Jenny: A Dread Champion

She sang of war. The lyrics were familiar, the tune spun differently, but familiar to his ears. And the holy war, that was familiar too. She spun it out in images that he knew, of tarnished hills breaking clear into the sunshine above the mists, of the great rivers rolling in the full spate of spring; of horses and the thunder of horses, of fire in the heather and the sky gone black with smoke. She could not know, though she was a bard, that those words were a hymn that throbbed in him beneath the pulsing of his own heart. But the Lord is with me like a dread champion. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. The Lord is a man of war, the Lord is his name - he is with me like a dread champion. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.

She concluded in a benediction, as any bard might, at once concerned for and in awe of him, emotions he was accustomed to seeing in faces. But she was, without a doubt, a bard, so that he leaned forward, the silver-worked green-glass goblet cupped loosely between his fingers, and gave her back the customary benediction. "A blessing on the bard and the songs of the bard," he said. "This house is glad for the music."

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