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RESTART, A Steampunk Adventure

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Me and my good friend Ataxia357 (AKA Swordlord357) are rather fond of collabs. Up till now, we've only done fanfics. Now, we've started a new 'project'. RESTART, a Steampunk Adventure. We aim to do 1000 words per chapter, as often as we can.

Any crits or comments are welcome!


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Original Picture done by aninael on Deviantart.


In the year 1814, The Empress, Maria Vasquez's, Senior Inventor, Kole Tasker, turned corrupt and fled from London. As he did so, he destroyed their security systems, leaving the ever-growing city undefended.

It is now 1856, and news has reached the Empress's ears that Kole is planning to destroy London, and use it as base for his latest invention, an inter-dimensional jumper.

Maria's daughter, Ariannya, or Anya, has been picked to find Kole and stop his plans. She is reluctant, preferring her aristocratic lifestyle.

Will Anya live to take her claim on the throne, or will she and London both go up in steam?

Edited by Shadowwolf6

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The brass plating of the palace glinted in the half-light of a setting sun. Many people didn't like it, but the Empress claimed that it showed London's leadership of the Industrial Revolution. Kole's ears were filled with the sound of steam and hammers hitting metal. London always had a strange sound, even at night, where the hiss of gas being released from valves serenaded many people to sleep. Kole's footsteps were light on the grass, his bald head catching the light from street lamps.He stepped into the guard tower, and peeked around the corner. Typical. As usual, Tomelo was asleep in a chair, drunk as a skunk. Kole crept past him into a room filled with spare cogs and pressure gauges. He tapped one of the bronze cogs, and it rung a high, clear note throughout the room. Kole removed a ratchet screwdriver from his tool-belt and unscrewed a security panel in front of him. Inside was a messy jumble of gears and bare wires. Whichever apprentice had assembled this must have been in a rush. Kole flicked a recessed switch to the left, and the display on the panel died. He strained to push the heavy iron door open, grunting softly to himself. It finally swung open on it's well oiled hinges, and showed Kole room bare except for one contraption.


It was a network of steam tubes, connecting together with wires and one Arcane Rune in the centre. Every time the valves released, the symbol on the rune glowed for a second. This was what ran London's security system. With a simple bit of code, Kole could decide exactly who and what would be allowed in London, and more importantly, what could happen in London. Chuckling to himself, he grabbed the rune and slipped it into a pouch on his belt. Instantly, a klaxon blared and a man on a loudspeaker announced that; “London's security has been breached! Flee to the palace!” Kole grimaced. He'd forgotten to disable the alarm system. He started sprinting, his frail frame going surprisingly fast.


Down the steps, out of the tower. He cursed quietly. As soon as he came out onto empty streets, he slowed. They hadn't started coming yet. He hurried along into the nearest alleyway he could find, and moved into the shadows. After a while, he would emerge once more, and make his escape. They wouldn't suspect him, to begin with. He crouched down, hiding behind one of the walls which jutted out. Kole peaked around, making sure he had a clear view of the street when he leaned out, before returning to his ready position. So soon. So, so soon, so, so close. Then he could start his... project, without a single finger lifted by the Empress. She wouldn't know, she would think he were dead. A slight smile moved across his face, and he looked up at the starless sky. If he were anywhere else, stars would litter the dark blanket like pinheads on a notice board. This, this was the glory of London. The sheer amount of street lamps above everything was immense. It decorated the horizon with a wonderful orange glow. It was beautiful.


Kole didn't have to wait long before he heard footsteps, and saw a steady stream of figures dashing out, toward the tower. He wiped the smile from his face, and stepped around the corner, walking at a fast pace across the cobbles, and into the street. Police officers pushed past him, rushing by to get to the scene of the crime. A single one stopped at the sight of his face. One of the ones who actually remembered the Empress's senior inventor.


“Mr Tasker!” The man was well known for his success in cases. He'd been in a number of recent newspaper articles, celebrating his victories. Kole had to force his smile.


“Officer Lan.” He nodded his head in acknowledgement, “I hear there has been a breech in security?”


Lan nodded solemnly, pulling Kole along with him as he moved closer to the tower. Kole himself felt his heart sink slightly. The closer he came back to the crime scene, the worse off he'd be. What was it they said in police-work? 'The criminal always returns to the crime scene'? The hiss of steam was gone from the tower, and instead it was a rattling sound as the valves tried to squeeze non-existent gas out. “Indeed there has, Tasker. We were hoping you could fix it?”


​Kole forced a smile. “I can try, but I'll make no promises.”


​The pair entered the building, gathered policemen parting to let them through. Various cries, around the basis of “We know you can do it, Kole!” were called out to him. Some of the watching citizens were obviously too curious for their own good. Despite the full belief that Kole had resting within him, he couldn't help but feel just a little ​guilty. He pushed down the desire to back out, and forced himself forward. How hard could it be to fake his ignorance? He was known as the best mechanic in the city. If he couldn't fix something, then no one could. So everyone believed. Besides. He doubted anyone could fix what he'd done. Perhaps he'd even be able to cause more damage whilst fixing. He started to smile again. This could work out very well for him.


​As Kole returned to the scene, he was pleased to see Tomelo getting the grilling he deserved. This was one of the reasons London was to become his test. The growing population had so many slackers. If you didn't keep watch, no wonder something like this was going to happen. He turned his back to everything, looking into the security panel he had sabotaged just half an hour ago. As he worked, his smile warped from a smile and way into a grin. He jumbled parts, sneaked a few into his pocket, before rising slowly, fixing a grave look on his face.


​"I'm terribly sorry, Officers, but this simply cannot be fixed." He nodded to the policemen, before taking his leave. There was no way he was going to stay here now.

Edited by Shadowwolf6

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The Raffle


“Eliza, would you be a dear and run me a bath? I want to look good for the raffle, you know.”


Ariannya Vasquez, heir to the throne, settled into her favourite armchair, her book in hand. In a matter of hours, the bi-yearly raffle would be over, the “winner” exiled from London until they retrieved the famous Arcane Rune that Kole Tasker had stolen forty-two years a go. Anya had never bothered to join the raffle, despite her age. She knew that her duty to London was to be her mother's perfect little lady, ready to take the throne at a moments notice.


Eliza Tanase, Anya’s hand-maid came rushing back in.


“It’s all ready for you, my lady.” Anya removed her robe and sank into the hot water of the bath, giving a slight groan of pleasure as the warmth spread through her cold body. She lay there, her fire red hair pooled around her, floating on the surface like an autumn leaf on a pond.


Several minutes later, she was in her mother’s royal carriage, being taken to the atrium, where the latest hunter, as they were called, would be chosen. People ran cheerfully beside the carriage, waving and throwing in small coins. Anya smiled and handed them back to the poor, where they gave her a toothless grin. Her mother Maria’s noble face lit up with a small smirk as she saw her daughter giving the poor bread. Such a good child. Steam driven bells clanked in the towers dotted around London, letting everyone know that the raffle was today, and that there would be no work for a week, whilst people celebrated and feasted. It always seemed a bit sadistic to Anya, that they were cheering about the inevitable death of another amongst them. Maybe they thought there was some glory in it.


The carriage pulled into a specially reserved parking spot, and two gently types opened the doors for their Empress and her heir. Anya and Maria gave both the men a kiss on the cheek for their kindness, before climbing into an ornate pressure elevator, that sent them shooting upwards into a view box from above. Down below, hundreds of thousands of Londoners were crowded around a center podium, where Antonie Van De Vliert, Royal Communications Manager, stood, his wrinkled, kindly face glistening with the heat of London. He gave a little wave to Anya, and she returned it to him, her face breaking into a wide grin. Maria stood up and went over to a microphone mounted to one side. It was a ball microphone, surrounded by a ring of brass. Maria leaned close to it and began to make her speech.


“People of London!” She spread her hands, a soft smile spreading across her face. “I welcome you, to our bi-annual raffle!” She paused for a moment, to allow the applause which came as she spoke. When everything was quiet again, she continued. “Our brave candidates have submitted their names in what will be our 21st raffle.


“As I am sure many of you are aware, there is only a slim chance whoever is picked will return, alive or dead. Either way, we wish them luck on their journey, and pray for their well-being. All of those who have submitted, we owe you a debt, as bravery is what built London! We came nowhere without the bravery of our ancestors, who came and built our wonderful, thriving city!” She bowed her head, retreating from the microphone and taking her place once more beside Anya. Anya herself glanced at her mother. How could she have lived with this? She knew sending one person out on a suicide mission was hard, but all 20 before? She swallowed down her worry, returning her gaze to the bright lights beneath them. From up here, she could see so much. The Thames stretched out lazily in the distance, twisting and turning like a great serpent. The bright lights all around were like fireflies sparkling in the distance. It was beautiful.


“Good luck.” She whispered, shutting her eyes as the crowd moved into silence. Whoever was going out on this mission had so much courage. Everyone knew that no one had returned. Everyone knew that most died. Antonie wringed his hands, looking over the crowd.


“As you have heard from our great Empress, Maria Vasquez, the matter of the raffle is no laughing matter. Your mission is to retrieve the Arcane Rune, which, as you all know, was stolen from us by Kole Tasker.” A ripple of disapproving remarks washed through the crowd, which turned to more chatter. Antonie raised his hand for silence once more, before returning to his own little preparation speech. “Anyone who’s name is chosen, shall be exiled from London until he or she returns with the Rune, or until said candidate dies. In the case of death, and the body is found, said person will be returned to receive a proper funeral.


“Do you understand the terms, candidates?” A portion of the crowd yelled out their agreements, their oaths. Antonie smiled, nodding his head to a few of the more prominent ones. Before him, a section of paneling opened up, and through it came a large glass tube. After a few moments, a loud clanking sound was apparent, all were silent, listening to the sound of the mechanics working. Cogs whirled, pistons moved. Anya watched with fascination as various vents opened to allow steam past.


A minute or so after the noise had started, a secondary tube started rising from the first, a little slip of paper clutched in a little hand-like claw.


Antonie retrieved the paper, making a great show of unfolding it, before he scanned it. The way he froze up was easy for all to see, and the quiet whispers started once more. In a pained, croaking voice, he spoke.


Ariannya Vasquez.”



Anya’s heart skipped a beat. Silence fell across the crowds. Maria went pale.


Everything was quiet. Everything was hushed. Everything was waiting to see what would happen. She felt a lump rise in her throat, and she looked down on the citizens of London. If she didn’t do it, who would? Just because she was of ‘royal’ blood, that didn’t mean she was allowed to sit around whilst people risked her lives.


The only problem was, she hadn’t put her name in. And if she hadn’t, there was only one question.


Who had?

Edited by Shadowwolf6

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The First Royal Hunter


Anya stood, standing before the microphone. Her name had been picked. She was committed now. With a shaking voice, she spoke her last words of the night.


“I accept.”


Talking started once more, immediately after. At first, it was in hushed tones, quietly talking about her current situation. Then, it grew to a soft purr, before it ended as a loud crash, as everyone called to one another, crying out to each other. She took a step back, stunned into silence, as her mother came up and hugged her, holding her close.


Maria couldn’t lose Anya. Not after Alvaro. Not after her beloved husband died. Tears formed in her eyes, and she led Anya down, back to the elevator, and so back to the carriage. As they went, the eyes of the crowd were on them, staring into the back of their heads. Journalists kept watch with hawk-like eyes, lest one of the pair let something slip in their temporary grief. It was moments like these in which readers wanted to read more about their situation.


As the pair sat quietly, Maria spoke. “You don’t have to do this.” Anya looked up, grey eyes filled with a dutiful resignation.


“Yes, mother. I do. They will not listen to a leader who spared her own child for the sake of keeping the throne!” She looked away, out of the carriage. People were pushing past to see her, to see her reaction, to see the way she acted toward her new position. She was no longer Ariannya, heir to the throne of England. No, she was the latest hunter. She was the next to venture out in search of the Arcane Rune. She wasn’t allowed any direct help, unless the people helping were prepared to join her in her exile.


Maria fell silent, wiping her eye as tears came harder. Her Anya was no longer her little girl. She was no longer her prized daughter. Instead, what replaced Anya, was the woman before her. The tough woman prepared to do what she had to for her city. Maria felt a warm buzz within her, as pride spread throughout her soul.


They pulled up in front of the palace, and scurried inside before the press could arrive with their steam cameras. They headed to the secondary parlour, sitting down in chairs opposite each other. Maria rested her head in her hands.


“Oh Anya, why did you put your name in?” She wailed. Anya stared at her.


“I didn’t.” She said quietly.




“I didn’t put my name in.” She stared defiantly at her mother, whose expression was one of both sadness and relief.


“Well then who did?”


“I don’t know.”


“But if you didn’t put your name in, then surely you don’t have to go and die?”


“Mother, no one will believe you. They’ll all think you’re making it up to protect me. And what’s to say I will die? For all we know, all the past hunters are… still alive.” She shook her head sadly, rising from her chair. “I’m going to bed. I need to start getting ready tomorrow, to get the best out of the time I have left.” She left the room, her red hair swaying as she did.


Maria sighed. All hunters were given a maximum of one week, to prepare all they could for their journey. They were given a choice of vehicles to travel by, and access to a selected amount of supplies, and whatever training they could find. The very least the Empress could do for her daughter would be to make sure she gave her the best training she could. Maria stood herself, and moved toward the small pulley in the corner of the room. If she tugged on it, her own handmaid- Anitra -would come to her current room. She pulled it gently, listening to the telltale clanks as it moved into action. Somewhere further down in the palace, a small bell was ringing.


Maria moved back to her chair, and sat down. Now all she had to do was wait.



Anya stepped into her own bedroom, taking a glance at her surroundings as she made her way to bed. Her room was white. Everything in it was either a soft white, or a light cream. Her dressing table sat to one side, beside the window. Plush cushions sat on the sill, allowing her to relax alone whenever she pleased. Outside, the wonderful view of the gardens greeted her every morning. At the furthest end of the room, directly opposite her door, was her bed. It was a massive four-poster, adorned with lace and veils, silky materials and plump pillows. Scattered around the rest of her room were other, more personal touches. A small collection of books was kept in a little bookcase, and her night-time candle was kept on the bedside table that sat, short and small, beside her bed.


She didn’t need Eliza to undress, and preferred not to call on her maid. She took off her dress, changing into simple nightclothes, and moved into her cosy bed. She snuggled down into the covers, letting herself sink into the soft mattress. She’d probably miss this, the bed. Londoners said there was nothing like the beds at the palace. Anya gave a sigh of content. She might as well enjoy herself whilst she still could.



Maria turned in her chair as Anitra entered the room. She knew full well it took much longer to get to the servants quarters to the second parlour the esteemed ‘normal’ way. A knowing look found its way to her eyes. For years, for hundreds and hundreds of years, this palace had always had secret passages. She herself had loved to explore them as a child.


“You called, Empress?” Anitra called Maria back to the present.


“Indeed I did, Anitra. I’m assuming you’ve heard the news?”


She bowed her head. “Yes. Will you be wanting me to find some guildmasters?”


Maria gave a wry grin. “It’s times like these in which I remember why you are my maid.” She made a gesture with her hand. “I trust you know which I’d prefer?”


“Of course, my Lady.”


“Then begone, I want the guildmasters to be assigned a room each, along with a main training room.”


Anitra curtsied, before hurrying off to fulfill her mistress’s bidding.

Edited by Shadowwolf6

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The Dawn of a New Day


Sunlight filtered in through the half-closed laced curtains. Everything was lace in here. Occasionally it annoyed Anya, but most of the time she could put up with it. The thing that did set her in a bad mood, was knowing the servants had been in. She didn’t much like the idea of someone watching her sleep. It made her overly paranoid. Her dress from yesterday had been swept away, and a new set of clothes replaced it.

Anya pushed her covers back, and pushed open the lace curtains she’d pulled over her bed. There were two sets of curtains- lace, which she used in the summer, and silk, which she used during winter. Currently, she was using her lace ones, which allowed her a little look of what was going on in her general bedroom. She set her feet on the carpet, standing up and moving toward her dressing table. She quickly checked herself in the mirror, grumbling at the untidiness of her hair, before she turned to her new clothes.

The new top was black, and was more of a vest than anything. No more corsets for her. Anya let the grin slip onto her face. The trousers were a thin brown material, and fitted her perfectly, ending just above her knees. A pair of leather gloves that ended sat her wrist were slipped on next. Above her few garments was a leather belt, and a few other straps which hung down her waist. As she slipped on the top, she found it left her shoulder blades exposed- perfect for spending time out in early through to mid summer. Anya pulled on her trousers, attaching the belt where needed. Everything fitted so well, and it was a welcome change from the normal, rigid attire.

Although, she was curious to the use of the sheaths, and what sort of weapon would be put inside them.

Anya shrugged it off, tugging on the boots which had been left beside the door. They went up her shins, laced at the front, and fitted snugly around her feet. She stood. No more fancy clothes for her. Anya walked forward, testing out her new shoes. After a few laps of her room, she opened the door, and moved into the hallway.

Eliza was waiting for her outside. She bowed, before speaking. “Mistress, your mother wishes to see you.”

Anya frowned. “This early?”

Her handmaid nodded, before walking toward the stairs. Anya followed, rather confused. The last time she’d had to see her mother at this time was when her father, Alvo, had died of pneumonia. They’d spent the day together, crying and laughing, telling tales to each other.


She entered the first parlour. Her mother was sitting in the chair, directly in front of the door, awaiting her arrival. Anya dipped her head. “Mother?”

Maria looked up. Her eyes had a red tinge to them. She’d obviously been crying. Anya felt guilt rise in her gut. “Anya. As you know, you have seven days, starting from today, to prepare for your journey. It could take you across seas, above mountains, and through plains, but you must prepare for all of this. I have organised an Airship to be prepared for your specifications. There will be a strict timetable of training over the next week. I may not be able to convince you to stay, but I can at least prepare you for what is about to come.” The Empress shut her eyes briefly. “Today, you shall be looking at the sort of ship you will be looking for. After that, you will meet your trainers- the guildmasters -before starting your first session, which happens to be combat.”

“Mother… You don’t have to do this. I’ll be fine.”

Maria watched her daughter sternly. “Anya. Your father said this to me. He told me everything would be fine, nothing bad would happen. And yet, he was still shot. He was still killed at point-blank range.” She stood, moving toward her daughter and pulling her into a hug. “I don’t want to lose you. Not like Avlo.”

She swallowed back tears, allowing herself to be pulled into the hug. Her father was a touchy subject, and her mother prefered not to speak of him. When she did, though, it was normally at a time of great importance. “Well I hope I’ll at least get breakfast first.” Anya could feel her mother smiling.

“Don’t worry, I had Anitra prepare something for you.” She pushed her daughter away, toward the door. “Now go on. I need you in a good state of mind for the rest of the day.”

Anya grinned. “Of course.” She turned away, speed-walking out of the room and down the corridor. Their ‘casual’ dining room was much less formal than their fancy one. She passed the pictures that decorated the walls, and entered the simple room. Not every single square metre of a palace had to be posh. A worn oak table dominated the room, with four chairs sitting around, one to each edge. The room had no windows, and was lit by a few lamps. Shadows flickered on the walls as the flames danced to the ever-present clicks, clanks and other machine noises. The whole city was riddled with odd little contraptions hidden underneath pavements.

Anya sat at the only layed place, and ate the food before her. It was bread, butter and a small wedge of cheese. To drink, she was given a small wooden cup of water. She smiled at the servant who brought this to her, and ate it as fast as she dared. Despite everything, Anya couldn’t help the growing excitement within her. It rose up like steam from somewhere deep inside her.


Once she had wolfed down the rest of her meal, she went back to the first Parlour. Her mother sat facing a man. Anya stood in the doorway for a while, listening intently to the conversation for a few moments, before joining in herself..

“So she needs a small airship?” The man had a high-pitched voice, rather peculiar for a man of his profession. Or at least, not what you’d expect.

Maria nodded. “Yes. Something light, fast, something meant to be used by one person.”

“What sort of material?” The question was quite obviously directed at her. Anya blushed as all attention in the room moved to her.

“What would you recommend?” Was all she could think of.

The man put his hand to his chin, stroking his short beard in thought. “You want something light, yet sturdy.” He thought for a few moments. “Perhaps the young princess would like Mahogany?”

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First Day


After her airship had been ‘ordered’ for the end of the week, her mother sent her into the second parlour. Anya wasn’t really surprised by what she found. Just about every guildmaster in the city was arranged in an orderly line. Maria stepped into the room behind her, and placed one hand on Anya’s shoulder. “You know their symbols. Pick out the ones which you think would help you most.” Anya glanced at her mother, before stepping forward.


All of the men stood tall, proud and dutiful. Each bore the symbol of their craft on their chest. Anya strode down the line, thoughts running around in her head as she tried to decide which would be most useful. She had to learn how to fly, that was essential. Combat, probably. Some way of getting food? People in villages and towns might be reluctant to help her. Hunting and foraging would be a good idea. Mechanics and maybe even crafts. Other than that… What else could help her on her journey?


She would be travelling for sure. Fighting was inevitable. She needed a way of finding water, but there was nothing here that she could use. With a sigh, she turned back to her mother. She had a small list of five skills she needed to learn.


Maria smiled. “You have chosen?” Anya nodded.


She turned back to face the guildmasters, taking a deep breath, before uttering her choice. “On this journey, I feel I am going to need assistance from the Fighting guild.” The man which bore their crest- a simple picture of two people fighting one another, each with a different weapon -stepped forward. “I will need the help of the Mechanics.” Another man, this one with a rather complicated machine painted on his cloth, stepped forward. “And the Craft guild.” The symbol of a loom was on the next man’s chest. “The rest of you may return to your guilds- thank you for your willingness.” Each one bowed to her mother as they left, each with an apprentice and a servant to show them the way. The three guildmasters Anya had chosen stood quietly, their apprentices moving into the room to join them.


Maria spoke. “You will be shown to your quarters for the week. Breakfast is at 8 am, and dinner is at 6 pm. You are expected to train Ariannya as though she were an apprentice, or guildmember. Diederich-” The Fighting Guildmaster raised his eyes. “-You will be assisting Anya first.” He nodded, and the trio and their apprentices left. Maria turned to Anya. “Now. I see you found your new clothes? Diederich will be meeting you in one of the lower halls. I expect you to be punctual to all lessons in your crafts. Anything that could help you is essential.”


Anya nodded, giving a heavy sigh as she spoke. “Yes, mother. What time does my lesson start?”


The Empress looked at her daughter with a certain pride in her eyes. The heir to the throne was well on her way.


“In several minutes. I’ve told Diederich to not go easy on you. You have so much to learn in so little time, I felt it would be prudent to toughen you up as fast as possible.” They idly chatted in the room until a bell echoed further down the hall. Anya rose and hugged her mother.


"See you in a few hours."


Maria smiled as Anya hurried back down the corridor, heading into the servant passages. They’d been built as an extension to the palace’s creation a hundred years or so ago. They were simple rough stone walls with the occasional torch mounted on the side. All manner of secret switches were dotted around the palace, allowing immediate access from any location. Anya pushed at the wooden backing of a portrait in front of her, and it swung open with the gentle hiss of steam. She stepped onto the marble floor, her boots tapping lightly on the hard surface. Anya walked outside, into the front garden of the palace. A fountain trickled softly in front of her. She headed over to Diederich. He was stood on a small pit of sand, a variety of weapons spread out on a table behind him. Two straw dummies and a target were at the far end of the pit. He looked her up and down.


“Not bad form, but you could do with a bit more muscle.” He patted his own rippling biceps, before swinging a fist at her. She went to duck it, and stumbled in the sand, sprawling to the ground. He chuckled.


“Obviously not very good with balance.” Diederich offered her a hand, which she took gratefully.


He began to show her how to fight hand to hand, starting with simple punches and grapples. By mid-day, she was doing judo throws and spinning kicks at Diederich. He signaled to stop.


“Very good! Your mother wasn’t lying when she said you were a fast learner!” He grasped her by the shoulder and dragged her to the table. All manner of weaponry was spread over it, hammers, swords, axes and two pistols.


“Try this one.” He passed her a humongous warhammer. She grabbed it and almost fell over again.


“I don’t think that would work for me Diederich.” She said between thin lips. He hadn’t been unpleasant, but she felt that he was ridiculing her slightly. He nodded sagely, before passing her a arming sword. It had a good weight to it, but she felt it was a tad too short for her. Shaking her head, she handed it back. Next came two long knives. They felt very natural in her hand, and slashing them in the air, she felt unstoppable.


Deiderich raised an eyebrow, before unsheathing his own sword, which had hung carefully by his side the whole time. The corner of his mouth curled up in a smile. “You ready to play?”


Anya grinned. “Of course.”

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