29 July 2007

Tales of the Wyrm - Third Rune

I promised you bad Elvish poetry, and let it never be said that I don't deliver. Don't get your hopes up; Tolkein I ain't.

With that tantalizing introduction, it's time for another story from the Varata Lohikäärmeta.

Gather 'round the fire; fill your horn; and let the Tale carry you away.

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Rune the Third:
Ausum Æyllianus Bræagond
(The Deed of Bræagond Æyllian)

...as told by Corrobustus Oakheart

Fair Ælyndarka, child of wood,
right weary of the courtly life
Called to her brother Bræagond,
and bade him to attend her.
In mottled grey, with bow in hand
she sang farewell to towers tall,
To hunt in glades of forest bright,
where Hara willed to send her.
From Astrapratum, Meadow-Star,
they rode through night and dayspans three,
Unto the foot of mountain-fells,
in search of sport to cheer them;
Right fleet they rode, yet in their haste,
they moved with fair-folk’s craft and stealth,
And though passed many a countryman,
not one perchanced to hear them.

On third-day’s eve, they reached a grove
where hare and hart were gathering
Concealed they their hard-blown mounts,
and watched in silence wondering;
The moonlight shone on mirrored mere,
and starlight showered twinkling
When through the great wood-wall there burst
a baleful horror sundering.
Tree-tall it stood, thrice height of elf,
a darkling giant it seemed to them,
With stone in place of bone and flesh,
and fists of iron gleamed at them.
Deep eyes of night descried their holt,
and ‘round the mere it ran at them
In thundering stride that cracked the night,
while pale moonglow beamed at them.

Bræagond hesitated then
(though younger, wiser still he was)
But Ælyndarka, full of fire,
and proud of power, sprang from him,
With orbs like sparks on summer’s eve,
the giant eyed her fragile form,
And mighty as a mountain’s fall,
burst through the nets she spun at him.
While Bræagond watched, his eyes aghast,
the demon fell upon his kin
Her arm, and staff of power, were brast,
and swooning, Ælyndarka fell.
At this, his sister’s deadly plight,
his caution vanished in a trice;
So stepped he forward, glaive in hand,
and clairioning his woodsman’s call.

Bright blade aloft, he stayed its charge,
and scarred the creature’s granite brow;
But though his blows rang swift and hard,
it fell upon him, bellowing.
And step by step he back was forced,
and felt his hand-strokes weakening;
His heart-strings nigh to sundering,
in waxing dawnlight yellowing.
‘Till at the last his ground he stood,
astride his blood-kin’s fallen form
As sunrise touched the broken wood,
the stone-fell stood untiring
Its fistblows thundered, swift and hard;
the Lamp upon his face was wan;
His eyes were closed, and thus he fell,
to the black earth expiring.

And then his call was answerèd;
twin oak-hearts shambled from the glade;
Twin elders of the forest-hall,
who twice the height of stone-beast stood.
Gnarled fists and fingers dealt the blows
that shattered all to stone and sand
And drove the demon from their land,
to fall ‘neath bough in hallowed wood.
When Ælyndarka woke again,
the Lamp was passing to the west
And all her heart was torn with pain;
eyes red with tear-stained sorrowing,
For on the sward her brother lay,
white cold in death, his spirit fled;
Yet victory touched his smiling lips,
their parted crimson borrowing.

When Ælyndarka came at last
to Astrapratum, bearing him,
She bound her hair in verdant bands,
and keened in mourning dolorous.
They buried him upon the Hill
above the meadows of his home,
And on his tomb they set a stone:
“Hight Bræagond, the Valorous.”
A hundred summers passed in fire;
a hundred, and a hundred more,
‘Till elder brother fell in war,
and Ælyndarka gained the crown.
It never graced her gracious brow;
‘twas set on Bræagond’s snowy bier,
and broken glaive became her rod,
through growing years of great renown.

* * * * *

Who, you ask, is "Corrobustus Oakheart"?

Time will tell. Maybe.