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Saddle-sore and caked in filth I ride the last mile of the trade route that leads to the great desert. The heat and size of the flies tell me that this must be the fabled land of Prax. Shading my eyes from the glare I glance down to the walled city of Pavis. It is an outpost in the barren features less land surrounded with makeshift tents and hovels. Ancient buildings, now nothing but rubble lead off from the city walls in all directions. Squinting I can just make out people, like ants, crawling over the ruins.

A moment of clarity; the portents, the mystic, the dragon blade, this is the place.

Even in this distant land, the lunars are ever present. The militia bears the device of the moon. Is there no place free of their worming cancer? The lunar slurry sits in power here no doubt, yet the moon cowers in the Prax sky unlike my homeland of Tarsh. Perhaps these animal riding nomads know more than they let on?

The bustling streets have a frontier town feel, strange noises and smells assault my senses. There is danger here, enemies abound, armed with cold metal, others with forked tongues. Heads turn my way and eyes look questioningly as a new sword picks his way through the crowd.

Weeks it has been since my last contemplation in the glorious halls of death. Welcome to me are these brothers in arms, servants of Humakt them all. These honest warriors know what it is to face death without fear, they have no deceit within. Kneeling, faced bowed in respect, I recount my deeds in silent prayer. It is good to be as one in my lord’s house this day. I rise with purpose; my heart overflowing with strength and honour.

Relaxed am I sleeping within these sanctified halls and I am soon drifting away. Woken late morning, a messenger awaits my attention. Outside in the sparing square is a small child sized man, yellow of skin, with slited eyes. A strange sight, well groomed like lunar woman, hair pulled back and garbed in robes of colour. He says, with a strange accent, that his master is waiting.

Dressing quickly I follow the man boy to a clean and rich quarter of the city. We enter a tall stone building next to a large walled kitchen garden. The rooms are plan and simple, without adornments. A sweet yet fresh aroma hangs in the air, wooden chimes knock gently together. We walk outside.

The garden is overflowing with plants of many scents; strange birds chirp and fly this way and that. A small grey haired man is placing white pebbles in some pattern on the ground of the garden. We wait for many minutes as he studies each stone as if each a puzzle to solve. A pebble is moved slightly and then he steps back to look again. The stone is moved again until finding the correct position.

Finally turning in my direction I meet his gaze. He bows, eyes never leaving mine. His face shows the lines of many seasons, his stare is wilful and strips me to the bone.

Matter of factly he states “You are here to study; you are my student, I your sensai”

I reply “Kargan is my lord and my teacher. I need no other”

He states “I know not of Kargan or any of your gods. I am from Kralorea, a distant land across the sea”

“Kargan is a master of all weapons and at one with death”

He says “Death is no weapon it is the claws and teeth of deadly dragons"

I state Kargan’s first truth, “Death resides in all weapons. Perhaps these dragons are but vassals of Humakt’s power, much like a sword”

The old man breaths deeply, slowly shaking his head from side to side.

He says “Complex and subtle are these great wyrms, but to understand their nature is to understand the greater conflict; the art of war” there is a pause “You have much to learn”

Seasons are spent in the company of ‘the sensai’ and his nameless servant. We spent endless hour’s training, it reminds me of time spent in my youth with clan weapon masters in Far Point. Yet this is wyrd in its learning.

These are strange teachings of “Harmonising oneself in action” and to “wield a sword: not to control the enemy, but to control myself”. We practice against single or multiple imaginary foes, concentrating on posture and movement, grip, and swing. The goal is to cut away unneeded movement so combat becomes all out attack; simple and direct and granting immediate counter to surprise or ambush.

The evenings are spent discussing what it is to be a warrior and the code which must be followed. Then there is teaching and meditation of dragons and all things wyrmish, which is powerful but complex for my simple mind.

One day, after much contemplation of the Autumn Dragon, the sensai pauses, then points to the corner of the room. Empty for many weeks the room now holds a weapon so horrific it is like some nightmare instrument of torture.

Yet to my mind it could not a faulted, a perfect union of sword, spear, staff and trident.

The sensai breaths deeply and turns to face me, “I am too old and you have learned all I can teach for now. Take the Seven Dragon Blade, it is yours, it mirrors your soul"

The strange oriental weapon appears in my hands as if I had willed there by thought alone.

The sensai says, “You understand its purpose now, it is yours to honour”

The perfect weapon; it weighs so little and flashes with brilliance even in the low light of the room. Inscribed down its many blades are runic carvings of seven dragons entwined in ferocious combat.

His last words “Go now Kargan san”

It is over as quickly as it had begun.

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