I could see no good was coming to my niece from finding that sword, nor to anyone else neither. If it was dangerous to the conquerors, I said to her, they wouldn’t of let you find it, would they, missie? They with their magic? Let me find it! she says with her chin up. Let me! I reckon they didn’t let me; I found it myself and brought it back out of the dark, and they couldn’t stop me; and they’ll find out what I can do with it, and it won’t suit them.
Wouldn’t any harm have come of it, maybe, if the others hadn’t flocked around like chickens on corn, gobbling up her look and her voice and the things she could do with that sword. It was better than a soldier, or an acrobat at the fair, the way she moved with it; and it had a music to it that even I could hear was mortal sweet, yet wounding too. Oh, I heard the hurt of it under the sweet, and I told her, get shut of it! She wouldn’t listen. Nor would the other young folks.
And then she teamed up with that boy, the one who had the spear he'd brought out of the forest; that spear that made the faintest high keening note when he danced with it. More of them flocked round her then, and soon there were others; the other girl with the knives that had their sweet plangent tones, and the big fella with the mace that made a deep, deep booming noise that you could hear in your bones.
Wouldn't any harm have come of it even then, though, if it hadn't been for that stranger who came into town. He had them pale, intent, far-traveled eyes that you knew they'd seen a lot. And he looked at our band, with the sword and the spear and the knives and the mace; and he looked at our soldiers, with their flutes and their violins and their combat harpsichords; and he said as he reckoned we were doin' it all wrong.
Opening: Joanna.....Continuation: Steve Wright