By Fred Saberhagen
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Get up and tend the fire, and it will save you. Startled, Mark raised his head, croaked out a halfformed question. The words had come to him as if in someone else's voice, and with the force of a command. He could not recognize the voice, but it made a powerful impression. Now, once he'd moved his head, the rest was possible. He sat up, rubbing his arms together, preparing himself for further effort. Now his arms were able to move freely. And now he forced himself to rise, swaying on stiffened knees, but driving his legs, torso, everything into activity.
He used both hands on the hilt, just as his brother Kenn had held it with two hands during the fight. But no power flowed from the weapon now, and Mark could do with it as he liked. Without delaying, without giving the gods another moment in which to act, he thrust the sword down into the rising smoke and let it fall. Father, Kenn, I've done it. The sword fell at once into invisibility. Mark heard the sharp impact that it made on nearby rock, followed by another clash a little farther down. Holding his breath, he listened a long time for some final impact, perhaps a splash into the molten rock that an Elder had once told Mark lay at tire bottom of these holes of fire.
Yet you he spared… except of course that he took your arm. " "I don't remember that part at all well, Your Grace… might I sit down? My head... " "Yes, yes. Pull up one of those chairs for him, Mala. Now Jord. Go on. " "Well, sir, I fainted. And when I woke again, my right arm was gone. A neat wound, with most of the bleeding stopped already. And my left hand was already holding Townsaver's hilt. " "That now the sword was mine to keep. Townsaver. The Sword of Fury, he called it too. To keep and to pass on as inheritance.