“We are…taking a break from magic,” said Opaem. “The patience of an elf is great, the patience of a sage still greater, and yet neither is infinite.”

“Speak for yourself,” Brianna said sullenly. “You’re the one whose dumb magic system doesn’t make any sense.”

“It is my honor to meet you, Chosen One,” said Moew the Master. He placed a clenched fist inside an open palm, and bowed. “Magic has its uses, but it is the art of combat that will save you if an enemy gets within stabbing range.”

Opaem wandered away, muttering angrily, striking a meditative pose near the far side of the training ground.

“He never did have a sens of humor,” Moew said. “So! The legends state that the Chosen One will be a master of all forms of combat. what would you like to start with? Perhaps my personal favorite, the gentleman of weapons, the sword?”

He drew a double-edged straight sword from a scabbard and ran it through a series of whistling sword dance moves before offering it to Brianna. “Uh, yeah,” Brianna said. “I don’t know how to do that.”

Moew gestured to a weapon rack. “Quarterstaff?”

“Looks like a whole staff to me.”


Brianna shook her head. “Never used it.”

“Not even to roast food?” Moew said, flabbergasted.

“We have a thing called a microwave oven where I come from,” Brianna said. “Spearing meat over a fire is pretty rare.”

“Wouldn’t microwave radiation heat the water molecules and damage the composition and structure of the food?” Moew said.

“Maybe, but it’s quick and easy,” Brianna said. “Hey, if you know about microwaves, does that mean you have like microwave death rays?”

“What? No!” Moew said, shocked. “The power consumption and range would make any such weapon tactically useless at best. Here we are all about the sword, the bow, the spear, the saber.”

“What about…guns?” Brianna said. “I bet I could use a gun. Simple point and click interface.”

“The legions of the Dusk are too numerous,” Moew said. “A sword never runs out of bullets.”

“But a bow runs out of arrows,” Brianna said. “I see a bow over there.”

“That,” Moew said, gritting his teeth, “isn’t the point.”

“I think you just don’t like guns,” Brianna said. “They’re not as fancy and don’t make you look as cool, but I bet more guns–or like BIG guns–could kill the Dusk.”

Moew sheathed his sword. “Do you even know how to use a gun?”

“My uncle’s in the army, he does artillery. How hard could it be?”

“Perhaps we should start you with something else,” Moew sighed. In the distance, he thought he could hear old Opaem chuckling.

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