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This song is by Julia Ecklar and appears on the compilation Quarks & Quests (1986).

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Deep into the stony hills,
Miles from keep or hold,
A troop of guards comes riding
With a lady and her gold
Riding in the center,
Shrouded in her cloak of fur,
Companioned by a maiden
And a toothless, aged cur

Three things see no end:
A flower blighted ere it bloom,
A message that was wasted,
And the journey that was doomed

One among the guardsmen
Has a shifting, restless eye
And as they ride, he scans the hills
That rise against the sky
He wears a sword and bracelet
Worth more than he can afford
And hidden in his baggage
Is a heavy, secret hoard

Of three things be wary:
Of the hungry hunting cat,
The shepherd eating mutton,
And the guardsman that is fat

From ambush bandits screaming
Charge the pack train and its prize
All but four within the train
Are taken by surprise
And all but four are cut down
As a woodsman fells a log:
The guardsman and the lady
And the maiden and the dog

Three things know a secret:
First, the lady in a dream,
The dog who barks no warning,
And the maid who does not scream

Then off the lady pulls her cloak,
In armor she is clad
Her sword is out and ready
And her eyes are fierce and glad
The maiden gestures briefly
And the dog's a cur no more
A wolf, swordmaid, and sorceress
Now face the bandit corps

Three things never anger
Or you will not live for long:
A wolf with cubs, a man with power,
And a woman's sense of wrong

The bandits growl a challenge
And the lady only grins
The sorceress bows mockingly,
And then the fight begins
When it ends, there are but four
Left standing from that horde:
The witch, the wolf, the traitor,
And the woman with the sword

Three things never trust in:
The maiden sworn as pure,
The vows a king has given,
And the ambush that is sure

They've stripped the traitor naked
And they've whipped him on his way,
Into the barren hillsides like
The folk he used to slay
They take a thorough vengeance
For the women he's cut down
And then they mount their horses
And they journey back to town

Three things trust and cherish well:
The horse on which you ride,
The beast that guards and watches,
And the sister at your side


  • Music by Julia Ecklar
  • Words by Mercedes Lackey

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