Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XI ill title Unholy Union

I woke me this morn to a crisp and cool dawn,
And found me some strength in the Gospel of John,
Then seated myself to continue this tale
Of mystical wonder where reason does fail.

That best time of year has now seasoned about,
When softer spring breezes send winter winds out,
Arousing each man from his pale, lazy sleep
To sow his bronze labour that summer shall reap;
When days come abloom with bright colour and cheer,
And good folk rejoice at the birdsong they hear.
But I cannot easily share in their joy,
For springtime has plagued me since I was a boy.
And tho’ I may think on my small sacred field,
Compared to what follows, the truth is revealed
That nothing so bright can outshine the dark things
That unholy magic most ruthlessly brings.
These mem’ries that yearly are frozen in ice
Do now melt to rivers of sadness and vice.
For I have seen horrors unseasonably dark
That leave full upon me their annual mark.

Seems ages ago, a spring day much like this,
That I, a young squire, my thoughts still amiss
Embarked on my first of the seasonal chase,
Crashed fast from the bush and flushed red in my face.
My mount, a proud stallion, with pedigree long,
His coat, golden chestnut, with high stature strong;
He galloped me quickly and far without fail,
Unhindered by me and my armour of mail.
Upon me (mine arm was outstretched as it were),
My hawk, the high eyes, was alert and astir.
Then sud’ly from front the horn signal they blew,
And I with a cheer cast my bird and she flew
Far up to the heavens where winds did await,
So blown from the breath of our Empress of Fate.
She soared on her spirit, far fast and away,
Full knowing her task was to seek out our prey.
But up were my eyes so to follow her route,
So blinded I was to events underfoot,
And ere I could then to my stallion give guide,
He rose up in fright and full tossed me aside.
My body hit hard on the wet, springtime ground,
And space in my chain links the mud quickly found.
The hunting troupe laughed and then rode them away,
And I in my anger much cursing did say.

But then through the weeds I discovered the sight
That gave my poor courser his terrible fright:
A serpent of evil did slide past my face,
Its path a dark journey devoid of all grace.
So I was but frozen in silence and fear:
To scream was in vain for I knew none would hear.
The only dread sound on my eardrums that sung
Was hissing most constant from flicking, forked tongue.
The body of scales did then smoothly glide past,
Forever uncoiling it threatened to last.
Its fanged face came closely approaching my nose,
I thought it would strike but to pause it then chose,
And stared at me fully, my person assessed,
This rather than grant me its evil caress.
Transfixed by its eyes I did nothing but stare,
Of all worldly thoughts I could no longer care.
For those two red orbs had a language to speak,
With soft, whispered words shed like tears that did leak
Straight into my soul and seep through to my heart
Where only but I had till then taken part.
And then it came clear with the meaning in sight
That ‘twas not of me it was wishing a bite.
In horror I saw then what filled its black mind,
A plan but so dark that sad Death would seem kind.
The fiend, it then smiled and glided away,
And left me to shiver in frigid dismay.

I know not how long I then lay on the ground,
But soon I arose and my good horse I found,
Then steadied and mounted his right nervous form
And spurred him to motion as wind from the storm.
My head was a downpour of terrible thoughts,
With cascades of monsters and omens and plots.
The ghastly inventions that I’d come to know
Could not be permitted to make them their show.
I urged my horse faster, as quick as he could,
To rejoin the others who’s riding was good.
From over a hill there unfolded a field,
And small distant figures the landscape revealed.

Now this was my party, the chase was still game,
And quick with my story I dreadfully came.
But as I approached such a sight did I find,
It sunk me still more into mis’ry unkind.
That demon -- the serpent -- had traveled this far,
Intending the hunt to so ruthlessly mar.

The reins from my fingers I quickly let drop,
As still with his charging my horse didn’t stop.
I twisted to reach from my quiver of thorns,
And pulled out an arrow that singly adorns
The archer’s wide bowstring of sinew pulled taut.
Against the tumultuous gallop I fought,
And struggled to hold me my balance and line,
With hopes to see murdered the serpent’s design.

Control had I lost of my runaway beast,
And ne’er a good shot could I let one released.
In no time I’d closed the last distance of space:
So near was I now I could see the snake’s face.
With one desperate action I thought to take aim,
But fangs made their flash and that serpent did maim
My terrified horse, who exploded in fright,
And caused me my arrow to take fated flight.
Now skywards it shot with its iron-tipped head,
To pierce my good lan’ret in burst of blood red.
An ear-splitting cry of great pain and distress:
The arrow had struck her true in the breast.
And now her wings crumpled, she fell without worth,
No longer a creature of Heaven but earth.
We watched her, grief-stricken, but only one went
To there on the ground where her crashing was sent:
The serpent was quick and afore any thought,
Had tangled my bird in a powerful knot.

‘Twas then that I realized in wretched dismay:
The demon had artfully captured its prey.
For all which that terrible day did give rise
Had been prophesied in the serpent’s red eyes.
And I, tho’ right mindful of all it had planned,
I still could do nothing to alter Fate’s hand.

So now I was helpless: my bird could not win,
Her body devoured in black carnal sin.
The struggle was gruesome and soon she was gone,
The two twisting figures had now become one.
A mixture of feathers and scales and sharp claws,
Unnat’ral defiance of all holy laws.
Transgression of veins where two bloods had once surged,
From mutating forms a new creature emerged.
With anguish I think back to that poisoned hour,
When Goodness was slain and sweet Justice turned sour;
For ne’er in the hist’ry of this fertile earth
Has fruit turned so rotten so soon after birth.

Its skin did remind me of scales from the snake
That hung like a tempting and sly tasting take
Of Tree ripe with Knowledge and Eden’s sad gate,
Where Good met with Evil and love became hate.
Its wings, but a mem’ry of feathers once fresh,
Now bent into grey cloaks of bone and pale flesh.
Such magic had worked its dark sorcery there,
That I, unbelieving, stared full of despair:
Before me, the arrow which ripped through her breast,
Had spawned twenty others the first did suggest,
And placed them each spike in a line without fail
Top head, down the neck and ‘cross back to its tail.
I watched as the chin a grey beard sickly grew,
And into its eyes then I stared and I knew
That red deep as those could be naught but a sign
Of hunger for knowledge no mortal could find.

Right then when I thought things could not worsen more,
It breathed its first mouthful of Legend and Lore,
Then spread its grey wings up full wide as it could,
And climbed it up skyward and back o’er the wood.
Then just as it reached an approaching storm cloud,
I heard such a monstrous, triumphant voice loud
Declare to us onlookers, frozen and numb,
“The union has happened, the Dragon has come!”