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The Legend of Inve and Tantalla VI: A Day of Blood

A Day of Blood
For long, in stillness lay the west,
calm was the air and still their zest.
Long they forgot the war of Kings,
which shamed them so, that none dared sing.

They held thought on their shamed defeat. 5
They brooded o'er the reckless feats
that led them on to fruitless war,
their name to ruin, fame to scar.
They since despised the foe uncouth
that, condescending, watched the south. 10

All through the years, Lord Gillian's realm
had not forgot his golden helm,
of which queer stories now spread wide
which sullied name of mountain tribe.
That lost was father of the land, 15
his body bound by roudy bands
into a dark and loveless pit.
There too his famous crown now sits.
His scarlet cloak is spread and hung
beside the sword which, gleaming, sung 20
a mighty song of dread and woe
as drank it blood and slew it foe.

Yet not forgot were glorious days
of distant past, when still held sway
those gallant kings and righteous lords 25
who well defended plain and ford
against dark shapes and phantoms dread
which slept in vales where none would tread.

From Ubelon's relentless thought
were these queer shapes and phantoms wrought 30
that seek destruction of the west.
They stir at no one king's behest;
no chief they hold, no lord they keep:
Through dim unholy places creep
until they feel their numbers sure 35
and can no more the wait endure.

Then they would fall in countless mass
and invade hill and wood and pass.
Against such foes the noble lords
made claim to fame with spear and sword, 40
with dreadful march and glorious ride
till great grew their unsullied pride.

To thoughts like these the fairies raised
and Gillian's reputation praised
when by the lake was concourse held 45
where plans were drawn and edicts spelled.

The plain had grown a gentle green,
the grace of Hilfe could be seen;
Where'er one looked was scented grass
from far unkindly mountain pass 50
along the bank of snaking stream
which 'gainst the turf with silver gleamed,
unto the fords where rapids wash
the waters with a laughing lash.

From there the rivers gently made 55
their way through woodland glen and glade,
around the foot of hill and knoll
or sunk into a sudden dell,
but finding once again their way
flowed through the land of blessed fay, 60
to Tungamar, and to the lake
where even now the lords partake
in discourse long and pertinent.

From heedless ways they now repent,
and once more cast out not the fay 65
who ere that sad and ruthless day
refrained from war, and kept their arms.
No ill came nigh, as did no harm
approach the walls of Fairyland,
under Anelion's right hand,
though Ringidel, the restless prince 70
would long for play with mace and lance
and blow his country's mighty horns
as though with blood and vengeance sworn.

But now stands him amongst the host,
and filled with pride, he makes his boast: 75

Stand, mighty sons of Gillian,
of Estobel, of Lurinan!
What say you now, great Tungol king?
What good does war without us bring?
Nigh fifty thousand knights at arms 80
my father calls his guard, and swarms
of nameless blades and fameless helms
still dot the oft forgotten realm.
Head not to east, ride not, take heed
but not a single one would plead 85
the righteous case, and now you lie
a shameful throng beneath the sky.

The old lords stroked their foolish beards
as Ringidel the Right, gold-haired
and tall, in armour clad afore 90
them stood as he had done before.

Now as we sit, new war to brood,
my scouts survey the ancient wood
that lies in north, it's borders spy:
they say they heard a bitter cry 95
not long ago. A dreadful yell,
and nigh ten thousand tall trees fell
with wind that brought change to the air.
What has become of dragon's lair?
Dread Sisibil, where lies she now? 100
Yet these new things the fairies know,
for though in lofty halls you slept
to lick your wounds, my people crept
and risked their limbs to venture forth
into the dark and ruthless north: 105
Hear now, old cowards, this dread news!
Let none, the charge I lay refuse!
For slain is drake by Ubeline
with aid from some great dame divine
who now is witch in that same wood 110
where long old Sisibil had stood.
Now by her side reigns Inve bold,
the prince from Ham's unholy hold.
He calls himself a woodland king
and birds and beasts his praises sing. 115
Yet who is king without a band
bestowed on him by worthy hand?
What crown wears he in woodland realm
if not your same Lord Gillian's helm?

At this the lords, from slumber stirred 120
and Ringidel knew they had heard.

What more, I hear, adorns the band
the forest king took by his hand
the nameless jewel of our pride,
which Sisibil can no more hide. 125
From legend, this to life has leapt,
which once in fabled lays had slept,
the mightiest gem in all the realms
which fates and power overwhelms,
the jewel wrought by dreadful hand, 130
the wondrous stone of Acklorand.

Then at this mention, Tungol lord
rose from his stool, touched hilt of sword.

So here we sit, "Lords of the West";
The name now reeks of spite and jest, 135
while in the northern woodland sits
a self-crowned king once of the pits
of Aladice's lightless hold.
How weak are we, once brave and bold!
How impotent our standards lie. 140
The winds now change, let banners fly,
and brandish pride from which you came,
do not lie helpless in your shame.
Take heed and rise at my behest:
are you not Princes of the West? 145

And with the speech a clamour rose
amongst the princes. This they chose
to make their anthem and their creed,
for ripe was time and right was need
to now assail the woodland realm 150
and seize the stone and golden helm
from those who stole both emblems once;
now was the hour, now was the chance.

So rode the prince of Fairyland
under the fairy king's command, 155
and with him came the largest host
mustered to prove the western boast.

More shields had they than Tungamar,
the numbers vied with those of stars,
and though the strength of Lurinan 160
could break the sons of Ubelon,
they could not match the army fell
which issued soon from Estobel.

Then meeting by the rolling hills
the lords and princes with one will 165
and many banners took the road
that marked the path were Ilga flowed
and riding up into the north
they, loud with trumpets, issued forth.
- - - -
The woods with still and bated breath 170
as one who knows of certain death
were silent, as amongst the trees
roamed they in quiet, though now free
and Lord and Lady of those parts
they held with strange and foreign arts, 175
the lovers, Inve mighty lord
and Tantalla, whose magic words
had made come true his hidden aim.
The couple now both will lay claim
to dragon's hoard, to stone and helm 180
and with it form a woodland realm
that bound the phantoms to their aid
when need was great. With freedom paid
these lovers wights the right to haunt
the open woods and dreads to flaunt. 185

'Twas by these arts that fairy scouts
who many days will roam without
the accursed forest learned of what
befell the drake, what Inve wrought
and of the spells Tantalla wove 190
to seal their home from high above
the crown of trees to roots that crept
and searching snaked within the depths.

These careless demons now betrayed
the lord and lady. Oft they strayed 195
within the sight of waiting fay
who then descerned in truth that they
at last had found a lord and chief;
none other than the pit-born theif
of western emblem, and of stone 200
whose power none can wrest alone.
- - - -
So rumour spread throughout the lands
that once lost gem of Acklorand
had fallen to the Ubeline.
The wise believed it fate's design 205
the superstitous, rock's own choice
to side with seed of Aladice
until the time, when it shall flee
the captive crown. For to be free
was its own aim, the wisest know. 210
And this they thought, not knowing how
the fate of modori will turn,
but that deceitful rock will burn
the hand that stays it's ruinous way.

So waited they that certain day, 215
as marched the muster of the west
across the fields, with brands and crests
of kindred emblems, banners high
that towered to the velvet sky.

The fairies flew the jeweled flow'r, 220
the symbol of their birth and power,
the tungol lord his tongue of flame,
for they, like stars, were made the same,
and burning they inherit light
that shines with Salazor's own might. 225

The house of Gillian rode forth
without the Helm, into the north,
yet at the fore was Trillian,
new crowned high prince, Lord Gillian's son.
Through hill of country, vale and dell 230
the valiant knights of Estobel
rode clad in silver and in white
alone their armour shone with bright
reflection of the distant stars
that rivalled sheen of Tungamar. 235
And last, amongst the countless throng
rode Lurinan with chant and song.

They rode on war bred unicorns
and blew upon their silver horns;
a sea of pikes and feathered helms 240
and long robes issued from the realms.
Each rider bore a blazoned shield
to mark his house upon the field
and ranks of marchers, spears in hand
trekked long and hard across the land. 245

But Ringidel was far ahead,
his swift black steed rode at the head
of all the host now under him.
His mien was dark, his visage grim.
He did not smile, his face was stern, 250
as deep within desire burned
to set his eyes on precious stone
and place it instead on his throne.
No low creation must assume
such dreadful woe, lest it consume 255
that same, and bring the word to ruin:
for it shall be the west's undoing.

Then kicked he hard on mighty horse
and sped again with haste and force
so in the distance none descried 260
where he had gone, nor kept with stride.
- - - -
Deep in the thickness of the old
mysterious wood, Inve the bold
with Tantalla his witch and queen
were clad in robes and armour green 265
The lovers, locked in joy of bliss
could not their peril grave dismiss.

The leaves, though fresh under her song
could not the veil of life hold long.
They soon begun to grey and wilt. 270
Their leaves were shed and sap was spilt.
The strong old stems now shrivelled, bent
as though all life in them was spent.
The creatures that had dwelt within
now found no home or den therein. 275
A wild, unsettled calm was felt
as doom on them by fate was spelt.
And who else to fulfill the end
than those who had sworn to defend
the peace of those high, lofty lands 280
from foreign, fell and treacherous bands.

Now unprotected lay the wood;
a spectacle where'er it stood,
an open prey for lustful hands
inhabiting the western lands: 285
For to the north, the Ubeline
had, by their arts, percieved the sign
that drake was felled and stone was won
by mighty son of Ubelon.
The Elders of the lightless pit 290
would not, on cold and bare thrones sit,
for they too knew of Inve's heart,
and that he longed with them to part,
and seeing thus his power great
he would attempt to make retreat 295
within the wood, and guard his hoarde
with mighty spear, shield and sword.

So Aladice sent forth his host
to scour the lands and find the lost
modori prince, and bring him back 300
with stone and helm, with spear and sack.
These too found what the fairies know
and sign thereof to Elders showed.
But even more this news they broke
as happened even as they spoke; 305

Lord Aladice, here as we stand
there musters armies of the land
against your son, where dwells he now.
His lot and errand do they know,
and that we wears the golden crown. 310
All care, 'tis true, the prince has thrown
and calls himself and lord and king;
and with him lives a wraith that sings
with words of power, now he bears
the Stone upon the crown, and wears 315
the garment of the wood, adorns
himself with twigs and leaf, forlorn!

Then Aladice, perturbed but still,
gave leave that Fingar do his will
and bring the stone and errant prince 320
to Hamclad's hold, to take the chance
that he, forgiven, shall repent
and that his fruitless ways relent.
But if he will not break and yield,
"Slay him, and retreat from the field." 325
- - - -
At last, they rode nigh waiting wood
where trees in eerie silence stood.
The starless sky with dark clouds formed
and high in heaven raged a storm.
Upon the distant northern heights 330
was havoc wrecked by blasts of light.
The thunder pealed and rocks were rent
as fighting storms will not relent.

The earth quaked 'neath the horses feet,
but none dared call for quick retreat, 335
for with them Ringidel the Right
inspired with his peerless might.
He wore a silver tappered helm
blazoned with emblems of the realm.
Upon his right hand held a shield 340
and with his left hand, sword to wield.
Upon his back a sleeve of shafts
enriched with spells and fairy craft.

Behind him, high his banners flew
and by his side, his horns they blew. 345
The lord, now fell, gave high command
in ringing words, with wave of hand.
Then lighted arrows sped through air
to bring to flame the woodland lair.

Then lo, before them stood the wretch, 350
the long forgotten singing witch.
She stood before Ringidel's horde
without a sheild, unarmed with sword.
Then lifting high her sullen head
upon which sat that crown of dread 355
she sung a violent, tearing strain
that drove the ranks of beasts insane,
and tossed the riders, broke their lines.
But Ringidel's long planned design
bore fruit, for heedless now he stands 360
alone before his beaten band.

Unfelled by song, he charges forth
to draw first blood against the north,
but quickly does the specter fade
into the grey and dimlit shade. 365

Alone, he now rejoins the throng
recovered from the witches song.
Again before them, Tantalla
is seen without a spear or spar.

The knights of Fairyland draw blades 370
to take her now, before she fades.
Yet still, more horns behind them blow,
for now arrived, the riders slow
of Lurinan and Estobel;
the throng is dire, grim and fell. 375

But sudden screams the woodland queen
as she, by all the host, is seen.
A terrible and haunting noise
she raises with her mighty voice.
The fay, in anger, charge at her, 380
but now they retreat in despair.
For Tantalla is fair no more,
but there now stands most fell before
the glorious host of all the west.

Though filled with zeal and ruthless zest 385
they cannot match the beast that stands
transformed by stone of Acklorand.
Her scream turns to a ruthless roar
and to the sky her spirit soars.
She, sprouting dreadful wings that tow'r 390
high above, the hosts all cower,
for they can see a living drake,
and Sisibil none can mistake.

Alone does Ringidel face her
with shield in hand and armed with spar. 395
With dragon's flame she blasts the prince,
he smites her with his tempered lance.
So there they battle, hard and long,
and gloried since was this in song.
But now new horns blare from the north 400
as Ubeline host issue forth
from deep within the leafy shade
to open land from unlit glade.
So Fingar rides to join the fight,
commanding all of Hamclad's might. 405

With them also does Inve ride
with shield and emblem at his side.
About him bands of phantoms fly
and raise a din with warring cries.
The remnant of the western host 410
that still had not deserved their boast
now took to flight with mace and lance,
their horses jostled from a prance
into a thrilling, eager ride;
o'er bloodied grass their hooves will glide 415
as shafts let loose before them fly,
and high within the velvet sky
the carrion birds a chorus sing
reminding of the War of Kings.

The battle lasts nigh three days long, 420
and weak are now, who erst were strong.
The trees are scorched, the field is wet
wherever flesh with blade has met.
More ruthless than the war of Kings,
so ended is the Lasting Spring. 425

Yet what came of the mighty host
that sought to prove the western boast?
And what of Ringidel the prince
who fought the dragon with his lance?
Where now stands Inve, forest king, 430
and Tantalla, the queen who sings?

At battle's end, Lord Gillian's sons
fell to the sons of Ubelon.
In tombs they lie with broken bones
and leave behind five vacant thrones. 435
The remnants of his scattered realm
cannot lay claim to golden helm,
for was it not the host of fay
who saved the crown and won the day?

Also, upon that battle field 440
amongst the shards and battered shields
was Inve struck by Ringidel,
and where he fought, at last he fell.

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: 
Apologies if the scrolling seemed like it will never end. It's ended now. This is the longest part of the story. You may have realised that the parts grew progressively longer. But this is where it reaches the limit. In truth, I would have written more, but I got tired too. The battle is cut short, and we're left with the out come. The very last part is short though, and serves as an epilogue. Thanks for reading.
Editing stage: 


These are beautifully crafted pieces, though the length of them is a little out of reach of my concentration span in so much that I could never be able to comment on form or flow.
I know that the stories flow well but would be better as a Blog and as a complete piece divided up into some shorter sections allowing the reader to pause take note and then comment, if you see what I mean, Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

and I will consider it, so it is easier to follow. I'll also look into adding some commentary, and notes to illuminate the background, so things are put into context.

But more importantly, I'm glad you kept on with this poem, Ian! I truly am grateful. This part is the longest bit, that I forced myself to cut short for fear that I may have to break it into two parts.

It means a lot to me that you've come this far. Thank you so much!

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

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