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One devil, just one in all of devil history, had granted three wishes to the human who freed it. Magpie had caught that troublemaking snag five years ago and put him back, but the damage was already done. The mannies had a mania for it now, and every chance they got they freed some wicked thing back into the world, and they surely didn't get wishes for their trouble.
In statues the champion was always wearing a tunic of shed firedrake scales with daggers strapped to both her thighs and her simple gold circlet on her hair. That was the kind of lady Magpie planned to be when the time came: the kind who sharpened her knives beside the fire in a hunting camp . . .
The world was scattered with friendships she'd begun and left behind when the time came to move on, and the time always came.
She herself had first heard the chronicle of the dragonslaying many years ago, but it still clenched her insides to think of it. Such a frenzy of butchery it had been that even thousands of years could not cleanse humanity of its stain.
Humans had a genius for devising instruments of death. Their lives were so short and they seemed to value them so little, sending waves of men to clash in battlefields, then weighing victory by the piled corpses. And if they held their own lives so worthless, the lives of everything else were as fruit to pluck from trees.
She decided finally that it's not so bad to find out you have a destiny when it's something you were going to do anyway.
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