Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XIX ill title Daask Emerges

With only some days the long travels did end,
For numbers were starting to slowly ascend
The step-hills that spoke of those towering peaks
To which we’d been marching these several past weeks.

The Easternmost point of the Kingdom was traced
By mountainous summits majestically placed
To shield inland meadows and ancient high trees
From stormier winds blowing in from the seas.
Atop these high rocks was the greyness destroyed
By snow-covered icecaps that Winter deployed.
But fresh-feeling days the new season did bring,
Made weaker the whiteness, and rivers did spring
To start with a trickle up high on the face,
And swell to deep currents by mountain-range base.

‘Twas there at the foot of the towers of stone
A cave had been carved not by nature alone.
Its mouth stood agape but it spoke not a word,
Tho’ deep in its darkness a rumble was heard.

By now there had gathered o’er three thousand men,
Yet that great amount was but half of them then,
For still more arrived by the hundreds each day,
Their quest near complete with the Dragon to slay.
Nine times did each man see the sun set and rise,
Before there amassed about twelve thousand eyes
That peered with a solemn and curious gaze
Into the black bowels where passion would blaze.
King Andrew was halted some distance away,
His nobles not letting his presence to stray
Too close to the cavern, lest majesty met
With dragon-breath fire or jaws mighty set.

I too, with some others, kept comp’ny at rear,
My mind whispered warnings of caution and fear.
For still most unsure were my thoughts on that beast,
My reasons not ripened, my theories yet creased.

Before me the soldiers were squadron’d and squared,
And ranked by their standards, with horses they paired.
Six thousand were cut to five hundred times twelve,
Each squadron in turn at the Dragon would delve,
And failing their fortune would call on the next
To carry the arms of the army still flexed.
A glorious vision before me was spread:
So sparkling in colour, ‘twas blinded to dread,
And noble intentions connected each soul
To only a singular laudable goal.
The standards with pride to the mountains were raised,
Through armour to darkness each warrior gazed.
Then once the formation was fin’ly confirmed,
The prayers, in their Orders, were thoughtfully termed,
And moments of silence reigned still o’er the land,
As if all were held by a heavenly hand.

Then pomp rose with cheering as signals were blown,
Five hundred good horses to action were thrown.
They pranced o’er the rocky terrain of the tongue
That stretched from the cave-mouth that silently sung.
Five hundred brave knights were enshrouded by black.
Their torchlights grew small as they marched to attack.
A few moments passed with a stillness of sound,
But then from below we felt quakes in the ground.
I knew then that instant the warriors would fail.
My heart in its dungeon of ribbings made wail,
And threatened to break from its ‘prisoning bones
With lurchings of anguish and pumping-blood moans.
Then as I’d predicted - it happened so fast -
The cave came aglow with a fireball blast.
And five hundred men of good fam’ly and name
Were lost in those torrents of dragon-cast flame.

The heat then engulfed us and swept through our ranks,
It scorched those in front and it branded our flanks.
But then like a fever, the heat on our skin,
Belied what we felt from our bodies within:
An ice-chilling fear was released in our veins,
And Reason was vanquished defending our brains.
For slowly emerged from the cave’s endless gloom
A monster designed of Apocalypse doom.
The Dragon we’d seen only short days ago,
Had grown it a hundred-fold, into a foe
That none had imagined could reach such a size
When clearing the cave his great body did rise.

His scales had matured to a bright coat of green
That shone in the sunlight a glistening sheen.
His beard now hung lower, sharp teeth had come long,
And limbs were of sinew and muscle made strong.
Of all I did see, tho’, one thing did I dread:
‘Twas finding a message in eyes bright and red.

As Daask made a survey of shivering crowd,
He found its fine valour now meagerly cowed.
So opened his jaws with intention made fierce,
And blasted a cry that in Heaven did pierce
The hearts of the angels, who turned all as one,
To see what we mortals had terribly done.

Of fifty-five hundred who’d thought themselves brave,
At least some four thousand ran screaming from cave.
They trampled each other in clamorous craze
And with their retreat they the country did raze.

So three times five hundred were in that place left,
To face mighty Daask holding hopes to be deft.
Their lances were raised and their hearts were ablaze,
The King, who was watching, their courage he’d praise.
They charged with a fury made gallant and gay,
Their quest now at hand with the Dragon to slay.