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The Brocks claimed that they couldn't remove the clockwork, but they did agree to stop its action once Iros growled at them. Test-to-Destruction grumbled about losing one of his "nicest hacks" but said as long as he had his notes he could live with it; he just wanted Iros to send regular messages about Turnspit's behavior.

Turnspit, for his part, was glad to be away from the artificer. Test-to-Destruction had never been vicious to him, but the Brock hadn't been truly kind, either. His enthusiastic meddling with the clockwork had been unsettling at the best of times.

The moment they came out of the mine mouth, Turnspit wondered if he had made a trade of roasting pit for potter's oven. Iros was certainly more interested in him than any of the Brocks had ever been, but the aughisky's demands were also continuing to be more intimate.

The light hurt his eyes even though the skies were overcast. It was painfully brighter than any shift in the sun gallery. He had completely lost tack of the seasons in the mine and was startled by the autumnal chill.

Iros took one look at him and ordered him into his miner's jacket. The coarse padded garment was far warmer than standing in just a borrowed shirt, but Turnspit worried as he put in on. The pickaxes clamp-dyed onto the panels were as good as a brand to anyone with eyes to see.

"Let's wrap your feet, then." Iros smiled as he knelt and helped Turnspit bind rags as improvised shoes.

Afterwards, Iros settled him on one of the tall horses, but did not mount himself. Instead, the aughisky took the reins and leads of the entire string and set off down the valley road.

Turnspit felt rather like a sack of barley in the saddle – he'd wasted to nothing in the mines, and had lost his skill at horse riding. Worse yet, Iros was obviously planning to pace ahead of the horses, and the aughisky's ground-devouring lope was exhausting just to watch. He closed his eyes and huddled into his jacket. Iros probably wouldn't let him fall out of the saddle, and he would rather drowse through his misery.

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