Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XII ill title Andrew's Call

Such desolate stillness did harden our bones,
And crafted us into great statuesque stones,
With each staring blank at the point in the sky
Where from us away the great Dragon did fly.
The dogs and the horses did fetter about,
Unable to grasp or conceive of our doubt.
But sunlight will come as the tempest moves on,
So reason returned when the monster was gone,
And slowly we realized together as one,
The mission whose meaning was trifled by none.

“A Dragon has come to our land on this day,”
Sir Robert began in his dignified way,
“And being its witness, as God did design,
The duty is ours to interpret its sign.”

“An omen,” came Wimstayme’s determinate voice,
“Foretelling the fears of our upcoming choice:
A central decision awaits of our lands.
The future of Leighton on trial now stands.
We here as a Kingdom must come to our minds,
And look to the guidance our questioning finds.
To cower, and coldly submit us our lives,
To this the new Dragon, one answer derives.
But other suggestions do silently wait,
And one such among them I urge as our fate:
That here we take actions against our new foe,
And purge from the Kingdom its Dragon-like woe.”

“The King and the court must have everything told!”
Exclaimed then a knight who was noble and bold.
“We must to the palace this anguish convey!”
Another brave hunter did after that say.

“Enough!” came Sir Robert, his eyes glaring wide,
“We’ll on to the palace, then! Quickly, men - Ride!”
A fury of action made good his last word,
As each of the horses was instantly spurred.
A great rumbling gallop stormed over the plain,
Uprooting and flinging great chunks of terrain.
I cast my eyes quickly below to my spur,
And streaks of the ground darted by in a blur.
Some short seconds later we plunged to the woods,
And sharp-fingered branches reached out for our hoods.
They snagged at our bodies made weak with fatigue,
As if they were all with the Dragon in league
To slow up our horses and have them be mired
By thickening forest whose creatures conspired.
Such salient allies the Dragon had gleaned!
The trees and their branches had threat’ningly screened
Our way to the palace with thorn-covered claws
That reached to ensnare us in humanless laws.

“What monstrous alliance has taken root here?”
I asked the inhabited woods in my fear.
“Explain why you grasp at me, hold me and shred
The clothes from my body and flesh where I’ve bled.”

In answer a branch cut a gash on my brow,
“Your mission is naught but a waste for you now.
And foolish illusions of glorious zeal
Will render you bloody-cut woundings to feel.”

“You’re wrong!” I made challenge as thorns hit my chest.
“This journey means more than a ribbon on breast.
The Dragon has entered our world and become
A ruling destroyer where all will succumb.
Would’st have us ignore it and silently pray
That left to itself it will leave us away?
You trees who protect it by slowing our way,
‘Tis you who are foolish to cause us delay.
We ride to make news of the Dragon’s import,
So look on your thorns not as hindrance, but sport!”

I must have convinced them, for slowly I found
That ‘twixt each great trunk there was more of the ground.
And then I imagined the trees found a change
Of loyalties as we approached the first grange:
‘Twas like they now hoped that our passage was quick,
And gave up their space to weed out what was thick.
“Then William,” they called as I raced through their ranks,
“If that is your answer, then here is our thanks.
Your reasons are sound and not salted by greed,
But rather on sweetness of honour they feed.
And tho’ with our testing we caused you to bleed,
The strength of your mandate compels us concede.
We yield with the numbers that once had you slowed,
And give you the means to the town with the road.”

And thus was revealed the dirt pathway at last,
Permitting our horses to travel them fast.
We burst from the woods to the Canton of Leeds,
And galloping thund’rous, incredible speeds,
We came to the Kingdom’s most capital place,
Where majesty ruled of its God-given grace.
We stomped ‘cross the bridge that o’er-spanned the wide stream,
Then climbed to the place where the palace did gleam,
O’er-looking its realm from atop a tall hill,
So through its dominion its rule could fulfill.
Then as we came near to the thick fortress walls,
We sounded a flurry of urgent horn calls,
And yelled to the guardsmen who stared full amazed
To have the portcullis for us quickly raised.

We entered the womb of His Majesty’s home:
A truly magnificent artwork of stone,
Expansively built on a lush plot of soil
Where artisans ranked in the hundreds did toil,
And laid with a labour devoted and proud
Each block that had Holiest blessing endowed.
From here was the Kingdom of Leighton well ruled,
Where all of the courtiers were fittingly schooled
To act them as counsel for Andrew the King,
Whose leadership lauded good fortune would bring.
‘Twas here that the House of proud Turin did dwell,
Where industry helped for the commerce to swell,
And festive, full feasts sang with laughter and cheer,
And tournaments swept through the warmth of the year.

Four towers stood watch o’er the fields far below,
And silently witnessed the days come and go.
The high ones between them had fortified walls,
To silence attackers and scoff at their calls.
But once we’d surpassed these defenses laid down,
Emerged then a courtyard of beauty renown:
Bright cloth was draped deeply and freely from high,
To breathe a contented occasional sigh,
And watch ever-smiling the people who moved
Below in the market where all was approved.
The voices and laughter and brightly sewn suits
Were only outshone by the sound of the lutes.
The fountains flowed clean with their glittering drink,
And no one, it seemed, a dark thought could then think.

But with our arrival all mirth was destroyed.
No doubt ‘twas our faces the message employed
To greet all the onlookers with the same sign,
And marshaled their pomp in protesting repine.
With haste we were led to the King and His court,
Where in His grand throne-room we made our report,
And told of events that did happen that day.
Each man in his turn was afforded a say.

When eyes turned to me I had more still to add,
And spoke of the serpent in tones soft and sad.
I detailed the knowledge I’d found in its eyes,
And swore to the skeptics I told them no lies.
But Andrew would need Him convincing no more,
And called Him right then a full Council of War.
The King was a man to be trusted and praised,
With each passing year the respect for Him raised.
Tho’ youthfully fresh He appeared when first seen,
His shrewdness from eyes shone intensity green.
He wore His crown humbly, but was not afraid
To make known His wishes and see them obeyed.
His sense of completeness and timing was grand:
He laughed when was needed yet still He could stand,
Enduring the moments of serious thought,
And always conveying the meaning He sought.

But now in this instance His latter state called,
And Andrew’s oration of passion enthralled
We list’ners who’s comp’ny His voice boldly heard.
We eagerly met each historic, fine word:
“Dear friends and great kinsmen of proud, ancient ties,
The news that you bring us evokes no surprise.
For these years have been but so tranquil and still,
That warless days tarnish and rust all our skill.
This Dragon has come now to test our resolve,
He poses for us a dark riddle to solve.
He opens our eyes from our dreamless, dull rest,
And offers the chance to begin a new quest.
We see on your faces a horror and fear,
Yet know in your hearts you are longing to hear
The cry of the battle, the whisper of sword,
The trample of horses and Word of the Lord.
This day is not darkness as you have bewailed,
But rather our destiny has been unveiled!
We’ll no longer fight meager wars ‘twixt the lands:
Our sights are now set on more trying demands.
And glorious Leighton’s been given the chance
To carve with the sword and then charge with the lance
A passage in Hist’ry where all will be awed
At how we stood bravely when tested by God!
Fix deep in your minds the next words we will say:
There’s nothing immortal obstructing your way.
This Dragon was born right before your own eyes,
And if you so will it, by sword he then dies.
Take heart and have courage, our noble, good knights,
You each will have guides, for your spirits are lights.
Believe in your training, your skill, and your King,
And then will in Heaven your good voices sing.
We charge you now, knights, to accept this new vow,
Before us kneel down and have all your heads bow.
Defend you this Kingdom and all that it needs,
For now it is wounded and slowly it bleeds.
Its flesh has been torn by a savage, great beast,
That flew, as you told us, far off to the East.
Your life and your duty does now call you forth,
To challenge your skill and your heart and your worth.
Be brave and repeat to yourselves every day -
‘My quest lies ahead with a Dragon to slay!’”