Nonetheless, there's a dozen white roses on the grave."
Audioslave - Be Yourself.
‘Gather around, friend, for long-forgotten tales
of glory, of valour, splendour and war,
of deeds outrageous, of the might of mages,
of elf, of man and of dwarf,
of peace and strife, order and turmoil,
of cities as great as Hirrengard,
of orcs, of wargs, of trolls,
of dragons and serpents and all.’
A long time, when the Sun poured fire
And the Moon vent her ire, ago,
The people of N’Ruk believed ‘twas their luck
That they lived so,
For, every dawn heard the battle-cry
Strong awaken the sleeping soldier,
And, he jumped up, his heart leapt up
To join the battle for a treasure.
Women, afraid to roam the streets
Watched the Stronghold besieged.
Thousands and thousands of heads did fall
Unrelenting at the walls till the treasure was siezed.
The steward did stomp, his brow he did mop
As the battle and day wore on.
Then, decided, he went to the yard
To call the Lord’s mighty swan;
/* Excerpts from ‘The Lord’s Swan’ */
Neither Sun’s light nor sword’s fight
Could rival the white Swan’s might.
The beluagured guard, glimpsing the
Light, did with renewed vigour fight. *//
The gloom in the air in the battlefield at first
Did deter the Swan’s passage.
But neither arrow nor spear could slow
The Swan, nor could a mortal’s rage.
Over meadow and battle it did fly,
Over hill, hillock and mound,
Northwards and east, beyond Mirkwood’s
Reach, to where it’s Lord could be found.
Three days it was since the Lord’s steed’s
Leave, and the steward of N’Ruk did worry,
Wonder he did as each defence crumbled,
Whether the treasure deserved the glory.
The ravens of South, retreating North
Shot by Orcs did say
“The Death King approaches,
The Axe of Chaos will slay if you stay.”
The day next, when the merciless sun
Was at it’s peak, all a sudden,
The fire stopped it’s shine, the sky was
Black with a million bats’ burden.
The outpost overlooking R’Len reported
An approaching Company of Wargs,
While a fresh army was on it’s way
From Gundabad – Land of Orcs.
Advisors to N’Ruk counseled in vain
For the steward to surrender,
For, to strike the Orcs and elude
Balkoth, chances were slender.
Towards evening, the North outpost
Reported an army of the Necromancer,
Trolls, goblins and the scum of
Mirkwood had crossed the Red river.
The steward then declared, “I, Balathusrus
Have not protected that which was the Lord’s
With bowed head and shamed heart, I depart
To the wilderness beyond the River Guards.”
Action suited word, the steward’s horse
Bore him to the North and West,
N’Ruk, without a leader, lay bare,
It was Balkoth’s greatest conquest.
Thirty days since the Lord’s steed’s leave,
Balkoth’s rams rammed away.
For a day and half, the door of N’Ruk
Roared and croaked until it gave way.
But even as the sun reluctantly rose
To shed light on a new day,
Darkness reigned and the earth cracked,
The Axe of Chaos had come to slay.
An ugly roar split the air,
And above the roar spoke the voice of Death.
/* Excerpts from ‘Dark Songs and Riddles’ */
“Ah! So you think you can defeat
my strongest Orc’s fastest steed?
You have taken what was mine,
Now I’m the shiver down your spine,
To stalk you, hurt you and strike unexpected
Till you relinquish it, O ill-fated!
In two days, twice shall my war-horn blow
And after, a river of blood shall flow
To quench the thirst of a world that sees
A thousand years of splendour and peace.” *//
In two days, twice did the war-horn blow,
And on the third, the Nazgul reared it’s head,
Balkoth entered the city and the last inhabitant
Of N’Ruk was struck dead.
Orcs and Trolls, Goblins and Wargs looted N’Ruk,
While Balkoth and the Necromancer debated,
The horrors of the day made the cloud dark,
Afraid, the howling of the air abated.
Yet, as the black sun set to give night her way,
A prick of light stood rooted
Against the black and dark sky,
Even as Orcs mirthfull shouted.
/* Excerpts from ‘Dark Songs and Riddles’ */
The orcs mirthfully shouted,
“The greatest city is rot by us,
Might man is slain by us,
Now the knave run and hide,
We are Death’s harbinger.”
Wargs of R’Len joined in chorus,
“A howl in the dark, roar in the light,
Feast on strife and strike with fear.
Take our lives and give us Death,
To our foes, we shall do likewise.”
The goblins of Mirkwood smiled and said,
“Long hours we prowl in the shade
of Mirkwood, gloomy, obscured, bedimmed,
clutching a streak, nay a beam of ‘Dark’
to kill our foe before he dies.”
They all then sang together,
“Yet, there is one who rots cities,
slays everyone and brings Death.
Howls in the night, roars in the light,
Feasts on a fight and takes our lives.
He is strongest in gloom, holding
A spell that kills us before we die.
We shiver and chatter when he draws near,
For, he is the omnipresent Fear.
Yet, there is one whom Fear fears,
Despises beyond hate and wrath,
And that is our Lord, the son of Death,
The great Dark Elf, Balkoth.” *//
Amidst the song and merriment, the sun
Unnoticed, rose to full light.
Some, who saw it, were perplexed,
For the sun had risen in the mid of night.
Glee and wonder gave way to fear
As the Lord on the Swan came near,
The Lord of N’Ruk the Lord of Life,
The Lord of the one true treasure.
In a frenzy of light and sound,
The Lord said unto Balkoth,
“You want the elfstone, forget it,
You follow the Death God, forget the path,
You believe the Necromancer, forget him,
And I will treat you my own.
But, if you stay firm and believe
That dog, prepare to reap the wrath you’ve sown.
‘Orcs and Trolls, Goblins and Wargs,
relish my spell of Immolation.’
Said the Lord, invoking the Life mage
Illanwyll to cast the incantation.
Multitudes of the dark forces fell
To the ground, while some brave fellows
Stood and saw their blood ooze
And produce the Red Summer’s Fallows.
The air was heavy with the doings of the past,
The sky was down since December last,
The turbulent waters more turbid grew,
The soldiers of Wallaha were but a few,
The capital of Wallaha was besieged,
Not food enough for all to feed,
The king of Sheer in a humble surrender,
For, chances of victory were very slender,
The river of Sheer ne'er redder grew,
The Prince of Sheer on a steed flew
Towards the village on the banks of the river
With a new-forged sword and bow and quiver,
Sped away on the horse the prince Belfast
And reached the village on December last.
News came swift, sped by the air,
"The Walls of Sheer are no more there"
With a last cough, a last croak,
The walls of Sheer had crumbled and broke.
Warriors of Morcha flooded the streets,
Terrified women cowered in the sheets,
Knowing not when the door would open
And a warrior would cut their throats open.
Men had gone to help if they could
Knowing not if it did any good.
The soldiers of Wallaha in the Sheer battalion
Went out to face warriors a million,
While messengers went from there northward,
Their horses faster than the fastest bird.
A day's journey, an hour's rest,
Reaching the river, they turned west,
And rode on through the moonless night
Until the village of Pang was in sight.
They were in a dreadful hurry
And not for a moment did they tarry,
They shouted - "Very few of our militia
Remain to fight the warriors of Morcha,
And we need food and flour
To feed us in this dire hour.
Run, run fast to save your soul,
Or, stay and fight this war foul."
And, riding through the crooked lane,
They went just as they came.
Their words were heard by the young Belfast,
He saw the heavy skies overcast,
He knew that the end was near,
His face paled white with a dreary fear,
Ne'er once in his life had he seen blood,
The very thought of it filled him with dread.
And yet, for all he could, he could not run,
No farther was the horse ready to run,
He had to stay, he had to fight,
He had to fight till he'd lost the fight.
Yet, it wasn't compulsion that stopped him,
It was his heart that made a man of him.
He strolled out on the fields white,
Every second, his will bade him fight,
With anger his body began to shiver,
He raised his voice without a tremor.
"This is my land, I shall have it,
I shall rule it as I see fit.
Wallaha shall forever be our land,
No foe can ever weigh down his hand,
This is my land, This is our land,
Those who feel so, please make a stand,
The Prince of Sheer orders you so,
Send some food to the soldiers, Go,
I shall fight when they will feed,
And I shall make Morcha bleed,
Ne'er redder shall my sword glow,
Redder still than river Sheer's glow,
I admit, it will not be a task easy,
But since I say so, SO IT SHALL BE."
The villagers of Pang, motivated by his vision,
Raised their hands and voices in unison,
"Hail, Prince of Sheer, live long,
You have emboldened us, made us strong,
Not for a moment shall we question thee
We shall obey till the sun we can see.
We are at your service, we are at thy feet,
We shall be with you till body and soul can meet
We shall arm you, we shall feed you,
We shall fight back, and protect you,
We shan't be barred by snow, hail or sleet,
We shall fight to the last, till death greets."
Tears welled in the young man’s eyes
And his sword rested on his well-built thighs,
The birds had heard his solemn promise.
“I will now tell you what your job is…”
Hissing and blowing, he went to sleep,
To refresh for the coming day’s weep,
The Dark of the moonless night showed wherever he turned,
Yet, the fire in him brightly burned.
Sleep eluded him like gold the seeker,
He crept out of the hut like a creeper
And stared at a distant bright star
Until he was ready for the war.
A prayer for his family, a prayer for victory,
A prayer for the village and for all the country,
With a prayer on his lips, he strode out,
Harking for news of Sheer about.
And then he heard a deadly sound,
Of disturbed jungles around,
The clash of Armor, the trod of Iron,
The clang of shields made newly of iron.
“The Warriors are near, the Warriors are near,
The warriors are near, so be with fear.
Think not that you can stop our orgy,
Fight not for we don’t want our boots blood-soggy.
The day after, we shall cross the river
And lay dead more bodies to flow with the river.
We shall set a time most feasible,
Our lust for blood is insatiable.”
The prince of Sheer stopped fast
And sped back to the village fast,
To warn the people of the danger,
To hoist a bloody welcome for the strangers.
He stood near the storehouse of silage,
His voice was heard through the village,
“Men, it’s time we showed our mettle,
For one day, leave the tending of cattle
Death harks at our door, O brother,
The forces of Morcha have laid waste my father,
Now they camp on the jungle yonder.
I have given a moment’s ponder,
Now I reveal my humble plan,
Implement it if you can.
As the merry warriors move ‘morrow,
Perched on trees, villagers shall rain arrows,
And a few soldiers shall await the rest
And in the fight, strike them dead-rest.
The bridge of Pang shall be our guarded treasure
It shall not see a single seizure.
And if the merry fools dare come
I shall, mark my words, lessen the number some.
On the bridge, I shall fight,
I shall fight with all my might,
And then the bridge shall fall,
Killing those Sioune’s all.
But look carefully and then decide
Whether I’ve lost, besides,
These fools are but a part, a part of an army’s last.”
The villagers waited with bated breath
Listening to all the prince said,
They silently armed themselves
Removing weapons from the shelves
And when the owl went about crying the hour
And the villagers were in a mood sour,
The prince of sheer crossed the river
With a blood-red sword and bow and quiver,
Bracing the cold, bracing his fear,
Unsheathing his sword for the War for Sheer.
The dark of the sky was disturbed
And an orange glow sprang up unperturbed,
The redder the sky grew, the redder the fire,
The prince was now controlled by his ire,
Stealthily though the forest he went
And when he reached the clearing, night was spent,
He rested the reins, gave a knowing pat,
He jumped to the ground and lay flat.
He got up, his hand on his sword,
Not a single soul stirred.
He espied a few tents put up
And the remnants of a fire burnt up,
The warriors were sleeping,
Knowing not the intruder creeping,
The prince struck one, he struck another,
His sharp sword went through the leather,
And when he had slain the ninth head,
The eighth gave a gasp, struggling in bed.
In an instant, the camp was astir,
The faces of the warriors betrayed their fear,
The prince lost no time, he went to the horse
And galloped away through the undergrowth sparse,
A few warriors gave hot chase
But in a minute, they were wide off their base,
Drowsy and weary they never looked up,
The villagers ‘pon the trees picked them up.
The prince turned around and made for the clearing,
The warriors for the war were preparing,
The ground was wet, the wait weary,
The prince stood still awaiting his quarry,
The warriors prepared then set forth,
All this happened on December fourth.