Way of the Gun by Ted Thompson

The man hugged his daughter back but still felt nagging questions. Her mother had gone down this very path. Her skills as a shooter were irresistible to him. She made all his guns look like magnificent toys. Between the two of them, they made his reputation as a gunsmith infamous.

The only problem was, without his guns she was useless. She felt no need to learn anything else. She fiercely hated to be trained in just about anything. However, someone had trained her to shoot. Thinking back to his daughter he wondered if the answer he sought lie with her.

“I never taught you the revolver Shana. You could take some of the things I taught you about rifles and apply it to a pistol but you can’t learn everything from it. Who has been instructing you?” The girl released her hug and walked back to the glass that lay all over the fallen trees.

“Father, I didn’t miss a one!”

The man knew she was buying time so she could think up something, something not true.

“I want to know the name of the person instructing you!” Shana started to open her mouth but held her tongue.

Shamefully she turned her eyes away from her father speaking just one word, “Marmi.”

Her father breathed out with a large sigh, Shana’s imaginary friend. It bothered him just how much it sounded like “mommy.” Still, it could have very well been the ghost of his wife. For years he had been meaning to see a spiritual witch to confirm his suspicions but there never seemed to be enough time. Since he had physically left Alkenstar city, demand for his guns became insatiable. Rumors had spread that he had somehow died and he considered that a benefit given his wife’s murder.

“I’ve told you not to leave the stead without me and that is final. I don’t want you coming out here! You hear me!” Shana’s father looked around as if trying to see someone invisible. “Er, what does Marmi think of that?”

The girl felt the intensity of her father’s words but couldn’t help but giggle, “She’s making the same movements you make as you were talking but…”

“But what?”

“but…”

“You can tell me.” He said breathing calmly.

“I don’t think I should.”

“I’m you father, you can tell me.”

“You won’t like it.”

“Just tell me.”

“Father, she makes a funny face that makes you look stupid.”

Shana’s father looked to the air once more. “I have my reasons Marmi! My daughter is too precious to me to die out here by some Sandkraken. This place is too dangerous for a young girl to go it alone. I don’t care how well she can shoot! She needs to look after the boys too. They shouldn’t be left at the stead alone.”

“Its ok father, I just bring them with me when I come out here to practice.”

Shana’s father hesitated as if his previous thoughts had suddenly become outdated. “What? You bring them out here too?”

“Yes father, I watch them out here so I can get some practice in. They don’t play where I am shooting. No sir. They just play behind me and Marmi tells me…”

The man winced. He started to speak but couldn’t find the words. He had often gone into the city with his journeyman Akane, thinking his children were protected by the fortified homestead they had built. He had never dreamed, however, that his children were leaving the safety of those surroundings. Biting his tongue, he knew what had to be done. Sadly, everything he loved about being a gunsmith had to be sacrificed. Looking to his sweet daughter holding her first broken rifle, he knew a change was in order.

“Shana, we are going home!”

Way of the Gun continues in Pathfinder Chronicler Anthology Volume III.