The Vaulted Arrow

My arrow is lodged in the assassin’s heart. But she is not dead.

She will not die until I die.

And despite her cold and bold words declaring that she did not fear death, I caught a stray thought whipping across her eyes.

I don’t want to die, said that thought.

“You don’t have to,” said my voice.

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Thorn, Sword, and Teardrop

I was sitting in a corner of the tavern, indulging in a hot and rich meal, and a lusty drink, when someone—as happens once in a while—noticed something worthy of notice about the quiet stranger sitting in the corner. And as happens once in a while, this person was bold enough to approach.

I hadn’t decided how I would respond until she was but a footstep away from me.

“If you’re wanting a night of passion, lass, look elsewhere,” I said. I glanced directly at her eyes and gave a nod of respect to let her know I meant no offense, and wanted no trouble.

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A Sword Named Blasphemy

“It is our task to maintain balance,” the god in the gray robes said. He lifted his head up, even though he was half again the sword-smith’s height. He cast his gaze downward.

The sword-smith knelt before the god and bowed his head. When he raised it again, his eyes were full of grief and disbelief. “How can one woman threaten the balance of the world?”

The gray god’s brow creased slightly. “Many ways. By questioning the gods for one, as you do now.”

The sword-smith bowed his head again. “I only seek to understand.”

“It is not your place to understand the will of the gods. Only to accept it.” The gray god’s voice was soft. His tone gentle. But the sword-smith would later remember that it was the first time he heard something else in a god’s voice. A tremor. Of doubt.

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