Orpheus. Had the name he had taken ever suited him better? But he would be wilier than the singer whose name he had stolen. He would indeed. He would send another man into the realm of Death in the Fire-Dancer’s place-and he’d make sure that he didn’t come back.

The Magpie took off her glove and looked scornfully at him. “Basta likes to use snakes to scare woman that reject his advances. It didn’t work with Resa. How did it go exactly – didn’t she finally put the snake outside your door, Basta?

She always did like tales of adventure-stories full of brightness and darkness. She could tell you the names of all King Arthur’s knights, and she knew everything about Beowulf and Grendel, the ancient gods and the not-quite-so-ancient heroes. She liked pirate stories, too, but most of all she loved books that had at least a knight or a dragon or a fairy in them. She was always on the dragon’s side by the way.

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