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The Masculine Capacity
by Darrell Whitney


Garn, owner of the Hunter's Guild bar, passed a tall travel-flask across to Alys Brangwin.

"Thanks, Garn; sometimes it seems like I can't get enough of this stuff," Motavia's preeminent hunter said. She reached for her money pouch, but was forestalled by a deep, booming voice.

"Put away your meseta, Alys; this one's on me."

Alys was not a particularly religious woman, but the sound of that voice had her offering up prayers.

"Joss."

Joss Howland exactly fit the popular image of a hunter. He was a tall, broad, powerful man, as strong and tough as an ox and nearly half as intelligent. For some reason he had decided that Alys was destined to be his one true love. Alys figured she just had a soft spot for kids and dumb animals, since most girls would have run him through with a sword at this point.

"I love to see a woman who isn't too prissy to put away a few cold ones. Whatcha drinking, there?"

"This isn't really a--"

"C'mon, Alys. You know I won't tell."

"Joss, seriously, this would lay you out on the floor."

He stared wide-eyed at her. For a brief two seconds she thought he might actually take her at her word. Then, Joss's natural personality quashed that dream.

"What, you don't think I'm man enough? Sure, you may be a better hunter, but there's no way a little slip of a thing like you can drink me under the table."

"You're that much of a man, huh?"

He waggled his eyebrows at her.

"I'm all man, baby."

That settled things.

"All right, Joss. Go for it."

She slid the flask over to him. Joss popped out the cork and drained the contents dry in one mighty swig. Then he dropped to the bar floor with one mighty thud. The flask bounced once, but it was a well-made travel type, designed to absorb shocks. Alys picked it up and wiped the rim.

"Garn, could you get me another dose of that sleeping potion?"

He looked down at Joss wonderingly.

"This is the second time he's done that. Do you think I ought to add it to the regular menu?"

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