Lord Talin pulled up his scarf and stalked into the storm, his sword gripped in his left hand. Red lines snaked along the blade’s metal, staining the purple tassel, leaving a trail of crimson dots on the ground. Mina followed the bloody breadcrumbs as the storm gutted, the sands parted, and Lord Talin danced. A death dance. Unlike the sword dancer’s graceful twirling, the Protector of the Path swung his sword like sky fire, with sharp jagged cuts. Each calculated swing cut through enemy skin and bone with lethal precision. His body arched, weaved, and spun to evade and counter the attacks levied against him. One, two, three blades curved toward him, each accompanied with frustrated cries. Lord Talin formed a sandstorm of his own, and nothing could penetrate his whirlwind of steel. Beside him, Jonan fought his own dance. Not the same as Lord Talin, a more traditional duel of sword against sword. But he too swung with lethal grace, with practiced maneuvers fitting of legend. The Housemen were slow and sloppy in comparison. They fell, as Malik the Merciless would fell them. One by one.