. . . Demian sat still for a second. The absurdity of it all! "But the Icewitch!" she burst out finally. "Do you think you can slay her with that?"
He glanced at his sword. "No."
Demian-Guendolyn threw up her hands. "Then I do not understand, Gunther. To what end this quest? You will fail."
He cocked his head. "Perhaps not. . . . The Mage has given me something none have ever had before. . . ."
. . . He set a little oaken chest upon his knee.
"Look," he said softly and lifted a brass key from the chain about his neck. The key's bit tripped the tumblers of the lock, and the shackle fell open. Gunther raised the lid. A fluid, golden dust lay glowing in the hold, rolling gently, like a sea of gilded talc.
Demian-Guendolyn stared. She had never seen such a thing before. All her life, among all the Mage's worthless, moldering trinkets, she had never so much as glimpsed something real--something full of a genuine power. She gazed at the shifting, powdery waves.
"What is it?" she whispered, leaning near.
Gunther's smile broadened. "Sundust. . . ."