The crowd pulses, the sound of people and other beings talking creating a general buzz in the air. Two figures push through it, a large Sorshal, a lizard-like creature on two legs, and a Laruka, a dog-like creature on four.

"I expected you to have made a new Restless out of one of the humans by now," the Soshal, Lynd, says, "I think this is the longest you've gone without acquiring a new one."

Rest assured that I will do so soon, the Laruka, Heiro, replies via telepathy, I'm sure one idiot or another will think I'm a dog.

As he said that, one of the humans in the crowd offers him a treat. In response, he turns his head and grabs his dagger from his shoulder. The enchanted steel flashes as he draws it, makes a thin cut, and sheaths it again, faster than the human could blink. She stumbled, and the pair moved on.

What did I tell you?

"Indeed, you were right," Lynd chuckles, "Though she'll take a while to die."

It matters little. There's a while before my fight.

"Ah, yes, that. Well, luckily I've got the primed Collector on me."

Are you going to tell me where it is?

"Hmm.... win this one, and I'll let you know."

The pair walks into an alleyway. Lynd sits down, cross-legged in his ceremonial robes, and lays his staff across his knees. Heiro leaps up onto a box and lies on his stomach, careful to keep his nose away from the incense eternally burning in the staff.

"Well, I have a question for you, as well. It's one I've been wondering about for a while."


"You've got the anatomy of a dog; you have paws. How is it, then, that you can use gloves made for people?"

Heiro snorts.

I'm fucking magical. Don't question me.

"You do know that that doesn't work on me, right?"

Magic's still the answer.

Heiro and Lynd exit the bar, a rather incongruous pair. Heiro is a Laruka, a quadrupedal dog-like species, while Lynd is a Sorshal, a bipedial lizard-like species. They walk out towards the rooms they were using for the tournament, Lynd's ceremonial robes swishing about while Heiro pads along silently.

You promised to tell me where my Collector is, Heiro sends telepathically.

"Oh, right. I did," Lynd says, leaning slightly on his staff for support. The staff is a long long rod with a mace-like head at the top, holding an eternally burning incense.


"It's right in here," Lynd says, tapping the smoking end of his staff, "safe in the center."

Heiro sends a mixture of horror and disgust.

You know I hate that thing.

"Yes, I do. And maybe that'll give you motivation not to lose." Lynd broke out into a snarl-like grin that scared away a pair of prostitutes.

You can be an asshole sometimes, you know that?

"And you're even more of one on a daily basis, so you have no right to complain."

Not to you, though. But point conceded.

"And I'll have you know that this is my revenge for the whole Blood Sphere incident."

You're still mad about that? It was three millennia ago!

"All pranks get answered in kind. Since we're... uniquely long-lived, we simply have more patience."