Category: The Epic of Solemnon

An original 200-plus stanza epic poem

The Epic of Solemnon XIX

XIX

As the old King’s brother,

Everett was in line,

For the Kingdom’s highest seat,

A feast was set to dine.

 

In the castle’s greatest hall,

By warmth and firelight,

To celebrate the new-made king.

All was new and bright.

 

Present at the table,

The Prophet of the road,

Rose upon his frail feet,

With hair and eyebrows snowed.

 

“King Everett, my blessings take.

Rule with Trust and Good.

Protect this simple kingdom,

As thou knowst thou should.”

 

“Maurice, I wish thee all the best,

Returning to thine post,

Serving at the orphanage.

Please accept my toast.”

 

“Solemnon, Hero, why didst thou,

Disobey advice?

If it had not been for these,

Thou still would pay the price.”

 

“With Thump as thine apprentice,

I know thou find a way,

To, with true exactness,

Fulfill the words I say:”

 

Travelest thou by lantern’s light,

Twixt snagging trees and brush,

O’er marshy moor and darkest trail,

In Danger’s drunken night?

 

Travelest thou to lakeside’s shore,

‘Neath beaming moon and star,

With ripples lapping on the sand,

Still ebbing evermore?

 

Layest thou thine subtle sail,

Via dread canoe,

With silent oars and passengers,

Where mortal hearts doth quail?

 

If Adventure is thine end,

Seek on, fair traveler, Seek.

The Afterhere is treacherous.

My wish to thee I send.

The Epic of Solemnon XVIII

XVIII

While the battle briefly paused,

At the brilliant flash,

The Thanator seized the chance,

And swooped a sudden dash.

 

He hefted high the hero’s sword,

And with an evil yell,

Returned into the battle,

His enemy to fell.

 

Oh Braekenett, the shadow hissed,

I sssense that you know why,

You are here—to ssseal your end,

To sssuffer and to die!

 

For with your death, I shhhall be free,

And thusss I cannot fail.

You who made me feel this way,

With death shhhall end this tale.

 

Battling bravely Braekenett,

Tried to beat the fiend,

But the Thanator was faster,

His sword a blur that gleamed.

 

And with a finally deadly blow,

The Thanator won out,

And Braekenett died instantly,

Not a cry or shout.

 

Solemnon’s sword fell to the ground.

The Thanator fell back,

As if he had fallen by,

Invisible attack.

 

For with the King’s own passing on,

The Thanator had too,

Ensured that it would meet its end.

Then, as if on cue,

 

The fighting ceased in disbelief.

The Thanator collapsed.

A shadow folding on itself,

As if time had relapsed.

 

The Kingdom’s terror was no more,

And soon the people would,

Laugh and play and cry and love,

For triumphant Good.

The Epic of Solemnon XVII

XVII

“Thump, my child, we cannot stay.

The danger only grows.

Every second spent in here,

Encourages our foes.”

 

“Solemnon must be nearby now,

I feel it in my heart,”

Thump remarked to Maurice.

“We cannot yet depart.”

 

An alarum sounded then,

The trumpets brazen call,

Signalling the castle gaurds,

To come defend the wall.

 

“Our time is spent, my child dear.

The Hero’s beyond us.

Now we must save ourselves,

And escape the castle thus.”

 

Snatching up the sword and shield,

Thump followed dear Maurice,

Out of the castle maze,

Into the sunlit peace.

 

But no, it was not peace they found,

Instead a battle scene.

The forest men of Everett,

In their garb of green.

 

Were fighting soldiers with their bows,

By dagger, knife, and sword,

And in the midst of the fray,

That evil, ghastly lord.

 

Carver too, and Braekenett,

Thump also recognized,

Whirling in the battle heat,

To action galvanized.

 

The dragon too had joined the fight,

And straining at his chain,

Was breathing fiery streams of flame,

Like smoky, molten rain.

 

Carver charged the dragon then,

With his weapon high,

And for the briefest moment saw,

Vengeance in its eye.

 

Without a thought the dragon breathed,

Him to an ashen heap.

The storyteller was no more,

Condemned to endless sleep.

 

And Everett recalling then,

Carver’s tale anew,

Took advantage of a gap,

And darted his way through.

 

And then, just as the Squire of Threst,

He swung his mighty sword,

And broke the giant, curséd chain.

The dragon loudly roared.

 

A brilliant flash and there he lay,

Solemnon on the ground.

Thump dropped the sword and shield and ran,

For Solemnon had been found.

The Epic of Solemnon XVI

XVI

From the tower’s lonely view,

Thump watched the morning rise.

Then from below there shined a light,

Which made him shield his eyes.

 

Light reflecting off the scales,

Of the thing below.

“Maurice,” said Thump uncertainly,

“I think you ought to know,”

 

“There is now a dragon,

Guarding our tall tower.”

In the valley far below,

A clock bell rang the hour.

 

“Well, my Thump, we must renew,

Our so-far fruitless search,

To escape these prison walls,

Or climb down from this perch.”

 

All morning long they felt the walls,

Rugged, stone, and bare,

The floor and every crevice,

For something anywhere.

 

“Over here!” Maurice called,

Pulling at the wall.

“This bit feels slightly lose.

Maybe it shall fall.”

 

The two combined their efforts,

And with a crunching groan,

A hidden door swung open,

Revealing steps of stone.

 

Quickly down, around, around,

Down around again,

Until they reached a passageway,

Which ascended more and then,

 

The duo found themselves  inside,

The ancient castle cellar,

Amidst the kegs and barrels dark,

With smells much less than stellar.

 

“We should find Solemnon!

I know he must be here.

I saw him to the castle brought.

I know he must be near!”

 

Thump and Maurice slunk slowly,

Their way out the trap door,

And as silent as they could,

They stalked the castle floor.

 

In a closet dank and dark,

Thump perceived a glow.

Blue and soft, it led him on.

Why, he did not know.

 

But yes! Yes! It was the shield,

And sword of legend true,

Solemnon’s bright and trusting blade,

And shield glowing blue.

The Epic of Solemnon XV

XV

The Thanator led the way,

Through the castle maze.

Out a small and rusty door,

Into the evening haze.

 

Far below the castle grounds,

Down the grassy hills,

Nestled fearful Atherley,

Its shops and streets and mills.

 

The two approached a mossy, tall,

Lonely, stony, tower,

Whose dilapidation spoke,

Of a decaying power.

 

Thisss isss where I leave you now.

The key isss in the door.

Please accept thiss gift from me,

Known in Legend’s lore.

With a snap the circle closed,

And then by small degree,

Solemnon felt his strength return,

Power surging free.

 

It grew and swelled, then pulsed and raged,

Past any former state,

Solemnon fell upon his knees,

From the power’s weight.

 

And then the power bursting forth,

Displayed itself in change,

Physically and mentally,

All was new and strange.

 

Longer, taller, sharper, stronger,

He saw his features shift,

He felt his breath upon his face.

What was this bracelet gift?

 

The animalistic power peaked,

Then abruptly it did cease.

Solemnon collapsed in weakness.

The storm inside turned peace.

 

Hov’ring near, the Thanator,

Proclaimed his words to air:

I now commend thee, Hero, Dragon,

The captivesss to thine care.

 

He left Solemnon shackled with,

The bracelet round one claw.

Solemnon still too weak to fight,

Too weak to ope’ his jaw.

 

Solemnon the Dragon.

Solemnon the Slave.

He of silver scales of light.

Still passionate and brave.

The Epic of Solemnon XIV

XIV

He entered through tall double doors,

Into the giant hall,

Ringed with pillars, richly carved,

And torches on the wall.

 

In the flick’ring firelight,

He caught the gleaming shine,

Of a polished, coal-black throne,

Exquisite, tall and fine.

 

And there upon its velvet seat,

A ghastly figure sat,

Resting calmly, still as ice.

Asleep, that evil rat.

 

Solemnon knew, all at once,

Who the dreamer was,

The shadow half, the Thanator,

The one of evil cause.

 

In a rush, he felt less weak,

And grabbed a burning torch.

Rushing at the Thanator,

Who wakened at the scorch.

 

Solemnon reasoned that the torch,

With heat and fiery light,

Could destroy the Thanator,

And it seemed it might.

 

In surprise the Thanator,

Recoiled into the throne,

And found himself without escape,

And pled in slith’ring tone:

 

Ssstop thissssilly sssport!

Isss thisss how you repay,

The sssimple sssoul who sssaved your life,

Sssincerely yesterday?

 

“Silence Fiend!” Solemnon cried.

“That save was by design,

To capture me and to steal,

My sword and shield fine.”

 

I sssee, It said in slurring speech,

It ssseems that you have won,

Ssso what can I offer you,

To sssalvage what I’ve done.

 

“My request I now present,

And simply it is there:

That thou release the pris’ners all,

Unto my care and trust.”

 

“And as well I would my sword,

And shield be returned,

That I may be left in peace,

Else thou shalt be burned.”

 

Concede I do. As well I mussst,

But bargainsss reciprocate.

And ssso I mussst present my termsss,

To shhhut the Promise’s gate.

 

Will you, O Hero, Sssstrong and Brave,

Accept thisss gift from me.

A bracelet forged in deepest flamesss,

Enchanted ssskillfully.

 

“To protect itsss wearer fully,

From pestilence and harm,

And shhhield against the frigid world,

By warm and potent charm.

 

For I cannot return the sssword,

And shhhield that you ssseek.

But I ssshall release the two,

Although they may be weak.”

The Epic of Solemnon XIII

XIII

All was naught. Then, in a gasp,

Life came bursting back.

Solemnon opened up his eyes,

A barest, tiny crack.

 

He felt himself upon a bed,

And slowly looked around,

Tapestried and simple walls,

And tiles for the ground.

 

He sat up slow. Oh how weak!

He felt himself to be.

Where was his sword, his armored shield?

And then the memory-

 

The memory of all before,

The storming River Quirth,

The Traitor Carver and the ship,

Then water. Cold. Then Dearth.

 

A moment he lamented,

His sword and shield lost,

Amongst the stormy, greedy waves,

They had nearly crossed.

 

What of Thump? Of Everett?

Of the sorrowed King?

Of the Quest? And the rest?

What of anything?

 

His bare feet found the chilly floor.

He stood though faint and weak.

He padded careful ‘cross the floor.

His answers he would seek.

 

In his simple tunic,

Solemnon wandered free,

Down spiral stairs, trough corridors,

In silence eerily.

The Epic of Solemnon XII

XII

When at last the group emerged,

And found their hid canoes,

The sky was darking overhead,

To black from clouded blue.

 

Clouds, nay, Mountains in the sky,

Bulged the heavens o’er.

Menacingly dark and huge,

More and more and more.

 

“Perhaps we should forestall our quest,

Until this storm is past,”

Solemnon suggested warily,

“Else this trip be our last.”

 

“Have no fear! My Hero Sir!”

Carver then replied.

“If we quickly cross the Quirth,

We’ll be glad we tried.”

 

“I agree with Carver here,”

Everett announced.

The question closed at his word,

The Hero’s voice was trounced.

 

Solemnon, Thump, and Carver,

Shared the last canoe,

And shrugging his misgivings,

The Hero joined the crew.

 

Overhead the thunder raged,

And rain began to pelt.

The Quirth, so calm a time before,

To anger seemed to melt.

 

“Steady now!” the Hero called,

“This ship must stay afloat.

On the left now! Carver!

Help me with the boat!”

 

Carver turned. A wicked gleam,

Had come into his eye.

“As one who serves the Thanator,

I’d rather you should die.”

 

And then in shockéd horror,

Solemnon felt the ship,

Pause a moment on its edge,

And slowly start to tip.

 

Cold and wet. Dark and deep.

The Uncontrolléd Quirth.

Drowning, desperate as he dove.

Now darkness. Now t’was Dearth.

The Epic of Solemnon X

X

Then entering into the dim,

The shield humming blue,

They descended ‘tween the roots,

Of a massive yew.

 

And there among the cobwebbed roots,

A figure curled tight,

Wrapped in a dirty robe,

And whiskers shocked pure white.

 

He awoke with frantic eyes,

And scrambled up in fear,

Until his eyes found Everett.

Then fear began to clear.

 

“Everett?” the figure asked,

In rich and rough-voiced tones.

“Is that you, my brother dear,

Come to seek my bones?”

 

“I want no of yer bones, oh King,

But rather of yer mind,

To know from whence ye came to be,

Thusly so confined.”

 

A shadow crossed the kingly brow,

“You should want me dead.

For my selfish horror,

Unearths memories of dread.”

 

Then sitting down upon the floor,

‘Midst dirt and filth and grime,

King Braekenett began his tale,

Of another time:

 

The Epic of Solemnon XI

XI

“I wanted naught but happiness,

To be free from every care,

To live my life in perfect bliss,

To find a peace most rare.”

 

“I read one day in ancient text,

How man possessed two parts:

A part for good and light and cheer,

Which dwellest in all hearts.”

 

“Another part for dark and shame,

Revenge and misery,

Fights against the half of light,

To reach a victory.”

 

“I also found an ancient speel,

I hoped would serve my cause,

To separate the good from bad,

And thus remove my flaws.”

 

An end to fear and doubt and pain,

To sadness and to woe,

To anger and to malice fierce,

But Oh! I did not know,

 

That the evil half of me,

Would hate me even more,

And unleash his vengeance as,

That cursed Thanator.”

 

“The Thanator stands in my place-

An evil shade of me-

And here I lie, an empty husk,

Of what I used to be.”

 

“For though I have no malice,

I still suffer grief,

For unleashing such a fiend,

In that moment brief.”

 

Everett reache out one hand,

To Braekenett he said,

“Will you help us in our quest,

To fix this kingdom’s dread.”

 

“To undo a past mistake,

And right a sorry wrong,

To relieve the people’s cries,

Against that fiend so strong.”

 

“I will,” said he and clasped the hand,

And staggered to his feet.

“The Afterhere is dangerous,

But my heart is meet.”