TITLE: The Buried Realm
The main character is Yonder, a dwarvish weapons merchant who has just arrived at a border town. He is trying to impress the two guards, Bornel and Renast, so they will let him into the country to sell his wares.
“Okay, see those trees over there? How far would you need to advance before you could hit them?”
“What, those?” asked Bornel, pointing at a grove some twenty paces away. “I bet Renast could hit it from here.”
Bornel shrugged. “Spears aren’t really my thing. They’re hard to aim.”
Yonder nodded. Perfect. “How about it, Renast,” he asked the taller guard.
Renast smirked and hefted his spear, aiming with deliberate nonchalance. Bornel leaned against the wagon and watched. It occurred to Yonder that this might be the most exciting thing that happened to these two all day.
Renast put his whole body into the throw and the spear sailed the full twenty paces to bite deep into the bark of the nearest tree. Bornel whooped and clapped approvingly.
“Not bad. Not bad,” said Yonder rubbing his beard. “But what would you say if I could hit that one over there?” Yonder pointed to a tree some fifty yards away. The guards’ eyebrows went up.
“No one can throw that far,” said Renast. “Not with any accuracy.”
“But a speargun can,” said Yonder, warming to his subject. “And with perfect accuracy, even if you can’t aim a spear.” Yonder dropped to one knee and aimed the gun. “You just line up your target with this notch here, pull the trigger and . . .”
There was a loud crack as the weapon released, and in less than a second slammed directly into the tree. Yonder grinned.
“Magic!” whispered Renast.