The Tarlinian by Diron Bates

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He once again sucked hard upon his pipe before inhaling the smoke, he removed the pipe slowly and exhaled the smoke in enormous circles that spun before him before disappearing. He raised his brows and intensely regarded the figure that stood before him. He would tell the Tarlinian of ‘The Path', and then he would kill him.
"What is your name, Tarlinian?" The wizard asked for no more reason then to know. The Tarlianian paused as if contemplating his answer, a moment later he told the wizard his name.
"Awl," he replied. "Of Tarlin."
The wizard nodded and then turned his back to the warrior, it was a bold move but he knew that the child of Tarlin would not strike before he had learned of ‘The Path'.
The warrior stood staring at the wizards back; unintentionally he plotted the many spots that his blade could pierce and kill the wizard instantly. He counted one hundred and fifty two spots in merely seconds before he willed himself to stop. One hundred and fifty two spots that could steal his life in mid thought. The Tarlinian noticed that his hunger for the wizard's life had caused his hand to creep towards the sheathed sword on his hip but he quickly moved his hand away. Not yet. He would play the wizards game, for now he would play.
Unknown to the Tarlinian was the smile that played upon the wizard's lips. He could feel the anxious warriors hunger to kill him. Don't worry, Tarlinian, he thought, we shall dance soon enough.
"And what is your tale, child? What has brought you seeking I who have dealt death to the multitude that have sought what you now seek? What is your story? I wish to hear it, if you wish to hear of ‘The Path'."
His blade called to him, its hunger was overwhelming but, he ignored it. He ignored the fantasy of unsheathing his sword and plunging it into all of the one hundred plus vulnerable spots before the wizard even knew that death had overtaken him. He ignored the exposed back that the wizard displayed to him like a trophy meant to taunt and not to reward. He ignored these thoughts and concentrated only on The Path. He inhaled deeply and when he exhaled his story began where the wizard would have never believed. It began in a long ago time, in a long forgotten place. But, more surprisingly the story began with love.