“If you wish for hot steel to course through your veins, Marjatta, then so be it.” Antero made to raise the Bloodblade, tensing to close the remaining distance separating him from his quarry.

Marjatta abruptly swept aside her cloak, revealing what had lain concealed in its folds: a short gun with a flared muzzle, made from the same dull and rune-encrusted steel. The pan was primed, the flint cocked, and her finger was in the trigger.

“Wha-?”

A deafening blast cut Antero off–literally. He tumbled to the ground as his torso went one way and his legs went the other.

“Only 140 people has to die to forge the Blooderbuss,” Marjatta said, smiling. “We needed way fewer sacrifices than you did, I think. But a gun made from blood steel that shoots bone bullets works just as well, wouldn’t you agree? Maybe even better.”

Antero weakly swung the Bloodblade from the ground, only to have Marjatta stomp on it, pinning the weapon to the blood-soaked earth.

“The Bloodblade means you are too close,” added Marjatta. “Foes can hit back. The Blooderbuss cuts them down where they stand, paces away, and here I am without a scratch.”

A rueful chuckle on his lips, Antero nodded and died smiling.

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