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ÇAÇÔ, Man of the Morning Star, protasis, p.1 Harsh, b.1, canto 12

Canto Twelve ~ The storm is in its last hours as Gundhag races to the battlefield.

All the region is aware of the tumult caused by the boy and his ill contrived adventure. Few, if any, might understand. Legionnaires scattered about the countryside huddle fearfully in campsites. Their original purpose was to collect resource materiel left behind in combat. Some of them now await more than the storm’s end.

A terrified cry emanating from the monster has brought the witch quickly and without customary store of tools mystical or otherwise.

The wreckage she finds of the still living creature is immense. The spell foolishly stolen is of a nature to be carefully controlled and Gundhag is rightly disturbed at the near cataclysmic disaster avoided; avoided only due the unintentional intensity of the spell’s application.

Angry, yet in her way compassionate, she vows to the innocent animal to repay his forced and misunderstood aid.

Contending with wolves, flies and the still troublesome storm, she gathers the seriously wounded boy, the corpse he clings to and leaves with what warmth and cover she may arrange.

As they turn toward home, Gundhag sees in the distance the spirit of the young girl watching, surrounded by a mystifying number of the dead who still remain. Many of them are now strangely at peace with her presence.

To the east beneath the waning storm, a very specific dawn breaks. Though the whore’s child was born at the confluence of Midnight’s Bite and Harsh Morning, it was by the Old Calendre. Being a creature only five centuries old, Gundhag knows nothing of this and misses the true import of the baby’s birth. By her youthful reckoning~ it is Harsh Morning.

Canto Twelve

Perched high atop the horse’s neck,
the sly old witch lopes thru the wreck
of battle dead and ballistae.
The living here look to the sky.

Small bands of Legionnaires stay close 5
about themselves as bellicose
desires from them drift in rain
that wash them clean and leave but pain.

They lift the backs and broken parts
of small machines and crippled carts 10
to make themselves small, coverts warm.
They wait cessation of the storm.

If left behind, one as a rule,
when forced to scavenge as a tool
used by command to resource find, 15
knows reasons he’s been left behind,
though undeserved they no doubt are,
would on return be worse by far.

Still Garland Legion, as the rest,
won’t leave their least much less their best. 20

They huddle tight about their flames,
not fearful of a foe or claims
of vengeance cold brought forth in blood.
One’s rage does not boil hot in mud.

In fact some of their foe sleeps near 25
around shared warmth, yet cold with fear.

Men’s scuttle moves as fast as flame.
Torment of rain won’t keep it tame.

The tales from camp to camp fly swift~
the dead walk slow and may just lift 30
your soul from you and haul it off...
beware what floats in horse’s trough…
don’t list to mockingbird’s sweet song
on mornings when the wind is strong.

The men of Lurien it’s said, 35
are like old wim sideways in bed.

The superstition in their lives
bends minds as if they were old wives.

The hag sits sideways ‘twixt his ears.
She’s small, he’s large, they’ve done this years. 40

The horse has never shown the need
for that which guides another steed.
He’s served her long and truth be known
he’s very fond of his old crone.

She’ll kick him with her heels to send 45
them both off elsewhere, left to fend
for self until she kicks some more.
Her knees swing like a well oiled door.

She’s sniffing out the pungent smells
pervading all that easy tells 50
which way her goal is to be found.
Within her tower ‘twas the sound
that first had raised her hackles high.
She heard the beast in terror cry.

Its voice to silence now is gone, 55
thence scent alone will lead her on.

With quick dispatch, she shrinks expanse
and notes the queer down nose askance.

The looks of men who cower small
can clear explain what frightens all. 60
Her ears catch whispers they think slight.
“‘Tis true,” they say. “She comes at night.”

They shiver, though not from the storm.
All fear the mystic~ ‘tis the norm.

“A beast from Hell was here, I heard.” 65
“As well as I.” said second, third.

When she trots by and slows her pace,
they quiet grow and pray for grace.

None wish to be who she’s come for.
They quiver scared and shiver more. 70

She’s little patience for a fool
who stutters fear and drowns in drool.

If any of them knew what true
had happened here tonight they’d rue
the moment of their birth and die. 75
“Las’ night they miss good chance to try.”

The beast that foolish boy called out
was nothing he had near the clout
to make and keep from running wild.
The countryside should be defiled. 80

Homestead and field, soldiers alike.
His gambit was a stupid spike
to risk at night braced round by death.
“I melt him soon’s I catch my breath.”

Of course she’s done this many times. 85
A’plenty, with strong herbs and rhymes,
but she would be prepared to stop
before she’d need a blood soaked mop.

If to herself or at the horse,
she rants incessantly of course. 90
‘Twere purpose of her words or no
they calm the gelding close below.

Approaching apex of a croft,
her lumbering mount whines nickers soft.
It seems to be the last of hills 95
to trap the stench and sense of ills.

When hag, the highest of the two,
breaks o’er horizon’s wall, the view
beyond that waits her sight in niche
of rolling field starts nerves to twitch. 100

They spark in throat to shiver down
and choke her breath as like to drown.

The clouds, still low and black, hang rains
in sheets of thick, black ink that stains,
but here in darkness thru the drench 105
of never slowing pour, the stench
of charcoal stewing, black, dead flesh
was naught to sight and sound enmesh.

The horse is huge. An arbiter
of combat law that’s drawn a cur, 110
come lurking by in hopes it’s not
robbed by the flames that crackle hot
and burn so rakehell in the pour
they dry, then burn the rain soaked moor.

A loud and crepitating verse 115
of bubbles boiling in a terse
crisp rhythm played while turning sand,
elab’rately museum grand,
into strange twisted works of art
that glitter glass like round its heart. 120

The carcass lay upon its side.
Peeled off from ribs is black, curled hide.
Small flames wink in and out of bone,
cores burnt so swift ash is as stone.

It isn’t hard to find what’s sought. 125
Some strides away her eyes are caught.
In mud the beasts black hooves aflame
lie cloven still. Not ash. A name
of ill she swears with quiet voice.
“The poor damn thing not get no choice.” 130

The heartlessness in gambit shown
by boy is such she’d use and own.

No mere catastrophe this might
have been and bulled its way thru night.
For such effect to be achieved 135
the boy’s mad heart had been bereaved.
The carnage in this sorcery
was wrought by setting anguish free.

A mystic depth no one could bear~
beyond herself when first drew air. 140

And yet, it was their saving grace,
the spell intense o’erwhelmed by pace.

The brightest wick burns swiftest out.
“White God’s of Hell boy~ this be clout.”

Now, sharp as bristle stands her hair. 145
Who saw them first does neither care.
Outside the circle of hot sand
she leaves the horse to safely stand.

Her bare, grey feet smoke quick and flash
petite, blue flames squelched by hot ash. 150

Before its face the darkling smoke
drifts thin. The witch can’t help but choke.
Gundhag’s nailed fast as smoke still seeps
from eyes as if the monster weeps.

“God damn you boy, this be severe.” 155
She kneels and wipes at steamed, smoke tear.
“Can’t send you on. It not long though.
Real soon now this thing let you go.”

And now she finds, wrapped round the waif,
the boy curled tight to keep her safe. 160
He’s burnt and bleeds in places free.
In haze of filth it’s hard to see.

He fiercely grips what’s come from grave.
“What hell you think so precious save?”

If girl is harmed, she made it clear, 165
“...hag melt you down to just you fear.”
But what drove him to take such risk?
She’s but a corpse, why then to whisk
it off on this abominate?
“And how you pull off spell so great? 170
You twisted boy that play with mold.
They sumping here hag not be told.”

The two of them lay half in chill
some steps from flaming hulk and still.
He’d dragged her thru the mud when heat 175
of carcass crumbled in defeat.

Not far had there been strength to go.
Hence, mud about them both hissed blow
of steam from cooking pot like boil.
They lay and pock in last of toil. 180

She drags the two from out the swarm
of flies called forth where mud’s but warm.
That something on the wing would come
and circle round the beast in hum
is testament to reach of smell. 185
They must, she thinks, be flies from Hell
if they can stay aloft in wind.
“Ah! Horse! Come here before you skinned!”

She runs to cut off scavengers
of different sort. Six motley curs 190
now linger close at edge of light,
their naked, blistered hides a fright.
Strange pinks and blacks and shades of brown,
each aardwolf grins like rabid clown.

“Get gone you t’ings fore hag make coat!” 195
She throws a flaming bone to smote
the lead who backs away but short.
The ones behind snarl, bite and snort.

“I no see Crotus, so get lost
and stay that way ‘til Hell be frost.” 200

Their leader speaks and sounds afraid.
“You owe our King, witch. Debt not paid.”

But aardwolves always sound bewared,
though scarce the times they are not scared.

“Hag owes the King you inbred mange. 205
You best slink back from out my range.”

They will not leave, stench draws them keen,
but slink they do~ her rage they’ve seen.

The horse snorts loud and makes up mind
to choose the heat o’er wolves behind. 210

In one great lump, as if twere bagged,
she lays them where the horse has sagged.
No harm here can be done that’s more
than what’s already done this chore.

As one she ties them to the horse. 215
Though spooked, naught less than violent force
would cause him to break stance and flee~
with wolves here she’ll need both hands free.

So quick she left her tower hold
when hearing cries blown in from cold 220
that nary thing she carried here.
No store of tools, in speed austere.

Draped loose, though strong around its neck
is rope once used to tie and check.
The rope is dry, unused and coarse, 225
but hag’s a creature of resource.

A quick twist in the strand to slip
and both are bound for cold, wet trip.

Now, something to drape over them.
She spits to palms a blackish phlegm 230
then kneels again at monster’s head.
“Not want to ask, but may bestead
our need once more. Not make you go
from false life here more fast or slow.
Still take some time in pain to leave. 235
Hag cannot help. She no deceive.
But she will pay this debt someday.
I always do. Will find the way.
The boy dies if not warm at start.
Though owe him none, hag take you heart.” 240

The black and foulish spit on hands
protects her from the heat. She stands
with polished, glasslike heart that sows
a warm and healing light. It flows
as if it were a mist in wind. 245

Strange route it takes around thick skinned
and oily hide of hag. Defiled,
it wraps about the wounded child.

The loyal horse complacently,
turns home and nickers soft as she 245
leaps easily to common place.
The huge feet lift. She turns her face
to catch the last look in the eyes
of monster as she leaves and spies
far off upon the tallest hill 250
a slender figure standing still.

The spirit left who mothered wean
and more beside who near advene.

“Why hell so many still do wait?
Go on you fools, you gon’ be late.” 255

Her whispered words are heard by none
but trusted horse who starts his run.
“You right, my friend. Whate’er be here
must wait on boy. I let you steer.

If they not gone by now they stay. 260
We find her quick another day.
This whole thing here keep smellin’ worse.
Next thing you know, hag let brat nurse.”
In spite of drear that lay before
the trip returning, hours more 265
stuck in the cold, she smiles again.

Then laughs aloud and starts a din
of cackling: ribald, coarse and crude~
o’er hill and dale, incessant, lewd.

Now far, far from the east comes stark 270
and cutting ‘twixt the earth and dark
that’s hung and beaten all for weeks,
to bring with it a shock that leaks
electric so that all may live~
the sun, long sought, declaritive 275
begins uncaring, bright, new days
that foster soon more cruel, cruel ways
to brutalize, abuse the marsh
some call “men’s lives”~ ‘tis Harsh.

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 ends the first story arch in the BAP. The Big Edit continues. If nothing else, posting it here is good back up.
Editing stage: 


I believe this is the beginnig of the true story,isn't it?


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

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... is the basis of the central story. The Man has been born of the line of the House of Fan, though no one (and I mean no one but Damsiel knows who the young mother is). It was critically necessary for the mother to be slain. Samwiel knows well the strength of motherhood is lethal, though he does not know how. The baby himself slew her when he was born.
Story over right?
Not a chance.
I will say it many times in the poem that "once severed the soul and flesh can never be one again." They haven't met Gundhag. She does not know who she is exactly. She remembers only Childean Kew destroying her clan in the Rose Mountains. He allowed her to live (very foolish on his part), for "the Angel of Pain" does not normally kill. You cannot torture the dead.
He and Gundhag have some serious history, though they had not met until canto six.
Gundhag has an unhealthy obsession with death for a good reason. Her people (her mother was their Priestess) lived (and yet live) in multiple realms at the same time. Dream realms and our realm they could travel back and forth from. Look at the translation at the back of my small collection of the poems. It translates Gundhag's lullaby that mastered the child. It will give you a hint. Gundhag hasn't got a clue.
The power to bring the dead back to life is hers, but she doesn't know it. Half of Part Two: "Cold" is Gundhag's journey to find her mother that she may learn how to bring the dead mother back to life. Alive she has the power, though none know how, to defeat The Man of The Morning Star. All Hell will be trying to keep her from finding this as she, the young mother's ghost, the mad boy and maybe a few others will seek for her.
You will only see Gundhag once for quite some time.
Now we drop back about twenty years for a few canto to introduce you to Carl, Claire's son and unbeknownst to all the young mother's brother.
Then back another few decades and we meet Princess Clair'ice Christenson, the daughter of Prince Carl (soon to be our mad king). In this way we learn where all of this began. You will meet General Amos Reid, a really old, good guy who will help Claire until lost with the orphans beneath the River Lurien (don't fret, he will come out alive). You will meet General Gris, one of my favorite characters. A mean, lovable, dangerous old cuss. Importantly you will meet Haras (that is what he is called at this point, but he has had many names). You will recognize him.
You will meet Joyce Cursive, "Ramparte", the rogue thief who will steal Claire's heart. Also, Clarrisen, Claire's mother, whose beauty can scald men's eyes. Did I mention Damsiel, Claire's hand maid, a resourceful young woman who will save Claire's life more times than I can count.
Are we daunted yet?
How about Marla, the young (ten years old) witch who will be pivotal in saving Reid and the children.
Megan, Claire's horse who (tragically) you have already met in canto one.
Colonel Crieg, Cridge's father who in dreams will show Claire the very thing the Clovis stole and why it is critical that The Man not gain the Lurien High Throne, for on that throne he will command the Clovis and therefore that thing they protect allowing Samwiel to gain access to it which is denied him by The Essence Himself. With that thing Samwiel could destroy God and become God himself, but The Man will have other plans. He is destruction incarnate and he will seek to destroy the thing for sake of destroying all of Creation.
The End Of All.
See you in the epitasis canto one.

Epitasis, Canto one

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

and clarification. I read this when you first posted and revisited now again. I just can't imagine how you could put all this in such an order. Really amazing!!


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

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I have stopped here.Can you please link me to the next canto?


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

Please follow me on Instagram

episod please.


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

Please follow me on Instagram

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