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The Legend of Inve and Tantalla II: A Sudden Quest

In Moriver's enduring spring
there rose to new life, many things
that in the erst, in slumber deep
had lain, entombed in Hilfe's keep.
Through many years of terror bleak            5
that sullied plain to mountain peak
the mighty Queen of all the world
her graces from the west withheld
until the raging tempers stilled
and noble blood no more was spilled.            10

The Dame of gardens, trees and flow'rs
filled the new world with her power
sent forth in great seeding winds,
the west to heal and error mend.
So then begun the Lasting Spring            15
after the ruthless War of Kings
under the guidance of the stars.
She did, at length, some hurt unmar.

In that same time, when all was new
and forests by the mountains grew,        20
when fresh was leaf and lush was green
as Hamclad's mount had ever seen
There had been born to Aladice
a son beneath the peaks of ice
whose mien was dreadful, mane was black.        25
Broad was his chest and straight his back.
His name was Inve, brave and bold,
a mighty prince of Hamclad's hold.

The world was young and made anew.
The trees were watered by the dew            30
that, healing, fell upon the plain
o'er which watched Aladice' domain.
The modori, in that dark world
abode in peace, communion held.

In those protected walls they thrived            35
their subterranean years they lived.
Unseen by them was starry light,
Unknown to them the windy heights
and grassy fields and vast domains.
Untrod by them the southern plains            40
or scattered hills that gently slept,
nor knew they where the forests crept
under the velvet of the sky.

They never saw the clouds roll by
nor heard the patter of the rain;            45
their whole world was their deep domain
where water drips and fires burn
and mountain's living bosom churns.
Great jewels were their lot and keep
within the caverns of the deep.            50

Now Inve, older, lean and tall
and mightiest within the hall
had in his heart a secret fire
that swelled with strength and new desire.
As days went by and years wore on            55
the mighty son of Ubelon
will sit and listen to the tales
the Elders told of distant vales
and wider countries 'neath the sky;
of mighty thrones that towered high,        60
of ageless kings and beauteous queens,
of thrilling wars and battles keen.

They spoke of those unnumbered shades
well long before the world was made.
Of thrilling contests, cry and din            65
ere came they to the World Within.

These things the prince's heart will turn;
the velvet sky did Inve yearn,
and in the dark will Inve brood
so oft he fell to lonesome moods.            70

At last the prince could not resist,
his flaming spirit will insist.
To madness persistence drove him;
his mien was changed; 'twas fell and grim.

At last, consummed, he took the old            75
forgotten road. Inve the bold
marched to the guarded Gates of Clad;
In aged garments was he clad,
a spear in hand, at mouth a horn
the hunting gear of mountain born.            80

Young son of Ham, what brings you here?
Unwise are they who do not fear
the dark spells that enshroud the road.
What seeking spirit did you goad?

On urgent errand I am sent.            85
On discourse time cannot be spent.

It is forbidden, son of Ham,
to leave these gates, lest thou be damned!

Then damned I am by Aladice,
for this quest also was his choice,            90
and said he that I take this road
and carry on my back this load.

So raising up the little sack
he long had held behind his back
the mighty guards the sack he showed            95
and at that moment, knowing bowed
before the prince of Aladice,
the King beneath the Stone and Ice.

The guards then flung aside the gates
and suddenly, with reckless haste            100
Did Inve take the narrow stairs
when sudden rushed in chilly air.
The guards called as he took to flight
from darkness to the starry light
that bathed the new, untested lands:        105
"Bring us the stone of Acklorand!".

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?
Last few words: 
I post the second part of this to make two hundred lines, and quick reading for those who will keep up. I'll have you not that this is a very rough draft. Almost no editing since writing, save the obvious has been done. Sink your teeth into it, Wes!
Editing stage: 


Especially how the character ters such as Aladice speak two lines

Especially how the character ters such as Aladice speak two lines

Again, thanks for joining the adventure. In this poem for once I delve into the characters of the story. There is even more revealing dialog up ahead.

No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

author comment


I have started these detailed critiques with Inve for a specific reason. I’m going to analyze line by line even though the poem is in an early draft stage because I want to demonstrate how I do this. In that way you know what to expect when I delve into the more polished Enedentian work. You asked someone after their critique of Inve (I don’t remember who. They focused mostly on the poetry) if they could share what they thought of the piece as a whole. You wanted to know if it was dramatic, enthralling… I too would like to know what poets think of my “story” (often more than opinions of my poetry). To this end I ask you… what would you like to hear from me? If there is a perspective you would like me to address, please say so. Not only do I feel it my responsibility as the workshop’s leader, but it would satisfy me to know I approached subjects you wanted to discuss.


I will still critique the way I usually do anyway, but if there is a direction that could help I encourage you to tell me about it.


Line 3- You used “erst” in a sentence! Awesome! Truly made my day.

7- A comma at the end of this line would help.

11- You could also use “Dam” here.

13- This is trochee as are many lines. Often this change up does not trip the reader, but be careful of it when using enjambment. If you end a line in iamb, but not an end stop, the tendency is to plow straight on through and read the next as iamb. This of course makes a mess of the meter. Remember that meter does not end at the end of a line to begin again at the next. An end stop gives you an opportunity to change your meter… enjambment less so.

15- Tense problem… use “began”.

16 &17- True meter problem. “After” & “under” are both trochee, but the lines are both iambic.

23- I think “there” should not be capitalized. Perhaps a comma at the end of 22.

31- “Healing” is not parenthetical. You need only the one comma after “healing”.

32- This concerns “Aladice”. The language throughout is often confusing and sounds like Aladice is a man only to later give the impression it is a land. Maybe you could look at how you use the name. I find myself confused and I know the tale.

36- Try “and” instead of “their”. Also, the rhyme here is too blatantly off.

43- This is another trochee example that botches the meter in the rest of the line. The reader must change to iamb mid verse or read “vel- vet” as iamb. Again, this stands out as a problem due to the enjambment from the last verse.

48- You can hold the rhyme here by making “bosom” plural.

49- I read “jewels” as a single syllable. Breaking it into two saves the meter, but remember we want the reader to roll through this briskly and naturally. Most people will read “jewel” as a diphthong which mucks the meter as it stands.

57- Watch your tenses. I read this as “would sit and…”

68- Grammar time. A comma is a rejoinder combining two sections of a sentence. So is “and”. You see it all the time, but your English teacher would not let you get away with using them together. It is redundant. And to go one step further… “and” separates two halves of a sentence and technically should not be used twice in a sentence or begin one… both of which I just did and most people would never notice. Break the rules, but know that you are. Also, 68 should likely start with “for”.

A general note about tenses. They give me grief, so I feel I’m somewhat qualified to discuss them as I’ve had to plod through all 22,000 of my lines fixing them. You are telling a story set in the past, but that doesn’t mean all tenses should be set there also. It really does work out to be a case by case situation and thereby troubling. I would simply suggest that you pay a little closer attention. I think you know by now what a stickler I am for grammar and such (so much so I often sacrifice emotion for PC [poetical correctness] and I don’t want you to fall into that hole). I strive to write each line such that if it were ruthlessly picked apart with every grammatical tool in existence it would survive. That is likely further than you need to go, but head in that direction.

70- I think you can drop the “s” in “mood”. Mood is one of those words that sometimes pluralize themselves.

73- The meter here is a mess. How about “To madness his resolve drove him”?

75- “Consumed” need not be parenthetical. One comma after the word which only needs one “m” will suffice.

89 & 90- I don’t care for the cheating rhyme, but like you I have run out ways to use “ice”.

95 & 96- Same here, but without the “ice” problem.


Most of the broader notes I’ve already touched on, but I’m confused in the conversation with the guards. The information our hero relates is broached for the first time here and I’m caught off guard wondering “where did he get the helm?”, “when was he told to do this thing?” and why did the guards demand the stone as an after thought? A lot of this will be worked out with a later draft, but these are the things that caught my eye.

Because we write a story with our verse, we must be diligent in reminding our reader what the heck is going on. Add to this a desire to be descriptive (decorative, poetic, blah, blah) and suddenly our 200 line canto is bloated to twice its size. The goal should always be to solve multiple logistical problems at the same time- be descriptive WHILE we progress the tale, progress the tale WHILE we are reiterating something. I always write with the presumption that my reader is brain dead and cannot remember that they read poetry while they read it, but always with the goal of never letting my reader suspect I feel that way about his poor, pathetic lack of intellect. The story and verse must look and feel as if the reader is being challenged to keep up with me while never having any trouble doing so. I hope that makes sense.

And to answer your question… I am still enthralled.


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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