‘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.’
Friday, June 01, 2007
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.
Fire in it’s belly raging,
Wings it spread to darken the sky
Mouth open and roaring.
A flap, and the gale lifted
The body high,
The air was thick with the scent
Of death and the death cry.
“Virtue is dead, Death is alive,
Death or destruction, give us either.
We pray, we swear fealty to
The one great Golgoth of the nether.”
But, a light of life cleaved the
Mists that held the earth darkened,
The Lord of the Orcrist, on the
Pegasus had spokened.
‘Orcs and Trolls, Goblins and Wargs,
relish the spell of Immolation’
Ilanwyll was invoked and she waken’d
To cast the incantation.
Thousands and thousands of heads
Did fall while the Nazgul and Pegasus duelled,
The Nazgul flew high, the Pegasus higher,
The Nazgul dove deep, but the Pegasus undercut deeper.
But, ah! What a deception!
The swan that slew a million
Bats could hardly hold sway
Against the dark treacherous fangs
Which blocked it’s way.
It’s life-force was soon swept away.
The Lord of the Orcrist, enraged, lifted
The eight-foot blade and darken’d
Its lustre with the blood of a Nazgul,
Even as Balkoth sat aloft, hearken’d.
Then the Dark Elf smiled and spoken’d.
“Vain are the fools who cross my path,
and you, life-lord, are no better.
Pledged your life to defend a rock,
Now your spirit is but a glimmer!
Such is the fate of ill-gotten splendour!”
And so started the Great Battle
Of spells, curses and anti-curses,
Blessings of destruction, gifts of Death,
Invoking the powers of Nature and her forces
And at times, the aid of the Necromancer!
But, when the night reached her darkest,
The Dark Elf lifted the Axe of Chaos,
And shred the elven mail that held the Lord,
‘Twas a truly great loss.
Then spoke the Lord’s voice.
“The elf-stone is not for you, Balkoth,
nor is it for any infidel.
Remember, the god you serve is treacherous,
And remember, too, your deeds well,
For I shall await you in hell.
The embrace of death is not great
Nor are the feats of mortal rage,
Realise, Balkoth, that belief in Life is true,
Not in the death mage, for,
He speaks lies unbefitting his age.”
‘Balkoth of the Elven race,
Be gone in this Fire-Spire.’
The fire mage, Skald, invoked,
Consumed Balkoth in a pillar of fire.
So it was, that years of mustering armies
Were finished in an instant,
The hope of freeingthe land from Golgoth
Was still too distant.
The Necromancer (one would have
Expected him to vanish from Urak),
Just smiled wearily and lifted
The death staff in the city of N’Ruk.
“Golgoth of the nether, rise m’lord
and let me struggle anew.
Preserve the spirit of Balkoth in shade
For he has yet to fight for you.
Virtue is dead, Death is live
And those who oppose it are very few.
The life-lord is just one more,
His death was long overdue,
Relish his blood and of the swan
That the great Nazgul slew
And give us once more it’s wings
That, in shade, will rule.
Give us, Lord, the spirit of Balkoth
For his belief in death is true.
So I beseech you.
Balkoth of the Dead, arise and fight
As Denethor, Lord of Death.”
The clouds burst, as Golgoth, invoked,
Infused Balkoth’s spirit into the lifeless Elven-Lord.
And so, rose the first bad lord.
‘Gather around, friend, on this new year’s day,
Peace has come and is here to stay.
The Dark Lord is slain, life is pure,
Woundls will heal, time will cure.
Let the rivers of splendour flow
And cities of Elf and Man grow.
Mayhaps, one day, the Gods will dance
Once more on the plains of Beleriand.
The Denethor of Death is dead and gone,
The Necromancer is spent and worn,
Trolls of lore are holed in keeps,
Yet, Man in his misery weeps.
Gather around friend, for one last charge,
The Might of Man is not all lost,
Urak will one day be free
From the foul winds that ravage land and sea.
Till then, steel your heart and flesh
To last the night and start afresh.
Unite, men and elves, show your worth,
Let us bask in glory henceforth.
Gundabad shall fall, Orcs shall flee,
The shackles of Death will soon not be.
‘Tis not a dream, friend, we seek the stone,
lesser men have done much more.
After all, it’s not capturing a dragon is it?
Sound the siren.
Onward to Gundabad.’