursed himself for his lack of faith. Without the talisman’s protection, what might befall him? Pon closed his eyes and murmured another prayer to Naobel, Protector of the weak, Guardian of virtue, Bulwark against the Storm Across the Mountain.
The glow returned, and the stone began to spin faster. The talisman swung out on its chord like a magnet, tugging upward and backward. It was pointing at something behind him.
A few more steps, and suspicion and nerves became fear and certainty. A new sound had joined the hiss of spinning stone.
It was soft at first but grew rapidly more distinct, even as Pon increased his pace. Through his rising terror, Pon heard the noise at first as the creaking of a rusty machine, perhaps the handle of an old pump or a little-used door hinge. But he knew it was neither of these things.
The stone spun faster with each beat, growing feverish. Pon began to run.
Still the sounds grew louder. The screaming was no longer mechanical. Now it sounded like what it was.
They were short, sharp screams. Like those a man might make under his breath as he was forced to walk on a broken leg. Pon’s lips moved soundlessly in the darkness.
“A necromancer’s carriage.”