Rune's Travel Log
Through the treacherous path I wove,
Heeding only the sound of her voice,
Deaf to bird calls, wind and all,
Deaf e'en to the very trembling 'neath my feet.
For this was the land of beasts beyond men,
Of black hearts, and blacker souls,
Knowing only greed and vice, need burning twice.
Here, to horde was life. Here, there dragons be.
Of air and plain, tears, rocks, trees,
All they had claimed, taken away.
But I was deaf to passing restraints,
Warnings and pleadings fell away,
As I had only ears for her voice.
And so I strode into Death's lair,
Where green soil bled black stone,
Hoping to find her, true treasure,
And still find a way home.
Smoke filled the air, stealing my breath,
Exhaustion, it's accomplice,
And I faultered.
I lowered my eyes, seating myself,
Looking up to bask in her beauty, she was gone.
Gone and lost, lost to me,
No trail of stars to follow, no glow, no warmth.
Again I was alone, this time my own doing.
But had she been real, or vision? If vision, than fancy?
Or glimpse into a precious future, A taste of the gods wine.
Anger and hatred ended my contemplations,
Not my own, but directed at me, tangible,
Real as my own laboured breath.
A shadow loomed, fearsome and awe inspiring,
Great and terrible, all things, Carrying the look of death, the scent.
Carrying the scent of ash, as well,
And I knew my time had come.
A red, scaled figure rose, blocking out the sun.
Demands were made, where I was from, whom I was,
How dare I think to tresspass here.
I told the beast that mine was a sorrowful tale,
That he would surely weep for it.
He laughed and dared me, pledging my life in the wager.
A tear for freedom, a laugh for pain,
And so I began.
He kept his peace throughout, silent as stone, His eyes revealing only age.
And as soon, it seemed, as I had began, my tale was ended.
And I waited.
"Not so sad as for tears," said he,
"But worthy enough a cause.
In truth, you would not have
Finished your tale, except that you have named your home for me.
You honor me without knowing me,
Deepest respect given.
Let me give you true treasure--a knowing
To aid you on your way."
Carefully I followed, wary of traps,
But my bard's tongue had rung true.
Home he took me, his not mine,
There to sup and speak.
He told me of his ages past,
And revealed secrets I still ponder,
The greatest of which was of my lady.
"It has long been known that for every man,
There is a perfect love.
And perfect love does recognize itself.
In your deepest woe, you magicked a vision of your own,
For she is seeking as well.
You sensed her, and felt happy with her,
But it was but a fleeting image.
Now, you know your love, need only find her.
So, she led you here.
Here shall I delve the secrets with you,
Teach you the ancient tongue,
The words and gestures.
I shall teach you the meanings to things,
And what they are, that you might feel and become them."
"But why should you do this," I replied.
"Mine have brought you pain, sought your skin and claws,
Have carved a name in your soul.
Why would you help me?"
His answer was slow in coming,
His breath, a softness belying his size.
"I would help you for love,
For love lost is the rarest of treaures,
Though love gained is more precious.
I help one, who cannot help himself,
To make up for neglecting one that could.
But my tale is ended, let yours begin."
And so it did, and has.
But my tale goes on, and on.
He showed me great insights,
How to see my soul, my love,
The greatest treasure of all.
Set me to follow her, no gifts but knowledge,
Greatest gift of all.
He taught me to deepen myself,
For I had my own answers,
As we all do, should we seek them.
But ever after, returning to thank him,
His cave was gone, his breath upon the wind.
Perhaps he has gone on,
Or never been here at all,
I say he is knowledge, and lives on in me,
For I know, and will not forget.
So, no phantom to guide me,
I set my foot upon the road,
Ever on and on,
Until I see her again.
Thanks to Rune for this contribution!