1. She knots the ropes into the spells her grandfather taught her, singing prayers learned at her grandmother’s knee.
2. The helmet filters out incoming sights and sounds, narrowing the world into critical and non-critical elements. War’s messy chaotic churn is simplified and anonymized into something almost peaceful.
3. “You’re wrong,” the dragon says. Not ‘that wasn’t what I meant’, or ‘let me rephrase’, or a thousand more diplomatic statements that might have kept the king from turning interesting shades of red. “Very wrong.”
4. They’ve spent their lives in a cycle of falling in love and breaking up, neither of them strong enough to walk away for good.
5. A chorus of outraged barking cascades down the neighborhood following the loose dogs as they stop to mark every single lawn they can.