“Stand aside,” Sword Witch said. Her voice rose above the clamor of the marketplace like a great bell. It was not a voice for asking. It was a voice for commanding.
Everyone around us complied before they realized it. And then, in the very next moment, everyone looked around in a daze wondering why they moved; wondering where the noise of the marketplace had gone; and wondering where these three hoodlums had come from.
There’s no law against carrying arms in a public space, but doing so says a great deal without words. Their wild eyes, their shabby beards, and their piecemeal clothing said even more. The crowd found ways to give them more space. In short order there was a bubble with nothing inside it but the street, the bandits, Sword Witch, and me.
She rubbed the palm of one hand with the thumb of the other. She barely looked at them. “Who am I killing today?”
She sounded bored!
The bandits chuckled among themselves, but only because they didn’t see what she did to the last batch of villains who got in her way.
“The Calamities Gang!” the one with the spear said. He must have fancied himself the leader. He twirled his spear this way and that. It was a gesture orchestrated to intimidate, but Sword Witch was about as moved as a mountain.