“Lord Intra,” said Intra’s sparring partner one day, “You are called Lord of Swords. Yet you are a man, and men make poor swordsmen.”

“It is true,” said Intra, for nearly all of the famous sword masters of the day were women and the ya-at, who were three sexed. This tradition was rather long in the bones, and rumored to have been started by a famous vagrant who rarely cut her hair and lived in a barrel. There was popular theater about it, in those days.

“Men are too preoccupied with their swords,” said Lord Intra, “They get distracted.”

“You mistake my meaning,” said Intra’s sparring partner, “What I mean is this: you are a mere man. What can you do to the new gods of the Red City, with their whips of fire and their heavy chariot wheels?”

“I am not concerned with enmity,” said Intra, “I am very skilled in Pankrash Circle Fighting”

“It is true you are very fierce,” conceded his partner, “But my son’s fighting beetle is also very fierce. Could his beetle fell a lion?”

“That depends,” said Intra, “How skilled is the beetle in Pankrash Circle Fighting?”

“Beetles cannot learn Pankrash Circle Fighting, Lord Intra,” said Intra’s attendant, and made a bitter motion.

“Don’t tell the beetle that,” said Intra, who was very skilled at smiling. “If you don’t tell him he will learn it anyway and cut the lion in half with a single blow.”

-The Song of Maybe