“Kassardis knew instantaneously that the words of the Very Wise Frog had come true. For the canyon had three entrances, and down each came one of his wives, armed and thirsty for blood. First, small and cunning Vastoki with the glint of her rifle sights, then enormous and brutal Littari, dragging her iron cauldron, and finally the refined Ipreski, languid and resplendent on her palanquin. And one after the other, all three of their cruel and lusty eyes fell upon Kassardis.

Kassardis tried to pray, but found no sound would come out of his lungs. He tried to hide deeper in the reeds, but he found the mud unyielding. He tried to shut his eyes, but his heartbeat drowned out his thoughts. So instead, he clutched on to the old swordmaster’s weapon like a good luck charm, its cruel metal cold against his bare chest. A strange thought entered his mind and gripped his tendons like a vice.

And as this thought gripped Kassardis, it was then that the truth of the Very Wise Frog revealed itself in its full glory. For violence truly was inescapable, and the three wives were inundated with it. They had no other language with which to negotiate their hard won spoils.

“Stand aside,” said soft Ipreski, “As oldest wife the Silver Prince is mine by right.”

“Move an inch further,” said Vastoki, “And I will put a bullet through that milky throat.”

Littari, for her part, said nothing, but rather hefted her cauldron into the air with a tremendous roar, and charged. Kassardis watched as the words of the Very Wise Frog came perfectly true, and a brutal combat unfolded.

Realizing the danger that Vastoki’s rifle presented, Ipreski slid off her palanquin and behind an enormous boulder. But that boulder was shattered a moment later by the tremendous force of Littari’s iron cauldron, sending her flying. Ipreski’s servants and retainers were pulped a moment later against the heavy bottom of the cauldron and spread across the rock, and Littari advanced on the eldest wife, frothing at the mouth.

She would have crushed Ipreski as she had promised, but in a mere second there were three cracks of Vastoki’s rifle, and Littari’s skull blossomed in gore, her cauldron smashing to the rocks below as she slumped forward. Ipreski sprang to her feet, her fine silks tearing, and drew her blade, dashing at Vastoki before she could reload.

Vastoki was impossibly agile, and even though her fingers were slick with grit and sweat, she chambered a round and fired it right at the smooth face of the eldest wife. But Ipreski had anticipated this for years, and had practiced a blade art specifically for this purpose, which she called Ego Ballistics. With impossible speed, she cut through possibility and cleft the bullet in two before it could touch her flesh.

Vastoki was taken aback. Such was her speed, however, that the incoming blow merely severed her nose from her face and cleft her glasses in two, instead of separating her head from her shoulders as was intended. Blinded by gouts of blood and shrieking in pain, she crawled away. But Ipreski, caught in the moment of victory, was blinded in her own way to Littari, who had survived three bullets to the head by the virtue of her enormously thick skull and was now staggering up behind her with cauldron in hand.

The first blow of the cauldron cracked Ipreski’s’ back and sent her sprawling, the second crushed her shins and feet to splinters. The third did not come, for Vastoki, acting on instinct, loosed three more shots, which blew the throat out from Littari and sent her reeling backwards.

This gory sight, and the ruin of his three wives, Kassardis beheld, and his resolve hardened into ice. He emerged from the pool, his blood cold in his veins, and the old swordmaster’s blade clutched tight in his hand.”

– Tales of the Silver Prince