Copyright 2013. PATG LLC. All rights reserved.

Chapter 15

Short Rest


For five long days the blacksmith slept,

And not a moment was serene,

Nightmares, nightmares, constant kept,

Battling, battling, in his dreams.

He dreamt of fires, and giant’s wrath,

Of hunting wolves and being afraid,

Of horse fought wars and bloody baths,

Of voices mourning choices made.

But on day six his eyes awakened,

To meet a bright and starry sky,

And though he sat up slow and shaken,

It made his nightmares up and fly.

He quick looked down and spied around,

But horse, nor elf, nor Poepi found.

He sat next to a camping fire,

Of smokeless heat and chokeless flame,

Wrapped in blankets and desire,

To stand and be a man, again.

Yet though he tried he could not stand,

For his legs were still unwell,

And sweat streams stained his straining hands,

And sucked the dirt each time he fell.

“Poepilandia!”loud he cried,

“Poepilandia! Poepi pie!

Elves, mules, Vern and Blink!

Please! My friends! Attend my side!”

But then he fell down with a sigh,

And back to slumber slowly sinked.

Poepilandia, standing high,

On cliff’s ledge, against the sky,

Was taking stock of where they were,

And did not hear the blacksmith stir.

In the valley down below,

The village lights were all aglow,

And far beyond, straight cross her sight,

The valley climbed back into night,

While sight of it, gave no delight.

For five full days they had camped here,

The elves and she, in constant fear,

As the zeal of their ordeal,

Scarred deep her heart, and she could feel,

Resentment for her quest up build,

And vengeance, vengeance, unfulfilled.

This night was yet another time,

Rest and sleep escaped her mind,

For when each night she closed her eyes,

She saw wild wolves and heard their cries,

And watched as mules were taken down,

And chased and bit and dragged around.

The horses had tried to get away,

Before they were consumed as prey,

And kicked and stomped and reared and neighed,

But soon were also down waylaid.

Vern fell first, to slake their thirst,

Dragged to dust, doomed and cursed,

While next to Poepi, in quaking horror,

Blink stood trembling wild in terror.

His big eyes rolled in her direction,

Begging, begging for protection.

Then the hard shock of betrayal,

Rocked Blink’s core from head to tail,

Bursting bonds in every vein,

As Poepi gave away his reign.

Bolting wildly, charging straight,

Over wolves, in trampling gait,

Pursued by others, clawing, biting,

Blink charged from sight, franticly fighting.

Pixie eyes held Poepi then,

Sheer disbelief a-stare from them,

As she abandoned Poepi’s shoulder,

And flew to Blink, while wolves grew bolder.

Her magic let loose sparky plumes,

That for awhile gave Blink some room,

To run ahead beneath the moon,

And through the forest, lightning zoom.

But wolves all howled in angry lust,

And grew more wild, and split the dust,

Till finally, they closed and closed

Horse smell close, and in their nose.

Then echoed loud a high pitched squeal,

A sickening thud, and barking zeal,

Which put an end to Blink’s ordeal.

An old hand soft touched Poepi’s hair.

She startled, turned, and standing there,

The smith stood leaning on a stick,

Pale in moonlight, looking sick.

“Poepilandia” the blacksmith said.

“Where are the mules and horses fled?

Where are the elves, and your pixie,

What happened last…and where are we?”

“Oh papa!” she said, with relief,

And held him up, and flooded her grief.

“The horses and the mules are lost,

The pixie gone, the elves are just,

In the valley scouting routes.

We’ve camped here waiting for your wounds,

To heal themselves, so you could lead,

And take us to your friend, whose deed,

Would be to shelter us and make,

A plan for our next road to take.”

Blacksmith spoke no word of folly,

But stared with Poepi to the valley,

Arm around her, leaned on staff,

Stifling a nervous cough.

He held her close for comforting,

And thrust his staff ahead, pointing.

“That is where your castle stood,

The tall white spires, the burnished wood,

And down below the village lights,

Still flicker candles burning bright.

There we’ll find a friend we’ve known,

The very last, safe house and home,

Who though has not seen us for years,

Is loyal still, to you and yours.

She was always kind and free,

And once was called Persephony.

When we find her, we will see,

What next steps our path will be.”

Staring back out up the slope,

Poepi felt a glint of hope.

The guilty wounds that hurt her heart,

Cut somewhat less, and dulled their smart.

The thought that perhaps someone there,

Still thought of her as princess heir,

Gave promise she would find her sister,

And maybe, maybe, in the future,

Lead back to taking up her space,

As rightful princess of this place.

She gave the smith a caring kiss,

And just a moment did not miss,

Her sister, pixie, or horse blink,

While ballroom dances filled her think.