Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XXX ill title To Daask

So then I was saddled and mounted to task,
With chain-hanging armour and newly built mask.
Goodbyes went all ‘round and sad tears wet with love
Made fall to the ground as orisons went ‘bove.
And then with my newly forged spurs made of gold,
I motioned Sebastian to make our leave bold.

The first of the two destinations I’d ride,
Returned me to th’outskirts of Canterbuild’s side,
As guiding my stallion through quieter trees,
I came to the cabin of Agnes with ease.
I knocked, and she answered, invited me in,
Took note of my garbs with a genuine grin,
And full with a happiness, softly she said,
“I see to the Order you’re finally wed.”

“‘Tis true,” I responded, “I’ve risen again,
And climbed from a squire to a knight among men.
But now, on a quest, I have sought you to find,
Intelligence told of a mystical kind.
You met my friend Duncan,” I went on to say,
“And fed him your bread as he came from the fray.
Then sang to him verses most ancient but sure,
That echoed of images fallen obscure.
So tell me of Daaskmere,” I said to her then,
“And speak to me now of that landscape again.”

“When Daaskmere exists then the spirit is found,”
Good Agnes replied with her gentle-like sound.
“‘Tis never depicted on maps to be seen,
But walks with the trav’ler each place he has been.
That’s all I can tell you,” she said as she sat,
“You’ll know if you find it, I’ll warrant you that.”
And then out the window she focused her gaze,
And started some verses of distant, old days:

“Walking through the nat’ral woods
And out onto the plain,
Often with the wilder world
Communion I’d attain.

Herds would gather by me and
I’d stand amidst their ranks,
Talking with them softly and
Then leaving but my thanks.

But with angry hunger came
A plague of ravished minds,
Rounding up to slaughter food
That blinded vision finds.

Time at last is nearing for
Replenishment of bands,
Creatures born of Daaskmere
Will roam freely o’er my lands.”

“But what can it mean?” I then asked her again.

“The answer lies not in the language of men.
Dear William,” she told me, “turn inward, not out,
Explore the new kingdoms that Leighton would doubt.”

I thanked her sincerely and stood up to leave,
But then as I passed her she tugged at my sleeve,
And so with a twist to look down at her head,
I found she was off’ring a piece of her bread.
I reached out with grateful acceptance and care,
And softly she told me, “You mustn’t despair.
When fire consumes you, its heat and its flash,
Remember the lifeblood that waits in its ash.”
These words in my head o’er the next trav’ling days,
I soon saw the distant and mountainous greys.
They loomed up before me each morn as the sun
Broke over their snow-caps and started his run.
And then I was back at the battle-rung field,
Where through rusting irons dead bones were revealed.
The standards abandoned and banners in dust,
And lonelier swords with no wielder to trust.
‘Twas through all the ghosts of dead men I did brave,
To steer my good destrier into the cave,
And light me a torch as the darkness came close,
Descending me into mysterious dose.
The pocket of light in whose centre I rode,
Cast shadows of symbols in demon-form code
‘Pon all the dank walls that ran underground wet,
And dripped, as did I, with some horrible sweat.

‘Twas then I did hear it, a distant, dull sound,
That drifted up to me from deep in the ground.
Yet fear could not reach me or cower my state,
Sebastian the Bold never faltered his gait.
He rode fully onward, and never betrayed
The truth of my mandate that swore not to fade.
And then as I guided my horse to a crawl,
I found myself struck by the shape of the wall.
The cave had expanded and opened up wide,
I found me before a most massive divide.
The floor dropped away and the roof rose in height,
My torch was a speck now of meaningless light.

And then out in front but some distance from me,
Two windows of red made their focus to see.

They brightened and widened, approaching me slow.
They came with a mystical, scarlet-wash glow.
And then a deep breath rolled like thunder through air,
It cast out some sparks, but no fire did flare.
And as the time passed, the red eyes neared and grew,
And sud’ly there came the great Dragon in view.
His body was lost in the shadows below,
And only his face in my torchlight made show.

“Sir William,” said Daask, “I have known you would come.
From ages away I have heard your heart drum.”
“You know me,” I said to the Dragon’s great face.
“You know why I’ve come to the depth of this place.
My sword in its scabbard is quietly creased,
The hate in my method has long been released.
For years I have thought consummation would come
If knighthood elusive would fin’ly succumb
To that which I’ve wanted e’er since I was young.
But once I achieved it, small difference was sung.
My new transformation was vapid and thin,
Symbolic its meaning but empty its win.
The water that washed briefly over my skin,
Left little renewal of blood deep within.
So now I have come to you still as a squire,
And seek of you baptism born of your fire.”

No more was required: the signal was said,
It took but an instant, and vision turned red.
And in its hot eyesight ‘twas then that I saw
The fast-moving hooks of great Daask’s looming claw.
Then screamed I in terror and pain as his nail,
Crunched through me and burst from the back of my mail.
‘Twas right at my heart that his claw had ripped through,
In shock I looked down and from torture I knew
My ribcage had cracked and exploded with force.
Then Daask slowly lifted me off of my horse,
And pulled me away to the depths of his cave,
Where I was convinced I would find my new grave.
Tho’ anguish tore through me and suff’ring convulsed,
I marveled that still I could sense something pulsed.
Then something unspeakable entered my veins.
I felt an intruder step into my pains,
As if a new ghost, a new entity’s mind,
Inserted itself in the warmth it did find
That flowed in my body, through Daask’s ancient claw.
How helpless I was in the Dragon’s new law!
Then slowly he turned me to face his red eyes,
And faintly I heard him, “The squire now dies.”

I shrieked as I saw a great fireball blast
Envelop my body, consuming me fast.
I felt my skin scorching, my flesh bubbling hot,
And then into darkness retreated my thought.