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ÇAÇÔ, Man of the Morning Star, protasis, p.1 Harsh, b.1, canto 11

Canto Eleven ~ The boy returns to the battlefield in search of the young mother’s corpse.
He seeks the scent of the rose that had permeated the place where she had died and comes aided by a magical spell the witch has shown him. It will warn of spirits that linger near. Specifically hers, but also the few others remaining that could possibly interfere. The prospect excites him, for the spell allows him to feel as well as see the souls of the recent dead. Long terrified of his own emotions, he revels in the bliss and agony of others.

Discovering the unmolested body, he seeks for and quickly spies her soul. The inherent strangeness in it all intrigues and draws him closer with growing curiosity.

Her spirit is dressed in clothes of the mind and heart, but of momentarily greater concern to him is the unmarred state of her flesh. He initially attributes the lack of decay to a cold he never feels, when his attention is drawn by activity nearby.

Easily distracted, the boy had taken little note of his environment as he sought the young girl’s scent. He is startled and disturbed as his surroundings become impossible to ignore.

The fields are rife with spirits of the dead.

All manner of people wander near in seeming limbo waiting for some final stroke. If the spell had revealed to him on other occasions the persistent who linger, he is now confused at not only the numbers here, but their all inclusive nature. Men and women, the old and young, warrior, merchant, farmer alike are everywhere.

Selfishly drawn into the excitement of the moment, he feels for the young girl’s plight only in so far as the drug like effect of the magic allowing him to experience it. It is a potent sense and growing fast. Admonishing himself for a lack of focus (failure will mean trouble with Gundhag), he reaches for the girl and prepares to leave.
At his touch her spirit turns to face him. Recognition brings her immediately to tears. Despite the evil nature of her child, the abiding love of motherhood is immeasurably strong in the young girl and she is heartbroken at the sight of he who stole him from her.

Her anguish washes over the boy as a tidal wave of emotion.

The boy feels as well as she the emotions that give to her an understanding of her plight, but without knowledge of who or what speaks to her without words, it is an explanation without meaning.

She is abandoned by the Powers of the World. Heaven and Hell will not touch her. She has brought about events that shall lead to The End Of All and impossibly knows nothing of what it means. The loneliness, despair and desperation she feels is much, much more than he expected. Yet heedless of the potential danger inherent in what he accosts him and desiring it all the more as it grows, the boy struggles to focus on his task.

Lifting her to his arms as but a package to be carried, he discovers the flesh is warm. The carcasses nearby after six days of rain are putrefying. However, she glows with life spite he hears no heart. Her spirit is as confused as he.

Believing the cause lay with magic of unearthly realms he has never understood, he nevertheless throws all caution away. With abandon born of ignorance and desire he gives himself over to the spell. Convinced he opens to but the feelings of a mob and a young girl, he expects nothing more than luxuriant gratification.
He has made a terrible miscalculation.

Whatever essence of black magic the hag was drawn to, it is not sorcery that inundates him now. Love and a desire to nurture are innate to the whore beyond anything he has ever considered possible.
He is thrown physically to the ground and unknowingly begins to sing to her in a fashion tender and delicate.

In his arms and partly buried in sanguinary mud, the corpse begins to shine with a light that emanates from above. It seemingly has no source, shining through the boy and illuminating only her flesh. Shadow is beneath her, but casts nothing of him.

The spirits of the dead nearby apprehensively draw closer in fear and wonder. The storm as well searches for new strength in preparation for something it, quite improbably, does not desire. It seems all the world waits on an epiphany of monumental consequence.

It is shattering and immense.

An essence of love, obligation and sacrifice in all things unconditional has caught each of the players in the tragedy unprepared. It is a debt accrued by powers unknown to them before the beginnings of Time and returns at a moment completely unlooked for.

When the boy draws the rags from her face he is caught in its center and fears it may destroy him.
Suspecting she may be Love itself, he begs the spirit to tell him who she is. Carefully, the young girl explains all that she can.

She does not know how or why this has come to her. Although an essence of understanding speaks to her, she cannot speak back. A malefaction brought into this world by her labor has taken her life, yet somehow she is retained to serve a cause she cannot identify. It is to be The End Of All things, how she knows is not given her. Why she and the other lost souls yet remain is not offered. What is to be their purpose, if any, is not addressed.

However, she clings to a hope and the mad, naked boy is terrified to learn it might involve him.

Having lived so very long he fears he shall not die. Those things he saw that chased him to security in dementia are drawn forth anew as the sense of the ancient bond between him and the girl becomes ever more apparent. He would hide from this with all the delusion he has cultivated thru millennia, but when the girl touches him the dementia recedes. For the first time in thousands of years unchanged, he is aware of self. The insight to his hollow existence and his self imposed flight from reality now threatens to break his heart.

“He weeps despairing as a child and pity begs for one defiled.”

The ghosts have shared in this and desperately seek whatever may come of these events. They seem epochal in their intensity and come what may the spirits would benefit.

The boy senses he is caught up in the denouement of what he witnessed as a child.

Facing the ghosts seeking an unknown salvation, the girl implores them to accept their parity in what may be happening. They are fixed by something as yet unfathomable that swiftly overwhelms them all. However, ignorance will not be reasoned with. It is the girl and boy, they contend, who are responsible for their plight or perhaps harbingers of their salvation. In rage and fear, crying entitlement, the ghosts resolve to take what they believe is theirs.

The spell he chants has made him physically vulnerable to the spirits here and the girl realizes they will rend him to get what they want. She bids him leave her and flee.

He refuses. Courage or something very like it new felt prompts him prepare to defend her. He vows never to abandon her. A regard for self last experienced two and a half millennia agone returns to him the blood nature of his heritage. Denied along with so many other terrors for so long, it is embraced and produces a music unlike any he has made before.

Yet it is not wholly unknown to him.

Faculties cast off following the events that scarred him return transformed. He sings to drive the spirits back. Though not personally responsible, he attributes his original woes to them. The blame, anger and hate he feels for “lesser men” are tangible. His voice manifests such eldritch power the storm itself is held at bay. It is possible he possesses strength enough to destroy them, but before it is accomplished he sees pity in the face of the girl and suspends his assault.

She would not have them suffer any more than they have already and acquiescing to her will, he sings for them a very different song. It is a song of courage and hope emboldening within their troubled souls tranquil strength to face the unknown. It is a music long hidden within him of honor and tolerance, frightening them perhaps all the more for its power; the very power that now holds back the tempest.

Collecting his nerve, he prepares to steal her away. Never before moved in such a way, he prays with an ingenuousness unknown to the Angels who are but one generation removed from an active, physical participation in his people’s lives. He entreats creatures as real to him as the birds who hunger for his song.
Before he runs with his precious new charge held closely in his arms, the “hues of warmth and light he’s never seen the living shine and fragrance keen as spring’s first bloom fills senses bright.” He sees her as if for the first time and though he does not understand, knows precisely who and what she is.

Commanding her spirit to “Flee now!”, he clutches her body close and bolts into the storm. It explodes in rage as fell might from afar comprehends the physical and emotional association the boy has made.

He runs as fast as he ever has, but the spirits are everywhere. Panic drives them. The spell has made him material to their ethereal forms and he knows they will kill him if given the chance. It is becoming increasingly more improbable he will escape.

Then an odd scent catches his attention and he comes to rest near a fallen warhorse. Needing time to think and search, he turns on them again with song, but this time to frighten only and so allow him pause.

He has remembered a spell of the witch beyond his abilities and resolves to use it.

Carving the centers from the horse’s hooves, he fashions a cloven beast. It is a necessary part of the magic he prepares, but has the added advantage of arousing their superstition.

Next, he collects some parts of the incantation he will need. Blood, pus and brain of the beast he collects, but stymied by the last, a purgative herb he knows to be the catalyst of the spell, he begins to succumb to hysteria. The scent is frustratingly nearby. Though frantically he searches, the rain and blood of the battlefield hide it.

The spirits grow less afraid and he is attacked. He is defenseless against their incorporeity. For the first time since his flight began, the boy’s resolve weakens. Once more a frightened, mad and ageless child, he agonizes over his impending failure when suddenly the materiel he sought reveals itself.

Wrenching free of the attacking ghosts he seizes it, but before he has time to address the magic he sees her body in the distance commandeered by the clamoring, desperate spirits.

More terrified of loss than ever before, he panics and curbs his music no longer.

A virulent rage at the crimes committed against his people explodes with a power not only his. To his side, lustful and lonely, comes an Essence of Life. A spirit revered by his folk so long ago, she is utterly unknown to the denizens of this Age.

He sings of Death and harm. She wails of lonely retribution. The spirit has waited centuries for such a release.
The torturous abuses of The Clovis, renownless and obscured by time, mean nothing to these horrified, simple folk. Thieves of the highest order, terrorists and murderers, their eternity of imposed punishment has never been of consequence to the common people of Lurien. More than twenty five hundred years have passed since the nigh catastrophic transgression the boy witnessed and the debt of The Clovis is nothing more than fodder for superstition and fairy tale.

But to him it is injustice no longer repressed.

The boy’s music, enhanced by the irrational and uncaring Life Spirit, shows to the paranoid dead the truth of “their” crimes in chaotic visions of the air.

Unheeding of all save his wrathful condemnation, he is pouring power into the night by the magic inherent in his voice. Oblivious to the consequences, he is brought suddenly back to the now when the ghosts begin to flee from something “other than Her or he”.

With deliberate manipulation, The Dame of Life has caused him scream the words of Gundhag’s incantation in rage from his heart. The scorching catalyst in the leather bag foams, burns and explodes, bringing the massive warhorse horribly to life.

The creature is aware and terrified at its fate. It rears maniacally in a vain attempt to free itself from the magic.

Aghast at what he has wrought, the slender, naked boy collapses to gaze upon the still shining corpse he had come for. Momentarily detached from the chaos, he sits in hushed bewilderment as the monster, exuding flame, spins wildly in pain, rage and fear. So powerful is the necrotic spell that grips it, that even the very spirits of the dead are destroyed by its touch.

Suddenly, the boy realizes the danger he and his new found charge are in. With the unreasoning nerve of the truly mad, far more than simple courage, he takes her from the mud and into his arms. Resolved to rescue her if he may, he leaps upon the monster’s back and screams as his legs ignite from the flaming heat of the monster.
And still, he will not relent. Shrieking into the wind, his wild, demented song drives the Hellspawn beast and together they race into the night destroying everything in their path.

Canto Eleven

The Klesper trees that line the road,
deep rutted by strained merchant load,
incessantly whine thru their leaves
all small and sturdy. High bough steeves
as bowsprit rising with the squall 5
that makes a mariner feel small,
while low boughs reach first up then down,
as wide at trunk as thin at crown.

The naked boy runs in the rain.
More speed than this he could attain. 10
As swift as horses without care,
of armor, rider, worries bare.

O’er rock and mud, the wet, slick grass,
small rodents startle ‘neath his pass.

He runs a road he does not meet 15
and fleeter could his winged feet
run thru the storm if need there was
for hurry or perhaps… because.

Dead pock the fields like honeycomb.
Though twenty miles to south thru brome, 20
he came here in a slim night’s hour.
He’d come far sooner but for sour,
invasive smell of spoil when death
remembered that he sought~ Rose Breath.

He seeks her in the field at night, 25
in chaos left about of fight
and rivers running swiftly round
the rotting flesh and armor bound
of Garland Legion gone not home.

He slows and creeps thru catacomb 30
that war machines make in their pile.
Alone with death he can’t help smile.

Not death alone or random corse.
He’ll touch no beast; no dog or horse.
His spirit from its depth to fore 35
is pure… so long as life not bore.

Here little folk died in the gloom.
He’s searching thru a scattered tomb.
And what he seeks is windfall gift~
a thousand feelings thru to sift. 40

The Hag left warning that she not
be harmed at all. Alas, his lot~
to hide the things he does with joy
that all should think him just a boy.

Her cautions trouble not in fact, 45
he felt ‘twas their unspoken pact.

And yet he broods~ it sighed when dead
and spoke aloud. He damn near fled.
Such things he’s seen, so many years,
you’d think by now he’d have no fears. 50

Ah, by the by it makes it good.
He’ll do what Hag said that he should.
It keeps him near her and her world,
else like a flag excitement’s furled.

The scent is taken all too quick. 55
He’s passed her by. Too fast on slick
and blood drenched mud. The wind will change
and make it hard to find the range.

He stops and turns about precise.
He craves this like exotic spice. 60

A sense of smell such as a dog’s
leads quick and careful thru the bogs.

The downpour still is thick and dark.
The dead scent clings intriguing, stark.

He strains his eyes to peer thru wreck 65
of cookman’s store. He searches feck
of scattered trash. The cart and horse
he finds quite soon. The growing force
of thrills at hand brings chill bumps sharp.
He thinks of Hag and how she’ll harp 70
if any of the task he fails.
‘Tis hard he feels~ sans wind in sails.

O, focus now spite all is dead.
In tempest aardwolves have not fed,
hence when she’s found her flesh is whole, 75
then gazing round he spies her soul.

Two times afore he’s cast this trick
the Hag had grant and done in nick
of time when spirits linger here
before commencing past this sphere. 80

He breaths the queerness of it all.
She’s draped in white and wondrous tall.

The rags she died in, torn apart,
are tatters hung about the cart.

He ponders long, enthralled by gaze 85
upon her flesh thru wind stoked haze.
It lay in mist and mud like clay
presumably without decay.

The boy does not feel cold as most.
It must be this, he thinks, engrossed 90
in growing movement round them both.
Then ‘neath his breath~ a whispered oath.

Their numbers catch him by the throat.
The spell was new, he’d careless note
the forms of death that wander near 95
in clumsy, halting, cautious fear.

The most appear as did in life,
but here and there in squalor rife
a figure stands or walks in grace
bedight in raiment, chiefly lace, 100
that was not here when life was lost
and he’s dismayed so few have crossed.
If any, for their numbers soar
and everywhere about… are more.

Blue crystal eyes now lift away 105
from what is near and start to stray
the distance o’er the rainy field.
It draws him keen. He can but yield.

In all directions that he looks~

the dead walk slow or hide in nooks. 110

Some stand alone in grace and pride
as if they wait and dare not hide
away from what so near must roam
in hopes that it shall take them home.

In groups most wallow low in fear, 115
not knowing what has happened here.
They are not dead, they think or pray.
This cannot be for them~ Last Day.

For if this pain they have endured
has ended life, are not they cured 120
of pain and woe that haunt their lives?
What then with sweat and grief that strives
to make some worth of living life
had they just done as husband, wife,
one’s sibling, child? What had it meant? 125
What have they earned now life is spent?

In trepidation of their end~

the dead walk slow or stoop and bend.

They hide away from what is here
lest it should take them to their fear. 130

Such things he’s never seen before
now draw his mind from off the whore.

He’s seen his share of war and true,
he’s gone there on his own in lieu
of slow diversions far too dull, 135
but war has always been the lull
between the living and the corpse.
Fool farmers from their hamlets, dorps
step thru this door begetting rot.
He’s seen before a spirit’s lot. 140

Confused, afeared they can but wait
as fish that seek their Heaven’s bait.
He’s straining now to ends of sight
and tallies hundreds in the night
of noise and bluster, rain and wind. 145
His spirit seeps as if twere skinned~

the dead walk slow and huddle close
in bands who mutter quick, verbose.

Old women look behind their backs.
The soldiers search their haversacks. 150
He hears in distance children play
and tips his head... what could they say?

Who are these folk who here have died?
Behind him three young men have tried
and try they still to raise a man 155
who yet may walk… they know he can.

That he’s alive, but soon to fade
the boy can tell. His friends are shade
and cannot help. The man knows not
the toil of his compatriot. 160

This is too much… he must see more.
What walks or lies around in store
for her and him should focus lag?
“Trick not selective boy,” said Hag.
“It draw all out for you to see, 165
but they see you where e’er you be.”

As hawkish sight scans battlefield
the boy drops low, not yet to yield
his presence here~ he needs the girl.

He now draws round with soft palm’s curl 170
to touch her mud and rain drenched breast.
Be careful fool, no time for jest.

The flesh he must return with safe
while wary phantom of the waif.
If she remained (which he had doubt), 175
aid her to follow and don’t flout
your theft~ you dare not risk offend.
Take care and treat with care her end.

That Hag spoke of respect at all
puts him to mind of fishing trawl 180
and such the detritus one drags
from bottoms of black lakes in bags.

The love to those nearby she’s shown
is gain induced~ her heart is bone.

Although her essence stands apart 185
some fifty yards or more from cart
where lay she down at last to die,
the young girl turns with quickened sigh.

He gnaws his lip and lowers more
to hide from all except the whore. 190

‘Twould seem that all these traveling with
this army’s core are kin and kith.
He’s entertained no fancied flight
that not all those who die would fight.

That some may cook or offer sex 195
and charmers with them shield thru hex
is hardly strange he would accede.
That women want and want to feed
is easily arrived upon.

A smith perhaps with large, strong son 200
or cartman with his tools and wood
consort to ply their livelihood,
but children and their parents dead
who never held a weapon’s dread?

What manner of this thing called war 205
is this he’s never seen before~

The dead walk slow, domestics weep.

He shivers and the quavers creep.

She looks at him thru saddened eyes
transcending spirit such she cries. 210
He longs to heed, but fears the flight
of senses in the turbid night.

Could she, more than the others, know
where they are now, where they must go?
All trapped by death they seem, not free 215
and wait the Afterworld’s decree.

But no, she’s knowledge none her part
beyond that which has rent her heart.

The price she pays~ abandonment
and posed no choice she might repent. 220
Absolved by no man’s pious myth,
she’s destitute of any grith.

But he can feel the Powers roar
their censure of the cursed whore~
for she it was that had permit 225
a plague climactic to be writ.

‘Twas her rank flesh The Thing did crawl
to bring about The End Of All.

But murmur first, now more he feels
as grow it does and quickly steals 230
thru split, frenetic, screaming din.

Expected though, emotion’s spin
is made as clear as sight and sound
so long remains the spell’s surround.

Truth told he’d come in haste for this. 235
This hungry sense, this avarice
lent speed to bolting run thru rain;
his barren soul to feel again.

Her fear and woe, the crowd’s confused
and tortured pine~ he quakes enthused. 240
That sense of her grows swiftly strong
solicits in him nothing wrong.

Abstractedly he twists his hair
to tilt his neck and sideways stare.

The ardent deluge primes his lust 245
and robs him with each fiery gust
of purpose wanting all… and more.
He fears he may forget the whore
and lifts the body from the mud.

Small care is taken. What was rud 250
is blackened now. She bled in birth
more than she held. The vaginal firth
swift flowed from her and left behind
what should be but a spirit’s rind.

How can it be that she is warm? 255
She lay six days beneath the storm
and those nearby are putrefied,
but her queer state can’t be denied.

The glow upon her skin is red
and not the pallor of the dead. 260

His ears acute, he’d hear the heart
if life still waited to depart.

What anima maintains her frame?
All else are absent such a flame.

O’er distance he now meets her gaze 265
that mirrors his bewildered daze.
He holds her close as ghostly white
of robe she wears is silken slight
untouched by rain~ the wind that blows
her hair is not the same he knows 270
that rakes thru his and drives the rain.

Betwixt the realms where bide the slain
and those who wait the selfsame fate
the boy has come his aim to sate,
with purloined feelings of the grim, 275
the hunger for them within him.

So lest he risk and risking lose
the proffered chance he would abuse,
he throws himself, no holding back,
to every little thing he lack. 280

Thus, as a wave seen from afar,
his eyes, his ears, no sense is bar,
he waits to clutch it all to soul
and sets no brace against the toll.

Perhaps there was a time long past, 285
ere into madness he was cast,
that something close akin to this
was felt inside, but no, this bliss
was greater than he could survive
if felt it was when young, alive. 290

The memories were nowhere found
of vision, touch nor of a sound
that caused this torrent when she sighs.
He clutches tight her flesh and cries.

Not knowing why, nor of his choice, 295
a moaning song sweeps up his voice.

He sings for her a delicate
and airy melody to fit
the wholly inexplicable
that haunts his soul mercurial. 300

His balance falters in a swound
as from the corpse grows pale, unbound
a halo fine of soothing light.
Not truly from within, but bright
as if from high ‘twas shone upon. 305
Its colors wax as might the dawn.

Exposing nothing in the field,
thru him it shines and thence no shield
is he that it not mesmerize.

‘Twould seem the Angels scrutinize 310
the girls marred flesh and with their gaze
illuminate and hap appraise.

The ghosts adrift in wonder peer,
but distance holds and still they fear.

Her presence, passive as the frosts, 315
holds anxiously as he accosts
her lifeless form beyond her care
and imputation none she’ll bear.

No condemnation does she kithe.
Though she’s profoundly left to writhe 320
in anguish, she cannot compel
this child to share her private hell.

Alone she will all this endure,
for him she sees as young, hence pure.

Incrimination none she feels. 325
In spite of how this boy’s heart reels
and with no thought to what he’ll do,
no debt to her he shall accrue.

She will remain entirely
to blame~ alone in this she’s free. 330

Now reddish, golden shine takes flight
at last illuminating night.
Expanding, it reveals the core
of this strange drama… nothing more.

Rain scourges laced with glass like shards 335
as all else near he disregards.

With gentle grace and growing awe,
he looks to face apocrypha.
Her spirit gestures with a wave
suggestive, willing him ‘be brave’. 340
He nods and moves to draw the rags
from off the hidden face, but lags.

The storm itself would hold its breath
and fearful seems of its own death.

The barest tatters yet remain. 345
He pulls and as they melt in rain,
reveals the woman’s candent face.

Of senses depth he’s felt no trace
before this moment in his life.

Of feelings ere the madding strife, 350
or those that followed he is bare.
Uncaring eons mock~ beware.

There is a whisper in the wind.

A cataclysm would rescind
this moment and what comes of it. 355

As if it argued to acquit,
denying judgments wrought afore,
the unscathed body of the whore
sudates unseen from pores a sigh,
a primal onus whose first cry 360
began its echo ere The Host,
with Angel chant thought first to Boast.

It crashes thru him as a squall
of wind, emotive, crushing all.

No song there is beneath his scream. 365
If suss no lie he can but deem
that here at last he’s lost his mind.
Where goes it now he will not find.

Her spirit murmurs held abaft,
a gossamer, yet urgent draft, 370
a cautionary hush~ “Beware.
Be not deceived. I am not there.”

His tears are lost before they fall
in crashing typhoon winds that call
out judgment as they batter him. 375

He begs of her as she did grim
when he did steal her child away.

“Gods of my past, what is this day?!
What happens to the skies above?!
What are you Lady?! Are you Love?!” 380

In whispers soft, nigh barely spoke
as if she’d silent prayers invoke,
her spirit’s wisp draws closer now
and offers what the Fates allow.

“I do not know, naught tells me why. 385
I’m in a grip, in spite I die,
that holds me that my debt be paid,
yet none attest how it was made.

Would that I might reclaim myself,
I would and leave with you sweet elf. 390
But though this flesh has withered not,
it is not life that keeps it hot.”

Minaciously the darkness swirls
outside their glare and upward curls
thru deepening black though dawn is nigh 395
beyond the clouds. The Heavens sigh
and grumble cruel. The rain seems thrown.

As hungry cattle comes a moan
of fearful masses drawing nigh.
Though nothing in the angry sky 400
effects them as the storm erupts,
they sense afar fell might corrupts.

They sense the very winds object.

The boy notes not the crowds inspect
his all too real, nightmarish dreams. 405
He makes no sign, indeed it seems
he is alone upon his knees,
thigh deep in mud. Emotions feaze
cause trembles, jarring, threat’ning hold
upon her form, so gently bold 410
her spirit reaches out to him.

Now held he is upon the rim
of both worlds by Gundhag’s shared spell.
Assailable that he from Hell
or Heaven may be truly touched, 415
instinctively her form is clutched.

When hands of mist caress his face,
he seeks his madness though no trace
is left to him~ she clears his mind.
His struggles with her nous can find 420
no purchase in such guileless skeins.
A clement peace is all he gains.

“In your own heart, my gentle friend,
you know these things mine speaks~ attend.
Our bane is one and thence anneals 425
our sundered fates as darkness seals
the expectations of the gods,
but I know not who duns and prods.

Where might our destiny be writ?
What insight will the gods permit? 430

I’ve birthed The End Of All for you.
Still more am I commanded do.
You know the depths of debt I’ll pay
and my predestined end is fey.”

A terror races thru his veins. 435
The memories that blackened stains,
recessed and hidden, locked away,
though waiting long, awake this day.

What binds the girl and boy is old,
more ancient than the child she’s told, 440
but though the sense of it is real
none speak to whom she may appeal.

His eyes are close in witless fright,
his soul’s infirm before her plight.

She sees now he’s been lost too long. 445
No more he knows whence came his song.

His madness long has formed a scree
that barricades apostasy.
His life has never purpose known
and ere it came the will had flown. 450

He weeps despairing as a child
and pity begs for one defiled.

“Beyond this moment I see naught
and this is nothing I have sought.”
She clasps him as he trembles, frets 455
and weeps not for her own regrets.

“Cling not to this, O child, beware.
Look to this wraith, I am not there.”

Now, shades of war draw slowly near
in wonder, although yet in fear. 460
Such miracles could lead away
to where they may find peace and stay.

Thru red and blistered eyes cried dim
the boy looks up as, crowding him,
the ghosts with fear and hopeful sighs 465
come searching for some truth or lies
in want of escort into light
for closure to this dreadful night.

Recoiled he had at first with cause,
but now he pleads as she withdraws. 470

Perplexed and frightened near as he
she turns to face those who would be
redeemed by mystic flesh and smoke.

“You feel as I the thunderstroke.
Not that which drowns the boy in waste, 475
but that which rants in angry haste.
What traps us here we cannot say,
yet doubt you all ‘tis fell and fey?”

An aged crone with but one arm
bursts forth from them and cries alarm. 480
“You lie!” She screams. “In his embrace
your flesh lies safe in warmth and grace!
She is not held by what holds us!
He wields that with which we are truss!”

“The crone speaks true! She lives anew!” 485
As flame in oil the words spread thru
the rapidly expanding crowd.
Their cries of rage grow swiftly loud
until nigh wrothful as the squall.
“All quick, the boy! He is her thrall!” 490

And now a fear of different sorts
takes hold of him as throng contorts
from what before had frightened sob
to fast become a frightened mob.

“My fate is yours, O ancient child. 495
What doom, if flesh should be defiled,
will come to me I do not know,
but stay and they’ll not let you go.

You mayhap find the death you seek,
but fates there are far worse and bleak. 500
Remain and you’ll be overrun.
The witch must learn to fear my son.”

Near blinded by his weeping eyes,
he vows to black destructive skies.
“I’ll not!” He cries. “To thee I’m bound! 505
They’ll have you not spite their surround!”

And now dementia has returned.
The blackness in his soul that burned
all reason from him long ago,
burns wild anew, mad eyes aglow. 510

He lifts her heated form to chest
and stands as storm begins to crest.

No words are sung as cruel and low,
within his deeps to staunchly grow,
comes sound defiant~ mad and cold. 515

The spirits, who once brave and bold,
stand hesitating once again.
Now colder still, as of his sin,
words long forgot to them he cries.

Hoar memories he’s kept as lies 520
roar forth from him as music fey
and steeped in death. Words he’d not say
in light of sun or candle dull.
This music from his hate he’s cull.

Such nuance known so long before 525
is not forgot in spite he tore
such songs of strength away long past.
O, now the aires return at last.

Their beauty dark, bewitching clears,
as linen taken to his tears, 530
the range of storm that’s nearest them.
Its might close by now his to stem.

The shades retreat from tremors lush.
He thinks to will the music crush
their souls, bewildered, to the mud, 535
consigning them to filth and flood
when looks he sudden to the face
of captivating, gentle grace
who would they suffer nevermore.

Her gaze mines deeply to his core 540
and suddenly all wrath is gone.
A cautious step he takes as wan
and forceful song begins anew.
His rage is nothing to subdue.

The music sought, to his surprise, 545
is found no further than her sighs.

Released and lilting thru the air,
he sings for them a brighter fare
of peace and honor’s tolerance
trapped long inside his countenance. 550

Without he press, the dead so near
list willing to his song in fear,
suspicious as his music sifts
throughout their ranks and thereby lifts
despair and heartbreak, failed atone, 555
emboldening ‘gainst the unknown.

Of fear and rage thus slowed, the boy
clears mind as swift he can lest joy
enraptured though they are, in rage
begin again to take what sage 560
and strong they think in death he holds.
He will not wait their crushing folds.

He quickly looks to her so filled
with bright emotions, music thrilled,
he prays as though he’s new to life 565
to gods who’ve given him but strife.

He begs that strength be given now~
enough to save her and somehow
that she may know (no time for word)
he’ll keep her near; with him interred. 570

As those about the field confused,
bewildered stand, all still unused
to thinking, feeling in this state,
the boy yet fears it is too late.

The spirit weeps with arms wide spread. 575
He holds her as a newlywed.
If Hell itself must be defied
he’ll safeguard as she were his bride.

A beast he is and beastly roars.
As faerie, ravening, it soars. 580

This might and main he dare not lose.
But moments ere he runs, the hues
of warmth and light he’s never seen
the living shine and fragrance keen
as spring’s first bloom fills senses bright. 585
He’ll die ere he forsake their flight.

A dauntless oath~ “I’ll fail you not.”
He stumbles as a child besot
with wine from rag to make it sleep,
shakes fierce his head and then to reap 590
the violence of the angry storm
commands her careworn, misting form.
“Flee now! You shall not suffer end!
Your life, though charmed, I will defend!”

The Heavens cry as well as he. 595
The storm explodes to know he’s free
and now he’s bolting thru the gale
beset by fury hostile, bale.

The ghosts who listened to his song
stand wavering for far too long. 600
He’s past them now, though none are slow,
as quickly, frantic in tableau
of crashing, cresting storm~ they move.
Not held by wind and rains that prove
to be his first of many straits. 605
They come as thru flood shriven gates.

The road he used has been destroyed.
Capriciously the wind has toyed
with rock and flora in his path.
Its power grows as if it hath 610
no Earthly check. An oak tree burns~
bolts grasp as when a lover spurns.
The lightning, as a whipping chain,
eviscerates the foundered slain

He does not balk though feet are bare. 615
He makes his path and does not care
which way he turns, it matters not.
No chance he’ll slow~ Hell’s not that hot.

He holds her heated form and runs.
The dead of war, their eyes like suns 620
that breach horizons black awake!
He holds their lives! In gale opaque
he’s running lost and blindly flees
while free of flesh they see with ease.

Dead flesh obtrudes from out the mould, 625
while plangent spirits shriek and scold.

Delusions do not cloud his mind~
they’ll kill him. He must swiftly find
safe route between their grasping hands.
Ethereal as mist o’er lands 630
the spirits lunge as spell he’s cant
leaves him exposed due its enchant.

From mud slick patch to blackened pool
he leaps about as jester’s fool.
As swift as he could run he’d felt 635
they’d hinder not. He’ll distance melt
away with her held in his arms.

An easy race he’ll win past farms
and fields of grain to hide within.
Yet here he was trapped round by thin 640
and twisting horrors begging grace.
A leap… a landing, then a face
appears before, its sharp bewail
is joined as quick to no avail.

Though banshee in the hills of stone 645
deep rattle down unto his bone,
for now he feels as strong as steel,
yet even he has limits real.

The shrieking thing before him halts
and thru its open mouth are faults 650
of black ravines in mountains north.
O, now behind him rushing forth
with arms stretched out beyond life’s trim
still more make to encompass him.

He cannot bring her closer more… 655
then does and clasps her hard to bore
a way thru this wild hoard of wraiths.
He’d beg the gods of all the faiths
if chance there was that one might hear.

Now of a sudden sliding near, 660
with somewhat less than perfect grace,
he comes to rest when snuffed a trace,
by fallen horse, his head held high~
he looks to find what he smells nigh.

An oddly lurking thought is born 665
and something else from Hag is torn.

He hardly sees and could be wrong.
His hope is slim, although not long
he’ll have to look if wailing swarm
won’t from their rage to fear transform. 670

As cries grow greater o’er the fields,
his terror, nerve are all that shields.

Recalling cold and suddenly,
in angry storm’s waxed agony
he’s run as swift as e’er he has. 675
They need no breath to shriek whereas,
he’s panting, silent as a hearse.

He smiles and hums a puerile verse,
then softly laughs to catch his wind.

Though mercy he will not rescind, 680
necessity has forced his hand.
He sings again with tones as bland
as footfalls of a thief at night.
They grow and make pretense of fright
that begs them come and list once more~ 685
to his deranged and shrill encore.

The shriek comes from his nave mixed wild
of languages they’ve all defiled.

No ancient grace or gloried lay,
naught grand or great to hold at bay. 690

Cold phrases they all understand~
of how they bled into the land,
then lost it due becrippling fear.
The crops still died spite watered tear.
Their children wept in hunger’s bed 695
and soiled the rags with momma’s dread.

“Did soldiers die a coward’s death?
Of course you did, I smell your breath!
You fools, you think you hardy, true.
You’re here as God’s forgotten you!” 700

And now the space around him clears.
He’s scraped the scabs from off their fears.

The hate he feels for them is real,
such injuries will never heal.
So be it then, his heart turns glass 705
and hate will see her safely pass.

‘Twould seem he’s bought himself some time
as ghosts slip back into the grime.

Contempt for him as demon spawn
they feel whose might before the dawn 710
could set them on the path to life
with voice of sin edged sharp as knife.

Who e’er she is he’s done for her!
They hold in dread, but near him stir.

He lists intently to their chant. 715
The sins of all their lives recant
to shimmering girl he keeps from harms.
They mumble faith and beg her charms.

He lays her gently to the earth
in mire at the horse’s girth. 720
A scent as hazy as a dream
has caught him and he forms a scheme.

Alive the horse would be too slow
to flee his unencumbered foe,
but these crude folk will be afraid 725
of superstitious mores that made
them throw their salt and burn their meat;
to watch the cracks beneath their feet.

In death the paranoia should
cause most to fear a knock on wood. 730
If speed enough could not be had~
then something else… he must be mad.

An image first, a thing taboo
to scorch their minds with dread come due.
On battle’s field he’s quick to seek 735
a blade’s sharp edge to aid mystique.
He finds one near and so begins
to mutter low a mystic winze.

He carves a section from one hoof,
a wedge in center front as proof 740
that fiendish has the horse become.
Now skillfully increasing hum,
he plays his part that all may hear
and trust that he may domineer
this sinful, evil spawn of Hell. 745

He hopes he can recall the spell.

The knife and shaking, strong right arm
first one, then others, cuts his charm.

The boy has made a cloven beast!
Alone this might slow some at least. 750

He’s right, the crowd steps fearful back.
Again they wait and offer slack
he’ll need to find that which he sensed.
The mob must be so influenced
they’ll let it walk and carry both 755
himself and precious new found troth.

His memories stay keen and quick
thru all the times spent mad and sick.
He trusts the spell will come to mind,
but all is lost if he can’t find 760
the herb inside its leather purse.
Black words alone won’t work the curse.

This thing he tries is dangerous.
He’ll need the horse’s blood and pus
and sections of its brain as well. 765
He cuts away, but cannot tell
what in the cleansing rain he draws
from open wound behind its jaws.
He curses loud~ no time to choke!
The horse must move! A swift, clean stroke 770
and bloody pieces of the brain
slough from the beast~ he is insane!

As feral thing he shrieks at them
to force once more a haw and hem.

Neglecting breath he starts to sway. 775
With unclear sight he cannot say
if what he’s holding now is right,
but in his fist he holds it tight.

Gundhag would never teach this thing
to anyone. She’ll cruelly wring 780
his neck in knots should he survive.

But what if magic could help thrive
the very thing she sent him for.
The spectral dead may her implore,
but they are surely past her art. 785
Not so this vibrant, restored heart.

Though silent now, must it stay mute?
Is this strange death so resolute?
Hag must forgive his rash attempt.
Her course it is he will preempt. 790

And still he’s at the same cold point.
He’ll aromatic herb anoint
to bloody mess gripped in his hand,
if he can find it in this grand
and sloppish chaos circled round 795
by shrieking, freakish fiends confound.

It’s here he knows and close as well.
Must he be forced to claw thru Hell?!

Black wolf’s wound, cry birch, damn the name.
He cares not whit if he’ll but claim 800
the wretched herb at finger’s tip.
From side to side, a lunge, a slip.

Mad whimsy did not choose this halt!
He smells the horse and smells the salt;
the rot of flesh and leather mold~ 805

White God’s he smells their fear so cold!

The rain drowns all as tension leaks
his focus wide from what he seeks.
He cries aloud in agony,
“Where are you dammit? Come to me!” 810

Strong hands upon his shoulders shake
his heart to mouth. He feels Hell quake.

Reflexively he strikes with blade
he near forgot he held, it’s made
a ripple, cloudish, misting fine 815
while ghostly fingers as steel tine
of sharpened farm fork score his throat.
It cackles as a rabid thoat.

In life as well it was insane.
It rapid bobs prodigious mane 820
of matted hair draped o’er its face.
In death, as life, there is no trace
of that which quite some time ago
mayhap was man. Its mad eyes glow
a tincture dark, near void of soul, 825
no longer writ upon life’s scroll.

This freak and more will tear in twain
his limbs if he not slay the slain.

He must have time to search the field.
It won’t be long ‘til fate is sealed 830
and he falls to misstep or wear.
What warms her may need mystic care.

The deviant scarce held aback,
he feels resolve begin to slack.
He fights to keep his drifting sense 835
of now that in such terrors tense
he fears to fail, they won’t be free
when near to him so eyes can see,
a leather bag reeks so the scent
of salt and herb its ardor’s lent 840
a strength to him anew of nerve.

He wrenches free. His shoulders swerve
beneath the eerie thing to lunge
and seize the bag. He slides thru grunge
as deep within its contents search. 845

A weeping woman in a lurch
falls full upon him old and large.
Now, back where he had left his charge
her body’s thrown to air by wraiths
that manic scream to all their faiths. 850

The muscles in his abdomen
freeze cold and hard when in the ken
of clearing sight his treasure steals
away from him. He panics, reels.

His breath, his voice, his life seems bound. 855
More shades crawl forth from underground,
all stumbling to salvation’s scent.
No longer filled with fear’s torment,
they join their strengths to keep him far
away from her~ his fading star. 860

Whate’er his feelings for the girl,
whatever of his past in twirl
around and round his heart this night
is focused sharp and fell by sight
of precious trust he will not mourn. 865

His ancient soul at last reborn
and hesitations are at end.

His song will break them, crush them, rend.

He’ll shatter them if they lay hands.

He’s means to flay them o’er the lands 870
asunder that not God himself
will find so strewn by this damned “elf”.

He lied to keep his past at bay.
No more. His peccant sight today
looks far beyond “The Hecatomb” 875
and draws of blood formed strong in womb.

They’re thrown from him as pace by pace
all quail before his tortured face.
He draws to the abandoned shape
where left as they abandoned rape. 880

No longer will her grace he please.
No need he feels to so appease.

Destruction his cantata rails.
Such anger felt before now pales.
Upon his neck, the veins bulge taut. 885

The music, shrieking, gut deep, fraught
with grief at murder, stripped as child
of those who nurtured~ all defiled
by lowly men who scourged his tribe.
Nightmares remembered swell the kibe 890
his bitter lyrics draw from shades.

He manifests in boils, cascades
of physical in those without.
Offspring of thieves, the beasts had flout
their stolen might o’er Folk who paid 895
a debt far greater than was laid
upon their backs~ ‘Til ends of time,
but theirs was more the heinous crime.

He cries the names of those forgot
and with each utterance allot, 900
a spirit quails to rise no more.
Convicted of labyrinthine lore
not wholly theirs. In fear they hide
should even God’s redemption guide.

“I saw you thieves!” His cries subdue. 905
“I saw the black unmake the blue
with knowledge kin of mine possessed!
Long days ere Drying Seas oppressed,
these things were known for which your greed,
in callous lust, did butcher seed 910
of humankind beyond your ken!

The Angel wrought first source of men
were faerie bright and settled ban
ere lesser thought himself a man!

You will not have this grace new found, 915
for my wronged soul is young unbound!”

With head thrown back, his hair seems flame
of shadow torch exposing shame.

About the bestial derelict,
her corpse and boy, his cries inflict 920
upon the fleeing wraiths his grief
indict, forejudged and past relief.

The dead grow ever more unreal.
Incarnate havoc, wrought of zeal,
he wields a scythe of memory. 925

Steel black as mankind’s history
reveals in vision, seen by all,
the truth he buried ‘neath a pall
of lies that live no more in tales.

First grangers pressed to last travails. 930

His fingers holding tight the bag
of leather filled with salt the Hag
would use to work this magic black
he wrings in knots as still attack
of song and skirl that rumbles earth 935
scalds crackling raw as Demon’s birth.

He masters rain and calls Windflaw.
True youth he was when last he draw
the cloying essence of Her mind.

This sway’s not his. She is The Grind 940
of Life and pleads to do his will.

So long ignored ere crawled from chill
of wasteful years unfathomable.
His people held accountable
and then only the boy alone. 945

The Others tasked that they atone
for crimes against Creation’s Id.

She sings with last of First Kindred.

Their song together breaks the rocks
that lay beneath. It masks what mocks, 950
with crack and split, at first so small.
The aria banks none its brawl.

He does not hear. She does not care.

It grows in leaps as if it dare
the boy sing louder, fierce, intense. 955
He joins with it and loses sense
of self, of Her, of naught but grief.

Bereavement hopeless of relief.

Now, with his aid is drawn the Dame
of Life such that derision claim 960
the greater part of what he’s sung.

It rips the breath from out each lung
and mocks his aires as lullabies.

The night is filled with stricken cries.

He wakes as spirits swifter flee 965
from other than himself and She.

Perplexed but instant~ all’s revealed.

The incantation’s words unsealed.

He’s sung them screaming from his heart.
Unwittingly remembered part 970
and more of spell he’d feared not known.

The boy now finds himself alone.

About his naked feet the mist
turns red and pops a bubbling hist.
The mud caked hide of animal 975
begins to smoke, its hair stands tall.

From out the briny bag, a dome
expands and bursts that scorching foam
boils over on the boy and burns.

He screams as hands catch flame and turns 980
his flesh from bone. Hot salt joins gore
now trapped in grasp. Organic mor
explodes and splays across the beast.

And now, it seems that time has ceased.

It starts when carcass chokes a hoarse 985
and rasping cough deep lain and coarse.

A look of stark, bewildered fright
dawns sudden ere its eyes ignite.

Legs paddle in the rain returned.
The belly blackens, flameless, burned 990
within as mud begins to boil.

The carcass smokes its fat to oil.

A thing akin to breath it sucks
and fills its lungs, then stands and bucks. 995

Far swifter than the boy in dreams
it rears in rage and choking screams.

The glass slick eyes are ebon seeds
blown out in flame and flame it bleeds.

In sheets the hide cracks turning back 1000
upon more hide turned now ash black.

The wailing mass of fleeing ghosts
pass thru themselves or stand as posts.
The fiery behemoth spins wild.
It tears thru them and leaves defiled 1005
their forms in queer, chaotic trance
where none may find deliverance.

As marionette is lowered slow,
in sightless pile at end of show,
so quivering descends the boy. 1010
She’s left him but a broken toy.

Collapsed to mud he’s weak with pain.
How could he such a thing attain?
“Not this,” he whispers. “Not at all.
This never came to Gundhag’s call.” 1015

A rasp escapes. An old hag’s hiss.
“This thing... this thing’s come hot from Dis.”

The ruinous, explosive sound
seems impotent. Upon the ground
he lists in heap and gazes charmed 1020
at shining girl as yet unharmed.

Beneath each hoof a white hot blaze
boils mud and detritus to haze.
It snorts in pain and fear and rage.
A show beast trapped in burning cage. 1025

He’s blind with incredulity.
Lanquished as with infirmity.

The spellbound horse kicks quarters hind
and buries him in mud. Purblind
he sees more clearly than before. 1030

He’s come to fetch the rotting whore!
She will be crushed! Dead still may die!
Act! Act you fool, though all’s awry!

Now, faster than heartbeats in thrill,
his tortured arms pull from the swill 1035
her false life gloam to hold within
no matter grant him grace or sin.

He’s nothing left and least the time.
He’s cut the bolt and sewn the crime.
He near can’t hold, but reaches mane 1040
and leaps to back of whirling bane.

His life has turned. He hopes he’ll live.
At last ‘twould seem he’s aught to give.

He holds her high, as high as may
as soiled, wet rag burns quick to stay 1045
and hotly sears as candle wax.

He freely weeps and finds he lacks
the fortitude for silence when
he wraps his legs tight round to pen
himself and her to monster’s spine. 1050

The smoke his legs blow forth is fine
and deep the breath to scream he takes
of that black cloud, but naught he slakes
as Dreadnight Mount Astonishing,
rears mad and fell. Now, wild he’ll sing 1055
into the winds as leaping high,
deranged, demented ‘neath his cry,
the pounding hooves crash thru the dead
and clear the path before their dread.

Upon yon hill in fading rain 1060
she waits alone embracing pain.
A wind blows north her cloak and hair~
a lonely wraith bereaved and bare.
The arms around her torso hold
the soul left her close by and cold. 1065
At last winds fail when muffled cries
postpone their Doom and fade to sighs.
Anew the winds blow thru her cloak
once more to north~ not yet awoke.

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
This is the catastasis (climax) of the first story arc.
Editing stage: 

Comments

to make the language here so relaxed. I LOVED this and loved the feelings of the child towards his mother .
Loved the song too. I couldn't feel much complications here. Was that intended?

❤❤❤❤❤❤

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words
........Robert Frost☺

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You read 12 on your own. The language is no more relaxed than the others. If anything it is more complex. You are changing. Claire is near. The epitasis canto one awaits.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

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author comment

canto that the boy isn't a good one, but here in this canto, the relation between him and his mother seems to be very intimate.

One more thing. I'm trying to figure out why Gundhag is willing to get his mother's body from the battle-field

❤❤❤❤❤❤

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words
........Robert Frost☺

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