Preface: For the new year, Cinematic is giving way to a new Sunday 'feature,' The Pen and the Sword, featuring excerpts from cape-and-sword books and stories.
I ran the following piece last April, but it's just so good I really wanted to include it in this series. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. - BV
"A vile song, señor, and a vile tune with it," said a voice quite close.
However much the words hurt his pride in his mandolin Rodriguez recognised in the voice the hidalgo's accent and knew that it was an equal that now approached him in the moonlight round a corner of the house with the balcony; and he knew that the request he courteously made would be as courteously granted.
"Señor," he said, "I pray you to permit me to lean my mandolin against the wall securely before we speak of my song."
"Most surely, señor," the stranger replied, "for their is no fault with the mandolin."
"Señor," Rodriguez said, "I thank you profoundly." And he bowed to the gallant, whom he now perceived to be young, a youth tall and lithe like himself, one whom we might have chosen for these chronicles had we not found Rodriguez.
Then Rodriguez stepped back a short way and placed his kerchief upon the ground; and upon this he put his mandolin and leaned it against the wall. When the mandolin was safe from dust or accident he approached the stranger and drew his sword.
"Señor," he said, "we will now discuss music."
- Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley, Lord Dunsany