>> But if it's going to make them into heroes whether they will or no, it's not exactly respecting their choices. <<
It's not a cursed sword. Brod could put it down if he wanted to. *chuckle* He's a troll. He could probably find a way to bend the thing in half, if he wanted to. Now so far, in this poem, the sword has given good advice ("RUN!") and it does have the ability to spot which ruffians would make capable heroes. As the story progresses, things will get more complicated, though.
>>Obviously I don't know how they got into the evil minion business, so maybe they didn't have a choice about that, either, but sometimes "good" tries to twist fewer arms ...<<
There's a hint about how, in "Following Along."
I have actually seen a hero ignore a talking sword -- that one nagged like a fishwife.