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The Song of Seven Swords

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Excerpt from Songs of Kentares, an Oral History.
Edited by Adept IX tau C. Lévi-Strauss
published by Royal Hasek Press 2905
used by permission of Robinson Archival Libraries


The Song of Seven Swords

When the rivers ran red and the rains ever wept
For the men by the million the maids and the babes
So foully murdered by the fatherless dragon

We bolted like bucks my brother and I
Pursued through the pines by powerful beasts
Our father, a farmer our flight had sore won

Then chanced we upon a champion beast
A six headed serpent in sorrowful mood
All sickened of slaying and stricken with shame

Not far through the forest the footfalls thundered
A bloodthirsty beast the brothers pursuing
Hunting and howling hungry for flesh

Then stirred the serpent striving for honour
A mighty and monstrous master of battle
He challenged the charnel champion of death

Cursing the cur for a craven and coward
The master with murderous might did prevail
Though battered and broken the battle hard won

My brother believing our battles were finished
Knelt on his knees a novena to say
Honouring our avengers ere he opened his eyes.

The master there marked a man of high spirit
Though a boy yet un-bearded he bore a king’s heart
As lord he would be to these leaderless few

Six were the swords surrounding him kneeling
held out in the hands and the heart of the serpent
to the farmer’s son fealty and friendship they swore

Trusting their troth in truth he arose
and mounting the master we made our departure
to our home in the hills with new hope for the people

In the village we vouched for the valorous serpent
who promised the people protection in kind
to fight for their freedom from the fatherless dragon

Though farmer he fought our father avenging
His ploughshare he pounded producing a sword
Mounted amongst them making them seven

The seven did serve as the strength of the people
To waylay the whelps of the war-hungry dragon
Such beasts they beheaded and bore their heads home

They made them a mound in the mouth of their valley
A hundred such horrible heads they piled high
Declaring they dared the dragon defy

In fury the fatherless felt this affliction
Though a hundred beheaded he held no account
His sovereignty suffered no such affront

Now hunted the harder their hearts grew the bolder
Their spirits the stronger as strength it did wane
As the net drew the nearer still ne’er did they falter

Ere long at the last no longer they wandered
But stood in the strength of that stoic resolve
To fight to the falling in defence of the free

Shoulder to shoulder they shone in the starlight
Seven swords swearing to sell their lives dearly
Resisting the rush of the ravening hoard.

The beasts attacked baying for blood and for sport
As they met at the mound in the mouth of the valley
While the people, protected took paths to escape

Then fell a Thunderbolt Thor’s own right hand
Fierce as a furnace and flashing with lightning
A dirge and a pyre for the dead ere the dawning

With feet all aflame a Phoenix rose skyward
It hung in the heavens hell-fire unleashing
Then fell in a fury of fire and death

An Archer amongst them spent arrowless charging
With only his fist to attack and avenge
Lay at last locked with his last lifeless foe

A hoary old veterain Hunched but yet vital
Heaved at the heart of a hellion beast
All energy sacrificed utterly spent

In the midst of the maelstrom where men were but mice
A Falcon there hunted fierce spirit fighting
‘til weakened and waning was wing and was claw

Then spake he The Master “Now speed ye my Lord,
In charging I’ll chop ye a chance for your saving
To provide you a place with your people departing.”

“Nay!” did he answer “I’ll never away!
Not while there be weapons and wyrms still to slay
My kin are right keen and may cut their own way.”

“But long will they labour many leagues to the harbour
They need you now nigh navigating their way.
Fall not like us fools but fly to their succour!”

“the Goodmen have they to gird and to guide them
And a council of elders to care and coerce
A measure of minutes maybe I might win them.”

“A farmer am I and a full blooded warrior
What field might I furrow in the fathomless deeps?
What foe might I fight so far from my home?”

So the boy and the Master Both yet undefeated
Back to back battled the beasts all surrounding
The dead and the dying and daemons unnumbered

The Mound they ascended to make there their last stand
Though fortune and fire and fiends were against them
No warrior could weather so wicked a storm

So thick was the throng that thrust at the twain
That soon they were swamped and swallowed within
then torn from atop and trampled beneath them

They perishing paid for our pass to the harbour
and boarding on boats we were bourn far way
to worthily live as the ones who were saved

We remnant here ransomed remember our brothers
and fathers and mother who fell in the mire
Our husbands and a hundred more heart-dear relations

Our families remaining in farms left abandoned
Our sisters and sons we in sorrow recall
Our wives and our daughters in weeping we mourn them