from The Right Weapon
Still feeling a pang of regret for not having acquitted himself better with the Ionian blade, as though he’d somehow disappointed the weapon, Mauro turned to the next offering.
“You’re a bit big for a yordle weapon. Bandle City doesn’t make much in our size.” He opened the box to reveal something like a small staff with additions like a winch and a mallet-head. It seemed to be trying to be several weapons at once. “It’s a shame, because these things are hilarious.”
Is this a joke shop as well, then? Mauro muttered inside his head.
“Yes. The yordles do love their jokes,” he said aloud, forcing himself to be pleasant, even as he thought, and so do bored shopkeepers trying to stretch one appointment out all day. He probably thinks if he strings me along for long enough I’ll agree to the first overpriced thing he offers to sell me.
The Keeper gestured at the yordle weapon. “They do! But they always catch you off guard. More often than you’d think, anyway. Battle is a frightening thing. But to the yordles, it’s playtime. They don’t have to see the world the way we do, and that’s an asset, yes. It certainly can be.”
Mauro picked up the weapon. It was like a hammer, he supposed, and tried swinging it as though aiming at someone’s head. It felt too light. He felt ridiculous. The weapon twirled in his grasp, as his swing triggered some kind of internal clockwork. A prod snapped out of the base and sparked the air with electricity. He reversed the weapon and tried a strike at the air with that sparking shock-prod, but the mallet-end detached from the haft and tumbled down his back, connected by a length of brightly colored string.
“It’s a toy,” he growled, feeling utterly absurd.
The Keeper took it from him. He gave it a few whirls, and Mauro saw the mallet sweep wide on its string…then suddenly shoot inward, changing the angle in a way that would have startled any opponent, and gaining such speed that it seemed as though it could well have shattered armor on impact.
The Keeper retracted the mallet head and twirled it once more, then, as though himself caught in the midst of inappropriate playtime, grinned. “Don’t underestimate yordles, eh? Ha. Short joke. Used to get Veigar all riled up on the Fields that way. Heh heh. ‘Glad you came back when you did; you were burning a lot of mana, and you’re pretty low.’ Heh heh. ‘Going for Baron? Alright. See you shortly.’ Heh.”
He coughed, replaced the weapon, and closed the box.
“Very pleasant folk,” Mauro agreed, tensely. Yordles put him on edge. They giggled too much. They turned the world into crayon one squiggle at a time.
“Maybe it’s just too newfangled for you. Maybe you’d prefer something more…traditional.” The Keeper smirked. “Maybe a lot more traditional.”