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Acquisition

Can be found randomly in loot containers, and is randomly sold by general goods and books vendors.

Contents

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Bellguard down, over, hold. The Bone Shaver. Strike at 80 grams, any degree but this one. The Ephemeral Feint. Breathe in and then forget the breath; you cannot replace it until he is down, to fight as if dead: second principle of pneumansu. The Vectoring Cygnet. Arm out, knee down, coal on the teeth to hide your smile. The Pankratosword, but this is forbidden. Arc the bones that otherwise cannot bend. The Threat of Mirrors. Using the Math Athlete, you could occur several places during a single duel, illustrious and sure. Paint fake eyes all over your face and then hide your real ones among them; the opponent can no longer read where you look. The Premeditated Modesty. The Fingers-Knife serves as five, protecting your cardinal points and your central theory; five thrusts, spaced microseconds apart, like tapping the desk bored, waiting for morning bread.

~~~

Cyrus woke in the surgeon's hold, dark lapping sounds coming through wood. The cat was still up going through bottles and washing linens. Seeing his captain wince, he nodded and said, "Bad moons in a big dream."

"Tell me about it."

"Before you even ask," the cat said, "G'latha slipped no moonsugar in your last resting-water."

Cyrus moved to a sitting position, wincing slightly from some pain in his lower back. "Then why?" he said.

"The sword-walkers left a memory-stone under your pillow."

Cyrus moved the pillow and saw it: a dark rock weathered smooth with age, encrusted with traces of glistening curves. He glared at G'latha. "And you knew about this?"

"Yes," the cat said. "G'latha found it amusing. Also, G'latha thought that maybe its magic would seep into your brainpan and teach you vaba maaszi lhajiito, do-sura."

Cyrus got on his feet and grunted some admonishment. He found his sword near the cutter tools and hefted it, looking at its grip and wondering why it felt a bit off. Had the dunmer wizard knocked its balance out? Had he even set aside the saber in that whirling motion he'd made? Cyrus couldn't remember. He remembered only how ridiculously fast it had all been.

"That book also teaches ahzirr traajijazeri," he said to G'latha.

"Did you ever notice we hid that lesson at the bottom? Speaking of lessons, it seems like do-sura learned a few."

"Yeah, there was a move called—oww." Cyrus had attempted a swing but something across his skin tore sharply. "I was going to make a joke in there somewhere about skinning —oww. I reopened something."

"G'latha was serious. Did you not notice what you did?"

Cyrus put his saber down. He was feeling dizzy. The sugarcat lent a hand.

"Here, sit back down for the needle," G'latha said. Pawing his captain's stitches lightly, his eyes flashed over to the sword.

"Do-sura fights right handed," he said, voice low, "Yet you just held your saber with your left."

~~~

As morning rose, Cyrus scanned the beach again from topside. Some men were moving about nervously. Thorpe, the scrub, was close by, swabbing the decks, whistling some song from Sutch or thereabouts.

"Thugs mustn't have ties to anything except ink and the glimmer of gold."

Thorpe looked up from his brush. "What was that, sir?"

"Nothing," Cyrus said, realizing he'd been heard. "Something an old villain of mine said to me once."

"Ring a truth it's got," Thorpe said, going back to his work, "And if ye don't mind me sayin' so, there's plenty of glimmer back homewards." Thorpe started nodding at his own advice. "Scuttle's that the Reachers have taken to the water to fight Old Mary," he continued, "and those Bret'n buttertubs couldn't outrun the Carrick on their best day."

"That's just it, Thorpe," Cryus sighed. "The Reachers don't stand a chance against the Dominion. But they're trying. Same news you heard says the Thalmor sent a plague into Camlorn. It's a matter of…" And Cyrus let the sentiment trail off. He had taken an interest in the sunrise.

"What's that, sir?" Thorpe said, eyeing him. "Reconciling vengeance and honor again?"

"Yoku has forty-eight different versions of honor," Cyrus said, "And they all trace their roots to ugak-ta, which means, more or less, "I'm pretty mad." So that might be a yeah."

Fornower walked by, fetching a saw. "Woke up speaking Yoku, cap?" he said.

"Strange night," Cyrus said.

Thorpe let Fornower pass until he spoke again. "Ain't a soul on this boat would think less of ye fer avoidin' that whip-evil Velothi domino, Cy."

"I know."

Cyrus palmed the top of his saber-hilt, thinking. He frowned as he felt the same imbalance in the blade, even in its sheathe. He sighed again and looked over to Thorpe.

"Actually, there would be one that would think less of me."

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