Song of the first things

The following poem recounts the first age in my fantasy world. While I’m hesitant to share this in its unedited form (the poet within me is cringing at some of my forced wording), I hope the insights into the story world will be worth it.

Menthril is my story’s arch-villain. The ramifications of his actions in the poem below set the course for the plot of my trilogy. 

 

Oh stars that remember the firstthings forgotten
How earth and its peoples were early begotten

They looked and beheld through a pane of dark glass
The earth in a swirling, untamable mass
From darkness flowed mountains and valleys and seas
By The Lord Of The Stars and his hidden decrees
Song-master was he, and this his delight
To guide the star-dancers through the courses of night
The bright ones who saw it from first to the last
Remember what joys and what terrors then passed

Their lord, Yashael, whose feet are like fire
Who orders their steps with his sky-spanning lyre
Beholding Nelwynda, the least-star in rank
Most comely he smiled and this oracle spake
‘Behold how the lowly shine bright when they dance!
And by dint of my tune is their beauty enhanced
So too have I thought to make lofty the simple
And in planes down below to inhabit a people.
For story I love, and it shows well my power
When small things grow tall by day and by hour

He flew down to earth and made war with its waters
Preparing a place for his sons and his daughters
By song upon song, he made each living thing
And by song upon song he formed four special beings.
Mankind, the firstborn, to dwell in the drylands
And Ublidek, after, to settle the wetlands
Meridin, blessed ones, to fill all the seas
And small Teedletiden he set in the trees
For all these a city, Letharill, he made
Its glory established: it never could fade

In those days Menthril, star-son—prince of his kin
Heard the voice of Yashael and longing possessed him
For deeply Menthril loved a song and every art
And every song he heard would grip him by the heart
For unto beauty was Menthril near a brother
His skin was starlight; his eyes shone like no other
His hair was black as night and black as fate
In this alone was Menthril wrong—he could not wait
For Yashael had said, “Learn by my song and see
Earth’s patterning, and how all things should be”

But Menthril ached to sing and so he crept outside
Of Letharill where his works he thought to hide
Like morning birds he sang, his anthem soft and sweet
Then vines rose high and blossoms round his feet
As fair as anything yet made, but poisoned too
And glad Menthril rejoiced, for yet he thought them true
Then far roamed he from Letharill with his seed
Of songs untempered and little paid he heed
To thorns that grew—their sting he did not know
But when they pricked his flesh, they filled his song with woe

Then woe-children came to him of tooth and claw and fang
At the sight of these broken he was smit with a pang
Like dark stars inside him, was terror unleashed
And he birthed from him monsters and terrible beasts
Then ended his song for he scarce could draw breath—
The star-son loved beauty but his hand had wrought death
Lonely, his tears fell. His beasts bid retire
They followed with haste the command of their sire
Then Menthril took council at what he had done
And every foul work of his fingers he shunned

Like a drunkard he staggered to Letharill bound
With fear that the sons of his song should be found
But, lo, in a hollow where mold and ash clung
A place for which stars weep and no songs are sung
At rest on a pillar, a flute of stone lay
And dark seemed to call him to come and to play
Then scarce could he hold back; his chest burned like fire
The maddest of follies became his desire
No passion has equaled by woman or man
The passion of Menthril who took it and ran

At Letharill harbor, he called to the Meridin
And summoned mankind, Ublideck, Teedletiden
Saying, “Come, hear my music and drink of its fervor
Its passion will last you from now to forever
Sing, we may not, but we need not be mute
The stars have shown kindness and lent me this flute!”
And false though he knew it, he led them astray
On the shores of Letharill he started to play
His tune was unfettered and wild and free
It was darker than midnight and cold as the sea

His hearers cried out but did not turn away
As those who stand fixed by a blood-spattered fray
The Meredin only had wisdom to see
The song would engulf them unless they would flee
All others were taken and held in a trance
They uttered the tune in their great ignorance
They moaned with the music and screamed with its power
And welcomed inside them a poisonous flower
Darkness, the patient, who knows how to wait
Now entered in swift through their souls’ open gate

But ere they drank all of the gall of their blunder
The Lord Of The Stars came down with his thunder
And shouted, ‘Oh, mortals! Is it too hard to wait?”
You have chosen your wine, and swallowed down fate!
Now, Menthril, be quiet and hear my decree
When all men have perished, yet still shall you be
And war you shall watch throughout lengthening time
Between stars and darkness and call this work thine
And the woe of this battle and blood that is shed
Shall be thy hard pillow and fiery bed

Then unto the others he uttered this saying
That rightly brought fear and yet was their saving
‘No more may your hands touch the world made with song
For surely like Menthril you would use it for wrong
The monsters of Menthril shall slay and devour
Yet lest you should perish, I give you a power
The bards I will fashion to guide and to shield
And grant them half song-land to have and to wield
In likeness of man I shall tailor their form
For man brought this curse like a maleficent storm’

Oh, stars that remember the firstthings forgotten
Of earth’s brighter days and then its corruption
Still we may see in the dark heavens dancing
Your heavenly forms and your pale light entrancing
May as we watch you perform in the night time
Know that our healing will come at the right time
But till that day comes we will keep our swords sharpened
And sing songs of old with the tune of the harp and
Join you at sunset when the clouds give us chance
Awestruck to see that in dark the lights dance

Awestruck to see that in dark the lights dance

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