Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XXIX ill title New Inspiration

It happened that there with my coming I found
That Duncan was waiting, was healthy and sound.
He’d marched to the manor from after the fray,
Just missing Sir Robert as he rode away
To join me at Canterbuild recently past.
And so with our friendships now fully amassed,
Dear Richard and Duncan and I could enjoy
The comp’ny we’d cherished since each was a boy.

One night as the candles had burned them down low,
The three of us sat in our chambers as tho’
The years were but days and this meeting we held
Was just as the ones when our friendship had swelled.
The day had been one of a mem’rable kind,
For Richard and Duncan themselves had been lined
With mortal black linens and heavenly whites:
This day had they joined me their status as knights.
We sat as a threesome, a glass of wine each,
Enjoying with smiles an absence of speech,
Until it was broken when Duncan began,
“I’ll tell you a curious tale if I can.”

“Of course,” I responded, and readied my ears.
“A story between us most always endears.”

Said Duncan, “When I after fighting returned,
The desolate feelings left little concerned,
So wand’ring about with no purpose in mind
Seemed nat’ral, to see if some sense I could find.
I chanced upon meeting within a small town,
A woman who told me attempts were renown.
Assured me the battle, tho’ broken and dead,
Would water the world where its woundings had bled.
And then, once these prophesies stranger were said,
She handed me softly a piece of her bread.”

At this I was struck by the parallels played,
“Go on,” I entreated, and Duncan obeyed.

“Expecting the crusts of a stale, hardened meal,
I found myself marveled, for it did reveal
A freshness of nourishment, tasty and soft...”

At this, from my wine sip, I chokingly coughed.
“Did’st give you a name?” I then made interrupt,
Ignoring the graces my words would corrupt.

“‘Twas offered as Agnes,” Sir Duncan replied.

And then my amazement would longer abide,
For now was the hand of a Providence work,
Coincidence here was too petty to lurk.
So probing him further his mem’ry and store,
I asked him, “Did Agnes say anything more?”

“She sang me some verses. An ancient old song.
A ballad forgotten, not heard in so long.”
And then to the darkness he stared a disguise,
And now recollection was glassing his eyes:

“Falling into revelry
I think upon a time,
One where languid treasures
Rested deep in earth sublime.

Captured and delighted
I rejoiced the sparkling jewels:
Chunks of gold were playmates
Tossed with joy to laughing pools.

But there came a mining trade
Whose fuel was burned by greed,
Commerce grew insatiable and
Rape its only feed.

Still I know a faithfulness
Can justify demands,
Elements of Daaskmere
Will shine brightly through my lands.”

He finished his singing and offered a smile.
“‘Tis beautiful, William,” he said ere a while.
“So simple, yet heavy with meaning and might.
There’s more to those words than my music tonight.”

“I know it,” I answered. “I feel it for sure.
And now this distraction no more can endure.
‘Tis here I resolve for inaction to end.
This ballad I’ve heard and I cannot pretend
That Daaskmere is naught but a fable untrue.
The Dragon has proven it - Now is my cue.”

I rose to my feet, and bid well to my friends,
Then made for my chamber through corridor bends,
With hopes to entice a sound sleep to my bed,
And force its oblivion into my head.
But such was in vain, for my thinking did race,
And carried me frantic’ly o’er to each place
That through my experience I’d come before.
From each thought of passage there opened a door,
And ent’ring its room, I’d discover two more.
So one would I venture, the other ignore,
And find a significant memory store
Of images ancient from deep in my core.
The streaming of entranceways, open and near,
Did pass in a time to my visions less clear,
And dimly, I thankfully realized at last,
That sleep was accepting the offer I’d passed.

My dreams were of images heavy in weight,
Their references dancing my history fate,
And weaving together their own, separate threads.
They crafted a drapery laden with heads.
Then wrapping their blanket of cloth o’er my heart,
‘Twas Daask who invaded my dream with a start.
And speaking the half of my hawk’s ancient voice,
He gravely commanded, “Now make you your choice.”
So quickly I reached for my baptismal bath,
And sprinkled my body to cleanse of God’s wrath.
But instantly came then the water to worms,
(How quickly from dreaming a nightmare confirms!)
And sensed from my bones all my flesh being ripped,
Wherever the water upon me had dripped.
“The water is worthless,” said Daask, looking stern.
“A washing is useless, your kingdom must burn.”

‘Twas then I commanded my brain to awake.
My dreams to the daylight I knew now to take.
And rising from bed, for the window I made,
To thankfully see the departing night’s shade.

So early that morning to Robert I went,
“My Lord,” I then started, “my rest has been spent.
The Dragon awaits me, of this I’ve no doubt.
From Meadowsford now must I pull myself out.
Tho’ saying it this way does cause me to grieve,
Sir Robert, I ask you permit me to leave.”

“Sir William,” said Robert, “a knight you are now.
You no longer need me to sanction your brow.
If leaving is that which you feel is for best,
Then open your wings and fly out from our nest.”

“Good master,” I said, “you have always been kind.
And wiser with vision when I have been blind.
But yesternight struck revelations within:
The circle of Duncan, of Richard, of sin,
Of William the boy and of William come knight,
Through Father Andreas and Meadowsford might,
Of Thomas the meek turning Thomas the blind,
Of nothing familiar on weavings to find,
Of Canterbuild falling in fiery light,
Of Agnes, and Dragons, connections came tight.
I know now the quest I am called to complete,
It opens with one more request I entreat:
The arras that hangs in the main dining hall -
The one to the left of the fire-hearth wall -
I ask you surrender its weave unto me,
So I may dispose its deceptive decree.”

Sir Robert then nodded, “That hanging you want,
Was given as gift so this Household could flaunt
Acquaintance with Henry of Anchorwae fame.
But now, in his treacherous, treasonous game,
He’s fallen from that which I held in esteem,
And lost him the friendship that follows his theme.
‘Tis yours, noble William, to do as you would.
Remove it from Meadowsford now and for good.

The hanging was cut from its fastening rod,
And crumpled the face of its Duncan-like god,
Then carried it was from the room, out the door,
And dumped on the dirt of the horse-ridden floor.
It lay on the road that led out from the Dale,
Preventing an exit along the one trail.
But then I approached with a torch in my hand,
And lowered it sternly from where I did stand.
Then watched, with Sir Robert, and Wimstayme returned,
As by us the arras caught fire and burned.