The hard chisels in his face and shoulders, silvering stubble, and the tic-tac-toe grid of scars up his neck reminded James of an old wolf. He held out a hand, broad and calloused, and winked a blue eye when James took it.
“Nothing to worry about,” the Aurelius assured them, setting the candlestick back in his antique menagerie. Warmth wafted into the space again. “Happens all the time. You can get off the floor, kids, don’t be shy.”
Black koi skeletons swam like they were still alive inside glass walls too thin to hold them. A plain-looking, straight-cut blazer on the floor was cordoned by chains, and smoked occasionally with black magic. Disembodied whispers leaked from vents, and the number of individuals wearing sunglasses indoors was simply too high.