‘You enjoy telling that one
I can tell.’ I claimed.
‘Well of course I do, you should
only tell those stories you’d like to hear
and how you’d like to hear them!
Let me hear no accusations
if I cackle heartily with my telling,
it is my time, and worthy spent.
I can assure you that.
‘So now, I shall tell my stories as I like them,
when I like them, as they occur to me,
randomly, and with any inflection.
‘And I will always have an appreciative audience.’
We were quiet for awhile,
Mithril plenty pleased with himself.
Until he pointed out another chance
for his new vocal thrill.
‘A hill!’ He said. ’It is Branneth’s tomb.
The burial site of an ancient and troubled knight.
He started simple as a squire.
To his lord, second
even amongst a number of sons–
the truth was, he had been brought in to fill
a need, a lacking there.
It is said, that more than as a beast of burden,
Branneth carried all: his Lord’s shield and his arms
along with his heart.
He was treated as son by that man
—I call him Sir Heant—and all his house-hold.
No he was not their favoured, nor though
was he the least of their natural
nor ascended brood.
There was balance—bane of any, my stories!
~But this soon changes!
Balance. Till one day,
or perhaps it were a star-filled and fantasy night,
the burning of Branneth’s love, questing a’quenchment
must have, indeed had decided, to run-forth
following his true love—and she a diplomatic-gesture,
a simple prelude to war, rejected.
He found her crossing lands adjacent to these. Here.
Hastening with messages of brutality
toward a land’s fragile peace.
Now Branneth was no grey beard,
yet he saw her—true—as a lonely,
fair, and travelling maiden.
He could not—in chivalrous right, nor in good mind
of his heart—leave her travelling.
And offered himself as company back.
Ever. Even if it were further from his Lord.
Thus began his oft-told trek. Now,
as I’m sure that you’ve heard those deeds
done by, and attributed to, our Branneth
–in his name or by another—
I will not speak of these
than to tell, of when he came caught up in other lands
and in a war waged upon his once-Lord.
And though he was vocal in his opposition,
the woman who had loved him since
she travelled to her home
was caught up too.
He did end up fighting—face-to-face—with Sir Heant
who wielded against him that
which had once been his for responsibility.
He lost the fight, and for his efforts was struck down.
Then his Lord Heant fell down by the sunken body
in the mud. And in his silence at the body’s side,
the whole field swiftly followed suit.
And in his custom-able whisper,
he proclaimed Branneth, there, his lasting heir.
For never had he seen such courage;
‘That the victor of the heart’s-own
battles, rarely walk from their muddy field.
Who stands to see them through,
playing passion like a game, between each
two hands, and their unique loves,
they deserve to be my son.’
They say he said.
They looked down at the messenger of the field,
a crop of bodies dying, sown around him.
And that only the beginning of their battle.
For no single death could end it now.
And it was Branneth who was dead.’
‘All this for running away?’
‘Ah! Dalsarion. Can you now see,
all songs are about their listeners, and their
hmm? It is only a half-true joke.
No, I don’t think you will ever battle
See? There. They made a cairn for him,
huge against the sky.
Though he’d not been the greatest
fighter or champion to deserve this,
yea, he had run away and into the arms of love,
been willing to turn everything on its head
just for this.
And thus, they and their sons were to admire
and envy him. Thus they called him ‘knight’.
See the Cairn of Sir Branneth,
Messenger of the Field.
It is said that Sir Heant’s fortune still pays its growth
that every year, one stone is added to its summit
and that when it reaches the heavens,
the dead of battle shall ride up it to rest.
‘Yes. It is.’
* * * * *
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