“There’s no way we can keep this up,” said Arturo. “There are too many of them and they just keep coming. We need somewhere to rest, we need to regain our strength.”

“What would you suggest,” Nicyes said with a snarl. “They’ve done away with our means of getting back across the lake, and they know the island better than we do.”

“I don’t know how, but we can’t just keep fighting and fleeing as we’ve done up to this point. I might have an excuse, but you’ll all need to rest at some point. Even you, Nicyes. You aren’t invincible.”

“They’ve been coming at us with an almost reckless sense of, I don’t know, they don’t seem to care whether we wound or kill them,” said Alquis, who was speaking for the first time in several hours.

“Aye,” said Mercer. “What’s your strategy, then?”

Three pairs of eye fixed on Arturo, who for once had nothing to offer when their attention was focused on him. He said the first thing that came to mind. “A trap. We ambush them.”

“How are we supposed to do that?” said Nicyes. “As I said, they clearly know the terrain better than we do. They could have been living here for all we know. And all the while, we were looking for trouble in the city–”

“Then we change something,” said Arturo. “If they know the island so well, we find some way to use that knowledge against them.”

“How are we supposed to do that?” asked Mercer. “If they’re the slightest bit suspicious, they’ll just avoid it and find some other way around.”

Alquis cleared his throat. “Then it would seem the trick,” he said, “would be in setting an obvious trap to trick them into falling into a second trap.”

“We don’t have time to set two traps!” said Nicyes. “They could be upon us at any moment!”

“If we only need the illusion of a trap,” said Alquis, “illusions are a specialty of mine.”