The next morning was warmer than I expected.
‘Did you learn the lessons of my songs?’ Asked Mithril.
Smiling, I remembered what he had sung.
‘Sometimes I think there weren’t any…
But at other times I stop, and consider,
perhaps there was wisdom in the wit of it?
The terrible responsibly of it all?
Romance of Branneth, the power of Jacob,
and tragedy in the families of burnt circle?’
‘Don’t be absurd Dalsarion. An it harm none
but yourself, tell what you will. Let that be the only law of the tale.’
He paused and looked under the brim of my hat.
‘You have proved yourself well in that, my son.’
My foot sank down into the grass. For it was summer now.
I nodded. I waved him goodbye.
Wondered, in how quickly may my tracks be dusted
with dry leaves? And noble Gilfrey’s too,
as she took her steps beside me.
At the end of the Elven celebration of Summer’s leaving,
I was cast out.
Woken in the still morning and led, along the straight road
from the Elven capital. The only one leading away.
I was exiled.
By the rule of an uneasy father’s heart.
Dalsarion travelled out
ready to become a hero.
He could prove his worth,
and he must.
He was called ‘knight’ in these other lands
—an echo of another privilege.
The Elves whispered him too.
They had their long lives and longer still,
their memories. And they had their heroes:
of swords and those to sight,
champions to tears and to laughter.
They called him Arc’C’estath Tainaq,
to them he was ‘the twining rose.’
On and on, with many parties questing,
In his wake he made tales
and they in turn became fabric
to be cut and to be fitted to their audience.
Though he never found what he looked for,
here are some of those unfulfilling tales.
* * * * *
In a run-down tavern,
young Dalsarion had arrived, days,
perhaps weeks had passed
since he’d left the shelter of the Elves.
And he was gravely unhappy.
As his coins slipped-merrily away,
an indulgence to his self-inflicted pain,
he sat and brooded.
Many patrons wondered at the boy sitting
lonely by that corner table. Day after day.
And in this enshrouded and smoky place,
a case of mistaken identity and—hopefully
soon forgotten, and most fatalistic practice
on our Dalsarion’s part–
leads us to this tale.
* * * * *
‘You are Dal the Dark?’
A voice from the gloom asked me.
I looked over at the shadow’d patch,
looked for some time and answered
with no such consideration, ‘yes.’
‘Ah! You are he!
I told my brother so.
We’ve been awaiting your arrival
… I add, for some time!
‘But no matter now, you are he!’
Obliged, I nodded.
I leaned in, as much to catch a glimpse
of my eager pursuer
as I was to catch the fiery warmth,
and to keep with my brooding.
‘You do look the sort of man.’
Said by my stealthy-dressed maiden.
‘You must come with me now!’
And I did not disagree.
We two went hurrying down dusk-lit streets.
Narrow like the tongue of a very rich man.
The twisted, and the convoluted turns ending
at a good, solid oak door.
Which when opened, I was led through.
Inside as our eyes came each to rest
upon a young man sitting there,
the tension was pulled high. Ready, ready,
They each gave one momentous glance to the other
twin—for surely no two were as alike
as these in their parentage, nor their time of birth.
‘Good Sir Dal,’ they both began,
though this man/boy soon dropped his gaze
—yet still, I saw his smile.
And just let his sister go.
‘We come to you, knowing full strange our cause,’
her lilted lines went on,
‘And ask of you,
bless’d by your elders, our rulers,
to judge and decide our worth.’
‘Who of us, shall live?’
‘Choose, and upon your desire act!’
At this high point, where my pulse acted,
and naught else—I was stunned.
They preceded to strip!
And my! What fine specimens they were.
Once finished, they took off my own clothes,
while at my bidding, told their names.
The girl’s? She was Dash’eel.
And the boy, Dashiel.
Both preferring simply ‘Dash.’
I need not describe those actions after,
they were enough for no slacking
of pulse did I suffer.
It seemed that they of this village
followed an obscure and far flung religion.
How it had come by here? I am not to say. Nor how it is now.
And a child from birth was determined,
with a bride of some sex for their own.
Yet in some occasions
—like the birthing of twins—
there were not enough
of that one determined bride!
And a choice be made,
by as religious a man as possible, must be.
To thee, who he desirest most,
the prize of winner goes. And a wedding.
To the other? Death.
This, was what they assumed.
Three days of this, where they each tried to claim me
and at the end, one of me, who must with spirited-breath
kiss his approval and go…
And me to Dash
—Dash’eel of course—
did with my leaving bless.
And she was happy.
And she was sad.
For never more did she see
her brother Dash.
Because I took him with me.
He truly was not my most desired prize
—though charming and most good—
he was too thoughtful, and his silence
brought me questions.
But, at least he wasn’t dead!
Just a short story here.
Dalsarion and a band of adventurers
with a wild party of trolls
they’d met, for some un-recalled reason,
deep down within a mine.
And most outnumbered,
Dal and his band fled.
To the top they made it first
and on reaching thus Dalsarion stopped them, and
with Glamour turned,
a simple stone to full-weighed table and food.
He bade them sit with strenuous tones and
eat! But not this one dish, he’d take it for himself.
His companions watched
as calmly he strode to the shaft, then
with flick of wrist served
and threw the meal down, down, down!
and did not flinch
at the column of Troll-killing fire
that boomed behind him.
He knew they’d get a kick
from his Crepes Suzette
down that old-abandoned mine.
* * * * *
It was shortly after this adventure
after some four happy years,
that Dalsarion and Dash
His thoughtful silence and charming thought of action
in time had ended up attracting Dalsarion’s desire after all.
They had such a passionate affair together.
But as things sometimes do,
it now came to an end.
And they went their separate ways.
For all his time of life,
Dalsarion would at times fondly wonder,
had he not been too quick to judge that winner?
The brother was after-all,
the most desirable of the two.
Where did Dash go? Well,
I do know. And a pretty tale it is.
But this is Dalsarion’s tale, and wouldn’t it be rude
to leave it so unfinished now?
And now the last of these three
most unfulfilling tales I shall tell.
Where Dalsarion finds something of little worth.
And ends up travelling the world to give it up.
* * * * *
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