The Sailor’s Stone Pt. 2 (An Epic)

—Continued—

At last locked eyes, and knew he what must pass:

The pride, two kings of sky, there soon to clash

Fore’er to then decide which race would last:

From lowest earth, the heathens, unabashed,

Or sky lords, rightful owners of the caste.

The flight, like magnets, poles succumbing, pulled

To answer now within a moment’s flash–

A sword, to glow bright blue, its owner pale

Infused whole force of life to only king’s taint kill

.

For sang the sword, in dragon’s scaly breast,

A painful tune for hearts of men of sky

There dripped from Heron golden blood from chest

Into the blade, and there to enter dry

The dragon’s heart; and also that to try

To bleed a multitude of life except

The only thing took from the plated ply,

The sooty oil, dark water’s pure effect

Tremendously did fall. The cleansed blood, safe was kept.

.

The winged sailor smokes an ash pipe while calling his captains to him; there, instead of offering them the final plan for assault on Earth City, he did as he always did: he subverted all of their expectations with an unseen assault or happening, this time upon their souls. Tears were in his eyes as he nodded and gave honor to each of his vassals reporting in. He calls them to silence and begins to reveal a story long unknown, long desired, long buried beneath the deepest of seas.

.

“Gather round and listen, pensive, tight,

The tale ne’er torn from pages; mine lifelong:

In desert, three did wander all the heights

And four did struggle out a wistful song

Each melody to follow, furtive twang

Each strum a week or month at Sorrow’s Keep,

Yet never fate to break forth into wrong.

A pathway for the weary; all to sweep

Into its net of loss, yet only life to reap.”

.

A hundred sons for ages bore the sun

The honor to protect Ruleija’s prince

For years the sons of Jereb did so train

To join the ranks of guardians’ defense,

Their numbers and their skills were blessed immense,

And never were they thwarted from their place

And never failed; especial warr’or Kenz

Would never leave wild Coltra’s humble grace

That is, until to desert flew the prince away

.

To find the treasure desert hidden, stay

Most cunning prince, Coltra, despising earth

And dust, and wishing something come allay

And break his mundane leisure life. Unearth

A reason, substitute relieve, give birth;

For such as is cannot accept, traverse

His gold and silver fills far short the girth

‘Come golden dagger hidden in this purse–

I’d rather die than live in such a life accursed!’

.

A voice stays his hand from the bitter act.

.

‘Not so; my guests have ne’er spoken thus.’

The prince with searching eyes swept ‘cross the ridge

In solemn hunt, hope’s voice, a knife to clutch

And cut the bonds embold’ning his sad witch

Instead of self; her words again, abridged,

But ample, lead his hunt like bloodhound’s nook,

The instinct gripping violent need for bridge

Of soul replete, expired, well forsook–

Attain the silken voice of her petitioned hook.

.

As Coltra searches for the voice, another traverses the wastelands of the desert: the wanderer.

.

The desert sand does all one’s moisture take

Do fail these weary legs which always give

Forsaken by the craggy barren wastes

Earth’s bones thus poking through; dry skin misgives

Of triumphs of repair. The giant sieve

Which both Earth’s treasures and men’s souls there test

And forth does heave the stronger one’s to live

But precious few are there who can subsist,

Survive, endure, reclaim the soul’s once forfeit zest

.

Still testing he the powers of the dust

The sand of endlessly endurant might:

To keep the mountains buried deep and crushed,

To lock its monumental features tight.

The wanderer did scour all the sights,

Where Mountain, chained, a slave to Desert’s cloak.

His heart by Mountain stolen, soul contrite

Since buried long beside companion’s yoke.

Could ever Desert’s secret he obtain, evoke?

.

A lone desert warrior approaches.

.

‘Hark, above the hills, a trumpet calls

A tune of royal reverence carried where

A lonesome figure perched upon a tall

And craggy boulder; hailing, face, despaired

As running and collapsing, dirt, with swears,

‘Have seen you of my prince, my holy charge?’

.

The mocking glare of the desert wanderer:

.

‘Alas, you are the first with gall to dare

unleash the desert’s barren fury, large:

No man this far does come for less than pride’s blind urge.’

.

‘Objure you I to aid my mission hence–

In name of sweet Ruleija’s empty throne–

And find his cherished face, beloved prince.’

The wand’rer laughed. ‘Do tell of prince’s bones–

For such soft skin, this place, would ne’er see home.

And furthermore, you’ve power over me

As much as writhing worm at hawk’s bleak groan.

Yet not command, but pride-filled soul’s decree

Here beckons me to sate most hon’rable a plea!’

.

In humblest bow rent Kenz t’ward wanderer

And bowing pride, accepted, offered hand.

The wanderer departed, way to forge,

And heeding close, the warrior to stand

Behind at stop; for signal of compan-

ion caused his scimitar to draw from belt.

‘Be wary here, the ghosts of fallen man

And gods and devils, battles always dealt

Mistaking often living men as foes. Dispel!’

.

‘How come you by such knowledge swallowed up

By deepest pits of sand and time’s decline?’

‘A single decade, desert’s key erupts,

Volcanic cipher, teacher disinclined

To toss its molten secrets, fleeting swine;

Yet then to he who drinks the grit of test

And taste this bread with crisping dusty wine–

To him shall offer long-since laid to rest

The secret ruined castle of the world’s distress.

.

‘A castle carved of stone stuck jutting out

The rocky dune of plateau all around

As if into a mountain crashed its route

And merged as one and heaped on head aloud

The sense which swallowed all but tallest mound,

The ramparts and the towers, always steep–

Full not of sand but whispers, ghosts’ strange sound

The hollow wind to carry voices deep–

Force mortal men to stow moral and slow to creep.’

.

The prince reaches the castle in search of the voice:

.

Then after cloud of dust, a ridge surpassed,

Revealing castle lost and sunk in ground.

Ghosts, audible and presently amassed

by gateless hinges, screams through the halls, redound.

He circumnavigated maze, unwound,

and found his feet to tread on marble floor.

No dust did in this quiet chamber bound–

For strangest glowing light pierced through a door,

From smoking cedar plume—there stateliest beauty poured.

.

‘Stripes of gold and scarlet, woven locks

Trailed down the tanned cheeks; tight braids there clung,

And loose, the strips of colors, crowned as flocks

Of fowl at rest atop lake’s sunrise, young

The skin which stretched across the unclad sun,

And jeweled ears; an ankh with leather thread

Which looped the neck where beads on breast was hung.

The linen, flax, a robe with tassels, spread

‘Round shoulders down to floor, and trailed behind her stead.

.

A bow of stately form and genuine grace

Was followed by an introduction, soft:

‘My name, Queen Desert, ruler of this place,

The lonliest of worlds, for never oft

See I of worlds without this ghostly loft.

And rare the chance to host a sitting chat

With those who search without a goal, to waft.

To what profoundest graces owe I scat-

ering of misery, eternal vapid tat?’

.

‘Truly, you have said it best of all:

For what I seek, obtain, no clue possessed,

Only that if I find soon not its call

I will with blatant hatred quick divest

The life within this ceaseless beating breast.

Since nothing comes to sooth the ancient wound

And never is there freedom from unrest;

Behold my throne is empty, unassumed:

Oh, late dear father! I, as dismal heir, am doomed.

.

‘Desire not any figment of your blood?’

Your people need their father’s tender care.’

.

‘What purpose must a king fulfill–a bud

Which never tasted saltless bread, full fare,

More noble than these men, same skin and air,

Same death to die, yet higher road to quest.

For how obtain I iron, gold, sweat theirs,

While I, unscathed, in loftiness and rest

Proclaim supremacy while hardship dispossessed?’

.

‘Then earn your noble blood, your soul’s incli-

nation transcends the scum of men who’ve gone

before us, ruled without prized empathy.’

A sword from nothing at her hip was drawn,

A scimitar, in hand, the scabbard donned

Of camel’s hide at belt. The simple blade

With perfect shape, yet not a scratch, was drawn,

Not single indication, king elate–

‘Sword, empty; by your deeds give worth and make ornate!’

.

The prince’s reply:

.

‘Nothing lovely, beautiful exists;

This world, a worthless darkened place to roam,

A refuse bin fit not for dung’s incense.

From youth ’til now, no reason, hopeless home.

The best of meditations left alone

The thought that anything could value stand

Not slender dot of hope, the black sky shown.

But how, before these eyes, a twisted strand–

A sense to make, not mind, but heart’s unveiled demand!’

.

Prince Coltra takes the scabbard and the sword.

.

‘My answer, seeking, found, yet doubtless more

Of questions and desires tie their cord

Round neck, uncallused; never I deplore

Again my fate, for own, my path to forge

And earn my place to eat at tables grand.

This sword today I dedicate to gorge

Itself upon the blood of evil man.

Yet more so save the guiltless from ungodly hands!’

.

‘Prince Coltra!’ yelled a most familiar voice.

‘Queen Desert,’ spoke another, noble, dark.

The legs of weary Kenz fell, but rejoiced

Hips lips at Prince’s safe case, his remark

For several were the wounds and welts and marks

On Kenz, but stranger not in least was hurt.

‘For life, yours, desert man did disembark,

And life, mine, his instincts did death avert.

Oh, how delightful, joyous, sight of you unhurt!’

.

But man of desert’s brightened eyes and smile

Was not more than a serpent’s glory gaze

At prey whose circumstance’s fatal child

Be pent up, inescapable, in daze.

Though grimace soon proceeded in its glaze

With footsteps each toward the Desert Queen,

A staff to clack each passing, writhing praise

Of cobra for its victim’s regal mien.

‘Dear goddess, Ragna, answer how for wayward sin?’

.

The words of the indignant prince:

.

‘See here, wand’ring desert loon and waif!

My sword discovers newfound furry strong;

How threaten you the Desert Queen and chafe

Her soul with human’s unavailing song?

First lip’s imparting; ears of hers belong-

ing to the gods, and silence many years,

And now to thrive on refuse, rubbish, prong,

That shuts her soul to mankind’s needful fears,

And turn her ‘way from aiding distant lapsed tears?’

.

The wanderer’s response:

.

A humble bow, apologies soon made

To Queen, unfavor’ble, intrusion, ‘Come!

Believe it, I, that birds do scavenge, trade,

From earth its wounded, dead, for taste of scum

And later rats obtain the white of crumbs.

For hear my ears a squawking, preachy worm

And eyes, they see your gift, an offered plum.

Please listen, words of mine, an earnest term,

And wait to toss the fruit of heed to flea, infirm.’

.

The Desert Queen did scowl at brazen tact

And part her lips, but prince’s sword, fast drawn,

soon set her quiet. Wanderer then cracked

Apart the seal of staff. Then crept the dawn,

arising in its righteous glory, Swan:

Thin, curved blade with inset amber gems,

And single edge there sharp. Engraved a swan

in steel near hilt with head of griffon. Hence

The muteness, lookers on at mythos’ lost evince.

.

Prince Coltra, frozen, rendered by dismay

To watch the Swan in dance of Wand’r’rs grip,

A horrid weapon. Seventeen, the slain,

Each every last a royal-blooded chip,

The sons of kings, full grown, their heads to strip

Apart from body; one, the beastly swing.

Assassin of assassins vast equipped

In cleaving nobles, highest throne, to bring

Them plunging down to darkness; Hade’s blist’ring sting!

.

To be continued….

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