Alex leaped from terrace to terrace, curious staff raised high in his right hand. He shouted words he didn’t know in a fine, brave voice, and watched with pleasure as the shaggy creatures threatening an equally shaggy, moist-eyed woman quailed and quaked.
Alex drove the creatures away with kicks and staff blows and helped the lady to her feet. A small black circle was pressed into her lips. Had she been playing a sooty trumpet? She thanked him with those words he didn’t know but understood anyway. He nodded graciously.
He was standing in a stone room. Eight burned old men sat around a table of glowing wood. A sour-faced man with a forehead that gleamed whitely even underneath his ashes stood and insisted they destroy everything that remained. Another man stood and argued in that meaningful gabble. The man with the forehead hit the second man, then all seven were scuffling and swearing like little boys.
Something flew out of the scrum and hit Alex, smudging his face. He picked it up. It was a deck of cards. He pulled a card. It was the Three of Harmony.
“The Three of Harmony?” said Alex.
Soft music filled his hands.