Arturo stood poised, the shard of petrified wood held over his head as though he were prepared to hurl it after Mercer, who was charging down the side of the pit. He scanned the cultists, trying to spot one among them who seemed slower, or more dim-witted than the others. The filthy cloaks and goat-horned headdresses made it difficult to tell them apart.

He settled on a target in the crowd and let his mind call up images from his studies. Prometheus, the first thief, came to the forefront of his thoughts. The theft of fire was an evocative story, and one of Arturo’s favorites. Arturo pictured himself in Prometheus’s place, scaling Olympus under cover of darkness, and sneaking to Hestia’s sacred hearth to spirit away an ember.

The shard in his hand grew warm with the magic he channeled into it, and he imagined it an ember held in Prometheus’s own hand, as he carried it back down the mountain to light the hearths of men around the world.

Arturo drew the shard back around his shoulders and brought it forward with a snap of his wrist. A fiery arc leapt from the end of the shard and raced down toward his target to encircle the cultist’s arms and legs. The man twisted and convulsed under the thrall of the spell, and the fiery energy disappeared from sight.

A familiar sensation crept through Arturo’s limbs, as he received a painful reminder of his condition. He had exerted himself, and his back was having none of it. Arturo stumbled, his footing lost, and he tumbled into the pit, rolling and bouncing all the way to the bottom.

He thought he heard someone cry out, possibly Myrtle or Alquis, but he was lying on the ground by that point. He held fast to the memory of Prometheus’s daring theft of fire, and imagined the punishment that followed. It couldn’t be compared to an eternity of having one’s liver torn out, but at the moment the details hardly seemed to matter.

A tiny throbbing in his hand made Arturo aware that he was still grasping the shard of petrified wood. A thin trail of blood was running down his wrist from wherever the shard had pierced his hand.